First Time Grocery Shopping With a Newborn: What To Expect
The approach to grocery shopping is pretty simple when you’re childless. You walk into your kitchen and realize you’re almost out of milk, soda, chips, and chocolate (you know, the essentials), so you grab your wallet and keys and are out the door in 30 seconds. Once at the store, it’s a relaxing affair. You can go as quick as you want or take your time walking up and down the aisles looking for good deals.
Grocery shopping with a newborn requires a more organized and planned approach.
How To Grocery Shop With a Newborn
When taking your first trip to the grocery store with your little one, there are two questions to ask yourself:
Where do I put my baby?
Never put your infant car seat on top of a shopping cart. It makes the cart top-heavy and your baby could fall off. You can set the car seat inside the cart, but depending what’s on your list, that may not leave much room for groceries.
Many moms of newborns opt to bring a baby carrier or shopping cart hammock. Babywearing means total cart space and (mostly) free hands, but you don’t have total mobility. You can’t bend over and you have to be careful that you don’t bump your newborn into the cart or shelves. A hammock gives you sufficient cart space, complete maneuverability, and a safe way to hold your baby. Simply attach it to the cart, lay your baby or infant car seat on the hammock, and strap your baby or car seat in. Learn more about how to keep your baby safe while shopping.
What do I need to bring with me?
You don’t want to overpack, but you do want to be prepared for anything. Here’s a list of essentials to pack in your diaper bag:
- Bottle with formula or nursing cover – You never know when shopping could take longer or if your baby will decide to wake up hungry sooner than normal.
- Lightweight blanket – This can pull double duty as a blanket to keep baby warm and as a burp cloth to clean spit-up.
- Pacifiers – If your newborn takes a pacifier, bring two in case one falls on the floor.
- Diapers and wipes – You can’t control when babies go, but you don’t have to let a dirty diaper ruin your shopping trip.
- Disposable changing pad – You’ll want this if you have to change a diaper in the store. Some changing stations have seen cleaner days.
- Extra outfits – Pack one for baby and an extra shirt for you because baby messes don’t always just land on the baby.
- Plastic bag – When poop or spit up happens, you’ll want something to hold the dirty clothes in.
- Shopping cart hammock – Small and lightweight, a hammock easily fits in a diaper bag and makes shopping with a newborn comfortable, safe, and convenient.
- Travel sound machine – Not all moms use this, but those who do love to bring theirs along to help baby stay asleep in her car seat while mama shops.
Shopping Tips for Easier Trips
Taking your first trip to the grocery store with a newborn can be intimidating. Is it too soon to go? Are you and him ready for this? Do you really need bread?
At some point, you have to leave the house and shelf cooking can only last for so many meals. So when you’re ready, these tips for shopping with a newborn will make your experience a little more enjoyable.
Pick the best time.
Shop right after you’ve fed your baby. Babies, like most of us, get cranky when hungry, so feed, get out the door, and try to get your grocery shopping done before it’s time for his next feeding. Hopefully, this time is also naptime and an off-beat time at the store you’re going to. Crowded stores aren’t fun with a newborn, especially your first time out.
Keep it short.
Make your first trip to the store quick. You don’t know how your baby will react, so keep it short and sweet for you and her.
Park next to a shopping cart return stall.
With a newborn, the best parking spot isn’t the closest one to the doors. It’s one next to a shopping cart return stall. It’s much easier putting your shopping cart hammock and baby on a cart right next to your car than lugging that infant car seat and diaper bag to the store and doing it inside where you’ll feel in the way. It also means you can unload your groceries and put the cart in the return stall and only have to carry the car seat a few steps back to your car. You’ll be a good mom and customer, and you didn’t even have to break a sweat doing it.
Make a list.
Being organized beforehand is a key way for how to shop with a newborn stress-free. So before heading to the store, make your list and arrange it by aisle or category so you can be in and out faster.
Bring adult support.
If you’re really nervous about going out alone as a new mom with your newborn (a normal feeling), then bring someone with you. Your partner is always a good choice. You can also ask someone who’s been there before and can lend a helping hand, like your mom, sister, or a friend. No one says you have to do this first-time grocery shopping thing alone.
Go with the flow.
Give yourself some grace, mama. This is your first time grocery shopping with a newborn. It won’t be easy. It probably won’t go exactly as planned either. Your baby will likely cry. That’s OK. It’s what babies do. You may not get everything on your list. That’s fine, too. Don’t be embarrassed and don’t stress yourself out. Stay calm and stay the course.
Remember, doing anything for the first time with your newborn can be scary. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. You’ve got this! And while you’re shopping, don’t forget to reward yourself with something sweet for surviving your first shopping trip with your baby.