Eating Out With Kids
Tempted to skip eating out until your child turns 10? Turns out that going to a restaurant with your new baby in tow (and even an older sibling or two) is doable and even enjoyable. All you need is a little prep work and some mommy must-haves for a fun family dining experience.
Check Please Before heading out for a meal, do some research to find restaurants that cater to families. You probably wouldn’t want to dine with your little ones at a formal, fancy place. Look for a place nearby that’s casual and lively (but not too loud), and that’s used to having babies among their clientele.
High-chair Hygiene Many restaurants keep high chairs on hand, which seems great until you grab one that's coated in grime. To avoid spending the entire meal worried about mess, bring along plenty of baby wipes. They're ideal for mopping baby food or spaghetti sauce off your child's face and hands as well as cleaning highchairs, trays, and tables.
Food and Toys Your baby won't be ordering from the menu just yet, so you'll need to pack food or feed your little one beforehand. Fed ahead of time, a younger baby might even sleep right through your meal! If you have an older tot, keep snacks like crackers on hand to pacify him while he waits for the food to arrive. Another tip: Small toys such as baby books and stuffed animals are perfect for banging on the table without making too much noise.
Bibs and Baby-proof Dinnerware Kids are messy eaters by design, so you'll want to bring a bib or two. Wipe-off or disposable bibs make for an easy clean-up. If the bib is reusable, consider storing it in a plastic bag after meals. It's also smart to carry a baby spoon and bowl in case your little one gets the urge to toss her (very breakable) restaurant china off the table.
Expect the Unexpected It pays to be prepared, but you can't always anticipate a public tantrum or crying fit. Be ready to duck outside for a while or ask for your check early if your new baby decides she'd rather be eating at home.
Dining out as a family doesn't have to be an ordeal. The more you go to the restaurant with your baby, the better you'll become at anticipating her needs when you're eating away from home.
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