There are so many new firsts when you become a mother. Becoming a mother will completely change your world.
Things that once were done without much thought, may now take careful planning.
An errand like grocery shopping with a newborn baby can feel like a huge challenge. But it doesn’t have to be.
I’ve done a lot grocery shopping with my own newborns. I have also spoken to quite a few other new moms about how to tackle the task stress-free.
This guide will take you through all the planning and action steps for how to grocery shop with your newborn baby.
Can I Even Take My Newborn Out to The Store?
Taking your new baby out of the house to anywhere other than a walk around the neighborhood or their health check-up can feel scary.
You want to protect your baby and keep them safe.
However, there are ways to plan a shopping trip with your newborn where they will be kept safe and comfortable.
You may be concerned that your baby will cry or fuss the entire time.
Those are valid concerns. Your baby might fuss the entire time. But that is perfectly OKAY. Babies do fuss and you will learn what your baby likes to keep them happy and content, as you go along.
Parenting has a learning curve. Tasks like grocery shopping with your baby will become easier. The more you leave your home with your baby, the more comfortable both you and your baby will become.
Pick the Right Time
Whenever you go anywhere with your newborn you need to think about the time you go. You want to go when you have the highest chance of your baby being content and comfortable on your outing.
It’s also important to take into consideration how many people will be around your newborn baby. Going to the grocery store when it is less crowded will reduce the risk of exposure to germs.
Most newborns nap pretty easily and often. As your baby gets older they will begin to have more awake time and a predictable routine.
It may be easier to plan your trip at a time that your baby will be napping. This will allow you to casually walk around the store without trying to keep your baby calm.
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It’s best to have a full belly, for both you and your baby, before heading into the store. If you live a bit of a distance from the store, it may be easiest to feed your baby in your car before you go into the store.
If you’re breastfeeding you can bring your breastfeeding pillow, if you use one, in your car. You might want to consider purchasing a travel breastfeeding pillow to keep in your car.
Even as an experience breastfeeding mama, my third baby did not like to latch without a pillow support under her for the first few months. My friend loaned me her travel breastfeeding pillow and it was great to have available!
Side Note: If you are breastfeeding (or planning to) then you will want to take this course! It’s the BEST online breastfeeding course available. If you’ll be pumping, she also has a “back to work pumping” class and a class just for those that are planning to exclusively pump! You can’t go wrong with any of these classes!
When The Store is Less Busy
There are certain days and time that grocery stores tend to be busier.
Most grocery stores are their busiest during weekend days. The next busiest time for grocery stores is on weekdays after 5pm.
If you plan your grocery trip on a weekday, during morning hours you have the best chance of the store having very few other customers.
An emptier store can make shopping easier on both you and your baby.
You’re less likely to have other shoppers curiously looking at, and maybe getting too close, to your baby. There will be less exposure to germs, which is especially important if its flu or cold season. You will also be able to easily maneuver through the aisles when you’re the only shopping cart.
These things can make the experience less stressful.
Be Prepared with A List
A grocery list can help make a trip to the grocery much easier for both you and your baby. You’ll know exactly what you need to purchase, making the trip quicker.
Categorize your list
Categorizing your grocery list will make your trip quicker. You won’t have to return to an aisle for another item that was further down on your list.
You can also take it one step further and put the categories in the order that you will walk the store. For example, if you’ll be going to produce first, you will put your produce category on the top of your list. If the dairy section is next, then dairy will follow produce. Continue putting your categories in the order that you generally go through your store.
Pack Your Diaper Bag
Packing a diaper bag can feel overwhelming. Your diaper bag should be packed with the everyday essentials that you will need to have on hand.
Pack the necessities
When going to the grocery store you want to be sure that you take the necessities. Items like your wallet, car keys, hand sanitizer, diapers, wipes, and extra changes of clothes.
If you are breastfeeding then an extra pair of breast pads is always a good idea to have on hand in those early weeks.
You will need to bring a bottle, and any formula and water, for your baby if you are formula feeding.
Leave out the extra items
When you’re planning a trip to the grocery store it’s not necessary to carry around a heavy bag. If you’ve seen my list of diaper bag essentials, then you’ll see I suggest things like sunscreen and toys.
These are items that do not need to be brought into the grocery store with you.
Figure out How You Will Carry Your Baby
Figuring out how you will carry your baby around the store is very important. You will need to decide what you are the most comfortable with.
There are a few safe options for getting around a grocery store, by yourself with a baby.
If you’ll be bringing another adult to the store with you there will be less concern as the other adult can push the grocery cart for you.
Babywearing around the store is an excellent option. It will keep your baby close to you, ie away from strangers wanting to look and touch, and leave your hands free. Babywearing also offers multiple benefits for your baby.
I begin practicing baby wearing with my babies as soon as I feel physically ready. Which is different depending on how my baby’s birth went.
I encourage new moms to introduce their baby’s to the baby carrier early and often. Just like with tummy time, you want to put your baby in the carrier when they are already content.
If your baby shows signs of resisting, take them out of the carrier after a few minutes and try again later. After continuing to use the baby carrier, most babies that resisted at first will fall in love with being close to their mama.
Baby hammocks are newer items that offer a safe way to shop with your baby. They meet safety regulations. They provide an alternative option to keep your infant safe in a grocery cart.
Baby hammocks attach to the side of the grocery cart, leaving the underneath basket clear for groceries. You then place your baby in the hammock where they gently rest while you shop.
You purchase a baby hammock, to be used on grocery store trips, here.
If you have an infant car seat for your baby, it is possible to keep them in that while you shop. My recommendation is to try to avoid overuse of car seats. However, I understand that babywearing is not an option for everyone.
Many people are not aware about the dangers of propping an infant car seat in a shopping cart. Placing your infant’s car seat on top of a shopping cart is not only dangerous, but it is likely to void the warranty on our car seat.
A car seat propped on top of a grocery cart is at risk of falling over. Additionally, your infant is at risk, since their car seat may not be at the proper angle to allow their airway to remain open. Lastly, when you place your car seat on top of the grocery cart, the little latches that allow your car seat to connect to its base can become compromised. Meaning the car seat may not properly attach to the base due to improper use, and therefore possibly voiding your car seats warranty.
How To Put A Carseat Safely in A Shopping Cart
Before you take your infant car seat into the store you will need to see if your grocery store offers carts with special car seat holders. These holders are positioned in the proper recline to allow your car seat to rest at a proper angle. They also do not use the latches on the bottom of your car seat, instead they have a strap with a buckle to secure your car seat.
If your grocery store does not offer a car seat holder, then you have the option to purchase a product like this shopping cart car seat carrier. This product meets all current safety regulations.
Grocery Shopping with a Stroller
If you’ll be bringing another adult on the grocery trip with you, one of you can push the cart while the other pushes the stroller.
If you’ll be going on the trip by yourself, there are articles out there with tips on how to grocery shop with a stroller.
Personally, I can’t see how this would not be stressful. Maneuvering a cart down the aisle, making sure it’s not blocking areas, and moving it out of the way when someone needs pass because it is blocking, is a job on its own.
Bringing a stroller into the store is like having a second grocery cart to handle. I would recommend one of the alternatives mentioned above.
Choose Your Parking Spot
When you arrive to the parking lot you want to be sure you choose the best spot for you. This likely will not be the spot closest to the store. Instead it is a spot that offers you conveniences that you may not realize you need.
Take advantage of new mom parking
The first option is to take advantage of new mom parking. However, before choosing a new mom parking spot, it’s best to check that the new mom spot also offers my top two essentials in a grocery store parking lot.
Park near a cart return
You will want to be a close to a cart return. Once you finish shopping and loading the groceries into the car you will need to return your cart.
The convenience of being near a cart return means that you don’t have to push your cart across the parking lot and then manage carrying your baby and diaper back across the parking lot to the car.
Find a parking spot in the shade
If you live in a warm climate then you’ll want to try to locate a spot in the shade.
Have you ever parked your car out in the sun and when you get in the car feels so hot that you lower the windows to try to get air?
Research shows that when a car is parked in the sun, on a hot day, it takes one hour for the car to reach an average of 116 degrees. Whereas parking in the shade can help lower the temperature inside your car by approximately 16 degrees.
While both of those temperatures are very high, it will take less time to cool a car that is 16 degrees cooler.
Get a Good Cart
We have all gone to the store, grabbed the first cart we see, and then once we’re in the store we realize that we grabbed a bad cart. May the wheels get stuck making it hard to maneuver or it’s one of those carts that loudly squeaks throughout the store.
When you have an infant, a diaper bag, and limited time you want to grab a good cart from the start.
Before you settle into your cart, make sure that it pushes easily. Try turning it to be sure none of the wheels get stuck. Trying to push a cart with stuck wheels and navigating a store with a newborn isn’t an easy task.
Doesn’t have squeaky wheels
If everything goes according to plan, then there’s a good chance your grocery trip will also offer a quick nap for your baby. You’ll want to be sure that your cart won’t be loudly squeaking with every push.
Keep It Quick
Ideally, you’ll want to keep your grocery store trip as quick as possible. A quick trip is likely to be easier on both you and baby.
You’ll also decrease the chance of your baby getting hungry or needing a diaper change while out.
Having a solid plan, including a well laid out grocery list, will help make your trip easier.
Do Your Grocery Shopping Online
If the thought of going to the grocery store is overwhelming right now, don’t push yourself. The postpartum period is not easy and you need to give yourself grace.
Luckily, grocery shopping online is now becoming very mainstream. Most major retailers offer online shopping. If your store doesn’t have their own online shopping program you can check to see if there’s a delivery service.
Grocery delivery services that are not affiliated with a specific store offer shopping and delivery from multiple stores. Instacart and Shipt are both options available in the Unites States.
Instacart offers a yearly membership plan or you can pay per delivery. Shipt is a membership that can be paid either yearly or rmonthly. If you choose the monthly option it can be canceled at any time.
Grocery shopping with a newborn doesn’t have to be stressful
Grocery shopping can feel like a big task when you have a newborn baby to take to the store. Use these tips to come up with a plan that will make it easier.
Do you have any tips to add to help a new mama before she goes grocery shopping with her newborn?
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