I started to write this in my post about Healthy Things to Get at Trader Joe’s but, as with most topics, I had too much to say about it and I hate it when info I want is buried in a post so here it is, all by itself! If you’re like me, you had a baby and then wondered ‘how am I going to get groceries now?’ Or you finally figured out how to navigate the store with one child and then you had another baby. The first time I put my daughter in the carrier and went shopping, I was seriously shocked to see multiple other moms with babies in carriers. I seriously don’t think I realized that children lived in this world until I had one. I remember one time, we saw a family at a hardware store once and I asked my husband, “Why would they bring kids here? I doubt they’re having fun.” And he thought I was crazy and let me know that you can’t just leave small children at home because they don’t want to go somewhere. Yes, I started my motherhood journey this clueless! Even the first many times I put one of my kids in the carrier in the parking lot, I thought everyone was watching me fumble around when, in reality, most people really don’t care or even notice what other people are doing.
Of course, once your kid is big enough to sit in the front of the cart, you’ve got it easy! Until then or after just one…
3 Ways to Shop with One Baby:
- Wear baby in a carrier if you need enough groceries for a cart. I’ve used the cloth wrap carriers and my more structured Ergo for the grocery store but, more often, the Ergo because it’s a little tricky to wrap the cloth carrier in the parking lot without any of it touching the ground. For this reason, if you’re wearing the cloth wrap carrier, I actually recommend putting it on before you leave home.
- Bring in your stroller if it’s small and you only need what will fit in a basket or the bottom of your stroller. I was really nervous the first time I put stuff in the stroller cause I totally thought they would think I was stealing but now I’m used to it and do it all the time (using the bottom of my stroller as a basket, not stealing, haha). I was also nervous to take the stroller into the grocery store in general, thinking that it would be an annoyance to the other shoppers but most single strollers take up less room than a full-size grocery cart.
- Put the infant carrier in the main, large part of the shopping cart. This obviously eliminates a lot of room for groceries but works if you don’t want to unload baby (aka they’re sleeping) and you don’t need to get too much. NEVER place an infant carrier on the front part of a cart or prop the seat in any way. I’ve seen contraptions that supposedly ‘hold’ the car seat but I wouldn’t risk it. A fall from that height could cause unimaginable harm.
After I had my son, we had a meal delivery service, I used grocery delivery services and my husband did a lot of shopping during the newborn months. I didn’t actually didn’t make it into the store with both my daughter and son until my son was four months old!! We tried a few times before that and didn’t actually make it into the store between toddler nap schedules, a very frequent feeding baby and the multiple spit ups and blowouts he used to do on the daily. We cancelled the meal delivery service when he was 6 months after we were really in the hang of shopping together and the three of us do most of our family shopping ever since.
3 Ways to Shop with a Baby & Toddler:
- If your toddler is a good listener and you’re not in a rush, they can walk while you wear baby or push the mini stroller (when and where available). This has only recently become an option for me since my daughter literally started walking on the day my son came home so it was a while before she was ready to walk around a public store. I prefer the stroller or wearing baby on my back if my daughter is roaming free because I can more easily carry her out of the store when a toddler tantrum strikes (most likely when mini carts are involved).
- Place toddler in the grocery cart seat and wear baby in the carrier. This has been the most common set-up for us and works great. I recommend you park your car close to the cart return instead of close to the store entrance.
- If it’s a super large cart, you might be able to place the toddler in the seat of the cart and baby in his or her infant carrier in the main part of the cart.
Once your baby can sit up on his or her own or if you have three young kids, seek out stores with double carts and again, the new prime parking spot isn’t by the door, it’s by the cart return!
Note about Mini Toddler Carts:
Kids LOVE these carts and I usually let my daughter grab one when it’s just her and I and when we aren’t in a rush and she’s not too tired/cranky/hungry. If it’s the three of us or the rare occasion that my husband is with us to shop, I put my son in the single stroller and let her push the mini cart. These carts hold a surprising amount of food and they usually work unless I’m shopping for a holiday or event I’ll be hosting.