The world as a new parent can be incredibly daunting – even outings which used to be simple such as meeting your friends for a coffee now seem impossible.
However, Butterfly Cafe is there to help with its open invitation to new parents, grandparents and all their kids.
The cafe on Commercial Street was opened in 2016 by husband and wife team Dom and Christine Anderson.
Dom said: “We wanted to create more than just a cafe – we wanted to make a space for mums or anyone with a small child to feel comfortable in.
“It can be a lonely time not only for mums but any parents. They may not know anyone else with a child or they may be new to the area, so the cafe acts as a physical space for parents to come and get to know each other while having lots of fun things for the kids such as our soft play room and Lego which is probably one of the things we are known for.”
The cafe is also a safe space for breastfeeding, with lots of mums using the cafe as a test run for feeding in public.
Dom added: “I have had a lot of people ask me if we are breastfeeding-friendly and I say no, we are breastfeeding normal.
“When my wife was breastfeeding our youngest, and our eldest was just 18 months, we felt there was nowhere to meet that the kids could play.
“In the Butterfly Cafe we have nursing pillows which can be used and we have lots of connections with breastfeeding support that we can put mums in touch with.
“A lot of mothers use the cafe as a test bed for them to gain confidence in feeding in public and there is plenty for older children to do in the cafe as well as babies.
“We also support mums with formula and bottlefeeding too.”
Although Dom admits there is healthy competition in the area, he believes Butterfly Cafe has created a niche.
He said: “We have both been in the hospitality industry for years and we are parents ourselves so we have combined those two things together to create a unique place.
“Bring your children along to the cafe and relax.
“It is somewhere that you can come and you don’t all have your phones out or just have colouring-in sheets. There is something for every part of the family.
“We are not just distracting children, we are helping them develop their social skills through play.”
Cafe serves up a host of possibilities
The space at Butterfly Cafe is not only used for having a bite to eat or a cuppa, it also holds many classes for families and the space can be used for meetings.
Classes in the cafe include baby sensory, Makaton sign song and storytime classes with LeHands and even adult and child Lego classes after school.
Dom said: “As well as our classes, we also hire out the space for meetings and political groups to hold events.
“We have a great space here so it is perfect for these events at night and I have actually been really surprised with the great turnouts we have had at these meetings.
“Having the space we have here gives us the opportunity to widen what we can offer to groups looking for a space to use.”