Travel // New York with a Baby

November 13, 2019

We just got back from NYC and it was one of the best trips ever? I think because since being a new mama, everything feels like the greatest treat when it goes well now? So having time in one of my favourite cities in the world to just wander and eat at my favourite places just felt like a dream. Especially having Ben around for it all, it might be parenting in another place but it sure beats parenting at home! I've shared some tips for how we dealt with the jet lag/city with a young baby below along with some favourite photos of our trip.
P.S. don't miss this halloween post from the trip, it was a huge part of us visiting.

Flight/Jet Lag/Travel with a Baby;

I've written this post about our first trip with a baby {and all things flights/packing etc} but this was our first trip going long haul and dealing with jetlag. We were pretty spoilt in that we had airmiles to use {when looking at booking regular economy flights to NYC, they were ridiculously expensive, I think because it's a peak time of year? So in the end it made sense to use airmiles and just pay the taxes - I've written this blog post about how we use Avios to fly business class} so we flew club. It made such a difference in that we could take extra luggage with us - we ended up taking a lot of luggage as our airbnb didn't have a washing machine plus we had 12 nights there and the weather looked really mixed so we needed big coats etc. It made such a difference to have lots of space around our seats for Freya to hang out in. Plus she's not crawling/on the move yet - she was 3.5 months when we went out and 4 months coming home. Flights going forward will probably be more challenging as we can't afford to pay for premium/business and she'll be on the move I imagine so we'll see how that goes!

So in short, the flight was great. I had her in our ergo carrier ad/affiliate going through the airport and had a huge hand luggage rucksack to have all the spare outfits/changing gear/a bag of toys for her in. And I had the sling too just in case she got overtired, it folds up to the size of a scarf so thought it was worth having in the bag with me. Ben and I switched her between us through the flight so when Ben had her, it felt like I was on some spa break just kicking back, with good food and movies to watch/things to read.  

In terms of the time difference, our flight was at 11am in the morning so when we landed it was technically her UK bedtime. We're still using the Huckleberry app to know when she should nap, best app ever, so I just set my phone to NYC time before we took off and then it just added in extra day naps for her. As a rough guide, for her age it pretty much just says that she needs to nap every 1.5/2 hours max so I just made it a longer day for her and then we did the usual bath/bed routine when we got to New York and wanted to go to bed ourselves and I think the association of her swaddle/bath/darkness helped her know it was really bedtime now. Because I'm breastfeeding it was really easy food wise, I just fed her on demand. She then woke up at 3am the next morning {I guess 8am UK time} as did we. I just gave her some playtime, although kept the lights low, and she then went back to sleep {Ben and I didn't!}. She adapted to the time change so much better than we both did. Again, I just went by Huckleberry for when she should nap next and it worked really well. After that she was on NYC time so it really wasn't an issue at all. Because we tended to wake up early with the time difference, we just all went to bed a bit earlier than we would at home.

We booked an apartment - more on that below - which was much better than a city hotel for her at this age, we had more space for us all and a big bathroom - a bath was key, and we stayed in a really family friendly neighbourhood. More on that below. We packed her toy gym {Ben unscrewed it and took an alan key with us to reassemble it so it would fit in the case} which was a lifesaver for when we were getting ready or busy cooking and she could just kick around and play. We packed some books for her for stories and a couple of her favourite toys but she's at such a great age where she doesn't really need much entertaining and is happy to just kick and practice her rolling. 

We took the babyzen yo-yo travel buggy ad/affiliate with us {this was gifted for our Italy trip} and whilst it's a great buggy, unless we were around the neighbourhood we tended to just use the ergo carrier. In hindsight I wouldn't have taken it with us but we didn't know if it would be easier to have her in that at restaurants or whatever. We were up and down the subways which had lots of stairs and Freya won't last in her buggy all day - she won't ever nap in it! she's just that kind of baby? As she gets older I think it will be different but right now the carrier was the best for us, she could enjoy seeing out and take in all the busy city when she was awake but then she'd nap really well in it too - the subway was the best white noise haha and the traffic. We could just put the hood up on it when it was time for her to nap, if she didn't just fall asleep by herself at the right time. One of the best things we bought and took with us was this ergo all weather cover *ad/affiliate, which we used when it got cold in NYC or if it was raining. 

We then took a big blanket out with us everyday to lay her out on - I was conscious she needed time to kick around and stretch out and play rather than just be carried - so we'd find parks or benches or areas of cafes/restaurants/even on the floor of the ferry when we stopped to give her time stretching out and playing with some toys we took. Again, 4 months was a great age for this as she's still not mobile so it was easy to contain her. There was so much for her to see everyday. I feel like all cities are super achievable and enjoyable with a baby when it's not raining or too cold. We were lucky in that most of our days were mild and sunny which made a huge difference. Rainy days in cities are tough - you can't change a baby outside or stop to feed easily. 

We had originally booked I think 6 nights? But then decided to extend it to 12, another plus of using airmiles to book a flight is that you can change your dates up until 2 days before you fly, because the airbnb still had availability and we realised that things could then be a lot slower with a baby - we didn't have to pack everything in, we could just do half days and give her more time at the apartment each day plus Ben would be starting a huge new work project when we got home so this was a special, 'lets spend some quality time together' kind of trip. Both Ben and I adore US life so it was really great to have more time out there and to soak up all the things we love, for him the NFL - peak season, and for me, Trader Joe's, NYC as a whole, and the food! 

We didn't try to plan too much with a baby, and didn't do many tourist things since we've done those before, this trip was mainly for just soaking the city up, walking for miles, eating realllly good food and exploring different neighbourhoods. 

On the way home we had a night flight, the classic red eye NYC to London. The flight took off at 21.45 which was later than her bedtime would be, so I took her swaddle to the airport with us, got her into her sleepsuit and swaddle and fed her to sleep in the airport lounge at the time she'd usually go down. She then stayed asleep for me carrying her to the plane and then putting her in the bassinet, waking up just before we were about to land. It was amazing and I couldn't have asked for anything better, I think the white noise helped and the darkness. But I was a little worried about all the fabric in the bassinet, it was a bit like a cot bumper which isn't recommended and although she slept well and was fine, I was up and down half the night checking on her and that her face wasn't smooshed into it, I undid the arms on her swaddle just in case! 

Happy traveller.

When we landed in New York we took the airtrain from JFK and then connected to the subway to get to the apartment. 

We loved Brooklyn more so than Manhattan on our last trip so we decided to base ourselves there this time. We chose a dream neighbourhood - Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill on the border with Gowanus/Park Slope - all really lovely leafy, quiet family areas yet that still have lots going on and there was a subway at the end of our block that got you into Manhattan within half an hour. We stayed in this airbnb {and you can use this sign up link if you're new to airbnb for £25 off your first stay anywhere in the world - I'll then receive £15 of credit} which was one of the best apartments we've ever stayed in. NYC have rules against airbnbs, especially in Manhattan, so you need to make sure that any you book are properly legal, this one was as it was in the same building/house as the family who lived there - it was private but technically the owners had a door to it. It was on a really beautiful street, we definitely lucked out {although I had read tonnes of reviews} and just perfect for all the halloween festivities - both the neighbourhood was all decorated and full of families for fun on halloween night. It was also SO quiet, if you've ever stayed in a Manhattan hotel you'll know all about the crazy noise of the sirens and beeping horns throughout the night. It had a proper kitchen, big bathroom, second little bedroom to house all our suitcases, which I set up as a little changing station for Freya, and a big comfy sofa for putting our well walked feet up on. The only downside was the lack of washing machine, there was a laundromat down the street but in the end I just handwashed any of Freya's things that needed washing urgently and hung them over the shower curtain to dry. The owners were also really helpful and lovely.

The neighbourhood just had the best feel about it, we arrived on a sunny Thursday afternoon and it was full of kids excited chatter as they went to the playground, there were plenty of coffee shops/nice bakeries, family book stores, the BEST ice cream place, a Trader Joe's just a 15 minute walk away, boutiques and gorgeous shops aplenty, fullll of buggies - suited us perfectly right now and safe enough that everyone left their buggies outside of shops etc. There was also a Whole Foods just a 5 minute walk away. And it was around 40 minutes to walk to Dumbo/The Brooklyn Bridge. If I ever come back to NYC I will be sure to stay here again. It was just dreamy - I wanted to live there - except I imagine the houses are all millions of dollars as it's so desirable and basically feels suburban for families yet close enough to the city. 

Even if you're not staying there, I'd recommend a trip over to that area if you like that kind of neighbourhood feel and cute stationery/antique shops etc. You'll want to check out the area around Smith Street & Court Street.

BEST ice cream place - Van Leeuwen.

The most gorgeous streets. And a 15 minute walk the other way took you to Prospect Park, Brooklyn's version of Central Park. You could also walk to Redhook from here, a cool new neighbourhood. There was SO much to do and so many places to eat just around this small area of Brooklyn. We loved it. 

Because it felt so safe, it was really nice for me to just take sling walks with Freya {particularly when she needed a nap} and browse the shops on my own, take it all in, whilst Ben did some work or watched some NFL. The best of both!

My favourite stop was the Books are Magic store.

As for the rest of our trip, we went across to Manhattan a few times to revisit some old favourite places. I've written a big NYC guide in these two blog posts - part one here and part two here plus a food guide here - which have some of my must dos in. Some particular highlights and photos from this trip below;

A few new things to note: 

The East River ferries are really great at whizzing you around without using the subway. We'd often walk to DUMBO and get the ferry up to East 90th street for example and then walk just a couple of blocks over to Central Park, all for just $2.75 - get the app to buy tickets on, likewise you could get to Williamsburg or Wall Street from here too. 

I'm going to write a separate post about taking the train up to Conneticut for the day - that was one of my favourite days of the trip.

Sweetgreen - BEST salads ever because let's face it, not everything is healthy when in America. Likewise, Wholefoods for picking up an easy but delicious and nutritious lunch/dinner to counteract all the burgers. Chipotle is still a favourite of ours too.

The outlet stores over at Staten Island {just next to the staten island ferry} are worth a visit and the views you get back to the city from the ferry are incredible. 

I've written this post about halloween whilst we were out there - that was a huge part of us going to NYC at this time of year. 

Washington Square Park in Greenwich is still one of my favourites. We 

SoHo Streets

NYC at night - incredible views from both the Time Out Market and Dumbo House.


Still dreaming of that ice cream

Shake Shack. Heart eyes.

Sweetgreen - our new obsession

Autumn scenes

The High Line

Taking the Staten Island Ferry 

Walking the Highline


Milk bar baby. Happy mama, happy baby

Breakfast at Oatmeals - pumpkin spice of course.

Didn't do much shopping but Target and the Empire Outlets were pretty good

Black Seed bagels. SO damn good

Riding the subway

Park picnic

Lady Liberty

Feeding with a view

Motorino Pizza - still up there as the best of them all

Changing/Feeding pit stop

Milk Bar soft serve - still my VERY favourite. We went stopped in every time we passed one!

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Beautiful Prospect Park

Early morning snuggles with this little babe

Visiting The Met for the first time.

What have I missed from this post? Will share another with some favourite photos my friend took of us in Central Park whilst we were out there. Excuse my baby brain if I've missed anything obvious from this post, either comment below or leave a comment on my most recent instagram photo and I'll answer any questions/add to this post!

R <3 xx 

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