The Best Clothes for Pumping: A Poll

clothes-for-pumping-at-work

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on the best work clothes for pumping milk, but you may also want to check out our new page on tips for pumping at the office. This 2017 threadjack also includes a lot of great advice from working moms about which clothes they wore to pump at the office. 

Ladies, let’s take a poll today on pumping habits, and the best clothes for pumping.  How do YOU pump? Bra on, bra off? Shirt pushed up, shirt opened?

For my $.02, I have always found it easiest to pump with a nursing bra and a nursing bustier — so for me just pushing a simple shirt (t-shirt, sweater, whatever) up around my neck is easiest. However, I know a lot of readers have commented that they just wear regular bras and will get undressed all the way (even pumping in sheath dresses!), and others love wrap blouses and dresses (I’m guessing you guys are omitting the hands-free bustier?). Do you feel less naked with your shoulders covered? So let’s discuss:

best-tops-for-pumping

(Pictured: There’s a great sale on this Pleione faux wrap blouse, one of the reader favorites for pumping — some colors are up to 70% off, marked as low as $20. This black and white is higher at $40, but I love the versatile pattern — great for hiding a host of stains, leaks, and more. The blouse was $68, but is now marked to $19-$40 at Nordstrom.) Pleione Faux Wrap Blouse

(L-3)

The Parents’ Budget

Rebecca Minkoff 'Ava' Zip Wallet | CorporetteLadies, let’s talk BUDGET. Mine has changed after having a kid (and definitely after my second) — how has yours? Do you miss the days of being a DINK? Are you going into debt for childcare (i.e., paying to work)? Is the money coming from savings? Credit cards? If you’ve made cuts for your budgeting, how keenly do you feel them? (Pictured: Rebecca Minkoff ‘Ava’ Zip Wallet, available at Nordstrom for $110; was $165.)

For my $.02: I remember hearing a lot while pregnant about kids and budgets, and to be honest, it was all noise to me. I just didn’t get it — I thought people were talking about diapers or toys or something. (I’ll wait while you catch your breath from laughing so hard.) Obviously, childcare is the tremendous expense I didn’t foresee — but other things add up, like classes (preschool and extracurriculars), food (damn those $1.40-per-pouch babyfoods), and yes, the ever-present need to purchase a seasonally-appropriate wardrobe that fits. [Read more…]

Daycares — and Waiting Lists

daycare-waiting-listHow insane are the waitlists for daycares in your area — and how many layers of backup plans did you have in case you didn’t get in on time? What was your best resource for finding a good daycare worth waiting for — friends, parents’ listserv, neighbors, mommy friends, etc? When did you really start to get anxious about it, and how did you manage the anxiety? We’ve talked broadly about other childcare arrangements, but not specifically about daycares yet.

I’ll admit that I did little to no research on daycares in our area, relying almost entirely on the recommendation of one of my brother’s friends. Anyway, they recommended one specific daycare, which I toured when I was five months pregnant (around April 2011), and we were added to the waiting list for part time attendance.

After Jack was born and I figured out that I couldn’t do this “SAHM while blogging” thing, we notified the school that we’d accept a full-time position as well.

We got the call that there was finally a part-time spot for us in March 2013. TWO YEARS LATER — and bam, we were finally in daycare. Yeouch. (We found childcare in the interim through sitters and amazing family, and when we finally got into daycare we added it to the mix instead of substituting it for something else.)

How about you ladies — did you have to wait a really long time to get into your preferred daycare? When did you first sign up for daycare or start thinking about it generally? (If you’d include your general location and/or city, that would probably greatly help the discussion!)

(Pictured: WAIT, originally uploaded to Flickr by JBrazito.)

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Breastfeeding… and Type A Women

type a moms and breastfeedingHere’s what may be a weird question: as a Type A, goal-oriented, overachieving chick, what was your thought process regarding the decision to breastfeed or formula feed? What was your emotional and intellectual response to the idea of it, and how did you reason through whichever decision you made?

Among friends I’ve seen a wide variety of responses to it, all of which may have been made… stronger, shall we say, based on the Type A-ness of the mom. But I think it’s an interesting question. (I really hope we can talk about this without judgment — for my $.02, there is no “right” answer for whether/how long to breastfeed or formula feed your child.) I’ve seen some moms grit their teeth and approach it with a grim determination. I’ve seen some who really loved the closeness with the baby — and some who were turned off by the feeling of being the Milk Lady. I’ve seen some high-achieving women say, “I’ll give it a go during maternity leave, but my career is too busy to be bothered with pumping and timing all of that.” I saw one interesting Facebook post from a very high achieving mom who noted that she felt she had to stop nursing each of her kids at 15 weeks in order to reclaim some ownership of herself and her body. I noticed commenters were talking about “nursing goals” last Tuesday, which is new to me but makes sense to me as a goal-oriented woman.

So: how did YOU approach breastfeeding or formula-feeding? Why did you make the decision you made? Especially for those among you who have pumped for an extended period — how do you think about it?

[Read more…]

The Best Carseats and Strollers

strollers-for-registry 2OK, guys, let’s do this: the registry seriesWhat should new moms register for baby gear and more?  Which are your favorite pieces of baby gear — and have they changed through the months and years with kids?  We’re going to start with just two categories: the carseat and the stroller.  (I was going to do a big post on all of these categories, but after an hour of writing just about strollers and carseats, I thought I’d break it into smaller posts!)  I envision the entire series going through these categories:

  1. Carseat — necessary from coming home from the hospital!
  2. Stroller — how many have you tried? How many do you keep? (E.g., big stroller, umbrella stroller, jogging stroller)
  3. Sleeping gear — crib and bassinet rocker, if necessary
  4. Clothes — swaddles, sleeping clothes, daytime clothes, baby socks
  5. Babywearing carrier — infant and 15-lb.+
  6. Baby toys — swings, seats, and other Big Things to register for (Exersaucers, etc)
  7. Essential books
  8. Diaper bag
  9. Nursing clothes
  10. Breastfeeding pillow
  11. And one final category: The Biggest Flops (stuff you hated).

My own $.02 on the first two categories (stroller and carseats) are below. What other categories are you interested in talking about?

[Read more…]

Finding Quality Time With Your Kids as a Working Mom

quality time with kidsHow do you deal when your work AND your child both need more attention than usual, at the same time? I saw commenters talking about this problem yesterday, and it’s been on my mind lately too, so let’s discuss the challenge of finding quality time with your kids when you’re a working mom.

My older son is only three, but we’ve already had a few times in his short life where it’s clear he needed more quality time with us — particularly me, it seemed — in a big way. I’m at the point now where it seems like if he’s continuously acting out, and if I can’t blame the three S’s (sugar, sleep, and screen time), then odds are good that it’s time to try more quality time. Sometimes this isn’t a problem — but now it’s the holidays, and there are a million things going on both professionally and personally, so spending the entire weekend building with Legos isn’t exactly what I want to (or can) do.

I often find myself thinking of Anne Marie Slaughter’s 2012 piece in The Atlantic about Why Women Still Can’t Have it All. My own life is nowhere near as crazy as Slaughter’s, of course, but she quit her “dream job” at the State Department when her 14-year-old son, who was acting out, needed more of her attention. (She also has another son, who was 12 at the time.) So I think it speaks to a bigger problem that all working moms suffer from — across all stages of childrearing. (Slaughter speaks about her decision in this short video.)

So how do you do it? How do you manage to give both your kid — and your work — the attention they each need? I’m no expert, but I have a few working theories:

[Read more…]