Things to remember while eating out with your baby
Well, if you are a new mother, you are probably aware that social life can get a little messy when you have a newborn to take care of. And it continues to be so even after the first year. For instance, once you start introducing complementary foods to your baby, you might think that eating out will be fine. However, the biggest dilemma might be whether to give your baby a bite of the outside food or pack him some healthy food from home.
Here are a set of questions that should help you clear your doubts regarding what to feed your child when you are eating out.
Q. My baby has completed 6 months of age and has started eating complementary food, but I have plans to eat out. In such a situation, should I pack some eatables for the baby or allow him to eat a bite from my plate?
You might not find it a good idea to give your 6-18 months old baby outside food. That is because your baby’s immune system is not yet developed enough to fight food-borne infections.
Q. What are the foods that I can carry along and are simple to prepare, nutritious, and easy to pack?
For a child in the age group of 6-12 months, you can pack and carry food items like pureed fruits and vegetables, mashed rice or cereals with milk. You can also carry ready-to-eat packed foods for infants, and complementary cereals with added nutrients that just need to be mixed with water.
For a child in the age group of 12-18 months, you can pack food items which include sliced fresh fruits, cooked vegetables, whole-grain crackers, milk-soaked chapatis with ghee and sugar, and stuffed paranthas.
Q. What precautions shall I take while packing the food?
- While eating out with kids, always keep a flask of boiled water handy. It will help you mix cereals and also dilute any feed if required.
- Always carry hand wipes along with you.
- A microwave oven is available at almost all eating outlets these days. You can get your baby’s food warmed up before you feed him.
- Do not keep homemade food without refrigeration for more than 2 hours. After reaching the restaurant, feed your baby before you start eating yourself.
- Try not to introduce any new foods while you are out. It might trigger allergic reactions in the baby’s body.
Q. What shall I do if my baby is tempted by the food on my plate?
Raw foods like cucumber, carrot, or vegetable sandwich can pose a high risk of infections. So, these types of foods should not be offered to the baby. You should only offer him properly cooked food in his own bowl.
Also avoid giving any spicy or seasoned food to the baby. If he is already eating regular family meals, just offer him a small bite for tasting.
How can I make my restaurant visit comfortable?
Following are a few ways you can make your restaurant visit comfortable:
- Always try to go to a kid-friendly restaurant or a restaurant with kids’ play areas. If possible, go for one that is not over-crowded, so that your child has enough space to move around. The restaurant should ideally have a high chair too.
- Before going, you can call the restaurant and ask them about the best time to visit.
- Try to book a corner table so that you can get enough privacy and freedom for feeding your baby.
- Always keep the baby’s diaper bag well-equipped and handy. In case your baby gets irritable, you or your partner can take him outside while the other one finishes the meal.
- If all these tips do not work, then you can ask the restaurant manager to pack the leftover food and enjoy at home.
Eating out with a baby is not as scary as it sounds! By carrying the right foods and baby care items in a diaper bag, you can enjoy a pleasant meal at a restaurant or café. If you are accompanied by friends, it might be a wonderful opportunity to socialise and you will get to share your responsibilities too.