| | | | |

8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones

8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones by New England mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight
8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones by New England mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight

We have been dining out with a baby for a little over a year now and there are a few things I learned I wish I would have considered from the get-go.

UPDATE: We now have baby #2 and Lincoln is a full fledged toddler and THIS TRICK is the most genius tip I’ve taken for eating out with a toddler. 

One of my favorite evenings of our time in Europe last month was our last night in Spain, just the three of us. We’d spent the morning at the beach with friends, come back for naps, and then enjoyed a slow stroll along the pier until we found a restaurant. We dined outdoors in the evening light and Ben and Lincoln played at the park across the street while we waited for our food. They seated us on white couches and everything was about three times better than we expected. I learned that just because a menu is in seven languages doesn’t mean the food is going to be awful and touristy.

Here are a few too many pictures and if you scroll to the bottom there are tips for dining out with little ones:

8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones by New England mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones by New England mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones by New England mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight
^Lincoln wanted to jump into the water – and tried to walk right in a time or two. 8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones by New England mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight
^coming back from a little park date – in Spain everyone dines incredibly late and it isn’t unusual for restaurants not to open till 7 pm, after the siesta. Most nights we put Lincoln to bed before we enjoyed baugettes + fruit + cheese + chocolate but our last night we braved it and kept Lincoln up past his bedtime.
8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones by New England mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight
^I’m still dreaming of this salmon pasta I ordered (at 7 euros and titled “pasta with salmon” I had really low expectations – but it was amazing!)8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones by New England mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight
^Lincoln drank almost all of my fruit smoothie8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones by New England mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight
^Ben’s dish was almost too pretty to eat8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones by New England mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight
^The white couches that acted as chairs meant Lincoln could come sit with me at the end

Tips for Dining Out with A Baby:

  • Pick the right time: You know your baby best, but we’ve found earlier is better. It means Lincoln is less tired but it also usually means the restaurants are less busy and everyone from the staff to the other patrons seem to be more accommodating.
  • Bring snacks: Even since Lincoln has been old enough to eat whatever we’re eating, I always come prepared with a few of his favorite snacks. I don’t break them out unless I have to, but they work well to keep him entertained ’till the food arrives.
  • Consider toys: Snacks are usually enough to keep Lincoln occupied for the duration of a meal, but I always have a few things tucked away in my purse just in case he needs a bit more entertaining.
  • Choose the right restaurant: I think if you’re showing up at 5 pm, you can dine just about anywhere with a baby, but one thing to really consider is the noise level. Make sure it isn’t someplace that will overwhelm your little one with too much noise (although some place with a little background noise to hide the occasional protestations is great).
  • Keep things out of reach: We’ve almost had a few disasters with Lincoln grabbing at drinks or dishes we left a little too close to his high chair.
  • Think about dining out al fresco: Our easiest dining out experiences have been al fresco with Lincoln. The pressure to be quiet and tidy vanish and if he needs to get some wiggles out before the food arrives, there is usually a place for him to toddle around.
  • Take a deep breath: Everyone was a baby and most of the people you’re with have had or will have babies. It’s okay if everything doesn’t go perfectly (in fact, plan for the worst and you’ll be pleasantly surprised :)).
  • Engage: Try to include your baby in conversation, pointing out things in the restaurant, and keeping things interesting. Lincoln is always so fascinated taking everything in and is excited about the new environment.
*Back when Lincoln was younger we’d often bring a bottle and lie him on a booth or in his stroller for part of the meal. He was happy and we had a solid 15 minutes of adult conversation. If you’re nursing and don’t want to be trying to nurse during dinner, feeding right before is a great idea. But if your baby is taking a bottle, I’d bring it along instead of letting him have it before.
What about you? Do you have any tips for dining out with babies? Let me know in the comments below!!

these are such great tips for eating out with babies and toddlers - wish I would have known about these earlier!  - 8 Tips For Dining Out With Little Ones by New England mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight

5 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I love looking at food pictures and that pasta looks amazing.The noodles look so good. I wonder what sauce they used. Any ideas on what was in recipe, maybe I can recreate it??

  2. Great tips! I love that you travel with Lincoln! It can take a lot of prep, but it's so worth it!

  3. Dr.sneha panchal says:

    Hi..
    The tips r really helpful..
    One more thing i want to add and tats ‘say n do’.
    Talk to your child about the plan .
    For eg.we r goin out in d eve..u will be a gud baby ..we will go by train.you will enjoy.This helps in reducing anxiety of babies in new places.try it out .i do it with my lo.

  4. Thanks for the reminder to keep things out of reach for the little one when they’re in their high chair. I think it would be nice to find a local Italian restaurant where I can take my kids to celebrate good grades on their most recent report cards. Since my son is still pretty young, your tips should be helpful to make the dining experience enjoyable for everyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.