There’s no greater feeling than leaving your messy house and eating out, especially if it’s with a bunch of girlfriends. What’s not so fabulous is any apprehension you might feel about going out and about with your baby, especially if you’ve had some bad experiences.
The key to making eating out with babies a fun and not miserable experience comes down to planning ahead and keeping a few things in mind.
1. It’s all about the timing
If you can work it so you can head out the door the second your child wakes then you’ll be able to get a few hours of peace and quiet. Alternatively, put your tired and grizzly baby in the car and they might rock off to sleep on the way there and transfer into a stroller. For those with babies who hate cars and car seats and scream their heads off, of which there are many, don’t torture yourself with a long drive.
Tip: A hungry baby is rarely a quiet baby so time it well and don’t be tempted to just feed them when you get there, you’ll arrived stressed. Get it done before you leave home for a more enjoyable experience.
2.Location, location, location
Don’t just rock up to any cafe or restaurant; find one that’s known to be happy to have mothers and babies, sadly not all are. See what facilities they have, stalk them a little on social media and their website and you’ll get a feel for the vibe and whether you’ll be shoved to the back of the joint and given sour looks or be welcome with a high chair and big smile.
3. Distraction is key
For awhile baby will be happy to sit in the stroller looking at the new surroundings, after awhile they’ll get bored and want attention. Wait until this time to bring out some toys, and make sure they aren’t ones you have at home, have a few that are only given when you’re out of the house. This way they’ll be more interested in them for longer.
Hint: Don’t dump all the toys on the table, highchair or stroller at once, stagger them out for maximum impact.
4. Be prepared for all scenarios
From a bum explosion to them spilling milk or food all over themselves, you never know what to expect when you’re out with a baby. Pack a spare everything, even an extra bottle or meal just in case, often babies will see you eating and wanting something too.
5. A good frame of mind
If you’re stressed and worried about upsetting other people then your baby will pick up on this. Don’t worry if your child is making a few squealing noises, and when they start screaming if you’ve got all of the above covered then you’ll be able to feed, change or amuse baby to make them stop. And remember you’re as much entitled to a meal out as the next person, so just ignore a sour or disapproving look from someone if and when your baby gets cranky.
If you’re still breastfeeding your baby then read our 5 tips for breastfeeding your baby in public.