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How I've Learned to Rejoin My Family at the Dinner Table.

Happy Baby, Clean Plate

It’s almost comical how many of my meals are eaten cold these days. It seems the minute a hot plate of food is set down in front of me, Arlo will start to cry and need my attention. I swear he must have a radar for dinnertime! I can’t tell you how many times when we go out to eat, I’ve had to resist the urge to grab our waitress’s arm, pull her to me and say “Tell the kitchen to hurry! The sleeping baby clock is ticking down!!”

So in an attempt to rejoin my family at the table, I’ve picked up a few new tricks for soothing baby and getting my grub on:

  1. Baby Carrying! Nothing makes Arlo happier than to be strapped right up against me, so often I’ll just bundle him in the moby wrap up against my chest and eat over top of him. He’s happy to be snuggled close to mama and I’m happy to eat uninterrupted! A tip here drape a burp cloth over baby’s head so you don’t have to worry about dropping food on your child (although I may have been guilty of getting ketchup on Arlo’s head before…shhhh!) And of course, don’t attempt to eat anything like hot soup.
  2. The nurse-paci-pat routine.  When I know we are about 20 minutes from eating, I try to nurse Arlo to sleep. Once I know his belly is full, I’ll put his paci in, lay him down and pat him gently until he drifts off. It’s all about timing it so that he goes down just before we eat.  This only works when I’m the one not cooking.
  3. Across the knees. This one seems to be used most often these days. My little guy just wants to be close and sometimes isn’t interested in sleeping. I’ve found that if I prop him on my knees either on his back or belly he is happy to kick his legs and look around while I eat. I usually sit sideways so that I can be close to my plate and he is out of the way of falling food. I make lots of eye contact and talk to him between bites and that seems to keep him entertained.

 

Trying any of these three tips has helped me feel more like a functioning part of the family and not the woman in the corner yelling “Go ahead and eat without me!” Plus, hot food tastes way more delicious than a cold plate!

Do you have any tips for eating and caring for your little one?

~Melissa

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