Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tips for Dining Out With A Baby

Before we had little Taylor, we loved to go out to eat as a family. Since both Adam and I work from home, going out to eat was always a nice way to gt out of the house and we loved trying new places out together. Bound and determined to not let new parenthood slow us down, we vowed to continue our dining out experiences. The first month or two went well, because Taylor would be sleepy and usually just sleep through he entire meal in her baby car seat. After the that though, when she became more awake and alert, dining out became a much bigger challenge. I can't tell you how many times I would take her outside to nurse, while Adam and our son would wait inside to have our food boxed up to take home, The whole situation would leave me stressed out and vowing to "not go out to eat ever again!"

Of course that didn't happen, but now that Taylor is 8 months old I think we have a pretty good system down that I wanted to share. So here are my 8 tips on eating out with a baby:

1. Location - Eat at a kid friendly place. When I say kid-friendly, I don't mean McDonald's (because, eww gross). Kid friendly to me means a big enough table to spread out, so that we can sit comfortably, with all of our baby gear. We like to go to places with lower lighting and believe it or not, sports bars or breweries, because the crowds there tend to be more loud and/or laid back, so we don't feel bad about being noisy ourselves. We also like to eat outside if the weather permits. Babies are going to get messy and throw food all over the ground and outdoor seating is just better for that.

2. Timing - You know your baby best, so make plans to dine out well before their fussy time of night, even if it means eating with the senior citizen crowd (hey, we're in be by 9:30 so it works!)

3. Chair - We recently purchased this Chicco Portable High Chair and we all LOVE it! It hooks right onto the table which is great because she's at our height and there no questions who (or more accurately. who's germs) sat in the seat prior.

4. Wipes - We love these alcohol free sanitizing wipes from Babyganics (again, from Amazon - seriously though, how did parents past function without Amazon Prime?) We try to wipe down the entire table and anything Taylor will touch when we first sit down. They are made for hands too, so they are a good option to clean up everyone's hands before and after the meal as well.

5. Toys! - We try to hold off on Taylor eating until we eat (that's how I feed her at home, while I'm eating) so pre-dinner time is toy time. This Grapple Toy Tether is an absolute lifesaver! It's suction cup base sticks to any smooth surface and has these silicone toy tethers that securely hold her toys or sippy cup to prevent them from being tossed on the ground - genius! The top even flips up which is a fun place to put a few cherrios or a small toy for her to grab for, When we are all finished with dinner, it folds up into a cute little apple shape and hooks right onto our diaper bag. Serious life saver and restaurant game changer.

6. Baby Place Mat- We couldn't eat out without our silicone baby place mat. We tried a couple of other brands but this one (again, from Amazon - we swear we shop at other places, just not regularly :))

Whats great about this one is the size, its really big (about the sizer of an adult place mat). Since it has a smooth back, it will "stick" to a table top and then we simply fasten the arms of the Chicco Travel Chair over it as an extra layer of protection from little hands that want to lift their place mats up and dump their food everywhere! It has three cute separate compartments to place the food in, which helps keep things visually interesting for Taylor, and the compartments have high walls, which help prevent the arm windshield-wiper-like waving and scattering food all over the table and floor. #DinnerDishBaby

7. Food - Taylor has a great appetite and loves to eat almost anything that we cut up for her into tiny bite-sized pieces. Restaurants are not the time to bring fancy. messy, or new foods, we reserve those for home. I like to try to bring her tried and true favorites (which recently are cheerios, strawberries, peaches, corn, and pasta). I will usually just throw some of the above mentioned foods into a little baggie (I love these cute reusable ones from Bumpkins) ahead of time.
8. Relax and Enjoy Yourself - Remember that dining out is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable experience and not  stressful one! I believe that babies pick up on their parents emotions, so if you are relaxed and enjoying yourself, then your baby will follow suit!

Do you have any other tips and tricks to make dining out with your baby more successful? Please share!

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