Leaving the house with your new little one can be epically daunting (I’m sure it’ll wear off eventually, but still) and little things that people and places do – or don’t do – can be the difference between a great day for you and bubba and a I-want-to-cry-I’m-so-useless day (that’s for you – not the baby, they cry however great their day has been.) There should a baby friendly sticker scheme or something.
Until then though, having now had a few weeks of venturing out with Sonny in tow, here’s my – and my NCT mummy chums’ – hero places (and people) for new mums in Leigh-on-Sea (and nearby.)
- Piggy Went To Market, Elm Road, has plenty of room to get the pram in and to park it next to the table while still leaving room for others to get by. It has an alcohol license too. And a stash of daily newspapers. And staff who are friendly and have no interest in rushing you out. Which is always good.
- The Grove, Belton Way. Me and three new mums – plus babies obvs – rocked up one rainy lunch time. Without booking. And though they did say it would have been helpful to know that we were all going to have prams they were super accommodating once it became apparent new-mummies-are-us were descending on them. Tables were moved and pushed together without a grumble. And my NCT pal Lydia has since even braved breast-feeding while sat in the sunshine eating lunch at a table outside.
- Snug Cafe & Bar, Leigh Road. The owner (and her mother who also works there) loves babies. It’s super cute and though – as the name suggests – it’s a little, um, snug inside they had no problem finding us a table where the hubby and I could sit and enjoy lunch with Sonny snoozing alongside us in his pram. We were made to feel totally welcome, the food was awesome and we were even given a free cake each to take home when we left. Winning all round.
- Birdwood, Leigh Road. This seems to be something of a mummy mecca. With good reason. There’s plenty of room to plot up with a pram both inside and out, decent baby changing facilities (though they are upstairs), and even if you’ve rearranged three tables to accommodate five new mummies and their babies (yes, us NCT ladies do seem to travel in packs!) and only bought a coffee and a little bit of cake each they’re still happy for you to take your time.
- Cockadoodledoo, St Clements Arcade, Broadway. The seating outside in the arcade is super pram friendly. The cafe has a varied specials board and each time (yes we’ve been back a few times) the hubby and I have taken Sonny with us for a bit of brunch we have far from been the only folk there with a little one (and/or dog!) in tow. Though the inside is a little harder to manoeuvre with a pram the baby changing facilities are adequate and the staff seem to understand some of the struggles you face eating out with a baby in tow. In particular, the fact that you need food to be served sooner rather later if you’re going to be able to eat it before the baby wakes up!
- Irmas, Elm Road, is a an easy going Italian where I’ve ventured for supper more than a couple of times since moving to Leigh-on-Sea (read a review written by the hubby earlier this year here) but for some reason I’ve never really thought about it being a place to pop into for a hot chocolate and a little bite to eat. But that’s exactly what Sonny and me did, with two other mums and babies – with prams. It was plenty big enough to navigate – even though it was pretty busy for 2pm on a week day – and there’s easy to access baby changing facilities.
- The Dungeon Cafe, Hamlet Court Road. Big enough for prams, comfy sofas, baby changing facilities, nice food and Jo the owner is really lovely. Relaxed atmosphere and super friendly. Baby activity club on Mondays. She bought me over a glass of water and pretty much fed me my sandwich when I was feeding Albert, plus it’s a real local community place so there are always quirky people to chat to. And they play the Beach Boys 😎😎😎😎 MAGGIE
- The Roslin, Thorpe Esplanade, is really accommodating. They reserved a specific table for us and pram (apparently they don’t normally.) The Boatyard (Old Leigh) refused the pram and said I could balance his car seat on a chair. We declined! FAYE
- There’s a lady called Maggie at Boots in Southend High Street. She’s a baby guru!!!! MAGGIE
- The Woodlands Cafe at Belfairs Wood, Eastwood Road North, is brilliant – child friendly and the changing facilities have a loo in them so you can go to the loo without having to jam the buggy in the door too! JODY
- The ladies in the chemist opposite the Pall Mall Surgery (Derix Healthcare Pharmacy, London Road) were lovely to me as I struggled in trying to get Emily’s prescription, helping with the door etc and being kind whilst she had a meltdown. SALLY
- The Victoria Centre, Southend, has lovely changing rooms. They’re massive with two toilets in! And there’s a feeding room too. JODY
- I’m giving a 👍 to the nice men at Beecroft Art Gallery (Victora Road, Southend) who coped with me rocking up to feed Albert on a random chair on the way home. No dedicated poo changing facilities, but plenty of space in the ladies. MAGGIE
PS Have I missed any? I’d love to know your hero places for new mums so please do leave your suggestions in the comments below.