Grocery Shopping with Little Ones

When I was expecting my first baby, I often thought about how I would manage running errands and grocery shopping by myself with a baby.

Once my first son was several weeks old, I finally worked up the courage to go grocery shopping by myself. It wasn’t necessarily easy but it wasn’t as big of a deal as I had made it out to be.

Now, grocery shopping involves two little ones (soon to be three) and I’ve learned a few tricks along the way.

Tips for Grocery Shopping with Baby:

  • Invest in a comfortable baby carrier. Wearing your baby is the easiest way to grocery shop. This frees up all the space in your cart for groceries. (My favorite carriers: Baby K’tan for small babies and Boba Classic Baby Carrierfor larger infants and toddlers.)
  • Park near a cart return. If you prefer keeping your baby in their infant seat, you can grab a cart before going in so you don’t have to lug that heavy seat all the way in the store! When you are done shopping, you can quickly return the cart and stay close to your vehicle.
  • Avoid taking in the entire diaper bag. A bulky diaper bag takes up valuable grocery space in your cart. I carry a small backpack as my purse so I’ll stash a burp cloth and a diaper, wipes and wet bag in there instead of the entire diaper bag.
  • Have realistic expectations. You are shopping with a tiny person in tow so grocery shopping is not as simple as it was before baby.
  • Use every inch of your grocery cart. If you do leave baby in the infant seat, it really is amazing how much you can fit in the cart around your baby. The bottom of the cart has tons of room and small items can fit around the sides of the carrier!
  • Be organized. Write your grocery list out with thought to where items were in the store, it makes your trip through the store more efficient and eliminates back tracking.

Tips for Grocery Shopping with Toddlers/Preschoolers:

  • Use the car carts. These carts are fabulous! Yes, they seem to weigh a ton (especially when loaded down with 60 pounds of children) and are difficult to push but they make grocery shopping fun for little ones and easier for mama.
  • Teach your preschooler to walk along side you. There are stores where car carts and 2 seater carts are not available. In these situations, my 3-year-old walks alongside me. He ‘helps’ me push the cart and assists in putting things into the cart. I started teaching him to walk alongside me when he was a little over 2 and while it’s definitely not the easiest way to shop with little ones, it’s also not a nightmare!
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Grocery shopping with little ones just takes longer than shopping without. The worst thing is trying to do all the shopping in a short amount of time.
  • Be flexible. Almost every trip to the grocery stores involves someone saying “I have to pee pee” about halfway through. Or brothers fighting in the car cart and needing to be separated. The key is to expect that these things are going to happen and be flexible when they do!
  • Don’t give in to requests. My kids sometimes ask for things but I simply tell them no and it doesn’t involve a tantrum because I never started the habit of purchasing treats and other things they want.
Be Flexible

Grocery trips frequently involve reminding my children to keep their hands and feet inside of the cart! Remember – be flexible!

These tips are what works for me when it comes to grocery shopping with my children. I don’t get stressed out about bringing them along and for the most part, they behave quite well and grocery shopping isn’t a task that I dread.

What are your tips for shopping with little ones?

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