You’ve recently acquired a tiny human – congratulations! Your life has changed so much, and if you were a die hard thrifter pre-baby, you still can be with your bub! But just like any other activity post-baby, thrift shopping will be different when you bring your little one along. Here are some tips for navigating the aisles with a bub under 18 months and getting those bargains.
This tip is more for younger babies, or those older ones who nap well out and about. If you know that bub will fall asleep in the pram (or carrier), time your trip to take advantage of this sleep window. A sleepy baby means parent can browse in peace and even try on items! Be warned though, post nap baby may be newly energised and not want to stay in the pram or carrier long.
If you are aiming to spend a leisurely couple of hours browsing every rack and shelf, leave baby at home. Make peace with the fact that you are likely only going to have maybe 30 minutes in a store before bub cracks it in one way or another. If you expect to only be in a store for a short amount of time, you can be pleasantly surprised if you manage to stay longer!
As well as managing your expectations about time and how much of the store you will see, making a shopping list while you are browsing can really help to keep you focused in the short amount of time you might have. Look for those items first, and then have a browse through other sections if bub is happy. Coming away with an item you’ve been hunting for can be really rewarding!
Make sure you have all the usual things to keep bub happy; nappies, milk, snacks and toys. Having a spare scarf or cover for the pram can also be good if bub falls asleep while browsing (the dream!) to keep some of the light out and hopefully keep them asleep.
Utilise the furniture section to have a sit down and feeding session if you need, or if you need a bit more privacy, pop into one of the changing rooms. Changing rooms are also good for a nappy change if you are desparate, but please, be considerate of other shoppers and keep everything clean. Particularly smelly or poo-nami nappies should be changed in the car or a public toilet (ask the staff to use their toilet, but don’t be offended if they say no)!
Use a baby carrier if you want to browse with both hands. Seriously, it’s a game changer. You can’t really try anything on, but if you are wanting to pop in and have a look without worrying about pushing the pram through small aisles, it’s a must.
Make sure you use the right position for your baby’s weight, age and development. NNG baby, Indi, is in the optimal position for opshopping; back carry, leaving mum’s arms and front free for shopping!
Distraction is particularly good for older, more mobile babies who are wanting to get out of the pram/carrier and touch/destroy ALL THE THINGS. Bring along a favourite toy that keeps them occupied or choose a small toy or book from the shop that they can play with or ‘read’ to themselves. Be prepared that they will mouth it though, so give it a wipe down before handing to bub. Older babies can also be placated with a device, if you are comfortable with that. NNG baby Indi has been known to be distracted with mum’s phone and Bluey (for real life) when she wanted to investigate the whole store (but mum just wanted to look at the kids clothes).
Sometimes its just all to hard to juggle the baby and get a bit of shopping done, or maybe thrifting is a big part of your self-care routine and you just can’t get it done with a demanding baby. Set aside some time for yourself and book in a friend, family member or paid help so you can get out and visit a favourite shop or somewhere new. This means you can also try things on and take your time browsing without time pressure or worrying about the next feed or when baby needs to get home for their nap. Sometimes the volunteers at opshops will also be keen to play babysitter for a few minutes while you have a browse or try something on!
Hope these tips were helpful and let us know if you have any other good tips for shopping with your little ones!