Remember the days of dining out with a newborn? I do. Dreaming about french fries and craft beer, I stumbled out of that sweet newborn stupor and into whatever jeans I could button, covered the car seat with that giant, fuzzy cover, packed a massive diaper bag full of every baby item I owned, grabbed my husband and away we sped. The biggest stress was figuring out where to put the car seat while it's tiny little occupant snoozed away, lulled by the din.
Once you bring a food eatin' babe out, nothing is the same. It's no longer peaceful and in some instances results in a parent walking around the restaurant with one baby or another the entire time, but in my opinion it is still worth it. Almost every time we venture out to eat with both babies, our families are there to help out too. But I bet most of you are much braver when it comes to dining out with babies and might even do it fairly often.
The contents of my diaper bag is a pretty accurate reflection of who I am: one tiny gladiator sandal, 14 socks, 5 onesies, 40 diapers, sometimes wipes (where do all of my packs of wipes go?), a binky if I'm lucky (BUT IN WHICH POCKET?), a flat Larabar, 2-3 Camelback minis, my wallet, something sort of damp, and a sock monkey. I made a little list in the notes of my phone after Ruthie was born housing all of the essentials I might need whenever I leave the house with her. I have revisited that list approximately two times.
BUT one of the greatest things about BLW is that gear is totally optional. You literally do not need one special tool for your babe to fully enjoy a meal. There are a few essentials I tote around in a zipper clutch that make it a little smoother (and slightly less messy) when eating at a restaurant.
BLW on-the-go Kit
Bib - I ALWAYS forgot a bib before stashing a few in my BLW bag.
Mat -My babes are good about not flinging plates across the room at restaurants (and at home thank God). If you have a plate flinger, a non-slip mat (like EZPZ) is an inexpensive and simple solution.
Utensils - totally optional. I’m a proponent of early utensil introduction, but at a restaurant I’m cool with letting it go.
Antibacterial wipes - for the high chair and table top. I was a waitress in college, that tabletop ain't clean (OR maybe I was just a terrible waitress?).
Baby wipes - for messy babies, of course.
Snacks - in case the food takes a while to arrive, diversional snacks come in handy.
Bag - Mother Load Snack Bag, necessityyyyy.
BLW at Restaurants - What to order
One of the major perks of BLW is there is no need to bring food from home when eating out at restaurants.
Look for these menu items (appropriate for any BLW age 6 months +)
steamed veggies with or without butter (I almost always order a side of steamed vegetables and a side of fresh fruit for my babes), roasted veggies
side of avocado or guac
rolls or bread with butter
big salads with a lot of components that can be deconstructed (like a nicoise salad, southwest salad with beans, grilled veggie salad, taco salad, etc. with dressing on the side
margarita or veggie pizza
grilled veggie or grilled chicken sandwiches/wraps/tacos/burritos (again, I'd deconstruct for younger babes)
white or brown rice
steak and mashed potatoes
If you go out to eat often (like twice a week or more), it might take some perusing the menu ahead of time to make sure they have options that are low in sodium.
Most dishes from restaurants are almost always pretty salty unless they can be deconstructed to unearth fresh fruits and veg. Soups, dipping sauces and dressings or sauces covering pasta, meat, or fish are probably a pretty potent source of salt, as are fried foods.
We don't eat out very much because it's such an expense and lets be honest, it's a little stressful bringing a 2 year old and an 11 month old pretty much anywhere. But when we do eat out, I’m a sucker for a good burger with fries and Ruthie or Bobby have joined me in that order a time or two.