Food shopping with a baby – tips, hacks and tricks to help you get out of the house (and get things done) with a newborn!
Have you faced food shopping with your new little one yet?
You know how long it took me to be brave enough to go and do it? 2 Months. Yep. Somehow even though I was going out for short walks with my baby, going grocery shopping with him was just too much for me to do.
Now you may be more brave than me. And you may have a baby that enjoys the movement of being in the shopping cart or carseat and stays quiet and even sleeps as a result.
I had a kid that woke up at movement. And he did love the movement but he also got overly stimulated by people and noise and lights… and did you know all of those things are found in plenty in a supermarket? Yeah…
So I thought I would share a few tips and hacks for how to get this task done now that it has a new dynamic.
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Well, in all fairness I had to put this one first! After all, having kids is the beginning of you being truly inventive to survive. This may be your best option, mama. Take it, if it is!
Delegate the shopping
My sister-in-law delegated a weekly food shop to her husband fairly early on. Which was probably a good thing considering they ended up with 3 kids under 5. That sounds like a tricky outing right there.
Like her, you could ask a spouse or a close friend or family member to go for you. She wrote the list and the rules were that he bought everything on the list with no questions or judgments. So he bought her the necessary sugar in the form of her favorite sweets that was on the list to get thru her week. My husband would not have been able to do that. He still questions my occasional sugar fix to cope with an insane bout of childishness brought on by dealing with my children. I try not to point out to him his need for coffee before even talking to us in the morning like the loving wife I am, but I am mighty tempted!
So if you do choose this option, my recommendation would be to find a very understanding person to do the shopping!
We mustn’t forget the convenience of the modern era. I have done this fairly regularly myself.
I’m not sure what your favourite way to do online shopping is. I use a local supermarket which has an online “click and collect” option. That way I save on delivery and I usually know what they are able to give me.
And of course, there is our friend Amazon… 😉
Go yourself without baby
This is also something of a “cheat” hack. But going without baby means you also get a short break for time to yourself. Yes, it is for groceries but it is still time to just be yourself. Don’t underrate that!
Do it in the evening
Hopefully your husband or someone else is happy to stay home with baby. This is usually an easy option if you are awake enough to do it. If you are falling asleep already by this stage, please don’t choose this option. Choose sleep instead!!
Ask a friend
Maybe you could work in with a friend who has a wee one as well. If you take turns to mind the babies and go shopping both of you can get it done, and maybe get a short break.
It builds some mom friends as well. And we know how much we need those!
Pay for babysitting
Yes, I know, most people would pay for babysitting for something more glamorous. Like dinner out or an event like a wedding. And this depends on your budget. But sometimes you feel less guilty about taking time to have a coffee before doing the shopping if you are paying someone. And that coffee can just taste so super good!
And there may be a reliable teenager you know who would be able to do this for you. They can get a bit of cash and you get a bit of a break. Win-win.
Tips for Shopping With a Newborn – Taking Baby With You
So assuming that this is your preferred, or your only option, here are some tips on surviving the grocery shopping with baby.
Choose a time wisely
If taking your baby you are, choose wisely your time. [Sorry, sometimes I speak Yoda]
But I think the point is clear enough. If you go when your baby is going to want a feed, this will not end well for you. And yes we all know that babies are totally unpredictable creatures who will explode at either end without warning of any kind. But there is usually some rhythm to it. So pick your times.
Keep your list clear and simple
Don’t try to menu plan while you shop. Don’t stop to sample all the freebies. Don’t browse all the magazines…
Have a list. Make it clear and simple. One family member knew her local shop so well that she wrote her list according to the aisles she would be walking down. That is way too much for me, but I do try to write in sections. Fresh foods, meat, dry goods, cleaning products all have a separate space on my paper so that visually it is easier not to miss something. Especially if I need to make a quick exit suddenly!
But of course, a beautiful list is always easier to follow. You may like one like this that lets you write a list based on what meals you are going to have:
Or this one that means you only have to tick a box!
Recruit a friend
If someone is willing to go with you, that may be the other option for you getting used to navigating this new world. Then you don’t have to worry about how to transport baby, but have one of you push the stroller and one of you push the shopping cart. This saved me a few times.
This entails so much.
- Have a bag ready for the explosions we mentioned already – you can retreat to the car if you need to. But it would be a good idea to make sure they have a clean diaper before you leave as well. Then an explosion might not get so messy!
- Have a toy that might occupy them if they wake. My kids loved the black and white baby books and would stare at them for ages if I could prop them up so they could look at them. Having the carseat inside the shopping cart was how I usually made that one work. But of course, then I had to make it a smaller shop so that I could fit the items around the carseat!
- Have a mindset that it doesn’t matter if you have to finish up with a screaming baby and beat a hasty retreat! I honestly think the mindset will help the most. Just know that most people with kids have at least a few stories (and most people have MANY) of leaving the store with everyone looking. I once left a food court in a Mall with everyone looking at us since the screaming of two kids was so loud… it felt like the whole entire Mall was looking at us. And most of them were…
So if we can get through these things and live to laugh at the stories, then you can too.
How to Carry Baby While Shopping
I’m not sure about you but for me, the most tricky thing to figure out of all of this was how to actually manage the baby while doing the shopping.
It will seem tricky figuring out whether to put your baby into a sling so that you have both hands free for the shopping cart, or to try pushing a stroller and a cart… or put the baby into the shopping cart.
I was so envious of those moms who could use a sling. My babies did not enjoy it for some reason. So if I was doing a smaller shop I would use the base of my stroller for heavy things and carry a basket in my hand. That worked pretty well… until the basket got heavy and then I was regretting it!
Once my babies were older I felt fine about putting them into the baby seat in the shopping cart. But when they were brand new it didn’t feel like a safe thing to do! So as I mentioned above I tended to put the carseat into the shopping cart.
Helpful Tools for Shopping With a Newborn Baby
Here are some tools that you might find helpful when taking your little one with you to the grocery store:
- Sling or Baby Carrier – there are so many styles of baby carriers! It pays to look around and try different types if you can. You never know what your baby will like! That being said, one of the best and most popular baby carriers you can buy (and that’s suitable for newborns) is the Ergo Baby Omni. Unlike wraps and ring slings, you just buckle it on and go, no skill required!
- Newborn Shopping Cart Hammock – this little hammock slings between the sides of your shopping cart and creates a comfortable place for your baby to rest while you have both your hands and the cart free for your shopping. Check it out here on Amazon!
- Stroller Hooks – these are mad helpful for so many things – pop them onto your stroller and you can hang some reusable grocery bags from them, effectively and inexpensively doubling (at least) your storage space on your stroller. Check them out here on Amazon!
At the end of the day…
Whatever you choose to do, you will probably be doing better than this New Zealand dad:
Take heart, Mama. You will find ways to make it all work.