Nursing/Postpartum Tuesday: Slow Flow Bottles

We never needed slow flow bottles, just because the boys didn’t drink from bottles enough that acid reflux was something we really needed to think about (or maybe they just didn’t have a problem with it). But I’m always interested to see new products, and I know that moms can go though a million bottles trying to find the ones you like for your kids. These bottles from Comotomo certainly are very stylish and also have a very natural look about them, and they’re getting really good reviews. So if you’re looking for something to try because your baby is not taking a bottle, or if you definitely need a slow flow bottle, do check these out. (Nordstrom has the 5-oz. size, and Amazon, where the bottles literally have thousands of good reviews, has both the 5-oz. and 8-oz.Slow Flow Bottles

Psst: Looking for info about nursing clothes for working moms, or tips for pumping at the office? We’ve got them both…

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  1. Clementine says:

    If your child is BF and refuses to take bottles, BUY THESE. These were a lifesaver for my BFF, me, and another friend who all had kiddos who refused any and all bottles at one point.

    They have been miraculous for the ‘OMG my baby refuses to take any bottles at daycare and is now reverse cycling and if I don’t sleep I am going to lose my mind’ experiences that color motherhood for some of us.

    • How are these different from just continuing to use the “0-3 months” nipples on a regular bottle? I used Tommee Tippee bottles and just kept the 0-3month nipples until they weaned to milk (in a straw bottle) at 12 months.

      Is there something special or different about these?

      • The nipple on these are shaped more like a boob, so the baby’s latch will be similar to when she breastfeeds.

        I also use these bottles and love them because:
        – The really wide mouth makes it super easy to wash and transfer milk
        – It’s made of medical-grade silicone, so there aren’t the concerns about chemicals leaching like with plastic, but it’s not heavy like glass bottles
        – You can squeeze the last bit of milk out towards the end of the bottle.

        • Katala says:

          All this, plus daycare will take them. We used glass with #1 but daycare won’t take glass for #2 so these are a great option (other choice would have been stainless steel, but I didn’t like that you can’t see how much is left without opening).

    • We LOVE these bottles.

    • lucy stone says:

      YES! These bottles are a lifesaver for bottle striking reverse cyclers.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We used slow flow bottles for our twins until they were 9 months old. They were combo fed and it was part of our strategy to avoid the problem of bottle feeding being preferred over nursing because the milk came faster.

    • Cornellian says:

      My now seven month old is still using the super slow flow newborn nipples we got. I imagine they have gotten faster over time, but I suppose it’s time to start thinking about replacing them. I was thinking of just waiting until he was using cups.

      • My daughter never needed slow flow bottles specifically, but I stopped upgrading at size “3” (Dr. Brown’s). When I gave her the one intended f0r her age, she chugged the entire bottle in about 2 seconds and wanted more immediately. We only give her one small bottle before bed and I find that she winds down much better if she is forced to take her time with it so most of the time we still use the nipples intended for babies even though she’s 20 months now.

      • We just stuck with the slow flow nipples until 14 months when we switched to sippy cups and straw cups. Kid was a terrible spitter-upper and the slow flow helped a lot. I figured, b**bs don’t change flow speed, why do bottles need to…

    • Katarina says:

      I just used slow flow nipples (Dr. Brown’s Preemie) on the bottles that came with my pump (Ameda). That way I got the slow flow without having to buy anything extra/expensive/that required extra washing. I increased the flow when they would take longer to take a bottle than to pump (they did actually get faster at getting milk out of my breasts).

  3. Litigator says:

    Posted this on the main site yesterday afternoon, but am hoping for more responses, especially with respect to the mama component:

    Litigators, I’m looking for your best pointers/tips for being the lead associate on a weeks-long federal court trial. Any words of wisdom or be-forewarned horror stories would be much appreciated. If it makes a difference to your answer, (1) I’ll be staying with the trial team at a hotel very near to my home and (2) I’m a mom to a toddler. Thank you!

    • Chi Squared says:

      I found that immediately after court or around dinner time was the best time to FaceTime with my kiddo during trial. Immediately after court because everyone needs to go back to the hotel, change, etc. before diving back into work. But be resigned to the fact that you won’t be able to do it every day.

      From a work standpoint – spend every minute you can in the courtroom. It sounds like for your practice (true for mine), trials don’t come along very often, and you should take full advantage. Bring shoes for walking/sprinting to/from the hotel and court. Make sure the paralegal has breath mints and cough drops in court. Try to avoid stress eating. Drink lots of water. Get outside for some sunshine and fresh air when you can. Bring a wrap or sweater for the war room b/c it will inevitably be freezing.

    • NOVA Anon says:

      I was in a somewhat similar situation recently, so I’ll share my story. At the time, my kiddo was just shy of 2. The trial was two weeks. I second the part about right after court gets out being the best time to do non-work things–others use that time to work out, decompress, change, call their own families, etc. During that time, at least 5 or 6 nights my husband brought my kiddo over at around 6:30 p.m. for his bedtime routine (bath, books, bed)–I’d do that routine rather than going to the dinner room to eat dinner with others. Note I was not skipping team dinner or team meeting – if we had that, my husband would wait in my room until it was done – but most people on my team actually ate dinner later than it arrived, and in their own rooms. Then, I put kiddo to bed at his normal time (around 7) in a pack n play in my sleeping room, and I kept working in my work room. I was not the only one on the team with small kids, and others did this as well. I had a baby monitor for when I needed to go to other rooms, and my kid sleeps well enough that meetings in my work room did not wake him up. Then, kiddo would wake up around 6 a.m. like normal, and I’d get him breakfast, and my husband would come pick him up before 7 a.m. I may have been in a very rare situation with an awesome, understanding set of partners who were okay with this – you should definitely feel your team and wait a few nights before trying something like this (use your judgment – you will know if this is something that will be okay, trust me, and if you think it won’t be, don’t try it). I also didn’t do it on key nights for me – like the night before my witness was going. And I definitely sacrificed some sleep for it – no one else was up at 6 a.m. But once you’re there a few days or a week, you’ll get into a rhythm of what the typical day looks like, and you’ll figure out the best time that works for you and the best way to see your kid. And it worked really really well for us – kiddo didn’t feel like I was really all that “gone” and still talks about how we got to eat Froot Loops and see trains. But I also recognize that this is probably a very rare situation in which this would actually work–there are teams at my firm with whom I would never, ever try this. You really have to be comfortable with the partners you’re working for, and that they know that doing this won’t be a distraction.

      An alternative to this that others on the team did (most with older kids, some with toddlers) was that kids came over right after court to see their mom or dad, and then went back home after an hour. I never did that b/c I knew my toddler would melt down if he had to leave me to go home to go to bed.

      Weekends are also good opportunities to see your kid, but they are also good opportunities for socializing with your team – don’t pass that up. If your team does Friday night dinners out, or something like that, go out with the team and get a little crazy (but not too crazy) – it’s how you’ll form good relationships. If you’re close enough, just take an Uber home after. Then, on Saturday morning, when everyone else is sleeping in, hang out with your kiddo for a bit before going back into the trial hotel. I slept at home the first weekend but not the second (which was my busy week).

      • Litigator says:

        This is so helpful, thank you! I’m hoping I can do something like this and have the kiddo sleepover a couple of nights a week. I think my team would be okay with it, but the advice to wait a few days to see what the rhythm is makes a lot of sense.

  4. thinking ahead says:

    When our daughter was born, my husband bought her a small piece of jewelry to commemorate the occasion – something she can have when she’s older. We’re now expecting a boy and I feel like we should do something similarly sentimental to mark his entry into the world but can’t think of anything analogous besides a watch, which I really don’t want to buy. Any ideas for a sweet keepsake that can be useful a bit down the road? Budget is $500 and under, and we’d happily spend less. And, yes, I think a college savings bond would be a great idea but it feels wrong to get that for a boy when the girl “got” diamond studs.

    • My in-laws bought both of their children cases of wine with their birth year as the vintage. They aged them and gave them bottles throughout special milestones.

      (no idea if I’m saying this right, hopefully you get the idea)

    • Spirograph says:

      I think the most analogous thing would be a watch. Something really classic, since they’re more susceptible to trends than diamond studs are.

      • mascot says:

        If you want traditionally male jewelry, how about a mens watch or cufflinks? Or, in a different vein, how about a piece of “art” that related to your family or hometown? This could be anything from a beautifully framed map or print to a carving from local stone.

    • I think you keep it in the men’s jewelry family. I’d go with cufflinks and/ or a tie bar.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Someone gave me a globe when I was a kid, and I love it. Mine isn’t a super expensive globe, but I could see getting one of the carved or stone ones as a keepsake for a kiddo.

      And…after my grandma died, the women in the family split up all her jewelry. My brother got a couple watches from my grandpa, but it wasn’t anywhere near the value the women received. When he met a really cool woman and it seemed like they were probably approaching engagement time, I gave him the largest pair of diamond studs I had inherited from my grandma so he could use the diamonds for a ring or just gift the earrings to his fiance (who is now his wife!). So as weird as it may seem, you could buy just a pair of loose diamonds and let him pick a use for them later (cufflinks, ring for a special someone, etc).

    • blahity says:

      My friend’s parents got him a top hat as a first birthday gift, which he wore to his wedding.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think someone asked this a while ago, but when do you move from bottle to silly cup?

    • We started sippy cups a bit before one. At first it was mostly for fun, she was still drinking 3 bottles a day. But as we weaned her off the milk to two and then now one bottle, she started to drink a lot more from the sippy cup. I experimented with a few different ones and the Nuk ones were the most successful for her.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      We introduced a straw cup when we started giving my daughter water (say at around 6-7 months). It took her a few months to get the hang of it though. We eliminated the bottle at around 13 months. I did notice that around that time she got slightly more attached to a soft spouted sippy cup that we had (calling it her bottle), but eventually that stopped. We never did a bottle before bed though, so I wouldn’t say that she had a huge comfort/bedtime association with the bottle.

      • +1. We did straw sippy cups with water around 7 months, then used those for milk until they could use a regular cup around age 2.

        My kids loved the click lock munchkin flip straw cups that come in a 2 pack for about $5. They were pretty good about not leaking until they were about a year old, and we used them pretty heavily. I had bought a set of bottle cleaner brushes back when they were babies, so I just used those to wash the valves, ran the rest through the dishwasher, and never had a cleanliness problem. (Unless we left a bottle in the car. Then it was bacteria everywhere when we found it days later.)

        My youngest used the munchkin 360 for a while since they used it at daycare to teach the regular cup. I think he got the hang of it faster because of it, but it’s sort of expensive for such a limited-time-use item. It doesn’t leak unless you throw it on the ground, then it definitely splatters everywhere.

      • AwayEmily says:

        Same. Introduced cup at around 7 months, switched away from bottles completely at 12 months (weaned at 15 months). It took her a pretty long time to get the hang of sippy cups, so be patient! Daycare was a huge help throughout the process.

        We never used one of the spout cups because I was (probably irrationally) worried about messing up her teeth. From the beginning, we did a combo of the munchkin straw cups and the munchkin 360. The 360’s are basically spill-proof. The straw cups do leak now and again if the little internal valve thing becomes detached but generally are great.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I went a little crazy with the sippy cups. I started her off with a nuk cup with handles with the silicone spout, very similar to a bottle nipple, around 11 months old.

      Random unsolicited advice: The way it all panned out, over ages 1-2, is that the only ones left standing are the take n toss straw cups and the munchkin 360 cups. She also has a nalgene bottle. I run everything through the dishwasher and put all the lids and stoppers and random pieces in the “Born Free BPA-Free Quick Load Dishwasher Basket” from amazon. I hate clutter and a mistake that I made was thinking I needed as many sippy cups as I needed bottles, so I way overbought and ended up giving some away.

    • Anonymous says:

      We were done with bottles by 13 months, by which point we had switched to a soft spouted sippy for morning milk (which she usually drinks lying down while cuddling in our bed) and straws for the rest of the day. I was probably a bit more paranoid about bottle attachment then most, because I have seen how attached my nephew is (at age 5) to drinking from a bottle for comfort reasons.

  6. We have friends whose daughter takes these exclusively.

    In other news…. I had my baby!! After reading many of the stories here we went with a doula and it was the best $600 I ever spent. My labor still spanned 3 days and I pushed for hours but I really think the doula helped avoid any surgical interventions.

    Also second all the tips on here to nap as much as possible close to your due date. I SO wish I had napped the day I went into labor.

  7. Lactose intolerant and vegetarian child says:

    We think our 4 year old is lactose intolerant. He used to complain about a stomachache very often after eating, and one day after eating both pizza AND ice cream, he threw up. We put two and two together and tried no dairy for a week. Problem solved. He’s much happier.

    My question is how do I get him protein with no dairy, given that we’re all vegetarian? He can still eat eggs thankfully, but Greek yogurt and cheese, which were my other go tos, are now out.

    I’ve heard that yogurt doesn’t impact people as much because of the cultures, please let me know if that is correct. If we could reintroduce yogurt then I think the issue would be solved.

    Thank you!

    • mascot says:

      Can kids take lactaid? You may have to play with small amounts of yogurt. Large amounts of pizza and ice cream could be junk-itis (scientific term for child’s random stomach upset stemming from eating too much junk food). You could also look at the vegan protein powders for smoothies.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I’m assuming that you’re already eating lentils and beans? Some other potential sources are chia seed pudding (not super high, but a decent amount) or adding chia seeds to smoothies. Obviously things like almond or peanut butter are a good option. Quinoa is a good option as well. What about things like bean burgers / veggie patties? Hummus is a good one too.

      I’ve seen some things in my grocery store for almond milk ricotta and the like – perhaps you can make a vegan pizza and dollop some of that on top?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Peanut butter is my go-to protein for kiddo. I wish she would eat beans, because that is my go-to non-meat protein for myself.

      I’ve heard that hard cheeses and cultured dairy are easier for people who are lactose-intolerant. You can also buy pills to break down lactose and lactose-free milk. But you should get your kiddo checked for an actual dairy allergy if he is throwing up after eating dairy; that doesn’t sound like simple intolerance. Someone who is allergic to dairy usually can’t have any dairy at all.

    • Soy is probably the easiest, densest source of protein for you. I eat tofu or tempeh probably 2-3 times per week. But you don’t want to overdo it on the soy, so here are other possibilities:
      – Beans
      – Nuts
      – Lentils
      – Seeds (chia and flax are my go-to)
      – Gluten-free or protein-enriched pasta (check labels; you want the bean and quinoa-based ones that have at least 10g protein/serving, not the rice or corn ones)
      – Nutritional yeast (sprinkle on things as you would with cheese)
      – Peas (have a surprising amount of protein; I make pesto with them. You can also buy pea protein powder and incorporate it into coconut milk smoothies)
      – Ancient grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet, etc)

    • EB0220 says:

      My kid had this issue so I researched it. She struggles with soft cheeses (I think they have more lactose?) so we try to use harder cheese. We also experimented with many different milks. She did like goat milk, but it was so expense. We switched to Fair Life and she rarely complains now. It’s lactose-free but higher protein/lower sugar than most lactose-free milk. We found that she did not do well with yogurt at all. We aren’t vegeterian, but veggie protein ideas – black beans, quinoa, chia seeds, lentils, hummus/chickpeas.

      • Katala says:

        Apparently people like making yogurt with Fair Life milk in their instant pots. Mine doesn’t have a yogurt setting, so I haven’t tried it but I like the idea of making my own yogurt and adding flavors/fruits/etc. to control sugar.

    • Clementine says:

      Many foods made with fermented dairy are actually very low or almost zero lactose naturally. This is because the sugars in the milk (the lactose) have been digested throughout the fermentation process.

      These foods include hard cheeses (sharp cheddar is a good one), kefir, and yogurt with natural cultures (the real stuff).

      Lactaid products and pills are also a lifesaver. Sincerely, lactose intolerant as an adult.

    • We’re not vegetarian, but my kid doesn’t like meat very much, and he hates eggs. For convenience foods, we give him protein-fortified cereal, oatmeal made with milk (you could use a lactose-free substitute), Amy’s burritos (I believe there are some vegan/no cheese ones), protein bars, and veggie patties. His daycare serves lunch, and we try to give him a balanced dinner, but we have those on hand for breakfast and weekend snacks and emergencies.

    • 21 Weeks says:

      Seitan is protein life for vegetarians. You can buy unflavored, or some brands make amazing sausages out of it (Field Roast- my favorite is the chipotle, but for a kiddo I would go with the apple sage). I just looked up Westsoy brand, and for 1/3 cup it’s 120 calories with 21g protein. It’s amazing stuff. It’s pretty neutrally flavored (it’s just wheat gluten + whatever spices/salt they throw in there). I love it in stir frys.

      Also, Quorn products are amazing. Their “naked cutlet” is milk free (contains egg) with 80 calories and 11 g protein.

    • (was) due in june says:

      I’m lactose intolerant. Very much so.

      Green Valley Organics, at whole foods and other specialty grocers, makes lactose-free yogurt and kefir and sour cream and cream cheese. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. They came out a few years ago and keep adding products to the line.

      REAL strained greek yogurt, like Fage and Wallaby, has very little lactose because it’s almost all strained out. However, most common brands of greek yogurt are not actually strained, and instead are thickened, so all that lactose is still in.

      The older the cheese, the less lactose it has. Super aged hard cheeses are usually ok for me. The softer and wetter the cheese, e.g. ricotta, mozzarella, cream cheese… death.

      Raw cheese is better in terms of lower lactose content.

      Americans cows have been bred to have sweet milk i.e. high lactose content. Buffalo, goat, and sheep cheese have much less lactose in their milk. The best cheese for me is a hard aged goat or sheep cheese, but sometimes I will go for buffalo mozzarella and suffer a little.

      Goat milk yogurt is becoming a thing, so you may want to try that too.

  8. AnonMom says:

    Ideas for baby’s first birthday party? Our place is small and we cannot accommodate guests. We expect to invite around 10 adults. Rent a picnic table in the park? Restaurant? Birthday gift ideas for boy turning one?

    • If weather is nice, I love the picnic in the park idea. To make it easy, I’d get sandwiches from a nice deli and make some side salads/dips for sides. Throw in some fruit and cupcakes and you’re good to go.

      For gift ideas, I always like the Mozart Magic Cube for that age.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I posted a comment that got eaten. For my daughter’s first birthday, we rented a play space with a musician. In retrospect, while very cute, it was completely unnecessary. She had no idea what was happening (and the same with my friends’ kids around the same age). The older kids (4-6) enjoyed it.

      I’d rent a table in the park and get a few blankets to spread on the ground. I’d order food and have a cake, and bring in a bubble machine, some balls, and maybe one other toy/game depending on the number of kids and their age.

      For a 1 year old, I like play kitchens, a wagon, an activity cube, books, or the Tomy Hide and Squeak Eggs.

    • If you want to do the park (which I think is lovely), check out A Cup of Jo. She does a park party for her son every year, with picnic blankets, donuts, bubbles, etc. It looks very laid back and happy.

    • +1 to picnic in the park.

      Some of Kiddo’s favorite toys around 12-18 months were baby instruments, the foam letter bath toys, textured balls, shape sorters, and a tunnel (he was over it when he started walking though). He also loved touch-and-feel and lift-the-flap books. He got really into puzzles a little later–probably around 18 months, so you could buy some really chunky ones now or wait until Christmas.

  9. Final Countdown says:

    What are the best things you did or wish you did in the final days of pregnancy, especially when you’re working full-time until birth and you have a toddler? I think I’m just whining and trying to put a fun spin on it. I feel like I’m squandering my time when my son goes to bed and I’m home alone since my husband works in the evenings. I feel like I should really be living it up and enjoying the time or something, but I’m too large and uncomfortable to start anything physical and I have no interest in anything from television to books. Help!

    • NewMomAnon says:


    • Newbie Momma says:

      I think laying around doing nothing IS living it up and enjoying the time but YMMV.

    • Pedicure! With my first I derived a tiny bit of concentrated from joy from seeing my perfect toes during labor and later at home. It’s nice to see your toes again, make them pretty!

      • I got a pedicure before my due date too and was very disappointed when they made me put on socks at the hospital. It was great after though. Made me feel a little more glam and put together at a decidedly non-glamorous time in my life!

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I gave myself a pedicure the night before going into labor, and one large piece of red toenail polish flaked off in the labor tub…my doula thought it was blood and got really excited that things were progressing. Alas, twas not the case.

    • EB0220 says:

      I took a lot of baths in those final days.

    • I got a massage every weekend during the month before my due date. Worth every penny.

    • Spirograph says:

      What? No. Lie on the couch, in your bed, or in a bathtub, stare into space or sleep and banish the idea of “squandering time” from your head. Relax. You turned food into a baby and now you have to haul it around inside your body, and you’re tired. It’s OK to do nothing!

      Before kiddo bedtime, though, spend some extra quality time with your toddler. Snuggle up and read a book, or just watch him or her play. I have very few memories of anything for the first 3 months postpartum because exhaustion/nursing/reasons and I kind of feel like I missed little chunks of the older kids’ lives. I don’t mean that in an “enjoy every moment!” kind of way, because I know kids are not always enjoyable. But when they are, pay attention, because soon you’ll have a clingy, crying, helpless baby to distract you from the fun & interesting toddler.

  10. Sleep, exercise/stretch, and call friends for a nice long catch up conversation, since you’ll prob be too flooded with well wishes and too exhausted to really talk to far-flung friends in the first few months.

  11. Gift recs says:

    My friend/coworker’s birthday is coming up, and my usual gift to her is a bottle of wine. But she just told us she’s pregnant. Any thoughts on a small gift for her? This is her first child, and she’s only about 8 weeks along.

    • What about a nice body cream? Something a bit more expensive than she might buy herself… I would use a thick cream on my stomach throughout pregnancy and would have loved that.

      • Gift recs says:

        Great idea! Any specific brands you liked?

        • Kiehl’s, L’Occitane, and Crabtree & Evelyn all make nice ones. C&E are bit on the floral side, so not for everyone, but I liked them. May be safer to err on the side of neutral though as some women can be very sensitive to scent, esp. in pregnancy. You could look for something with shea butter to be extra moisturizing.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      You could buy her a nice bottle of wine or champagne for after the baby comes. Or a variety of really nice ice cream….

    • The best pregnancy gift for me was the Aveda hand and foot cream set.The smell is really gentle so it didn’t bother my super sensitive pregnancy nose but it felt luxurious and I wouldn’t have bought it for myself. And it lasts forever. Highly recommend.

    • Anonymous says:

      I loved the l’occitane almond oil while pregnant. Smells delicious. Not sure if it actually did anything for stretch marks but I think it’s a great gift.

    • 21 Weeks says:

      Gift certificate to get a mani or pedi?

    • Anonymous says:

      Gift card to buy maternity clothes?

  12. Midwest Mama says:

    DD will be starting kindergarten shortly, and I’m struggling with lunch ideas for her. She will probably take lunch with her at least a couple times a week, but she’s not a big sandwich or wrap fan. Any suggestions? And any advice in general for a successful school year would be much appreciated. She’s our first to go to school, and I think I’m more nervous than she is!

    • avocado says:

      My anti-sandwich child likes cheese and crackers, crackers with peanut butter or Justin’s nut butter, guacamole with stuff to dip in it, cold sesame noodles, bagels with cream cheese, and the Thermos Funtainer jar with pasta, mac and cheese, saucy leftovers like curries over rice, or soup. Other ideas that have been rejected by my picky child include pita wedges with hummus, hard-boiled eggs, pasta salad, and homemade “lunchables” with crackers, preservative-free deli meat, and cheese.

      To keep the food hot in the Funtainer jar, I preheat the jar by filling it with hot water while I heat up the food, then pour out the water and fill the jar all the way with food.

      • Anonymous says:

        apropos of nothing, my 2.5 year old told me last night how much she liked the “quack-a-lomy” she had for snack at daycare. Took me a minute to figure out it was guacamole.

    • What does she have for lunch currently? My kids like cheese & crackers. Also, if there are lots of lunch helpers, you can send in a thermos with soup. Or a bowl of cereal with milk on the side.

      I’ve had grand ideas of bento boxes full of delicious things… but I just need to accept that doesn’t fit into my lifestyle!

      • avocado says:

        Bentos full of delicious things can be easier than making real lunches! Just put in several nibbly things that require little to no prep–baby carrots, apple slices, a scoop or pre-packaged cup of peanut butter, a muffin, peeled hard-boiled egg, cheese cubes, etc. If you want to get super fancy put in some leftover cold noodles from last night’s dinner or slice up a wrap into pinwheels.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Honestly, the hardest thing about bento-style lunches is finding a bento container that (a) doesn’t allow the foods to spill out of their containers and (b) fits inside a lunch box that my kid will use. Once you find the right container, it’s pretty easy to pick out things to fill the cups, and it forces you to include a variety of foods instead of just a sandwich and an apple. I have resorted to using silicone baking cups to separate different food items inside a regular container; I aim for 5 different food items in each lunch. School asked us not to send crackers or other snack-type foods (because packing lunches isn’t hard enough, gotta add another hurdle), so I usually aim for 2 kinds of protein, 2 kinds of fruit (or a fruit and a whole grain like rice or quinoa), and a veggie.

        • EP-er says:

          Really, no crackers? Are crackers worse than white bread — or are you only allowed Ezekiel bread?
          Sheesh — I get encouraging healthful lunches and not sending in 5 cookies and a granola bar, but this is a bit much.

    • Would she eat veggie burgers or black bean burgers or turkey burgers? Those are easy and big hits for us.

    • EB0220 says:

      Chicken nuggets, black beans, guacamole, rice, hummus, shredded cheese.

    • Anonymous says:

      Where I live (Ontario), the bento boxes are hugely popular. There are a ton of facebook groups and pinterest ideas for filling the boxes. I am surprised at the comments re: peanut/nut butters. Every elementary school around here is nut free! So long are the days of PB&J.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      My kiddo doesn’t like bread and seems to change her preferences every couple weeks (argh). Here are protein things I’ve sent for her:
      – lunch meat, rolled up and cut into bite-size chunks with little toothpicks stuck in them (sometimes rolled up with cheese or melon cuz I’m fancy like that)
      – a small cup of leftover meat from dinner the night before, cut into small pieces – add a small cup of BBQ sauce and it’s the best!
      – quesadillas (these are out of favor currently)
      – a small cup of peanut butter and apple slices, carrots or celery to dunk in it
      – a peanut butter sandwich on banana bread, cut into bite-size chunks – I make my banana bread with flax seed and almond meal to add some fiber and protein
      – frozen meatballs, heated and sent in a thermos with sauce and sometimes pasta
      – half a bagel with nut butter or melted cheese
      – leftover ravioli or tortellini from dinner
      – a cheese stick
      – a yogurt pouch

      Kiddo won’t eat beans, lentils, eggs, fish, or a million other things that would make my life easier. sigh.

    • I almost always send this lunch:

      (1) Thermos of hot food. Big hits include tortellini with red sauce, TJ’s gyoza, beans & rice, and dinner leftovers.
      (2) Fruit (banana, container of strawberries or blueberries, etc.)
      (3) Vegetables (cucumbers, carrots, cherry tomatoes in a container)
      (4) Yogurt

      Depending on his appetite, my son will sometimes eat every bite and sometimes have leftovers.

  13. When you offer to make tunafish for your husband and he says “oh, is the steak from yesterday gone already?” and you say “yes” because you just slipped it into your own lunch the second before he walked into the kitchen. Looking forward to my steak at lunch.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I mean, you have a period so you need it more than he does. :) I love justifying things. If anyone else needs something justified, I’m here for you.

    • 21 Weeks says:

      She who makes the lunches divvies out the food… ;)

    • Artemis says:

      Last night I made chicken salad and it was delicious. By the time I made the kids’ sandwiches and packed a big bowl for myself. There was none left for my husband, who was out at a fancy work dinner. So I just didn’t bother to tell him I made it ;)

  14. My mom has been watching our baby at our home 4 days a week for the first year. He starts daycare next month (which I’m super worried about, but that’s another thread!). We want to get her something to commemorate the year and say thank you. I was thinking a photobook, though she is actually making a photobook of her own for him (I think she’s making an A-Z book or something like that), and also she of course has many photos of him on her phone, etc. But I can’t think of anything else that’s sort of sentimental or kid-focused. I don’t want to get just a gift certificate or something. She’s not a big “stuff” person, and she doesn’t drink. My parents also don’t live locally, though they will probably visit monthly-ish. I would love any ideas!

    • A few ideas: clay imprints of his hands and feet, so she can remember how little he was when she watched him; a portrait session for him and her so that she has pictures of the two of them together, again to remember that age (I’m assuming the photos she has of him on her phone are mostly of him and not the two of them!); and finally, since my parents live far away too, we set them up with skype on their tv/computer so that we can skype them living room to living room.

      • AwayEmily says:

        The portrait session is such a cute idea! You could get two photos framed — one for the baby’s room and one for her room, so they both have a connection to each other.

        Another idea: we got one a digital photo frame for a grandparent that is actually pretty cool because you can send photos to it directly from your phone, and even caption them. It’s the Nixplay, which is what the Sweethome recommended.

      • I love the clay hand imprints. My MIL sneakily offered to babysit one day just so she could make these for me for Christmas! When our last au pair left, we made a set for her, too. She had a photo of them as the background on her Facebook page for awhile.

    • avocado says:

      My mother loved it when we took all of her grandchildren to one of those paint-your-own pottery places and decorated a big piece with a design made out of their handprints and footprints. Know your audience on this one, though.

    • A nice piece of jewelry? Those necklaces with the letter stamp are really popular and sweet. You could add a birthstone to fancy it up. A locket with a photo would be cute, too. My mom’s a jewelry person!

    • Artemis says:

      I got this idea from a commenter here awhile ago (sorry, forgot who) and stored it up for this Mother’s Day, and it was a BIG hit.

      For my mother in law, who had just my husband, I made a photo collage of one photo of each of my kids now and a picture of my husband at the corresponding age. I also put in a picture of my mother in law at the same age we are now, holding my husband.

      For my mom, I got a cute picture of me and her from when I was about the age my daughter is now, and put it on a photo plaque with a picture of me and my daughter in a similar pose/situation.

      To do something like that for your mom, if you can get ahold of pictures of you and her when you were your child’s age, would be awesome.

    • Thank you, I love these ideas!

  15. Artemis says:

    I know, questions like this have probably been asked dozens of times, but I feel like each time, there is a different mix of commenters and new angles than before.

    I’m looking for a new job. My current job allows me to have a schedule where I work from about 8:15 to 4:15 so I can leave and pick up my kids. No work from home. The jobs I’m looking at pay much more, so I would expect some work from home, and to go in early if I had to and also to stay late as long as I could plan ahead for that (and as long as it wasn’t all the time–I have to stay late one day a week on the regular? We can probably work that. You want to schedule a late meeting for 2-5 days from now? I can handle that. You come to me at 3:55 with an emergency? Not gonna fly, I can address it after I put my kids to bed).

    Has anyone had successes (or failures, actually, looking for a realistic picture here) getting a job offer and then negotiating for a hard end time for personal reasons, as early as 4 or 4:30? Or is that just so gauche in today’s corporate/in-house world?

    Weirdly I also feel like people who stay later are given way more credit and credence than people who are willing to come in earlier, even if they work the same hours in the office. But maybe that’s my own hangup. I also feel like my husband doesn’t understand this limitation in my job search because he’s never had it–he takes the kids to school but I’ve been default pickup parent since the beginning. Tell all please!

    • 21 Weeks says:

      Preface – not a lawyer…

      How important is it to you that you be the person to do the pickup? If your new job will pay “much more”, can you hire it out? Or, can you make friends with a SAHM who can pick up your kids on an as-needed basis (say, with a frantic phone call at 4 pm?) Is there aftercare available at the school for those without flexible jobs?

      Just some other options to think about.

    • bluefield says:

      It sounds like this isn’t so much a hard stop issue (because you can stay later, just not frequently and only with notice), but more of a control over your schedule issue. That’s the question I would ask – ask how much control you will have over when you come in and leave. As long as you’re there for general business hours and get your work done, does anyone care what those hours are? Are last-minute emergencies common? If someone has a hard stop but something comes up last minute, how would that be handled? Would people be understanding or would it be something like, This is the job, not my problem, you figure it out.

      Based on the response, I would then get into your more specific situation – I am used to picking up my kids so I left my old job at 4 or 4:30 the latest, do you think that would be a problem here? I would try to portray it as you’re willing to hire outside help/get husband to pitch in to make this work (even if you’re not), but you need to know now if you need to do that. I would also ask to speak with another young parent at the firm to get more of an inside look of how things are actually going to work.

      • Artemis says:

        Thank you, this is how I needed help framing it going into the job hunt. Bluefield, I am going to mark your answer and hopefully get to use your questions in the near future! And also in response to 21 Weeks, you make good points and I do have some of those options, but it’s funny how starting the job hunt has made me mentally challenge what we do now.

        My kids are in aftercare which is open until 6 but my goal is always to get to them between 5 and 5:30 (I have two pickups). This gives me a buffer if there is bad traffic, weather, road closures, etc. and gets us home at a reasonable hour for prepping dinner and such.

        I commented last week that sometimes I hate that I’m on pickup all the time and can’t just do what I want at work or after work while my husband kind of can, and that’s true. But when push comes to shove I know I wouldn’t personally be emotionally OK with a non-family-member picking up my kids EVERY day (said with zero judgment, just self-knowledge, and I do have someone who occasionally takes my kids to school in the morning when my husband and I both have to go in early). Welcome to weird mom brain/emotions.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I was able to negotiate a 7:30-4pm schedule at my current job, but I did have to assure them that I did have plans in place that would allow me to stay until 5 or later if needed, even if it was on short notice. I kept my son in after school care, and he usually spends less than an hour there a day (I get him around 4:30) but at least there’s a built in option for care until 6:30. On the (very rare) occasions where I do have to stay later, it’s nice to not add the stress of scrambling for a backup option on top of whatever work stress is causing me to have to stay later.

      tl;dr it can be negotiated, but I’d still have a backup plan if possible.

    • BabyBoom says:

      I completely agree with your comment that people that work later are given more credit esp. among the lawyers I have worked with. However, I think there are individuals who appreciate the early birds, you just have to find them. It might be good to ask 1) what is the typical daily schedule and 2) how does daily coverage in the office work. This is another way to get at the idea of control that bluefield raises. I think you need to ask questions like this from multiple angles. I hate to sound cynical, but in interviews I think the interviewers also try and put their best foot forward and often oversell office culture. Or if not an oversell, they offer an idealized view of office culture rather than the reality.

      I currently work 7:45-4:45 and luckily I have a boss that also likes to get in early. We are both in the office at least an hour before all the other lawyers. I get important one-on-one face time with my boss every day – and I am there for the technical non-lawyer folks who want to speak to someone in legal before 9 am. I do have 1 coworker who likes to criticize my schedule, but she also asks me to cover all of her meetings that start before 9. And I have to try really, really hard not to point out that even though she works later than me I am usually in the office for more hours of the day.

      I didn’t start off with this schedule, I negotiated it once I realized I had to leave by 4:45 to make my evenings work for 2 toddlers. It helps that my boss sees the value in an early start time.

      • annoyed with husband - probably minor says:

        “And I have to try really, really hard not to point out that even though she works later than me I am usually in the office for more hours of the day.” I think you should absolutely point it out. She’s opening the door to it, and it almost demands a response. Only, though, if you can do so completely lightly, casually – with no tension or emotion at all, but staying matter of fact and light about it.
        If anything, this is an opportunity that she’s creating, by forcing the issue. It’s much better than if you could just sense that she was silently seething, bc then you wouldn’t be able to defend yourself. And ultimately there’s nothing to defend – you’re putting in more hours than her! So don’t give her this chance to try to claim some sort of high ground :)

  16. blueberries says:

    My bf babies also preferred these bottles. One wouldn’t take any other bottle when I went back to work and continued using it (with slow flow/0-3 months top) well into toddlerhood. In the early days, using this bottle also helped my older one remember to latch correctly (and not bite me after having a bottle).

  17. Anon- paging Jax says:

    Hi Jax (or apologies if I got your user name wrong), I was catching up on posts from last week and saw your family childcare update- I’m glad that things are going better for your daughter/sorry that relationships with your inlaws have soured! I was one of the posters that urged you to let her distance herself- my relationship with my grandma never recovered once she started criticizing me. Good luck moving forward with everything!

  18. FTM Anon says:

    Has anyone used the Dia Method postpartum? Considering signing up for the online workout videos but would love to hear about others experiences. Also, if you used it, how soon did you start after giving birth?

  19. Anonanonanon says:

    Thanks all who gave me encouragement yesterday re: not being able to give 100% at work due to severe all-day pregnancy sickness. It helped to whine :)

  20. annoyed with husband - probably minor says:

    Every few months my husband gets down in a big way about something (never anything tragic – usually it involves work frustrations) and he’ll tell me about his deep disappointment, typically during the day so I can really only email/IM him back. I always feel for him when it happens and will end up writing something I hope will be of comfort – it’s never anything I toss out, but something considered and (I hope) thoughtful.
    He tends not to write back, even with a ‘thanks.’ In the past I’ve chalked it up to him just being down and so being selfish in the moment. But today it’s really bugging me. Am I overreacting?

  21. anne-on says:

    Just a minor work gripe. I tend to end every call with ‘thanks guys’ and today it hit me that literally, 99% of the time I am working with…just guys. Sigh. This will be better when our daughters hit the workforce, right? right?

  22. Lunch dilemma says:

    Piggybacking on the lunch thread…how do you ensure “cold” items don’t get soggy or worse, are at room temperature during kids’ school times? my soon-to-be-KGer loves cheese sticks and yogurt pouches but only when they’re cold. can I freeze them and hope they thaw before she eats them for lunch?

    • 21 Weeks says:

      1) Ice pack – can substitute a frozen water bottle or juice box

      2) frozen gogurt is a treat! Even if it doesn’t thaw it’s good.

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