They say it takes a village to raise a child, so I’ve invited some fabulous bloggers to share their thoughts on motherhood. This week they’ll be discussing everything from pregnancy to newborns to baby gear for first-time moms. Today’s post is special: I asked my friend Ashley from Hither & Thither if she had any advice for my sister, who lives in New York City and is expecting her first baby in early March. Ashley, a former New Yorker, has a son who’s about a week younger than Levi, so I knew she’d have a wealth of information for my sister and other city-dwelling mamas!
First off: congratulations! That anticipation is like nothing else. And hopefully it’s driving you to get rid of everything you own to make room for everything else you’re about to. Just kidding. Sort of.
Of course the space constraints of a New York apartment is the challenge that first comes to mind when asked about having a baby in the city. And I would suggest doing multiple sweeps and either tossing, donating, or storing (hopefully in a willing parent’s home) things you don’t need before there’s a very demanding, sweet little distraction living with you.
And then, start thinking about the kinds of large items and toys you might want, but don’t bother buying any of them until you need them. It’s a tricky balance: ideally, you want to know which swing to order off Diapers.com or from whom you can borrow one before you need it, but you might not want to actually let it in the house until you know that you do. (And p.s. thank goodness for Diapers.com, Fresh Direct, Amazon prime, and Seamless Web. Oh how I miss Seamless Web.)
On the other hand, do be sure to have whatever you need for nursing ahead of time. Bring the pillow and lanolin to the hospital and get the fitting done in advance. (Speaking from experience: driving uptown with a 2-day old for a bra fitting that happened while I shifted from foot to foot was not fun.)
My top items–for any new mom but especially for one in NY: a carrier (wearing the baby on busy streets and in tight restaurants is so nice); a foldable, lightweight stroller (imagine getting it in and out of cabs as well as down subway stairs); and a new iPhone. That last one might be a stretch–but go ahead and ask for one. You’ll use it for all of your photos. You’ll watch movies and entire TV Series on it. You’ll read the NY Times and check email and record every poop on it. And when you’re strolling aimlessly to keep the baby asleep in that carrier, you’ll order delivery from Seamless Web.
Choose a pediatrician you trust, but who is also close-by and easy to get to in rush hour.
Take advantage of the great services and programs for parents all around the city: the Y has new parent meet-ups, music classes, mommy-and-me workouts, and babysitting. The libraries have amazing story hours (and they happen all around the city on different days).
You already know that NY has amazing parks and playgrounds. They’re great places to meet people. “Are you happy with your stroller?” will get most people talking if you’re at a loss. We parents love sharing advice (couched as opinions).
You’d think midday in SoHo would be the time for that neighborhood—but it’s not. It’s never the right time for SoHo–especially with a stroller. Delivery trucks, crowds… argh! Of course, when you do end up there (and somehow I always did, dodging taxis and models), know that Giggle has a nice nursing station, changing table, and scale downstairs; and the NYU bookstore on the North strip of Broadway has a large children’s area adjacent to a coffee shop.
Finally, start mentally collecting restaurants you like that serve breakfast. Breakfast, in general, means kid-friendly. Brunch is more hit-or-miss.
Have fun! New York City is an incredibly awesome place to have a baby and all the cliches are true about it all flying by–even if that brunch in SoHo with all the moody, 22-year-old hipsters starting at you and your crying baby seemed to last an eternity.
Thank you so much, Ashley! You actually made living in NYC with a baby sound more fun than stressful!