The holiday season is closing in on us, and that means lots of shopping and traveling is on the horizon. And if you’re jetting from place to place with a kid or two in tow, babywearing is a great way to keep your kiddo happy while getting things done! Lots of people wonder how babywearing mixes with diaper bags, purses, and shopping bags. We’ve got some tips and trick for various carrier styles and preferences.
First, it is getting cold outside. We’ll be sharing some tips for cold weather wearing soon, but when shopping our best recommendation is to dress in layers, so you can easily warm up or cool down as needed. An oversized jacket or sweater that can go over both you and baby is a great start!
backpack is a great option if you are wearing your baby on front. Put the carrier on first, then the backpack on top. Even with diapers and other baby items, back packs are generally large enough for a few purchases as well which eliminates carrying too many bags. You can also wear a backpack on your front if you are back carrying your child.
Many purses and diaper bags have a cross-body or messenger bag style option. This is a great way to carry a bag for front, back, or hip carrying. Many online stores make these from wrap scraps, so you can even get one that matches your favorite carrier! Some soft-structured carriers feature shoulder clips that help keep these bags in place.
There is also a “hack”, where you can take the straps of some cross-body bags and wear them similar to a backpack by slipping the long strap through the handle strap.
If you can pare back to just the essentials (wipes and dipes, cell phone, money, and chapstick!), you may be able to get everything you need into a wristlet, freeing up your hands to carry shopping bags or browse the racks. Wristlets can be attached anywhere on the carrier that is comfortable to you if the strap unsnaps, or with a carabiner. Again, many online stores make adorable wristlets from wrap scraps.
Similar to a wristlet, many carriers have small pockets that you can stash the bare essentials in. This is more useful when front-carrying for things like phones and money, but diapers and wipes can be stored in these pockets even for back carries, since you’ll have to take baby down to change the diaper, anyway! Ergo, Onya Baby, and Maya Wrap are just a few that offer this option.
Regular Shoulder/Arm Bags
When we asked about this, a lot of moms sent us photos of them wearing their little and carrying a standard style 2-strap diaper bag (such as the ever popular 31 Large Tote). If you were going to carry a bag this style anyway, babywearing allows you have your hands free to do so rather than having to use one hand to carry your child and the other to carry the bag. If you’re shopping somewhere with a cart, the bag can be easily stowed away while shopping. Same goes for plastic shopping bags. Again, some soft-structured carriers feature shoulder clips that help keep these bags in place.
Many swear by bringing their strollers shopping, even if the baby never goes in it! It’s a great portable cart that you can bring from store to store, pre-stashed with all your essentials. If you need to take a break at the food court, it’s also a great place for baby to rest (and give you a rest!) or have a snack.
I know, I know. But they’re kind of in fashion again, right? And people probably already think you’re a weirdo for that whole babywearing thing. (I kid, I kid!) The come in varying sizes, and many are good for stashing the basics (dipes and wipes, wallet and phone).
Again, kind of kidding here. But lots told us that they broke up the carrying duties for long trips, with one person carrying baby and one person carrying the bags/supplies.
Trying Something On?
No problem! If you’ve decided to go with a larger bag like a back pack, pack a favorite toy or a mess free snack such as a cereal that isn’t too crumbly has been helpful to occupy baby in a dressing room while you try on some items. The stroller is definitely handy but if you’re trying to avoid it, you can use a wrap or whatever carrier you’re using on the carpet to create a little spot for baby. Also, scour the store twice if you need to before trying everything you want to try on and then grab everything in at least two sizes. That way you’re not packing back up to go out. If you feel like you need a different size, there is almost always a sales associate who can fetch items for you. Just ask nicely!
If all else fails and you’re finding your hands are getting full, it’s generally worth it to take the trip back to the car. It can get super hot while shopping and it can be so refreshing to step outside and feel the cool winter air. Then by the time you’re done stuffing my bags into the back of the car, you’ll probably be ready to go back in and warm up!