Going Out to Eat with A Fussy Baby

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One misconception many parents have about life after baby is…it’s over! Life as you knew it will change – but for the good. You can still enjoy doing the things you did before: go out to eat, shopping and enjoying time with your gal pals. Having a fussy baby may make you think twice about going out but fear not! All you need to do is plan.

Timing is Everything

Make sure baby is fed so they will be in a better mood. A hungry baby is a cranky baby. Plan your time out around your baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule. This can be a bit tricky but worth the reward. Pick times where a restaurant will be less busy like before 6pm for dinner or before noon for lunch. Having less diners around will make it more comfortable for you to deal with a fussy baby. Remember to be courteous to other diners.

Some Places are Better than Others

Do not pick a cozy, little restaurant with no space for your stroller or car seat. Don’t pick a fancy place with lots of fine china and crystal spread on the table – save this place for date night. Baby can grab stuff from the table and hurl/drop/shatter anything within their reach. Call the restaurant you want to go to and check to see if they have high chairs or boosters. Even if you will not be using one, it’s a big indicator of whether or not the restaurant is kid friendly. Pick a place that is lively – the louder the better!

Tip: Look for a place that will be visually stimulating for your baby which will lessen the chances of him getting bored. It will make calming a fussy baby much easier.

Prepare Yourself

Before you head out, mentally prepare yourself and try to anticipate what may (or may not) happen once you are out. Your baby may become fussy, bored and uncooperative and begin to cry. There is always the chance that he will need an emergency diaper change. With this mind think of the ways you would handle these situations and be prepared to tackle them which may mean leaving the restaurant and having the food wrapped for takeout.

Bring a favorite stuffed animal, a book, a toy, etc with you and make sure your diaper bag has a change of clothes and plenty of wipes. Lastly, do not expect to have a long leisurely meal. Plan to leave quickly if you cannot soothe your baby at the restaurant.

Tip: Don’t panic right away if baby has a crying spell that lasts longer than a few minutes. Simply take a few deeps breaths and take baby outside for a bit to calm him down.

Keep Your Baby Busy

The most important thing is to keep your baby entertained. Engage him in any way you can. If he’s old enough to eat on his own, bring (or order) non messy foods that he could eat a piece at a time. Foods like Cheerios for example, make great snacks and keep baby busy for a bit. Bring several toys/books that you think he may enjoy and space out the times in which you present these items to him.

Tip: Bring toys that your baby isn’t used to yet to keep boredom and crankiness at bay

Do not be disappointed if your night out does not go as planned. There is always next time – practice makes perfect. Each time you go out with baby you will learn how to keep him as happy as possible. Soon you will be able to actually enjoy a meal out in the company of your baby and your partner.

Remember there is no “wrong” or “bad” – you are making memories with your new family member!