We’ve all seen those mothers with children in tow, ready to pull their hair out with one more grumpy temper tantrum. Holiday shopping is stressful enough without having to bring your baby along for the ride. Whilst you can cajole and threaten toddlers and older children, your newborn or infant simply can’t understand the situation. For those who can’t get a carer to sit with their child, here are five tips to get you through the experience.
1. Prepare to Shop!
Preparation involves a basic understanding of your child’s needs. Babies get cranky when those needs aren’t met. They need food, a clean nappy, attention and entertainment. Shopping makes it difficult for parents to address these needs adequately. So the first rule of thumb is to plan for extra time to get your shopping done. You’ll need to bring along all the necessities for your infant: bottles and food, changing supplies, toys and some type of carrier. Keep in mind it will be difficult to warm food and bottles whilst out, but don’t be afraid to approach food shops with a request for a large glass of hot water.
2. To Carry or Not to Carry?
Many parents love the baby slings that allow them to keep baby close to their hearts. Slings also help soothe your infant amid crowds, loud noises and bright lights. Unfortunately, they aren’t always the best choice for shoppers. Remember, if you are making numerous purchases, it may be much more convenient to bring along a stroller to free up your hands from both your baby and your packages if you want to continue shopping more easily. Otherwise, you may want to bring the other parent with you to act as baby carrier.
Going into the shopping experience under stress will set a bad tone for your baby. He or she will pick up on your attitude and likely mimic it back to you, adding to the stress. Holiday shopping should be a fun time and you want your baby to think of it as an exciting and pleasurable outing, too. If things get too hectic, have a sit on a bench and take some time out to relax and enjoy some time with your infant.
4. Have a List
Knowing what you want before you head out saves a lot of time and stress whilst shopping with your baby. If you don’t have a clue what to buy, you can inadvertently become frustrated and pass that feeling onto your baby. You don’t have to have all items filled in, but knowing which stores to visit will help you maintain your holiday sanity.
5. Baby Sleep Time
Some babies will do well sleeping in either a sling or a stroller, despite all the activity around them. However, there may come a moment when you just know your baby is done, even when you are not. At that point, it’s best to go with your baby’s needs and put off shopping for another day. If shopping significantly throws off your baby’s nap time and he or she refuses to sleep, it’s time to go home, put your feet up and start wrapping presents while your baby gets a good, sound nap.