Shopping with baby: the 5 best and 5 worst things about it

Five best things about shopping with a baby.

1. Heavy bags.
You don’t have to carry your shopping bags, or even your handbag. When my pram basket is full, I hang the extra bags off the bugaboo’s brake.

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(Disclaimer: that is not my finger)

2. Friendliness.
People are nicer to you when have a baby. Strangers talk to you. The world is a friendlier place. AND people compliment your baby (or maybe it’s just when you have as cute a baby as *I* do) which as all parents know, feels like you personally are being complimented.

3. Excuse.
If you bump into someone who you don’t feel like talking to, you can use the baby as the excuse to keep moving. “He hates it when the pram stops”. “He has limited patience in the pram, and I’ve just got to get through my errands”. Having the baby as an excuse to get out of anything you don’t want to do is actually one of THE best reasons to have a baby at all.

4. Ears.
My personal favourite – you have someone to talk to. You don’t have to walk around the shops muttering what you need to do to yourself. Your baby has no choice but to listen to the fact that “first we need to take back J’s pants, then we need to do daddy’s banking, then we need to check out the new things in Country Road and THEN we’ll go to Coles and get milk!”. Even just “I LOVE this” sounds better directed at a person (no matter how small) rather than thin air. As someone who feels the need to comment aloud during my shopping trips, baby-as-pair-of-ears is a useful addition.

5. Coffee.
Babies get hungry and need to be fed, food or milk. This requires being seated. Sometimes it requires the assistance of hot water. This means you must stop and have a coffee.

6. Numbers.
I know I said 5 but we should have one more positive than negative, so number 6 is it’s just the baby with you. Not all 4 children. Just thinking about that makes you happy you’re shopping with (just) the baby.

You don’t have to have the most vivid imagination to come up with a list of reasons why shopping with a baby can be problematic. It takes a special kind of positivity to appreciate the flip side. As you have seen, I am that Optimist. I have easily told you the five (well, 6) best things about shopping with a baby, but I have also BEEN shopping with a baby so here’s the reality check…..

1. Throwing.
Baby N has a throwing habit. If he dislikes the taste of something, or even if he just doesn’t absolutely love it, he throws every last scrap across the room, or just onto the floor at the very least. Last night at dinner he threw a corn cob directly into my face.

In the pram, it’s socks. The second he sits down he starts pulling hard at the toes of his socks. Once they are off, quick as a flash, he extends his arm horizontally, opens his hands, and then instantly pulls them in again, in a movement so fast it’s barely perceptible to man. Or woman.

Lost socks aside, this throwing habit is completely out of hand as I discovered at Coles two days ago. Once the goods got to a level in the trolley that he could reach, everytime I put something in the trolley, he turned around, picked it up and threw it onto the floor. Every single time. The shop took me twice as long as normal. I don’t think I can go grocery shopping if this is how it’s going to be now.

2. Not so friendly after all.
People insult you when you have a baby. And all parents know when they criticise your baby they are really criticising you. That’s why sometimes I want to say “So are you!” when people
say in faux adoration “Your baby is so fat!”. Or they say “I just want to pinch his cheeks!” and I think “I want to pinch you too. Hard”. Because the next line is “What are you FEEDING him????”.

And yes, you think people are being friendly but really they just want to give you unsolicited advice. Like “Your baby’s feet are cold”. Actually they aren’t. As we have COVERED ALREADY, he has an internal heating system called baby fat and if I let you touch his magnificent feet you would see that, actually, they are warm. Besides which, it’s bloody irrelevant because he just threw his socks out of the pram when I wasn’t looking. There is no point putting socks on these feet.

3. Momentum.
If you DO bump into somone you want to talk to, you can’t actually do so. That thing about liking the pram to be moving is true, and Baby N will only stay in it stationary so long before he starts getting cranky. And that’s about 10 seconds.

4. Impatience.
The limited patience thing is also true. I list my shopping / errands on my shopping app in order of the levels and shop placement in the mall because time is at a premium. Going to the shops with baby is not a leisurely, meandering browse. It’s an exercise in time & risk management. Babies don’t always have a great appreciation for the need to get things done. And they have a habit of voicing this loudly. Or sometimes they just want to be held, which, with 14kg in one arm, and needing to still push the pram with the other, is equally restrictive.

5. Lack of coffee.
Yes you have an excuse to stop for coffee but you don’t actually get to drink it. The baby’s hunger comes first (I’m not game to ruin everyone else’s peaceful coffee with my baby’s screams) so you’ve missed the hot stage of your coffee (only temperature I like to drink my coffee at). The coffee has to be out of reach of the baby, too.

Once the baby is fed, you now have a wriggly, grabby baby on your lap, who is all like “Okay I’ve eaten, what are we sitting around for? Proceed with the walking tour of the mall!”. And as you regretfully strap the baby back into the pram, and he alternates arching his back with planking even though he clearly wasn’t enjoying sitting at the cafe, you regret not asking for your coffee to go.

XOXO Shopping Girl

Shopping with baby – love it or hate it or neither-it’s-just-life?

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