My son was born 5 days before Christmas last December. I remember thinking that there couldn’t be anything more difficult than Christmas shopping at almost 9 months pregnant. There was the back pain, swollen legs and complete fatigue that seemed to get worse with every step I took through a shopping mall. Fast forward to this year and I’m realizing that shopping while pregnant was a thousand times easier, by comparison.
When I first had my son, I realized that getting out of the house required an endless amount of planning. I was nursing non-stop but the positive was that I didn’t need to have bottles or formula with me wherever I went. Since he was born in the winter and I was dealing with postpartum depression, I needed to get out of the house to make myself feel better. I’ve put together a few of my favourite tips for shopping with a newborn during the holidays.
If you live in a cold climate there’s always the worry of whether it’s safe to take baby out in the cold. When I planned any shopping trip I always chose shopping centres that had parking spaces reserved for mother’s who have young children. These spaces are always closer to the door and often give you a little extra room to maneuver your car seat and stroller.
If you have a newborn, chances are they like to snuggle and nap. The best investment I made when my son was born was a baby wearing carrier. It made shopping trips easy because I could strap him to my chest, zip my coat up over the baby and go. The best part was I had my hands free to carry around my purchases.
As a new mom, it’s easy to immediately start sweating thinking about your little one causing a scene with their screaming. I realized I worried about people judging, staring or making comments rather than focusing on why the baby was crying. It takes time to adjust but allowing yourself to keep calm and ignore everyone else around you will make the shopping trip run smoother.
Going out with a newborn means carrying a ton of stuff. When I picked out my diaper bag I stared at a wall of 50 different bags that had fancy compartments for each thing you might carry. Instead of carrying around a diaper bag when my son was a newborn, I would grab a couple extra diapers, some wipes and a change of clothes. I tucked the items in the bottom of the stroller, along with an extra receiving blanket to put down on the changing table. It made it easier to get in and out for quick changes, and I also didn’t have to dig through a huge diaper bag to find the essentials.
It’s hard to figure out a schedule if you’re a first time mom, it’s all trial and error. Timing is everything – if you’ve just fed baby and they’ve had a nap, chances are you might have better luck with an outing. I found that my son was generally happier in the morning because he’d been fed, bathed and usually had a morning nap. Spend some time getting to know the baby, try recording your routine and when the baby is fussy to help you plan in advance.
My favourite local mall has family washrooms but what I didn’t realize was that they also had nursing rooms. Normally these rooms are tucked away from the other washrooms and are for women and babies only – they usually have a toilet, some comfy chairs, a place to warm up a bottle and a changing table. My local mall also has a small gated section for bigger kids, complete with play mats, toys and bright colours. If you can, take some time to explore your shopping centre pre-baby so you’re prepared.
Parenting disclaimer: There were definitely some surprise blowouts, lost toys and mom fails in the process.