One of my favorite types of trips to plan is a special occasion getaway. Valentines… birthdays… anniversaries… I love them all! And, the meal is one of the things on that trip that I look forward to most. But, now that we have a little one, celebrating with baby while traveling for those special occasions have become a little bit more tricky – we don’t have a babysitter on the road.
And while I don’t mind Cracker Barrel every once in a while, it is not where I want to celebrate my special occasion. For that, I want to go somewhere nice – you know… splurge a little!
Thankfully I’ve found that even with a baby, you can still indulge and eat somewhere nice. Here are a couple tips to help make sure your celebration dinner isn’t stressful.
1. Skip peak hours (6-9 on weekends)
- I know when you’re at home, the time to celebrate is Saturday night. But, when you’re celebrating with baby while traveling, you’re not limited by work or other obligations, so try a weeknight. If you are only able to take a weekend getaway, then try a late lunch/early dinner instead.
- We usually choose to go around 5pm. We have found that most restaurants aren’t horribly busy but you still feel like you are in the social world. I also don’t feel like I have to hide my little one from a judging crowd.
2. Feed your baby before you go
- If a baby is hungry he/she is going to cry. As they rightly should… they deserve to be fed too. So try and feed baby before you go so that they get the bulk of their calories beforehand. A HANGRY baby is not a fun baby.
- My little one makes a complete mess when eating. Giving her, her dinner at a nice restaurant is out of the cards for us. If your baby is the best eater ever and doesn’t fling or drop food everywhere then you’re lucky and go right ahead and skip this advise, but I don’t think this applies to many babies.
- I want to be clear – I don’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t give baby anything when you’re at dinner. If my husband and I are eating, our baby wants to eat too. It causes much less of a scene to give the baby that piece of bread from the bread basket then to tell them no.
- If you’re breastfeeding, I still recommend nursing before you get to the restaurant. Most restaurants don’t come equipped with a nursing lounge, and you don’t want to be stuck nursing in a bathroom. Plus, it’s a special occasion dinner, so you should take some time for yourself, not feed your baby though your meal. (Note: I’m all for breastfeeding in public, so if you choose to do it at the table you won’t get any shame for me. However, others in the restaurant might shame you. Prepare yourself).
3. Change baby’s diaper before you get to the restaurant
- A lot of times, upscale restaurants do not have a changing table in the bathroom, which means you will have to change your baby’s diaper on the floor of the handicap stall. While this is doable, it’s not my preferred place to change my baby’s diaper.
- That being said, there are emergencies. Once, my baby worked something out (if you know what I mean) while we were eating our salad. By all means, change that poor baby’s diaper.
4. Keep them entertained
- If you’re celebrating with baby while traveling, you want to try to actually celebrate your occasion, not play with baby the whole meal. But, you can’t expect a baby to just sit there and be quiet while you enjoy your meal. So, find something to keep them occupied that will not make a mess, or be thrown across the restaurant.
- If your baby is still young enough to be in their pumpkin seat, maybe you’ll get lucky and they will sleep through the whole meal. If not, I have found that a cross bar toy has worked well. For babies in a highchair, a toy clipped to the bar works well. This way, baby can play with the toy, and you won’t spend time constantly picking it up.
- There are times when my baby just doesn’t want to sit by herself or play with the toy I gave her. So to keep the peace, I let her sit on my lap and maybe have a couple bites of my mashed potatoes. You don’t have to ignore your baby!
5. If baby has a meltdown, take him/her outside
- Be courteous to those celebrating around you, and take crying baby away from the table. Other patrons are also paying a lot of money to have a nice, quiet, uninterrupted meal. Not only does a walk keep others from getting irritated, but sometimes a change of scenery is all baby needs to calm down.
General considerations for celebrating with baby while traveling:
Remember that while nice restaurants may be okay with you having a baby there, they are not necessarily baby friendly. You are going to be dining with business people and socialites. They are probably going to immediately look down on you when they see your baby. If you are worried about it, you may be better off somewhere a little bit more family friendly.
Even though an upscale restaurant is not a typical place for a baby, no one has the right to baby shame you or make you feel bad about bringing your baby – You are paying for your meal too!
If you liked this post, and it has eased your anxiety about celebrating with baby while traveling, be sure to subscribe below so that you don’t miss any other tips or tricks! If you are ready to look for dining inspiration, here is a roundup of the most romantic restaurants in the world. Need help planning your special occasion getaway? Try this post!
Tags: Special Occasion