Bringing a young child to Sunday church meetings can be an ordeal. In fact, many members of my own ward don’t even attempt it until their little one is closer to six months old. But for those parents who do opt to bring newborns and infants to church—especially those with other, older children—a mother’s room can be a lifesaver. While fathers absolutely can take a fussy child into the hall or find a foyer couch to sit on with a sleeping baby, a mother’s room offers additional privacy (if desired) for breastfeeding or pumping, or a quiet place to connect and share moments with other mothers and young babies.
Speaking from experience, here are nine of my personal must-haves for any church building’s mother’s room, and a few additional “non-necessities” that every mom will be grateful to see.
1. A comfortable chair (or two!)
Whether for breastfeeding, pumping, or snuggling a napping baby, a comfortable chair is a must for a mother’s room. Chances are also fairly high that there may be more than one mother with a young child who might find a quiet room useful, so if your ward has budget, access to, or room for a second (or third!) chair, consider having multiple.
Another note: For mothers who need to pump breastmilk while at church, they may need access to an electrical outlet, and the comfy chair is of no use to them if that outlet is on the other side of the room. So be aware of where the chairs are in relation to the outlets or provide an extension cord.
2. Hand sanitizer
The preferred option would always be a sink and hand soap, but in the instances where that isn’t an option or if your room isn’t set up for plumbing, please include a large bottle of hand sanitizer for after those messy diaper changes.
3. Tissues and paper towels
Whether it’s been an emotional day for mom or a baby needs their nose wiped, nobody wants to suffer through a meeting with the sniffles, but the scratchy, thick paper towels often found in Church bathrooms are less than ideal for a baby’s delicate skin. Providing a box of tissues is a quick fix.
As for paper towels, if possible, a more hearty brand of is also be useful for wiping upspit up in a pinch or resolving other unexpected messes that inevitably come up.
Make sure to include a box of tissues AND a roll of paper towels for everyone’s use.
4. A large, flat changing surface or counter
Putting a tender, sweet, newborn baby on the floor—even when carpeted—for a diaper change or outfit swap can be dirty and can turn into a backache-inducing ordeal for a sleep-deprived mom. Along those same lines, it’s nice to have a raised surface for unloading pumping equipment, rinsing out bottles, wiping off toys, or just reorganizing or regathering all your mom-ing supplies.
5. Surface sanitizing wipes
Not to be confused with wipes for baby’s skin, these should be disinfecting wipes used on a changing pad or counter before or after a diaper change, to wipe off toys after they’ve been dropped on the ground, or to clean generally oft-touched surfaces and prevent illnesses for mom and baby.
6. Air freshening spray
After a blowout or extremely foul diaper change, everyone will be grateful to have some sort of stink resolution. Even better if the spray is an odor-eliminator or odor-neutralizing brand.
7. A mirror
If mom has just been wrestling a toddler or nursing her newborn and wants to rejoin the meeting, a full-length mirror is a really nice inclusion to make sure she still looks and feels her best (and doesn’t have any baby messes on her clothes) before they head back into the chapel. Added bonus: most babies love mirrors, so it can be a fun distraction or toy for little ones, too!
8. A way to listen to or watch sacrament meeting
Many mother’s rooms are set up with a speaker system connected directly to the chapel microphone so while they’re in a separate space, they can still hear the messages shared in sacrament meeting. On the off-chance your room is not set up this way, find a way to include a speaker system or a Zoom livestream of the meeting for those ward members who still wish to participate in the meeting via the mother’s room.
Other non-necessity items every mom will thank you for:
- An odor-locking diaper pail
- Extra baby wipes
- Diaper rash cream
- Hand lotion for mom
- Small water bottles or disposable cups if there is a sink
- An odor-neutralizer jar, nursery freshener pod, or clean-scented air freshener plug in
- A blanket—I’ve never met a new mom who wasn’t cold in a church building
- Artwork on the walls to invite the Spirit and peaceful contemplation
- A copy of the Liahona magazine
- A set of scriptures
- Coloring pages and crayons—for older kids who may need to tag along with mom and baby
- Chocolate for mom (We recommend these truffles)
- A take-one-leave-one basket of diapers—We know it isn’t feasible to keep a full stock of every size of diaper on hand all the time, but you could start with one or two in various sizes and add a note saying “If you need a diaper, take one. If you have an extra one—please leave one!”
You could also enlist your Young Women, Young Men, or Activity Days classes to help gather some of these simple extras or decorate the mother’s room in your church building. A little additional love, care, and attention would certainly be appreciated by anyone who has ever been a parent.
Did we leave anything off our list of recommendations? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your best ideas!