Since we’re called Busy Baby Happy Baby, we thought we’d give you our 5 favourite places to take the girls and our tips for taking your little ones out.
Our favourite places to take our babies are..
1. The Discover Story Centre in Stratford
Discover is a purpose-built Story World and Story Garden, designed to inspire children’s curiosity and imagination. This is exactly what it does, there is a lot to do, and loads of space for children to roam, explore the boats, rockets, play on the slide, do some arts and crafts or wind down in the book corner. There are seasonal exhibitions based on favourite authors, and storytelling events told by energetic story builders throughout the year. We highly recommend booking one or two before you visit.
2. Baby Cinema
This one is for the parents. Who would have ever thought you’d be able to go to the cinema without the need for a babysitter. There are various cinemas across the UK that hold weekly baby screenings. If your baby is under 12 months, then you can take them with you to watch a film. The sound is reduced, the lighting is dim and your baby gets their own seat. Please note there will not be a quiet moment during the duration of the film.
3. Busy Bees at Battersea Arts Club
A magical teletubby-esque play space like we’ve never seen it before. It’s an indoor garden consisting of artificial hills (great for climbing), a rainbow bridge and a cosy cave. Toys and books are in abundance to keep the little ones busy too. The café across the foyer serves scrumptious food. Weekly baby/toddler sensory and music classes are held here too, we advise booking in advance.
4. Little Highness Play Cafe in Highbury
The idea of a play café is ingenious. A café serving delicious homemade food with a soft play area to entertain your child in the meantime. The café is a clean, attractive space with tasteful theme. It’s small, but there are plenty of toys and books to keep your child occupied. They also serve all day breakfast which is always a bonus.
5. Mudlarks Gallery at the Museum of London Docklands
An interactive learning space for children under 8. The gallery incorporates stories told within the wider museum in a hands-on, proactive environment. There is a soft play for the young children and as you explore the gallery there are various equipment to play with such as a diver’s helmets, a water-play table (aprons included), giant building blocks and a ship balancing roleplay. It is free to attend but you do need to book a ticket in advance.
We were both quite nervous about taking our baby girls out when they were really little and had worries like them screaming whilst out/on public transport and us being unable to calm them down, feeling uncomfortable to breast feed in public places etc. So to save you the stress our top tips for going out with babies/ toddlers:
First and foremost.. BRING FOOD! Our little girls are both little piggy’s and giving them a snack on boring train rides/ car journeys can be a lifesaver. Also, depending on how you feed your baby we suggest pre preparing the right amount of formula/ expressed milk and being prepared to breastfeed anywhere (remember it is completely natural and anyone that doesn’t like it should be ashamed not you!) they also have breastfeeding ‘capes’ that we used when we felt self-conscious (not that you should.. Breastfeeding is a natural, beautiful way to feed your baby!)
Go to child friendly places so you don’t feel uncomfortable and there will be provisions for your baby e.g baby changing and bottle warming. If you are going somewhere more ‘adult’ we would recommend bringing crayons/toys/downloaded baby videos to keep little ones entertained whilst eating/ travelling on public transport etc.
Planning ahead can also reduce stress! Always check your journey times and durations etc and go a train stop further if it has step free access as it saves the hassle of carrying buggies upstairs (when everybody walks straight past you and pretends they can’t see you struggling!)
Take someone with you. Especially if they have a child too, it can be helpful having someone with you who knows what it’s like to be a parent. Also, be open to making new mummy/daddy friends, kids can be a great conversation starter!
Plan your day around nap time or if you are out for the day try to fit a nap in. It’s not fun traveling with an over tired baby. A bottle of milk or movement such as a walk in the pram or a short journey in a car can get them off to sleep.
Jade and Shanice x