Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: Bellies and Babies Boutique

I'm very fortunate to have a brick and mortar natural parenting store within thirty minutes of my house. The Bellies and Babies Boutique in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin features cloth diapers and diapering accessories, baby carriers, a wonderful collection of resale maternity clothes, and fantastic classes on everything from natural childbirth to cloth diapering 101.

The Boutique
Don't let the size of Bellies and Babies fool you:  it is a small shop, but you'd be hard-pressed to want anything more in a cloth diaper store.  They carry all of the major cloth diaper lines, cleaning supplies, and they even have a wonderful selection of resale diapers.  Their consignment maternity clothes shop is likewise small but fabulous:  I bought my favorite maternity clothes there and found them to be very affordable, with blouses and pants typically under ten dollars.  The boutique also has a selection of baby slings and carriers, including makes that you don't see at the big box baby stores.

The Classes
I found Bellies and Babies when I searched for a prenatal yoga class, and the class was always small but it really was what ignited my passion for fitness that has grown over the past year.  The class list goes well beyond yoga, reaching out to subjects like natural childbirth, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, infant CPR, and more.  My favorite part of the class offerings is that most of the classes are Saturday and evening classes, meaning that working moms get the opportunity to participate (unlike so many other child-centric classes out there).

What I Love
I love having access to a store where I can see cloth diapers and carriers hands-on.  The Internet offers a wealth of knowledge on so many topics, but even the most detailed and illustrated descriptions of the different cloth diaper systems simply don't hold a candle to seeing the diapers up close and in person.  Further, I have always found the staff on duty at Bellies and Babies to be very helpful and knowledgeable.  I never felt like I left the shop with an unanswered question.

Less Than Impressed
My one beef with Bellies and Babies is that their posted store hours seem to be more of a suggestion than a hard and fast rule.  As a former small store owner, I totally understand that sometimes things come up and an early close is unavoidable.  However, when your store is a specialty niche, and particularly when it is the only one of its kind in the area, there is no doubt that the clientele comes from afar to shop, and it is really disappointing when you arrive an hour before the set closing time to find the shop closed.  That said, a telephone call ahead is an easy way to remedy that problem - I won't let it mar my opinion of the Boutique.

If You Go
Bellies and Babies Boutique
N88 W16733 Main St.
Menomonee Falls, WI 5305 
Hours:  Tuesday, Friday, Saturday (Learn from my error!  Call!)

Calendar of Classes


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