How to Grocery Shop with a Newborn (Without Freaking Out)

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Learn how to grocery shop with a newborn in this simple guide. Helpful tips for before, during, and after to make grocery shopping a breeze!

The grocery store is the last place we want to be as a new mom. Unfortunately, the reality is we have to learn how to grocery shop with a newborn or we’ll basically starve. Nobody wants that.

The problem is when we get there, suddenly we find ourselves pushing the grocery card with one hand, holding the shopping list a gazillion miles long in the other, and then the new tiny human decides it’s just the PERFECT time to test out their lung capacity.

Suddenly, all eyes on you. Yikes.

But if anyone gets it, it’s me. I’ve faced that daunting task of grocery shopping with a newborn quite a few times now. It’s almost like an official Olympic sport by the time you make it home. (And hopefully you didn’t forget the milk as you’re rushing through the store with a baby screaming like a banshee)

Before you succumb to living off the graham cracker crumbs in the back corner of your pantry, let’s problem-solve together. No matter what stage of motherhood you’re in, I know you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to manage this whole thing.

But ya know… without resorting to online shopping and ending up with the bottom-barrel produce (but hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!)

In this blog post, I got you covered. I’ll walk you through the highs, the lows, and the sneaky in-between nobody seemed to warn you about. Maneuvering the grocery store with the new tiny squishy human is not for the faint of heart.

I’ll guide you through mastering the diaper bag, navigating every aisle like your life depends on it, and more. I’ll make sure your next shopping trip ends with you actually leaving with everything you need.

Ready to zoom through the grocery aisles with confidence? Let’s get into it.

Prepare Ahead of Time

One thing that helps navigate the grocery store for the first time is preparation. You can have the most positive attitude in the world but if you’re not prepared… well, it’s going to be a disaster. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task, though!

Let’s break down exactly what you need to do in order to prepare for your next trip to the grocery store.

Pack Your Diaper Bag

Before you even think about loading that precious baby up in the carseat, we need to talk diaper bags. You don’t need everything under the sun, but there’s a few essential items that will be a big help.

  • Extra diapers: because, uh, well duh? Last thing we need is to have an emergency without those.
  • Change of clothes: I’d like to say blowouts don’t happen in public but uh, yeah they do.
  • Grocery list: free up mental space by having this ready and available. You can also use some awesome apps to keep you organized!
  • Wipes: you honestly might need these as much as the baby LOL
  • Snacks: super important for the bigger kids and breastfeeding mamas to keep energy up
  • Toys: depending “how newborn” they are, you might want to take a few rattles for the more difficult moments
  • Portable changing pad: for those emergencies when you don’t have anything better.

You can also consider a few extras like a blanket or pacifier. Babies this little generally don’t need things like a shopping cart cover, so don’t worry about that just yet!

Depending on the season and your preferences, feel free to adapt my list! This is simply a starting point based on my own experiences.

Consider a Baby Carrier

Personally, I find that a baby carrier is absolutely essential in the early months if you want a stress-free experience. I absolutely cannot fathom the idea of not using it.

My favorite baby carrier is the baby k’tan wrap. It’s the most non-wrap, wrap you’ll ever find. It just slips right over you and there’s a few different positions you can try.

I’ve had other carriers over the years and it’s the one I return to, again and again.

I stand by my recommendation and think all new parents should get one (moms and dads!).

Decide What Time to Go

& no, “right now” is not the answer we’re looking for here. Timing things correctly can make the experience significantly less stressful.

Here are a few things you’ll want to consider:

  • Nap time: I’ve heard that shopping during naptime can be great as baby will sleep on you but I’ve always been reluctant to do that. I don’t want to deal with settling a cranky baby while trying to wrangle groceries.
  • After feeding: A baby that’s well fed is generally really happy. I like to feed baby right before going in the store.
  • Slow hours: Avoid crowded stores at all costs by shopping on weekday mornings when everyone is at work/school. It’ll be significantly less busy and therefore less stressful. I’ve also heard evenings are good but I HATE the idea of leaving my house at that time.

Also – take a deep breath. Once you’ve got the preparation in place, you’ve already accomplished a big piece! The next part is actually navigating the grocery trip LOL

Getting Around the Grocery Store

Once you actually make it to the grocery store, it’s time to strategize about the trip. There’s a few things to keep in mind from the moment you near the grocery store.

Pick a Good Parking Spot

Finding the best parking spot might sound a bit over the top, but hear me out – this matters a lot. There are a few tips to keep in mind as soon as you pull into the parking lot.

  • Look for spots that are near a shopping cart return stall. You’ll want easy access so you can make things easy while navigating your baby and groceries.
  • Park near the entrance to minimize how far away you have to walk. This is especially important if the weather is total crap.
  • If it’s super hot out, try and find a spot with shade so you don’t come back to an overly hot car. It’s not a total solution, but it helps.

Consider Car Seat Safety

If you decide to bring the infant car seat into the store, there are a few things to know. This is one part I feel like most don’t even think of.

Putting your car seat on the top of the shopping cart comes with a huge safety risk. Not only can it become top-heavy and fall over, but it also aids in your baby not being protected in the event of an accident.

It wears down on the latch, making it ineffective, and it also voids any warranties on the seat.

The best rule of thumb is to leave the car seat in the car or place it in the main basket of the cart.

Tips for Grocery Shopping with a Newborn

You’ve finally made it into the store, feeling like an absolute champion. Now it’s time to get the shopping done without it going sideways.

Reference the Grocery List

Making a grocery list can be simple, but there’s also ways to optimize it so shopping is easier. I’ve learned the hard way how important this process is.

  • Using a meal planning app can help you better organize, save favorite recipes, and otherwise free up some serious mental space. Some stores even have dedicated apps that can tell you where everything is!
  • Make a short list to give the grocery store a test run. Grab a few things for dinner and come back for the rest later.
  • Only include the essential items OR make the list based on priority. Put things like diapers and wipes at the very top.

Get In & Out – FAST!

Make it a quick trip when your sanity just cannot handle it anymore LOL. Definitely go during slower times, but there are a few other things to consider.

  • Just grab a small hand basket to get a few necessities. It’s not only faster, but it forces you to stick to a pretty short list!
  • Focus on smaller items you can’t order online (or maybe shouldn’t) such a produce, baked goods, and meat.
  • Utilize the resources around you when you’re lost. Ask employees for help, ask your sister to come with you, etc. You don’t need to do this alone!

Skip the Trip Altogether

Stay with me now – online shopping is honestly amazing and can help you skip the stressful trip.

There are generally two options, depending on where you live.

  • Order groceries for curbside pickup. It’s a great option when the idea of going to the store just sounds too much of a daunting task to even consider. You’d rather starve. But driving to the parking lot? You can totally do that.
  • Another option is utilizing grocery delivery. Not all areas offer this but it is AMAZING compared to pickup. Alot of them offer same-day delivery too.

These services are such a small luxury that honestly can change the game. They’re a huge quality of life improvement – especially when you have a baby.

I also want to point out that each time you go, it might look different. You’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Shopping with a newborn isn’t exactly easy.

Dealing with the Unexpected

And, unfortunately, even the best planned shopping trips can go off the rails. Unexpected things happen all the time.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to EXPECT these things to happen. Know what you’ll do when the inevitable appear.

Dealing with a Fussy Baby

When you have a fussy baby, there are a few things you can do.

  • Keep your baby close and engage with them as much as possible. Talk, sing, etc until you can exit the store.
  • Sometimes baby needs a change of scenery if they’re stuck in one place too long. Walk down another isle if you need to.
  • Take a deep breath and try to keep your stress levels down. Easier said than done but babies can pickup on our energy.
  • If you breastfeed, don’t be afraid to feed. If someone has something to say about it, hold firm in your boundaries. Nobody gets to make you feel bad for feeding them!

Emergency Diaper Changes

If it happens (and it will eventually). Take a breath and handle the situation. There’s a few things to be done.

  • Make sure you know where the bathrooms are and if it has a changing station. Hopefully you choose a store that does have one!
  • If you’re out of luck this time around, you’ll have to resort to the back of your car as a car diaper change station. Pull out that portable changing pad in the diaper bag.
  • Always have extra diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes. I mentioned this earlier, but it’s important. You don’t want to be caught with a blowout and nothing to do about it until you get home!

Now that it’s over you can finally go home LOL. You did it! But there are still a last few points.

Tips for After the Trip

Now that you’ve survived the hardest part, it’s time to think about how the rest is going to go once you get home.

Unloading the Car

After you finally make it home, the last thing you’re going to want to do is unload it all. But alas, it has to be done. There’s a few things you can do to make easier, though.

  • Park as close to the front door as possible to make it super easy to carry everything.
  • Unload the essential items first such as produce or ice cream.
  • Get some help if you can to make it easier!

Bond with Your Baby

Baby is likely going to be overstimulated by this point and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were just screaming like a banshee all the way home.

Take a deep breath mama because you did it.

Take time to cuddle on your baby, give them a diaper change, feed them, and put them down for a nap if you think they need it.

It will be okay if groceries sit on the counter for a few minutes. Put the pressing items in the fridge/freezer and get to the rest later.

Reflect on the Experience

Take the time to reflect on your experience of shopping with your newborn baby. Consider these questions going forward:

  • What worked? Did shopping after nap time keep the baby calm? Did feeding baby before going in the store make a difference? Maybe using an app helped you keep a clear head? Notice the things that went amazingly well.
  • What did NOT work so well? Maybe the weekday morning was a total circus due to a preschool field trip to the grocery store. Or oops — you forgot the changing pad and baby had a blowout suddenly.
  • What can you improve on? Think about different times, things to pack in the diaper bag, or just throwing out this idea altogether until baby is older in favor of curbside pickup. Grocery delivery is a saint and I cannot emphasize that enough!

Conclusion

Remember that with the right steps, you can learn how to grocery shop with a newborn. It doesn’t have to be a wild three ring circus everytime you go.

I hope I’ve helped equip you with the proper tools and strategies.

Every new mom faces this problem because BOYYYYY is it hard. It’s overwhelming AF.

If you decide you just can’t do it, there’s no harm in that either. Curbside pickup or grocery delivery are absolutely fantastic options over a crowded store.

Oh and if you have had a successful shopping trip with your newborn, tell me about it! I’d love to hear about your experience, any extra tips to share, etc.

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