5 Tips for Grocery Shopping with a Baby

5 Helpful Tips for Grocery Shopping with a Baby

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When Baby was first born, even the simplest things suddenly felt like a major challenge. I’m talking about the basics here, like fitting in a shower or meeting up with friends I hadn’t seen in forever. I went weeks wearing yoga pants everyday to avoid really getting dressed, but some things eventually needed to be faced head on.

As restaurant manager, my husband had readily available alternative food sources. I, on the other hand, looked at the emptying pantry and fridge and knew that my days were numbered. Soon after the new baby well wishers (and their food deliveries) disappeared, I worked up my courage, packed Baby into his car seat, and made a trip to the store.

Once there, I put Baby in his stroller and filled the basket underneath with fresh produce and other goodies. I was nervous someone would look at me funny or tell me not to use my stroller as a cart, but all we received were smiles and kind offers of help. I had to pick Baby up a few times when he fussed and quickly discovered that I could push the stroller with one hand. Despite my attempts at planning, we had an emergency nursing session at a table where people typically sit to eat their lunch (fitting). We made it back home without any major meltdowns, and my taste buds and tummy were very grateful for the excursion. All in all, I’d say it was a success.

Many grocery store adventures later, I’ve learned a few tips to made the outings less stressful and sometimes actually fun. When Baby was awake and fed, wandering the aisles was a relaxing way drum up some dinner inspiration (or just kill some time until his next nap). These tricks have aided in making our market runs {mostly} quick and easy.

1. Make a list.

Mommy brain always hit me hard at the store. I constantly had to check my list because I couldn’t remember what I read 10 seconds before. I keep a notepad in the kitchen to write down when we run out of something or have an idea or craving for a meal. Before going to the store, I rewrite the list and group items together based on where they’re located in the store (i.e. all produce items, then bakery, followed by the middle of the store, cold section, and organic section). Every item won’t be in the perfect order, but it keeps me from having to backtrack a gazillion times when making my way through the store.

2. Park by the cart return.

Growing up, I was taught to park anywhere but by the cart return to avoid dings on my car. So when my big sister taught me this trick, my mind was blown. If there’s a cart in the rack, I’ll put the diaper bag and reusable grocery bags in it first, move it closer to my car, and then load in Baby (or vice versa). If the rack is empty, or if it’s cold or wet outside, I’ll schlep everything inside to a clean, temperature controlled cart at the store’s entrance. Either way, it’s super convenient when loading up the car on my way home.

3. Use a little cart.

Eventually, I outgrew our stroller basket and was ready to to use a cart. Putting a car seat in the child seat part of a grocery cart is really dangerous (and I’m too short to see over the car seat even if I risked it). Putting Baby in the big part of the cart made him so far away and took up most of the room for food anyway. One day, I spotted a mom who helped me solve this problem. She had figured out that a car seat fits perfectly into the top basket of the little carts. Brilliant! There was still more room in the bottom basket for food than in the stroller, and it was so much easier to maneuver. The little cart became my new best friend.

4. Wear your baby.

Once Baby was big enough to fit into his Ergobaby carrier, wearing him in the store made grocery shopping marvelously handsfree. It also freed up so much more room for actual food. I loved being able to bounce and rock Baby and kiss him on his head as we shopped. I think he enjoyed being up high and seeing everything going on around him, too. When the weather was bad, I would keep him bundled up in his car seat, but otherwise the Ergo was the easiest way to go.

5. Go “after work.”

Looking for some camaraderie? Head to the market sometime around 5:00 p.m. and you’ll have lots of company. There were always parents with their babies and tots cruising the aisles. I assume most of them were making a pitstop on their way home from work and daycare. I often ended up there around that time after getting hungry for dinner and a glance into the pantry left me wanting. Sharing a smile with another parent always makes my day better. Seeing so many moms and dads out conquering the elements and the occasional baby meltdown gave me more courage than anything else had.

5 Awesome Tips for Grocery Shopping with a Baby!

And then, before I knew it, Baby could not only hold his head up, but completely sit up on his own, too. The first time he sat in a cart was life changing (we were at Buy Buy Baby, followed up by a quick Target run). Baby loves being able to look around, and I will clip toys or my keys to the cart for him to play with. The cart has also doubled as a highchair on multiple occasions. I don’t use a cloth protector and rarely wipe the seat down, but I learned the hard way to always check that the seat belt parts are in working order before putting Baby and my bags down!

Where was the first place you went alone with your newborn? What are your best tips for grocery shopping with a baby or kids?

12 thoughts on “5 Tips for Grocery Shopping with a Baby

  1. Holly

    So glad to see that I’m not the only mom who doesn’t sanitize her carts! Germs are good for them, right? ;)
    Holly recently posted…My Most Prized PossessionMy Profile

  2. keitha (The Bajan Texan)

    Great tips Farrah!! Thanks for checking out The Bajan Texan’s Pin Worthy Wednesdays! Hope to see you next Wednesday :)
    keitha (The Bajan Texan) recently posted…A Tour Through Blog LandMy Profile

    1. farrahudell Post author

      Thanks for visiting! I love the Pin Worthly Wednesday link up. It’s such a fun & easy way to find awesome posts and projects. Thank you for hosting it!

    1. farrahudell Post author

      Baby hasn’t gotten to any bugs (yet) that I know of, but he’s come awfully close to eating dog food on multiple occasions. He’s also an expert at finding all of the missing Cheerios on the kitchen floor. #yum

  3. Ana

    I love this list! I never seem to make things easy for myself when I rush out with the little ones — always the mom looking like she could use a hand, haha!
    Ana recently posted…15 Kid-Friendly Apple SnacksMy Profile

    1. farrahudell Post author

      I know the feeling! I always forget something. It gives me a sense of peace when I figure out what it is. Like, ok, we can move on now.

      Having a baby gave me such a different perspective. I love helping moms out now whenever they need a hand. I am also much more willing to accept help, when before I would always try to do everything by myself!

  4. Julie

    Great tips! Avoiding busy times and being able to find parking by the cart return are so helpful even before baby (especially while pregnant). I like the idea of wearing the baby while shopping so you can have more cart space.
    Julie recently posted…Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Update ProjectMy Profile

  5. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    Fabulous tips Farrah.

    I would have never thought to go shopping during the after work rush… I usually schedule the quietest times for shopping (less embarrassment involved. I also pack snacks (lots of them) because there’s nothing like shopping in the grocery store with a starving kid!

    Thanks for sharing.
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…Extra, Extra, The Deliberate Mom Turns 4!My Profile

    1. farrahudell Post author

      Oh, yes! Baby always has snacks in the diaper bag, and there are many days when he’s been kind enough to share. Sometimes I feel like we’re in one of those TV shows or movies where they start eating before they even buy the food. I want to tell everyone, “I brought it from home, really!”

  6. Kelly

    I’m convinced the cart rack is the safest place to park. You never see a cart next to the rack but how many loose carts do you see around the lot from people to lazy to put them away. And it makes life so much more convenient with kids! And if you’re okay with cookies, the bakery at most stores will give kids a free one. Good incentive for good behavior. Yes, I bribe my kids.


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