When my oldest son turned 6 months, we started eating out at restaurants. I basically just needed to get out, savor what it was like before baby, and enjoy being out. Well…let me tell you that my first experience was NOT enjoyable. I wasn’t prepared since all I had with me was a regular diaper bag filled with essential items that included a change of clothes, diapers, wipes, milk, pacifiers, and a toy or two. I really had no idea that going to a restaurant with a baby required a set of extra special items! In my car I made sure to have two bags- one main diaper bag with the everyday items and another smaller bag with restaurant ready to use items. Here is a list of what I pack in my son’s restaurant bag:
- High Chair Cover
- Wipes: Hand and Face Wipes and Sanitizer Wipes
- Disposable placemats
- Activities: Magnetic Boards (Create A Scene) or Triangular Crayons & Mini Notepad
- Cloth or Plastic Books
- Baby Cereal or Finger Snacks
- Squeezable Baby Food
- Foldable Bibs
- Cutlery: Spoon, Fork, small pair of scissors
- Zip Lock Bags or any type of large foldable reusable bags
High Chair Cover
This is definitely an essential, especially if it’s a restaurant that doesn’t clean their high chairs often. I find that having this makes putting a baby/toddler into their high chair much faster instead of taking time to dish out the wipes to wipe down their chair. A machine washable high chair cover makes it easy for you to just take off, put in a bag, and throw in a wash.
Babies are messy eaters. Prepare yourself and get them clean by bringing along some hand wipes that doubles as face wipes. Make sure that it’s one that’s also safe for a baby’s sensitive skin. I also recommend packing some sanitizer wipes in case you’d like to wipe down that table that hasn’t been cleaned yet. Often times, when traveling with a baby to a restaurant with open seating you just want to get them seated at the next available table, order, and get them fed before they lose patience. Sometimes, that table doesn’t necessarily mean that it has been “cleaned.”
I’m a fan of those stick on disposable placemats that have cute scenes: whether it be numbers, colors, the alphabet. There’s just so many out there with eye-catching colors! They’re great to just slap onto the table so you can serve your baby some snacks as you order and wait for food.
Hands on activities are great to bring along. My son loves the Create A Scene magnetic boards. It’s easy to interchange the characters, plus it’s magnetic and decreases the likelihood of falling off the table. Sometimes, I also pack some triangular crayons and a mini notepad for him to doodle on. It’s easy to hold and does not roll off the table!!
Cloth or Plastic Books
Those books that you can bring into the tub…bring them along with you to restaurants! They’re easy to wipe clean when food gets on them. Cloth books are great, too, since you can just throw those into the wash.
Baby Cereal and Finger Snacks
I find that packing a small container of cereal snacks or crackers are great for keeping their little fingers busy, as well as, keeping their bellies happy. After all, no one likes a “hangry” baby. You can make it a game on their placemat by placing a snack on a color or a number or a letter and have them grab the snack that’s on it. For example, you can say- “Find the cracker on the letter A.”
Squeezable Baby Food
Just to change things up a bit with eating/feeding, I pack along some squeezable pouches of applesauce or something with a mix of fruit and veggie. Whatever is a favorite for my son, that’s usually what I’ll pack. I leave the new stuff for home since I do want to keep him happy when we’re out and about!
I like the bibs that are easy to clean, easy to fold up, and store away. Sometimes, I do pack along some machine washable bibs since they’ll have a somewhat cloth like texture that allows it to fold flat when stored.
This includes a baby/toddler spoon and a fork. Pack along a small pair of scissors for you to use. That'll make cutting those pieces of chicken, meat, fruit, or veggie into small pieces a breeze! Never trust a restaurant to be able to hand you some baby safe utensils. I made this mistake one too many times. Have some ready to go in a zip lock bag or in a reusable pouch/container. Your baby will feel much comfortable using cutlery that they’ve used at home when they’re out and about.
Gallon Size Zip Lock Bag or Reusable Bag
Packing a couple of these in your restaurant bag is essential if you don’t have time to wipe up those soiled items. Just toss in a bag and go. You’ll definitely feel much better cleaning up any items in the comfort of your own home and on your own time.
There you go! These are my baby/toddler restaurant bag must-have items. What items do you pack in your baby restaurant bag? Are there other things that you’d recommend that isn’t on this list? Let us know in the comments! Until next time, stay happy and healthy with your baby!