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Eating out with a BLW baby!

Squid getting impatient waiting for his lunch!

We love eating out as a family. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, we eat out several times a month. I really love taking Squid to new places and letting him try new foods. However, BLW inevitably = MESS! This might put some people off dining out with their small people in the really messy, early stages of BLW, but I’ve got a handy list of tips to make eating out mess free and stress free! With a few minutes of preparation, eating out with your BLW baby can be fun and easy. 

When out and about, I pack essentials into our lunchbox.  I always take snacks with me: they’re great for if we ever get stuck anywhere, or if we are out for dinner and Squid gets bored waiting. I try and take snacks that fit into one little pot: bread sticks, raisins, cubes of cheese. This saves space and I can just grab the pot easily! 
If we go out over lunch time, to a play group or the park for example, I take lunch for him too. This saves buying something expensive for him, (I spent £2 on a fruit pot for him in Starbucks a few weeks ago – who knew fruit could be so expensive?!), and also means that I know the salt and sugar content of what I’m giving him. 

I know that when you eat out, in a restaurant of café, you’re paying for a service which includes someone preparing and serving food and cleaning up after you, but I used to work in a café, and I absolutely hated cleaning up the massive, soggy messes left by some families. 

When we go out to eat, I make sure I have our essentials with us. Into our lunchbox usually goes:

  • Dettol wipes
  • Snack pot
  • Bag for life
  • Disposable floor mat (we get them from the Poundshop, they come in packs of 4!
  • Baby-sized spoons/forks
  • Cup
  • Bin bag
  • Wet flannel (30p each in Wilkinson!)
  • Cover-all bib

Firstly, I always give high chairs and tables a wipe over with a dettol wipe – because Squid prefers to throw plates than eat off them, I like his eating surface to be clean! Then we always put a disposable paper table cloth under the high chair – this catches any spillages or droppages and can be easily scooped up into a bag afterwards! Also, it means that if your baby accidentally drops their food onto the mat, you can pick it up and give it back to them as it hasn’t touched the floor!

To save his clothes when we are out, I always put Squid in a cover-all bib: I find the fabric ones restrict his movement less than the plastic ones! 

Fabric bibs are easy to wash and don’t restrict baby’s movement when eating

Then, at the end of the meal, I clean Squid with the wet flannel and then wipe down the table and highchair, and pop the flannel, any of our plastic cutlery and plates, plus his bib and cup into the fabric, washable bag for life (to wash when I get home). Next I scoop up the floor mat and any other rubbish and put it straight into the bin bag. Restaurants always appreciate the effort to keep things tidy, and it takes no time at all! 

So what can your BLW baby eat when dining out? I never order Squid his own meal – I know the day will come when I have to, but for now, he is happy having some food from mine and Daddy Squid’s plates! I order whatever I fancy and then cut Squid-sized pieces off for the small person (remember – chip shaped!) I am always mindful of how things are cooked, for example with extra salt – if in doubt, request for your dish to be cooked without salt. If, for example, I ordered myself steak, jacket potato and vegetables, I would put a bit of everything in front of Squid – he really loves steak! 

The only things I would be mindful of are, as I said, salt, but also sugar content, honey (babies under 1 year can’t have it), whole nuts, bones in fish, plus anything really spicy. Squid loves spice but I wouldn’t have given him spicy food for the first time when out and about. 

Daddy Squid’s breakfast <– and Baby Squid’s breakfast –>

Where is your favourite place to eat with your BLW baby? What do they like to tuck into when dining out? Let me know in the comments!

Find me on Twitter and Instagram: @squidmamma for more baby and life updates! 

Love, 

Squidmamma x 

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BLW ‘Essentials’ – What Do You Really Need? 

So, once we had decided that BLW was the way to go for us, we gathered supplies and prepared to offer Squid his first taste of solid food. 

Below is a list of all the things we have found really useful, though not all of these things are strictly essential!

  • A dog. (Just kidding!)
  • Floor mat – this is a PVC table cloth – easy to wipe/hose down! Protects the floor…
  • Cover-all bibs – we like the IKEA ones best. 
  • Pelican bib – collects all the crud. Baby likes eating from it. Grim. 
  • Antibacterial wipes – to wipe down highchairs and tables in restaurants. 
  • Flannels – cheaper than baby wipes, reusable! Wilkinson do them for 30p each – we have 10. 
  • A good highchair – we use the Antilop from IKEA, and it really gets my vote. Though it doesn’t fold down, it is so easy to clean (or hose down!), the legs come off so it’s easy to transport, plus you can use just the seat part for floor picnics, the tray is removable and dishwasher safe, it’s sturdy and secure! You can get an insert to slot into it if you have a smaller baby – but Squid got a bit stuck with the insert so we had to abandon that! 
  • An open cup and a doidy cup – Squid has never been a fan of a bottle or sippy cup, but took to (water in) an open cup brilliantly. 
  • Spoons and forks – to pre-load with ‘sloppier’ foods.  
  • Plastic plates and bowls – perfect for child-size portions. 
  • Pots – varying sizes, perfect for snacks. 
  • A lunch box – to carry food/essentials when out and about. 
  • Paper table cloths – we use these as floor mats in restaurants. I personally think you should clear up after yourself in a restaurant with a baby – reasonable mess is to be expected but, having worked in a restaurant as a teen, I remember really hating cleaning up messes after babies. These paper floor mats are great, you can just scoop them up and bin them afterwards!
  • Carrier bags – to put rubbish in when eating out. 
  • Washable bag for life – I take one everywhere! We put in used plates, cups, cutlery and bibs when we’ve eaten out, so I know they need washing when we get home.
  • Baby wipes – for small messes, a flannel really is better for a big clean up jobby!
  • The BLW book and cook book – not totally essential – you can find it all online! – but good to have for reference.
  • Patience. So much patience. 

I find shops like IKEA, Aldi, the Poundshop, B&M and Homebargains great to grab bits cheaply from the list above! 

Though all of the above have been useful to us so far, I don’t think there’s anything you really need for BLW other than a bath, a sense of humour and a Hoover! 

What have you found useful on your weaning journey?
Find me on Twitter and Instagram: @squidmamma for daily baby/life updates!

Look out for Monday’s post on ‘Eating Out with a BLW Baby’!

Love, 

Squidmamma x