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Making Outings With A Baby Easier

Today I thought I’d share some products and tricks we use when we’re out and about with Owen.

Products that make outings with a baby easier

1. Stroller Hook
When I take Owen with me to a store, I don’t like to waste precious space in the cart by throwing the diaper bag in. Plus, I like to easily access items in the diaper bag, especially my phone because I type my shopping lists into my phone. I had a lightbulb moment and thought, “I can use a stroller hook to attach the diaper bag to the cart handle.” Friends and family gifted me a couple different stroller hooks. I use the lightest one because I always keep it in the diaper bag.

I joke with Brad that I turn shopping carts into mobile command centers.


Now I have tons of room to fill my Target cart full of diapers, toilet paper, and lamps.

diaper bag clip

2. Shopping Cart Cover
I know these aren’t necessary, but I purchased this specific shopping cart cover because it comes with a little pillow to help support kiddos who aren’t sitting up unassisted 100% of the time. It gives them a little more support, and the pillow can be removed when the baby can sit unassisted. Sometimes I use the cover, and sometimes I don’t. But it’s especially nice when it’s raining out and the cart is wet.

Here’s my routine when I get to a store:  I typically park next to a shopping cart return corral, get out of my car, grab a cart, get the cover out of the back of my SUV, put it on the cart, get Owen and put him in the cart, hook my diaper bag onto the cart and roll into the store.

3. Carrier
There are, what seems to be, 500 different carriers out there– soft structure carrier, ring sling, stretchy wrap, woven wrap, etc. I have three different carriers, and I prefer our Ergo the most. We’ve worn Owen at NBA games, the zoo, and during other outings. I know some mommas (and dads) wear their babies everywhere, but when I’m shopping I don’t really like wearing Owen– it’s just a personal preference.

4. Lobster Highchair
I know most restaurants have highchairs for babies to use, but the majority of the time they’re gross. When I worked in a chain restaurant in high school the highchairs were never cleaned. And sometimes all the highchairs are taken in restaurants, so we bring our own– the phil&teds lobster highchair, and we love it.

I have to tell you that we get a ton of comments like, “Wow! That’s so cool!” when we whip out the highchair and clamp it onto a restaurant table, so if you’re in the Witness Protection Program you may not want to invest in this highchair because it will definitely get you noticed.

The only photo I have of Owen in the highchair is when he passed out right after we sat down at a restaurant. I used a DIY burp cloth to cushion his head on the edge of the table. He promptly woke up once the food was served because this kid never misses a meal.

phil and ted lobster highchair

5. Diaper Bag
This is kind of a no-brainer. I never leave the house with Owen without the diaper bag. To see what I keep in the diaper bag and how I organize it, go here.

6. Stroller
We love our Uppababy Cruz stroller. We use it every day for our family walks in the park or in our neighborhood. I’ve also taken it to the mall and to walk the canal downtown Indianapolis. Is it a pricey stroller? Yes, but I ended up getting a good deal on it in a round about way (the store where we ordered our nursery glider from lost the glider so they reimbursed us for half the cost of the glider, so we put that money toward the stroller). And I think they’ve actually raised the price of the Cruz since we bought it.

In somewhat related news, on Wednesday, I shared this photo and the following trick on my social media sites. I saw the trick on a news website, and I thought I’d show how we’re putting it to use.

We’re implementing the left shoe trick this summer. After buckling Owen into his car seat, I take off my left shoe and put it on the backseat. The idea is that I won’t get very far without my shoe. While I’d like to think I’d never forget my baby in a hot car, all these cases in recent years scare the crap out of me. (No judgmental comments, please. This trick is meant to be helpful.)

In case you missed the trick, I thought I would share it here. It doesn’t have to be a shoe– it can be your phone, purse, wallet, etc. Or it could be a post-it note on your steering wheel or texting your partner after daycare drop-off.

The post kind of went viral on Facebook (over 2,000 shares), which I was not expecting at all. And to be honest, I was a little overwhelmed by the attention. Especially because people can be so judgmental about the topic, which hits a nerve with me because I’ve watched this and I’ve read this (if you have time, please read it), and my heart breaks for these parents. There have been 637 US heat stroke deaths of children left in cars since 1998 so this is obviously an issue that needs attention and awareness.

EDIT: It’s after midnight and I’m about to shut down my computer and go to bed when I get a message on my Two Twenty One Facebook page. It’s from a parent who lost her child to hyperthermia after mistakenly not being dropped off at daycare and left in a car. She thanked me for sharing my tip, and she hopes parents will develop some sort of system so this doesn’t happen to anyone else. So now I have tears running down my face. This is real, you guys.

Like I said in the original post, please no judgmental comments. Saying you don’t see how people could forget their kid and not their shoe or their phone or their purse is judgmental and, frankly, isn’t going to solve anything. We need to look out for one another and show some compassion.

Have a great weekend, friends!

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  1. When I have kids I am 100% implementing a system like this. It’s scary and could happen to anyone

  2. Why is Owen shopping with just socks on his feet? I know he has lots of shoes!

      1. My kids were always kicking off their shoes in stores (and socks too!) I think they just love their feet, lol…:)

  3. The stories of people forgetting their babies in cars terrified me as well. When taking her to daycare in the morning, I used to put my daughter in her car seat and put her diaper bag on the floor below her. Once I started hearing these stories, I started putting the diaper bag on the passenger seat as a reminder that she’s in the car. The shoe idea is a great one too! And thanks for sharing your tips for outings!

  4. Carol Gardiner says:

    Amen! Good job reminding people to keep their babies safe. As a parent you do what you have to do to keep your child safe and healthy. What works for you may just help someone else. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Christina says:

    I am so happy you mentioned the shoe trick. I just found out I’m pregnant and never thought about leaving my baby in the car, but it could totally happen! Especially when you’re a new mom. Scary! BTW I LOVE your blog and am getting lots of useful tips. Thank you!

  6. Hi,
    Do you have latches for your middle seat? I would love to latch my daughter in our middle seat but our new car doesn’t have them!

  7. I love love this post!!! It is so helpful to new mamas. I am obviously not a new mama, but I wish I could have had some these when I had my first. We bought the shopping cart cover, and we also bought a potable high chair, though yours would have been awesome to have. We loved our Ergo, and we also had a moby wrap for the newborn days. We bought a Phil and Teds stroller when we had our first and when we had out second we just bought the second seat. It is heavenly. The price tag is so hefty and it was hard spending that much on a stroller but 4 years later, we are still so over the moon with it. Best money ever spent. I told all my friends about your shoe tip when I saw it on Instragram. It is such a great idea, especially here in Southern California.

  8. erin johns says:

    I appreciate your compassion for the “hot car cause”. While I am mildly overprotective (I think “paranoid” is what my husband calls it), I believe we are ALL capable of mistakes, big or small, and there is no limit to how poorly our brains can function on no sleep after the daily grind, physical and mental challenges of childrearing, and so much more. It takes more courage to have a backup plan than it does to feign righteousness and proclaim, “I could never forget my child in a car!” Never say never. I love this trick and will be using it starting tomorrow!

  9. We are currently thinking of purchasing the phil & ted’s lobster chair. I have read reviews that if the table skirting/apron is 5.5 inches or large you won’t be able to attach this chair to the table. I wonder if you could provide any insight on this since you’ve had your chair for awhile. We also considered the Chicco 360 hook on chair as well since it does accommodate bigger table skirts/apron. I appreciate any advice or guidance you can give to me as I want to make sure we consider all options before purchasing.

    1. We have the Lobster chair and it is actually the only highchair we own. Our little guy is 8 months and we’ve been using it since he was just a few months old. Before he was eating baby food we had it attached to our kitchen island so he could be with me while I cooked dinner. Now it’s attached to our dining room table which is pretty thick. It’ll attach to most flat, sturdy, non-lipped surfaces. I just love it and highly recommend.

    2. Sorry, Beth, I missed your comment. 5.5 inches in thickness? We don’t attach the chair to tables with one pedestal, but we haven’t had issues with the thickness of tables.

  10. What kind of convertible car seat is he in? I love that it can go in the middle seat! Thanks!

  11. A really good idea. Great. A friend of mine is having some troubles with all this stuff.. you know. So I’ll try to make her a gift and do something about it. Thank you.

  12. That is so smart! I love your way of shopping – you are taking the necessary measures to feel comfortable and that’s great! Where did you get the shopping cart cover? I want to get one for my sister! Thanks!

  13. I love my baby carrier! It makes going out with my newborn so much easier. It is actually in my top 10 newborn must-haves!

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