To Market, To Market, With Baby We Go?

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This little foodie went to market.

Foodie Babies Wear Bibs” by Michelle Sinclair Colman, Illustrations by Nathalie Dion

A few weeks ago at our baby & toddler group, one of my mama friends asked about how and when we take our little ones with us on trips to the market, to the store or when running errands (or if we do at all). First of all, I just love when parents ask other parents for insight, perspective and ideas. It allows parents to share, bond and rely on one another’s experiences, wisdom and expertise when it comes to raising children. Like the African proverb, it takes a village to raise a child, I also believe it takes a village to raise a parent. I find myself seeking wisdom from parents both experienced and new and am constantly learning different strategies, parenting styles, tips and things I never thought had to do with parenting! And when asked questions like this one, it challenges me to really think about what I’ve learned as a parent.

Okay, so back to the question…how and when do you take your little ones with you on trips to the market, to the store or when running errands (or if you do at all)? I’ll spend some time sharing how I’ve managed to run errands with K through her life stages.

newborn – sitting up with help: For many, this is the easiest time for running errands, especially because their baby sleeps “like babies,” or as they say. For me, it was a question of surviving an errand run…well at least at first. Having a little one who has always hated the carseat, stroller and really anything that had a strap on it (yes, even those swings and bouncers too), errands seemed completely out of the question. My trip to and from the store would be a constant screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs car ride (sleep was also out of the question regardless of what time I put her in) and forget about strolling her around…it would be a screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs errand! Every parent’s wanna get away moment, right?! When I absolutely needed to run an errand, I would stay as local as possible (meaning if I could walk there and back in an hour of time, that’s where I’d go). I would put K into my Boba Wrap (infinite THANK YOU’s to my cousin, Mama Crystal, for this priceless wrap), she would fall fast asleep and I would walk wherever I needed to go and have hours of hands-free time. That’s how I survived running (or shall I say walking) errands!

sitting independently – almost mobile: During this stage, babies have developed their ability to see all colors and love to observe the world around them. Parents who have had it easy over the last stage of life, may start to experience what I did for the first few months. Baby K still despised the carseat/stroller at this stage, but since she already had experienced several hundred car rides in her life and she was heavier than before, we decided it was time to give up the long walks in the wrap. After surviving the car ride there, into my wrap went baby K and she would peacefully enjoy the walk, curiously exploring everything we passed by. She enjoyed reaching and grasping for different objects, feeling its texture, listening to my description and then cooing and babbling at it before she put it down. Each destination seemed like an adventure for baby K.

crawling/scooting: At this stage, babies are now on the move and that means keeping them in one place for a long time can be a challenge, to say the least. At the same time, their meal/snack/nap times are more predictable so working around their schedules and anticipating their needs is key to making running errands a pleasant one (our prime time to leave was right after breakfast or lunch so that I could give K a snack when we were on the go). Hungry, tired baby = miserable trip to the market. During this stage, K’s love for books grew. She would sit on the rug and read books for 10 minutes at a time. So that meant if I were to have her choose a few books for the car ride, she would happily sit in the back seat for at least a 10 minute drive. I seriously couldn’t believe my ears when I could actually hear the classical music playing in the background! And when we arrived, I would put her into the stroller or cart and she would happily enjoy her trip for the first ten minutes or so. When she began eating finger foods, that’s when the 10 minutes became 20 and me standing in a long line at the market would be a possibility! So when we left the house for errands, not only would we have a bag of books to entertain K in the carseat, I would also have a stash of finger foods stored in a container and an emergency baby food pouch in my purse. When K started to fuss and show signs of hunger, I would take out a snack and it would buy us more time.

toddling/walking/running: Freedom!!! Or at least that’s what toddlers seem to want all the time now that they are REALLY on the move. Now comes the question of whether or not you want to have your little one up on his/her feet, sitting in the cart/stroller or in your carrier/wrap (if that’s even possible). I’ve decided that K can roam with me as long as her safety is not at stake (meaning shopping carts aren’t going to run a little two-and-a-half-footer over) and as long as she is holding my hand when I am on the move. So before we get out of the car, I make sure to let her know what I am going to do and what I expect of her until we reach the first destination. Once there, I would let her know what’s expected if there is a change. Here’s what a typical errand run for us looks like: “Ok, Mama’s going to carry you to the mall and when we get there you can walk if you’d like.” We arrive at the mall. “If you’d like to walk, you need to hold my hand. Which hand would you like me to hold?” I hold that hand, we walk and we arrive at the shop where there’s a small kids area to play. “Would you like to play for a few minutes? You can go play. I’ll be right here.” etc., etc..

Ok, enough of my experiences…I’m curious to hear yours! So I’ll ask you the question now…

How and when do you take your little ones with you on trips to the market, to the store or when running errands (or if you do at all)? 

**Santa Monica Mama is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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