Friday, November 10, 2017

Navigating New York with a Newborn

Have you ever wondered what it’s really like navigating the most famous city in the world with your tiny newborn? In this post I will share what it was like those first few times I took my baby into Manhattan.

Now I’m not usually one for the spotlight, but venture into New York with a newborn and everything you do takes centre stage. From breastfeeding to dealing with emergency ‘poonamis’ and everything in between. People just can’t stop looking at newborns!

I spend most of my time in Park Slope, a hipstery area of Brooklyn right next to Prospect Park. Here having at least one kid is a mandatory requirement for entry, so nobody really bats an eyelid at newborns, strollers or any of the unflattering situations a new mama finds herself in.

But hop across the water into Manhattan and things are very different.

You end up talking to some wonderful New Yorkers who usually want to know how old the baby is and are often on hand to offer some nuggets of advice or tell you about when their kiddos were still little, which is all lovely.

It can get a little exhausting though, especially if you have different parenting styles. She is my second baby and my skin is thicker now, its so much easier to shrug it off and move on, you have to.

You also have to become fiercely protective of your bundle from unwanted attention, which can involve people trying to touch the baby.

Small kids or toddlers you can understand and I’ll often encourage them to say hello or let them touch her toes, but well meaning adults should really keep their hands to themselves.

I’ve had a woman with toddler, who frankly should have known better, approach the baby and put her sweaty hand (like seriously visibly sweaty, I was so freshly postpartum in my mind it was poison) out for the baby to grab whilst telling me it’s weird that strangers try to touch babies, you don’t say!

I also had a man video me nursing my baby in Central Park - the creep. You couldn't see anything as I completely cover up but I still felt uncomfortable, it’s a big leap from staring.

I would really recommend an all over shade or canopy for the stroller or carseat during those early days. I loved mine. I’ve rudely ignored requests to open our snoozeshade and even zipped up the sides when folks have come too close for comfort.

Though I imagine these sorts of thing happen everywhere in NYC the population density is so high that you can’t get far in the city without it happening A LOT!

Thanks to an excess of Duane Reades, CVS and Wallgreens you are never more than a 30 second stroller dash to a pharmacy to re-stock that essential baby item you’ve just ran out of such as wipes or diapers.

This is just as well as carrying all you need for your tiny bundle is doubly hard in Manhattan due to the lack of accessibility. My advice; travel as light as you can!

Elevator access is not readily available at many subway stations and where you do score an elevator it will usually be very slow, over crowded (so people will be close enough to try to touch her again) and smell of pee (another tick for an all over snoozeshade). I never really take a bus, but if you do you must fold your stroller.

I’ve never gone to the subway and not had somebody offer to help me schelp the stroller on the stairs (seriously New Yorkers are the best) but I would never take more than I could carry just in case.

I also invested in a Ergobaby carrier, so for quick trips to the city I forego the stroller all together making life much easier. Taking the car seat on the stroller frame is a good shout too as you can always ditch public transit and call a cab if it all gets too much. The driver can not stop you using your carseat either, it’s the law.

My gripes aside, it’s truly amazing taking your baby into the city, New Yorkers love babies and there is so much for them to see, do and gaze at. After the first couple of months it gets easier, you get your shit together and less people approach the baby.

Once I’ve had a bit more practice I promise to share some tips on heading into Manhattan with a newborn.

My first solo trip to the city with baby at 3 weeks old.

Never at rush hour - our babies first subway ride ( 2 weeks old).

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