Grocery shopping has always been one of my favorite pastimes. I love to cook, I love food, I love sales, I love coupons, I love wandering the aisles and looking for new products; shopping is simply one of my favorite things to do. After the birth of our son, I would leave him at home with my husband as I would go shopping.
As you know, our world is currently in a pandemic and things are not normal, but they are the ‘new normal’ as folks say. After my husband returned to work from his paternity leave, 12 weeks after our son’s birth, I quickly realized that I was going to need to figure out shopping on my own with a baby. I was not going to wait around for someone to be able to watch my baby in order for us to have yummy food in the house. I decided I was not going to live in fear of the virus and going in public, but just do everything in my power to prevent getting sick and to protect my little one.
The first day that I went grocery shopping by myself with my son I prepared as much as I could. I brought my hand sanitizer, Tula carrier, his diaper bag, extra food, my breast pump, and headed off to the store. I had written my detailed shopping list in order of Costco’s layout to be able to zoom through and throw every item in the cart as fast as I could. My plan was simple, but much harder to execute than I had expected.
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Costco, obviously, is a massive store, and wearing a baby on your front and picking up bulk items took quite the effort and probably looked pretty comical. I was doing squats to grab my toilet paper and bottled water and heaving the items into my cart. I had sweat dripping down my neck and my hair transformed into a frizzy puff ball from the humidity I had created with my heavy breathing and swift movements while wearing a mask. I had my arms jetted out in front of me while pushing the cart, to avoid accidentally bonking my baby’s body on the handle. People quickly cleared their paths when they saw a sweaty, determined mom speeding down the aisles. I would nod at them in appreciation as they got the heck out of my way.
I remember being anxious about checking out knowing I would have to unload my cart onto the belt quickly and under pressure. However, due to COVID, the cashiers asked me to leave the items in the cart so they could scan them without handling extra items. This eliminated another sweaty activity for me and I was grateful.
I got in and out of Costco in under 30 minutes that first trip and this was short enough for my son to not get mad about being in his carrier. I ripped my mask off my face as soon as I made it to my car and inhaled the fresh Pacific Northwest air. As I took him out of the carrier a nice breeze cooled the parts of our bodies that were previously just sandwiched together during a vigorous shopping trip. I put him in his car seat, unloaded the groceries, shoved the cart in the corral, hopped in my driving seat, sanitized my hands, threw on my portable/wearable breast pump to release those babies on the drive home, cranked the AC and drove home feeling pretty proud.
Upon arrival at home, I brought my son inside and began the unloading and lysol wiping process of our purchases. After unloading, we took a bath and put on fresh clothes. We were both clean, I didn’t feel that our health was compromised and we had just tackled our first big shopping trip together without any help; it felt like we had conquered the world.
As my son gets older, shopping has become exponentially easier. He loves to look around and take it all in and often releases sounds of joy and glee while walking around. People seem more courteous when they see a mom wearing her baby and clear the pathway.
I prefer to bring a shopping buddy with me to town, because having the extra hands makes things a million times easier, but I like knowing that going by myself is an option. Before having a baby, it was easy to not notice the parent shopping with their little one, but I have now learned how much work it really is and how much preparation it takes to leave the house. It’s pretty wild how mindless shopping used to be for me and how much more stressful it has become having a baby. But, tackling the grocery shopping with my little sidekick keeps things interesting and I am thankful for such an easy going little guy.
Tips for Shopping with a Baby at Costco
- Preparation is the key to success! Bring everything, regardless of if you need it or not (diapers, diaper bag, food, carrier, stroller, etc.)
- Write out your shopping list AHEAD of time, in order of the store aisles to prevent any backtracking or forgotten items
- Have your hand-sanitizer ready to go upon arrival back at your vehicle
- Make sure the little one is well rested, because shopping is a workout, physically and mentally!
- Use it as a teaching opportunity. Count the items as they go into the cart and talk about what you are purchasing.
- Accept help offered to you and the kind offer to cut the line to pay first
- Wear your hair pulled out of your face, because things are going to get sweaty
- Park next to to a cart corral for ease of the cart return
And lastly, don’t stress!