My first time going to the Virginia State Fair was five years ago, a week before Hubby and I got engaged.
We saw a duck race, pig race, lumberjacks, I got my picture taken with Lady Luck of the Virginia Lottery (she made my wish come true!), watched a demolition derby, we rode the Ferris wheel, pigged out on fried goodies, and saw a lot of farm animals.
Fast forward five years and two kids later and a visit to the State Fair was a lot different.
I realized I forgot to pack my nursing cover for L and extra pull ups for G (I was willing to leave him in underwear because I knew the bathroom situation, but Hubby changed him).
My in-laws were meeting us there, so I wasn’t happy about forgetting the cover, especially because I didn’t want to nurse in front of them in the first place.
When we made it through the gate, my MIL handed me a list of events happening that day, which ended up getting shoved into the diaper bag because I couldn’t read and push a stroller. I really needed a map because there were two things I wanted watch with G: the pig race and the duck race.
My in-laws had been to the fair earlier in the week so they had an idea of where everything was. We took a pit stop at the restrooms and I got to take a look at a map. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw “19. Mom’s Nursing Station.”
We saw the pig race first. By the end L was very hungry, so we tracked down the building section 19 was supposed to be in.
It was actually a booth belonging to a group of lactation consultants. The nursing station wasn’t fancy; it was fashioned out of cloth panels that were clipped together. But! They had comfortable foldable rocking chairs, nursing stools, a fan, relaxing music, and two pack-n-plays with the newborn insert so we could change our babies. The ladies manning the booth offered me water as they held the curtain back for me as I walked in.
This, ladies and gentlemen, was my favorite part of the Virginia State Fair.
When I needed to nurse L a second time my MIL suggested I use a bench nearby. It would have been more convenient, but being able to be in a quieter place was better for L to focus on eating. Plus, by the time he wanted to eat, I was ready for a break.
It surprised me that I was able to relax. I wanted to take pictures, but there was at least one other mother in there when I was and I didn’t want to seem creepy. I think the nursing station also gave L a chance to relax and take a break from being overstimulated. The little guy was exhausted both times I nursed him and both times he nodded off during his feed, only to be woken up again when I put him in the stroller and met up with our group.
Every time I spoke with one of the ladies manning the booth, I told them how awesome having a place to nurse was.
I wish I could say I enjoyed myself at the fair this time. I had more fun at Day Out with Thomas. I don’t know if that was because our Thomas trip wasn’t as overwhelming or if it was because we didn’t have extra people with us. Or maybe it was because I was able to participate in all the events on our Thomas trip and it was harder to do so at a huge fair with a stroller and a nursing baby and extra people who wanted to do certain things too.
The pig race was fun to do with G. His grandparents treated him to a pony ride. He also touched a snake and watched a live alligator show. As far as we knew, the duck race wasn’t there this year, which was a bummer. G was able to pet a descendant of Secretariat (Hubby and I had no idea the fair’s location was the birthplace of Secretariat until that day). I really wasn’t that into looking at all the animals this time, but G enjoyed the ducks and cows. The rest of the group would get snacks/eat when I nursed, so I missed out on eating a whole lot (good and bad; I didn’t eat a bunch of crap but was starving when we got home due to nursing and walking!). G stayed dry the entire time too!
It was a good experience for G, and I think Hubby had a good time showing G around the fair. It was his idea to take G in the first place, so I was glad the two of them were able to enjoy it. But I think the nursing station is the thing I’ll remember about this visit most fondly.