New York City is one of our favorite places to travel and visit, so naturally we wanted to bring our baby there! Our daughter was seven months and it was her first time flying, too! I know a handful of friends who have babies and call New York City home, so it can be easier than you think. There’s an energy and magic in New York City Johnny and I love so much. We just couldn’t wait for her to experience it, especially during the holidays! Here is how we planned and navigated traveling to New York with a baby.
Flying to New York with a Baby
This was our first time flying with a baby. It’s about a 3.5-hour flight from Dallas. My expectations were low. I expected and prepared for her to cry the entire time and be inconsolable. Anything better than that was honestly the icing on top of the cake for me. When booking, consider this:
- Line up the flight with their nap/sleep schedule. This raises the chance of them sleeping on the plane.
- What time you need to be at the airport (I recommend a minimum of two hours before boarding)
- Time difference between your home and destination
- How your baby adapts to being off schedule
Of course, you probably will not hit the jackpot with all of these. We opted for a flight lining up with her first nap, knowing we would have to wake her up two hours before her usual wake time.
Taking our friends’ advice, we opted for a bulkhead seat for extra legroom. If you can afford it, I would definitely recommend it. On the way back, our daughter was overtired. I was standing with my feet 3.5 feet apart, bouncing up and down shushing her. After about five minutes of this, she fell asleep and slept for 1.5 hours! You can always walk the aisle and do this, too. But it was nice to do in our own row. The extra space is always welcome, especially when you’re looking for items or trying to calm a baby. If you have status with an airline, it may be worth checking to see if you can upgrade to first class for a fee instead of outright booking first-class tickets. I used to do this and it would be anywhere from $50 to $200 to upgrade!
My biggest tip, which came highly recommended, is to either nurse or give her a bottle for take-off and the initial descent. This helps with their ears popping. Our daughter didn’t cry at all during those times so this worked!
Our Stroller & Carseat Combo
We got the Nuna URBN + TRIV travel system and couldn’t be happier with it. This is what we use on a regular basis at home so it’s perfect it’s also travel-friendly. We wanted the URBN car seat because it doesn’t require a base. It utilizes a car’s metal latch system directly so we knew we’d be able to pop it into any uber or lyft we use. I’ll do a more in-depth review at a later time so check back!
Both the stroller and the car seat fit into this wheeled travel bag, which we gate-checked. The car seat clicks into the TRIV stroller so easily. Plus, the stroller folds with just a pull and opens in two seconds. We were never struggling getting in and out of ubers, which would have been stressful! Another perk to this stroller is the storage basket underneath. If we needed to put the diaper bag or another bag underneath, it was easy to do so!
Where to Stay in New York City with a Baby
We wanted to stay somewhere as luxe as they are family-friendly and The Langham exceeded that. They generously offered us a discounted media rate and we jumped at the opportunity. I appreciate how their rooms are quite spacious for New York City! They offer mini cribs, baby soap and lotion and the staff couldn’t be more kind. Upon check-in, the front desk staff gave our daughter a small pink and black plaid teddy bear. Then, when we got to our room, there was a Paddington Bear for her, too!
I rented a variety of items from Baby Quip and it truly made such a difference. We did this when we went to Austin, too! It brings us peace of mind to have a similar routine when we’re in a new place. For this stay, I rented the Stokke high chair, foldable tub and the Newton mattress. If our daughter wasn’t a belly sleeper, I would be fine with the hotel’s provided mattress.
Another aspect I love about The Langham is how it’s a five-minute walk to Bryant Park. Their Winter Village is so fun and since we were also going to the Bryant Park tree lighting, it was important to us to stay close by! There’s a coffee and hot apple cider station downstairs guests can help themselves to.
The staff is truly incredible. Having also stayed at The Plaza hotel, we much prefer The Langham if you’re looking in the 5-star category. Everyone is so kind, patient and accommodating. The service is truly 5 stars.
Other hotels we considered:
What to Do in New York with a Baby
There’s so much to do in New York with a baby. A lot of the things Johnny and I enjoy doing, you can do with your baby.
Walk around the City
There is so much to see in New York City. So many films, TV shows and more take place in the city. Plus, good food is always nearby. A few years ago, Johnny and I walked from the Upper East Side all the way to downtown on a cold, rainy day, but we didn’t mind one bit! Some of our favorite places to walk include Bryant Park, Meatpacking District, The Highline, SoHo and the shops near Madison and Fifth. During the holidays, we love to walk by the windows at Bergdorf’s or the light show at Saks at 7 pm!
Central Park is huge! It’s the perfect place to go with a baby. My friends who live in NYC go on walks here all the time. Plus, during the winter you can show your baby Wollman Rink and they can watch people ice skate! There’s also a zoo in Central Park as well. I do not recommend holding your baby when ice skating. I’m doing it here because I’m a former competitive figure skater and I’m just as comfortable on the ice as I am on ground. Plus, I stayed away from people.
Visit a Museum
Most museums in New York allow babies, but some even offer stroller tours! You can’t visit New York without a museum visit if you’ve never been before. The Brooklyn Museum, Guggenheim and Whitney offer stroller tours. The New York Historical Society offers a kid/baby program before the museum opens to the public.
Dressing Baby for the Cold in New York City
This is probably what I was most worried about. It was going to be in the 20s during our visit, so I wanted to make sure baby girl was warm. Layering is best since it’s cold outside, but you don’t want your baby to overheat once indoors!
I bought this merino wool turtleneck bodysuit and this long sleeve merino wool bodysuit. I love merino wool because it’s one of those miracle fabrics that’s comfortable year round. Merino wool naturally regulates the body’s temperature (whether you’re a baby or an adult), which means you can wear in the summer and winter. Plus, it’s antimicrobial so you don’t have to launder it as much. These served as her base layers.
On top I brought two merino wool sweater sets. The legs on these have feet so I wouldn’t have to worry too much about her feet being cold! This pink one has stripes and is so cute! The white one is a classic gender neutral piece. Whenever we took her out of the carseat, we would layer this bear bunting suit over top. We got so many compliments on it and I love how it’s a hand-me-down from her cousin.
The final layer serving as her “coat” when she was in the car seat is this faux down insulated wrap. It’s so warm and I love the shape. There’s a contoured “hood” and it has adjustable, roomy leg muffs. It’s super easy to put into the car seat and wrap baby in. Finally, it’s what we found is the best option for keeping our daughter warm and as safe as possible in the city. Nuna doesn’t allow any after-market products to be used with their car seats.
However, I felt comfortable using this one because there is an oval cutout in the back. This means there isn’t anything between your baby and the harness or straps of the carseat. As they say, there is good, better and best. It was more dangerous for us to take her out of the car seat, take off a winter coat, put her in the car seat and then into an uber on the busy streets of New York. Plus, she would get so cold without a proper coat so this was the safest and most practical option for us. Baby girl even took naps on the go in this and we felt like she was a little Scandinavian baby!