When you have little ones, even the simplest tasks can seem daunting at times. While some parents might make it look easy, grocery shopping with a baby isn’t always a pleasant experience, especially when you have a newborn. If you’ve wondered what the best way to grocery shop with a baby is, you’re not alone.
Putting a car seat into a shopping cart at the grocery store will make it top-heavy and more prone to falling over. Depending on how long the grocery list is, parents can safely shop with a baby by using their stroller, a baby carrier, or a shopping cart hammock. Older babies and toddlers can make use of a shopping cart cover that includes a safety harness.
Whether you have a newborn or a toddler, a simple task like grocery shopping can feel more like a circus if you’re unprepared. Keep reading to hear our best tips on how to have a successful shopping trip with your baby.
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How to grocery shop with a baby
Before you have little ones, grocery shopping is a breeze. It’s no big deal if you’re out of milk and need to run to the store. Before kids, grocery shopping is a simple task and sometimes it’s even enjoyable. But when you add little ones to the mix, no matter how old they are, grocery shopping becomes a huge ordeal.
Grocery shopping with kids can be a real struggle and might end with everyone in tears, including you. The best way to avoid this type of shopping trip is to bring everything you need with you, consider the safest options for your child ahead of time, and be prepared for anything that could go wrong (because something likely will).
The first question you have to ask yourself before a shopping trip is where will I put my baby while I shop? From baby carriers to baby hammocks, there are several different ways you can carry your baby in the store. Finding the right fit for your child will depend on their temperament and age.
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Can you put a car seat in a shopping cart?
If you get to the store and your little one is either sleeping or perfectly content in their car seat, you may hesitate to move them. Many parents bring their car seats inside the grocery store for this very reason. If you do choose to keep them in the car seat, it’s important to know how to keep your child safe while in the store.
Some parents choose to put their car seat inside the main part of the shopping cart, which is a viable option. The only issue is it doesn’t leave much room for your groceries since the car seat will take up the majority of the cart.
This option will work if you only need a few groceries since you’ll be able to use the child seat area and the shelf underneath the cart. Even if you do place your child’s car seat inside the cart, you still need to make sure the car seat is stable and sitting in the correct position.
You’ve likely seen some parents put their car seat directly on top of a shopping cart. Unless the cart has a safe-dock for infant car seats, the car seat is not meant to sit on the shopping cart.
Without a safe-dock on the cart, the car seat is at risk of falling off the cart, which could cause a serious injury.
Grocery shopping with a stroller works for short lists
Grocery shopping with a stroller is another option, especially if you don’t have a lot of groceries to buy. Even better than having to transfer your little one to a stroller is a travel system or caddy where the car seat snaps in directly on top of the stroller.
Most strollers or caddies have a small basket on the bottom where you can put your groceries. This won’t work well if you have a lot to buy, but if you only need a few things at the store, this is a great option and is easier than moving your baby from one place to another.
If you’re in need of more room, some parents use stroller hooks to hold a basket at the store or to hold a reusable shopping bag. This gives you some extra space to store more groceries instead of trying to fit them all in the bottom. When you’re really in a pinch, you can also push the stroller with your baby while pulling a cart behind you. However, that method can be a lot of work and it’s difficult to navigate both the stroller and the cart.
Shopping cart hammocks keep your baby safe and out of the way
Shopping cart hammocks are the latest craze when it comes to grocery shopping with a baby and they are a great option for your little ones.
Safety approved and easy to store, shopping cart hammocks allow your little one to lay safely in the shopping cart without taking up any room. The hammocks usually work by clipping on to both sides of the shopping cart. They can typically hold up to 50 pounds and are designed for babies who can’t hold themselves up. Once your baby can sit up unassisted or pull themselves up, it may be time to use the foldable child seat in the cart instead.
Since the hammocks are elevated, they allow you to have all the space you need in the shopping cart and also keep your hands free to grab what you need. It’s a great alternative to a baby carrier if you need more mobility and gives you plenty of room for your groceries, especially if you’re shopping with multiple children.
Shopping cart hammocks are not only able to hold your baby, they can also hold your baby’s car seat. If you do choose to bring the car seat into the store, a hammock takes care of the space issue you may have if you place the car seat directly in the shopping cart.
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Use a shopping cart seat cover to entertain older babies
Shopping cart covers are a simple and easy option for babies who are big enough to sit up on their own. They keep your little one from touching all of the germy parts of the cart, and they also help keep them entertained. Usually made with bright colors and fun patterns, shopping cart covers are designed to help kids be both comfortable and happy throughout your shopping trip.
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Many shopping cart seat covers come with toys attached or loops for you to attach your own toys. These loops keep the toys from falling on the ground or getting thrown around in the cart. Bringing a few of your little one’s favorite toys or even a favorite book is a great one to keep them entertained while you get everything you need.
The seat cover gives you a soft, clean place to put your child’s toys, books, snacks, or anything else they may need during the trip. If your child is teething, attaching a teething ring is also a good idea in case your baby’s gums get sore.
Grocery shopping with a newborn
Grocery shopping with a newborn has its own unique challenges. In those first few weeks, anytime you need to go to the store you wonder if it’s really worth the hassle. You might have your groceries delivered or have someone else pick up your groceries for a little while, and that’s okay. In the times when you do need to leave the house, there are some ways to make shopping with a newborn a little bit easier.
Much like traveling anywhere else with a newborn, it’s important to be prepared before you leave the house. Packing for a shopping trip can often feel like you’re going on a two-week vacation, but being over-prepared is better than needing something that you forgot at home.
In order to have the best possible shopping trip, be sure to feed your little one and change your diaper right before you go. If you have a short trip, you may be able to make it out of there without having to stop to feed or change your newborn. But it’s better to plan ahead and be prepared in case your little one does get hungry or need a diaper change.
Best way to grocery shop with a newborn
The baby carrier is a great way to get some bonding time with baby and will keep baby very calm during the shopping trip. If you carry your newborn in the baby carrier, they may even take a nap while you shop.
Overall, the best way to shop with a newborn is either with a baby carrier or a baby hammock.
The only downside to a baby carrier is it doesn’t give you total freedom to move around. It’s hard to lean over while using a carrier and you can’t pick up any heavy or large groceries. The best option for your baby will depend on your preference and your baby’s temperament. Do what is easiest for you and what will help you stay sane throughout your shopping trip.
If you choose not to use a baby carrier, a baby hammock is a great alternative. You can either place your baby directly in the hammock or you can place the car seat on the hammock. The shopping cart hammocks are suitable for any baby who is under 50 pounds and is unable to pick themselves up.
Grocery shopping with two babies
Keeping one baby entertained during a shopping trip is already a challenge so grocery shopping with two babies is a unique experience. Depending on the age of your babies, they may be able to sit in different spots.
If one baby is able to sit up, they could sit in the shopping cart seat while the other stays in the car seat inside of the cart. Shopping with two kids can sometimes be easier than shopping with one if you have an older child. Older siblings can be a great help in the store and they usually do a great job of keeping little ones entertained.
Grocery shopping with two babies is most difficult when they’re close together in age or you’re shopping with twins. It’s still possible to have a successful shopping trip with two little ones if you come prepared.
Best way to grocery shop with two babies
If you’re shopping with twins or two babies close in age, you have a few options. One option is to wear one baby in a carrier while the other sits in the shopping car seat or in the car seat, depending on their age. You can also wear both babies in a baby carrier, but that does take some practice.
A double stroller is another option if you’re only doing a short shopping trip that doesn’t require a lot of room. You can always add additional bags or baskets to your stroller if you need extra space.
If you have two babies who aren’t able to sit up yet, the best way to shop with them is to buy two shopping cart hammocks. Two of the hammocks will actually fit on one cart and will hold both your baby’s securely, allowing you to have your hands free while you shop. If you’re having trouble fitting both hammocks, try to place them as close to the front of the cart as you can.
Grocery shopping with a toddler
Grocery shopping with a toddler is challenging because they have short attention spans and are prone to temper tantrums. While grocery shopping with a toddler, it often feels like a race against the clock and if time runs out, your toddler may have a total meltdown.
Most baby carriers hold kids up to 50 pounds so if your toddler still enjoys being carried, a baby carrier is still a great option. Depending on your child’s temperament, they may want a little more independence in the store at this age and therefore might prefer to sit in the cart or walk next to you.
Best way to grocery shop with a toddler
As long as you’re prepared, grocery shopping with a toddler doesn’t have to be a pain. The best way to shop with a toddler is to use a shopping cart cover and fill it with toys and snacks. The key to a successful shopping trip is to keep your toddler entertained long enough to get everything you need.
Planning ahead for your trip will minimize the possibility of tantrums as well. Get your shopping list ready before you head to the store and plan accordingly when you get there. Know which sections to hit first and which sections to avoid. Let your toddler help you by holding your shopping list, putting items in the cart, or picking out their favorite snacks. The more engaged they are with what you’re doing, the more likely you are to avoid a meltdown.