Let’s be real: life in the city with kids isn’t easy. Some of us try to make it work while others head to the suburbs for the promise of less noise and way more space. Former East Village resident, mama and co-founder of the milksource, Cristina Toff did just that when she moved to Hoboken on a whim and has been loving it ever since. Read on to check out everything you need to know about mom life in Hoboken.
1. Tell us more about your company.
After I had my son, Noam, (who is 2.5 now), I realized that the expectations I had for childbirth, breastfeeding and new motherhood were so misaligned with what my reality (and the reality of most mothers) was. It was a really difficult time and, while I think it’s tough for anyone to truly be prepared for, there were some things I could have done to minimize the massive shock it was on me.
I got really interested in helping breastfeeding mothers navigate those first few weeks and months when it’s most challenging, so I became a Lactation Counselor and Educator and co-founded milksource, modern breastfeeding education classes. We began with online prenatal classes, and now we’re moving into on-going classes and in-person classes (our first one is in a couple of weeks in Hoboken). We also offer online resources and on-going support (in-person or online) so that breastfeeding women can get the help they need when they need it and so they’re not feeling abandoned after their initial breastfeeding class. I’m also a La Leche League Leader for Hudson County and currently working toward my IBCLC, so this is only the beginning.
In addition to breastfeeding, I knew I wanted to help women throughout their motherhood journeys – from pregnancy to childbirth to postpartum. I recently became a birth and postpartum doula, which has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. For so long, I’ve known that motherhood was what I was meant to do in life. But it’s only recently that I’ve realized it is where I am meant to be in life, too. I am meant to mother. I am here to mother my children, but I’m also here to mother other mothers. I’m hoping to marry all of my work together soon – I’m really excited for what’s to come!
2. We would love to hear more about Hoboken! How did you and your family end up there?
We moved from the East Village in New York City to Hoboken almost three years ago kind of on a whim. I was six months pregnant and, with two dogs already, we knew we had outgrown our East Village apartment. When we were trying to decide where to go, we threw Brooklyn around but ultimately decided on heading west, across the Hudson, to Hoboken, a city we really hadn’t explored much before.
Hoboken is a small city – it’s nicknamed the ‘mile square city,’ but it has so much packed into it. As a young and growing family, we immediately fell in love with how family-friendly and active it is (and how much more space we could get just outside of the city!). There are great restaurants, beautiful parks, a gorgeous waterfront, lots of young families and activities for them, and beautiful independent shops. It’s proximity to New York City is also amazing. My husband goes into the city every day via the PATH train and I often find myself venturing in with our son to explore, eat or shop.
But what I love most about Hoboken is that there’s really anything you could want within a few minute walk or train ride from you.
3. Where’s the best place to get coffee or tea?
Hoboken has so many awesome coffee shops. My favorite place to get coffee is The Roost (which is actually connected to The Roost in the East Village!). You have to go there in the fall and get the maple latte!
4. Best place for drinks?
Oh, Hoboken has something for everyone. I love wine, so my favorite spot for a drink is Grand Vin, a really beautiful Italian wine bar.
5. Favorite place for new moms to hang out?
There are so many expecting and new moms in Hoboken, and so many spaces that are extremely accommodating to them. I’m a La Leche League leader in Jersey City / Hoboken, so I may be a little biased, but I love hanging out at our monthly meeting wherever it is (right now we hold it at Greek from Greece).
Another favorite space to spend time is Work It Out, a women’s-only (and super mom and baby-friendly) gym – go and take a spin class!
As a young and growing family, we immediately fell in love with how family-friendly and active it is (and how much more space we could get just outside of the city!).
6. Best place for toddlers?
Little Bee Learning Studio is our favorite toddler space in Hoboken. My son (who is now 2.5) has been going since they opened. They’ve got amazing open play, drop-off classes and specialty classes like art, music and yoga.
7. Family-friendly restaurant where you’re ok if your kids freak out.
Del Friscos! It’s super family-friendly, has delicious food, the most friendly service and isn’t super quiet (so some running and yelling around is no big deal). Bonus: there are bound to be other kids there, so your little one can meet some friends while you enjoy your meal.
8. Where would you go if you had a free weekend?
We usually stay put during the weekends and spend time relaxing as a family, going to brunch and meandering around town. On the weekends when we leave Hoboken, we like to escape the busy and go somewhere quiet. Sometimes, we find ourselves back in Pennsylvania, where my husband and I are both from, and other times we find ourselves in upstate New York or out on a lake in New Jersey. There is so much within just a few hour drive from us!
9. Favorite place to go for a moms night out?
City Bistro is so much fun for a mom’s night out – especially in the warmer months when the rooftop is open. Go, have a drink, and get a pizza!
10. Favorite spot for a date night?