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The babyccino cafes

Children in recent years have become a visible part of the social landscape of cafes, especially independent hipster ones. Babyccinos, that is warm frothy milk with a chocolate powder sprinkle on top served in a small glass or espresso cup, are one of the markers of gentrification but also the changing perceptions around child-rearing, sociability and motherhood.

From very early age and in some cases even before being born, these children, often below the age of five, are socialised into the cafe culture. Cafes are the perfect meeting point for heavily pregnant women who have done the NCT training; a get-together forum that educates women and their partners about birth, but more importantly aims to bring together expecting couples who live in the same area and have similar due dates. ‘Everyone seems to be either pregnant, has just had their babies, or have a pre-schooler,’ said a waiter working in a Hackney cafe. ‘What amazes me is how sure children are about what they want when they come to the cafe,’ said the woman who manages the cafe.

Just as gentrification is classed and racialised so is the babyccino culture. A short visit to one such cafe, especially in late-morning/lunch time, would reveal the racial and class elements of what I call the babyccino culture.