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I can’t tell you how much we’ve enjoyed baby led weaning as a family. I’ve had thousands of parents read my post about our BLW success and I’ve gotten a lot of questions. I just want to tell every mom and dad out there to go for it. Give it a try and see if it works. If not, you can always go to purees.
I think my favorite part is that it makes my life so much easier, specifically when we’re on the go.
My husband had a moment when our son was about seven months old and we went out to eat as a family for the first time and Hewson ate what we ate. “He just loves being one of us and in our family!” he said while we ate our lunch. It was true! We love eating out and it was so fun to see our baby enjoying it too and not having to stress about bringing his special food with us.
Since we started BLW, people at restaurants stop us (usually older women) and marvel over how well he eats and ask how old he is. They can’t believe he doesn’t have teeth and eats everything we give him, especially the veggies.
However, it can be a bit of a mess so I wanted to share with you my tips for eating at a restaurant with baby led weaning.
Tips for Eating at a Restaurant with Baby Led Weaning
Be Mindful of the Salt!
I feel like I would be irresponsible if I didn’t remind you about the dangers of salt for little babies! Under one year they should have MAX 400 mg of sodium a day. Too much sodium equals serious and permanent kidney damage.
When you eat out they often drown the food in salt, so we try to stick to lots of whole foods and I specifically ask for no salt and no butter on meat/veggies my kiddo will be eating.
Do your homework before you go and look up the nutritional information online. For more tips on the DASH diet. When in doubt, go with steamed, unsalted, non-buttered veggies.
Use Disposable Placemats
These are the ones we use and, from what I can tell, are the best deal on the market. (Trust me, I looked.) They’re easy to use and stick really well to every surface we’ve encountered. They’re not super sticky on high chairs themselves, but they’re great. I would NEVER let my child eat off of a table at a restaurant (because I worked in a restaurant and I know what they use to clean the tables…) so these things are awesome.
Dropper Stoppers are LIFE
At some point your child will reach a developmental stage where they throw their cup (and other items) onto the ground… constantly. These dropper stoppers will save your sanity both at the dinner table (and prevent you from having to clean it off from nasty floor) and in the stroller, on walks, wherever. I have a ton of these.
BYOSC – Bring your Own Sippy Cup
So until your baby can drink out of a cup or straw without help (Hewson started drinking out of a straw at almost 10 months just fine on his own and started drinking out of a cup with help around 9 months), these seem to be the most popular. Bring your own!
Munchkin Weighted Straw
Make Your Own Sippy Cup
So just in caseI forget your own sippy cup and the restaurant we go to doesn’t have straws (these places DO exist!) or we go to a friend’s house who doesn’t have kids, I have these sippy-converters as well. (I don’t have the straws, but they would also be super handy and environmentally friendlier than one-time-use straws.)
Dedicate a Specific Bib
So the worst part of baby led weaning is the mess (I PROMISE IT GETS BETTER), but I feel like it is just not reasonable to ask a baby to be a clean eater because they’ll drop things. I keep this bib in our diaper bag and it cuts down on 95% of the food that goes to the floor.
But I will say this, don’t waste your money on disposable bibs. Try one of these:
Baby Bjorn’s bibs are my favorite above and beyond any other bib.
Munchkin Rinse and Roll is also great if you need a lower cost option!
Other tips for Baby Led Weaning at a Restaurant
A few more for you!
- Bring snacks just in case the food takes a little too long to arrive at the table. We’re big cheerio fans.
- Let baby eat off of your plate until you’re leaving a restaurant hungry, that’s when you know it’s time to order your little one his or her own meal!
- Especially at first, don’t be afraid to ask your waiter for extra veggies. I’ve never been charged for 2-3 slices of tomato or things like that.
- It’s exciting for some people to see your baby eat, but don’t let them force feed your babe!
- Always have water ready in case baby eats something a little too spicy (and be careful about spices!)
- Don’t forget to monitor ounces of water consumed per day! They can’t have much!
- Don’t stress if your sweet little babe drops food on the floor. I try to pick it up most of the time, but usually the staff is so charmed by a baby who wants to take a bite of a sandwich or munches on steak that they don’t care about the mess.
You got this! I’d love to hear about your Baby Led Weaning successes eating out!