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
- 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!
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.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!
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