Before baby, thrifting was a lot about switching off from the world around me to be absorbed into hunting mode, meandering from booth to booth, browsing one crammed shelf after another. Sometimes I'd spend a couple of leisurely hours at a place getting lost in the variety of it, other times I'd go on a planned route of visiting several places scanning each for specific items. Either way, it was always refreshing and relaxing.
I don't have hours for it anymore. Thrifting now is more like a premeditated exercise in focus and effectiveness. Once there, I usually have limited amount of time and attention - certain little someone is always with me, and he's got the last word on how long we stay. I'm not complaining, I want him to be with me. Yet it took me a while to adjust and figure out the hows - just like in all other areas of my life.
I'm sure others with a small kid know what a fine balancing act any kind of shopping can be. A shopping list is a must - without one it's rather tricky to shop in a sane way in my experience. As for a casual, drop-in visit to a store that was not planned ahead, all the variables would have to come together into an optimal mixture to come away still in a good mood, with a bag containing a good decision, a non-rushed, calmly considered purchase.
Even with planning ahead, there are many times when we pop in and quickly leave - my boy can communicate it very clearly if he doesn't like something. Sometimes a shop can be overwhelming for him in many ways. There might be too many stimuli or too many people. At times he might feel bored or get a bit frightened. During the cold months he might get too hot in his many layers, even with the removables removed.
I try to avoid getting into stressy vibes and negative experiences so we thrift shop only when everybody is happy. It's been good for me to cut down on thrifting time this way - now I spend a lot of it in the fresh air outdoors instead, with the coolest little dude I know.