The arrival of a baby transforms parent’s habits overnight. Pre-baby, you were used to going out for dinner, perhaps to romantic classy restaurants, now it is all much more complicated... especially when you’ve started weaning them.
Feeding your baby solids when out and about can prove to be a bit of a nightmare if you’re not too sure on how to manage it, so much so that mums and dads often prefer to just eliminate the problem by not going out at all. This isn’t the best solution by any means: you and your partner both deserve to enjoy a few meals out, a trip to the beach without having to worry about the time, or even travelling with your baby in tow.
Armed with our tips, you won't have any problem: organising your little one’s mealtimes when out and about will prove much easier than you think. Ready to find out how?
Feeding baby solidswhen out and about: the essentials
First and foremost, equip yourself with all the right feeding equipment! Having the right “tools” on hand will make your life that much easier!
Here’s a list of essential items you should have at home, at the ready for any unplanned outings.
- Baby food containers, both thermal and non-thermal (more on this in a moment).
- A cooler bag.
- A bottle and brush to clean it.
- Plenty of bibs.
- Baby spoons and cutlery for preparing food.
- Pot and stove, or electric food cooker (obviously only for longer trips, not for day trips).
- Partially prepared or ready-to-use food (grated cheese, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, exact doses of cereal flour or pasta, baby food purees or cooked meat and fish, ready-to-use broth or vegetable soup divided into portions).
If your infant is old enough, you can also get a portable booster seat, so you don't have to worry about finding a place with highchairs.
We've put baby food containers at the top of our list. They're indispensable if you decide to eat out or take a family holiday with a baby of weaning-age in tow. However, not all of them have the same features…..
The perfect baby food thermos flask
A baby food thermos flask is in essential item if you decide to prepare your baby’s meals in advance. It's extremely handy, not only for transporting food and keeping it warm, but also for serving it without having to use, carry, or wash other additional bulky containers.
Which characteristics should I look out for in a baby food thermos?
- It should be large but compact: consider that it will have to hold about 300 grams of baby food (composed of both liquid and solid parts), which could vary in volume, you should get a 400/500 ml thermos.
- The best type is a square-shaped thermos, as it "fits" well inside bags and suitcases (round-shaped thermos are nice but slightly less practical).
- It must be leak-proof - you don't want to end up with food scattered everywhere! However, you can store the container in a plastic bag – for extra leakage protection.
- Check that it is microwave-safe, as this is the easiest way to heat up ready-made meals.
- If it's also dishwasher safe, even better: when you get home you can clean and sterilise it easily.
- Make sure that the thermos flask is durable: plastic is probably the best material in this respect (it's also lightweight, which is always a plus), but you can also find thermos flasks made from aluminium or even glass (although slightly more delicate).
Although sometimes a baby food flask isn’t always necessary: it depends on where you are going as well as your habits. Let's take a look at all the solutions available to help resolve any problems you may foresee on feeding your baby away from home.
Feeding baby solids wherever you may be
Choosing to eating lunch or dinner out one day in a restaurant or on a day trip is obviously a different story than taking a young baby away travelling. We’re going to cover all possible scenarios as we offer our 5 ideas for dealing with the "problem" of feeding baby solids away from home: it is then up to you to decide which is most suited to where you are going.
Preparing in advance
Having the right thermos, means that preparing baby food in advance, to ensure you can feed them at the right time, won’t ever be a problem. Make it the same way as ever, but just with a few small adjustments: add a little more liquid broth than normal and if you’re using pasta, only cook it halfway through. Thus, by dinnertime it’ll be as perfect as if it had been cooked on the spot.
Ready-made emergency meals
If you're going on a long trip, maybe abroad or somewhere where it may be more difficult to manage mealtimes, take some ready-made baby meals along with you: then just heat up what you need and voilà. Alternatively, you can opt for ready-made baby food purees, organic fruit smoothies with no added sugar or even healthy snacks. Healthy snacks are perfect for curbing your baby's hunger if they have to wait a little while for their main meal.
Cooking on the spot
This is by far the best solution if you are travelling and are in a fully equipped facility. You can take single portions of broth or cooked food with you, ready to freeze at your destination. Then all you have to do is thaw them out and cook them just as you would at home.
Even for just a single meal away from home, you can take everything you need with you and finish meal preparations there and then, perhaps using a microwave to warm it up.
Weaning without boundaries
Baby-led weaning makes things much easier when it comes to eating away from home, as the baby is already used to eating whatever their parents have. Whichever type of restaurant you’re in, you will be able to find a plain pasta or meat dish which you can cut up into small pieces: eating out won’t pose a problem at all.
Even if you’ve already started weaning your baby, a liquid meal once in a while won’t do them any harm. If it’s easier for you, prepare a bottle with a watery vegetable soup or some milk and cereal flour. It may even be less complicated just to breastfeed them! If you’re worried that milk on its own won’t be enough, give them a light meal before you go out.
As you can see, there are many different practical solutions which make feeding your baby solid foods when out and about more manageable. Being well-organised is key... and now, armed with all our advice, you’ll be able to enjoy meals out and family trips without any problem, we're sure of it!