Updated: Aug 7, 2019
Johanna's first trip to Target was literally on her 5th day alive! I remember being extremely nervous about this and I honestly don't even know what we went there to get. It was probably the easiest errand I've ran since she was born.
I sit here laughing out loud because so many thoughts about runnings errands with a baby/toddler are going through my head. It's hard work but it has to be done. I remember being that person who judged the woman or man with a child throwing a temper tantrum in public. I feel terrible because now I get it. Johanna hasn't had a meltdown in public yet but I can totally see it happening and it will likely be at Target since that's pretty much the only store we visit.
I thought taking her to the store with me or any errand was hard when she was a baby but since she's gotten older and is now in a convertible carseat it has gotten so much harder. The process takes time. There's no more running in to grab something "real quick." Theres no more forgetting something you need because that just means going back for round 2 later in the day and good Lord that's a pain. There's no more making a quick trip later in the night to grab that milk you really need because that means packing up a baby who should likely be sleeping.
I think back to the beginning when she was little and how easy it was to pull up next to the cart keeper, put her car seat in a cart and get going. Or strap her into the baby back pack and speed walk around the store. Now..... we pull up next to the cart keeper, take her out of the car seat, put our cart cover on, strap her into the cart, grab the diaper bag, make sure I have my keys, make sure she has a drink or a toy for entertainment, then I think we can get started. Oh, let's not forget I now make a list and I'm totally that lady with her pen and paper checking the list off as we go. Who am I?!
God forbid anything unplanned happens in the store like a blowout diaper, a baby getting hungry which leads to breastfeeding in the fitting room (I remember that day like it was yesterday), the store not carrying something you so desperately need meaning you'll have to stop at another place or just go without it (8 times out of 10, I go without it).
So let me put a twist of positivity on something I just made sound so awful! Here are my errand running tips for you Mama's who need it or want it!
Pack food/snacks or a bottle - There's nothing worse than pushing your cart through the front door of the store and suddenly your baby is STARVING! Packing some light snacks for your toddler that they can feed to themselves is legit a life saver.
After my horrible experience of having to stop shop and breastfeed in the fitting room at Target, I started packing a warm bottle even if it wasn't feeding time. I'm all for public breastfeeding but at that point in time I wasn't quite comfortable with it and I didn't have my cover with me. Johanna was screaming for my boob in the middle of the grocery aisle. In a complete tired daze I realized I had planned a shopping trip during her feeding time! In a panic, I literally ran to the family restroom and after determining that was so unsanitary I made a quick dash to the fitting room. I'm pretty sure I yelled at the clothing attendant that I wasn't there to try on clothes but that I had to feed my starving baby. Get real people, she wasn't starving and I was being so dramatic. But hey, I'm a first time Mama and she was just a little thing. I spent an entire hour in that fitting room feeding her and guess what?! Someone put all the items in my cart back on the shelf. Complete fail! I went home and tried again the next day which actually worked out for the better!
Park next to the cart keeper (make sure there are carts in it) - I know you're thinking, duh of course make sure there are carts in it. I can't tell you how many times I don't pay attention and end up having to find another one. I have my favorite spot at Target and I always know there are spots close to it and it's typically pretty full of carts.
Trust me, you'll thank me for this tip later. You can grab a cart immediately and it saves so much time. Then when you're done you can put your baby in the car seat, unload your cart and push that sucker right back where it belongs then be on your way!
Make a shopping list - I crack up laughing at this one because I think about how many things I've changed in my life since becoming a Mama. I was NOT a grocery list maker before Johanna but I definitely am now! Listen, this saves you so much time and get's you in and out without forgetting things. We all know we go into Target for things, get distracted and forget those things. Make a list and don't forget your pen!
Bring the diaper bag in with you - Here's how my life works. I leave the diaper bag in the car because I think oh, we'll be in and out then Johanna has a blow out..... Just take it inside with you. Also, make sure you pack a changing pad or a dog training pad. No one and I repeat no one wants to lay there bare bottom baby on a public changing table without protection!
Make it a one stop shop - Our Target at home is a one stop shop. What I mean by this is that we can do our grocery shopping and get other items that we need (or don't need most of the time) all in one trip. It may take a bit longer but it's worth not having to go to another store. We typically grab our miscellaneous items first with the things we don't need and then do our grocery shopping last. One stop shopping is my favorite hack! I never did this before but now it's a must!
Bring some entertainment - Running errands with a newborn was so much easier than with a 14 month old. I had a portable white noise machine that I hung on the car seat and most of the time she slept through our shopping trip. Sometimes I purposely went when I knew she would be asleep. Now, I bring toys or a book to keep Johanna occupied. Currently, she is in her "let me throw everything on the floor" phase so we use snaps and leashes
for her all of her items.
I hope this list finds you well and helps a lot! I really like to try to make things as easy as possible and since Johanna goes everywhere with me (except work) I do my best to take notice to things that make running errands easier.
Good luck Mama's and remember, you're doing an amazing job!