Are you planning on eating out with your baby? What are the things you need to plan and do before going out with your baby? Every parent has these questions and many more when they plan dining out with their baby. Toddlers and older kids can be a little easier to prepare for dinner than a baby. For an infant, you need to carry extra clothes, burp cloths, bibs, diapers, food, etc. You need to bring a lot of things and think about a lot of things beforehand. So eating out with the baby needs to be a well-planned event to make you enjoy it completely. Therefore, what are the things you need to prepare for and plan before you get out of your house with the baby?
Best Tips For Eating Out With The Baby
Make sure your baby is fed
An infant needs to be on his eating schedule to avoid crankiness and crying. Before you leave the house for eating out with the baby, please make sure your baby is well-fed and his immediate hunger requirements are fulfilled. A hungry baby does not make a happy companion. Adding to the mix, stimulation of being outside can be a deadly combination. Always make sure you feed the baby and change him into fresh diapers and clothes before you leave.
Sleep Schedules are important when dining out with the baby
Your baby’s sleep schedules are crucial. Plan your dinner according to your baby’s schedule. Because changing the baby’s schedules according to your plan usually backfires. Plan an early dinner, if necessary. I am sure you are taking your baby to be dining out with you because you want to take him or her out with you. So the goal is to have a happy time altogether. Plan your dinner while keeping your baby in mind. Another beneficial part of dining early is you might find the restaurant quiet and lovely for the baby. The wait staff will be more pleasant. You will get your food sooner. Overall, best service (for parents with tiny tots) if you are early.
Come well equipped for your baby
You might need to be well prepared when it comes to packing your diaper bag. What are the essential items you need in your diaper bag? You need to carry food for your infant, in case he feels hungry. If you have a child who has started solids, it would be a great idea to carry finger food too. Finger food is a great option to keep your infant occupied for some time when you can focus on eating the food.
Bib, diapers, things you need to make nappy change fun, wipes, extra set of clothes. If the restaurant does not have high chairs it will be great if you can take yours to the restaurant. Some favorite toys of your baby that can keep him occupied for a few minutes if he becomes cranky or overwhelmed. You can carry one of his favorite books to keep him company. Yes! Going out with the baby involves a lot of preparations. I used to have my diaper bag full always whenever we went out on dinners or outings.
Check out reviews and the menu before deciding the place for eating out with your baby
You will have to check out the reviews of the restaurant you are planning on trying. What do you need to check? You can check if the restaurant is a child-friendly restaurant. You need to verify if the waiting staff is patient. If you are okay with the baby eating out too, you can check if they have child suitable menus. I always prefer checking out the menu online and planning what we will be ordering before we even go to the restaurant because that makes it quick. Consequently, we can focus on making the baby comfortable and help him enjoy his dinner time with us.
Book a table before you go to the restaurant
It is a great idea to book your table before you leave for the restaurant. Firstly, you need to make sure you have a table to sit (if it is otherwise packed always). Moreover, waiting with a baby can be uncomfortable for you and the baby.
Pick the table with the least disturbance when dining out with the baby
Always pick a table with the least disturbance. Not too many people buzzing by or too much noise because it can be overstimulating for your baby’s senses. This can overwhelm your baby. So pick out a table in the quiet corner. This way you can enjoy your dinner with the baby and other people might not get disturbed as well. This can be great stimulation to your baby’s senses (once in a while).
Keep the baby seated comfortably
It is important to keep your baby seated comfortably in the high chair. This is because it will help your child have a view of things and watch what is happening. It will help him enjoy his food while you enjoy yours too. There are many things going on in an infant’s mind. You can see them look at things and observe so intently when they go to a new place. However, some restaurants may not have a high chair. Please check before you leave and take your high chair if you need it. Your baby is used to it and he will be most comfortable in it.
If your baby is upset, take him or her for a walk
Generally, when babies get upset and uncomfortable, they will start crying. Crying is their communication. A toddler will speak his mind and tell you what he may need. Communication with toddlers is easy. But your infant is yet to start speaking. However, sometimes it is a great idea to take your child out on a walk if he or she is upset and crying. This way he will get fresh air and people will not get disturbed. People in the restaurant might not be accommodating to have a crying baby around. People come to unwind and sometimes some people will not be comfortable around a crying baby.
Be quick when eating out with the baby
When you are dining out with your baby, you need to make sure you are quick. I have tried all possible ways to make the outing comfortable, but being quick is the best one that surely works. You do not have the leisure to spend time enjoying every bite. I know it sounds sad, but it is what happens in reality. Your attention is on the baby and you want him or her to be most comfortable.
Use screen time entertainment
When dining out with the baby you might have to use screen time when your baby is uncomfortable and does not want his toys or books etc. Screen time is only so that you can at least finish your meal before you may have to leave with your baby. Most parents might not use this until it is the last option to entertain the baby.
I remember the days when only one of us could eat and the other one would have to hold the baby and entertain him. Sometimes, we would give screen time and on those days we could have dinner together.
Know when to end the meal while eating out with the baby
There will be times when you may have to end the meal even before you have finished it. Some days can be very hectic when your baby is not at all liking being out of the house and it can make eating out with the baby very uncomfortable. On days, be easy on yourself, end your meal, get a parcel and go home and then enjoy your meal. That’s the best scenario here!
In my child’s first year, we had been to a great restaurant. Good food and ambiance, but our little one so cranky, we had just eaten one starter and packed up the remaining food. We had to leave within 30 minutes of coming out with the baby. We came home and he was fine, then we enjoyed our food. Happily ever after!! Parents have to do what they need to do to get things done.
Do not allow people to touch your baby if you are uncomfortable with it
Sometimes when you are dining out with the baby, you might find people wanting to touch your child, just because he or she is too cute. Please say NO if you are uncomfortable. A mother would always have doubts about whether the hands that touch her baby are clean or not.
In India, it is a very common thing. Anyone comes and touches your child’s cheek or starts talking to the baby if they find them cute. Your child might not like this as well. You are the parent. You need to decide if you are okay with it or not. Obviously, you can kindly decline them from doing so.
Having dinner out with the baby may seem so tedious after all the above tips. However, it is fun. There will be days when eating out with the baby might seem so easy and there will be days when it can be so damn difficult that you decide to never have dinner out with your baby again. But if you prepare yourself for anything and everything beforehand, you will be one step ahead and things can go smoothly. I say this because I have eaten out with my baby many times in the first year and I have traveled alone with my infant many times. Being prepared is what can help you best. It was a great experience. Sharing such experiences with your child makes it even more amazing!
Have fun when you go out dining with your baby!