Dear Diary,

When I first ventured outdoors with Caitlynn,  I said to myself, Self, restaurants should cater to babies by offering a special menu. First off, that would help moms who accidentally left pureed peas and chopped chicken on their kitchen counter at home.  Sleep deprived, I sometimes forgot to put my homemade meals back in the refrigerator! Second, the infant only options would add more hours to the day of working mothers.

When I went back to work when Caitlynn was 10-months-old,  I had a tough time balancing  the home and the office.  I no longer had the time to whip up homemade baby food in my overpriced baby blender and freeze a two-week supply.  So sometimes I felt guilty for feeding my daughter food out of a jar.  I’m not anti store-bought meals.  I just missed making some of her favorite foods.

Baby Friendly Restaurant

So, imagine my surprise when I treated my nephews to Eat N Park one day.  It’s like Bob Evans, which by the way, has Kids Eat Free Tuesdays for those outside of my zip code. In June, to celebrate Eat N Park’s mascot’s birthday, the kids menu prices drop down to 99 cents. By the way, the mascot is a Smiley faced cookie! As I ordered mac & cheese for my little princess, I noticed in small print that kids 10 and under are served snacks, free of charge.  Babies receive bananas and a plastic bib. Cloth options are available in the gift shop at select locations. Who knew there was a baby friendly restaurant right down the street from our house!  I’ve dined at this 24/7 hot spot for years, but since I didn’t have other children, I never needed a kids menu.  Caitlynn devoured her macaroni, so I took the fruit home for her breakfast the next day when I would rush to get to work on time.

I applaud Eat N Park for feeding families and recognizing that babies are customers too. Recently, McDain’s, a Pittsburgh restaurant and golf center banned babies from the dining room.  When questioned, the owner stated that kids under six were too rowdy.  In North Carolina, a seaside cafe posted a sign that said, No screaming children allowed.  I can understand that customers want to eat in peace.  But what about loud mouth patrons or intoxicated customers?  Should they forbid those paying people as well?

Hey DFTM family–What do you think about the baby bans?  Have you ever been asked to leave a restaurant, because you brought a baby?  Do you know of other restaurants offering infant options?  Where can you find baby friendly food on adult menus?  

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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