Wondering how to grocery shop with a baby? Getting out of the house with a newborn can feel overwhelming, but at some point it becomes necessary. If your fridge is empty, it might just be time to take the plunge.
Newborns can be unpredictable and the first shopping trip can be a daunting task.
Will they cry the whole time?
What if they have a diaper blow out?
How do I keep them safe from germs?
If you’re feeling nervous about taking your newborn out shopping, we have figured out all of the tips and tricks to make the trip go as smoothly as possible.
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Timing Is Everything
One of the trickiest aspects of planning a shopping trip with your baby is figuring out the timing. Ideally you can work within your baby’s usual schedule to find a time when baby will be fed and happy or sleeping.
For newborns timing your trip between feedings is essential. Going shopping right after a feeding optimizes your window of time before the next feeding.
Newborns and young infants may be perfectly happy napping on the go. This also makes your shopping trip a breeze if they snooze through it.
For older baby’s, who may be too distracted to sleep while out and about, you’ll have to plan around naps as well. This limits your schedule more and also means that baby will be awake during your shopping trip.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but it’s best to avoid if at all possible any times of day that baby is usually fussy.
Planning ahead and being prepared can help make your shopping trip a success. Make sure your diaper bag is stocked.
You definitely don’t want to get caught without a diaper or pacifier if you need one. If it’s possible that your baby will want their next feeding while you’re out, be sure to bring an extra bottle or anything you’ll need to feel comfortable breastfeeding.
If you’re nervous about nursing while shopping check out these great tips for breastfeeding in public.
Also, have your grocery list ready. You want to be able to get in and out as quickly as possible, so it’s best to know exactly what you need. Shop with a purpose.
How To Grocery Shop With A Baby
Ok, so once you’ve figured out the best timing, how do you actually go about your shopping? Where should you put the baby? How do you keep the baby happy and shop?
What age can baby sit in the shopping cart?
The simplest place for your baby to sit in the seat of the shopping cart, but infants should not be put there until they can sit independently, usually around 6 months old.
For an infant old enough to sit in the cart seat, you can get a cart cover which can help them sit more comfortably and some have attached toys to keep them busy. As an added bonus, it keeps baby from chewing on the grimy cart.
But if you need to shop with a younger infant, you need other options.
Put The Car Seat In The Shopping Cart
If you have an infant car seat, you can leave baby in the seat and place it in the cart.
The big pro for this method of shopping is that you can leave a sleeping baby relatively undisturbed.
It’s really important to note that a car seat is not a safe sleep environment for your baby though, obviously you shouldn’t be leaving them unsupervised in the shopping cart, but be sure to monitor them closely.
The major con of the car seat method, is that the car seat takes up a ton of space in your shopping cart.
Putting a cat seat on the top portion of the cart is not safe and can cause the cart and your baby with it to tip over. The car seat should be placed in the lower basket of the shopping cart.
This means you have to shove your groceries around the edges of the seat and does limit what you can fit.
For large shopping trips, I have pulled a second cart behind me to fill, but this is also not super easy or convenient.
Grocery Shop With A Baby Stroller
Another method of shopping is to ditch the shopping cart in favor of a stroller. If you’re wondering how to grocery shop with a baby stroller, well, it’s not without challenges.
If your car seat and stroller are compatible, you can leave baby in their seat, preserving the ability to let a napping baby sleep. Most strollers also handle much better than shopping carts which can make it a smoother ride and allow you to maneuver around easily.
However, most strollers have pretty small storage spaces leaving you in a similar problem as a shopping cart.
While this works fine for very small shopping trips, you may not be able to fit everything you need.
Use a Shopping Cart Hammock
This cool baby hammock attaches to the sides of the shopping cart and allows baby to sit securely clipped across the basket.
I must admit that I have not tried the hammock, but it gets rave reviews and appears to be a great way to shop with a baby. It gives baby a safe space while also leaving the basket of the cart open for your groceries.
It fits most store carts and rolls up neatly to fit in a diaper bag or purse.
Grocery Shop With Baby In A Carrier
Using a baby carrier keeps baby snug while letting you have your hands free to shop.
This happens to be my preferred way to shop with an infant. Many babies will sleep great in the carrier and even when they don’t they’re often happy to be close to you and able to observe. The carrier also deters strangers from touching your baby which is a big plus in my book.
If your baby loves the carrier, this is the way to shop.
The only drawback is that occasionally it can be a bit challenging to grab items that require crouching down or a far reach.
I have a few different types of carriers and prefer different ones at different ages, but my favorite overall in the Ergo360. It’s very comfortable and baby can be worn in the front or back either facing in or out. However, for younger infants, I’d pick a sling, wrap, or baby k’tan.
Shop From Home
These days, there are lots of options that allow you to do your shopping more or less from home. I think I lied before because actually my favorite way to shop with an infant is to avoid the store altogether.
Many groceries stores offer curbside pick up at no additional fee. If you don’t want to leave the house at all, many delivery options are also available. You can even get groceries from Amazon.
Grocery shopping hasn’t always gone perfectly for me. I had a diaper blow out in a Walmart. I left a Target without even buying a single thing when my baby would not stop crying. Babies don’t always cooperate and sometimes we just have to roll with it.
What tricks do you have for shopping with your baby?