|All set to go? But wait a minute and read this article to find out which malls our writer recommends for baby and you.
By LIM YING MAY
Lugging a baby around malls is not an easy feat. There are so many things to consider - how to get to the different levels of the building; is the mall layout spacious enough for the stroller; will there be clean and hygienic parents’ rooms; and where can I take baby to during time-out sessions.
In the last couple of months, I have done some research on different malls and here are my top three baby-friendly malls in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya:
Suria KLCC is undeniably a top attraction in Kuala Lumpur. More of a tourist spot than anything else, I never would have thought to shop there for my baby's needs. However, with the newly-added wing, the second floor now boasts shops that cater to various children’s needs. There is Motherclub, GapKids and Toys “R” Us, to name a few.
For the older kids, there is the Aquaria and Petrosains. There is also the KLCC Park where kids can enjoy the water fountain and run around outdoors.
For parents with strollers, this mall is a fairly easy place to manoeuvre your baby’s vehicle, but you will need to be patient at the lifts because of the large number of visitors.
|The blockade which forces parents to collapse their strollers before stepping onto the escalator.
Where other malls merely warn against using the escalators with babies in strollers, Suria KLCC places a blockade to effectively prevent a stroller from going on the escalator unless it is collapsed. This effectively forces parents to use the lifts. There have been many moments when my heart stopped while watching a parent try to carry their baby and struggle to make it past the blockade with a collapsed stroller.
|The parents' room in Suria KLCC offers hot water - how handy.
The parents’ room is located on the concourse level near the connecting tunnel to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and Aquaria. It is open to mums and dads. It has diaper changing stations and also a small play area for kids. Hot water is also available here, which is definitely useful.
On the same floor, you can find some kiddie rides and also a big candy store!
Suria KLCC is a great place to bring your kids. Just remember to wrap the little one up as it tends to get a bit chilly there.
Pros: Babes are entertained indoors and outdoors.
Cons: Expect crowded lifts.
Mid Valley Megamall
Mid Valley Megamall is definitely a crowd-pleaser. Not only does it host a variety of shops and eateries, it is also a popular venue for entertainment events. These events are not only confined to the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre; they are also held at the concourse areas on the ground floor. The mall's efforts seem to double over the weekend with all activities at full swing.
At its current Mickey Mouse Through the Years exhibition (which ends Sept 30, 2012), there are various life-size Mickey Mouse figurines placed around the ground floor. Occasionally, balloons are also given out to kids.
Mid Valley is generally patronised by an overwhelming number of parents with kids. You can see a majority of them on the lower ground floor where the fast food restaurants and Carrefour hypermart are located. I am a fan of the newly-renovated Carrefour. Apart from new shopping trolleys which are a hit with kids, they also have a new floor layout which is easy to navigate through with ample space to push your trolley and/or stroller around.
|The parents' room in Mid Valley has cartoons painted on the ceiling to hopefully keep baby entertained while you change his or her nappy.
The parents’ room for Mid Valley is located on the ground floor in the AEON outlet. Just follow the “Baby Room” signs to get to it. This departmental store tends to get a bit packed so you will need to find your way around the crowd to the room. It is inside the female lavatory so fathers are unable to use the facility. The room includes nappy changing compartments, lavatory for kids and private nursing areas.
The room is definitely designed with babies in mind as there are cartoons drawn on the ceiling above the diaper changing stations.
For nursing mothers, there are rooms with curtains for privacy. However, there are currently only three rooms available. This place tends to get a bit busy with mums and kids of all ages, but it is kept clean.
Mid Valley Megamall is absolutely worth visiting with your kids. If you feel like kicking your shopping experience up a notch, just walk over to The Gardens (next to Mid Valley) for a treat and indulge in its luxurious offerings.
Pros: Bustling with activities that will keep both baby and parents entertained.
Cons: Be prepared for crowds. Please note the parents' room is within the women's toilet.
Citta Mall is a fairly new mall located in Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya. This horseshoe-shaped mall is different with its open-air mall concept. Citta is big with its four-and-a half floors of shops and its spacious sidewalks. Parking is available indoors and outdoors.
|The lovely painting on the parents' room in Citta Mall. There is ample space in this parents' room!
A big plus point is the parents' room which is huge!
This room has diaper changing stations, a nursing area, parent-child lavatory and even a play area (with toys) for young children.
In the vicinity of the parents’ room are kids’ speciality shops and handicraft workshops for children. Even Julia Gabriel Centre for Learning and Chiltern House (a popular learning centre for children) has found residency in Citta.
You can take a stroll around the flea market which is open every weekend or stock up on groceries at Presto’s largest supermarket. Even though it has not reached its maximum occupancy, there is a lot to see and it can be done at ease with the mall's generous space and easily-accessible lifts.
This mall has immense potential and it will be sure to create a buzz among Malaysians soon enough.
Pros: Ease of space.
Cons: Limited shops available at the moment.
In all these three malls, there is only one parents’ room. Be sure to plan ahead should you need to use the facilities. You do not want to have to dash from one corner of the building to the other, especially if you're going during the weekend when malls are at their busiest.
Most of the eateries at these malls are baby-friendly. Being a first time mum, I never knew how equipped restaurants are with baby seats. The waiters and waitresses are also well-trained in baby situations as they would immediately usher us to tables where strollers are easily tucked away.
Some restaurants even give out balloons and crayons with activity papers to keep your child occupied.
No wonder parents love malls over the weekends. With malls getting friendlier for kids, taking baby out is now a breeze.
* This is the writer’s personal observation and is in no way an endorsement by ParenThots.