How “baby friendly” is New York?

I always feel a little conflicted when I hear this question, or when I even think about it from my own experience. It always comes with an assumption that New York, given how urban and dense the city is, is not baby friendly. It’s not that it’s baby unfriendly: you see endless babies in strollers and carriers literally everywhere you go. Public transportation actually exists here and is functional, so you technically don’t even need a car to cart your babies around. The issues that always come to mind first for myself are the fact that if Chris weren’t with me, there’s pretty much no way I could carry Kaia and her stroller up and down the subway stairs by myself, not just because I lack the physical strength, but more because of my wrist/hand problems. Plus, when you go into the majority of restaurants, they will not have changing stations/tables for you in the restrooms to easily change your baby’s diaper, so I end up having to put her changing pad on some dirty bathroom floor and change her there. Once, I even let her sit down on the dirty bathroom floor (well, she refused to sit still on the changing pad!!) because I (ugh) smeared poop on my hands, and there was no way I was going to get it off just by washing one hand at a time as I usually do when I have changed her. And the latest realization: a lot of restaurants here just don’t have high chairs because they do not assume you will be bringing a baby with you to dine. And many restaurants, especially the further downtown you go, will not be spacious enough for you to push your stroller inside.

But the United States is not baby friendly overall for endless reasons that I won’t go into here. But if it is unfriendly for no other reason, it’s that the vast majority of people who live in this country need to have a car to get around… it’s an absolute necessity. And that’s kind of annoying. It seems easier to have a car when you have a kid because you can just leave the car seat in the car, dump the stroller broken down into the trunk. That’s what my friends who have children always say, and they say they cannot imagine being me, hauling a stroller up and down subway stairs every weekend. But is it actually easier to live in one of those places that requires car ownership… when this means you have to… rely on yourself more and less on society itself?

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