Eating at a restaurant with a baby in tow requires much more planning than just packing a bib and some extra wipes. Here are some practical tips on how to make your dining experience with your baby more pleasant
Time it properly
Plan ahead and think about the time of day that you’ll be eating out. If you’re bringing your baby, then dining out at a popular restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night may not be such a great idea. Why not have brunch or early dinner instead?
Feed baby at home
If it’s unlikely that your child will eat properly at the restaurant, opt to feed your baby at home instead and just bring along some of his or her favorite snacks to serve as a distraction. If your baby is still bottle or breastfeeding, then make sure he or she is fed before leaving the house.
Choose the right establishment
Put some thought into your choice of restaurant. Choosing loud and energetic restaurants are much better options for kids, so save the quiet, fine-dining places for date night! Also consider places with ample room to walk around so that you can entertain your toddler while waiting for the food to arrive.
Bring along some special books and toys for your baby to read and play with at the restaurant. It may help to pack along toys that he or she doesn’t usually get to play with at home. For the sake of other patrons, avoid bringing items that make too much noise.
Ask for the check ahead of time
Another great tip is to ask for the check as soon as the food arrives. This way, you can enjoy your meal—but still be ready to pay and leave at a moment’s notice in case your baby has a meltdown.
If your baby starts crying while at the restaurant, don’t be so quick to pack up and leave just yet. Sometimes, a baby just needs a change of scenery. You or your spouse may be able to calm your baby down by going outside for a quick break.