Remember the days of dining out with a newborn? I do. Dreaming about french fries and draft beer, I stumbled out of that sweet newborn stupor and into whatever jeans I could button, covered the car seat with that giant, fuzzy carseat cover, packed a gigantic diaper bag full of every baby item I owned, and sped away. The biggest stress was figuring out where to put that massive 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 one 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.
I am most definitely a fly by the seat of my pants person, so when we're eating out with older babes, I might not be as prepared as in those newborn days. PS I hate the term "fly by the seat of my pants" because wtf is that about? But it's me. 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.
There is a company based right here in St. Louis that solved the rando diaper bag problem completely for me. Mother Load Bags designs kits of color coded, amazingly functional bags that stash the necessities and go from bag to bag with you. One of my favorite things that this invention has helped me accomplish is providing a new home for my BLW on-the-go kit. Before discovering Motherload Bags, this kit lived in a super chic ziploc bag. It was bulky and ugly and as a result, left at home half the time. My new kit resides in a bright, sleek, functional little bag marked with a little fork and spoon and color coded so I can ask Ruthie to grab it for me when she's helping me pack.
BLW on-the-go Kit
Bib - I ALWAYS forgot a bib before stashing a few in my BLW bag.
Mat - Bobby and Ruthie are good about not flinging plates across the room at restaurants. If you have a plate flinger, a non-slip mat is an inexpensive and simple solution.
Utensils - totally optional.
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
One of the major perks of BLW is there is no need to bring food from home when eating out at restaurants. Baby eats what you eat (or else it isn't TRUE BLW!! Jkjkjk). But it means I'm not in a complete pickle when I get somewhere and realize I haven't packed any food. It also means I can deliberately not pack food because packing food is a pain (review this post where I highlight my amazing ability to pack work lunches).
Pretty much anything you order is completely fine for baby if you are an infrequent diner outer. 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 an option that is low in sodium. Main 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. Again, if you're not eating out that often these salty foods aren't going to be a problem. Things I share with babes when out to eat:
Things I share with babes when out to eat (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)
-rolls with butter
-big salads with a lot of components that I can pick out for baby (like a nicoise salad, southwest salad, or the chicken apple fuji salad from Panera) with dressing on the side
-margarita or veggie pizza
-grilled veggie or grilled chicken sandwiches or wraps (again, I'd deconstruct for younger babes)
-salmon and veggies
-steak and mashed potatoes
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 almost always go for a cheeseburger with fries and Ruthie or Bobby have joined me in that order a time or two. While this is the only time you'll have total control over your kid's intake, it is also the perfect time to instill that all foods are good foods by allowing fries or milkshakes or burgers or whatever else the rest of the family is lovin'.
Next up in this series is BLW on-the-go travel edition. Until then, check out Mother Load, get yourself the set, build a BLW kit and feel organized af.