Written by Jana Angeles
Gone are the days where you were once a couple, eating out every Friday night at a restaurant that’s the talk of the town. When it comes to having a baby, there’s always the odd sacrifice you have to make when it comes to the restaurants you go to as a family. You have to think about your baby before even making a decision of what food you want to eat. Although it may feel extreme, there are some things you need to take care of before you start heading out the door to go out for dinner. Here are some tips to consider that could make your night bearable for you, your partner and your bub:
Try to eat with your baby during the “off-hours”
You really don’t want to be that parent to take their wailing baby to the restaurant, so it’s important to be strategic when it comes to what hours of the day you and your partner decide to eat out. It’s encouraged that you go to a restaurant right before the lunch rush or the peak hour of having dinner. Generally, this is suitable since even if your baby starts crying uncontrollably, there will be less people to witness it. You will feel thankful to have visited a restaurant where there were less customers around.
Choose restaurants which are baby-friendly
The last thing you want is to be judged for breastfeeding or having your pram being cramped and taking up half the space of the restaurant walkway. If you know you’re set on thai for dinner, be sure the location you choose is family friendly, meaning one that will be less painful to be seated at for your family. Do they provide a high-chair? Is the restaurant space ideal if you have a big pram? It doesn’t hurt to call ahead and ask these questions before you make the effort of travelling to a restaurant. You want to come prepared and have at least some expectations on what your dining experience will turn out.
Make it quick
You don’t want to take too long in the restaurant, so make sure once you finish your food, pay the bill and go. There’s no time to sit around and dawdle as this could pose as an opportunity for your baby to get upset for no reason. Eating out with your baby should ideally be touch and go. You don’t want them out of routine for too long, especially if it’s close to bedtime!
Try to relax
So, you may have had an embarrassing moment last time and have had to leave the restaurant because of your baby. They may have vomited or cried too much, causing customers to stare and judge you. It’s okay to fear the same thing will happen again, but what’s the point of eating out if you can’t relax and enjoy the dining experience? Your baby should not deter you from eating the food that you want. Regardless of what happens, try and enjoy the cuisine, especially if it’s a new restaurant you’re trying together as a family.
Feed the baby first
Before leaving the house, be sure to have your baby fed first. If you are starting to feed your baby solids, start feeding them as soon as their meal comes out. Feeding your baby first prevents them from being fussy and can help them not be angry or upset. One of the reasons why babies cry is because they’re hungry. Prioritising their feeding over yours will pay off because once you’re done, you can enjoy your meal afterwards without any interruptions.
Foodie parents don’t have to kiss goodbye to all the new restaurants they want to visit just because of their baby, it just means they need to think about their baby’s needs before their own. Although it may be annoying calling ahead to make sure the restaurant you plan on visiting has the right facilities for you and your family, you only need to do this for a little while. Soon enough, your baby will grow and be able to feed themselves without your help. Eating out with your baby will be difficult at first but once you start understanding their needs, it will become much easier to enjoy new food experiences as a family!