Although we don't have enough information to identify exactly what is going on for this baby, there are numerous things that could be overstimulating her. The bright lights, cool temperature, music and announcements playing over the speakers, odors, and the bright colors of the products lining the shelves can quickly saturate a baby's senses. In addition, babies are often fascinated by other shoppers passing by. Even though the grocery store can be an overwhelming place for young babies, shopping trips don't have to lead to major meltdowns. Here are some tips that can help make a shopping trip easier on everybody:
- Plan ahead. Taking your baby out in public when she is tired or hungry increases the likelihood that she'll become irritable. If you know that your baby tends to be happier at a certain time of day, plan to run errands then!
- Try to limit stimulation. Going to the store during slow times (at my grocery store, Saturday mornings tend to be pretty calm) can help reduce over stimulation. If the baby is still in the carrier style car seat you can pull the shade up to limit the light shining in her eyes.
- Stick to your list. By making a list and sticking to it, you limit the amount of time spent in the store and reduce the risk of over stimulation.
- Bring help. If possible, it can be useful to have one person to attend to the baby and another to do the shopping.
- Interact with your baby. Sometimes when we are trying to hurry through the store, it can be easy to overlook our babies' need for interaction. If your baby is giving engagement cues, try talking or singing to your baby while walking up and down the aisles.
- Bring a snack. For my toddler, a trip through the grocery store is like torture if she can't nibble on something along the way. We usually bring a little baggy of apple slices, which lasts just long enough for me to get through the whole store.
- Dress your baby comfortably - It can be pretty chilly in the store, so bringing a little extra clothing, especially in the summer when your baby may be dressed lightly, could prevent her from getting irritable because she is too cold.
- Safety first. Remember that grocery carts aren't designed with the safety features found in strollers. Car seats propped up on the seat, and toddlers who can wiggle out of the safety belt can easily fall onto the floor. Always staying with your cart and being aware of your surroundings will help keep your child safe.