Tips for Eating Out With Baby

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dining out with babies

photo by sarah6183

My husband and I used to eat out all the time. But we haven't gone out nearly as much now that we have a baby. We've brought her to our local restaurant a few times, but that was before she started solid foods and she'd just sleep through the meal. Now that she's learned about the joy of food, there's no way she'd miss a bite. I usually just give her some of my meal, but there are some family-friendly restaurants that have special foods on the menu for babies—like pureed veggies.


If you're planning on taking your baby out to eat, here are some tips from Carolyn O'Neil, a dietitian and co-author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous! to make dining out a breeze:

1. Table lessons. Dining out with babies helps encourage a healthy curiosity about food and how to behave at the table.

2. Fruit first. Ask for cut-up fruit for the baby while you enjoy an appetizer. It gives him a serving or two of healthy fruit and it keeps him busy.

3. Pasta, please. Penne or shells is the best choice for babies working on their pincher skills. Ask for pasta tossed with a little olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese rather than coated in melted butter.

4. On the menu. Try to work with what’s on the menu and ask for slight variations. For instance, miso soup at Japanese restaurants comes with chunks of tofu, so ask for pieces of tofu on a little plate. It’s a good source of vegetable protein and soft enough for babies eating solid foods.

5. Off the menu. Most eateries have eggs, so you can request one scrambled for baby.

6. Simple is best. Request that baby’s vegetables or mashed potatoes be prepared without added salt.

7. Serve safe. Bring a portable place mat that can stick to table tops so you know the surface is clean. You can cut things up so that older babies can eat with their hands right off of the mat.

Bon appetit, baby!

Do you take your baby out to dinner? Did it go smoothly?



solid food

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sunmo... sunmoonstars

Another tip - not all restaurants are created equal.  Some booths are too narrow to put a baby carrier in, so if they don't offer the slig-chair, you are out of luck.


And don't order the mac n cheese at Applebees - it is just Kraft stuff they make earlier in the day and then nuke before bringing to the table - not worth $4!!!

Proud... ProudMami2008

I bring my son with me all the time. I usually bring his own jarred food, but sometimes I'll order mashed potatoes or applesauce for him and he loves it! He does really well at restaurants, except for trying to grab my drink or a french fry off the table. lol

madam... madamekatekate

Thats funny, my friend and I are going out to eat in just a bit with our tots!


Alaina is usually well behaved in resteraunts. She does get antsy to get out of the highchair but she's still just 15 months. When she was younger I'd bring her food but now I can nomally find something on the menu for her. And one of our favorite resteraunts gives you free chips before your meal (plain tortilla chips, no salt or anything.) and she loves that she can feed them to herself, lol.


Brianna (my friends girl) is 2 now and understand table manners a bit better. Hopefully since it's a weekday the place won't be too crowded. All I know is that I am hungry NOW.

tyheamma tyheamma

We've been giving Lorelei regular adult food since she was 6 months old (pediatrician's advice, I swear). We make sure she has less salt and less citrus, but otherwise, it's what we eat (and it keeps us eating healthier).


When we go out to eat, we let her feed herself. We'll spoon feed her a few bites of soup if we have it, but if it's solid food, she feeds herself. She's now 11 months old and a great eater. She even ate sushi when we went to our favorite restaurant last week... cooked fish only, of course, but she even ate the seaweed!

Blueb... Blueberryplz

We are always going out to eat since we have a problem with our kitchen && my child eats most all of my food. It's to the point where I can't even feed him fast enough. Chicken tenders, hamburgers, mashed potatoes, eggs, apple sauce. He wants it all. It's a lot of work, but a lot of fun if I can keep the mess under control (which usually I can). I recommend Shoney's breakfast buffet. It's free for the kid && they have a ton of stuff babies can eat on it. At least mind does. He eats the eggs, grits, apple sauce, chicken (torn in pieces), ect . . .

justa... justanotherjen

My kids are extremely well behaved in resturaunts...because we eat out all the time.  We didn't stop once they were born.  At one time we had 3 toddlers and we still went out weekly and they learned to behave.  We are constantly complimented at their behavior, especially when they were little.


We never had problems when they were first eating solids.  We just brought baby food with us and they might munch on a french fry or something.  We always eat at family friendly places (back then it was mostly Dennys).  We also like buffet places.  They were great when the kids were all little because usually ages 2 or 3 and under are free so we would pay for just us adults and the kids could eat whatever they wanted for free or next to nothing.


When my youngest was 8 months old we found out she loved green veggies...all of them, especially lima beans, lol.


We didn't start ordering off the menu for them individually until they were 2 or so.  Before that they shared with us or split a smaller portioned adult meal between them.  Now they are much older and my 7yo son orders off the adult menu himself and the girls still split meals instead of getting the kids' meals (that don't fill them up).

Agent... AgentBrez

we dont go out often, maybe a few times a month but our kids [toddler and baby] do very well. another suggestion- bring cheerios while you are waiting to keep them occupied. we try to eat at places that are family friendly. one of my favorites for cheap, sit down is Steak N Shake. they give you a 'packet' that includes crayons [for my toddler], a bib and moist wipes. so i dont have to worry if i forgot a bib and/or wipes.

sapph... sapphiresoda

My boys are either really good or really bad at restaurants, there is no inbetween for them.  If we go to a buffet, they're usually pretty good because there is such a wide variety of things for them to try.  My 2 1/2 year old is extremely picky, but we can usually find him something that he won't send flying across the restaurant.  My 14 month old eats just about everything, but he has a bad habit of wanting to drum on the table with silverware.  Last night I took my husband out for his birthday and our oldest had a meltdown because the waitress forgot to bring milk for the kids.  Because he was crying, the waitress kept ignoring our table.  My husband finally got fed up with her looking right at us and ignoring us and walked over to her and asked for the milk for the kids.  She was pissed.  As soon as she brought it over our son was instantly quiet.  Funny how that works.

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