10 Tips for Eating Out With Babies

A baby girl with a cup spilling out and a pile of food on the table

A few tips to help those less-than-relaxing restaurant experiences with your little eating machine go more smoothly:

  1. Bring a disposable placemat that sticks to the table. There are a million of these on Amazon so just do yourself a favor and get one. Any placemat given to you by the restaurant will be pulled onto the floor, along with everything on top of it.
  2. Bring a disposable splat mat and insist that the restaurant use it. Even if they are willing to get on their hands and knees to clean up the fallen food from underneath the table, insist. You’ll feel a lot better when you can roll up the mess underneath into a tight little disposable package.
  3. Bring your baby’s bib with a catch basin. Less food on the floor or in the restaurant’s highchair.
  4. Bring a gallon-size ziplock bag for fallen food, dirty wipes, floor mat, placemat, etc. At the end of the meal, you can stuff it all in there and the restaurant might actually be happy to have you visit again! 
  5. Bring your baby’s straw cup. Any cup offered by the restaurant is likely to be tipped, fiddled with, squeezed, or thrown.
  6. Bring a couple of brand new toys that don’t make much noise when they hit the ground. The novelty of the new toy will help keep your baby happy and if it’s made out of a material that doesn’t make too much noise when it hits the ground, it will help your neighbors be happy too.
  7. Bring a couple of foods in case your food takes a long time or comes back too spicy, etc. Foods that travel well and don’t make a huge mess include quartered grapes, egg noodles, mozzarella, Swiss cheese, blueberries, cooked tofu, hard boiled egg, edamame, and corn on the cob.
  8. If you have a baby who puts their feet on the table, turn them sideways. Babies have an amazing ability to overturn entire tables just as you are taking that first bite.
  9. Ask your server to hold the food away from the table until it’s cooled. That way, if you have a hangry baby or toddler on your hands, you won’t have to punish them by putting food in front of them that’s too hot to eat.
  10. When all else fails, give your baby a piece of bread and leave a big tip!
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