An NYC mom’s life can be easily divided into two parts: Before and After (Baby). Some of the things you need for one will still serve you well in the other. (For instance, don’t expect to walk out of the hospital and junk all your maternity clothes.) Others only truly make sense once you become a dazed and confused new parent (see: NoseFrida, nursing pads, etc.) Consider the resources below a starter kit in the world of NYC parenting, and keep in mind than in many cases, your favorite store can hook you up with a great class, where you can find an amazing doula, who will refer you to a fantastic support group, etc. — and that many of these places do several things, very well.
photo: Jordan Fisher via Flickr
Looking for some basics? Check out national chains like Destination Maternity. Want something Brooklyn funky and a carrier to go with it? Wild Was Mama is a good bet. Upper East Side upscale? Veronique Maternity. And if you don’t want to spend a ton of money on clothes you’ll only be wearing for nine months (okay, a year – maybe two, tops), hit Jane’s Exchange, Manhattan largest mom and baby consignment store. You can even pretend you’re doing it to preserve the environment for your future generation!
photo: Amy Q. via Yelp
Most doctors will tell expectant mothers to continue doing whatever exercise they feel comfortable with (though check with yours to make sure, first). Popular options for the active mama-to-be include the Prenatal Yoga Center, Brooklyn’s Karma Kids Yoga or Bend & Bloom, Aquamom, Complete Core by Solange and even prenatal kickboxing! Not an extrovert? (Though, frankly, meeting other pregnant ladies is the best part of taking classes): Homebodies offers private training sessions for your body in the comfort of, well, your home.
Everyone will rest easier when you have this under your belt, and you can take Infant CPR all over the city, at most local YMCA chapters, the 92nd Street Y, JCC Manhattan, Tribeca Pediatrics locations, Raising Astoria and Little Hearts CPR, among many others.
photo: via Sage Spa Facebook page
Want a massage with reflexology? Acupuncture? A facial? We’ve got all that and more in our roundup of NYC’s best prenatal massages.
Your personal network is probably the best way to start, whether that’s your friends or OB/GYN, but The NYC Doula collective is a great resource, and helps make the cost of of doula accessible thanks to different pricing tiers. Birth Day Presence in Park Slope has a similar system.
photo: Peter Dutton via Flickr
Nursing & Feeding Supplies
Even before your baby needs clothes, furniture or brain-boosting activities (remember, Kindergarten admissions is a scant five years away!), they need to eat. If you choose to formula feed, you’ll need bottles, nipples, a scrub-brush that can go deep, and possibly even a bottle warmer. For those you can go chain, like Babies-R-Us or even your local CVS or Duane Reade. But if you’re nursing, you’ll probably want more personalized attention to help you pick a bra, breast-pump, lotion and pillows. For that, check out The Upper Breast Side, Yummy Mummy or Wild Was Mama’s Greenpoint or Park Slope locations.
If you do choose to breastfeed, you may learn (many do) that you and baby do not join as one and float off on some endorphin-fueled cloud; it can take some practice to get the hang of it. For the record, the NYC Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding is chock full of info. Check out your local La Leche League meeting to get help, or ask your pediatrician for a local recommendation. Breastfeeding support groups also meet regularly at community centers and spots like the JCC, your local Y, Raising Astoria in Queens and GUMBO in
Brooklyn. Doctor Mona Gabbay specializes in issues with breastfeeding for families in the New York area (she makes house calls) and Board Certified Lactation Consultant Freda Rosenfeld is known in many circles as a boob whisperer.
The baby doesn’t care what it wears. In fact, as soon as it can, it is going to start trying to take it all off. But if you care, NYC is a bonanza of adorable baby boutiques selling one of a kind items. So grab your infant and get ready to browse through the likes of Wyatt Lily uptown, Torly Kid downtown, Smoochie Baby, Baby Mama and Sweet William in Brooklyn.
The baby also doesn’t care where it sleeps or what it goes out riding in, either. However decorating a nursery is part of the fun – for mom and dad! Though carrying the gear home is the slightly less fun part of the experience. Fortunately, Albee’s let’s you try out in store – then delivers. Determined only organic materials will touch your baby’s skin? See Giggle’s three NYC locations. Hit Brooklyn Fare (which also has a Manhattan location, go figure) for organic baby food, and click this link for even more options. Feeling less than confident about your ability to properly install a car-seat, fix a stroller or thoroughly clean a floor mat or high-chair? Tot Squad has a Midtown East drop-off location, or they’ll come to your home to get the job done!
If you avoided making friends in your prenatal classes, you might want to give this new motherhood thing a go on your own. But for those who believe it takes a village (to raise a mom), consider a Moms Group. They come in all flavors (and neighborhoods and ethnic groups) from first-time pregnant moms to moms over 35 to moms of multiples. See a more comprehensive list, here.
photo: Amy Q. via Yelp
Mommy & Me
The yoga, swimming and kickboxing that you did while pregnant? You can do it with baby in tow! (Well, okay, maybe not the kickboxing). Harlem Yoga Studio is dedicated to being affordable and accessible to all moms and their babies, while The Yoga Room in Astoria and Long Island City brings a similar service to Queens, Bread & Yoga serves Inwood, and Brooklyn has Shanti Baby Yoga. Feel like swimming instead of omm-ing? Imagine Swimming and Take Me to the Water have locations around the city, while 92nd St. Y and 14th St. Y fulfill the needs of those looking for more than just swimming lessons, with other family programming. And don’t forget the gyms that offer childcare (that’s the Just Me part).
Dining with Baby
Having an infant doesn’t mean dulling your taste-buds. Some upscale restaurants where the management actively welcomes children (including but not limited to having stroller check and high-chairs available) are Maialino Fine Dining, Cull & Pistol Oyster Bar and Gramercy Tavern. Also check out our favorite brunch spots and other kid-friendly restaurants around town, including places you can dine al fresco when the weather warms up!
Please share your favorite resources with us in the comments!