Aug. 27, 2013 at 10:21 AM ET
A new report from The Daily Beast says New York City is the worst city to have a baby, followed closely by Santa Cruz and Los Angeles in California, Hagerstown, Md., and Worcester, Mass. Miami, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago also all make the list.
The list was calculated by looking at the cost of raising a child there and factoring in the average household income. To make it more, uh, scientific, they also added in access to OB/GYNs, commute times, playgrounds per capita, and percentage of population 5 years or younger (because babies like to feel represented by the general population).
A lot of people like to hate on New York, and let’s be real: there are huge challenges to being pregnant and raising kids there. I moved away a year ago because of some of them. But if you're able to afford it and willing to deal with space constraints, the city holds so many treasures for expectant and new moms. What the list didn’t capture—and what no list could—is the way New York helps you adjust to being a new parent while still helping you hold on to some of your pre-baby self.
Sure, commuting while pregnant sucks, but then again, you can’t throw a stick without hitting a prenatal yoga class. The city boasts 32 level 3 neo-natal intensive care units, armed to deal with the sickest newborn babies. If you’re interested in something other than your typical hospital birth, you’ll find lots of options and more acceptance for home birth than you’d find in many places. Same goes for breastfeeding. Lactation consultants abound, and there’s a reason those stories about women being hassled for public nursing seldom seem to happen in New York. (Getting up in someone’s face for a little boob flash? Fuhgettaboutit!)
And there’s no danger of ending up a new mom hermit in NYC. The lifestyle demands that you walk daily, so just pop your babe in a carrier and go—to your mom group, to mommy and me classes, to world-class museums, to amazing food markets, and despite what may be a less-than-desirable amount per capita, gorgeous parks and innovative playgrounds. I’ve only had babies in New York so don’t have much to compare to, but I loved being a new mom there—and I think my kids are lucky to have gotten their start in life in the cultural capital of the world.
Have you had babies in any of the “worst” cities? Do you beg to differ?
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.