I’m Oxford Mommy. I moved to Oxford with my husband in October 2012 and we had our daughter in December. She was 6.5 months old when I started this blog in July 2013, and now she’s grown into a toddler.
Before becoming a parent I’d really never thought about how hard it is to get around with a baby carriage, on the street as well as on public transport, and find places to go and activities to do that will accommodate you and your baby. So I’m writing this blog in order to help other first-time parents (not just mothers!) in and around the Oxford area with ratings of how baby-friendly our Oxford restaurants, cafés, sights, and leisure activities are.
My ratings system encompasses five criteria: menu (for restaurants/cafés only), space, ambiance, facilities, and feeding. Each one is worth two points, for a total score out of ten. (For activities and attractions I cover space, ambiance, facilities, and feeding for a total score out of 8 points.) Here’s what I’ll be looking at for each one.
Menu: There are lots of other food blogs that go into detail about the quality of the food; I’m not here to do that. Of course, I’ll tell you whether it was good or not, but my main aim is to find out whether the menu has options that are easy to handle when you have a baby in tow. Basically, if a café or restaurant fulfills this criteria it means they have a few items that you can eat with one hand, while the other is holding a crying baby. I didn’t realize how important that was until I had a crying baby myself!
Space: Can you get through the door with a baby carriage? Is there enough room to park your carriage? Is there enough room to manoeuvre between tables/barriers? Or will the place make you feel like you’re navigating an obstacle course and blocking everyone’s way?
Ambiance: Will the music wake your baby up or lull him/her to sleep? Is it too dark/bright/hot/cold? And is it a nice and friendly place to go? Do the staff attend to parents with babies as readily as they attend to other patrons? Do they interact with the baby?
Facilities: What are the baby-changing facilities like? I’ll be taking photos, folks – be warned!
Feeding: Does the place accept and welcome you as a breastfeeding mother, if you breastfeed? Do they offer you hot water for your bottles? Is it comfortable and easy to feed your baby in the space? Do they have a baby-friendly menu, if your baby has started on solids? Do they have appealing food for toddlers? And what are the high chairs like?
I hope this blog is useful for parents in and around Oxford. Please let me know if you’ve got any tips for parents or if you’d like me to review a specific place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Twitter at @oxford_mommy.