5 Helpful Tips for Dining Out With Your Baby

Restaurants and babies? Sounds like a recipe for disaster! The mess, the noise, the sheer potential for problems and chaos. It’s every parents’ nightmare and the exact opposite of an enjoyable eating experience. Ask almost any well-practiced parent about their first time dining dilemmas and you’re likely to bar all bistro visits until your kids turn twenty.

However, as a parent, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice the luxury of eating out just because you have a baby. There are numerous ways to avoid a full-blown mealtime meltdown at your local eatery, whether your tot is two months old or two years old. In fact, dining out can actually be a delight if you do it right! A little bit of planning, preparation, and a handy how-to guide like this is all you need to make meals out a piece of cake.

Read on for five of our top tips on how to eat at a restaurant with your baby.

1. Time Your Trip Right

When is the best time for you and your little one to go to a restaurant? Try to go during those hours when the establishment is at its emptiest. Avoid the peak hours during lunch and dinner rushes to ensure that the ambient noise is as quiet as it will get. You will also likely be able to have the full attention and aid of your server – an added bonus.

Dining during “off hours” also safeguards you against potentially upsetting other patrons should your son or daughter have an outburst or tantrum. Aim for early afternoon, after the lunch rush but before dinner guests arrive.

2. Pick a Kid-friendly Cafe

Choosing a child-friendly eatery doesn’t necessarily mean your only choice is Chuck E. Cheese. However, opting for an establishment that’s more conducive to children and that has accommodations for the younger set (think kids’ menus, crayons, and high chairs) is always a smart choice.

3. Feed Baby First

The quicker you quiet the rumbling tummy of your toddler, the less likely he or she will have a mid-meal meltdown. Temper tantrums are often triggered by hunger, so the shorter the span of time before arriving and eating, the better.

If your baby is still bottle or breast feeding, feed him or her before you go. If you plan on feeding your child at the restaurant, place the orders as soon as possible.

4. Choose Your Table Wisely

When it comes to eating out, it’s all about location. Corner tables and those booths tucked away in the back of the restaurant offer the most privacy and protection should your child have a fit. Likewise, if you’re nursing, it will be the most discrete spot available for you and your newborn.

5. Distractions are Key

Occupying the attention of your child during your dining adventures is the key to keeping them quiet and contained. Toys, books, puzzles, pacifiers – anything and everything that will make your baby happy and focused on something other than making a fuss. Try to avoid anything that makes noise, however, as those types of games and gadgets can bother neighboring diners.

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