The joys of parenthood are undeniable, but it is also uncontested that the arrival a little one has a tendency to disrupt or upend your ability to host or attend social functions. In part, this lack of socialization can contribute to feelings of isolation that many new parents experience. With summer upon us, it is a time when social functions are a regular occurrence, and none is more common than a large group of people gathering to enjoy food cooked on a grill. But how do you navigate the uncharted waters of hosting or attending a barbecue with baby in tow? Continue reading below for some helpful tips on how to barbecue with baby.

Forward Thinking and Advanced Planning

As with most things in parenting, preparation is key and being able to anticipate problems before they become an issue can save you a lot of hassle. Regardless of whether you are hosting or attending, it makes sense to plan around your infant’s normal routine and schedule. Make sure you have accounted for naps, have a bottle or two ready, bring a backup outfit and know what your time constraints are for your outing. Hosting a barbecue with baby along for the ride can be a bit more challenging, but it is not insurmountable with a bit of careful thought and planning.

There is No “I” in Team

While the concept of working together is important when attending a barbecue with baby by your side, it is absolutely critical when you are hosting the function. You and your partner will need to work together to ensure you both enjoy the party and your baby’s needs are met. While one is prepping food, the other can be playing a game with your infant to keep them occupied. You can also trade off responsibilities, so you make sure both of you get something to eat. It is also an excellent idea to recruit a friend to be a part of your team so that you both can focus on the tasks at hand.

Perfection is Not the Goal

Keep in mind that everything doesn’t have to be perfect for everyone to have a good time. Infants spit up and sometimes cry so don’t worry about it ruining the afternoon or evening. Your house may or may not be spotless, food may not be completely done when your guests arrive, or you may feel like you bought enough food for your guests. Remember the two most basic ingredients to a barbecue are friends/family and grilled foods, everything else is just noise.