How to Grocery Shop With a Baby: Tech-Free Survival Guide for Parents

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Going to the grocery store is one repetitive task that sometimes I wish I didn’t have to do…every week. Shopping with a very spirited and independent one year old (who in my case is slowly but surely ensuring she forever maintains only child status) can then make that repetitive task into a living nightmare!  So, here are some tech-free tips I have learned along the way to help you learn how to grocery shop with a baby.

Tips For How to Grocery Shop With a Baby

First of all, avoid shopping with your child if you can.

I usually try to go to the store on a weeknight after my husband gets home, so he does bath time and bedtime solo while I get some peace and quiet and can speed through the grocery store stress-free. However, this doesn’t always work out, and baby girl and I end up often having to do grocery shopping together.

Make multiple shopping trips.

We live less than a mile from the grocery store, so if we have the time, we go several times a week when I’m not able to make one big solo trip. As soon as she starts getting grumpy that day, we end the trip and pick up the next day where we left off.

Use a curbside pick up service or a grocery delivery service.

Many stores like Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon, for example, offer curbside grocery pick up or at home delivery. This may have a pickup or delivery fee, but if you have a sick child at home and can’t easily venture out for a whole trip, don’t forget this idea!

Be prepared.

Go with a list in hand, ideally organized by section or aisle. There’s nothing worse than a disorganized list (or no list) causing several aisle revisits. This increases the time you have to be at the grocery store with a tiny tyrant.

Don’t plan a grocery trip around bad times.

This includes nap time, lunch time, or a time of day where your child is not usually on his/her best behavior. Starting the trip with a happy child gives a much greater chance of a happy child at the end of the trip.

Bring lots of snacks.

We like to go around her mid-morning snack time, so she will occupy herself for the first 15 minutes eating her snack. We have one of those snack containers where she can stick her hand in and feed herself without making a huge mess. Life changer!

Involve your child in the grocery selection.

Small, unbreakable items I allow her to touch and examine for a while before asking her to toss them into the basket. I also tell her about the items she is touching, and I will point to items in the store and name them for her.

Don’t go shopping when it is very crowded.

This can make maneuvering a big basket more difficult, and it will increase time spent waiting in line. At the same time, having a few people around gives our baby girl distractions. Mid-morning time at our grocery store attracts mostly elderly people, so this is a PERFECT time to take her out. Sure, her head gets rubbed or her cheeks get pinched sometimes, but she seems to be a magnet for older people entertaining her. She LOVES the attention, and mommy loves that baby girl is distracted enough not to squeal at the top of her lungs just to hear it echo in the store.

Bring baby’s favorite toys.

Bring fun toys or other favorite items to entertain. My child has a bone-like rattle that she brings everywhere with her. It is a strange toy to be so attached to, but well, having that in my bag of goodies buys me at least five minutes of silence when I whip it out.

Try a forward-facing cart.

My squirmy wormy won’t tolerate this option. If your child, however, enjoys getting to ride in that big red car and silently steer the wheel without trying to slip out of the restraints…I’m jealous.

And honestly, I don’t know if it is just her or if there are other kids out there like this, but my child feels the need to chew on the front of the cart as well as turn around in the seat and eat the back of the cart as soon as she starts getting bored! It is so disgusting, but luckily I always sanitize before plopping her down. Once she gets to this point, it means she is about to expire. So I end up holding her in one arm, maneuvering the shopping cart with the other, and trying to get the heck out of there as fast as possible.

How do you entertain your child at the grocery?  How do you like to grocery shop with a baby?

Interested in parenting?  Check out some of our other parenting posts!