Tips To Make Dining Out With A Baby Less Stressful

10 tips for how to make going out to eat with a baby less stressful and more enjoyable for the whole family. Create a Restaurant Kit with all the essentials you need to reduce the stress of dining out with babies. Keep it in the car, and you'll always be prepared! You'll find a full list of contents for babies and suggested additions for older babies and toddlers.

One of the things that my husband and I loved to do pre-baby was going out to eat. During the dating phase of our relationship he lived in San Francisco, right in the heart of the Marina District, and I in downtown Sacramento. Both cities have great dining scenes (obviously San Francisco more so) and each weekend we would eat on the town at least once. After coming out of the newborn haze, I wanted to continue that tradition and bring Taylor out to eat with us but was honestly too intimidated to do so. During that time, people advised that we should take her out to eat while she still “slept all the time”; looking back we really should have taken advantage of that time because now I know that it becomes a whole lot more complicated when they are awake and needing to be entertained constantly…

Entertain me please.

Taylor is 10 months old now, and we’ve been out to eat with her about once per month for the last 6 months. Through trial and error and some “interesting” experiences at restaurants, we’ve learned a few tips and picked up items that make going out to eat a lot less stressful/messy and more enjoyable for mommy, daddy and baby.

Most recently Taylor attended a dinner put on by the law firm my employer contracts with and,although it didn’t go perfectly (i.e. I had to take her out to the car in the middle of the meal to nurse because she lost it a little bit as it got closer to bedtime), the tips and tricks I’m sharing today made it possible for me to feel confident bringing her to such a setting. We love getting out of the house on weekends with Taylor now, and she is used to being out and about which I think is good for her. I hope you find the following tips for dining out with a baby helpful for your family. I’ve also included suggestions to add to your Restaurant Kit for older babies and toddlers (see #8!):

10 Tips To Make Eating At A Restaurant With A Baby Less Stressful

1.Dine early -We try to get the the restaurant around 5:30PM. Beat the crowd and have plenty of time before bedtime/witching hour? Win, win!

2. Pick a noisy restaurant – Babies cannot be expected to sit quietly for an hour or more (if you have one that does so without any effort of your own, consider yourself super blessed!). They WILL fuss, cry, screech, chat, and growl (or perhaps that’s just my child). It makes things a lot less stressful when you know your little noise maker will blend into the rest of the background noise.

3. Ask for a table for four – This way your babe has their own space and you can clear the area of all the things their little hands would want to grab. We learned our lesson during this particular trip out for Phö. We had a tiny table for two and spent most of the time trying to block Taylor from grabbing chili sauce, our napkins, spoons, bowls, etc.

As you can see, there was far too little room for error.

4. Buy this chair by Inglesina, and the tray that goes with it!- I can’t recommend this chair/tray combo enough and only wish we’d purchased it sooner. Taylor will NOT sit still in a highchair and one of us inevitably ends up with her on our lap, trying to keep her little mitts off our plates, for the majority of the meal. This chair, however, she loves sitting in and it does fit on most restaurant tables we’ve been to. Another really nice feature of this comfy chair is the pocket in the back where supplies like sanitizing wipes, a toy, spoons, bibs, etc.can be stored. I keep this seat in the car in it’s attached, travel-friendly carrying bag so that we don’t have to worry about forgetting it. The tray fits into the bag as well.

Happy baby in her own space at the table.

5. Have a Ziplock bag stashed with the following in the car or easy to grab on the way out the door.

Some of the essentials to make dining with a baby easier.
Having the essentials on hand is key!
    • Spoon – One of my best girlfriends recommended these recyclable, reusable or disposable baby spoons that are only $5.49 for a pack of  24 on Amazon. If you leave one on the table, it’s not too big a deal.
    • Bib – These Burpy Bibs by Aidan and Anais are by far my favorite, portable bibs (they cover a lot of surface area!)
    • Spill Proof Sippy Cup – keep it empty in your kit and fill it up once you arrive.

  • Wipes – Use natural hand, face and baby wipes to wipe down the table surface where your baby will touch/eat snacks from, and their hands/mouth after the meal. We use these by Babyganics:
  • Snacks (2 different kinds) – T’s top three favorite baby cracks snacks are Happy Baby Puffs, Yogis and Munchies (these are like healthy Cheetos for babes!). I order these three monthly on Amazon (if you don’t already have Amazon Prime – free 2-day shipping amongst other perks – it’s so worth signing up for an account HERE).
  • Pouches – just in case you forget to grab their food from the fridge or cupboard on the way out, you’ll have a portable dinner on hand. Our favorite pouches are made by Sprout, in this flavor, which you can purchase in a pack of 5 on Amazon.


6. Buy a mini cooler for homemade baby food that needs to be refrigerated, or just grab your jar/Tupperware of food if you’re heading straight to the restaurant. I use this one that’s actually meant to store breast milk, but fits and my homemade baby food jars perfectly as well.


7. Feed the baby directly after you order your food, so that by the time your meal arrives you’re able to actually eat it. If you have an older or baby-led weaning baby – order food for them as soon as you sit down!

8. Bring along a novel “toy” or an activity for older babies/toddlers– this could be something as simple as a straw from the restaurant. While you’re scarfing down your food as quickly as possible eating, baby can play with this novel item and/or eat some of their small snacks. Taylor LOVES plastic chopsticks – she’s quite the musician with those things! If you have an older baby or toddler who can complete activities like reusable sticker books, reusable activity books with water pens, coloring books (Twistable, self-sharpening crayons are awesome for this!), etc.

I would suggest upgrading from a Ziplock to a makeup/toiletry carrying case like one of the ones below to store all of your feeding and entertaining essentials. I got this fabulous idea from Blue i Style blog which has all sorts of amazing DIY organization tips. You can keep this Restaurant Kit with all the essentials you need to eliminate the stress of dining out with babes in your car.  I purchased this floral cosmetic bag at Target, and linked two other patterns of the same bag below:


9. Don’t forget to make and bring along your Baby Car Kit in the case of a massive post-dinner poop – Trust me, you will never regret having everything you need on hand. Find out the essentials I pack in mine by reading this post.

10. Queue up an educational You Tube video  on your iPhone – Okay, please don’t judge me, but after going through the bag of trick above I will let Taylor watch one particular video called “ABC’s” by ABC Kids TV. We reserve letting her do this as a last resort, but she absolutely LOVES that darn video and it’s honestly really nice to have her occupied while her dad and I get a few minutes to enjoy our meal and a bit of adult conversation.

There you have it! My top tips, tricks, and preparation to make the experience of dining out with a baby as stress-free as possible. Now, go make your kit and get out on the town!

What tips and tricks do you use to keep your baby, toddler or kiddo entertained when you go out to eat? I would love if you’d share those ideas with me in the comments.

xo, Ashley (1)
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This is a post from my Packed to Perfection series. Be sure to check back for other posts in the Packed to Perfection Series as they are posted – I’ll be including free downloadable packing lists for each! Print, laminate (this laminating machine is $19.97 on Amazon.com – woo hoo!), stick the list in your bag, and never worry about forgetting something again! You can see other examples of ways to organize and pack for a baby or toddler in these existing posts: Diaper Bag for Baby, Packing Cubes, Working Mom’s Pumping Bag, Infant Daycare Bag, Baby/Toddler Car Kit, and Restaurant Kit for Babies/Toddlers.

Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in:

10 tips for how to make going out to eat with a baby less stressful and more enjoyable for the whole family. Create a Restaurant Kit with all the essentials you need to reduce the stress of dining out with babies. Keep it in the car, and you'll always be prepared! You'll find a full list of contents for babies and suggested additions for older babies and toddlers.

Must Haves For Making & Feeding Your Infant Homemade Baby Food

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This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. All featured products I have purchased and use.

Hey mamas –

Are you getting ready to introduce solids to your babe? Do you want to save money, and have control over exactly what is going into their little body by making some or all of their food at home? Well, I would like to share the products I’ve been using to make life easier, cleaner and more organized when it comes to making and feeding Taylor homemade baby food. Initially I thought that, as a busy working mom, I wouldn’t be able to do the whole homemade baby food thing. Fortunately, once I started looking into the tools and products available these days, I found that it’s definitely possible and doesn’t take hours a week for me to do. Plus, making baby food at home saves a lot of money –  according to Mint.com, homemade organic baby food is nearly 45% cheaper than store-bought organic; homemade non-organic is almost 43% cheaper than store-bought non-organic.

Taylor’s Pediatrician gave us the green light to start solids at her 4 month appointment, but I honestly wasn’t ready. It felt weird to give her food when my body had been all that has sustained her for so long. I waited for another month until she starting showing a lot of interest in our food – even imitating us chewing as we ate. I introduced one new food to her every 3 days or so to make sure she didn’t have an allergy. Now, at 6 months old, she has tried about 10 varieties of food, and combinations of those foods (her favorite so far is quinoa + yam + zucchini).

If you are ready to start feeding solids and/or are also looking to make and feed your little one homemade baby food, I’m hoping this list will be helpful to you.

1.  Munchkin baby food feeder – this was an item shipped to me in my first Baby Bin – a personal online shopping service for your babe, which you can read more about here. You can put jarred or homemade purées, or whole veggies/fruit into the feeder and allow your baby to self feed.

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Yummy banana!

2. Béaba Babycook Pro 2X – This is the linchpin to homemade baby food making work with my busy schedule. Yes, it’s a little more pricey than a Ninja , Magic Bullet (also great options) or a blender you already have at home, but it is WELL worth it when you consider the time and money you can save with it. The Babycook steams, blends and reheats all in one! I can put in chopped up fruit or veggies (or one of each since there are two sides in the pro version!), push the steam button and walk away to take care of fixing dinner for my hubby and I, doing laundry, playing with Taylor, cleaning, etc. Just 15-20 minutes later when I hear the timer go off, I can then dump the steamed contents into the same canister, switch to blend mode and purée to the perfect consistency. I can use the residual steam water or breastmilk to get the desired thickness. Days worth of homemade baby food in less than a half hour, and I don’t need to worry about cleaning up more than two canisters? Score! You can watch a video here for more on how the Béaba works it’s magic.

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Applesauce in the making.
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Perfect consistency!

3. Baby Bjorn bibs – I saw my best friend’s daughter wearing this bib one day and totally stole the idea – my bff seriously has the best ideas! Prior to this, I was going through cloth bibs like nobody’s business and it was making me a little crazy. These bibs are great because they actually catch the food that inevitably dribbles down and can be easily wiped off after a feeding. There are lots of fun colors to choose from too.

4. EZPZ bowls – These bowls are dishwasher and microwave safe (although I don’t microwave any of her food) but the best part is that they stick to trays and tables, making it impossible for your babe to push, pull or dump the contents as they could with a regular bowl. There are also versions with more than one compartment to hold finger foods.

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Excited to try a new purée.
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EZPZ storage!

5. Sage Spoonfuls storage containers – these are great for storing food that I plan to feed Taylor within the week. I also use these to reheat frozen baby food in the Béaba Babycook.

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6. Spill mat for underneath the high chair – I bought a mat that would go underneath a desk chair because I liked the idea of clear and simple, but there are some really cute patterned mats made for this exact purpose like this one.

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7. Spoons – these silicone spoons by Béaba are my favorite. They are BPA, lead and Phthalate free and designed specifically for infants who are just being introduced to solid foods. I’m not sure what spoons to go to next, but for now these are perfect.

8. 2 Command Hooks – I bought and placed two command hooks on the back of the highchair so that I could store and have easy access to her bibs and all the little parts and gadgets that go along with feeding. See #12 for the shower caddy I use to store everything.

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Command hooks for the win!

9. High chair – I am obsessed with this OXO high chair. Highlights are:

  • you can wheel it around the house as needed (i.e. getting ready in the morning)
  • it reclines if your babe falls asleep
  • the seat fabric is super easy to wipe/clean
  • It’s also very reasonably priced, at less than $120. If money is no object and/or you care about the aesthetics of your baby furniture and products, I would recommend Stokke high chairs. I have a couple friends who have these chairs and they look wonderful in any dining room and also transition into a chair as the baby grows into a toddler and beyond.


10. Washcloths/Water Wipes – I keep several of these and a pack of water wipes (99.9% water and monk fruit extract) in the shower caddy for after meal clean ups.

11. Kiinde squeeze pouches and spoon attachment – I haven’t used these yet, but bought a whole box of 50 for when we are out and about and having a squeeze pouch would be a lot more convenient than a bowl and spoon.I also purchased a funnel attachment so that I can pour purées directly from the blender into the pouches. Taylor also enjoys trying (key word trying) to feed herself, so the flexy spoon attachment will be just perfect!

12. Shower caddy – This is a super cheap shower caddy that is the perfect size to store spoons, washcloths, bowls, etc. and hook onto the back of the high chair.

13. Ice cube trays – I like to use these by Béaba because they are super easy to get frozen food out of and into a Ziploc for storage. They’re also dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe.

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So far, I’m finding that making baby food is a lot of fun. It is also a great way to introduce lots of new foods to Taylor that our family is eating anyway. For example, I made AJ and I some zucchini with our chicken the other night, and threw a few of the cooked pieces into our Béaba Babycook and served up a purée for Taylor to try. I personally taste all of the purées to make sure they are actually tasty, and it’s pretty gratifying to see her smile or make a little “mmmm” noise when she likes something I’ve make. Am I going to make every single one of her meals homemade? That would be awesome but probably not, especially when we travel, but luckily there are some great organic baby foods to purchase in a pinch! We tried a new recipe today (to help with the constipation that can come along with beginning solids, poor baby…) that T loved: oats + prunes + pink lady apple. 

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What are your babe’s favorite foods? Any combos I need to introduce to her?  I’d love to hear from you!

xo, Ashley (1)

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