Get organized. One of the keys to shopping with Baby is to make the trip as quick and easy as possible. Make a list of exactly what you need before leaving the house. Even better: Arrange your list by aisle or category so you don't have to take multiple laps around the store.
Choose the right time. Try to go to the market when it's less crowded and noisy, usually first thing in the morning. Plan your trip for right after baby's naptime so he's well rested and happy. Don't bank on him sleeping while you shop -- the people, lights, and sounds can be overstimulating and result in a meltdown.
Feed in advance. You don't want to get stuck feeding Baby in your parked car, so head out to the store after your little one has eaten.
Pack wisely. Change Baby's diaper before you leave, but bring your diaper bag along for the trip. A few diapers and wipes for the unexpected, a pacifier if Baby gets cranky, and a burp cloth in case he spits up are probably all you need. Don't overpack -- you need just a few items in case an emergency arises.
Bring plenty of distraction. Pack toys that clasp onto the car seat or the shopping cart handles so that your little one can play with them while you shop. A favorite stuffed animal or board book can also keep baby entertained.
Invest in a cart cover. Shopping cart seats and handles are two of the most germ-ridden places around. Protect Baby by slipping on a cover so that his hands (and mouth) never touch these areas.
Make it fun! Sing songs, point out colors and different foods, make funny faces -- whatever it takes to keep Baby happy and entertained.
Think about a carrier. Your child might throw a fit sitting in the cart, but be perfectly content being carried around by you. Keep your carrier (or a spare) in the trunk just in case.
Don't stress. It can feel like all eyes are on you (and judging your parenting skills) when baby has a meltdown in the middle of the store. Trust us -- almost every single person there has been in your position, so don't get too embarrassed. Simply do your best to calm baby down and try to have a sense of humor about it.
Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.