Stepping Out

Your Mission: Grocery Shopping

What to know before you go: Hit the store on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday morning, when markets tend to be least crowded, and don't make your first excursion a full?on spree; instead, dip your toe in the water with a milk?egg-and-bread run. Once your confidence is stoked, you can better tackle a stock-up. And be sure to go armed with a list so you can focus and scoot to the register fast.

While you're there: If you can, park near the shopping-cart corral. An infant car seat doesn't snap safely into the top of the grocery cart, so don't balance it there or put it in the cart. Better to put Baby in a cart with an infant seat built into it, if your store offers these, or wear your cutie in a sling so you can shop hands-free. "My babies were always happier cuddled close to me," says Alissa Boyle, of Philadelphia, mom of Elizabeth, 1, and Brody, 4. "And using a carrier left more room in the cart for groceries." Once you're in the store, grab the fundamentals first: produce, dairy, meats. That way, if you need to make a beeline to the checkout, you'll at least have the basics to whip up dinner. When you're back at your car, put your sweetie safely into the car seat before you unload the groceries, suggests Charles Shubin, M.D., director of pediatrics at Mercy Family Care in Baltimore. Didn't score a space near the corral? Ask nicely and your bagger might return your cart for you after you've packed up the car. A sling also comes in handy here--you can keep Baby on your person while you're putting the bags in the car and dropping off the cart.

Originally published in the September 2011 issue of American Baby magazine.

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