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Keeping Your Baby Happy While Shopping
I used to be a shopper. It didn't matter if it was the grocery store, the mall, or a garage sale. I just loved to shop! Do you notice I used past tense. That is because I am reminiscing of pre-children days. Now I shop when I have to, but definately not for fun. I go to the grocery store once a week, go to the mall twice a year, and only go shopping for household items or clothes when they are absolutely needed. Maybe things will change once my daughter is a teenager...then again maybe not! But for now, I have two young children so I limit the shopping outings.
When I actually do go shopping, there are some things I always remember in order to ensure my baby boy stays happy or at least not upset. Maybe you will find them beneficial as well.
- Never leave home without a fully equipped diaper bag. This means snacks, toys, diapers, wipees, a change of clothing, tissues, and any other items for other children as well.
- To keep the snacks from getting messy, I use a snack trap. My son can finger feed himself small snack foods and it traps the food from falling out. Trust me it works, because I have seen my son dump it upside down and shake it as hard as he can, but luckily nothing falls out.
- Take any comfort item that is needed to calm the baby if he becomes upset. For some babies this is a pacifier and for others it is a blanket, teether ring, or Mom's old t-shirt to hold onto.
- Shop at times of the day that aren't too busy and hectic. A good time for me to go is on Monday or Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. I usually am the first in line and the baby is not sleepy for his nap yet.
- Stop shopping at any signs that the baby is so sleepy or over-whelmed that he will cry uncontrollably. Signs of overload include: hiccups, arching back, squirming, breathing irregularly, color change, sweating, gazing off, gagging, and grimacing. You are better off taking the baby home for a nap or changing his location. Besides, it is really hard to enjoy shopping with a screaming baby. Even if you can tune it out, other shoppers probably can't.
- If noises or faces over-whelm the baby, place a blanket over the carseat that is placed within the grocery cart or stroller. Just make sure there is a big enough opening for fresh air to enter.
- For older babies who can sit up on their own, consider using a cart cover. Some covers come with toys attached whereas others do not. This not only keeps the baby preoccupied, but it is also good for sanitary reasons.
- For babies less than three months, swaddling most likely will help calm them once they become upset on a shopping trip. Often, trying to swaddle them after this age is not as successful because they are too squirmy. Every child is different, some enjoy being swaddled more than others. My babies tended to come out of the "burrito" I wrapped them into, and was more successful with using special swaddlling blankets.
- Toys to take along in the diaper bag vary depending upon the baby's age. When my son was under six months of age, I gave him teething toys and rattles. Once he was old enough to hold things better, I brought his favorite toys including a play cell phone and more sophisticated textured toys that also posed as a teething toy.
Diaper bags, never leave home without them! So the next time you go shopping on a whim and don't go fully prepared, don't say I didn't tell you "It's not worth it"! Go back home, and gather all of the necessities for a pleasant shopping trip with your baby and other children.