April 6, 2012

Peaceful Dining Experience With Your Baby

Do you take your baby with you to eat out at a restaurant?

Dining with Miss A at Olive Garden
Before deciding whether or not to bring your baby, ask yourself these questions.

How old is my baby?
If she is a newborn, chances are she will sleep throughout the entire meal. At this stage you are golden (for the most part) so go for it! If she wakes up you can simply nurse her or give her a bottle.

If she is older than five months...
Do you want to chance having a screaming baby in a sit down restaurant while everyone turns their heads towards you? 
Do you want fruit puffs/cheerios flying across the table? 
Do you want your plate pulled onto the floor? 
Do you want her to throw all her toys, pacifier, bottle, sippy cup, and spoons on the floor?
If you answered yes to these questions, go for it! You are fearless parents!
If you answered no, don't worry! You can still eat out with your baby. You just have to time out nap time and feedings right. If you mess up... well you never really know how your baby will act out in the restaurant, so it's not your fault but be prepared for the worst.

Here are 10 Tips to Create a Peaceful Dining Experience With Your Baby!
  1. Go to the restaurant as soon as your baby wakes up from a nap. Change her diaper and go. 
  2. While you place your orders, feed your baby at the restaurant. I bring her fruits and veggies and spoon feed her her entire meal.
  3. Bring snacks to place on the table in front of the high chair.
  4. Bring her sippy cup filled with water. 
  5. If possible, order foods that your baby can taste too. This keeps my baby occupied for sure. (mashed potatoes, squished peas or other soft veggies, applesauce, etc.)
  6. Bring toys! (plastic keys, books, dolls, anything and everything!)
  7. Bring pacifier. You can always dip the baby's pacifier into different sauces if they are old enough! And it works great as a baby silencer some of the time.
  8. Definitely have a spare diaper... I'm sure I didn't need to tell you that one! Keep some diapers in your glove box for emergencies!
  9. Include your baby in your family dinner by talking and even playing with her. 
  10. Relax! Look around the restaurant, chances are there are several other babies at tables. Some will be crying. Some will be happily eating. Just know that it is okay for your baby to make noise in public! However, if a temper tantrum is coming on and there is nothing you can do... it may be best to grab your doggy bags and head home. 
  11. Bonus: If your baby cries, take turns holding her in your lap. That buys time for us. 
We have taken Miss A out to eat several times! We can't help it. We love eating out. Sometimes we were prepared. Many times we weren't prepared and it was HELL. Yeah... all those questions I asked at the beginning about throwing food, toys, screaming baby, etc... That was Miss A at the Hunan Restaurant tonight with my family. We went because it was my mom's birthday. It was also Miss A's nap time... but everyone took turns holding her around the table and it wasn't SO bad. :/ There was a family next to us with an older child crying too. NO BIG DEAL!!! Haha.

More Dining... with a Bread Monster!
And once you've had several peaceful dining experiences at the restaurant, you're more willing to chance it because it can be quite fun for your baby. Miss A always looks up and all around, checking out the new scenery. She also heavily GAWKS at everyone eating around us but I haven't ran into anyone who didn't smile back at her. The waitresses always seem to love seeing Amelia too. So it can be FUN, I promise. Just work on the timing of naps and be sure to follow my tips above. For motivation, look at my happy baby in my last post. We ate out in Saugatuck a couple days ago with her. She was even tired and overdue for a nap but did fine!

Happy Dining with Baby!

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Thanks for reading!
xx Monica xx

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