What the Heck Do You Do With a Baby When Grocery Shopping?

car seat warning

Today was a very big day for LJ and I.  I took her out on her first shopping trip.  Of course, I enlisted the best shopper I know to come with us: my mom.  We hit Buy Buy Baby, Whole Foods, and Schnucks (the local supermarket) in less than three hours.  I was shocked.  And what was even better, LJ slept most of the time, and when she wasn’t sleeping, she was staring at the little toys I recently hung from her carseat.  The secret?  Always keep her moving.  The moment the cart stopped she would fuss, and as soon as we would get going again, she would quiet down.

Before we left, I hadn’t done any research on how to put a carseat in a shopping cart, and I just figured I would figure it out when I got there or ask the customer service people.  I was shocked to walk into the supermarket and find that both the big cart and the little cart had signs that said not to put your carseat in the cart.  I made my way quickly over to customer service and asked the lady how I was supposed to shop with my baby.  She was probably wondering what this crazy woman was doing asking her how to go about completing daily life tasks, but there I was.  The lady told me she had no clue how I was supposed to do it, but that she wouldn’t advise putting the carseat in the top of the cart.  But if I put her in the bottom part of the cart, I would have no room for groceries.  I said to her and mom (and really anyone that would listen), “Well, I mean, mothers do go shopping for groceries.  The question is, how?”

So of course when I got home I did some online research to figure out the answer.  This apparently is a fairly common dilemma because the question comes up on Yahoo Answer, Babycenter, and then is addressed on several carseat blogs.  In fact, even the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement about shopping cart safety.  Apparently 23,000 children are treated in the hospital each year due to shopping cart blunders (yikes!), and they say simply to never put the infant seat in the top of the cart.  They give some advice, including leaving your child at home, shopping online, etc., most of which was quite frankly not all that helpful.

Really the most practical advice I have seen is simply to wear your baby in a sling or carrier when you go shopping.  Lucky for me, LJ generally likes being in a carrier.  I just really had no idea that you couldn’t put your infant car seat in the cart!  Why all supermarkets don’t have shopping carts that allow for carseats to snap in is beyond me, but apparently that’s the norm.  Thank goodness I had my mom (as I had no sling or carrier), because we just had two carts, and I did end up putting Lilah in one of them.  I guess today wasn’t my finest I-followed-all-the-rules-of-parenting moment.  (I’ve had a few of those.)  It is really amazing how many ways there are to screw up as a parent.  Did shopping carts really have to enter the mix?

8 thoughts on “What the Heck Do You Do With a Baby When Grocery Shopping?

  1. I wore Cora until she could safely sit in the cart alone (neck and back stabilization). It’s a great way to get around with little equipment! I’ve been putting Benson in the bottom of the cart and just tucking things on the sides of his carseat (in the cart, not the carseat). You can still fit a good amount of stuff, especially without a toddler in the cart seat. :)

  2. I always go grocery shopping with my husband but my daughter hates being in her carseat if we are not in the car AND moving. Otherwise, she must be out and watching what’s going on. She’s been this way since she was a newborn.

  3. My son was and still is (at 7 months old) like your LJ when it comes to the movement of the cart. He loathes the check out line because we aren’t moving for a long period of time. My fiance and I also just wung it (is that the past tense of “wing it”?) and figured we’d figure it out when we got there. Turns out, we couldn’t figure it out and were too embarrassed to ask. So, we put the car seat carrier in the large basket part. The second time we went to the store, we figured out how to put the carrier in the top seat part. We’ve honestly had no problems with tipping or anything. The carrier fits VERY snugly. Also, we have a Graco brand one that has a snappy clip thing built in that snaps to the backrest of the metal seat for extra security. Check the bottom of yours. It might have the same snap. I really wouldn’t worry about it. Just don’t walk away from the cart. Always pull the cart up to the items you are looking at so you are right there, just in case.

    Also, something to think about, is your baby is going to get too big for the body sling/carrier before she is able to sit up in the metal seat. My son got too big for his body carrier around 5 months. He didn’t learn to sit up on his own until 6 months. And he’s still too small to sit up safely in the shopping cart. And you’re right, the advice to shop online or leave the baby at home is incredibly impractical!

    I look forward to reading more of your blog! :-)

  4. Pingback: Grocery Shopping With a Baby | thelittledabbler

  5. Pingback: My Attempts at Pretending to be Normal | The Leaking Boob

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