After the novelty of welcoming your bundle of joy into the concrete jungle has worn off, panic may set in. You live in the most expensive city in the country, yet you feel trapped and can’t enjoy the perks of the town. Or even worse, that you have to move to a neighborhood where you can afford a bigger home.
But there are ways you can continue to live your life as a New Yorker with a baby in tow, they won’t be as carefree as your childless days of the past, but it’s still possible.
No Need To Move – Get Creative With Closet Space
If you’re in a studio or one-bedroom apartment, there’s probably not enough space to put the overpriced crib in a place you won’t trip over during a midnight feeding. Enter the closet nursery, conveniently located off of the heavily trodden path of the bedroom. This space also creates a cozy, darker space that will mimic the womb for babies and make them more at home. Position your baby camera so you can easily see them, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have closet doors that shut and drown out some of the city noises. Sure, it seems a little odd, but if you decorate it right, there won’t be any Harry Potter closet-under-the stairs vibes at all. We get it, you want to stay in the Village, and you can still afford to do it!
Teach Your Baby Sleep Anywhere
Getting your baby to fall asleep in their stroller or carrier extends any trip away from your home and increases the chance of sleeping through the night. Instead of trying to fit your outdoor jaunts into your baby’s wake window or yelling through the air shaft to your neighbors to keep it down, getting Baby to sleep anywhere means the day is yours. Train them to fall asleep by using a portable white noise machine or bluetooth speaker with their favorite song. It’ll get to the point where Baby will hear the sound and know it’s time to doze off while you can enjoy another cocktail.
Pack Your Diaper Bag… Then Unpack It
What’s in your diaper bag may make or break your day out, and it IS possible to have too much. Several outfits, feeding supplies, diapering items, a blanket, and a few toys don’t need to take up that much space. Constantly evaluate what’s in your bag and repack it for each trip, as any extra weight will make it challenging to move around the city. A lot of baby-specific supplies can take up extra room and add additional costs. For example: use dog pee pads for a diaper changing pad instead of a fancy pad. It weighs less, takes up less space, and if you have a messy diaper, you can toss the pad instead of carrying around poop-laden items before washing.
Another parenting hack is to divide items in your diaper bag into smaller bags. It will keep things organized and allow you to quickly find something or direct someone else to the item. But more importantly, if the diaper bag is dropped, you’re not going to be chasing loose diapers blowing in the wind of a passing subway car.
Make City Friends
The best tips you’ll get for parenting hacks won’t come from a perfectly curated book; they’ll come from real-life parents. Surrounding yourself with city-parent friends will give you a reason to get out of the house and be social, but also connect you with lots of insider secrets. Are you looking for the best swim classes? Doctor? New parents often have heard from a friend of a friend and have an inside scoop worth more than a year’s supply of diapers (if you’re not familiar, that’s a lot of money). Having city friends also leads us to the next tip…
Keep The Receipts (And Your City Friends)
Yes, having a baby is exciting, not just for you, but probably for many in your life. You’re going to get lots of stuff. I mean A LOT. Before your baby even takes its first breath, you’ll probably have enough swaddles, themed onesies, and stuffed animals for quadruplets. But there are zero reasons to keep all of this in your tiny NYC apartment.
Friends gave you a bulky playset you didn’t register for?
Just return it. Seriously.
You truly don’t need it. If you’re Carrie Bradshaw going through your closet, I’m Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte telling you just to toss it. It doesn’t even look good on the floor. Use the credit and buy something you’re going to use, then kick back and enjoy the smaller amount of toys you have to step on.
Don’t have a way to return it? Pass unused baby gifts and supplies to your parent friends I mentioned above; they’ll be beyond grateful for free gear. Don’t worry; you’ll get plenty of opportunities to be gifted supplies in return.
Stuck with more things that don’t fit in your home? Maybe it’s time for an apartment upgrade. Some buildings come with communal playrooms where your little one can make friends and where you can “forget” some of their toys.
Parenting in the city doesn’t have to be impossible. It does take a lot of planning and strategizing to still enjoy the city you love, but it’s not out of the question. Don’t head for the suburbs just yet.
Alda is a mom, Brooklynite, and real estate lover. In her free time, she cruises real estate listings to dream of a perfectly attainable several million-dollar brownstone, much to her husband's annoyance. Alda is also convinced she knows everything there is to know about New York City, based solely on consistent people-watching and eavesdropping. Mrs. Burrows would be an amazing trivia partner but instead chooses to write about all the random stuff she knows.