Your local soulless chain supermarket is quite likely to be the destination of one of your first solo trips out with the baby. But what will happen once you’re there?
You will freak out about trolleys
In your pre-baby life, you would swan around the supermarket with one of those nice lightweight shallow trolleys, or maybe even just a basket, which would be efficiently filled with mid-range wine and nice fish and whichever shampoo and conditioner was on 2-for-1. Now those days (the ones where you regularly washed your hair…) are over. You need a mammoth trolley and you need to pile it high with nappies and chocolate.
But how on earth do you cart this AND a newborn around? This dilemma will plague you, you’ll message your mum mates about it and google it late at night. Well, you basically have three options: 1. Baby in sling plus normal trolley. 2. Baby in car seat in normal (big) trolley and 3. Trolley with special little baby seat in it (these are like gold dust, but put on your best “clueless new mum face” to ask a nice staff member and one might magically appear).
And something to look forward to: in a few months, when your tiny squish has learned to sit up, this all gets WAY easier, as you can just plonk them in a standard trolley with child seat, of which there are zillions.
You will feel irrationally guilty about claiming a parent and child parking space
How your childless self longed to park in the best seats in the house. Now you have a legit reason to, but you’ll still feel a bit guilty about it. You’ll make sure your baby on board sign is very prominently displayed and make a big thing out of getting your baby out of the car (to be fair, it IS a big thing right now… soon it will be second nature). Relax – the space is yours and nobody thinks you’re a great big faker. Own it.
You will get distracted by baby clothes
You went in for washing detergent, wipes and teabags, and yet you find yourself leaving with all of the above AND a pile of irresistible baby clothes. Supermarket baby swag is excellent value and, most importantly, can be snuck into the weekly shopping budget without anyone questioning it. Go crazy for those multipacks of colourful vests, this is how you get your kicks now.
A clucky old lady will make everything better
One of your main worries about supermarket shopping with a small person is that your fellow shoppers will hate you. This couldn’t be further from the truth – you’re a daytime person now, and your fellow daytime people are mostly pretty baby-friendly. Your newborn will get cooed over in the veg aisle by a gaggle of pensioners and make you feel way more at ease, so much so that you’ll wonder if Tesco hires undercover clucky old ladies for this very purpose.
You will get into a bit of a kerfuffle
At some point, something annoying will happen. Perhaps you’ve got the baby in a sling but now can’t reach the high shelves. Perhaps you need a wee but can’t work out how to do that with a trolley full of shopping and a newborn. Perhaps there’s been a poonami in aisle 12.
Life with a newborn is rarely straightforward but, rest assured, these things happen to all mums, all the time, and they’re never as traumatic as you imagine them to be. And supermarkets are the best place you can be – they sell everything you could possibly need for every crisis, there are friendly people everywhere and you can reward yourself with a hot drink and some cake at the end of it.
Sorry, but at some point your baby will cry
Babies are often good as gold as you work your way around the aisles, enjoying the motion of the trolley and the noise and bright colours, but then freak out when you get to the check-out ie. the worst possible time, because you have actual time-sensitive tasks to carry out.
But don’t panic – nobody goes to the supermarket for the quiet, chilled-out vibes and in the course of a normal day, the staff will have served dozens of stressed parents of squawking children of all sizes. Just grin and bear it and make the most of the fact that somebody will probably now swiftly appear to help you with your packing and get you out of there – not because they hate you, but because they empathise.
You’ll fantasise about doing this alone
What used to be a chore now becomes your deepest darkest fantasy – imagine being able to do this by yourself. Think of the time you could spend perusing brightly coloured shower gels if only you were unencumbered by a small child. In the near future, this day will come – doing the shop while your partner does bedtime may well become your Friday night out, and it will feel AMAZING. Something to look forward to, eh? It’s coming, we promise…