West Ryde Marketplace – 14 Anthony Rd West Ryde NSW 2114

Reviewed by B

Overall: Good. Has the basics and it’s very clean. Nappy changes and feeding.

Good Points: Very clean; Two lockable feeding cubicles; Nappy bins next to change bays; Powerpoints for expressing. 

Bad Points: No papertowel; Uncomfortable office chair in feeding cubicle; No kid-sized toilet; Inadequate signage in centre for Parent Room; No microwave.

Start of a new week and I thought maybe we could head to a different suburb today. Do the groceries and check out the Parent Room at a different shopping centre altogether. So instead of heading to yet another area of the Hills, we got in the car and ended up at West Ryde Marketplace.

It’s a nice little shopping centre. Stores are all on the one floor. There’s both undercover and outdoor parking. Travelators and ramps, no stairs, coffee shops, Woolies, newsagent, nail salon etc…..not too big which is lovely. We parked undercover because it looked like it might rain (and it is pouring outside right now!), plus I just like undercover parking better. Feels more secure to me. Looking for Parents With Prams parking spaces, there were none to be found. Bit of a bummer considering the number of mums and bubs out and about there today. Perhaps Centre Management will do something about that soon? 
There were loads of parks available though and we did find my favourite kind – rear to the wall, passenger side against a concrete pole, close to the travelator.
The thing I like most about this place is it’s pram friendly. No escalators or stairs, just a travelator, wide walkways and ramps. One thing that wasn’t simple was finding the Room! The sign hanging from the ceiling indicates where the general male/female/disabled toilets are,and usually I’d also expect to see the baby in a nappy symbol too to indicate there’s baby change facilities. But the sign here doesn’t have anything to indicate there’s a Parent Room around. Maybe that’s why, when you do find it, it’s so clean because no-one uses it as they don’t know there is one available (until now!).

So after checking out the T ends of the marketplace, I thought if there is one then it should be where the toilets are. Or at least there’d be a change table in the disabled or female toilet. So following the direction of the sign, bubs and I headed up the ramp and right at the end of it is the Parent Room. Yay!!!! 
Lesson learnt – check out the signs leading to toilets first.
The room, while small and fairly basic, is really quite lovely. It’s clean, and has almost all you need to change and feed your little ones. And it’s big enough to fit a shopping trolley and probably a pram or two. Happy days.

There are two change bays, each with straps to keep little ones from rolling on to the floor. The nappy bins are right next to the bays (very handy). There are a couple of colourful artworks on the walls which are pretty cute. They brighten up the room anyway.

For feeding, there are two cubicles. While the interiors are very basic (ie a single office chair in each), each has a lockable door. That gets a thumbs up from me. Being able to lock the door when you are feeding your little one just makes you feel a bit more secure and comfortable. Now you can get a pram into the feeding cubicles, it’s just that it may require a three point turn to get in there and shut the door. But I think it’d be worth the effort.
Opposite the change bays is the sink. Now again it is super clean (it’s rare to find a parent room that’s so well looked after), but there isn’t any paper towel dispenser. Just a small stack of towels next to the sink. Not sure what happens when that little amount runs out. But there is soap and a hand dryer so all is not lost. Have to say I was a bit surprised to not see a Microwave here, but with all the cafes outside you might be able to sweet talk one of them into warming up bottles or food for you.
The toilet in this Parent Room is immaculate. Quite a wonderful thing for a public facility. The only real downside is the lack of an extra kid-sized loo. Other than that, I really couldn’t fault it. Incredibly clean, the whole thing. And naturally there’s all the things you’d expect. sink soap, hand-dryer, toilet seat sanitiser.

If you’re in the area, let me know what you think of the Parent Room at West Ryde Marketplace. I think it’s pretty good, and so are the people who shop there too. Some of the other mums and bubs we met while we were out today were just lovely. Amazing what a ‘Hi, how old is your bubby?’ can do! Big smiles, lovely chatter and conversation with another grown up. This Parent Room project of mine is really helping to get me out of my shell (I can hear the shrieks of surprise from some people already – yes, I am actually shy at times, not that you’d believe it :)). Meeting other mums, dads and bubs every day is good fun. Plus it helps me know what people are looking for in a decent Parent Room. And I just don’t know who I’ll meet from day to day.