Babies in restaurants. Is it a controversial topic?! I certainly never thought it was. Before I had a baby, I never minded babies in restaurants at all, why shouldn’t they be there?! If the baby got upset, I would feel bad for the parents but again, I wouldn’t give it a second thought – babies cry, and we were all babies once.
I really don’t like to get involved in drama, but when I saw a tweet suggesting that parents should not take babies to restaurants, I really wanted to write something on the matter. I appreciate that you may not want to spend your dinner next to a screaming child, but you know what, the parents don’t either!
Two weeks after giving birth to Dougie, it was my 28th birthday. I had already forgotten what sleep was, everything still hurt and I had a tiny human who wanting feeding constantly and was depending on me for absolutely everything. I had no intention of celebrating my birthday at all – in fact, I think I asked Sam if I could have a nap as a treat. My parents were coming down to see Dougie and timed it with the day before my birthday. They suggested going out for lunch. Initially the thought horrified me – we’d been out for some very slow, tentative walks and a couple of equally slow trips to the shop but that was about it. However, I decided wanted to go. I wasn’t going to be confined to our flat just because I had a baby!
Dougie came out for lunch with us that day. He slept peacefully in his buggy next to our table for most of it, woke for a feed, and then went back to sleep (fyi, newborns sleep a LOT). A couple of weeks later, Sam and I decided we deserved a mini date night, so we took Dougie to the lovely Indian restaurant across the road from us. Dougie slept for most of it, and then woke up and cried. I’d finished eating so I simply took him out of the buggy and rocked him, he calmed down and sat quietly in my arms, staring around the restaurant.
Going out for food is a fun and sociable thing and having a baby absolutely shouldn’t change that.
The idea that someone thinks I shouldn’t take my baby to a restaurant really bothered me. So what if he cries?! Of course I’m going to do everything I can to stop him crying, but not for the comfort of other diners, I’m going to do it because I love him and don’t want him upset! I’ve been out for dinner before when a couple in the restaurant had a blazing row and the woman stormed out in tears – that disturbed our evening far more than the family with the two kids eating together in the corner.
My NCT group, and our eight babies all went for lunch together, in a restaurant, and you know what? No-one minded. It was such a lovely way to spend a lunchtime! If you never take your babies and kids to restaurants, how will they learn how they should behave there when they are older?
Now Dougie is older, it’s even more fun because I can order food for him, and trust me, toddlers in restaurants are much, much more hard work than newborns!
Ever since Dougie was tiny, we’ve taken him to restaurants. Why shouldn’t we? A lot of pubs have a “no children after 8pm” (or whatever time) policy, which is fair enough, so chances are you won’t get many babies in restaurants or pubs later in the evening anyway.
Going out to dinner is a treat, and gives me a sense of normality, as it was something I was used to doing, so I have no intention of stopping. I’m grateful that so many restaurants are so accommodating to babies, as they should be, so it means I don’t have to give up my social life just because I’ve had a baby! So much has changed in my life in the last couple of years, and so being able to go out to eat with my family means the absolute world to me.