How do I do 'out and about' feeding?
If you're feeding on the go, the best advice is to be prepared. We show you what gear you’ll need, help you feed safely and share other mums’ tips
Feeding on the go checklist
To feed when you're out and about, you’ll need some key pieces of equipment...
- Non-spill cup with lid – now’s the time to be encouraging your baby to use a cup. Sippy cups and beakers come in different age stages, helping your baby make the transition
- Vacuum flask filled with hot water – if your baby doesn’t like cold food, fill a bowl with the hot water to warm it slightly
- Food pouches – if you’re using ready-made food, pouches are light to carry and easy to use for feeding on the go
- Small masher – great in early weaning for instant mashed soft fruit, although you may find a fork does just as well
- Disposable or standard bib – feeding on the go is usually messy. Disposables are more expensive over time but can just be chucked in the bin at the end. If using a standard bib, bring a soft one and a bag to put it in afterwards
- Travel pack of wipes – faces, hands, clothes, chairs, you - all can benefit from a quick wipe.
- Small cool bag and ice-pack – choose from funky-style baby-sized cool bags and soft and flexible ice packs so you’re not laden down
- Lidded bowl – lids are great if your baby often doesn’t finish all of her food, and there’s no easy way of disposing of it
- Portable high chair - see below to check whether you'll need one
- Spoons or cutlery in storage pod – avoid smearing food mess over the insides of your bag by making sure you keep them in a storage pod
- Lidded storage pot – you decide portion size and just bring what you need
Will I need a travel high chair or booster seat?
- Yes - if you eat out as a family regularly, or plan to visit friends and family frequently.
- Maybe - if you are planning a trip somewhere that might not have access to a highchair, or want something to keep in the car boot for impromptu meals out.
- No - not if you have a small pushchair with multi-position seat height, or regularly visit somewhere that has a highchair available
Top tips for out and about feeding
If you want to go out for the day, you’ll need to be flexible when it comes to feeding. The best approach – be prepared. Use our checklist - and pack most of it the night before if you have an early start.
Some restaurants, cafes and hotels will be happy to heat up food or milk, usually in a microwave. If so, ask them to do a short heat and mix it thoroughly, to avoid any hotspots remaining in the food, and check the temperature before serving.
Always aim to feed your baby in a secure seat with a harness for safety. This could be your pushchair, a travel booster, standard highchair or even your car seat. Many restaurants or cafes have high chairs you can use, but they may not have five-point harnesses so keep your eyes on your child.
Mums advice on feeding when you're out and about
"Skye is fascinated by our cutlery, and now demands to sit on our laps while we're eating, and have some of our food off the big forks!
"She has a little Tommee Tippee metal cutlery set at the ready, but I have bought some spoons from Asda which are plastic with animal faces on them.
"They’re a bit big for her mouth yet I think! She also has a plastic spoon, fork, knife set and uses the fork to eat banana with quite well," says posy1971.
"We have a fabric travel highchair and it is brilliant! Bought it for a holiday abroad and now it lives in LO’s nappy bag in case we need it.
"Folds away so small, can be thrown in the wash and my daughter is a real wriggle bum too but is fine in it. I think she likes being in a grown up chair!" adds radrosh26.
7 safety tips for feeding your baby on the go
- Your baby’s food should be put in a cool bag and kept in the shade, as any meal that’s been sitting in the heat can cause possible health risks.
- For short trips, homemade purees kept in cool bags are ideal
- For longer days out, shop-bought puree pouches or jars that are sterile can be a good choice
- Restaurant and café highchairs are often not as secure as your one at home and may be easy to climb out of
- Don’t assume a restaurant or café will have highchairs available just because the website says it does. At busy family-friendly places, they often have a limited number which may need to be pre-booked
- Table settings are a baby or toddler’s playground. Watch out for little hands on glasses, salt and pepper pots, knives and especially tempting bowls of sugar
- If you have any milk or food heated up on the premises, always stir it will to spread the heat through and avoid any extra hot areas, plus test the temperature on the back of your hand before feeding.