If the weather is fine, you can often find somewhere secluded to feed the baby and relax in most parks and gardens, and some of the cafes have even been designed with mums in mind. The new cafe near the glasshouse at RHS Garden Wisley has a dedicated area for breastfeeding, screened off from the rest of the cafe by large plants.
A few other breastfeeding friendly parks and gardens are Kew Gardens, Clapham Common, and Wimbledon Park. The cafe at Priory Park in Crouch End is very popular with new parents; be warned though that there are no baby changing facilities. The Pavilion Cafe in the middle of Highgate Wood is also a favourite among the North London families and is very breastfeeding-friendly, and with affordable meze-style snacks and a large outdoor area it’s a good place to meet with other parents.
Most shopping centres have dedicated Baby Care rooms with baby changing and bottle warming facilities, and some like the John Lewis store at Brent Cross also offer a bit more privacy for breastfeeding, with a small curtained area with a chair and some magazines. If you are in Central London, Cibo cafe on the upper floor of the Mamas & Papas store on Regent Street is a haven for nursing mums. Westfield has been praised as having the best babycare facilities in any UK shopping centre – high praise indeed, and bound to make your shopping trip that much more enjoyable.
The middle floor of the Curzon – Soho has lots of comfy leather sofas, a chilled atmosphere, great food and drinks including juices, shakes and cakes. Giraffe – Southbank and Monkeynuts both have great food, good sized portions, convenient baby changing facilities, are very buggy accessible, and a combination of tables and booths with comfy seats. The staff are usually pretty laid back and friendly and will be happy to find you a quiet table near the back of the restaurant away from all the crazy toddlers (unless you’ve come with one yourself!). The atmosphere is decidedly relaxed and there is never any rush to get you out the door, even at busy times.
Gastropubs such as The Bald Faced Stag and upmarket cafes like Maison Blanc and Costa Coffee in Muswell Hill are great spots for new parents, with relaxed atmospheres, comfy leather seats, and changing tables. The washrooms are big enough for you to bring a double buggy in with you, very convenient if you’re on your own. Maison Blanc also has plenty of room for you to put the buggy beside the table so you can have a coffee while the baby naps.
Not a first time mum?
Chances are your older children will play independently until they see you unclip your nursing bra and pick the baby up. Suddenly they are desperate for your undivided attention and are climbing all over you. What you need is some great distractions for them so you can feed the baby in peace! Here are a few places where you can have lunch and a coffee while keeping an eye on your older children as they play with their friends:
That Place on the Corner Children’s Cafe on Green Lanes is a great all-around child friendly spot, and especially good if you have more than one child – the older one can play, read, or try on the dressing-up clothes while you feed. Artsdepot in Finchley is a nice place to go when you’re nursing, especially if you have an older child with you. There are excellent changing facilities, the cafe has some comfy seats, there is plenty of space for buggies so you can relax while the baby sleeps, and there is a little soft play area perfect for when your baby is rolling around or learning to walk. The older children like to make forts in the soft play area too, so they will keep themselves busy while you feed the baby. Clown Town and Eddie Catz are some of the nicer indoor play centres, and all have a good view of the play area from your table. If you fancy a more exciting day out, Legoland has a dedicated BabyCare centre with a quiet private area for breastfeeding.
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