How to Run Errands with a Newborn

Baby is here! Now, you hopefully get to spend your parental leave learning all about your newborn. It’s a joyous and stressful time, whether this is baby number one or the newly appointed youngest sibling. There is a lot to look forward to, from dressing them in cute outfits to snuggling up on the couch to watching them discover the world around them. However, you’re probably not looking forward to the prospect of leaving the house.  

Even right after your baby is born, you’ve got to make it to pediatrician appointments, go to Target for unexpected needs, and make sure dinner is on the table with trips to the grocery store. But now you have to do all that with your newborn! It can feel like an impossible task. Don’t worry, though, we’re here with your one-stop-shop guide to tips for running errands with a newborn. Check it out: 

How to Run Errands with a Newborn 

Plan ahead and give yourself extra time. 

Always give yourself extra time to get where you need to be. Running errands with a baby can be chaotic and you never know when you’ll have unexpected delays. Maybe your newborn has a blowout right before leaving the house (or in the car on the way there). Or perhaps you forget the bottle at home and remember it halfway to your destination. Give yourself time to get where you need to go and then some. And don’t schedule any commitments too close together. 

That being said, you can get out of the house quicker with some planning. Make a list, pack the diaper bag in advance, prepare the car, and check traffic before you leave. These things will help you get out of the house with fewer headaches and keep you relaxed throughout the day!

Pack essentials in your diaper bag.

Don’t forget the essentials in that diaper bag. Pack extras of EVERYTHING. While you’re getting to know your newborn’s needs, it’s best to over-pack. The extra weight isn’t fun, but there’s nothing worse than being caught without an extra outfit or running out of diapers halfway through your trip. Here are some diaper bag must-haves for you and baby:

If you prefer to travel light, consider carrying a small, manageable diaper bag out and about, and keeping extra essentials in the car. Just don’t forget to restock that car bag as you use up those diapers and outfits!

Keep your essentials in a separate crossbody handbag. 

Now, you will need to bring some stuff along too, and sometimes digging around in the diaper bag isn’t the easiest and fastest way to get your phone, keys, and wallet. We recommend getting a small, lightweight crossbody that’s hands free and keeps your essentials accessible. 

Pick hassle-free and weather-appropriate clothes.

Cute multi-layered baby outfits with lots of snaps and buttons are definitely great for special events, but maybe not the best thing to take when you’re running errands. Instead, consider simple onesies, rompers, and dresses to keep diaper and clothing changes quick and easy! This is especially true if you’re going to the pediatrician because you’ll need to strip your newborn for their well-check. 

Make sure your car is safe.

Car? Safe? Is it not safe? Don’t worry, we’re not meaning the car itself, we mean what’s inside. Did you know that loose objects in your car are projectile risks that could cause severe injury in an accident? Strap down and stow away any loose items. You can read more about that in our car organization blog post here

Additionally, get rid of any unsafe car seat additions. Anything on your car seat that did not come in the box or come as an approved add-on from the manufacturer needs to be taken out. These items are not tested and are not safe! Again, there’s an exception for cup holders, anti-rebound bars, and vehicle seat covers that come from your car seat manufacturer and are specified for use with your car seat. 

Think again about car seat covers!

Those extra head support pillows and strap covers, though? Nope. Not safe. Do a quick evaluation of your car and get rid of anything unsafe, like projectiles or unregulated car seat accessories. 

Keep your baby safe

Bring newborn-friendly car seat toys.

Car seat toys are safe as long as they are soft and do not attach to the car seat itself. A few newborn-friendly toys will keep your baby stimulated and content while you’re driving or carting around. We have a full list of infant car seat toys that are safe for travel on our Amazon Shop

Car Seat Safe Toys & Accessories
Car Seat Safe Toys & Accessories

Find the perfect time to go. 

There are two things to consider when deciding when to leave to run errands. First is your newborn’s routine. Now, your new baby is likely not on a schedule yet, but they probably have a time of day that they’re more content and alert than others. This is a good time to leave. No tears and hopefully not too much sleeping in the car either. 

It’s inevitable, and sometimes hoped for, that car ride nap! Let’s ensure your kiddos, from newborns to big kids, sleep safely in their seats. Neck control versus no neck control makes a major difference in whether your child’s sleep position is safe or not! Learn the ABCDs of safe sleep to keep your child breathing comfortably without dangerous added after-market products in our YouTube video. Click here to watch and share!

The second thing to consider is traffic. Leaving during rush hour or the end of the school day could delay your arrival and agitate your newborn. Being in bumper-to-bumper traffic with a crying newborn is not a good way to spend the afternoon, so think carefully about when you leave for your errands and when you schedule your appointments. 

Change your newborn just before you leave. 

Even if you changed your baby ten minutes ago, check again. Babies have a magical way of filling up their diapers right before you leave! When this happens, they’re uncomfortable in their car seat and you have to change them first thing when you arrive. This is not only stressful, but it could make you late for a scheduled commitment. 

Do essential errands first. 

If you have a whole day of errands planned, we respect the ambition, but remember that newborns are unpredictable. You may not get to everything, and that’s fine. Do your essential errands first, so even if you head home early, you’re not stressing about what you couldn’t get to. Hopefully, those later errands can wait until tomorrow! 

Decide how you want to carry your newborn when you’re out of the car.

Once you arrive at your destination, how do you plan to carry your baby? If you have an infant car seat or travel system, you could just use the handle or attach it to your stroller. If you have a convertible car seat, it’d be a good idea to transfer your newborn to a baby carrier. Whether you wear your baby or keep them in their car seat, your hands will be free for your errands! You can also go with an infant car seat/stroller combo, like the Doona or the Evenflo DualRide Shyft. Read our Doona Infant Seat review here and our Evenflo Shyft DualRide Infant Seat here.

If you decide to grocery shop and put the car seat in the cart, there are a few things you should know. First, make sure you keep your baby buckled. This will prevent strain on their spine and lower the risk of positional asphyxiation.

Keep baby buckled!

Then, place your car seat in the main basket of the shopping cart, and rotate the handle all the way back in the ”stabilize” position. Don’t try to balance or attach your car seat to the cart in any other way: your car seat isn’t meant to ”click” into the toddler seat of a shopping cart, and doing this can damage your seat—your car seat manual will back us up on this!

And, of course, keep the baby visible at all times, and give the baby breaks from the car seat when possible so they aren’t sitting in the same position for more than an hour or two. These tips are vital to a safe trip outside the car!

Read more about putting a car seat in a shopping cart here.

Stay flexible.

Like we’ve said, babies are unpredictable. You might not get as much done as you thought. The whole day might take a little longer than you expect, so be okay with that (we know this is much easier said than done). Stay flexible and don’t set your expectations too high! You and baby are both doing great, even if you only get half your to-do list completed. 

Running errands with a newborn isn’t impossible with the right planning, preparation, and expectations!

During those first few months, everything is a challenge, but the show must go on. Don’t hold back from running necessary errands or simply treating yourself to a shopping trip. Just take time to consider how to make the trip a success. Plan for every “what-if” scenario. When you do this, you’ll conquer your to-do list and feel so accomplished! 

Did some of the car seat tips on this list surprise you? If they did, you’re not alone. Finding accurate information on car seat safety is tough. That’s why Safe in the Seat has car seat courses and a dedicated blog to help you access trusted information for you and your children. Check back weekly for new articles and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and YouTube! We’ll be here for your whole car seat journey.

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