The idea of leaving the house with baby may be daunting enough let alone eating out at a café or restaurant. If you are brave enough to give it a go here are a few tips to get you through the experience.
1. Think carefully about what you order. The best advice here is if it can’t be eaten with just a fork if need be then don’t order it. Just as babies have a magical sensor to wake up when you have made a fresh cup of tea, the same magical sensor applies to when you have ordered a beautiful steak. I speak from experience. As I was about to start eating baby woke up and I needed to hold her on my lap to keep her calm and quiet. Babies and steak knives just don’t mix.
2. Plan ahead for pram access. In the early days I had a few outings where I spent a full 20 minutes walking from café to café trying to work out the best one to eat at. Of course if your lunch/dinner is impromptu then you can’t plan but if you have made plans with a friend call ahead to where you are going and advise them you have a pram. They will then often give you a table that is easy to seat a pram and that will be one less thing to worry about. There are loads of websites that list baby/pram friendly restaurants. Try and find one in your city and try out the venues they recommend.
3. Don’t panic. If for some reason baby starts crying try to stay calm. There is a good chance that many of the other diners have been in exactly the same position as you and will understand. I have found that when my bub starts crying while I am eating out that people are very understanding and I have even learnt a few good tips from people who have come up and told me how they managed similar situations with their little ones. Get up and walk baby outside or feed them if need be (pack a shawl or nursing cover if you aren’t comfortable with feeding in public). If your baby is prone to this maybe order a cold menu item so you don’t risk eating a cold pasta or burger!
4. Enjoy eating out with your baby. I find it is really great bonding and social time for bub and I while we eat out. If she is sleeping through the meal it is a bonus but she loves to watch while we eat and sit on my lap after the meal to “chat” to everybody. Soon enough she will be eating solids herself so we will be able to enjoy our “meal” together. Start baby early with heading out for lunch and don’t despair if the first few times are a complete disaster. Wait a few days or weeks and then try again and you may find that you can really enjoy heading out for lunch with baby.
How did you find eating out with baby? What are your tips for other mums?
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