DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS (AT NO COST TO YOU). I WILL ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS THAT I’VE PERSONALLY PUT TO THE TEST AND DEPENDING ON THE COMPANY, YOU MIGHT EVEN GET A COUPON OR DISCOUNT FOR USING MY LINK. WIN-WIN!
Bringing a baby to dinner at a fancy restaurant can be daunting, especially if you are not prepared. But, with a little bit of planning, you can enjoy a night out with your little one. I promise. In this blog, I’ll share some of the tricks we use that could help make your next dining experience with a baby a success.
Clark and I have always enjoyed going out to dinner. It’s been really important for us to maintain some sort of normalcy now that Parks has joined our little family. Since we live in a very walkable downtown community, we have easy access to a variety of restaurants. Some are family-friendly and some are on the fancier side. Having a baby doesn’t stop us from doing what we enjoy, we simply change our approach a little bit.
Let me start by saying it’s not always perfect, but it’s usually worth it. We’ve learned to control what we can control. We’re always ready with a new toy or to say “check please” if Parks’ mood goes sideways. However, grabbing the check before we’re ready is always our last resort.
Here Are Our Entertainment Tricks For Bringing Baby To Dinner At A Fancy Restaurant:
Plan for early seating.
We like to arrive at the restaurant around 5-5:30 p.m. Doing so means we typically don’t need a reservation and we’re often some of the only people there. That allows us to choose where we sit (more on this next). It also means it’s not as noisy, service is faster, and we are home in time for Parks’ bedtime around 7-7:30 p.m.
Choose a window seat.
Since we choose early seating when we bring a baby to dinner at a fancy restaurant, there’s usually not a lot of people there when we arrive. We’re usually able to choose where we sit and if there’s a window available, we’ll take it! Parks is 6 months old, so he’s at an age where he loves watching cars and people pass by. The street and car lights come on as the sun goes down, which brings a whole new level of entertainment.
Change his perspective.
If Parks starts getting fussy, I’ll turn him to face outward. Or inward. Or sideways. Or pass him to dad. Doing something as simple as changing his position and perspective can buy you a few minutes before you need to pull out the toys and distractions.
Teethers, toys, cups, oh my! We don’t break out the toys right away. We let Parks take in his environment and wait for him to get bored of that before we move onto toys and distractions. We always keep a Busy Baby mat (the small size) and a few toys in our ‘go bag’ so they’re ready when we need it. The Busy Baby mat comes with two tethers that allow you to connect your toys to the mat to prevent baby from throwing them on the floor. Bringing his favorite little cup is fun because he can practice drinking water now that he’s 6 months old. Check our our shop for some of our favorite teethers and toys to tether to the Busy Baby mat.
If you’re doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW), have fun with food!
If your baby is old enough for solids, taking the baby-led weaning approach provides some great entertainment for the baby and you! We are doing a mix of BLW and pureed fruits and vegetables. It’s fun to give Parks new foods to try. Of course, safety is our top priority so we always make sure it’s something developmentally appropriate for him. And yes, we clean up after ourselves when it comes to a mess on the floor. I think it’s the right thing to do.
Take him outside for a few minutes.
If Parks starts getting really fussy and we’ve pulled out all the stops, but not quite ready for the check yet, one of us will take him outside for a few minutes. Getting some fresh air and a quick change of environment usually helps to lift P’s mood. By the time we bring him back inside, he’s forgotten what he was mad about and we’re able to enjoy the rest of our evening.
What Have You Got To Lose Bringing Your Baby To Dinner At A Fancy Restaurant?
Nothing! The answer is you have nothing to lose by bringing your baby to dinner at a fancy restaurant. Sure, he might have a blowout or a meltdown. My advice for that is to be ready for everything. If Parks was to start fussing or crying so much that he’s ruining other guests’ dinners, we’re prepared to get our food to go and wrap the night up early. The good news is that we haven’t had to do that yet. So far, being prepared and using the advice outlined above has worked in our favor.
Bringing him out to eat is a fun and easy way for us to entertain Parks during his last wake window before bed. We’ve also found that introducing him to new experiences and environments early and often makes it normal for him! He’s never scared, anxious, or overwhelmed when we’re at restaurants, and I think that’s because it’s just part of a normal day for him. We literally take him everywhere.
I understand feeling anxious about what could happen, but don’t let that stop you. Be prepared for everything, expect the unexpected, and do it anyway. You’ll find that it can be fun and rewarding.
Never forget that your mental health is important too! That means doing things that you enjoy even if it means bringing your baby along for the fun.