Baby in the Big Apple

My husband and I love New York City and took our son when he was 5 months old. My poor husband almost developed an ulcer worrying about how the flight was going to go. We didn’t want to be “those” parents that everyone stared at because of a screaming baby.  I booked an evening flight hoping my son would be sleepy and I kept his naps to a minimum that day.  My diaper bag was stuffed to capacity with everything ranging from toys to baby essentials.

I thought I did my research and knew what to expect for traveling with a baby.  I was not aware that my son would need a birth certificate to prove his age.  The airline representative let us proceed since she could tell he was under the age of 2 (otherwise, we would have needed to purchase a seat).  Getting through security wasn’t too bad, except the car seat was very difficult to fit into the X-ray machine and TSA wasn’t exactly helpful.

Once we arrived at the gate, we asked the airline representative to modify our seating assignments so the three of us could have a row to ourselves. I was relieved when our request was granted because I knew I would have to breast feed and wanted as much privacy as possible.  

We were shocked to learn that people with children are not allowed to pre-board.  All those years we spent traveling and complaining about families boarding the plane first and now it was our turn and we receved no preferential treatment!  What a bummer!

I made an assumption that my son’s expensive car seat was FAA approved and decided to take it on the plane instead of checking it. Bad assumption, it was not a FAA approved car seat so the attendant went ahead and gate checked it for me.  

Before take-off, I discreetly began feeding my son.  I knew the change in cabin pressures could be worse on a baby and feeding him during take-off and landing would help.  To my surprise, he quickly fell asleep in my arms and didn’t wake until 45 minutes before we were supposed to land.  As soon as he woke, I heard an all too familiar noise…a grunt and then a very loud bowel movement.  I couldn’t believe it, we were in the home stretch and then something like this happened. The smell was horrendous so I grabbed all the diaper changing essentials and headed towards the restroom. I was shocked to discover the airplane did not have a diaper changing station inside the restroom.  The attendant told me I could use an empty row of seats to change my son, which obviously didn’t offer the privacy I expected.

I unhooked my son’s brand new Ralph Lauren outfit and was mortified to find a poop explosion (yes, it was all the way up to his neck).  Thankfully, my son laid very still and allowed me to wipe him down and put on a fresh diaper.  Unfortunately, his designer outfit didn’t survive the explosion and was thrown away.  I picked up my baby wearing nothing but a diaper and carried him back to my husband.  I knew there was a fresh pair of pajamas in my diaper bag and asked my husband to dress our naked child while I properly disposed of the mess and washed my hands.

By this point,  I am a sweaty mess from the stress!  I couldn’t wait to get off the airplane and find the car we had reserved.  We typically just grab a taxi, but I wanted to make sure we were not rushed while installing my son’s car seat. It is not a rule in New York to secure your child in a car seat while riding in a taxi; however, I was not comfortable holding my son and taking such a risk.  

The car service worked out great and before I knew it, we had arrived at the W Union Square.  Upon check-in, we requested a crib to be brought into our room so we could get the little guy to sleep.  I was very excited to see the General Manager had left a beautiful cheese platter and bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to welcome us (it helps to know people in high places).

We quickly gave the baby a bath and settled him into the crib. Unfortunately, he kept banging his head on the railing while trying to get comfortable and began to cry (his crib at home had a bumper).  We didn’t want to disturb other hotel guests and decided to let him share our King size bed.  Needless to say, I hardly slept a wink because I was paranoid that we’d roll on him or he’d be suffocated. 

If you are traveling to NY with a baby, Union Square is a fabulous location. It’s not quite as active as Times Square, but there are terrific shops, restaurants and stores (including Babies R Us and Whole Foods). Most importantly, the 14th Street-Union Square subway station is right in the middle of it all.  I only wish my son didn’t find the singing subway panhandlers so amusing, he kept making eye contact with them and smiling.

We were able to visit all our favorite stops during the trip (Central Park Zoo, Magnolia Bakery, Century 21, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Times Square, 5th Avenue, etc.), but we returned to the hotel more than usual so baby could eat and nap.  Instead of packing our Bugaboo Cameleon stroller, we brought our BabyBjorn baby carrier so my husband could strap the baby to his chest. I couldn’t imagine trying to get the stroller up and down the subway stairs or pushing it through the crowded streets. The BabyBjorn was definitely the best choice.

We had a great time in NYC. I am happy to report there were no poop explosions on our return flight home, everything went smoothly.  Hopefully my experience will help other parents prepare for their first trip to NYC with a baby. 

Thanks for reading my blog.  I look forward to reading your comments outlining your baby’s first flight experience.  Please be sure to bookmark The Unemployed Mom and check back often!

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