We are big fans of eating out. We don’t do it every night, or even once a week, but when we learned we were pregnant we decided that we wouldn’t let it stop us from going out and doing the things we love. I once read a book that suggested that when you have a baby you should not leave your house at all. Not only is that unrealistic but I don’t see how that helps the baby. Once we were comfortable leaving the house, we basically took Aiden everywhere we went, and we continue to do so. We have the attitude that if he truly acts poorly, we can take him outside. I believe that this is why we now have a toddler that can sit through dinner at a restaurant without having tantrums or needing to constantly run around (most of the time). This post includes our best tips for eating out with a baby or toddler, plus a giveaway from Nuby!
Here are our tips for eating out with a baby:
- Have low expectations: We never go out with the expectation that Aiden is going to be a model baby. That’s just not realistic. We expect that he won’t make it through a meal and are prepared for that. We have only had to leave early twice and both times one of us just took him outside to calm down and was able to come back in. I realize that we are not out of the woods yet as Aiden has just started to walk and will want to be more mobile, but we will continue to expect the worst and hope for the best (as they say).
- Stay calm: This goes with the tip above. If Aiden does start to get fussy we don’t freak out. We are prepared to take him outside and even eat in shifts if needed. By remaining calm we don’t unnecessarily stress Aiden or ourselves out!
- Eat at the table at home: We eat with Aiden for dinner most nights. He sits in his high chair at the table. We have him sitting for the entire meal and don’t let him out to walk around. We believe this reinforces a routine that you eat dinner sitting in your chair.
- Eat early: We are big fans of the early bird special at restaurants. Aiden is used to eating around 5:30pm so that is when we go out to eat. The advantage to that is restaurants aren’t usually busy and you can get in and out fairly quickly. Also, don’t expect to have a leisurely dinner. Plan to get in and out.
- Try to get a seat near the kitchen or other busy area: Aiden is nosey. He loves watching all the action happen so if he starts to get fussy or a meal service is taking longer than expected we will face his chair towards the kitchen. The constant in and out from the serving staff usually distracts him and keeps him happy while we wait.
- Games/TV: Aiden doesn’t spend a lot of time in front of the screen at home, so I don’t feel too bad if we are out and if all else fails we let him play a game on the phone or watch an episode of Ruff Ruff, Tweet, and Dave on Hulu!
Disclosure: I received a Nuby Easy Go Travel Booster Seat, Nuby Feeding Bowls, and Nuby Thirsty Kids Sip it Sport in exchange for my honest review of the products. Additionally, there are affiliate links included in this post which means if you make a purchase I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!
Here are some things we bring to make eating out easier:
- Disposable placemats or Nuby Silicone Mat: I love these disposable placemats. They have adhesive on the back so they stick to the table which means your little one can’t pick them up. These are especially great so that you can put food down without placing it directly on the table. The silicone mat is perfect for restaurants that don’t have table cloths because it just sticks to the table top. Aiden will try to pick it up but can’t so everything stays down.
- Utensils: It’s always easier to have Aiden sized utensils for him to eat with. These are a great Amazon add-on item so if something were to happen to them I would be OK with it. I also love this affordable Nuby set.
- Nuby Easy Go Travel Booster Seat: Before nine months we used to just use the restaurant’s high chairs, but honestly, they gross me out a little, just because I know how messy babies are and I’m not confident how well they are cleaned so once Aiden was old enough we switched over to a booster seat. Nuby set me their Easy Go Travel Booster Seat which is perfect for eating out. It conveniently collapses for travel and is ultra lightweight and compact so we keep it in the car. I love that it is secure. It has an adjustable safety strap and 3-pint harness. Aiden will occasionally tip the chair and the booster stays intact. It is stain resistant which is perfect for messy little eaters and cleans easily. It’s great for babies/toddlers up to 50 lbs so Aiden will be able to use if for a while. It’s new at Wal-Mart stores.
- Nuby Feeding Bowls: Aiden usually shares whatever we are eating. Portion sizes are huge and there is always a chance he won’t eat whatever we order him. We typically bring our Nuby Feeding Bowls so we can put Aiden’s portion in it and not worry about him dropping a restaurant plate — these are durable and can stand toddler drops. The Nuby Feeding Bowls are made from natural bamboo and cornstarch and are 100% recyclable. Plus, they are super cute. The moose bowl is perfect for Aiden! They are top rack dishwasher safe and available at Target stores.
- Nuby Thirsty Kids Sip it Sport: The Nuby Thirsty Kids Sip it Sport is the perfect bottle for thirsty kids on the go. It has a no-spill spout with a pressure sensitive touch-flo valve that regulates fluid intake with the sucking action of the child. It is designed for eay gripping and the hygienic cover keeps the spout clean so I don’t have to worry about throwing it in the dipaer bag. It’s new at Wal-Mart stores.
Nuby is offering one Baby Castan on Board reader the opportunity to win a Nuby Easy Go Travel Booster Seat. To enter follow the instructions in the RaffleCopter link below. The giveaway ends on March 17, 2017.
What are your best tips for eating out with a baby or toddler?
If you liked this, check out Product Review: Nuby Comfort 360 6-Stage Bottle to Cup Kit and Packing the Diaper Bag.