Organizing Thursday: Clearly Fresh Bags

My son loves berries, but I hate how they go bad and get moldy so quickly. A few years ago, I found out about Clearly Fresh bags, and they’ve made a big difference in how much food we throw out. I’ll try to avoid sounding like an infomercial here, but these bags make fruit last much longer — at least twice as long. Strawberries, for example, used to only last a few days before getting moldy, and now they last at least a week! The special “BreatheWay membrane” in the center of the bag makes the difference. Clearly Fresh bags are recyclable (except for that membrane — just cut it out), so you don’t have to feel too guilty about using a few more plastic bags each week. (You’re not supposed to wash them and reuse them because apparently it messes up how the membrane works.) They’re not cheap — $8.98 for 20 bags — but berries are so expensive (for example) that I know we’re saving money on that side. Clearly Fresh Bags

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Comments

  1. Amelia Bedelia says:

    Can we PLEASE get early morning posts? this is getting ridiculous. Can’t we automatically post at 8am or the like? many of us working mothers get to work early . . .

    Ok. sorry for the vent. Bad day.

    My 3.5 year old will NOT have a BM in the toilet. She’s been potty trained (urine) for about a year, but not overnight. For a long time we let her use a diaper in the bathroom and stand. This was recommended to us by her Ped because she has bad constipation and we didn’t want to pressure her.

    about a month ago, we pushed for the toilet use. it went really well at home and then she had a bad incident in a public restroom trying to have a BM. And now she refuses toilets unless it is only urine. Instead, she will hold it until during the night and then have a BM in her diaper overnight. This has been going on a month now and I am at a loss on how to fix it. I can tell sometimes she holds it late afternoon (and it, consequently, affects her urine flow). Is there something I can do?

    TIA

    • CPA Lady says:

      Had the same problem. We solved it with daily 2 tsp. Miralax in a fruit and yogurt smoothie in the morning and bribery with candy for pooping in the toilet. She gets a piece of candy every single time she poops in the toilet. When we first started this program of bribery, she was pooping three times a day to get more candy. We went with it and fully embraced it. She ate so much candy and pooped so much. Now she’s completely regular and hasn’t had a setback in months.

      I was scared and shamed out of giving her the proper dose of Miralax and I think it set her back many many times. In retrospect I wish I would have been more aggressive with treating her constipation. YMMV.

      • Amelia Bedelia says:

        thank you!
        candy doesn’t work, but I’ve been tempted to try miralax and my husband has been resistant. this tells me I should go with it.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          My ped suggested Benefiber as an alternative to Miralax. She said there was really no difference between the two and Miralax was perfectly fine, but Benefiber is apparently made with “all natural” ingredients. I’ve never compared the ingredient list, so I really don’t know what the difference is, but just another suggestion.

          We’re in a similar boat, although we haven’t been dealing with potty training for as long. We use Benefiber (2 tsp in her water cup at home and also 2 tsp in her cup at school). We bribe with treats. We dramatically cut back on milk (1 cup per day total) and try to be cognizant of limiting carbs like bread/pasta. We also load her up with ‘p’ foods.

          This doesn’t make our kid less scared to poop in the toilet, but we think it helps to make it less painful.

          • CPA Lady says:

            hhmmm… interesting. I’ve been hesitant to do a ton of fiber because I thought fiber could make the problem worse if the kid doesn’t drink enough liquid– which is part of the problem in our case. I’ll have to look into this.

          • Anonymous says:

            try squeezie packs if lack of liquid is an issue. Keep a case of pear/peach/plum squeezie packs in the car and offer one on the way home from daycare or when you get home if longer commute.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Do the Miralax. We’ve used it several times, and it is very helpful. Talk with your ped about length of dosing; for my kiddo, we just needed to get over the psychological barrier and a few weeks of easy BMs was enough. For more chronic constipation, ped may suggest longer to help the bowel recover.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          We also use fiber gummies daily as a preventative – she begs for them and they make a good bribe!

    • I’ve not had this problem (yet, I still have one more in diapers…), but I *have* had two 3.5 year olds of different personalities, potty training interest, and temperament, one of which was often quite constipated.

      Do the Miralax or Benefiber. Calmly talk about what you’re trying to achieve. Consider taking her out of diapers all together–pooping in underwear is much different than a diaper. Consider having her help wash or help throw away her underwear (this is SUCH a kid-specific call; one of mine was super into it: she was just so nonchalant about the poop and I had had enough. She got grossed out, I explained “see, mommy doesn’t like to do this either. isn’t it easier when you just flush it away?” and like one day later the problem was solved. The other kid would have been so mortified/shamed that it was never even a consideration). Talk about what Big Kid incentive she’d like–mine never went for the candy motivation/ smaller stuff after they were 2 and doing initial potty training. This is a bigger thing, so I’d go for a bigger goal/prize. My 4 year old is struggling with asking to go to the bathroom at school. She’s fully potty trained, but will hold it all day OR do a pee dance until a teacher asks her if she has to go. So we talked about asking for help, how it’s a teacher’s job and made a sticker chart where if she asks a teacher for help with *anything* she gets a sticker, and she gets 3 if it’s to use the bathroom. When she fills the chart (5 spaces), she gets the Frozen Lego Set she’s bugging me for.

  2. Follow up on yesterday’s gift post. One thing my parents did, which I think was great was they had us choose a few of the bday gifts we received (1-3) to donate to a homeless shelter or a place like Ronald McDonald House. While I cannot for the life of me remember what exactly the gifts were, I do have a memory of being around 6 and agonizing over which items I’d received I thought that sick kids might like to play with the most. Now as an adult I like that my parents had us choose some brand new things to donate from time to time rather than just giving away our old stuff. I think it sends a different message, and for those yesterday worried about clutter it can help a bit with that as well. I plan on implementing with mine when they are a bit older

    • anne-on says:

      We do something similar – we have our son pick a few of the gifts he gets to donate to the local children’s hospital which maintains a toy chest to give each discharged patient a ‘going home’ gift. He had to have a minor surgery and remembers very well picking out his special present and is very enthusiastic about being able to help other sick kids feel better when they leave too.

    • D. Meagle says:

      I posted on yesterday’s gift post this morning — did not realize it wasn’t today’s post, so here it goes again:

      I’ve mentioned it here before, but SHARE YOUR WISH DOT COM is very popular in my community for birthdays. It was created by a local couple who wanted to move the focus away from receiving to giving. Its a comprehensive site – you create and send the invite through them, and instead of gifts, the kid selects some charities. You select a split – 40/60, 50/50 – and the donations are then divided based on your selected split, some to the charity, some to the kid. At the end, the group sends a certificate to the kid about how much they raised (and in some instances the charity sends a thank you), which makes it really exciting. Plus they get some money for what they want. And you can send a thank you through the site.

      Its pretty easy to use as the party planner, and as the guest its great because no need to remember to get a present. Also, you can make your donation silent as to amount.

      Highly recommend checking it out.

  3. Guys, I am in the worst mood this week. Who has suggestions on ways to get out of a funk? So much work to do and so little motivation…TIA!

    • I hear you. Can you plan hourly walk or stretch breaks? Bribe yourself with candy/fancy coffee? Plan a date with your partner or friends this weekend? Buy something cute for your kid?

      • Great ideas, thank you! I am newly pregnant and barely choking down my usual favorites of candy and coffee, which is probably a leading factor for this funk :) Your suggestion has prompted me to find a cute valentines day outfit for my toddler though. Thanks!!

        • i had to stop drinking coffee during my pregnancy. i know it is totally fine to have some, but it just made me too nauseous/sick. I also wasn’t able to eat chocolate for the first 3 months, when i typically have a huge sweet tooth. Perhaps try to discover some new favorites?

          • 2 Cents says:

            +1 same here. Chocolate and ice cream, my usual go-tos, were extremely unappetizing until after week 20 (now at week 29!). But pineapple — I want it ALL. Made me expand my go-tos for treats.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Solidarity.

  4. Jeffiner says:

    I am about to turn 38, and I just called my doctor because we have been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for 6 months. I had one successful pregnancy at 34 (took 5 months of trying), and I had a miscarriage at 37 after only one month of TTC. Everything I’ve read says that miscarriages do not negatively affect fertility, but I used to get cramps every month when I ovulated, and I have not since the miscarriage. My PMS symptoms also changed after that. I tried an ovulation prediction kit last month, and it never recorded a “peak fertility.”

    Can anyone tell me what to expect at this doctor’s appointment? How long does it take to go through all the tests to determine if I need Clomid or something else? What other options are there besides Clomid?

    • Likewise have received advice that you are better off going straight to an RE rather than an OB/GYN first…

      • I also recommend going straight to an RE. I wasted MONTHS with my OB (who I love, BTW) only to end up at an RE. At the outset you and your partner will likely go through testing (blood work for you and an SA for him) to diagnose any fertility issues right away. You should get the results in a couple days to a week for both of those types of tests. Then you will go from there. For us, we had a successful natural pregnancy several years ago. We started with my OB who did blood work for me and found that everything looked good. Then DH had to get an SA done and then redone because some of his numbers looked low. Then my OB wanted him to see a urologist to see if there were any physical issues, but when I spoke to an RE, she recommended coming to her office because typically there is no need to see a urologist.

        The options will depend on your particular issues. If you happen to have “unexplained fertility,” they may try meds (like Clomid) first. Otherwise, they may recommend trying IUI or meds for your partner. Our issue ended up being low count, too low even for IUI, so we had to go straight to IVF.

        • I should have clarified that “we had a successful natural pregnancy several years ago. After we had been trying unsuccessfully for #2 for awhile, we started with my OB…”

    • I also recommend going straight to an RE. What is “normal” for an Ob/Gyn is not necessarily considered “normal” by an RE, and an RE is much more likely to hone in on the problem and treat it in a quick fashion.

      We had trouble getting pregnant with our first in our 20s. The first appointment was a chat with the RE, who quickly requested that I cut my running down. I was running 30+ miles per week at a hard pace (dealing with the stress of biglaw). I also had a physical with her that day to check my ovaries. I came in on day 3 of my next cycle, and DH had a SA. Everything looked ok.

      I opted to skip clomid and went straight to injec*ions (GonalF? with a trigger) because my insurance permitted us to skip clomid and avoid its side effects. We got pregnant on our third IUI, and that little dude turns 7 (!?) next week.

    • Turtle says:

      29 weeks pregnant with my first, here, after a 2 year struggle with fertility. I had to go to an OB first because I was only 31 and had been TTC for just 8 months. Nothing but my gut and the results of some data collection I mention below threw my red flag up.

      A good ob/gyn will order a blood workup which includes taking blood on Day 3 and Day 21 of your cycle and will simultaneously refer you to a RE so the results are immediately available for the RE to evaluate. Mine did this on her own (I wouldn’t have known to ask, but since talking to others struggling with fertility, I learned that this is not standard procedure), and she saved us SO.MUCH.TIME because I had insanely long cycles so missing Day 3 meant I could be waiting up to 2 months for the next one to come around. My ob also very smartly ordered my husband be tested. It’s a check the box item that you can just get out of the way immediately so that when we got to the RE for the first time the focus was squarely on me.

      Cutting out the middleman OB/Gyn is always most efficient. If you must go to your OB/gyn first, insist on the blood work up and an immediate referral to the RE. A bad ob/gyn will just prescribe clomid on the spot. Clomid is well known and gets handed out like candy, but depending on what your risk factors are it can be really, really bad for you. For me, it would have been horrible. I had an underlying condition only a RE would have diagnosed (septate uterus) so while clomid would have gotten me pregnant, I would have absolutely miscarried again and again until it was repaired surgically. Going to the RE first allowed us to catch the underlying issue, repair it, and then focus on the ovulation issues.

      One other point of anecdata that was very beneficial to my RE in evaluating me was that I had done the at home ovulation kit for about 45 days prior to seeing her. I could say definitively that I never had a positive read. While that’s not enough for her to diagnose me with anything on the spot, it was enough info to send her investigating down the right path.

      For me, the whole process is about time and not wasting time. While the vast majority of my 2 year struggle was out of my control, I was going to do anything I could to speed things along. Arming myself with data (the ovulation kit results, tracking my every ache and pain on a calendar leading up to the RE appt, etc.) allowed first the OB and later the RE cut to the chase a lot faster.

    • I’m going to through a similar situation at a similar age and would also say go right to the RE. They will start off with blood work and semen analysis. Where you have had a miscarriage, particularly if you had a D&C to resolve, a hysteroscopy (essentially camera view of uterine cavity) will likely be done as well, and if they don’t suggest it, I would ask about it. In my case they were able to discover uterine scarring, likely from the D&C, which can make pregnancy difficult, but this was only after multiple IVF cycles due to unexplained infertility. Good luck and above all fine someone you trust and feel comfortable with!!

  5. For Jeffiner says:

    I am so sorry you are going through this. Bring any charts you’ve been keeping to the appointment. Be prepared to undergo blood work and an ultrasound of the unpleasant variety as well as for your husband to have to provide a sample. It will probably take several weeks to get a prescription in hand. Also be aware that you will only be permitted a limited number of cycles with Clomid. If I had it to do over, I would have started off with an RE instead of my regular OB/GYN for this reason.

    If you do go with Clomid, be prepared for it to take over your life. It is not nearly as all-consuming as more aggressive treatments, but I found the progesterone side effects to be difficult to manage and the monitoring blood work to be inconvenient.

  6. anne-on says:

    My son and I both got the flu, and are now dealing with secondary infections (antibiotics for everyone!). On top of feeling run down and exhausted I was just notified that I didn’t get a big internal promotion which I was heavily championed for by my boss and internal sponsors. I am so, so disappointed and upset on top of feeling ashamed that I ‘wasn’t good enough’ (even though there were some heavy politics in play as to why it went to someone else). I’m taking a much needed sick day tomorrow, but any other advice on how to dust myself off and refocus?

    • So so sorry you’re dealing with all of that. Good on you for taking a needed sick day! As far as the promotion, that just sucks, but please remember you have no need to feel ashamed – clearly if you have a lot of champions internally you’re doing an awesome job, and the fact that you didn’t get this promotion doesn’t change that, nor does it define your worth as a person or even as an employee.

      As far as refocusing, if you’re home without kiddo, I like bath+audio book+wine, which feels especially decadent in the middle of a weekday. I find that after that, I often feel like I got some good relaxation time in and am ready to do something like tackle cleaning out our office, purging the closet…anything tangibly productive that is mostly mindless, which helps me feel productive but still zoned out vs., say, my actual job.

  7. Ranon for Jeffiner says:

    I’m so sorry and I know how hard it is. I went through it too my experienced was great but I jumped right to an RE. There was no referral required. My first appointment was just a chat. They asked about my history, my cycles, what I had been tracking, etc. Similar to you I was OPK but not seeing a peak. I also had 35+ day cycles. I had also purchased the Ava fertility tracking bracelet and I liked it. Mostly I liked the data and the temping without needing to do it with a thermometer.
    We left our first appointment with the plan to call the office on the first day of my next period to come in for blood draw testing on day 3. That would give them the info for my egg reserve etc.

    I also had a friend that had his exact same experience. She did this and got pregnant using clomid and IUI on her first try.

    My period never started. I went in on cycle day 42 for bloodwork and all of my levels looked within normal range. Pregnancy test was negative. Cycle day 50 I went back in, still no period and they did another blood test and I was pregnant! I’m now almost 21 weeks. We tried for 9 months before we went in. I wish I would have gone in sooner.

    Good luck!

  8. Tell me about an easy, no-brainer vacation idea in the US. I’m planning a three family vacation, with kids from 8 to 9 months. We’re open to anywhere in the US, some easy activities, no logistics planning (like driving to activities), and no cooking. Does this even exist?

    • Wisconsin Dells. I know several families who do family get-togethers at the various water parks. We do the Kalahari in the winter, so I know for sure they have several indoor pools, including a baby/toddler pool with swings and a baby-sized lazy river. (Plus big kid slides and pools the older kids will love) You can eat meals there at a couple different restaurants, or you can venture off property to a ton of additional options.

      We usually have a family unit responsible for planning each l/d meal. For example, DH and I might be in charge of Saturday lunch. We can run out to pick up McDonalds for everyone, or bring sandwiches from home, or coordinate everyone meeting at X time at Y restaurant. But I’m only responsible for logistics of that one meal – my SIL does Fri dinner, my mom/dad will do Sat dinner, my BIL will do Sun lunch, etc. We do breakfasts on our own, since kids wake up at different times and young kids have bad/good nights.

      It’s about a 45 minute drive from the Madison airport, so it’s fairly easy for my parents to fly in and meet us all there. The rest of us drive, since the farthest away is about 3 hours, so I can’t speak to flying in with kids. If that’s too far for you/ your family, look for other water parks near you. I’m pretty sure there are several Kalaharis and Great Wolf Lodges and the like, spread across the US.

    • I think there are some all inclusive places in Florida and the other week someone mentioned a place in Vermont

    • NewMomAnon says:

      In the midwest there are a bunch of “family resorts” on lakes – they aren’t fancy, but most of them have family cabins with kitchens, big beaches with lots of fun stuff (jet skis, pontoon boats, water skiing, etc), and some of them have lodges with a communal dining area/arcade games/puzzles, etc. You’d have to drive from the airport or your home to get there, but once you’re there you don’t need to drive anywhere.

    • Ok, wait? 8 and 9 month olds? I was going to suggest a Colorado ski resort in the summer but the activities would be too old for babies…

      • I read that as ‘ranging in age from 9 months to 8 years’… is that right, or are the little ones all infants?

        Also following because I dreamt last night that I was on some sort of all-inclusive vacation with some of our parent friends and their families and it was the most laid-back and relaxing thing ever. (If I won the lottery…)

    • We have enjoyed the Homestead and the Greenbrier – I think the Greenbrier is a little more family friendly. We took our then 3-month old to the Homestead and it was great.

    • Lorelai Gilmore says:

      Does it have to be in the US? Friends of ours have raved about family vacations at Club Med, which offers an all-inclusive experience with childcare. The one they’ve liked best has been in Ixtapa, but there might be one in Florida.

      Another idea is to all go to a family camp. I know there are family camps at UC Santa Barbara, Camp Cazadero, and through Stanford and Berkeley that may be open to everyone. At most of them, you stay in a cabin, have communal meals, and choose activities. Kids get their own programming. I haven’t done it but really want to someday.

      Last idea: what about renting a beach house (for example, in South Carolina at Litchfield, or in the Outer Banks) and hiring a chef for the week?

  9. Momata says:

    I submerge my berries (and all fruit and veggies) in a diluted vinegar bath when I get them home (and then rinse them). They stay fresh in the refrigerator for over a week. No special gear required.

    • I do this radical thing at the grocery store where I buy only the amount of perishable food that we will eat in one week. I don’t normally like to pile on Kat’s recs but the last thing I need in my life rn is more non-recyclable waste.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        But…how do you do that? That requires an incredible amount of advance planning that also includes knowing how much and what a finicky small child will eat in each sitting.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah, we often can’t get through the smallest container of berries before they start going bad. But I also use the vinegar trick rather than special containers.

        • Eat the extra perishable stuff soon after you buy it and other stuff like apples and bananas later in the week. If I buy berries, I’ll offer them with meals within a few days of buying them. If there are leftovers, we eat them the next night. My husband and I generally eat fruit for snacks and with lunches so we can eat any leftovers that aren’t enough for another meal for everyone. Then later in the week we eat a lot of apples, clementines, bananas. And yes it does require some planning. I usually plan the “main” for our meals in advance and then get enough of 3-4 fruits and 3-4 vegetables (fresh or frozen) to last the week. Each meal is a “main”, a fruit, and a vegetable. It really isn’t that hard after a couple of weeks. We always have yogurt and cottage cheese and toast for back ups. It really does get easier as kids get older, too.

        • Katala says:

          Totally agree. It also requires that you know in advance what (or at least how many) nights you’ll be able to cook. My work schedule is so unpredictable that even when we do our best to plan dinners, we very rarely are able to use the carefully planned groceries because I’ll inevitably end up working late more that week and DH is stuck with two littles at bedtime and can’t cook. I’ve also tried meal prepping, which is great in theory, but I’m not willing to spend 2-3 hours of my limited time with the kids cooking on the weekends. And when they’re sleeping I either work, go to the gym or sleep myself. I guess this is pretty off topic but it’s something I struggle with a lot (and know it’s affecting my ability to lose the baby weight).

          • That does sound hard. I really love cooking, so I rarely mind doing it. Food and avoiding unprocessed food as much as we can is also my thing (we all have one!!). It makes it that much easier to spend our limited time that way. I’ll also let my daughter watch an episode of Daniel Tiger if needed while I make dinner. I don’t make much on the weekdays that takes longer than 25 minutes. I nearly always make enough for leftovers so cook every other night during the week. My daughter has a stool in the kitchen and sometimes likes to watch/help so it can be quality time. She can also see the TV from her stool so lots of times will watch DT while standing near me. I use the slow cooker at least once, if not twice a week. That helps.

        • Momata says:

          For produce, I also “push” what’s oldest or closest to being overripe. We always have several kinds of fruits and vegetables in the house: breakfast is a protein, a carb, and a fruit; lunch is two proteins, a fruit, and a veg; and dinner is a protein/carb/veg mix, plus fruit offered at the end once the kids start to slow down. If the kid(s) are “off” of one option for a couple days, I’ll eat those options myself for breakfast or lunch. The stats about food waste blow my mind because we really do not throw any food away. Leftovers get sent as lunches the next day. Veggies that are getting old get thrown into pasta or soup.

      • biglawanon says:

        I know this is a snarky comment, but really this. This isn’t that hard.

  10. Can anyone talk to me about getting a counseling referral for your kid? I have a DS in elementary school that has been struggling for several years with impulse control and attention-seeking behaviors. Some of these behaviors are really negative — like using mean words when he’s frustrated and “going positive” hasn’t worked. He’s been on a school behavioral plan for most of that time, and his teachers have been great at trying to help him, but clearly something isn’t working. He can tell us exactly what he needs to do, but actually following through in the moment is a problem for him. He’s told us that, too. It’s not just at school, either. It happens at home and in his before/aftercare program.

    I know him to be extremely outgoing, bright, and strong-willed. He’s working above grade level in several areas, but his social/behavioral skills have consistently been marked as below grade average. He’s also sweet and empathetic and thank goodness his teachers/principal believe he’s a good kid who struggles with self-control. But he’s had enough issues for a long enough time that I’m concerned. I’ve been pushing DH for close to a year to pursue outside help, but DH has been super resistant until I finally got the school counselor to say yes, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to meet with your pediatrician and figure out some options.

    I’m torn between feeling relieved that maybe we can figure out what the heck this is, because I don’t think it’s just immaturity. But I’m also scared what this means for DS and our family in general. I also think we may need to reevaluate his before/after school situation because I think he needs more one-on-one time with us … but no clue how that’s going to work.

    • mascot says:

      Can you ask for a referral to play therapy? Basically the kids have group sessions with the therapist where they can work on the social skills and practice with other kids. We did this for a few months with my kid to strengthen some of his social skills and it seemed to help.

    • Anonymous says:

      1. Has he been elevaluated for autism? High academic performance but poor social skills may warrant a check.

      2. On your one-on -one time situation, perhaps he just needs a change in his care arrangements even if that isn’t able to include more time with you. One of my twins is much more introverted and finds engaging with kids all day at daycare exhausting. His sister has done fine in a traditional afterschool program at her school but he will need an afterschool nanny at our house because being around kids in an afterschool program, after being around kids all day at school willl be too much for him. Would an au-pair be an option? Or a part-time nanny to provide care instead? That would give him a break from having to be ‘on’ with his social skills all day.

      3. Outdoor time – My oldest ‘needs’ her outdoor time just like my DH (who runs outside year-round even in the snow). She gets walked to school most days because her behavior is noticeably better when she’s had outside time before class. Not sure if more unstructured outside time, or even just walking to or from school is an option for your family.

      Hang in there!

      • He hasn’t been evaluated for autism. He loves being around people and is the biggest social butterfly around, but he doesn’t deal with frustrations particularly well sometimes. That can come out as annoying/mouthy behaviors. Same goes for the classroom — if he’s not 100% engaged, he’s trying to get attention from others, talking out of turn, etc. My biggest concern is that he knows it’s wrong but has such a hard time controlling himself. I worry more about the impulsiveness because that seems to be the root problem. Honestly, I’ve been saying for years that he has at least some characteristics of ADHD. Except he has mad focus when he puts his mind to it, or is interested in something. It just takes a lot out of him.

        I don’t want to pull him out of his before/aftercare situation completely because I think he needs more social interaction than he’d get at home with a sitter. But, we might have to look at decreasing the amount of time he spends in aftercare. It’s one of my biggest guilt trips as a mom, honestly. I hate that he spends so many hours a day at school, but nannies/au pairs are just not really a thing around here.

        I agree, outdoor time makes a difference, but he’s had these same issues even in the middle of summer when he’s going outside to play all the time. It’s just hard. I feel like we’ve tried all sorts of superficial fixes with only moderate amounts of success. :(

        • Re ADHD, when you say “Except he has mad focus when he puts his mind to it, or is interested in something” that sounds like it could be hyperfocus, which is actually a characteristic of ADHD — not necessarily something that makes ADHD less likely.

        • Coach Laura says:

          Anon- You said “Except he has mad focus when he puts his mind to it, or is interested in something. ” Oone of the hallmarks of ADHD is the ability to have “mad focus” when something is engaging. I think ADHD is more likely than autism but I’m not an expert obviously. It’s good to get professionals involved now.

          And just because nannies or au pairs aren’t super common, if it works for you -why not?

        • And regarding autism (adding to my last comment): There is a LOT of overlap with ADHD and autism. My son has both, and sometimes it’s hard to tell which one is causing a certain behavior or trait. And just because your son is outgoing and social (like mine) doesn’t mean he can’t have autism. I don’t want to seem like I’m putting words in your mouth or diagnosing him over the Internet, of course! I just wanted to point that out. Also, you might want to google “Twice Exceptional” or “2e,” which refers to (in case you haven’t heard of the term) gifted kids who also have something like ADHD or autism (or other conditions and disabilities). I mention that because you said your son is working beyond grade level in some areas. Good luck!

          • I have heard of twice exceptional and have wondered if it would apply to my DS. I’ve had some reticence about labeling him as gifted. We know he’s smart, but he’s young enough that I don’t want to jump to gifted.

            Bottom line is, I have a lot to think about. We keep trying various interventions, as have his teachers, and even the guidance counselor admits that we should notice more progress by now. It breaks my heart because he’s such a sweet kid, and his school seems to recognize that. It’s just hard to see him struggle and not completely understand why. I’ve finally accepted that he’s just going to need more support than most kids, even if he happens to be bright. I worry that if we don’t get him some help now, the social aspect is only going to become harder for him.

            At home, we’re doing lots of role-playing exercises, working on better ways to handle conflict, reading books on friendship together, etc. Can I admit that I’m pretty exhausted from all of this? (Thank goodness DH is really good at this part.) It’s not something I feel like I can discuss with more than a handful of people IRL.

  11. I’ve heard great things about San Diego with kids. Zoo, Legoland, beach (the right time of the year). I’ve done some Google searches and saw some cool looking resorts and hotels. But we are waiting for our child to get a little older.

    Disney if you’re not Type A about making the most of it and getting all the experiences. Just show up at the park and ride some rides and see some characters. Easier said than done, I know.

    A cruise that leaves from the US? Still international probably, but air travel would be much easier. We had to get our child a passport for an upcoming vacation and expedited it at the end of Dec. We had it within 2.5 weeks.

    • Katala says:

      San Diego is great, and would be fun with kids. Great weather pretty much all year. Just a note though that there is a lot of driving involved. Legoland and the zoo are minimum 45 minutes away from each other, on a good day, even though both in the San Diego area.

  12. Above for the no brainer vacay. Darn phone!

  13. Has anyone had any experience with a milk allergy diagnosis in a newborn? My daughter is 5 weeks today and has had some blood in her diaper. The doc said it is a milk allergy and I need to cut all dairy from diet entirely if we want to continue breastfeeding (which she encouraged). I’ve actually done the no-dairy thing in the past so I have a sense of the complete lifestyle change that it is. I’m exhausted already and starting a new diet right now is causing me major stress. Any tips and past experience with this would be greatly appreciated!

    • No personal experience, but I’ve had a lot of friends who’ve been told to cut dairy from their diets when breastfeeding. For some of them it worked wonders, but for others it did not. It is my understanding that it is very hard to actually diagnose allergies in a newborn and that often times doctors suggest these things when they’ve eliminated everything else. in this day and age, the no dairy thing is much easier than it was 5 years ago, though it is obviously still hard. anything vegan would obviously be ok. one friend was overwhelmed by this so her lunch/dinners often consisted of some kind of frozen vegan meal and then maybe some meat/fish she had cooked on the side, just as a way to keep it simple. if you are someone who is ok eating the same thing all the time, figure out something you can eat daily for breakfast (maybe oatmeal? or cereal with almond milk) and lunch and then maybe vary dinner. Hang in there!

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s rare that total elimination is necessary. Start by cutting milk itself – that’s the protein in the rawest form and most likely to irritate. Reduce dairy overall so you’re only eating one or two servings a day and see if that helps.

      The newest science on allergies is to maintain whatever exposure is tolerate so surprised that your clincian jumped to total elimination right away.

      I found this to be a great explaination of the difference between allergy and intolerance: https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/food_allergies_and_intolerances

      • Been there says:

        OP, listen to your doctor. When the symptom is blood in the diaper, that’s a pretty serious reaction. It’s true that it’s not an “allergy,” but for that very reason, the science on allergies is not really relevant. If your kid cannot process milk yet (which is what the reaction you’re seeing indicates), consuming small amounts is not the solution. If you cut diary 100% for two weeks and the symptoms clear up, then you know your baby’s gut was unable to process milk protein, that was the only problem, and you can reintroduce milk in a few weeks/months on your doctor’s guidance. If you consume small amounts of it without going in to have the baby’s diaper tested for blood regularly (because microscopic amounts may not be visible to the eye), you could be risking exposing serious pathogens into your kid’s blood stream directly, where normally the healthy gut would protect against that direct exposure.

        I did the no-dairy thing, and while it’s annoying, you actually figure out the tricks quickly and your diet will go back to normal. If the symptoms don’t clear up after two weeks dairy-free you’re in for more headaches, but some tricks for dairy-free living: if you use milk, switch it out for a dairy-free substitute (coconut, almond, soy); Earth Balance or Smart Balance to replace your butter; coconut or soy yogurt to replace your regular yogurt; vegan baked goods (available at Whole Foods and vegan bakeries) to replace your normal baked goods; Trader Joe’s makes a lot of dairy-free bread options (especially their Tuscan Pane). And the suggestion above to have some easy go-to meals (like oatmeal, eggs + toast, steak + potatoes, etc.) is a great one. Good luck dealing with this, and I hope it’s short-lived!

        • +1 I did the no-dairy thing for A YEAR, and though it is daunting at first, it quickly becomes second nature. Know that babies who cannot tolerate dairy often cannot tolerate soy protein either, so if the initial dairy cut does not work, you may have to consider soy as well. I did both. Once you get into a routine it is manageable (though still not fun!). Good luck!

        • Coach Laura says:

          Amy’s frozen meals are my favorite quick meal when I don’t have time to cook and that brand has a lot of dairy-free varieties. You can get them on special sale and stock in the freezer. Easy to eat with a newborn. Almond milk is my favorite but coconut milk is good too. I’d stay away from soy milk when BF an infant. As Been There says, I think Earth Balance is a great sub even for butter lovers and I’ve used it in things like frosting for cakes without anyone noticing.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Not a milk allergy, but kiddo got a bad stomach bug when she was a newborn and milk in my diet exacerbated it, so I cut out dairy. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad at home, but eating out became a challenge because everything is cooked in butter.

      Personally, I’d say it’s worth trying for a few weeks and re-evaluate. My understanding is that diagnosing allergies in newborns is really hard, so I would take this as a day-by-day thing and not a permanent diagnosis. If it does become “permanent” (which….isn’t permanent because kiddo might outgrow it), you could consider dairy-free formula, but you may also find that it’s not that hard to maintain a dairy-free diet after you do it for a couple weeks.

      • Anonymous says:

        Baby was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy. For a variety of reasons, cutting out all dairy was not going to work for me and I was having BF supply issues. I quit BF and exclusively formula fed with a special formula (Nutramigen and Alimentum). Just putting it out there that this is an option. I’ve been very happy with my decision and had an OB and pediatrician who are extremely supporting. Happy mama = happy and fed baby. Do what is right for you and your family. If eliminating dairy is a stress (and yes, you’d have to 100% eliminate), just remember that this is an option. Good luck mama!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      i had to do this too – milk and soy protein allergy (they typically go hand in hand at that age, so you may want to cut soy protein too). I cut it out of my diet to breastfeed from 4 to 12 mos. it seemed very daunting, but was actually pretty easy to manage. vegan treats are actually pretty tasty, and I got hooked on those lenny & larry protein cookies, which are dairy and gluten free. bonus: I felt better on that diet too.

  14. Agree that it is probably time to seek out a reproductive specialist. The initial testing involves some blood work for you, a test to check your ovarian reserve which in my experience was done at my doctor’s office and an HSG, which involves dye being injected and an xray that I had to have done somewhere else. People told me the HSG might be a bit uncomfortable, but it wasn’t for me. DH also had some blood work and had to give a sperm sample. The testing involves some scheduling but can usually be completed within a month. One thing to note is that most insurance plans will cover all the diagnostic testing even if they do not cover the treatment.

    Depending on what the problem is (in my case it was unexplained infertility and we honestly likely would’ve gotten pregnant if we’d kept trying for longer, but we were impatient) the treatment will vary. Clomid is most helpful for people who do not regularly release eggs because it stimulates to release additional eggs. We did clomid + IUI and got very lucky because it worked on the first try. I have a friend with a low ovarian reserve and so clomid did not make sense for her. Instead they went straight to IVF to maximize her chances. The treatment will vary depending on the underlying issue (if there is one)

  15. milk allergy says:

    When my kid had blood in the diaper (basically since birth but we started really worrying around 3 weeks), I eliminated dairy…then soy…and all the derivatives. Nothing worked and I lost a ton of weight (in a bad way. I was just too frustrated to eat sometimes!).

    Baby was still bleeding. we put her on Nutramigen for 2 weeks, cold turkey, no breast milk. Instant change. I pumped and saved the milk those two weeks. After the 2 week period, I slowly reintroduced breast milk (still dairy/soy free) and the blood stayed away! Diapers were normal! She went back to 100% breast milk in about a week of transitioning.

    Around 4 months, I accidentally drank a giant protein shake that was like, 100% whey protein. No blood! I called ped who said go forth and slowly reintroduce soy then dairy. No blood!

    And I was super glad I saved 2 weeks worth of breast milk because she used it all. You could also pump and dump during that time if you are less crazy.

  16. AwayEmily says:

    This is by no means a novel complaint but it is SO IRRITATING how many combination maternity/nursing clothes are out there. I do not understand this! “The ability to accommodate a giant stomach” and “the ability to free your breasts” are two totally different things — why combine them?? I have been looking for a nursing tunic — something fairly casual and long-sleeved that I can wear with leggings that also covers my butt/crotch. But all my searches take me to maternity/nursing clothes that also have room for a giant bump. I’m now a week postpartum, and while I am still very far away from being willing to wear anything form-fitting, I am also no longer shaped like a pregnant person. I think a maternity top would look very strange.

    Anyway, if people have recommendations for a casual nursing tunic type thing (this is for wearing around a cold house, with leggings) then I’m all ears. Something like the below (which is sadly not available in my size).

    http://www.apeainthepod.com/pull-down-nursing-top/001-82659-000-001.html?dwvar_001-82659-000-001_color=006-82659-23&cgid=nursing-tops#start=1

    • Congrats! I’m in the same post partum boat and I’m just wearing long tanks & long, open cardigans that I can pull closed as needed. This actually works out great, discretion wise. But I share your frustration!

      • AwayEmily says:

        Good idea! Where do you get your long tanks? I’ve got the long cardigan part down, but my tanks aren’t quite long enough to cover the crotch area, which I need because my leggings aren’t totally opaque.

        • Target maternity tanks are pretty long and don’t have maternity runching, which I really appreciated post-partum.

    • Ranon says:

      I found that Asos has some cute nursing items that are not huge in the stomach, more regular cut with just easy access.

    • Jojo Maman Bebe had a bunch of nursing breton tees I loved and I think there was a short dress/long tunic version.

    • Kohls has nursing tops – their aglow line – that are really long (laughably so on my short torso). But I like the nursing opening and wear them just fine at 6 months PP and 25 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight. I don’t think they’re cut for pregnancy.

      • The empire popover nursing top is what I had in mind (and am currently wearing as I pump at work right now).

    • some people still have quite a stomach after pregnancy but still nursing, or might not want to have to buy so many different types of clothing. try sizing down in the stuff that is maternity/nursing – thats what worked for me

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel you. I returned a couple nursing tanks to Gap with some angry notes in the appropriate field.
      I really like Bun Maternity’s nursing tanks (both the ribbed style and the loose, flowy styles) with big cardigans on top to cover my rear. Both styles are substantial enough to count as “real” shirts (versus the Target camisoles, which I love but won’t wear alone or just with a cardigan).

    • To AwayEmily: have you tried searching for jersey knit cowl neck tunics? I always used non-maternity jersey cowl neck tops while I was nursing. The jersey fabric allowed the blouse to stretch down far enough to rest under my b00bs. Something like this: https://m.zappos.com/p/michael-stars-super-soft-madison-jersey-cowl-neck-w-thumbholes-heather-grey/product/8775262/color/45998

  17. CapHIllAnon says:

    For AwayEmily:
    Preach. I searched high and low for a non-maternity nursing top like you describe here. I LOVE the “luxe long sleeve nursing top” from Udderly Hot Mama (awful company name, I know). It’s soft, stretchy, non-maternity, and covers the bottom. Mine have worn like iron (I went back+ bought a second one). It’s not a traditional tunic shape, but really flattering, for me at least. Good luck!

  18. PDX Atty says:

    I posted this on Corporette, but thought I’d try cross-posting on the mom’s site. I’m coordinating the implementation of a paid parental leave policy at my 20+ person firm and am curious to see what benefits are available to others at their firms. Would appreciate your thoughts on who the policy applies to (birthing parent/primary caregiver v. both parents), the length of the paid leave, and any distinction in the benefit between staff and attorneys and birthing parent/primary caregiver v. non-birthing parent/non-primary caregiver, if any. Thanks!

    • Also a PDX attorney says:

      I just responded to your post on the main site – it’s the end of the work day here in PDX, so I’m just getting to this! I’m also in Portland, at a boutique firm a bit bigger than yours. Our firm has 3 months paid leave for all employees, men and women. My last firm (also in Portland and much bigger) had 2 months paid maternity leave. I think it also applied to men, but I’m not sure. One of my friends is at a biglaw outpost in Portland and gets 4 months paid leave.

  19. Anonymous says:

    My son had a milk sensitivity based on blood in the stool (not allergy). I already was dealing with low supply but I cut milk and nursed as much as I could (otherwise, he drank alimentum which is pricey but was amazing). I eventually gave up nursing due to low supply and he was exclusively formula-fed. Around 10 months, we tried milk and he was fine with it. We gradually increased how much he drank and by a year, we were out of Alimentum and he was happy with milk.

    Like someone else said, some babies cannot digest milk protein. It has nothing to do with allergies and small amounts of milk will not help (it will only cause more damage). But 99% of babies grow out of it. My son is 18 months now and can have everything without issue.

  20. Thank you so much to everyone for the advice on my daughter’s milk allergy! I’m going to do the dairy free thing for the next 5 months until I stop the breastfeeding.

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