I know when I weaned my first son, the thought of eating out during the process just seemed like too much of a challenge. What would people think to all the mess, how would I know if the food contained too much salt, what if he gags in public and people think I’m leaving him to choke.
The list was endless and the thought filled me with dread, but we do like to go on family days out at the weekends and this often leads to us eating out, so I needed to overcome my fear and give it a whirl.
Here’s some handy tips I’ve picked up over the years of Dining out with a Weaning baby.
- Where possible check out the Menus of Restaurants around where you’re heading. This allows you a grasp good places to eat before you arrive. So that when the time comes for food you’re not left making hasty decisions. I also find more often than not Menus online also give the nutritional value too, so you can select a low salt option for your lo.
-Meal sharing, this is a great tip. Before the age of 2yrs we tend to not order our baby a meal of their own. Instead we choose foods suitable for sharing with lo. This saves lots of food getting wasted. And allows baby to eat what you’re eating even when you’re dining out.
-In an effort to make your lo eat with everyone else, meaning you can enjoy your meal without bouncing baby on your lap as you try to juggle eating and refraining them from poking their own eyes out with a rogue fork. Always pack distractions for them to occupy them while you wait for the food. We always pack some books, toys, stickers, crayons and paper, magnet shapes or small table puzzles. We pack something different with each trip so the activity is always new and exciting.
This means they’re not filling up on snacks whilst waiting, so when the food does arrive they’re ready to eat. Meaning you can enjoy your own meal in a certain amount of peace.
-If I’m ever unsure about menus where we are heading, I will always pack the 2 youngest a meal they can enjoy if there’s nothing suitable for them. Unless I’m totally certain they can have something from the menu, I always have something packed for them, just in case.
-The BiBaDO bib is the only effective way I have found to keep food mess to a minimum whilst eating out. They are just as effective on highchairs without a tray. Meaning they’re no challenge for those tray less wooden highchairs you find in most places.
-I always have a pack of Antibacterial floor wipes in my changing bag. I use these to wipe down highchairs and surfaces before my children eat and then use once they’ve finished too. They’re larger and thicker then wet wipes, so are a lot more effective at cleaning up.
-I highly recommend the Summer Infant Tiny Diner mat. It’s Available from JoJo Maman Bebe. It’s perfect for providing a suitable, wide, clean surface for your baby to eat from whilst out. We’ve also used it for picnics at the park too, so weaning babies aren’t restricted during picnic fun.
-Speak to the restaurant staff and explain your baby is new to foods, sometimes they’re happy to accommodate them outside of their set menus. Many places are happy to provide small plates of soft veggies & fruits for your baby to enjoy whilst you eat a meal from their menu. There’s no harm in asking them to accommodate your baby’s needs.
Here’s a list of Top Places to dine at with young children, we have eaten at all the below before with all 3 of our children, these have been the most child friendly and accommodating of Weaning.
Wagamamas - Healthy food and always happy to help with any Weaning needs.
Café Rouge – Lovely Children’s Menu, lots of Variety.
Bella Italia – Pasta, I needn’t say anymore. Always a winner for us.
Giraffe – Lots of Lovely Children’s Meals and Very Accommodating.
Yo-Yo Sushi – A favourite of my husband & I, always something healthy and yummy for the children.
Brewers Fayre’s – Although their children’s menu isn’t particularly healthy, they’ve always been happy to provide our Weaning baby with a side plate of suitable fruits and Veggies to eat instead.