10 Tips for Eating Out With Babies

A few tips to help those less-than-relaxing restaurant experiences go more smoothly:

  1. Bring a disposable placemat that sticks to the table. There are a million of these online 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. Even if the restaurant says “it’s okay, don’t worry,” insist on using the splat mat. It’s the most courteous thing to do and you’ll feel a lot better when you can roll up the mess underneath into a tight little disposable package.
  3. Bring a 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 baby’s straw cup. Any cup offered by the restaurant is likely to be tipped, fiddled with, squeezed, or thrown.
  6. Bring a brand new teether or toy that doesn’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. Foods that travel well and don’t make a huge mess include egg noodles, mozzarella, Swiss cheese, blueberries, tofu, hard boiled egg, 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 wait to serve your food until it’s cooled. That way, if you have a hangry child on your hands, you won’t be adding fuel to the fire 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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