You asked and you shall now receive. It’s only fair for us to share all of this stored up knowledge about a baby and what happens once the baby is born until they are no longer called a baby but a toddler! We now will answer, in a very public forum, all of those burning questions about babies and those first 12 months. Each Tuesday, we will tackle a commonly-asked-question from the point of view of a new parent. Chiming in to give her feedback will be three women who have been there and done that: an expert (you know someone who does this for a living), a mom from our community (for the “best” friend advice you need) and a babybites’ team member (someone who will promise to give you the REAL deal and no fluff). Earmark, share and add your own input to today’s question; it’s good karma.
Should we take a baby to a restaurant?
Expert: Dr. Gina Lamb – Amato
You can start taking your baby to a restaurant right away as this will help build your baby’s immune system. You should avoid places with a lot of dust or smoke. Make sure your baby is fed and that you bring along a toy to keep her entertained. It’s actually easier to take an infant to a restaurant than a toddler as long as the infant is not hungry or uncomfortable. I personally took my newborn daughter to a restaurant from early on as my husband is in the arts, which necessitates a certain amount of entertaining and socializing at restaurants with clients. When I first had my baby I didn’t want to be separated from her and miss her feedings so I would take her with us. She would sleep contently in her car seat on the table while we had dinner and socialized. I did have a little tag on her car seat and carriage that said, “Please wash your hands before touching me” to avoid people coming up to decrease her exposure to other’s germs and bacteria. Being a pediatrician/mother knowing the possible infections infant can get, I was probably overly concerned and overly protective about my baby contracting an illness so I tried to limit especially strangers having close contact. One thing I recommend is bring a blanket so you can nurse your baby if you are breastfeeding or a bottle if you are formula feeding. I also tried to go to restaurants that had rest rooms that had places that were clean and comfortable for changing my daughter or where I could sit with her if she became fussy or needed a break. Since I have taken my daughter to restaurants since she was an infant she is now at 3 years very comfortable being and eating in many different types of restaurants which in New York City where people dine out all the time is helpful. Also there are restaurant that are more baby friendly than others, which you will rapidly learn.
Mom: Jen Dolce
Absolutely positively take your child to a restaurant. There were many times when other diners didn’t realize we had a baby with us because our daughter stayed sleeping in the car seat the entire time. Sometimes I would have to nurse which I would then go to the ladies room or have a bottle ready. The only time I strongly discourage one from dining out is if your baby is colicky and fussy.
babybites’ team: Elise Jones
Eating out was something my husband and I enjoyed immensely before we had children. So after our first was born, it was something we longed to return to. We waited just a bit to see if we could try and predict the baby’s schedule (ha1) and found that after a good feeding, the baby would sleep soundly in a sling or the bucket seat for a good hour. We stayed local and dined at more informal spots the first couple of goes. We made sure we sat closely to an exit or bathroom in order to make a quick escape if the baby decided to get fussy. But all in all, it was quite easy to eat out with a baby. Now when they become toddlers, that’s a whole other ball game!
About our team
Dr. Gina Lamb – Amato MD
Gina is a general pediatrician and developmental pediatrician who works at Village Pediatrics and Agho Medical practices both in Manhattan, NY. She has a masters in child therapy and works with a child psychologist Rosa Vasquez PhD performing office and home consultation for newborns and parents, office and home developmental assessments, school consultations and parent child playgroups where play and art along with baby massage and other techniques are used to help parents bond and support their child’s development. Formerly, Gina was the Director of Pediatric Special Medical Needs before she went into private practice where she cared for medically fragile infants and children. She is also a Early Intervention Pediatrician for Early Intervention which assesses and treats infants from age zero to 3 years. She has extensive experience in Early Head Start programs which work with infants from prenatal to 3 years of age. She is the mother of a beautiful daughter who is 3 years old and the joy of my life. Her husband is an artist, producer and owns Synchronicity Space, a non-profit arts organization that supports emerging artist in fine art and theatre. Finally, she is also an artist who paints mainly babies and children.
Jen is a mom of four girls, living in Windy City of Chicago.
Elise is the social media director and blog editor for Mommybites. She is responsible for engaging and investigating a variety of parenting topics found on Mommybites’ social media channels: parenting videos (webbybites), blog, Facebook, Twitter, and BlogTalkRadio show. The Mommybites’ blog is an outlet for moms who are in search of information to support them in their role as a parent. Prior to working with Mommybites, Elise was a teacher and worked in corporate PR. She is a wife and loving mom of two lovely girls and currently resides in New Jersey. In her spare time (HA!) she performs in the theater and is an active member of her local public arts council as well as blogs at Here in This House.