My husband and I love going out to eat and having a baby hasn't stopped us. It was, however, much easier when Hannah was younger and slept a lot more. She would come to the restaurant a little drowsy, I would feed her, and then she'd go back to sleep or at least be content with being held. Now, she's more fussy and wants to practice standing or rolling around. At a restaurant, that's simply not feasible. Here are a few suggestions to keep your baby happy at the table while learning at the same time.
1) Books - Cloth books are especially great because you can wash them if food gets on them. They provide a good chewing stimulus if the little one is teething.
2) Rings - Long rings can hook around a booster seat or a table leg and provides hours (okay minutes) of enjoyment. You can teach colours, shapes, patterns, and numbers using this simple toy.
3) Squeaky Toys - If you can stand the quacks and moos for half an hour, then any stuffed toy that makes a noise is perfect for your little one. It distracts, entertains, and teaches your baby that animals have dinner conversation too.
DINING TIP: Time it so that you can feed your baby while your meal is being prepared. Once your baby has finished his or her meal, your meal should be ready. Your satisfied baby can now (hopefully) spend thirty to forty minutes entertained by the above toys. If not, order something you don't need to cut with a knife and be prepared to hold onto your little one. Happy Dining!