How To Eat Out With a Baby
Friday, November 20, 2015
One of my favorite ways to get to know a new destination is to eat at restaurants; however, eating out with a baby requires a bit more planning. It is absolutely possible though to eat at restaurants other than Friendly's (oh yeah that is where I ate as a kid!) with your little one. I've been taking Baby ISO to cafes, restaurants, and #CreativeLithuania events with me since he was about three weeks old and over that time I've figured out five ways keep baby happy while eating out.
1) Bring an age-appropriate toy or two to keep baby entertained
For us, this means a rattle or a set of plastic keys that Baby ISO can hold or look at (he is just 3 months). We also bring a pacifier (the ones with the snap on covers are awesome), which helps calm Baby ISO down if he is getting sleepy.
2) Go out at times when baby is happy
A happy baby = an easy time out. Baby ISO is usually happy to play or nap in his stroller or on my lap during the day. So, eating we often eat breakfast and/or lunch out while traveling. By about 7 in the evening; however, Baby ISO gets tired and cranky. This means that we usually avoid eating dinner out, or we eat a very early dinner so we can be home by 7 pm. As the baby gets older it is very possible that this will change, so at that time we will adjust what times work for us.
3) Choose off-hours
If you're worried about eating out with baby you can always visit restaurants at times when most people aren't eating. Then, if baby has a meltdown it is likely only you and the waitstaff that will here. This was our strategy on one particularly cranky day during our recent trip to Klaipeda. We happened to be the only ones in the restaurant (Rene) and our waitress was incredibly nice, despite the 15 minute meltdown prior to the baby falling asleep.
4) Weather permitting, eat outdoors
Outdoor eating tends to inherently be more casual and noisy than eating indoors. On our first several restaurant outings over the summer we sat outside. I'd always choose eating outdoors to eating indoors with a baby as long as the weather is appropriate.
5) Bring a bottle or nursing cover
A lot about keeping a baby content (and maybe even sleeping!) is keeping them fed. I try to take Baby ISO out directly after he's eaten, so that I won't need to feed him while we are out, but this isn't always possible. Though not necessary, brining a nursing cover (mine is just a thin swaddle blanket) makes me feel more comfortable nursing in public.
What are your tips for eating out with an infant? What about with a toddler (I've got to learn!)?