My daughter Amélee was born in the chilly month of February so I didn’t venture far from home in the first couple of months after her birth. But by the time April rolled around, I was ready for a change of scenery, and began planning more excursions with my daughter bundled up with an adorable knitted hat. We went in search of a parent-and-baby cafés, places where families with small tots are welcome to hang out and enjoy some food in an atmosphere where breastfeeding is welcome and little ones feel free to crawl or run around. Here’s what I found.
Melons et Clémentines
5659 Sherbrooke St., W., N.D.G.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sunday.
This café was founded by two moms who worked with the Nourri-Source breastfeeding support program, so it’s no surprise that you can find not only food and drink but also all kinds of breastfeeding gear at this charming N.D.G. location. The walls are painted a fresh, spring green and the place feels clean, tidy and sleek. The café features vegetarian fare such a wraps and salads along with tea and coffee. There is a play area for toddlers, and the café’s comfy chairs make it a perfect spot to hang out with your baby and a good book. Melons et Clémentines has a large retail area where you can find just about anything a breastfeeding mom might need — nursing bras, pump accessories, clothing, carriers, etc. You can also book an appointment with a certified lactation consultant if you have questions or are having difficulties breastfeeding.
Caffè della Pace
1002 Van Horne Ave., corner Hutchison St.
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Saturday.
For 15 years, Rivka Cymbalist dreamed of creating a space where parents could feel comfortable bringing their children to enjoy a meal together as well as a place to hold events and workshops. In June, Cymbalist realized her dream when she opened the doors to Caffè della Pace.
True to its name —’pace’ means ‘peace’ in Italian — Cymbalist says the café is a safe and inclusive space for families and foodies alike. Her son Giacomo, also the café’s chef, has created a menu that blends traditional Italian cuisine with fresh vegetarian dishes, also offering gluten-free and vegan option. Items on the menu include everything from avocado veggie burgers and minestrone soup to blueberry crumble muffins and chocolate hazelnut brownies.
For new mothers, the café offers a breastfeeding-friendly environment. “It seems like modern society has excluded mothers and babies,” Cymbalist said. “We’re trying to include them again.”
Caffè della Pace hosts different community and parenting-related events throughout the week. Cymbalist, who is also the director of Montreal Birth Companions Doula School where volunteers are trained to help women through the birthing process, holds some of these training sessions at the café. These sessions come with a fee but many of events and workshops are free. The space is also available for rent.
Bouge Petit Café
6546 Papineau Ave., Montreal
Hours: weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and weekends from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are required.
This café, located in a 1,700 square-foot space in Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie houses a playground, kitchen and restaurant area.
The playground is designed so that children under the age of 3 can work on their motor skills, stimulate their brains and engage in physical activity. The area includes two slides, a small ball pit, cushioned climbing blocks and structures, musical toys and baby walkers. Bright and colourful illustrations of cartoon bears in helicopters and hot air balloons adorn the walls. Full-day access to the playground area costs $12 per child, but there is a free, smaller space for kids over the age of 4 to meet other children and play with construction blocks.
The café provide customers with healthy food options, including fruit and green smoothies, sweet or savoury crepes, yogurt, fruit, organic tea and coffee as well as baby food.
There are diaper-changing areas and a private breastfeeding space.
Biscuits & Confetti
5712 Sherbrooke St. W., N.D.G.
Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
With its sleek decor and neutral colour patterns, the 2,300 square-foot space combines a café experience with a forest-themed play area.
Along with finger puppets, stuffed animals, building blocks and other toys, there is a yurt, a wooden playhouse and a toy kitchen. While children under the age of 7 play together, parents can order gourmet sandwiches and baked goods like cupcakes and biscuits, and sip on specialty coffee. The menu also offers apple sauce, goldfish crackers and juice for children.
The café also includes a studio space for weekly creative activities like music classes, painting for parents and children, and a boutique area where customers can purchase baby clothes, colouring books, toys and other items for young kids. The space is also available for birthday parties and other events.