The Ultimate Guide on How to Grocery Shop With a Newborn

by Staff

Did you know the average U.S. shopper spends 41 minutes in a grocery store? That may seem quick, but it doesn’t include the travel time or the time wasted sitting in traffic.

You may not have counted or noticed all that before, but you likely will now that you have a newborn. After all, you now have two people to look after; yourself and your little one.

So, what once seemed like a straightforward errand can now be a challenge.

But it doesn’t have to be. We’ll teach you how to grocery shop with a newborn and save time and money while you’re at it, so read on.

The Right Timing

There are two things you must get the timing right when grocery shopping with a newborn. First is your baby’s nap time. The second is the least-busy hours of the store you plan to shop in.

Your Little One’s Nap Time

If you have a one-month-old baby, then lucky you because they usually nap for 16 hours daily. They doze off for three to four hours each nap, usually soon after they’ve fed. They also sleep after being awake for one to two hours.

To make shopping easier while raising a newborn, you should time it during your baby’s nap. This lets you browse the aisles and shop without your baby getting hungry enough to wake up.

However, be sure to factor in the drive time from your home to the store and back. Include this in your total allocated shop time.

Suppose it takes 15 minutes to drive from your home to the grocery store. Let’s also say your little one usually naps at 9 AM. In this case, be ready to leave by 8:45, give or take, so you can go soon after your little one falls asleep.

The Store’s Least-Busy Hours

It pays to be at the grocery store when it’s least busy, so you finish shopping ASAP.

For example, you can shop with your little one as soon as the store opens, which in most cases, is 9 AM. Experts say this is one of the best times to shop if you want to beat the crowd.

You can also check the store’s peak hours with Google or Apple Maps. They can tell you how busy your destination is at specific hours.

Shop at a Familiar Store

There are over 45,000 supermarkets and groceries in the U.S., carrying an average of 31,530 items. They can hold that many, considering their average size is 48,415 square feet.

While that size is impressive, it can also mean shoppers can get lost browsing racks and shelves. With some establishments having up to 20 aisles or more, it’s easy to see how.

Getting lost means wasting time, which is always a no-no, but even more so if you shop with your newborn. So if you must shop while on newborn care duties, choose a store you’re familiar with. This way, once you get inside, you know exactly where to go and get the stuff on your list.

Make a Shopping List

Creating a to-buy list is one of the best shopping tips you should follow, as it reminds you of things you must buy. In doing so, it helps you meet and not forget your needs.

A shopping list also helps you save time because it reduces your odds of needing to return to the store. While this may be okay if you’re single, it’s not as easy if you have to carry your precious one with you.

For the same reason, a shopping list helps you save time and money on commute expenses. With gas prices continuously climbing, this is a perk you should take advantage of.

A shopping list also lets you complete your trip quickly, which is helpful if you shop with your newborn. Remember: Babies can be fussy and cry when they see unfamiliar faces. Since a grocery store is full of strangers, you want to keep your little one from waking up and seeing them as you shop.

Mind the Store’s Layout

To help make your shopping even more efficient, make a list based on the store’s floor plan or layout. This is also why you’d want to shop at a familiar store.

First, think of the aisles’ arrangement once you enter the store. You can then make your list based on their locations from nearest to farthest.

Then, group items you can find in the same aisle or section in your list. For example, different kinds of pasta and noodles are usually in the same store aisle. Pasta sauces and condiments may also be in the same section or the one next to it.

Following this tip can help you save time since it lets you shop more strategically. As a result, you can be in and out of the store in an hour or less, with your newborn more likely to be still asleep.

By contrast, if you make a too-random list, you may have to go from one end of the store to another. Worse, you may realize you need something from or close to the aisle you’ve already visited. That’s a lot of wasted time, and all that moving back and forth can wake your little one up.

Prepare the Diaper Bag

While you should aim to be back home with your baby still asleep, it’s better to prepare if things don’t go as planned. For example, it may be such a fine day that you’d want to take your little one for a quick stroll after shopping. Or the store becomes packed because it started raining, so your newborn wakes up from all the noise.

That’s why you’d want to prepare and bring your diaper bag if you can’t or don’t follow your original plan.

In the bag, pack at least one covered bottle of breastmilk or formula. Bring two pacifiers, too, if your baby uses them. You want an extra one just in case your baby drops the other.

A lightweight blanket is also necessary, as groceries and supermarkets can get chilly. You can also use this as a burp cloth for your little one’s spit-up.

Bring no less than two diapers, too, considering infants use eight to 10 daily. Don’t forget to bring a pack of hypoallergenic baby wipes and a disposable changing pad.

Next, pack at least two biodegradable trash bags. You can use one for the dirty diaper, used wipes, and soiled changing pad (in case you must change them at the store). The other is for your baby’s clothes and yours if they get dirty while cleaning up your little one.

Lastly, prepare a set of extra clothes for you and your newborn.

Stick To Your List

In a 2021 survey of 2,000 Americans, 8 in 10 said they make shopping lists. However, many also admitted they left the store with more than what they planned to buy. As a result, they spent more, with some citing shelling out an extra $50 due to their impulse shopping.

So as helpful as a shopping list is, not sticking to it defeats its purpose. If you don’t follow it, you’ll likely spend more time and money at the grocery store. The longer you stay there, the higher the chances of your newborn waking up, and you’ll have even more on your plate.

It’s okay to deviate from your shopping list occasionally, but do this when you’re not with your little one. You can also do this if you have another adult, such as your partner, to help you shop and look after your baby.

Practice Safe Cart Use

Even a healthy newborn is at risk of breathing difficulties if allowed to sleep on a non-flat surface. This is because infants still have developing lungs in the first few months of their life. Therefore, they must lie flat to help them breathe properly.

So when shopping with your newborn, your baby should be in a bassinet or a carrier with a deep recline. If you’re shopping with your partner or another adult, one of you can push the bassinet stroller. The other can then handle the shopping and push the cart.

Things are more challenging if it’s only you and your little one, as you alone can’t push a stroller and a cart. Luckily, products like Bugaboo, UPPAbaby, and Silver Cross Reef strollers have detachable bassinets.

Depending on how many items you’re buying, the cart may be big enough for them and the bassinet. However, in this case, please ensure your baby is inside the cart itself, not on top.

Putting your baby’s bassinet or carrier on top is dangerous, as it can make the cart top-heavy. This can make the trolley flip over, causing your little one to fall.

But what if there’s a lot on your shopping list? In this case, call the grocery store you plan to visit and ask if they have carts equipped with Safe-Dock.

Safe-Dock is a universal car seat docking station designed specifically for shopping carts. It provides a snug, secure fit for most infant carriers sold in the United States. It frees up the space inside the shopping cart while holding your baby securely and safely.

Park Beside a Cart Return Stall

You shouldn’t leave your baby unattended, nor should you leave your cart anywhere. It’s a basic shopping courtesy to return carts in designated places, not out in parking lots.

The best solution to this, therefore, is to park right beside a return stall. Many groceries and supermarkets even have multiple cart receptacles throughout their parking lots.

With this strategy, you can bring your shopping trolley full of bags straight to your car. You can then unload the stuff into your vehicle and put your baby bassinet or carrier inside the cart. After this, you can return the cart to the designated location, get your baby out of it, and finally, back to your car you go.

Consider Online Grocery Shopping

Even during the pandemic, 90% of Americans still shopped in-store. That’s also despite the boom in online grocery shopping at that time. Many prefer in-store shopping since they like seeing and touching products in person.

If you’re one of those folks, you may not welcome the thought of shopping online, even now that you have a newborn. However, its convenience makes it an ideal, albeit occasional, alternative to in-person shopping. This is especially helpful if your little one gets fussy when you’re just about to head to the store.

Depending on the distance, driving to and from your home and the store may also cost more than delivery. Even if it’s not, it’s unlikely to be too far off from the online membership and delivery fees.

Besides, you can still get discounts and deals from online groceries and supermarkets. Many stores also allow you to order all sorts of things, from fresh produce to canned goods. Some even offer same-day delivery, although it may cost more than the standard service.

If several stores near you offer online delivery, you can choose the one with the lowest delivery fee. Or, if you want to try them for at least a month, you can sign up for a monthly membership, which often has free delivery. However, check the minimum required order amount; you may have to pay extra if you don’t meet it.

Also, don’t forget to check if you have credit cards offering bonus points for groceries. An example is the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card. With this, you could earn up to 6% cash back when purchasing from U.S. supermarkets.

That’s How to Grocery Shop With a Newborn

Knowing how to grocery shop with a newborn can help you save time and money. It can make shopping even more enjoyable for you (and your baby, who’s most likely to stay asleep). Most importantly, it can help keep your little one safe and comfy throughout the trip.

So, the next time you plan to head out to the grocery with your baby, prepare by following our tips.

For more shopping hacks and tricks, check out our recent lifestyle posts!

About the Author/s

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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