Bangor has had stores that sell baby things, but hasn’t had a store that’s devoted half of it’s floorspace, and half of it’s focus, to baby things — until now. Central Street Farmhouse recently opened at 30-32 Central Street (in typical Bangor directions “the old Alcott Antiques/Sarah’s Books’, you know, down across from the Bagel Shop, I mean, Bagel Central?”) and while the first floor is dedicated to home brewing, the 2nd floor is All About Baby.

When I had my first baby, I used cloth diapers, and I used baby carriers, but my sources were the internet — I would peer at YouTube videos as I figured out how to use a wrap, and I would google and research the best way to wash my cloth diapers. (The internet is where I learned that the sun is a natural bleach — diaper stains disappeared after a day on the line, and I took that knowledge and have used it on all kinds of stained laundry since then!) I ordered my goods online, I learned how to use them online, and when I was done with them, I sold them online. How I would have LOVED to have had someone experienced to show me how to use all this stuff, or had a local source for nursing bras, in MY SIZE (one that is not generally carried in local brick and mortars) where I could try different options on instead of throwing darts at a size chart found online. It would have been awesome.

Which is why I was so excited to meet Betsy Lundy, who along with her husband Zeth, are the proprietors of Central Street Farmhouse. Her second floor carries several brands of cloth diapers and wipes (and these are NOT the cloth diapers your mom or grandma used, these are cute and as easy to use as disposables), baby carriers, from wraps to ring slings, and nursing supplies. If they don’t have the Bravado product in your size or style, they can order it (ask me how I know!) and for pumping moms, they carry the Simple Wishes pumping band, which is the best invention to have happened between my two stints as a nursing and working mom. And if you aren’t into the cloth diapering, babywearing, nursing thing, they have baby legwarmers and onesies that are adorable. Seriously. (I’m planning on writing a post soon about my favorite things for the first 6 months, and several things that are bound for that list anyway are sold at Central Street.)

In addition to the products, Central Street Farmhouse will be offering a free Music and Storytime every other Tuesday, from 10:30-11, starting December 14, and will be hosting free workshops — Cloth Diapering 101 was earlier this week, or this coming Saturday, there will be a Babywearing workshop at 3. (I’ll be at that one, with the newest Bangor Baby!) And if you can’t make a workshop, the staff are all familiar with the products they sell, and they can help you choose just the right product to meet your need. They even have a certified lactation counselor on staff! And if you’re a nursing mom who is still gaining the confidence to nurse anywere and everywhere, they have a great comfy couch on the 2nd floor if you need a spot downtown to feed your baby in a very breastfeeding-friendly space.

I am hoping to profile local businesses that would be of interest to local families, and for the first business, I interviewed Betsy about her newest venture and raising a family in Bangor. Here’s what she had to say:

BangorBaby.com: I love babywearing, and often get comments of “that looks cozy, but complicated!” What’s your tip for getting confident with babywearing?

Betsy: Practice.  Practice. Practice.  I was soooo nervous to try  my daughter in a wrap for the first time.  All I had to go on were some videos on the DVD that came with my carrier.  Personal guidance would have made it so much easier!  The best thing you can do is find someone who has done it before and have them walk you through.  Once someone talks you through it, you will see that it is really easy.  It is no more complicated than tying a shoe.
The other thing I did that helped was practice repeatedly with a Cabbage Patch Kid.  I must have looked ridiculous, but it helped.  When I finally felt comfortable enough to try it, I stood next to my bed so that I could be reassured my daughter would be safe getting in and out.

(BangorBaby: My tip for babywearing is to put the baby in and get moving! If you get them tucked in and just stand there, frozen, they are NOT going to be happy. Pace the floors, bounce up and down, rub their back — it ends up basically being like holding them in your arms, but you can eventually use your arms for other things. And with wraps, pre-tie. I ALWAYS tie a wrap on before popping a baby in, and then just tighten as needed.)

BB:What would you say to the family that is interested, but hesitant, about using cloth diapers?

Betsy:I would say that it is almost as easy as a disposable.  Newer style diapers go on just like a disposable so there is no diaper origami to learn unless you want to.  For us the difference is really spraying the daily poopy diaper into the toilet and doing a load of laundry every two days.  If you have access to a washer and dryer, or a washer and some sunshine or a radiator, the laundry factor isn’t really even a factor. It is healthier for your baby and the planet and, it is easy on your wallet.  Beyond all the environmental, health and budget benefits, they are way cuter than disposables.

(BB: I used washable, but disposable, polypro liners. It kept wetness away from baby, and if it was just wet, it would be washed, and if it was soiled, we’d toss it away. Imagine tossing away a dirty dryer sheet vs a dirty disposable diaper. MUCH less waste. I also sold my diaper stash online when I was done for about the same as what I paid for it. Unsurprisingly, selling a used disposal diaper collection isn’t really feasible. )

BB:Everyone talks about Maine’s ‘Brain Drain,’ what brought you back?
Betsy: My daughter is really what brought us back.  We loved our time away, and the ways in which it helped shape us.  However, when it came time to raise a family, we knew that we wanted to be closer to family support and live a simpler lifestyle than what we had been living.  Before having a child, it was nice to live in an area where we could choose between 10 different foreign films, plays, or Indian restaurants.  Now baby is the new foreign film; every night is like, “What’s on the baby channel?”  And to be honest, Bangor (especially downtown) has excellent restaurants, bars, arts culture and more. Throw grandparents, aunts and uncles onto the pile and it is a no brainer!

People our age who moved away are moving back and creating opportunities.  What I have loved so far about opening a store here is how much people are committed to helping support each other.  There is a growing recognition that yes, you may be able to buy something similar at a big-box for a dollar less, or online for two dollars less, but that money does not come back into the community in the same way.

BB: What is your favorite family friendly thing to do in the Bangor area?
Betsy: Right now (and for the foreseeable future) my daughter loooooves the Maine Discovery Museum.  She is 19 months old and impossible to contain.  Their space is perfect to unleash her to explore.  We probably visited the museum 5 times before we even made it to the 2nd floor.  Other than that, the library story time is high on the list.

(BB: We’ve had a membership to the MDM since my daughter was 18 months, and every single time we go — which is often, especially in winter — she focuses on a new feature. It’s one of the best gifts we’ve been given, and if it hadn’t been a gift, we’d have made the investment anyway. Plus, with a membership, we never feel pressured to EXPERIENCE EVERY EXHIBIT OR ELSE — we can go for half an hour or half a day. It’s great, every time we go, and she’s 4.5 now.)

BB: What is the best kept secret in Downtown bangor?
Betsy: Our daughter loves the “pocket park” next to our store (28 Central Street).  It is an empty space where a building used to be and Northeast Occupational Exchange currently cares for it.  They have lots of edible plants growing- basil, thyme, oregano, lemon balm, and horseradish up the wazoo!  Zoe loves to dig around in the dirt for treasure, old beads and such, and smell all the herbs.
Beyond that, it can take 20 minutes to walk a block since she loves to do “Ring Around the Rosey” at each circular planting, look at the Kenduskeag through the bars on the bridge and pet the dogs in Epic’s windows every time we walk by.

Central Street Farmhouse is open seven days a week, and can be found on Facebook as well!

2 Responses to “Central Street Farmhouse”
  1. Emilie says:

    Hey Gretchen… do you have any good ideas about what to do this weekend, other than the children’s museum? I’m afraid of shopping and feel a need to get my kids out of the house! Do you have any good ideas? -Emilie

  2. BangorBaby says:

    Sorry, I was away without internet until today. The UMaine planetarium has a Little Stargazers matinee on Sundays at 2! http://www.galaxymaine.com

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