So, you need to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things, but you just can’t find anyone to watch your baby.
Well, why not bring your little one along with you? Not only will it give them more exposure to the outside world, but it can also help them socialize more and get used to other people.
In a way, it can also help the two of you get closer! Before you go, you might be wondering a lot of things, such as when it’s safe to put a baby in shopping carts, and what sorts of things to bring with you on your trip.
Here are a few tips that will hopefully help make things easier for you. Going to the store with your baby can seem intimidating, but we’ve got your back!
Your Baby’s Age Matters
Wait until your baby can sit up and stay up for a while until placing them upright in the cart seat – this usually happens at around the 6-month mark.
For babies younger than that, they may do better with a shopping cart hammock. The seat belts on a shopping cart’s infant seat don’t keep your baby that stable, so if they can’t sit up, they could still fall.
Safety Is A Top Priority
This may seem like a given, but it’s very important. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 23,000 children are treated yearly for injuries from shopping carts.
Does that sound scary? Don’t worry, as long as you follow their recommendations, your little one should be fine.
Here are some options that the AAP suggests:
- Get another grownup to go shopping with you so they can help look after the baby. Four eyes are better than two!
- If you’re not shopping for much, try using a stroller instead.
- Always put on a seat belt or harness! (Make sure the cart has one)
- Never leave your baby alone in the cart, even if they’re asleep.
- Don’t let your baby stand up in the cart or ride in the bottom part (where the groceries go).
- Don’t allow a child to ride on the outside parts of the cart – they could get hurt!
- Do not let your child climb on the cart.
- Keep your older child from pushing the cart if there’s another child in it. If a child is pushing the cart, it could fall over.
- Look for carts that have child-friendly seats. These may be closer to the ground, or have fun designs; for example, some look like cars.
Avoid Placing Car Seats on the Grocery Cart’s Seat
It may be tempting to keep your baby in their car seat, especially when they’re comfortable or sleeping! It’s likely just as desirable to put the car seat in the top part of the grocery cart, where babies usually sit.
However, this is pretty dangerous. It makes the cart heavy at the top, which can increase the likelihood of your baby falling off of the cart.
To avoid injuries from shopping carts, place the car seat in the basket, where the groceries would be. There’s also plenty of other options!
Baby Hammocks are Great For Babies That Can’t Sit Up
When you’re grocery shopping, it can be hard to carry a little one around. Some parents may opt to wear their baby or carry them in their arms.
For those desiring more freedom, shopping cart hammocks are a fantastic invention! If your baby can’t sit up yet, the hammock will allow them to lie down comfortably and safely without taking up too much space.
It’s also good for helping moms move around in the store! Try to find high-quality hammocks that are safe, comfortable, and affordable.
Cart Covers Protect Against Germs
Once your baby can sit up on their own, you can sit them in the shopping cart seat. That may not seem too appealing at first, especially when you think about all of the germs from other babies that have sat there.
This reason is where cart covers come in! Not only are they comfortable, but they also prevent the spread of germs, are safe for kids, and are durable enough to handle their curiosity.
Here are some handy features to look into:
- Sippy cup holders
- Safety harnesses
- Machine washable covers
- Covers with toys that keep the baby entertained
- Adjustable covers that fit on different cart sizes
- Multiple-use covers (car seat cover, nursing cover, etc.)
Try to Avoid Peak Shopping Hours
Loud noises, crowds, and lots of things going on can be both confusing and scary for a baby. To keep them from getting overwhelmed, try going to the grocery store when you know there won’t be too many people there.
It also helps to take the baby when they’ve just had a nap so that they’re less likely to get cranky. It’s tempting to try and make it so that they sleep through the trip.
But being in a different environment makes that less likely, so you might as well not plan on it.
Pack What You Need
Though it’s tempting to bring everything, try to pack the bare essentials.
Here’s a list of things you should pack:
- Your diaper bag
- A few diapers
- A small package of baby wipes
- A pacifier with a clip
- A burp cloth
- Their favorite toy and book
- Small snacks
That’s about it! It may not sound like enough, but it’s better not to overpack for a short trip to the grocery store.
Try Not to Feel Embarrassed
When you’re walking around in the store with your little one, it may feel like all eyes are on you.
Maybe your baby will end up crying loudly in the middle of the store, or perhaps they’ll end up spitting up all over their new clothes. You may wonder if people will judge your parenting skills in these situations.
Just remember that whatever happens has undoubtedly happened before. Keep on doing your best. You are a great mom!
Create Learning Opportunities
Grocery stores have all kinds of things to see. It may not seem that interesting to you, but to a baby, this is uncharted territory!
If your baby is old enough to understand, you can use this opportunity to teach them about colors, types of food, and even more. You might be surprised by how fascinated they are.
Make It Fun!
Sing songs, play and keep your little one entertained while you’re walking around in the store. Your presence is comforting to your child, which is especially great when they’re in a brand-new place.
Plus, keeping it fun may help your baby associate the store with good things. That might make things easier in the future!
Park Close to the Store
So, you’ve bought all of your groceries, and you’re ready to head to the car. But it’s across the parking lot, and your baby is screaming that they’re ready to go home.
It’s not always easy to find the ideal parking spot, but if there’s a close one available, grab it! Some stores even have special parking spaces for parents, so definitely make use if they’re an option.
A good parking spot means that you can have your baby close by and settled into the car while you’re returning the grocery cart.
Grocery List… Need I Say More?
Mommy brain is a real thing – you may find your mind going blank as soon as you walk into the store.Even if you don’t think you’ll forget, write down what you need, whether it’s with paper or your smartphone.
It may be best to write down what you need as you find yourself running low on things. That way, you can jot it down while it’s still fresh in your mind.
It’s not easy to stay organized when you’re a new parent, but do your best! Check out this article on how to make an organized grocery list to help.
Consider Shopping Online
This is optional, but it may help you out in the long run. A mom’s life is a busy one, and you don’t always have the time or energy to go out.
Before you get ready for your trip, think about whether you can order what you need online. If ordering groceries online is an option for you, it may be worth looking into to keep your shopping trips short; that is if you need to go out at all. Welcome to the future!
Taking your baby to a new place can be hard, but it’s doable. Once your little one gets used to the store, and you get used to taking them, these trips won’t feel like such a big ordeal.
Making it part of a routine can help them get used to going to new places, along with developing some social skills.
It may seem intimidating, but these tips will surely make your first shopping trip an easier one.