The Ultimate Guide to Thrifting with a Baby

I think my daughter Ava was a little over a month old the first time I took her thrifting with me. Yes, I still stand by my statement that I’m not crazy LOL There is never a dull moment when you are shopping with an infant. I have been in between clothing racks, squatting down on the floor mixing formula to make a bottle. I’ve gotten peed on in the middle of the store. Yes, I continued shopping – it was dollar Thursday! And we have dealt with more blowouts that I can count. And not the fun kind you get done to your hair!

From all of these crazy experiences I’ve created the Ultimate Guide for Thrifting with a baby. Read on, if you dare:

  1. Be Prepared

The worst situation is getting to the thrift store, the baby has a meltdown and you realize you forgot the milk, pacifier, or that special, ever so soothing toy that she needs to calm down. So, take an extra minute to prepare before you head out the door. Getting out of the house with a baby can be extremely chaotic. I like to keep a checklist on my fridge of all the essentials I need to have/do before I leave just to make sure I don’t leave anything behind, even in the craziest of moments. An essential for me is the baby bag check: Make a bottle to have it ready (this helps a ton!) Pampers, Formula, Water Bottle, etc. I also make a point to check to make sure I have my house keys – sounds simple, but it can be a horrible situation if I forget them!

    2. Set Some Boundaries

People love babies. People love touching and holding babies. I don’t love people touching and holding my baby. Especially strangers at the thrift store. The first few times I went, especially when she was really small, strangers would want to see her and on one occasion leaned in to her stroller to try and touch her face. I know some people don’t mind this kind of attention but if you’re anything like me – This kind of thing makes me very uncomfortable. I found myself in really awkward situations where I didn’t necessarily want to be rude or confrontational but at the same time, that’s my baby ya’ll! So I set some boundaries. I thought about what kind of behavior I’m okay with and the types of things that make me uncomfortable. Then I decided how I would handle a situation if it crossed the line. I don’t mind strangers looking at or commenting on my little babe, but the line for me was keeping their hands off. I would politely ask them to keep a distance because my baby is new to the world and she’s getting acclimated to all the new germs around her. It worked the few times I had to do it and I was less stressed out shopping knowing that I had a plan for these types of situations.

3. Know Where the Bathrooms Are

Not all thrift stores have restrooms and from my experience, the ones that do aren’t necessarily the cleanest place to change a diaper. Before I go thrifting (especially when I venture out to new locations) I scope out the area to find out where the closest restrooms are. Usually sit down restaurants have more spacious, cleaner restrooms available. Pro Tip: The thrift store will usually hold your cart/basket of items behind the counter if you tell them you have an emergency. Also, I have in some cases, purchased everything in my cart, left to change the baby, and then came back afterwards to continue shopping – so that’s an option too if they won’t hold your items.

4. Master the Art of One Handed Thrifting

My go to thrifting mode is to push her stroller back and forth with one hand and look through the racks with the other. It’s difficult at first but once you get the hang of it, it’s a game changer! Pair that with some stroller toys and you have a happy baby AND get to browse at your leisure. Here’s my favorite that I like to use:

5. Schedule Shopping Around Nap Time

I have the best experiences when I shop during the times when the baby just about ready for a nap. I make her a bottle, put a blanket across her legs and rock her in the stroller as I shop. She’s usually out within 10-15 minutes and I’m free to shop away.

6. Understand There will be Bad Days

I wish I could tell you that every shopping trip was a breeze – but it’s not. Even if I do everything right and plan ahead, sometimes Ava just isn’t having it. Some days she’s just going to cry, and that’s okay! Don’t get embarrassed. I promise you everyone in that store was once a baby and cried themselves, even if they don’t like to admit it. When this happens, I’ll usually stop to console her but it’s important to not get stressed out. The baby can sense this and for me, it makes her even more upset. So chill out, take a minute and take care of your baby. If my daughter is super inconsolable I’ll call it quits and take her home, but in most cases, she just needs a minute to calm down and I can figure out what she needs so we can keep shopping.

Thrifting with a baby can be a challenge, but with the tips above I’ve found that it’s a lot less stressful and much easier to manage.

Do you shop with your baby? Find me on instagram @_lovelyfinds and let me know!

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