Grocery shopping with a baby is a great way to build Daddy confidence.
On Saturday my husband saw two female friends who recently had babies. Both of them had left their children at home with the fathers, very happy to have a day’s vacation. From the brief conversations he had with them, they seemed giddy. He told me about this because he wants me to tell other fathers that they may not realize how much their wives need the break.
Staying home alone with the baby is one thing, but going to a public place alone with an infant is another entirely. My husband says this is where he gained his confidence as a new parent. So, with my husband’s advice over the shoulder, I want to share his guide to building Daddy confidence by taking the baby grocery shopping.
Daddy’s on Display
In our family, my husband has always been the grocery shopper, even before we had children. When our daughter was about six weeks old, he started taking her with him to the store. When our son was born three years later, he took both children with him.
Going to the store is different than walking to the park or going to a friend’s house. When you are shopping, you have to multi-task. If you come home with the goods and you keep the baby reasonably happy, you have accomplished a great feat.
According to my husband, grocery shopping is a high-profile activity for a father because the store is full of women watching. It has the potential to go very badly—at least it feels like it has that potential. Women often spoke to him. Having children with him was an invitation to conversation. If things were going well, they often said, “What a good father.” If the baby was crying, they would say, “What a good sport.”
What to Take
- Diaper bag
- Bottle of expressed breastmilk
- A few distracting toys
- A baby carrier
Picking up heavy things and putting them into the cart was harder with a sling, so he usually used a grocery cart with an attached baby seat. This gave him greater mobility to reach and lift. He always had the sling with him, though. If the baby needed comfort from the high stimulation of bright lights, he would put the baby in a sling—which usually led to a nap. Once he was taking both a toddler and an infant, he did keep the baby in a sling. He fondly remembers the baby seat in the shopping cart, though, having a little face staring up at him as he pushed through the store.
Baby Steps for New Parents
It’s not until you have a break from it that you realize how intense early parenting is.
It is hard to start going out alone together when your baby is very young, but, if you don’t try when they are babies, it will be harder later. You learn a lot, and they learn what behavior is expected of them in public.
“The odds are slightly stacked against you,” my husband says. “You have no breasts. You can’t hand the baby off. You have to figure out how to comfort your baby.”
Having successfully accomplished the grocery shopping week after week, it gave him more confidence going forward that he was capable of being a good parent.
No father would stack the kids in the cart with the groceries. My husband wants you to know that he didn’t do that. Blame stock photos!