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Dining out with your Baby and enjoying it!

Posted by on in The Everyday Life
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With your new addition to the family, dining out and meals in general may have changed dynamics. Less of the leisurely meals catching up with your spouse or friends and more of purely functional, dashing through food in between feedings. Venturing out for a meal however can be very therapeutic for a new mom if done right and will help bring back a sense of pre-baby normalcy that can be a life saver early on! Here are some useful tips to venturing out for a meal with your little one in tow.

 

Timing is everything

  • Reduce idle time, when Baby is your dinner guest. This may mean making a reservation so you don't need to wait in a queue or going at non-peak times when the kitchen is less chaotic. Either way, you'll be more likely to enjoy your meal when you don't have to wait long for your food to arrive and while there are fewer people eyeing your every move.
  • Don't feel like you have to stick to dinner. If you're dining out for the first time with your newly mobile tot, for example, you might want to start with a breakfast, lunch or tea and cake, when meals are quicker, restaurants are quieter and the witching hour is still hours away.
  • Work around your baby's schedule. You don't want your little one exhausted or famished when you get to the restaurant, or it's going to be too hard to keep you and your little one happy and occupied for the duration of your meal. If you've got a new-born, your best bet is to plan to dine out while he's sleeping happily in the car seat in the booth with you.

Be strategic...

  • Choose your restaurant wisely. If this is your first adventure, steer clear of the 5* Fine Dining locations but don't need to limit yourself to ultra-kid friendly locals either. Pick a restaurant that you know provides high chairs, tolerates a little extra noise and can deliver a meal to your table fairly quickly. In the cooler months, sitting outside is probably easier as you'll have more space to keep Baby's stroller tableside and al fresco can be forgiving on baby screams, both of delight and despair.
  • Scope out the restaurant for the best table. If you have a baby in a car seat, ask for a booth so you can set the seat in the booth and have easy access if she gets fussy. If you have a toddler who likes to roam, ask for a corner table so your little one can't readily escape. Don't be afraid to ask for special accommodations.
  • Become a regular. If you have a favourite local eatery, visit often and become friendly with the staff and owners. (If you haven't given birth yet, put this on your pre-baby to do list!) Then when you arrive with your little one in tow, they'll be more likely to whisk you right to a baby-friendly table and present your baby with a pack of crackers to eat and crayons to colour with.

Plan, plan, plan...

  • Be prepared for hungry babies. For breast or bottle fed babies, bring an extra bottle or nursing cover just in case your little one starts to fuss while you're dining. If your baby is enthralled with self-feeding, then puffs and teething biscuits are your new BFF. Make sure to have a stash of them ready to go when you get to the restaurant; these are a great diversion.
  • Make your diaper bag a treasure trove of fun. For those with toddlers, hit the bargain bins and stock up on a couple things your babe has never seen before. Flashlight key chains, matchbox cars, a sheet of stickers and small books can do wonders for passing time. If you run out though - spoons are apparently the best toy ever!
  • Get your game on. Create a list of easy games you can play at the restaurant (you could keep this list on your phone, or a card that you keep in your diaper bag).

Take back-up....

  • Safety in numbers. Going out with your significant other is nice but when it comes to dining out with baby, sometimes it takes a village. If you have friends or family who come along, it just means extra hands on deck when your precious bundle gets squirmy. It's a lot more enjoyable to dine out when you know there are several people on hand just itching to entertain your little one while you finish your meal.
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