I Love NY
Touring New York with a 4½ month old
There I was with a newborn baby….sleep deprived, but longing for a weekend away. My husband and I have always loved to travel and we didn’t want this to change with the new addition to our family (prior to our baby boy this consisted of the two of us and our two cats – who don’t mind when you go away as long as they are fed and have a “cleanish” litter box). So in a moment of bravery – I think I had a four hour stretch of sleep that night – I decided to book a weekend in New York.
I always love going to New York City. The sights, the sounds and of course the shopping! I was truly excited to bring my four and a half month old son Andreas to the Big Apple, plus my husband has family there so we thought it would be nice to introduce him to his relatives.
I packed everything but the kitchen sink for a Thursday to Monday stay. Two outfits per day for baby, a million diapers and wipes, his bouncy vibrating chair, and I even bought a change pad with inflatable sides to turn the dresser in our hotel room into a change table! I was excited. A little too excited. So, one big suitcase filled with baby’s things and one pair of jeans for me.
The Toronto airport was disappointingly not baby friendly (there was not one change table in the whole airport). We were pretty much last to board the plane (an old habit that we should really change now that we are traveling with a little one). Walking down the aisle of a tiny plane with baby in tow was a bit scary. I started noticing the looks we were getting. Each person’s facial expression said the same thing “please don’t let them sit near me”. Luckily it was a short flight.
We settled into our seats. And I have to admit that I was nervous. My husband was Mr. Cool, Calm and Collected. Nothing could go wrong for him. The flight went pretty smoothly. I was nursing so I breastfed him on take-off and landing. I had the window seat so it was pretty private. I didn’t want anyone to be uncomfortable with my breastfeeding (you wouldn’t believe how many people are still disgusted by breastfeeding in public).
After take-off I was hoping my little guy would fall asleep but no such luck for me. He was in a pretty good mood, but after about 45 minutes my husband and I looked at each other and knew right away from the very special odour coming from our bundle of joy that we could not avoid changing his diaper on the plane. But there was a line up for the only bathroom on the plane. So as we were waiting, the telltale yellow of an enormous poop started to creep up his back and seep through his clothes. Thank God I wasn’t alone. It was a two person “operation” for us in the teeny tiny bathroom and luckily I had brought two changes of clothes on board.
I was a bit nervous about the fact that we weren’t traveling with a car seat, but through my research on the internet, I learned that it was perfectly legal to take cabs in New York City without a car seat. I basically carried Andreas in my Baby Bjorn and strapped myself into the cab (Note: try to get a mini van cab, because of the extra height it’s very comfortable to strap yourself in while carrying your baby).
Luckily for us, we were staying at the Hyatt at Grand Central Station (thank you Mary for getting us such a good rate!) so we had a spacious room (for New York City standards) equipped with a play pen for baby to sleep in! We were within walking distance to fantastic shops for what I thought was going to be a great shopping weekend. Let me tell you that I would not recommend a trip to New York at the beginning of December with a baby. It was cold. It was busy (Holiday Season shopping rush). Not very stroller-friendly. Our first venture was on Fifth Avenue with the stroller. Wow! There were a tonne of people in New York in December specifically there for shopping. So let’s just say that not only were the stores packed, but the sidewalks were packed too. There was a whole lot of “sorry”, “excuse me”, “pardon me”, “can’t you see I’m pushing a stroller here!?!” and my favourite: “move I have a baby!”
We tried to shop. We really did. But that didn’t work out at all. The shops were crowded and did not really accommodate our stroller. So after that first day out, we decided that the baby carrier was the way to go. It was very cold so we bundled up and we just walked everywhere. Luckily it was sunny, but it was December (and did I mention cold?), so unlike my day dreams of our trip, there was no sitting down in central park to change his diaper and feed him. What ended up happening was that our little sunshine slept right through everything on Daddy’s chest. We timed our walks with his breastfeeding schedule of eating every 2 – 3 hours, stopping in restaurants, Starbucks (luckily there’s one on almost every corner in Manhattan) or going back to the hotel.
We walked and walked, took a carriage ride through central park – baby sleeping, went to see the Christmas tree and ice skating at Rockefeller Center – baby sleeping, strolled through Times Square – baby sleeping, admired Macy’s window displays -baby sleeping…you get my drift. My little darling slept through everything – except the nights. We were up every 3 hours in NYC and one night it was about 11:30pm and he still wasn’t sleeping so we strapped him in to the baby carrier and walked to Times Square — baby sleeping. As much as it was a tiring trip, and it would have been a better trip had it been summer or spring, we still had a great time. It was our first family trip (excluding a cottage trip when he was 2 weeks old). and it was nice to visit family with our new addition.
New York City was different for me with a baby. I didn’t get to do any real shopping. Just the odd thing here and there, but it still remains one of my favorite cities. There’s just something about New York. The busyness of it all, the noise, the people, the food, the buildings. It’s great that New Yorkers don’t mind that you bring your baby to dinner with you. I just love New York and I hope my son grows up to love it too. He had an early start and I’m already planning our next weekend to the Big Apple.
What to pack for the flight:
- Soother/bottle (if you’re not breastfeeding on take off and landing)
- Diapers (how many depend on how long your flight is), wipes, change pad
- Change of clothes (two just in case)
- One toy for every hour or half hour saving the best for last (pull them out one at a time and when baby gets bored you can switch it up. For older babies you can even gift wrap them to make it more fun for them. Tip: for the week leading up to your trip take away some toys and save them for the flight – makes it more exciting to see the long lost toy.
- Warm blanket (it’s usually cold on planes)
- Zip lock bags (for soiled items)
- Antibacterial wipes (for toys that fall on the floor)
- Hand sanitizer
- Enough food/formula/milk in case of delays
- Board books
- Call the hotel in advance to reserve a crib, or play pen for baby to sleep in
- Baby carrier/sling