Once you feel ready to get out and about with your baby going for a coffee can become a real treat. Finding that right time between feeds and changes, having a walk, fresh air and change of scenery can be a real game changer during the long, foggy days.
With my youngest I made a little mental list of all the coffee shops I wanted to try whilst he was still small enough and I could enjoy catching up with a friend or just enjoy doing something for myself. I quickly looked forward to trying new places, the list got longer and I got to know the good baby friendly ones and especially during winter, was a real mood booster.
Here are some of my top tips for your first time or if you still find it a bit overwhelming getting out and about.....
Timing- this can feel like the tricky part, when feeding and changing can be pretty continuous to begin with. As much as you can offering baby a feed, wind and change before you set off can help them feel comfortable.
Check opening times- especially during winter a lot of coffee shops only open towards the end of the week and through the weekends.
Have a plan B- if you can get a table have a second place nearby in mind that you can walk along. You will get that cuppa!
Don't forget the change bag! Depending how long you are planning to stay out bring enough for anything you need feeding and changing wise. Always pack an easy change of clothes for any leaks (sleepsuits are perfect for an easy quick change).
If you have a sling or carrier, bring it with you; I kept mine under my pram with the rain cover. With baby snug on you for the duration can mean you can enjoy your cuppa with baby happily on you- handsfree! Slings are also great if you are walking to your chosen coffee shop and baby needs a cuddle before you make it back.
Take your time! Getting out with a baby can feel like a big transition and daunting. Small steps and each trip out your confidence will boost.
Asking for your cuppa in a take away cup or bring your travel mug with you. If you feel you need to go at any point you can bring your drink with you.
Check out the baby change facilities- frustratingly not every where is totally baby friendly. Some you need a key for the accessible bathroom so always ask the staff if it doesn't feel obvious.
If you are missing company and looking to meet new friends, check out the free meet ups run in the area. I host a bumps and babes coffee morning at the Albion House Hotel in Ramsgate, Tuesdays 10:30- 12pm- such a great way to enjoy a trip out and chatting to other families in the area.
And finally...... take all the small wins and keep going! It can feel disheartening if you are all set and for any reasons things don't pan out. That's ok! It's normal! I promise you every parent has been there. The more you do it the more your confidence will grow.
Favourite baby friendly coffee haunts on the East Kent coast. This was hard to choose just 5 and I will keep sharing more (please let me know your favourites too):
Archive, Ramsgate. Along with the great coffee and eats, this spacious but cosy coffee shop is located bang on the harbour. Such a nice place to stroll around before or afterwards. Friendly staff and in my opinion the best changing facilities around! Ticks all the boxes! Plus their lifestyle shop is great if you need to grab a present for someone or, of course, yourself! https://www.archivehomestore.co.uk/
Skinny Dip, Margate. Amazing coffee and top notch food, spacious for prams, changing facilities, friendly owners who make families feel really relaxed. They run regular baby meets up and La Leche League host their coffee morning here. https://skinny-dip-coffee.square.site/
The Furnicular, Broadstairs. Bang on the beach in Viking bay (accessible via the boardwalk with ramps either end of the bay and during the summer season the lift). THE best view in Thanet for great coffee, always good music and vibes created by the friendly owners. It's definitely a winner for an instant mood boost with uninterrupted sea views. https://www.facebook.com/The-Funicular-Coffeehouse-778676699187537/ NB There are the public bathrooms down on Viking Bay. Openings are seasonal, keep an eye on their socials.
Deal Pier Kitchen, at the end of the pier, surrounded by the sea. You can't beat it for location. Great coffee and wide menu. They also have a take away hut if you want to enjoy the prom with your cuppa fix. https://dealpierkitchen.com/
Grain and Hearth, Whitstable. I mean, I challenge you to a walk through Whitstable without stopping off at this insane bakery. All made in- house, with love. The wide, daily variety will have your eyes popping and tummy happy. Top tip: always grab something extra to take with you- lunch, snack... your later self will thank you.