Breastfeeding at Minyan Tehillah, Cambridge, MA

Minyan Tehillah in Cambridge, Massachussetts, USA

Updated 8/26/15- additional rating, experiences, general information, and bottle-feeding information

Breastfeeding in the Sanctuary:

It is informally permitted and welcome, although there is no formal policy.  “Women routinely nurse in the women’s section during davening”.  “I didn’t nurse my now-teenagers there because there weren’t a lot of babies, but by the time I had my now-elementary-school-kid there were lots of moms nursing. Some used covers, but I never did. I didn’t nurse while leading or laining, but some mothers even do that.”

Private Nursing Locations:

There is no designated private space for nursing, but “some moms use the babysitting space if they aren’t comfortable nursing in the sanctuary”.    However, “All the chairs are sized for 3-4 year olds. It is full of 20+ kids and 5+ adults at all times”.  The babysitting room is upstairs.  You find t by asking around/word of mouth.  Other options include the hallway or outside on a bench.  The shul has very limited options for space.

Other Information:

There is no information or policy about breastfeeding publicized by this community.

Nursing is welcomed by this community, “The community is very welcoming of breastfeeding wherever and whenever”.  They see having no nursing room as a message that breastfeeding should be free and comfortable anywhere- a designated space might suggest that other spaces were not open for nursing as well.  “I felt fine about it, but I know there are murmurs among other people. We don’t have an official policy and that concerns me even though I no longer have a nursling.”

Genera Child Friendliness:

There are changing tables in both the women’s and the men’s bathrooms.  Strollers are either parked outside or folded umbrella strollers may be put in the hallway.  There is very limited space for children’s stuff- some ” toddlers go to preschool at the shul building so they have cubby space – otherwise, no [space]. This is a big problem for families of all ages.”.

In the main service is generally welcoming and tolerant of kids and their noise.  “Very child-friendly. Kids lead end of davening; kids get lollipops; kids run from parent to parent as needed. Mostly the kids are not noisy, however.”

The attitude toward bottle-feeding here is “Pretty negative, unless it’s obviously EBM [expresse breast milk] fed by non-nursing care-giver.”  “I think almost every mom nurses. Sometimes dads bring babies to shul with a bottle. Snacks for kids in general are permitted even in the sanctuary”.

Wrap-Up:

This synagogue received ratings of

    • Great, could barely be better- 1
    • Good, could make small improvements- 2

out of 7, where 1 is the best rating, and 7 is the worst.

Contact Information:

Leadership at Minyantehillah@minyantehillah.org

Synagogue Website: http://www.minyantehillah.org/

 

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