Eating in a restaurant with young children? That does not seem like a very easy experience. Many mothers postpone, as much as they can, going out with their babies because they are afraid that a pleasant meal will turn into a contest of “stop the baby from crying”. However, things don’t have to be like this! With a little preparation, you can have a nice meal outside without disturbing anyone. And yes, you will actually enjoy your time!
No matter how much you try, your baby will still play with the food and probably stain his clothes. You can’t exactly change all his outfit in the restaurant (but if you can, that’s great) that’s why you have to dress him in layers. Once he’s done eating (or making a mess) you can take off the top layer and continue the day in clean clothes.
A plastic fork and spoon
You don’t want to give a metal fork to your toddler, especially in a restaurant. If he is not used to eat properly he can easily hurt himself, not to mention that he might think it is funny to throw it to other clients. Bring your own spoon and fork from home and make sure they are made from a soft material.
A designer diaper bag
Since you are in a restaurant, it might be a good idea to wear elegant clothes and accessories, so a designer nappy bag is preferred instead of a regular one. Inside you need to have everything you might need: diapers, napkins, clean clothes, a changing mat and a bottle if your baby still prefers it.
And by this, I mean a lot of toys that, pay attention, don’t make a lot of noise. You don’t want to disturb anyone else, so pick silent, but colorful toys that will keep your little one busy when he gets tired playing with food. Also, make sure he can’t break them easily or turn them into pieces.
Some healthy snacks
If the restaurant does not provide baby friendly food (no, small portions of fries don’t count) you need to be prepared with some snacks. You can bring pieces of fruits and vegetables, baby friendly muffins, biscuits or vegetable chips. Anything that your baby can eat without making a big mess (we know that there aren’t many) is suitable. If this is not possible, ask the staff to prepare something suitable for your baby, like boiled veggies without salt or spices.
A cleaning pen
Some stains can be impossible to remove with water, so it is a good idea to have a detergent pen in your bag. It can remove most of the stains from your baby’s clothes (and probably yours too) and it is very useful when your baby decides to put food on the table cloth.
Does this have to be a stressful experience? Of course not. Pay attention to your baby’s need and don’t force him to do something that he feel uncomfortable with. As long both of you are relaxed and having fun, everything will go just fine!