Are you ready to get out of the house with your partner but not ready to leave baby at home? We asked local parents their recommendations for where to take their cute little 3rd wheel out on the town. Check out these fabulous suggestions!
NODO Downtown, Iowa City
"Inside and outside seating, casual menu, kid-friendly food for older siblings, delicious, and staff have always been very calm even when my youngest has cried or thrown a fit." - Hannah S.
Big Grove Brewpub, Solon
"I’m quite sure both of our baby’s first outings were to Big Grove in Solon. They are incredibly welcoming of families, have private and high backed booths, and it’s typically busy/loud enough in there that a little crying would go unnoticed." - Shona B. M.
Black Sheep Social Club, Cedar Rapids
"Black Sheep Social club in Cedar Rapids has a nice changing table." - Corey H.
Bread Garden, Iowa City
"You can sit outside (but inside is noisy and kid commotion goes unnoticed, too) and the food is inexpensive and delicious. Plus, a solid food eating kid can get foods from the salad bar with no wait, and they always have the well-received Mac and cheese, chicken fingers, and fruit. They have high chairs and are right next to the play equipment in front of library. The only hardship can be if you’re the only adult and have to go back inside if you ordered something from the kitchen (like the delicious flatbread pizzas!) and don’t love the idea of leaving the toddler in high chair alone but don’t want to hassle with taking them back inside with you. The owner is always super helpful and so are the workers." - Allison G.
Village Inn, Coralville (& Iowa City)
"Our first outing with our first was breakfast at village inn...which is great if you want a bunch of old ladies fawning over your baby." - Barb D.
Not feeling outdoorsy? Try a car picnic!
"[We] liked "car picnics" when she was really little, picking up a Pagliais and eating it in the car while she slept, just listening to music and talking. Doesn't really fit the getting out maybe but it was quite romantic for us and we connected so well being side by side in the car alone - baby asleep and no other people or commotion to distract from talking to each other. It felt like being teenagers. I have great memories of those dates." - Becca D.
Don't see your favorite on the list? No worries! Pack up that diaper bag and give it a try. Here are a few tips.
"I’ve found that everywhere in the Corridor is welcoming of families. We have always taken our babies out from the get go, and have never had a negative experience from staff including the many times I’ve breastfed at the table." - Barb D.
"It’s helpful to try to time a restaurant visit outside of peak hours, not only so it will be less busy/loud, but also to allow you your choice of booths or tables, and to ensure quick seating and service. There’s nothing worse than having to wait forever for a table with a cranky baby. We’ve found that eating outside on a patio/deck, etc. is always more soothing for babe when available, and usually any crying stands out less outside. Also, if you have a baby or toddler who is eating solids ordered from the menu, place that order ASAP, even if the adults don’t have their selections made yet. This will ensure that the LO’s food comes out first." - Grace S.
Still feeling nervous about your first time out with baby? Repeat this pep talk in your head.
"My biggest advice on going out with the baby is to be confident that you belong there, that your baby is welcome, and that other customers are more charmed than annoyed! A lot of discomfort can come from the self-imposed perception that others are constantly watching or judging you, and they're mostly not - they are socializing and eating! One person being annoyed with her spouse and staring off into space can be perceived as a judgmental look at your nursing if you are self-conscious already, so just own it and you'll be fine. If babe starts fussing or crying and you're shushing and rocking and furiously trying to get her to take a paci and cleaning spit up off of your date clothes, 90% of people who notice are impressed that you're getting out and reminiscing about "those days." Anyone who actually says anything negative (god forbid) is a reflection of their poor character. I did always choose restaurants with high chairs and a kids menu when bringing my baby or toddler because I considered that an endorsement of our presence." - Becca D.
The Doulas of Iowa City blog contains guest posts by Doulas of Iowa City member businesses. We are excited to share with you about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and surrounding communities and to help you connect to fabulous local resources.