The easiest way to tote around a baby is generally with a car seat and stroller.
This is especially true when the little one isn't old enough to support him- or herself upright, or if the baby falls asleep in the car seat. Just take it out of the car, click it in the stroller and you're good to go.
However, there are situations when pushing a stroller just isn't convenient -- like, say, when you need to be also pushing a shopping cart.
I spent the longest time not going grocery shopping because I didn't know how to juggle a cart and a baby.
A time or two, I plunked her car seat on top of the cart, but this made me pretty nervous and for good reason.
While I was told this was an acceptable way to shop with baby (and I see other people doing it pretty regularly, too), I later read about how dangerous it is.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "approximately 23,000 children are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries from shopping carts" each year. They actually recommend that no child of any age be put in shopping carts.
My solution was to start wearing my baby.
I had purchased a carrier before she was born, but I've only used it a few times. It takes a little getting used to, both in putting it on and in wearing it.
But last week, for the first time, we ventured into the store with it.
Closing in on five months old, my daughter is ever-curious and the carrier allows her to look around more than she can in a car seat.
It also makes me feel like I'm nine months (or more!) pregnant again. Which isn't really a bad thing because I'm certain I burn more calories shopping that way.
The biggest drawback, I'd say, is the heat. The day we went out wasn't especially warm, and it was overcast. But the body heat generated between mama and baby was enough to make baby a little bit fussy.
Plus she likes to move around a bit more than the carrier allows. But she got used to it pretty quickly.
And other shoppers LOVED seeing me wear my baby. I got several comments to that effect, plus plenty of curious looks and smiles.
I had heard that the rhythm of walking can encourage baby to fall asleep (it works in the stroller), and I was kind of hoping my little girl would fall in line.
But the bright lights and other action of the grocery store was far more enticing than a nap, though she did start to look pretty drowsy.
All in all it was a good experience, and it's likely the only way I'll shop with her until she's big enough to support herself in the front seat of the cart (which probably isn't too far away). The only casualty was a lost sock -- the first of many I'm sure.
The few drawbacks of baby-wearing are very much outweighed by the safety benefits. I'll take a little extra warmth over a trip to the ER any day.
Katie McCarthy, firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8515.