As we have taken active steps to educate Baby Rs palate with different foods, textures, and food experiences involving fair share of eating out (you know for training purposes, off course :), but if you are interested which kind weaning methodology we follow, go to New Milestone for Baby R- Solid Foods).
Our grand idea behind all this is to offer him different experiences, train his senses and hopefully in the end be able create enjoyable food time companion, who would enjoy eating out (so mummy and daddy can still go to restaurants and everybody would enjoy the time). After all, food time should be enjoyable, not stressful - also for kiddo.
So now when Baby R is eating with us regular food, he is also allowed to get his own seat in the cafes, and so far he is actively participating in eating out experience and enjoying it. But to be successful in his endeavours exploring new tastes, he needed some gear. And yes, at first we found out in the hard way that we were not prepared at all. No bibs, eating tools with us. After all we were total novices.
At first Baby R ended up having a slices of tomato and goat cheese on a napkin and burp cloth around his neck (as regular plates are getting flying abilities in our home and even the special kiddo dinnerware that should be stuck on the table finds its wings) and besides the fact that tomato slices got stuck on this improvised plate, we all enjoyed this bit improvised experience. So little by little noticing and observing what we were missing, we started to assemble our eating out gear, testing and guessing what would work and what wouldn't.
So below is our take on gear you need to take with you, before you will dive into big and interesting eating out with your baby world. And while we usually have a baby food pouch with us, we are still first trying to make good choice from the menu that we can share and supplement. (Though, I have noticed that veggies are bit scarce and in my book deep fried chicken is not kiddos food). So yes, plan ahead and have some food with you, as totally relying on cafe offerings might not be sustainable and nutritiously wholesome.
So in our diaper bag (pusletaske in Danish) you will find following Little Foodie gear.
Plate (We like a mini Happy Mats, as these are small and easy to transport, and in theory these should be harder for kiddo to lift up from the table. Well, as BabyR is specialist on lifting things up from the table, it will really not apply to us, though we could say these are more stuck than other plates).
Bib (!!! it is essential !!!) We have both the regular small + bigger bib that comes like a vest, covering also arms.
Little spoon (for occasional smoothie, puree etc. as sucking from the pouch is easy, but according to orthodontist not so good for littleones teeth and jaw).
Baking mat (hmm, yes you might ask why kiddo would need a baking mat in his eating out gear, but for us it acts as a substitute for the plate, it covers the table and is food safe. Better that regular place mat in my humble opinion).
Supplementary/Emergency foods (smoothie in a pouch and some finger food).
Wet wipes (again essential!!! I think no need to explain why you are better off with these than without).
Disinfecting gel/spray for wiping the surfaces before eating process could start. Chairs are important to wipe it down. (You wouldn't like to have some extra germs finding their way into your home).
Burp cloth this good all-around cloth is always handy.
Cup that don’t spill
Little toy that you can entertain little foodie and after meal you can easily wipe it down.
And now your little foodie should be ready to explore with gusto new tastes and eating environments :).
Update September 2018.
So as Baby R is now a toddler or lets call it a big boy. I realised that we have not used his eating out gear for couple of months, so it must be time to dissolve it and make room for more useful stuff. Well, he is very capable of using spoons and forks (though knife skills needs some practise, so we need to wait with this white table cloth places) and he is able to sit more or less by its own, without us thinking if he falls or not. After writing this R was 1o months at the time I have added some more useful things into the gear box. So now when I dissolve this here is the additions you should have when eating out with your kiddo.
Big zip-lock plastic bag to gather all the dirty bibs, and utensils etc in.
Straw or sports caps for plastic bottles if kiddo is not totally proficient drinking from glass or you are not really into water with “food divers” in it (mom hack :))
Cloth baby chair that helps you to make almost any chair baby chair and he is secured, still need supervision.
epz fun small plate
small fork and spoon.