Well, by the time I got done, I realized that there was a whole blog to be written about shopping with a baby! I guess we could cover more than one subtopic on this topic, but I was in particularly interested in how a mother goes about doing this safely and with ease.
When I first became a mother, I quickly discovered the mindset of looking for parking spots that are right next to (or extremely) near a carriage stall (buggy stall, cart stall...there are so many different names!). I don't care if I'm near the market door or not; but I do care how close the carriages are located. When I had an infant still being lugged around in his infant carrier seat, it was not only important for me to find the carriage stall, but also to make sure there was still at least one carriage in the one I picked to park near. Why all this? Well, as soon as I was out of the car lugging that heavy, clumsy seat, I needed a place to put it down! In the carriage it would go, and the rest of the time at the store was handled with much more ease. Not only that, but when I returned to the car with the baby, the carrier, and all the groceries, I was able to load them right into the car and put the carriage in it's place without leaving my baby alone (this is why I prefer to park right next to the stall). Along with this, I believe that you always, always, always want to keep your keys on you at all times so that you don't lock the baby in the car! Know where your keys are at all times! I can't say that enough.
Now with a one-year-old, I still find it important to park nearby a carriage stall for things to run smoothly when I'm done shopping, but it's not necessary to grab a carriage until I get inside. He rides well in my arms until then. But inside is a whole new set of rules. On that pie-making day, for example, I grabbed a carriage to put him in when I noticed that it had gum on it, so I picked another one only to find that the safety straps were broken! At last, I picked out a third and it was fine! After strapping him safely in, I cleaned the handles. Thankfully, these days grocery stores often supply you with disinfectant wipes, which I find useful for the handle and the bar he tends to hold onto in front of him. (This is even more important because not-too-long-ago, he tended to try to suck on it --- YUCK! Best if you can avoid your baby doing that. You don't know what germs are out there, even with the wipe!)
There is one last observation I have made as a mom in the grocery store, and that is: those safety straps are not fool proof! Of course, it's first important that the straps are right under the baby's armpits and tight enough to keep him secure, but not pinching. (Baby has gotta breathe too! Be careful!). But even then, never trust the straps to watch the baby! My little guy is always surprising me with the new things he tries to do to wiggle around, try to stand up, etc. And the scary thing is that it can happen so fast and unexpectedly, especially when focusing on picking out groceries, loading the belt at the check-out, paying for the groceries --- we as moms really have to stay near the baby and not forget to continually pay attention to his safety. As I said, babies are fast and full of surprises!
So, that all came out of my adventures to the grocery store. I hope it was helpful to you --- or at least made you chuckle because it's so familiar!