Top 10 Tips for Dining Out with Baby

  1. Noise. A noisy spot can be a parent’s best friend. A louder restaurant can help drown out your baby, who is just starting to find her voice, or any possible fussiness coming from your table.
  2. Entertainment. Dining outdoors, if possible, can be the best entertainment for your child. The constant action will keep their attention. Toddlers, in particular, are fascinated by the cars and people moving around them.
  3. Toys. Bringing along some toys also makes for great entertainment. This doesn’t mean you should bring your entire toy chest along. Keep a couple of go-to favorites in the diaper bag. Just make sure they are washable…leave the stuffed animals at home, if possible.
  4. Cups and Utensils. Most babies have a favorite sippy cup and right-sized utensils. Always bring them with you. It helps keep your little one comfortable, particularly in places that do not have child cups and utensils. This will hopefully help minimizes drinking out of a heavy, breakable, adult glass and feeding themselves with an oversized, sharp fork.
  5. Snacks. Even your most adventurous little eater can have moments of pickiness. Combat this situation by bringing an assortment of favorite snacks with you. While it is great for you child to try something new, we all know it is better you have a well-fed baby.
  6. Placemats. If your baby is able to pick up her own food but hasn’t quite advanced to using plates, be sure to buy some disposable stick on table placemats. You will get a nod of thanks from the wait staff and you won’t have to worry whether the table is clean or if your little one will try to toss a glass plate. Here is a link to some we have used with our baby: http://www.amazon.com/Sesame-Disposable-Placemats-Reusable-50-Count/dp/B000R7L80C.
  7. Kids Menu/Small Portions. Restaurants with children’s menus are great! If a restaurant doesn’t have a kids’ menu, you can opt for an appetizer or small plate. Also, don’t be ashamed to ask the wait staff if they have half portions.
  8. Stroller Parking. Based on the age and temperament of your baby, she or he may highly likely to fall asleep in her stroller at any given point. Finding restaurants that have enough space between tables to fit your stroller in a reclined position allows you and your dining companions the ability to enjoy your meal without having to run home to put baby to bed.
  9. Changing Tables. For my family, the availability of changing tables has been one of the most important factors in selecting a restaurant. Changing a diaper at the table is no fun for you, baby, or the other guests trying to eat. Always try to dine at places that have baby changing tables or at least flat services in the bathroom where you can change your baby. If none are available, the next best option is change your baby in her carriage or asking the wait staff if there is an office or room you can use. You’ll be surprised at the number of restaurants that are more than happy to comply with your request.
  10. Timing. Know your babies time limitations. If your baby takes an afternoon nap at 1:30pm, don’t go out for a late lunch at 1pm. Plan your dining around your baby’s nap schedule, and take queues from your baby that’s she’s had enough and that it is time to leave.