A Quick Guide on How To Shop with A Baby
Without the overwhelm or feeling inadequate
I heard horrible stories about mothers sent away from shops by angry clients because the baby was insistently crying. I knew someone that stopped shopping altogether because of the nasty looks she would get every time she pushed the pram inside the local store.
It is shocking and inexcusable.
I have never been sent away, but I did have to deal with the ‘judgy’ looks and the mean comments; they hurt so much, especially in the very beginning. I loved my baby wholeheartedly, but I had no idea how to make her stop crying; those people made me feel unworthy as a mother. Let me rephrase that, those people didn’t do anything to me, I felt unworthy as a mother.
I knew babies cry, but I had no idea how much; Luna could scream for 8 hours a day, it was nerve-wracking and heart wrenching at the same time, and it didn’t allow much space to do tears-free activities.
Shopping did bring so much fear and anxiety; I remember dreading the queue at the counter to the point I would break a sweat whenever I noticed Luna’s little feet moving underneath the blanket. I needed a solution, and pronto.
I felt so ashamed, and I thought it was just me. I had to listen to Brenee Brown podcast a couple of times until her message stuck with me: I had to embrace the un-coolness of it all.
“It’s about the willingness to be imperfect, to be vulnerable. It’s about the courage to wake up in the morning and acknowledge that no matter what gets done and what doesn’t get done, that I’m enough and that I’m worthy of love, belonging, and joy. Those are irreducible needs for humans(Brown, B 2017)”.
I had to let go of control; I couldn’t switch on/off my daughter’s emotion, but I could choose to be there for her while making life easier for myself.
And this is what I have learned:
Order online. This is the best thing I have done since giving birth to my little love: doing my shopping online. As I discussed before, I don’t particularly like shopping, as I take a long time to sass out new products, and I end up leaving the supermarkets without the items I really need. The same goes for clothes shopping. I hate trying items on or having a caring sales assistant asking me what I’m after. And those fitting rooms are always so gloomy and tiny.
I didn’t trust the online thing in the beginning, and now I swear by it.
Go the weekend to the farmers market. Although I don’t particularly like to shop, I really do enjoy spending time at the farmers market; I feel like I’m contributing to the all ‘km zero, slow food movement’; moreover, I shop organic, I support the local farmers, and I normally enjoy a cup of warm chai while Luna runs free between one stall and the other. It’s fun, it creates community, and most of the time (if you go for what’s in season), it is cheap.
Shop when the baby is asleep. I used to dread shopping when Luna was awake; feed-poop-cry alert. Every time I stepped inside a supermarket, she automatically started crying for some reason. I’m sure the drop in temperature and the bright lights didn’t help, but a leisurely stroll would quickly turn into a rushing nightmare. On top of it, people felt really free to chip in with their thoughts “she is crying because she is cold, hungry, overdressed, underdressed” “Why is she crying?” and the best one “Can you make her stop?”.
I wish I had the correct answer for all those questions, but the reality is that I felt ashamed, judged, and I just wanted to leave the shop as soon as I could.
I then started shopping when she was asleep, and the process became so much easier.
At the moment I’m still buying online, but if I have to go to the shop last minute and she cries, I let her express her needs; and if someone is bothered by it, I make sure to follow them until the constant screaming oblige them to leave the store bags free. Sweet, old, revenge.
Go when both bellies are fed. Going to the store hungry is dangerous for a ravenous breastfeeding mother, as much it is for a starving toddler in desperate need of a snack. Fed the baby and yourself and then do the shopping; you will save so much money because of it, and you will end up buying only the items you need, without the unnecessary “junk”.
Prepare a list. When I was single I used to enjoy roaming around the isles of a supermarket looking for the latest products and dreaming about possible recipes. My little bubba has quickly changed that careless mentality. Now, whenever I have to shop, I make a list and stick to it. That’s when shopping online works really well, as most websites allow you to replicate the most recent shopping list. That little trick saves me a good half an hour of my precious playing-with-Luna time. On top of it, you don’t have to trust your sweet baby brain.
Say thank you. And this rule applies to any other moment throughout the day. If someone makes comments about your baby, the way he/she is dressed, the tears, the giggling…whatever! Just thank them, smile and walk away. Mama, you have no time to deal with people that aren’t keen to support you. You are going through a lot already, so put your earplugs on and wear a t-shirt that says “Good vibes only”.
Claudia Vidor (@nourishedbyclaudia) * Instagram photos and videos
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Smile back at other mamas. It doesn’t matter how old your child is, and what challenges you are going through; every other parent has experienced more or less the same. Although they look like they have everything figured it out, smile at the others mamas (and papas). It’s a nice way of saying “Yep, I get it, you are nailing it, and it’s going to be SO fine”.