how to simplify running errands with a baby

How to Simplify Running Errands with a Baby

Whether you’re running some errands or going on a fun family outing, bringing along the tiniest family member is sometimes the most work!

With my first baby, by the time I was finally ready to leave the house to run a simple errand, my car looked like I was going on a week long vacation, I was exhausted and running short on time before the next feeding (that I wasn’t prepared to do on-the-go). It really took the joy out of a Target run or lunch with a friend!

Being the lover of efficiency that I am, I came up with a simple way to get ready for running errands with my little one. I came up with 3 questions (“The 3 Ws”) that help me plan for an outing. I have found that this simple process keeps the schedule intact (as much as reality allows), prevents me from forgetting things and makes getting out of the house less daunting!

Tip: It’s best to do this in advance, before you’re already 5 minutes late!

For more tips on traveling with baby, check out the posts listed at the end of this blog!

Outings with a Baby and “The 3 Ws”

  1. WHEN am I going?
  2. WHICH activities will happen while I’m out?
  3. WHAT is in my diaper bag?

WHEN am I going?

  • Time your outings as strategically as reality allows.
  • Leave right after a feeding.
  • Pick one nap on the schedule that is typically your “errand running nap”. Remember, consistency is key with babies. They’ll get used to the same two “good” naps in their crib each day, with one on the go.
  • That said, it’s OKAY if there are multiple naps on the go one day, or if you use a different nap for errands! Consistency does not mean perfection.

WHICH activities will happen when I’m out?

  • Be prepared for feeding, awake time and/or sleeping.
  • Will you be feeding while you’re out?
    • Bring everything you’ll need (a bottle, nursing cover, etc.)
    • If you’ll be cutting it close, bring the supplies just in case!
  • Will baby be sleeping while you’re out?
    • Bring a travel noise machine, car seat cover, fan to keep baby cool, etc.
  • Will baby be awake for a while?
    • You can still get some energy out while on the go! Bring small toys (preferably ones that attach to the car seat stroller so they aren’t thrown/dropped).

WHAT is in my diaper bag?

  • Make sure you have all of the essentials for being on the go!
  • Diapers (in the right size) + wipes
  • A back-up outfit for baby (in the right size)
  • A back-up shirt for you
  • Pacifier
  • Burp cloth
  • Dog poop bags for dirty diapers
  • Are you doing something where you’ll need two hands (like grocery shopping)? Bring a baby wrap or carrier.
  • Check out the full blog post, What You Actually Need in Your Diaper Bag!

A few additional tips:

  • Shopping? Wear your baby. (You can also put their car seat in the cart, but then you have less room for stuff and sometimes car seats won’t fit in the cart.)
  • Utilize the 15-minute feeding grace periods from the schedules in our books to your advantage!
  • When in doubt, bring a bottle. The only thing worse than an unexpected delay is a hungry baby during an unexpected delay.
  • Don’t stress about occasional missed naps. Live your life and do the things you need to do! Babies are incredibly resilient.

I hope that this simple planning process will help to make outings with baby a little less intimidating and a lot more fun. As with most things, practice makes perfect and the more you do it, the easier it gets!

For more tips on traveling with baby, check out these blog posts:

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