Congratulations new parents! You have to eat so unless you have someone else doing your grocery shopping you need to learn how to take your baby grocery shopping.
Parenting…my goodness where do I begin? It’s one of those topics that NEVER ends.
When it came to grocery shopping we wanted to know how to bring our baby shopping without pulling our hair out.
For many new parents their new lives can be overwhelming with everything from bringing the baby home for the first time to bringing baby outside into a world of chaos and harmony.
Many parents focus on germs, illnesses, feedings, diaper changes etc. when deciding whether to venture outdoors but the worst thing you can do is stay indoors all the time. You can still have lots of giggles and kisses outside as you can indoors.
One of the most nerve-racking places parents worry about going is to the grocery shopping or shopping in general. Bringing your baby grocery shopping doesn’t have to be stressful so don’t let every comment you read on the internet scare you into hibernating indoors and ordering in until your baby is a toddler.
After years and years of grocery shopping as a childless couple we had to re-think our approach to saving money in our grocery budget once our son arrived on the scene last year.
We are NOT parenting professionals so this post is what we’ve learned over the course of almost a year with our baby boy. Needless to say we are still learning something new every day as most parents do.
Grocery shopping used to be a relaxed affair with a coupon binder, flyers and time, something we no longer have.
We love grocery shopping but even if you don’t you still have to eat which means you either order groceries online, eat out or you grab your food shopping list and away you go.
Some people guard against going to the grocery store with a newborn baby but that didn’t stop us. Our son was only 7 days old when we popped into Zehrs with our baby boy. We had just come home after a weeks stay in the hospital and we knew our refrigerator was empty.
Best time to grocery shop with a baby
Before we brought baby to see his new home we made a pit-stop at the grocery store during the early morning hours. There were a few people in sight such as store workers and the odd shopper. Overall it was the perfect time for us to shop and it wasn’t as overwhelming as we thought it would be.
Our minds were racing when we walked through the doors.
Please don’t make the baby scream… please don’t…lots of please don’t but you get over that the more you go out in public. You get comfortable with your child because you learn to understand each other and those baby signs that alert you to what baby needs.
Since most babies are fast asleep late at night the best option for us would be early in the morning when the baby is awake or off napping but the store is quiet.
Bringing a newborn baby into a crowded grocery store may be overwhelming for the baby or keep the baby awake if he/she is trying to sleep.
We tried to keep the noise level in the house roughly the same as normal so baby got used to it. Keeping the house at a zero noise level just creates problems further down the road.
If you must take your baby grocery shopping go when it’s a quiet time or call ahead to ask how busy the store is. Keep in mind a store can get busy faster than you have time to drive, walk or take the bus there so be prepared for any situation.
You also minimize air-born germs if the store is not crowded which can be life-threatening to any newborn baby. This is due to very young babies having a very low immune system. If you are worried about people touching your baby don’t be afraid to hold out your hand and say, NO! If you must shop late at night just pick a slow time to bring your baby to the store or find a babysitter.
Take Direction from your baby
I know this might sound odd because you are the parent and in charge but if you are able to take your baby grocery shopping after he/she has finished eating or is due for a nap that might work better for you.
We try to work around our son’s schedule so we aren’t feeding him on the road unless we have to. Before we leave the house we make sure our cooler bag is filled with formula, water bottles, snacks and a lunch or dinner.
Even though he may not eat it you never know what could happen. The last thing you want is to be stuck in traffic with a hungry child. Our son loves his milk but he also loves his food, especially fruit.
Although we don’t mind if he is awake when we grocery shop having him asleep allows us to look around a bit longer without having to give him our constant attention. The hard part about this is when we get home if he hasn’t had enough of a long nap meaning he will wake up and be cranky.
We have never left him in his car seat to sleep as our doctor warned us about it. So, if we can somewhat work around his schedule to take our baby grocery shopping we will do that.
Also, if you are a new parent keep an eye open for designated new parent parking spaces at the grocery store and other retail stores. These parking spots close to the front doors especially in the winter really do help.
Where to put the car seat?
Like most new parents the first thing they think about is how can we grocery shop with a car seat?
First things first, read your manufacturers booklet and talk to the store manager or even call your local police station to ask about car seat safety at the grocery store.
Most police stations have trained officers who specialize in-car seat safety and would be happy to help answer your questions. You may also find car seat specialists in your area by looking in the phone-book.
There are also Child Car Seat Clinics in Canada so you could also inquire with any questions you may have by contacting them. There are always options if you have questions but aren’t sure of the answers.
We’ve seen many parents who put the car seat on top of the shopping cart.
I found this short but relevant post about what not to do with your baby car seat in the grocery shopping cart at carseatblog.com. The writer was talking about putting the car seat on top of the shopping cart.
The problem: Infant car seats aren’t designed to be secured to the top of a shopping cart. Most car seat manufacturers specifically prohibit using their seats this way but that warning is usually buried along with 30 other generic warnings in the instruction manual so it doesn’t get much attention.
The issue is that the car seat isn’t strapped in or snapped onto the cart. It’s just perched on top.
It may lock in like it does in your car seat base BUT that doesn’t mean it’s right. You don’t want to compromise the car-seat in any way. Even if your manufacturers booklet says you can do it consider other options. A shopping cart can easily tip if it is top-heavy not to mention if the cart hits a bump.
Other parents opt to put the entire car seat into the shopping trolley and shop with space around the seat, bottom of the cart and in the toddler seat area. Fair enough, as long as you stay in control of your cart.
Some parents will try to push two carts at once but I almost see that as distracted driving but that’s your choice. If 2 parents are present than one can push the cart with the baby inside and the other can push the empty shopping cart.
If you are so lucky you might have a grocery store that has a built-in carrier on the grocery cart. We’ve seen this in the past before we had our son but at the time of writing this post I can’t seem to remember what grocery store in Canada we saw this in. Do you?
If anything we would feel safer with the car seat inside than on top of the cart. We never took either option. When grabbing a grocery cart we would split the duties with one of us pushing the cart and the other pushing our son in his buggy. The other option is one of us goes grocery shopping but it’s nice to get the wife and baby out of the house during the day.
Since it’s such a controversial topic I leave it in your hands. Do what makes you feel as if your child is the safest but follow all safety rules. A life is so precious.
When we don’t have lots to get we don’t even bother with the shopping cart. If one of us is alone with the baby we only use the baby buggy basket below. It’s surprising how much you can fit in that storage area of the buggy.
If you only shop once per month you may want to consider bringing a friend if you are grocery shopping alone with your baby.
Your store may have a policy that doesn’t allow car seats in the top portion of the grocery cart make sure to abide by that rule. You may notice what you can and can’t do in the hard seat plate in the front of the shopping cart where a toddler would sit.
Use your baby stroller as your shopping cart to fill the bottom basket only or put your car seat inside the shopping cart securely. Never leave unattended for…anything! If you need help ask the store for assistance.
Sticking to the grocery list and budget
Besides the obvious feedings, diaper changes etc. we have been faced with struggling to stick with our grocery list. Our budget has been fairly stable although we have had some months we went over and have had to catch up.
Getting our grocery budget under control certainly helped us become debt free and kill our mortgage in 5 years. It seemed so easy to do but now that we have a baby shopping is different. Our minds are constantly on the baby and everything else you can think of baby related.
- Do we have any appointments this week?
- What will dinner be?
- Did we put that load of laundry on before we left?
- When did the baby last feed?
It’s not just mommy brain it’s mommy and daddy brain that we have.
In other-words, we are not organized at all. The coupon binder is collecting dust and we now rely on an envelope in my wife’s purse. We’ve had some instances where we have the coupons taken out and forget to give them to the cashier. We NEVER did that before our son came along.
Thank goodness coupon apps are starting to take over from the traditional paper ones. Now we don’t have to carry coupons as much as we used to.
We were missing deals and found we were spending more money than we should have been.
So, what did we do?
We came up with a plan, that’s what we did.
We both walk together at the grocery store now instead of bolting off in different directions. One of us tends to the baby and the other focuses on the grocery shop with a clear head.
We plan our shop with coupons and the grocery list BEFORE we go. My wife will read the flyers and circle any deals she sees then I will go over it and make a master list for us. We both double-check the list and receipt before we leave the store.
We typically are never alone with the baby at the grocery store but if we were we’d have to do this alone which means we would have to be extra organized.
We do have a baby Bjorn carrier which either one of us could use if we were alone but using the baby buggy and car seat works just as easily for us. When it comes time to check-out if we are struggling I’m sure asking for help won’t be an issue from the store staff. There’s always a way, but staying calm is key.
One important tip I learned was to scope out the grocery stores with the family bathrooms. This can be tough especially if your favourite cheap grocery store has no bathrooms.
There’s nothing worse than being a dad shopping and having nowhere to change your baby. Worse case you leave the store and go out to your vehicle to change our son which we have done on many occasions while shopping.
Stores need to get used to the fact that dads grocery shop or shop retail with their babies and they need somewhere to change their baby in the bathroom or in the least have a family bathroom.
If you grocery shop with a plan and mindset you may find it easier to stick to the grocery budget and feel less overwhelmed.
I know for a fact that you already have other tips in your head that you want to share because I haven’t covered them. That’s great, so leave a comment below because I’m still a new parent learning how to live life with a little person in tow.
What else can you add to this post to make a new parents grocery shopping experience successful with a newborn baby?
July Grocery Game Challenge posts
If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you.
Join in the Grocery Game Challenge fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each blog post… here are the GGC rules!
- How to get grocery savings you deserve without the embarrassment: Grocery Game #1 July
- 5 Ways to Check Out Faster at the Grocery Store: Grocery Game #2 July
- 5 Ways Product Placement Entices You To Spend More At The Grocery Store: Grocery Game #3 July
Grocery Saving Tips
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the savings process in your grocery budget today.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet for FREE.
NEW!! You can now download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide
If you are new here and haven’t had a chance to read past posts grab yourself a beverage, sit down, relax and enjoy some educational reading material on ways to save money in your grocery budget.
If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email.
2015 Grocery shop results
If you are a foodie like I am you will enjoy going through my Free Recipe Index where recipes from CBB Home Chef Nicola Don and myself are shared every Sunday on the blog. Check it out!
Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $2820
(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $235 per year or $25 per month.
- Sausages $4.23- $1.69=$2.54
- Sausages $4.20-$1.68= $2.52
- 2 1lb Strawberries $5.00
- 10Lb Potatoes $3.47
- Bananas $1.52
- 4 x Mango $3.52
- Broccoli $0.88
- Green Onion $0.77
- Red Cabbage $4.25
- 4 x Ruldolph Bread $2.29 each $9.16 (stockpile)
Total out-of-pocket: $24.47 +$9.16 (Stockpile Budget)
- 6 x Cloverleaf Tuna $0.88 each $ 5.28 (stockpile)
- 2 x dozen of Healthy Premium Eggs $4.29-50% =$4.30
Total out-of-pocket: $4.30 + $5.28 (Stockpile Budget)
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $206.91
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $7.94
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $20.00
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 124736
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Snap Groupon to date: $15.00
- Zweet to date: $14.50
- Cart Smart to date: $0
- Checkout51 to date: $6.00
GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
- Total to spend this month $235-$28.76 (over June) $206.24
- Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0 (Mar)+$16.94+$25.00 (April)+$25.00+ May $25.00+ June $25.00+July $
- Stockpile budget used this month: $14.44
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $30.50
- Total in-store discounts this week: $4.22
- Total in-store discounts to date: $564.59
- Total spent this week: $28.77
- Total spent so far this month: $212.16
- Total over/Under spend this shop: under $5.07 over
- Total over/Under spend for the month: $5.07 over
- Total left to spend for the month:-$5.92
- Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $261.51+ Mar $231.02 + April $258.44+May $218.12+ June $235.67+July $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
We didn’t do too bad in July considering we only have $5.92 to catch up with for August which will easily be resolved. As you will see we loaded up on fruits and vegetables while they are cheap which should last us a long time now.
Canadian Coupons Found This Week
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!
I found a few coupons last week but nothing new for this week so I’ll share the same coupons again for those that missed them last week.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it all together. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?:
YesNo, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year so we can plan accordingly for our budget. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading out but mobile coupon apps are the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households have gotten involved with their new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many apps that are already out there.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.
You may also substitute items in order to stick to your grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.
This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track.
If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2015 get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.
Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general.
If you are brave and want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2015!
Join in and become money savers and take control of your grocery budget.
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Photo Credit: Baby/FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Tuomas_Lehtinen