Friday, September 25, 2009

Feeding Your Kids

The following posts cover some of the convenient features of Club Med Punta Cana (Baby Bottle Room, Baby Corner) and logistics related to feeding your kids (Buffet with Baby, Food in Between Meals) during your stay.

Babies and Toddlers

Kids All Ages

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Keeping Kids Happy: Food Between Meals

If you child participates in the Baby Club, Petit Club, or Mini Club, you will take them to breakfast, and then they will have AM/PM snacks, and lunch as part of their day program. Older children who do the Pyjama Club can have dinner with their GOs, too. However, regardless of age, dinner does not start until fairly late by US standards, and certainly late by little kid standards, particularly when those kids have had a full day outside and not vegetating in front of a TV, etc. We found that we needed to provide a beverage and snack between kids' programs pick-up and dinner time for our 15 month and (later) 2 yr old, and I've read other parents' comments that older kids are hungry before dinner, too. If your child does not participate in any programs, you'll have them for an "AM" snack, afternoon snack, and the pre-dinner witching hour when everyone seems to have low blood sugar. So what to do?

Tips to Keep Kids' Hunger at Bay Between Meals:

(Note that these are not in a particular order - select an approach that fits your needs/style.)

__Bring wrapped snacks from home (such as snack bars, or large resealable bag of favorite dry snack/cereal and small bags to dispense into)
__Take 'contained' (wrapped) snacks from the breakfast buffet that will not attract bugs in your bag or room, such as bananas and boxed cereals
__Go to the all-day Celeste beach-side cafe and order something simple, like a quesedilla (note that the limited cafe menu is not particularly geared toward children - no 'kiddie meals' but there are a few things on it that children will most likely eat)

__Ask the bartender for juice or milk for bottle/sippy. In 2009, the bartender actually went back behind the bar and dug up an apple juice drink box!
__Check out the Baby Bottle Room - you should be able to get milk here (bring your own cup/bottle), and possibly snacks (but don't count on snacks)

After everyone was cleaned up and ready for the evening after a day playing or at the beach, we usually went to the main bar and hung out until dinner. We got our daughter juice or milk from the bar for her bottle or sippy, and gave her some boxed cereal to munch on while she hung out with us. Since she was younger, we just didn't want to get her set up to eat at the Celeste cafe, and go through the motions of a meal, only to drag her off to yet *another* sit down meal when the restaurants opened.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mealtime: Buffet with Baby

We really enjoyed the food during our stays!! There are many comments on Club Med food on other sites, so I won't replicate them. This post is more about logistics.

Eating buffet with a very small child means that most likely one parent stays and supervises while the other parent gets food. If you are alone, and find a GO present in the Baby Corner, ask him/her to watch your child while you navigate the buffet. (This isn't something that I would normally do in a restaurant at home, of course, but I would have no problem doing it provided that the GO was 'on duty' in the Baby Corner and the child wouldn't flip out if you step away to the buffet for 3 minutes.)

Milk: The milk provided at Punta Cana in the Baby Corner and in the Baby Bottle Room (Biberonnerie) is UHT. This type of milk is common in Europe, and in the US is becoming more common for drink box milk (usually flavored), as it does not require refrigeration until opened. Different types of UHT milk (whole, reduced fat, etc.) may be available. In 2008, I noticed more types of milk, and even soy milk, whereas in 2009, I found mostly whole milk, although the buffet cheese sections did have some reduced fat milk.

Food: The buffets are huge and you should always be able to find something that you children will eat, regardless of their age. Bland, familiar staples such as pasta, bread (many delicious kinds), rice, yogurt, and bananas are available every day, and pizza and "kid friendly" chicken are also 'regulars.' Of course, if your children are more venturesome, there's a very **wide** range of things to choose from at each meal that you all will enjoy.

Comment on Samana: Since Samana was renovated in 2008, the table surfaces on the main floor (as opposed to Baby Corner - don't recall what those are) are a kind of marble-type material. This probably isn't the best kind of tabletop for very small kids who still want to bang silverware, plates, etc. -- very loud, and also somewhat slippery if there is any liquid at all on the table. So I would definitely consider the Baby Corner if your child is at a specific stage when eating in Samana. The tables at Hispaniola are a more kid-friendly surface. Post-renovation, Hispaniola is also more low-key, while Samana is slightly more formal.