The first time I went shopping with my preschooler and baby alone, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It took quite a long time. Shopping with a baby? Easy. Shopping with a preschooler? Doable. Shopping with a baby and a child? Not an easy task. I learned a few things during those first few months that made it so much easier. Here they are, in no particular order.
Wear the baby
When I first started shopping with both a newborn and a preschooler, my newborn was too small for the Ergo and I didn’t have a wrap. Those first few weeks were so hard. I either had to put the car seat in the big part of the cart, taking up all the space. Or use the special cart that had a carseat section on the top…but I couldn’t see around it. I constantly couldn’t see my preschooler or was running into her. Plus, people would always want to stop me to see the baby. Shopping got so much easier once I started wearing the baby.
Most people know their stores fairly well. Go ahead and jot your list down over the week as you discover you need things. But before you go shopping, re-write it with things grouped together that are together in the store. Put them in order of where you go first in the store. In my store, produce is first so those items go first on my list. Then meat then pasta, cereal, juice, dairy, etc. I write things on my list in that order. Mom brain is such a real thing. This helps not forget things. I don’t know about you but I hate being at the far end of the store only to realize, I forgot something near the beginning on the store.
Go in the morning
The thing that worked best for us was to go right after the 7am-ish feeding. Between driving and shopping, we’re typically gone two hours. Going at that time meant the baby wasn’t cranky, the preschooler wasn’t cranky, and the stores were fairly empty of other shoppers. We typically got there about 8am by the time the feeding was done, everyone was dressed, etc. Grocery shopping days typically mean a granola bar or dry cereal in the car for the four year old for breakfast. Much easier and faster that way.Have a baby and an older child? Try these #hacks to make grocery shopping easier. Click To Tweet
Use a cart cover
I absolutely love our cart cover! I got it years ago in the marked down section for $8. This one is very similar. The straps that go over the shoulders make all the difference. It’s so great for a smaller baby who is doing fairly well with sitting up but not perfect. It takes about as much time to get the cover on and the baby in the cart as it does to get a baby in a carrier. But this is great when the baby is getting bigger and wants to look around. Makes shopping so much easier when you don’t have a little baby head under your chin, constantly whipping around to look at things. 😉
Buy baby food pouches
Once baby is older and eating breakfast in addition to nursing/bottles, it starts to get harder to get to the store. You had this magical few months where you totally had a handle on it. Go ahead. Admit it. You got cocky. I know I did. Trying to figure out how to grocery shop and feed the baby baby purees became a challenge. There were a few weeks the baby just didn’t eat breakfast on shopping day. Then I discovered those pouches. Genius! A tip: make sure you put a couple of napkins in your pocket or even bring in a travel pack of baby wipes. They do get a little messy, especially if you have a baby like mine that is super, duper nosy.
No, not for environmental reasons. For this hack you need those big ones that are rectangular on the bottom, usually around $2 (like this one). Why? Because they are so much faster and easier to pack into the trunk. They don’t flop around like other reusable bags. They don’t tear like plastic. Shopping with a baby and a child is all about making it fast and easy. That includes trying to load and unload the groceries.
Shopping with a baby and a child can be an adventure for sure. It can also be challenging. Try these hacks next time to go to make the trip a little less painful.