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Tips for Dining Out with Baby


There's nothing too hard about grabbing a quick meal from McDonald's when you have a baby in tow, but a more leisurely dinner can be challenging. We talked to parents and wait staff to come up with these tips.

  1. Look for a place that has a fairly high noise level - loud enough to drown out the sound of your baby's outbursts but not loud enough to overwhelm him (or you).
  2. Go early, before the crowds arrive. (Hit spots that offer Early Bird Specials and save some bucks.)
  3. Bring a couple of playthings to help keep the baby occupied. Toys with suction cups on the bottom are perfect. They’ll save you having to dive under the table - or the neighboring table - every five minutes. If you go out a fair amount, consider keeping a restaurant kit for your toddler. It could be a bag or backpack - pack it with special art supplies, stickers or toys that your little one does not normally have access to.

Make sure you spend some time making the restaurant experience interesting for your child. Point out interesting things, tell her what to expect and try not to let her feel ignored.

If your baby has started to crawl, he’ll probably find sitting down for a whole meal challenging. Try to get a table near open space so you can take him for a "walk."

Find something small on the menu that your baby can eat - and that can be prepared quickly. Your baby will be happier to sit once there's food in front of her. (It’s also not a bad idea to bring a small container of Cheerios or crackers just in case you have to wait.)

Don't be afraid to ask for menu items to be modified for your baby. For example, you can request plain pasta at most restaurants.

Have a fast-exit plan in case of a serious meltdown: You grab the baby and head for the car; Dad pays and picks up everything you forgot to put back into your tote bag.

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