Pumping Tuesday: Skipper Collar 3/4 Sleeve Blouse

unicorn post-partum work shirtHappy Tuesday! I was intrigued to see a reader give a shoutout to this VERY affordable blouse as “my unicorn post-partum work shirt” in a recent comment — as she noted:

It has everything – flowy in the torso, lose enough that you can lift it to pump, dark colors, wears like iron, works with pants/skirts/suits. It looks fine straight from the dryer, and if you have a steamer you can make it look even better. And it’s on sale!

Indeed it is — there are three colors left in sizes XXS-XXL for $14.90 (originally $29.90). NICE.  Rayon Skipper Collar 3/4 Sleeve Blouse

Readers, did you have a “unicorn post-partum work shirt”? What were you looking for in one — and did you find it? 

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

This post contains affiliate links and CorporetteMoms may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!


  1. Toddlers and Pools/Beach says:

    DS just turned 2. We are going to Florida next week to spend a week at a beach resort. DS has never been to the pool and beach and is overall a bit timid. What sort of floating devices should I plan to get for him? One of us will always been in the water with him at all times, but I was hoping we could get him some floaties that will help him stay upright. There seem to be so many options (puddle jumpers, tank tops with tube, life vest style, etc…). Any recs for what would work best for a small 2 year old trying the pool/ocean for the first time? Any other pool/beach essentials for this age?

    • Momata says:

      I think a puddle jumper is the best for that stage. It isn’t so hot and restrictive and it will keep him rolled the right way up in the event he goes in the drink. I think a life vest is better for an older child who can keep themselves more upright.

    • +1 to Puddle Jumper. Our son (3 y.o.) loves his so much that he wants to put it on as soon as we arrive at a pool or lake. It holds him upright so he bobs around like a cork, but he can still kick a bit and swim around. It makes it so we can all swim together, which is really fun!

    • We just hold kiddo in the water, but our pool has a bunch of these: http://www.toysrus.com/buy/water-fitness-training/stearns-puddle-jumper-for-kids-seahorse-3000003006-28391216

      Other pool and beach stuff: sunscreen, swim diapers, baby powder/ cornstarch powder to get the sand off feet, adorable sunhat. Pool toys: We like Toypedos for the pool, too, but they can sneak away from you if you’re not careful.

    • mascot says:

      For pool toys, diving ring toys are easy to grab hold of and are a good way to introduce putting face/head in the water. Start on the top step and gradually move down steps as he gets comfortable reaching a little farther and putting his face in.

    • shortperson says:

      we do not use floating devices. IMO it gives kids a false sense of security about their ability to swim which is extremely dangerous. plus they can’t practice swimming building blocks if they have something keeping them vertical. if you are holding your child, which you need to do anyway, they dont need a floating device.

      • Artemis says:

        +100000000. Same philosophy here. Yes, it is exhausting to hold on to your kid constantly in the pool/ocean. Yes, it means you don’t have a free hand in the water. Yes, from personal experience with my own kids and friends’ kids, it means your kids will have a healthy relationship with the water and will swim better earlier. So worth it in the long run.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you want your kid to ever learn to swim you will not get any float that holds your kid upright. They just bicycle kick, which is the opposite of how to kick to swim.

        If he’s timid he probably won’t trust a float anyway and you’ve just wasted money.

        A noodle is fine for giving mom and dad arm breaks (Hold little ones hands until they get the balance right — putting their arms up will cause them to slide off backwards.) Bigger kids (or just coordinated) can wrap them around their back and hold the noodle in their hands — creates great swimming body position.

        If you’re going on a boat a proper life vest (that buckles between the legs) is necessary. (For everyone.)

        I’d stick with a couple shovels, a couple balls a bucket and maybe a watering can for the beach. And a pop up sunshade if you’re doing all day.

      • mascot says:

        I think there is a happy medium with these devices. We used an appropriately sized life vest and then a puddle jumper during those first couple of years. We worked on all the other skills, floating, safety, head under water, kicking, jumping in, getting out without steps/ladder, etc. But sometimes my kid was a bit tired or not into swimming and still wanted to be in the pool so we’d let him wear a PFD while he rested/paddled slowly. It also provided some motivation for learning the next steps like going off the diving board (you can’t wear your life jacket on the board, let’s learn how to jump without it).

        • +1 – If you don’t have a pool and aren’t in one all very often, I personally think using whatever product makes your 1 week of vacation more fun for you is a good investment. Let the swim lessons the rest of the year teach your child to swim and spend your 1 precious week in Florida relaxing. If my child learns to swim at 6 instead of 5 (or 4) because of this, for me it would still probably be worth it. And FWIW, in my experience swim lessons for kids under about 3 are just “getting used to being in the water” kind of stuff anyway, so I wouldn’t worry about preventing a 2 year old from learning to swim by using a float on vacation.

          • This makes sense. We’re in or around pools pretty much every weekend from April through September, and often in a pretty unsafe, uncontrolled environment (as I’ve posted about previously). It’s pretty important to me that Kiddo learns how to swim–at least paddle to the wall if he jumped or fell in–ASAP. If we were not regularly around a pool, I’d be much more relaxed about using floats and letting him learn to swim when he’s 6.

            Until I was 7, I lived in an area where few people had backyard pools, and you went to the neighborhood/community pool. My dad taught me to swim, more or less, in the neighborhood pool when I was 5 or 6. Then we moved to Florida, where backyard pools are very common. Anyone with a pool had learned to swim as an infant or toddler. And my parents bought a house with a pool and signed me (and a friend in the neighborhood) up for private lessons the first summer we lived there.

    • I thought the puddle jumpers were for 30+ lbs? We used something like this until LO was big enough for the puddle jumper:

      • lucy stone says:

        We use this in the pool with our infant (last used at 7 months) and she loves it. I still am right by her all the time.

    • We just got back from the beach in Florida with a 2-year-old!

      I recommend lots of toys (bring or buy there). Every time Kiddo saw another kid with a toy, he wanted it–we heard lots of “mine” this weekend. Kiddo liked chasing his ball around and playing catch with us, playing with buckets and shovels in the sand and “asking” us to build him things for him to tear down, and playing with the plastic toys he usually ignores at home (more fun in the water I guess). Oh, and bubbles were a big hit!

      Kiddo also really liked having sunglasses, which he’s never agreed to wear before. (He wouldn’t wear his sun hat though.) We used Baby bands, and I recommend them. Also, water shoes were helpful because the surface around the pool got hot and he didn’t want to walk.

      We used a fold-up wagon to haul all of our stuff, and sometimes Kiddo, to and from the pool and beach. It was really, really nice to have. And about a dozen other families had the same wagon :-)

      We don’t use puddle jumpers for the same reasons people described above. But we do sometimes use a Swimways float, which I don’t think will cause the same problems with sense of security in their swimming ability. It allowed Kiddo to relax and just play a little bit between “swimming” with us.

      • Artemis says:

        Good point about the Swimways float. We have a little inflatable boat with leg holes in the bottom that is good for giving kids a break from being in the water, and us from holding them (although we keep a hand on the boat at all times), while still allowing them to kick, and splash, and move around without the constraints and issues with a PFD.

  2. I was surprised to find myself wearing a lot of button downs when I came back to work and needed to pump. Different ones, but my favorite was the Loft Utility Blouse. I’m normally a bit too chesty to make button downs work but my chest size didn’t change much with pregnancy/nursing, at least after the first trimester, and with softer nursing bras, button down shirts ended up being really perfect for pumping. These Loft ones in particular were great because you could machine wash them, they were loose but not boxy, and I could wear a camisole underneath to pull down for pumping, which really helped me feel less “naked” when pumping. I ended buying multiples in different colors which is something I almost never do with clothes.

  3. Welp, I did go ahead and do the Oh Crap potty training over the long weekend. We made a lot of progress but still many accidents… and I am happy it’s daycare’s problem for the next few days (how convenient that it’s closed on Friday, ugh). The teachers were really supportive during drop-off, said accidents are no big deal as long as there are enough back-up clothes, and my little one was very very excited to show off his underwear (hoping that subsides a bit!). [Side note: How crazy is Oh Crap for insisting on a month without underwear?! I believe that it’s helpful, but most of us live in the real world, thanks.]

    As some of you warned, it was a tough weekend, especially with husband gone. The kid does not like being cooped up. And I think I went overboard hovering over him too much. But, if he keeps improving in the next weeks, it’ll be worth it. Fingers crossed!

    • Blueberry says:

      Good job for not going insane, and good luck! FWIW, my little boy did go commando with light sweatpants for a few weeks until the accidents stopped — no big deal IMO.

    • Good job! We also did Oh Cr*p! over the long weekend. Kid just turned 2. He got it astonishingly quickly and by Saturday afternoon was telling us when he needed to pee. Commando + pants all weekend, and daycare is fine with that! (Poop has been a bit more of an issue – I think either we’re prompting too early or he’s telling us just a teensy bit too late.)

    • We had a terrible four days and then on day five mine got it. Hoping you have the same thing! I think three days is not enough but hang in there!

    • BabyBoom says:

      We potty bootcamped over the long weekend too! I was surprised how well it went. He is consistently peeing in the potty, and self-initiating. Although he will wait to poop in the diaper (we diaper for nap and night). Our daycare also insisted on underwear, so we started him with underwear yesterday. We didn’t find the underwear to cause accidents – but the toddler doesn’t understand that you need to pull the underwear over the butt. He pulls his pants up…and his underwear is just bunched up under his butt. It’s kind of cute, but also seems uncomfortable. I told his teachers of this habit, and I hope they catch it and help him.

      • Way to go! We are about 60-40 (against) self-initiating, I’d say. I’m hoping he’ll be less comfortable just going in front of his classmates / teachers? He does like to show off at daycare.

        He has a doctor and a dentist appointment on Friday… so I’m hoping for some improvement before then!

  4. FTMinFL says:

    Mark this one down as one of the many ways little guy has shown me that he is in charge and I’m just along for the ride…

    We had planned to move him to a twin bed (mattress on boxspring on the floor) this weekend so that he would have a full two months with no crib in his room before baby sister arrives. The twin bed has been in his room for a few months now and is where we snuggle and read books before bed. Our grand plan was to do Saturday nap there and make a big deal out of sleeping in his big bed. On Friday night he decided he was too old for the crib thankyouverymuch and would be sleeping in the twin bed from here on out. Zero adjustment period, just this is now where we sleep.

    Ok, then, kiddo. In the future please let me know when I should not waste my stress!

    • Anonymous says:


    • Edna Mazur says:

      Love this.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Hahaha. Love it.

      My mom always tells the story that she had planned to take a week off of work to potty train me, and had bought plane tickets for my grandma to come help. A month before her planned potty training, I declared no more diapers and potty trained myself within a few days.


      • FTMinFL says:

        That is priceless! My DH has been making noises about potty training. After this experience, I am kicking that can as far down the road as possible – if he will do it himself, I am perfectly willing to let him!

    • Meanwhile, in my house, we finally turned my almost-4 year old daughter’s crib into a toddler bed (in my defense, she hadn’t been climbing out), and at 9 p.m. she insisted that she wanted her crib rail back because she was afraid she would fall. So, she’s back in a crib.

      • Anonymous says:

        My daughter didn’t want out of her crib until she was 4, and even then we had to leave it set up in her room for another month for her stuffies to sleep on before she was ready to see it taken apart.

  5. Any good tips for traveling with a whiny child? I have just realized how much I am dreading an upcoming four-day trip with my family, largely because of my nine-year-old’s behavior while traveling. She whines whenever we do something other than what she wants (and generally she wants to spend most of her time at the hotel pool, which I would never do at all without her). Sometimes, she enjoys the activity we’ve dragged her to. Sometimes, she whines and sulks long enough to ruin the time for everyone. She also complains about accommodations; she is currently complaining because we booked a one-bedroom suite — she’s mad that she’ll get a pull-out and wants her father and I (and her 7-month-old sister in a crib) to take the living rooms so she can have the king-sized bed to herself — and the hotel does not have a breakfast buffet.

    Complicating this is the fact that the nine-year-old is my stepdaughter. Although I have been an active stepparent in her main home for several years, I have limited control over how she’s been raised. When she’s with her mom, her mom doesn’t consider what the kids wants to do or what’s an appropriate activity for a nine-year-old. When she’s with us, my husband goes (in my opinion) too far the other way — there’s too much leeway for whining and he used to plan everything around what she wanted to do. So I feel that she hasn’t learned the natural give-and-take of a family vacation — sometimes you do something you are less interested in because other members of the family want to. Also, I get very frustrated by the whining and incessant questions about when we’ll leave any activities she doesn’t like, not to mention literal feet-dragging.

    We have already planned what activities we’ll do, with her input. One of them she is not interested in, and she will also likely complain about seeing her great uncle.

    So far my husband and I have agreed that we’ll set a schedule with two pool trips and tell her the schedule; if she harangues us for additional pool time, she’ll lose the scheduled pool time. We’re also only allowing her to bring two comfortable pairs of shoes, because otherwise there will be arguments over what shoes she can wear or complaints that her feet hurt whenever we walk more than a block. Finally, we’re trying to get the great uncle to join us for one of the activities she is interested in, rather than having a leisurely sit-down meal where she’s bored. I’m also planning to use the baby’s early morning wakings to leave the hotel room for some (semi-)alone time with coffee.

    Any other strategies to implement or pitfalls to avoid?

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re doing the best you can in a difficult situation. I suspect the bedroom complaint is mostly about feeling excluded. That parents + baby are in the ‘real’ bedroom and she’s on the couch.

      When I was a kid the hotel pool was definitely the best part of vacation – that and the zoo maybe? I hated visiting people (family/friends) I barely knew. Scheduling lots of pool time is a good idea and make it conditional on good behavior.

      Does she do well with her baby sister? Can she be in charge of occupying/playing with the baby when you are visiting family so she doesn’t feel like she has to sit at the table and listen/chat.

      Plan for her to have some special time only with her Dad. Maybe they could go to a movie together?

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 to feeling excluded, even if that’s not how she’s presenting the concern. She may not even realize that’s what she is really feeling.

        I think most of the things you mentioned are pretty age appropriate. As hard as it may be, try not to let your frustration with her preemptively ruin the trip. Thinking of her as a “whiny child” or calling her that in your mind will create a self-fulfilling prophecy. The first time she whines, you’ll internally roll your eyes and think SEE! I knew it! She’s starting at the bottom of the hill, not at the top. She’ll sense the frustration, and it stops anything from feeling like a treat for her. It will poison the trip for you, and for her by extension.

        Kids that age can be tough — she wants a little independence, but is still very much a child. I’d throw in some special stuff for her unscheduled and surprised – dad takes her down to the pool after the baby goes to bed (late bedtime + alone time with dad), or you can take her for an ice cream in the hotel lobby after baby goes down, etc.

        • avocado says:

          +1 to special one-on-one time, both with dad and with you. I found “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen” to be incredibly useful with my sometimes whiny 10-year-old. If the activities in which she is not interested are museums or historical attractions, you may be able to get her a little engaged by listening to audiobooks about the subject matter ahead of time, or with the special kids’ scavenger hunt brochures and/or apps that many of these places offer.

          I don’t know a single kid this age who doesn’t prefer the hotel pool to all other vacation activities.

          • +1000. Was the highlight for my 3 and 5 year old and WE wERE IN DISNEY.

            Also, the waffle maker at the breakfast buffet.

    • mascot says:

      Can you give her ownership of some choices? Here, you pick which of these 3 restaurants we are going to for breakfast and hand her menus for 3 places that you have already pre-selected as acceptable.
      It sounds like pool time is a great bargaining chip for her. Can you schedule some pool time for her while the baby is napping? One parent stays with napping baby in the room and the other takes the 9 year old to the pool. My kid is a little bit younger but he also loves the pool on vacation (he’s got consistent summer pool access at home so it’s not new and novel). I think part of it is the chance to play with other kids near his age instead of just hanging out with adults.

    • Anon Stepmom says:

      You have my sympathy and empathy. I’ve been there with my SD – although I don’t remember it being that bad, it probably was between the ages of 9-14. Between dad guilt and pre-teen/early teen moodiness I hated the “Death March of Fun” that were family vacations at that time. And the step-parent is usually between a rock and a hard place.

      On a positive note — it got SO MUCH BETTER when she hit her mid-late teens. The combination of age and a change in family structure was hard. A

      I agree with the above poster — giving her some responsibility, either baby sister related or maybe planning a non-pool activity that the whole family would find fun? Could she take a book or art activity to the meal with her uncle if it’s not during another activity? And time alone with Dad is an excellent suggestion too.

    • I won’t admit to being a whiny child, but one thing I loved when I was growing up was that my parents put me in charge of planning or choosing something for the family vacation (with logistical help if necessary), and then they went along with it without complaining. The flip side was that they got to choose other activities, and I couldn’t complain then. It definitely taught me about trade-offs and the ebb and flow of a family vacation.

      When I was 10 or so, we went to NYC. I made everyone climb the Statute of Liberty. My dad dragged us all to 1776 (so boring!). My mom got her 40th birthday dinner at Le Cirque.

      • Also, I wouldn’t plan to respond to haranguing/complaining by taking away her pool time (or threatening to). It sounds like it’s the main thing she’s looking forward to. You’ll all be miserable if you take it away. I’d even go the other way and reward her with more pool time in exchange for not complaining during activities she finds boring. If you’re not interested, can you take Baby out on a walk and let her spend some one-on-one time with dad in the pool? Maybe part of the give and take of family vacation involves splitting up sometimes and one-on-one activities with each parent. (In fact, I remember my parents each taking me to do things one-on-one during vacations. It probably speaks to the self-centeredness of children that this is the first time I’m wondering what the other parent did during their alone time.)

        • Anon in NYC says:

          I agree – I would add pool time as a reward rather than take away pool time. Late night pool time with dad sounds like a great idea.

          • avocado says:

            I concur. Activites and privileges are very effective as incentives with my 10-year-old.

          • I also agree. I had a turbulent childhood and when my mom would take away the few things in my life that made me happy it felt really cruel.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Aww, it sounds like she’s super anxious about disruptions in her (already disrupted) little life, and I bet she’s picking up on your feelings of disliking time with her. Which, by the way, come through clearly in your post – I think the first thing you need to do in preparation for the trip is reset your attitude toward the kid. It’s not anyone’s “fault” that she’s nine and wants to do things nine-year-olds like to do. She needs to feel like you accept her for what she is right now. She is going to pick up the message that somebody *should* force her to conform to your expectations of a nine year old, and that’s a problem.

      On the pull out couch thing – I used to get really anxious when I had to sleep in the main space on family vacations. I needed a place where it was OK to be weird and/or what my mother deemed “gross” (meaning, a place where I could leave my dirty clothes on the floor or pick peeling sunburn or whatever). Spending a whole family vacation conforming to what my parents deemed acceptable left me an anxious wreck. Is there any way to make part of the space a little bit private so she can unpack her clothes or escape from you for a while if she’s tired/overwhelmed? Could you get a foldaway cot and tuck it in a corner, instead of making her clean her whole space and put her bed away every morning? And one other thought – when I was about that age, my mom gave me a CD player and some speakers on an extended family vacation, just for me. It was amazing and special. Consider something that she can completely control and use as an escape if she needs it (because…she will need it).

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I also agree that privacy is important to a 9 year old. It’s may be too late to change the room set up now, but maybe a consideration for future vacations. She has no space that’s “hers.”

    • This is really interesting to me as I figure out how to discipline my two year old. He also tends to whines when we do things he doesn’t want to do.

      It sounds like you are including her in the planning which is great. One thing I remember being annoyed about when I was a kid/teenager/living under my parents roof was expectations. Maybe I had planned in my head to go back to the hotel and take a nap when nope! Dad wants to go hang out at some restaurants for a drink and apps! Or, at home, maybe I had planned on finishing a book and talking with a friend on the phone when nope! Time to clean up leaves!

      Also, does she like to read? Maybe explain to her that if she doesn’t like an activity she can sit quietly and read something of her choosing. Given today’s culture of being connected, I probably would limit that to just books though, maybe even actual physical books. No internet or games, because that might be more preferable to everything and then she won’t want to do anything. I remember reading lots of books during my brother’s little league games.

    • Thanks for the helpful advice, especially Anon Stepmom. Death March of Fun is the perfect description of what has happened a few times. For example, on last year’s vacation, I chose a museum I really liked, in part because it had a toy exhibit. She loved it. Then she refused to walk through the exhibit I wanted to see… actually refused to move from a bench or engage in any conversation other than, “When are we going back to the hotel?” So, I saw the options as leaving immediately, physically dragging her by the hand through the exhibit, or walking through it alone while she and her father played more in the toy exhibit. We ended up going back to the hotel, her father told her he was disappointed in her behavior, she had an extended crying fit, and everyone’s day was ruined.

      As I said, we have involved her in planning. She is looking forward to things other than the pool–activities, in fact, that we once took her to over her objection and now she can’t wait to do again. However, there is a half-day activity out of four days where her father and I want to do something that she is not interested in. It also happens to be the most important part of the trip for me. My MIL will likely meet us for a day, and I’m tempted to just leave them at the pool, but then she doesn’t learn to graciously participate in other people’s chosen activities because it is literally the only part of the trip that she hasn’t either said she wanted to do or outright chosen as an activity. And we won’t always have the option of leaving her with someone else, so I really want her to learn how to participate. The other big problem is breakfast, because she wants to eat at the hotel every day. It hasn’t worked saying we’ll rotate choices, because she complains when it’s her father’s or my turn to choose. So he’ll give her his choice, and I’m the bad guy when I take my turn. (And just typing that out makes me think that part of the problem is that he needs to actually take his turn rather than always giving it up to her).

      I wish the sofabed was feeling excluded, because I would know how to deal with that! (At my behest, we each have regularly scheduled dinners-out with her in addition to the normal breaking down into groups of two. If anything, she has gotten more individual attention from each of us since the baby arrived, plus we’ve made a point of clearing the decks between the baby’s bedtime and her bedtime so the three of us to do something together). She is not interested in sharing her room with the baby (who she loves) — the having her own room part of it makes her happy. Plus, she made the same complaint before the baby when we’ve been in hotel rooms with a sofa bed in the same room as the real bed. She just… hates sofa beds. And because I grew up vacationing in the cheapest motel available and either sharing a bed with a sibling or sleeping on a rickety roll-away, it drives me insane when I have to hear for the 20th time (weeks before we leave) that she doesn’t want to sleep on a sofa bed. She doesn’t have to put it away every day, she can make a pillow-nest on the floor, she can just sleep on the couch, I just don’t want to hear about it any more.

      Also, NewMomAnon, if I hadn’t mentioned that I was her stepmother, I don’t believe you would have made the assumptions you did, and you wouldn’t criticize my “attitude” in disliking incessant whining. Unlike her actual mother, who yells at her, shames her, and refuses to spend time with her when she gets frustrated with her whining, I am trying to plan for and avoid potential difficulty. I don’t dislike time with her in general, and we have a strong relationship. We rehearse and plan for her discomforts when traveling, like being overwhelmed at family parties or family members who demand physical affection. She brings a stack of books, plus an old iPhone and headphones so she can listen to music, play games, and text her mom through hotel wireless. I do dislike traveling with her due to her tendency to sabotage activities that are not to her liking, and it doesn’t make me a bad person to articulate and plan for that.

      • Anonymous says:

        You don’t sound like a bad person, you just sound a little hard or preemptively angry towards her. Every anecdote or described activity is about her “learning” something – rather than planning something that will just be fun for you guys and her, or you describe how she “ruined” your day, or “her tendency to sabotage activities.” You are attributing a lot of motive to a child, and I just wonder if that’s making it harder for both of you. It just sounds like you are setting yourself up to fail on this trip.

        For instance, you’ve already made it clear that you want the “most important part of the trip for you” to be a learning experience for her. If it is so important to you, then take her out of the equation if you will resent her for ruining it for you. Teach her how to share experiences when the stakes don’t feel so high for you, so if it fails, it won’t be a big deal. You aren’t going to teach her these things overnight, and she will learn it better when she doesn’t realize there is such a premium on not behaving as you expect. Everyone will be happier if you can do your own activity while she hangs out at the pool.

        I would also gently tell you what I tell my children – the only person that can ruin your day for you is you.

        • Anonymous says:


          Let her have time at the pool with Grandma and do your activity. She’s nine – she’s not trying to ‘sabotage’ your vacation, she struggles with not getting what she wants or finding adult activities boring like most kids here age. And regarding last year, fussing to stay in the toy area of a museum is totally normal behavior for an 8 year old. I don’t think my parents took me to any non-kid focus museum/science centre stuff until I was at least 12. I did okay because I practically lived in museums and art galleries when I backpacked in Europe at 19. 3/4 years make a big difference at her age. Maybe do adult museum stuff just you and baby while she hangs out at the pool with Dad.

          Your posts make it seem like you view her as junior adult, she’s not. Little things like the hotel buffet breakfast might the highlight of her vacation – see Jen above and her kids at Disney who loved the waffle maker and the pool more than anything. She sounds a lot like a regular kid.

          • Anonymous says:

            +1. I hated museums/historical sites growing up. My sister and mom would read every word of every exhibit while I felt bored and uncomfortable. I’ve since realized that big crowds really stress me out. I know I fought these trips tooth and nail growing up. My parents didn’t force me to go, and I now love going to museums — as long as I can go when they are basically empty. Also, for my kids, when I really want to see an exhibit, I do not take them. I live in DC, and specifically did not take them to see the Infinity Mirrors exhibit. I wanted to spend time absorbing it, but there there were lots of long lines and lots of people. I think they would have enjoyed it, but I would have been frustrated if they behaved age appropriately – so I elected not to take them.

          • I wonder if she’s pretty mature in other ways and that’s why OP thinks of her as a junior adult?

            I also wonder if there are parts of the trip – visiting the great uncle for example – that OP is not thrilled about, and that’s complicating things? I know that child whining grates on me more than ever when it’s whining about something I don’t want to do either. I’ve actually snapped and said as much (“Look, I’m bored too, but Grandma wants to do this and we have to do what she wants”). I think because I wish I could whine about it as well and I’m annoyed that I can’t!

          • avocado says:

            Another thought–this trip is a great opportunity to build shared memories and strengthen family bonds. If the best place to make that happen is the hotel pool, then maybe that’s where it has to happen. I think hotel pools are boring and gross. My husband detests everything about theme parks. I thought the museum we went to this weekend was a boring, overcrowded, noisy tourist trap. We go to these places anyway because to our daughter they are magical and it gives us great pleasure to know that we have made her so happy. We don’t necessarily enjoy the activity, but we do enjoy witnessing her enjoyment.

            Of course none of this excuses your 9-year-old from the responsibility to be polite when you are doing something that wasn’t her first choice, but I do agree with other posters that you are placing some pretty heavy expectations on this trip. If you can ease up on your expectations a bit, you might find that making memories together in the hotel pool actually helps with her behavior, both during this trip and in the long run.

          • Really, really, really well said Avocado.

      • Another Anon Stepmom says:

        I have, and am, right there with you. I have 2 stepchildren and 2 toddlers. At least with me, the frustration always stems from lack of control. You can’t parent her the way you do your bio-daughter because she already has a mom and so, you’re naturally left out of at least half of the decision making. Those decisions affect you and your family though because your step-daughter is also part of your family, which makes it really hard. As hard as it may be, you need to just let it go. Lay out the vacation ground rules before you leave with your husband and leave enforcement of the ground rules up to him. Stepdaughter doesn’t want to do what you have planned? Then you take the baby and do what you want and your husband has to miss that activity to take stepdaughter to the hotel.

        • Anon Stepmom says:

          So much this. The lack of control is so so hard. And bioparents just don’t get it.

          Probably the most freeing realization I made as a stepparent is that my stepchild is not a reflection on me — therefore, it’s not my responsibility to actively teach her “life-lessons” that neither her mother or father want to teach her. I just try to model good behavior and hope for the best. This cuts both ways — for example — I think she should be doing something more structured with her summer, but eh, not my place to suggest it. I also think that she shouldn’t be responsible for as much of her own school expenses as she is, but she, her mother, and her father all seem to be good with the arrangement.

          Hindsight is 20/20, but I think when she acted up at the museum, her dad should have just taken her back and you could do your thing. My H hates/hated me doing my own thing during our ‘FUN!’ vacations, but occasionally I could escape…

          Also, there is an immediate bias towards a step-parent (really a stepmom, stepdads are heroes provided they don’t abuse the children), so I hear you on that.

          It’s also hard to know what’s age appropriate when you haven’t been through that age — it’s honestly a lot easier for me to relate to her now that she’s in college, since I vaguely remember being her age back at the dawn of time, but I have such hazy recollections of 9.

      • I appreciate your ambitions, but “learning how to graciously participate n other people’s chosen activities” may be a big ask for a 9-year-old. Honestly, it’s a lot to ask of an adult to spend a half-day doing something they have absolutely no interest in (as evidenced by your complaints about the pool). My husband refuses to do anything he doesn’t want to do on vacation. I have grumbled through quite a few activities myself. My parents and I still tease each other about the things we made each other do on vacation, and my husband and his adult siblings have a big inside joke about his dad making them visit a fish farm on family vacation–which they obviously did not do graciously because… fish farm. Whatever this activity is that’s most important to you, I think you should give up on the life lesson there and just plan to do it yourself and leave your step-daughter and husband at the hotel pool.

        I’d keep up the fight on breakfast though. It’s an hour, it’s food, and it seems like an age-appropriate compromise.

        Is there any particular reason she hates sofa beds? Is there anything you can do to make it more comfortable for her? Is it too late to ask for a room with 2 queen beds instead of 1 king? What’s preventing you from addressing her concerns about the sleeping arrangements?

        • avocado says:

          Re. sofabed, can you give her the option to bring a sleeping bag and backpacking-style pad or air mattress?

        • +1,000 to it being a big, not age-appropriate ask. If you really want her to start learning to go with the flow (or with other people’s activities), start small. Tell her you have to run X errand, and you’d love her company with you. After you get home, tell her how much you enjoyed getting a few minutes to chat with her in the car. You also can re-package how you present breakfast on the trips, mention you want to go to Y restaurant, and you noticed that they had strawberry pancakes on the menu, which you remember she loved when you guys went out last time. Be prepared and okay with her telling you “I hate strawberry pancakes now. I don’t want to go.” Or, acknowledge the suck for her “Yeah, I know – hotel restaurant is the BEST, and you wish you could eat there every day for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. Maybe we could convince them to open a new hotel RIGHT NEXT TO OUR HOUSE?!* I’m really excited to have you join us at restaurant Z, though. maybe you can help me pick something out to eat off the menu?”

          *Obviously say it in a way that communicates joking and levity.

          Sort embracing the theory that people remember how you made them feel, not what you said. Make her feel like you really want her to join you. It also is a way to let her feel how she wants to feel, but she doesn’t get to control what you do. This works well for my 7 year old.

        • Maybe this is my age — and my pre-baby boomer parents — showing. I came from a family that rotated choosing activities from as long as I remember, so it doesn’t seem at all inappropriate to me for a child to sometimes go places she doesn’t want to go and to do it without complaining. My parents did take me to museums and historical sites at least monthly, and we sometimes went with other families. While I’m sure they shortened their days because they had kids in tow, and I didn’t t always enjoy myself, we never just sat down and refused to continue. We knew our turn would come to choose something else; she already knows that she’s getting a ball game, the zoo, and multiple pool trips. So when should kids be expected to do one thing when they’d rather do another?

          As far as the sofa bed, I am not sure why she hates them (because her grandmother has an uncomfortable one?). We’re going with the sofa bed/king option because that’s a suite, and we can put the baby in her own room for naps (allowing the older kid to relax in the room/go to the pool during nap time). We even discussed room options, and she said she’d rather be in a suite so that she doesn’t sleep in the same room with the baby. She knows the tradeoff is that it comes with a sofa bed. I don’t think she even really wants us to book a different hotel room set-up. She just thinks she should get the bedroom, and she wants to make sure we know just how much she hates sofa beds. Which… we do. We really, really do.

          • I still think you are trying to control the wrong things. You can’t control how she feels about stuff, you can just control how you structure activities. From this information, stop fighting with her about the sofa bed, just say, ‘yes – they are the worst!’ whenever she talks about it and move on. Keep it light. After a few times, just say “THE WORST” and make her laugh.

            For activities, if her attitude is going to “ruin” something for you, don’t include her in it, and then don’t be “mad” at her for not coming. Just take the anger out of it. For other stuff like breakfast, acknowledge that not getting your way stinks, that she’d rather be at the hotel, and that hotel serves the best runny eggs ever (without fighting with her or talking her out of her frustration), then ask her about her favorite part of going to the pool, and drive to the dang restaurant.

          • I have to say I’m kind of with you on your first point. Maybe it will change as my kids get to the age of needing to behave even when it’s something boring they don’t want to do but… my husband and I talk about this a lot, and we remember so many instances from our childhood of being forced to do super boring stuff on vacation or otherwise because that’s what the grownups wanted, and we just sucked it up. It seems like that’s not really acceptable now?

          • My comment got eaten! But you are trying to control the wrong things here – you can’t control how she feels about things. For the sofa bed example, from what you’ve described, whenever she mentions it just say “I know, sofa beds are the WORST.” then move on. If she keeps complaining, just keep saying, I know THE WORST. Just keep it light.

            If you think she’s going to “ruin” an activity for you, then make other plans for her. Easy as that. For the other stuff, acknowledge that she thinks it sucks, and just do the activity. For breakfast, you won’t talk her out of wanting to eat at the hotel, so don’t try. Just acknowledge that she’d rather eat at the hotel, that their runny eggs are the BEST, and it will taste so good tomorrow, etc. as you drive to the restaurant. Recognizing you can’t control how she responds to stuff will help take the emotion out of it for you.

            Also, allow that your memories of childhood vacations are seen through a nostalgic lens. I recently returned from a vacation with my family, and called my mom crying about how much I missed our family trips and how hard this trip had been. She told me it is ALWAYS harder on the parents, and the kids don’t see/feel much of that. For one trip in particular, I remember a cross country trip of singing songs and being happy, and she remembers sitting my sister and I down in the parking lot of a dirty hotel and assuring us that she and my dad were not getting a divorce.

          • My family rotated activities too. I think some of what’s age-appropriate is the specific activity and its duration. Trading off on small things like breakfast seem more age-appropriate for a 9-year-old than, for example, a half-day at an art museum. It also depends on what she’s used to, including what she’s used to with a particular parent. If this is a new system, and she’s used to just getting her way, it makes sense that you’d have to lay more groundwork than you would if she’d grown up like this.

            I never flat-out refused to do something another family member chose to do, because my “turn” was coming up. But I also don’t think I did it without complaining. In fact, my parents and I still tease each other about some of the stuff we dragged each other too, and I doubt we’re more vocal now than we were as it was happening. By the way, you’ve made it clear here that you’d rather not eat breakfast at the hotel and avoid the pool, so just make sure you’re setting a good example with respect to taking turns without complaining, if that’s your expectation of her.)

            I still think the sofa bed issue is worth exploring. If it’s weeks away and she’s focusing on the sleeping arrangements, there’s time to address it directly with her. Maybe she doesn’t feel “heard.” Maybe you can help think of a solution that will make it better.

      • Lurker says:

        Another option with last year’s museum example – let her sit on the bench with dad while you go to your section alone. She isn’t getting rewarded with going back to the toy section. She isn’t screaming and crying through your section. You don’t miss out by bringing her home. Or she and dad wait outside for you.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Sorry to the OP – it wasn’t so much the stepmother component, as just that this sounds like my relationship with my mother and I had all the feels for your stepdaughter. A bit of a trigger for me, apparently.

        In case this wasn’t your relationship with your mom, maybe the kid’s perspective would be helpful? As a child, I was always “needing to be taught” some important lesson to win my mother’s acceptance, and her expectations often were not developmentally appropriate. Being around my mom made me anxious and the more intense the interaction, the more anxious I would get, which of course made it more likely that I would not live up to her expectations. Rinse, repeat. I have to stop myself frequently from living out the same cycle with my kiddo. It’s hard. (Totally *not* crying at my desk right now…)

        Be gentle with your kiddo and give her opportunities to save face when she needs it. She’s a kid and she’s still learning basic social skills like impulse control and empathy. Find small opportunities to let her exercise those skills and take note of her efforts. Once she shows she has the skills, find ways to push her. She will fail sometimes, and she needs you to send the message that she is still loved and accepted in the family when she fails. That’s what childhood is for; making mistakes with loving adults to shelter us from life-shattering consequences.

        • Thank you for sharing that — sounds really tough NewMomAnon.

        • Thanks, this is a really nice response. I’m a little sensitive too, because I feel stuck between her mom who expects too much and her dad who doesn’t expect enough. Plus, each of us grew up with an explosively angry parent, so we have strong (yet divergent — I’m again in the middle) opinions about how much emotion and self-interest parents deserve.

    • Anonymous says:

      My parents had a “everyone gets to pick one activity” policy on vacations. (And daily scheduled down time.) If it was a very long trip we might each get two (there were three kids and each parent also got an activity). These activities were usually aside from whatever the point of the trip was (ie if we were going to a wedding, the wedding did not count as anyone’s activity). By the time I was old enough to remember, there was very little complaining on other people’s activities, because they could ruin yours.

      Why don’t you get her and dad to research some activities for the trip (including the pool) and put the schedule together with her. X, Y, and Z are non-negotiable (why we’re going on the trip) and then look at the rest of the time. Insist you and dad get to pick one family activity and try to get her to find an activity for the baby (if she has to advocate for the baby, she may feel more like it’s “kids” vs. “grownups” rather than “her and dad” vs “s-mom and baby, she may also be more engaged with making baby happy during that activity to prove that she’s good at picking activities.). Then make a color coded schedule (I would have it be simply “breakfast,” “morning,” “lunch,” “afternoon,” “dinner,” “evening,” and not hours.) Make it clear when baby (and you) have to bow out for naps etc. And then put her in charge of the schedule. Putting a kid in charge of a map or schedule generally made it that kid more compliant (and bossy) about a disliked activity.

      If your hotel pool opens early enough, let her go there before breakfast every morning. Bring a kitchen timer (a wind up one) for an hour of swim — make it a big deal that you’re getting her as MUCH pool time as possible (without it actually changing your schedule.)

      • The schedule is a really good idea. She and I already went to dinner last week with a list of my husband’s and my suggestions — that’s why I know there’s only one activity she objects to (and other pitfalls I’m managing through things like requiring comfy shoes). But the combo of a schedule and her watch, plus the map, may be enough to get her on board. Especially if I put her in charge of getting us to certain points on the map by certain times.

  6. I really love the Breton nursing tops from Jojo Maman Bebe. They are great for layering under a blazer. I have liked wearing nursing tops for pumping. A non-nursing top I LOVE is the Pleione wrap top that has been featured on here before. Downside is that if you wear it with baby, it’s easy for it to unsnap. I have been thinking about taking it to the tailor for assistance with that.

  7. Toddler and Hotel Bed? says:

    Any tips for getting a 20 month old toddler to sleep in a queen size bed in a hotel room? Son sleeps in his crib and only his crib. He has never successfully slept for more than 30 minutes in a PNP and even naps are in his crib as he’s home with family during the day. We’re embarking on our second ever trip away with him. The first was when he was 12 months. PNP was a disaster and he slept with us. He’s now bigger and I am pregnant again so sleeping with him sounds even less appealing than it did the first time. When I booked our room, I requested a crib but missed the part where it said crib OR PNP. When I confirmed hotel over the weekend, I learned they have PNPs only.

    We are literally on our way, so no prep time! We have a suite style room with 2 queen beds and the main living area is totally separate. It’s only two nights. We have no intention of even attempting the PNP but I have dreams of him sleeping in one of the queen beds while we sit in the other room and enjoy being awake past 7:30.

    We have his favorite stuffed animal, books, blankets, etc. and plan to barricade him with pillows and blankets. Is this the impossible dream or is there a chance it’ll work?

    • We’ve done this a lot with my toddler when we travel. It takes him a little longer to fall asleep, and usually one (or both) of us have to cuddle him until he drifts off. But once he’s asleep, he stays asleep. I think he actually likes it better because of the bedtime cuddles!

    • Blueberry says:

      Probably not something you’re entertaining at this point, but we had success with a little travel tent at that age. Have you tried a PNP since the trip at 12 months? A lot may have changed since then.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ask house keeping for extra towels. Roll lengthwise and put under sheet as a barrier to help him avoid falling off. I’ve also set up an ironing board between the bed and the wall (happen to fit the space exactly). You can put the PNP on the other side of the bed so he’ll roll into that if he falls off despite barriers. PNP is useful for containing him in a non-baby proofed room to play with toys while you get ready in the mornings.

      Sleep with a receiving blanket before you go for a few days. It will absorb your smell and comfort him in the new bed. Try lying down with him until he falls asleep and then sneak out. If he wakes up, tell him you just got up to pee, lie down with him until he falls asleep again, and then sneak out.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I was going to suggest exactly this – my kiddo howled if I put her in a PNP. But slip a few bolster pillows under the fitted sheet or roll up towels as suggested above and let her sleep in the queen bed, and she’d sleep like a rock.

    • He might like it – those pack and play mattresses are like sleeping on a board, so maybe the plushness will work for him. If all else fails you can like down with him until he falls asleep at night.

    • (was) due in june says:

      If you’re going to a major city, you can rent cribs, along with strollers and toys and whatever else you might use. They’ll pick up and drop off.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      The way we did it was to have dad cuddle the kid to sleep in the queen bed, then sneak out to the extent possible. Kid stays asleep in there.

      • Anonymous says:

        At that age my kiddo would roll out of a queen bed in the middle of the night, so that wouldn’t work. When we visit grandma we just pull the quilt and the pillow off the big bed and make a little toddler “bed” on the floor.

  8. Update on my mom’s visit as I asked for advice on projects a few weeks ago.

    We’ve had such a nice time thus far – she’s sorted all the baby clothes and stuff, and did an Amazon order of all the hospital bag / baby essentials. She’s been making lovely healthy meals and nibbles and I’m eating a bit more which was very much needed.

    Baby decided to put on a show for grandma this morning and kicked and kicked and nuzzled her hand and we’re enjoying hanging out. I have to go in for an extra scan on Thursday so she’s able to come along and get a peek at baby.

  9. Walnut says:

    Any rec’s for a tandem double jogging stroller? My spin around the internet make this seem like a unicorn stroller. I’ll have a newborn and a 20 month old and live in a neighborhood with uneven sidewalks and frequent need to curb hop, so the massive jogging style wheels have been a godsend on my single stroller.

    If not a tandem, are there are narrower-style double jogging strollers? Any of these that have a shot in heck at folding down enough to fit inside of a compact car trunk?

    Any double strollers to just straight up avoid?

    • Blueberry says:

      I’ve never seen a tandem jogging stroller. I don’t know the personality of your 20-month-old, but I never really considered a tandem because it was very clear that my older kid would hate sitting in the back. Unless you are in a very tight, urban space, I think a non-tandem double stroller is fine. Everyone in my neighborhood seems to have the BOB double stroller. I think it would fit in a compact car trunk but can’t say for sure. I got the Ironman version, because I wanted a handbrake for running down hills, and it is a bit better for running, but I am frustrated that it is on a fixed wheel, so you have to push down to turn it. I wouldn’t recommend that over the regular one unless you are a very serious runner and strong enough to bear down on it hard enough to turn without trouble (my husband has no problem with it, but it’s annoying for me, and I’m a reasonably strong 5’9″). I saw one made by Thule that looked nice but I never researched it because I already had the BOB.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Do you want an actual jogging stroller, or just something with jogging style wheels? The Mountain Buggy +one looks really interesting, but I don’t think it’s an actual jogging stroller.

      • Walnut says:

        Just the jogging style wheels are fine. Actual jogging is a pipe dream right now.

      • EB0220 says:

        We LOVE our Mountain Buggy (we have the Terrain). Considered the +1 when we had our second, but ultimately decided to save the $ and just wear one kid while pushing the other (if necessary). I would definitely go with the +1 if I wanted to get a stroller for two, though.

      • Mountain buggy duet is great for light jogging and general use. I’ve fit it in the trunk of a Honda fit but it is heavy to get in and out of the car
        For real running, the Thule is great but it’s too big to be a great every day stroller

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you want to jog with it or do you want something good on trails/uneven surfaces?

      For jogging – Bob Double

      For trails/uneven surfaces, have a look at Mountain Buggy, Stroll-Air (nice because both seats can rearface), or Bumbleride Indie Twin/Double (I forget the name). MB and Stroll-Air will fit though any standard doorframe and all three options will take a car seat + stroller seat.

      • Walnut says:

        One of the Bumbleride Indie’s is up for sale in my neighborhood on Craigslist right now. I’ll take a look at it.

    • Not a tandem, but what about the Bumbleride? I can’t speak to their double, but their single jogging stroller is pretty outstanding.

    • We have a BOB bike trailer that we have put the jogging stroller attachment on – ours is the Solo, but I know they have a range of double stroller options. Would that work? And you’d have a bike trailer to boot!

    • Momata says:

      We have the City Mini GT with the bigger wheels and love it. It fits through regular sized doors and the bigger wheels handle curbs wonderfully. Plus the backs recline almost totally flat, so for my baby I rolled up a towel and sort of made a bassinet around him until he was ready to sit up. It fits in my A6 trunk and I think would fit in a smaller trunk as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      My friend loves the Phil & Ted’s double jogger “Sport” (I’m seeing it for $500 @ Target). She got it from a garage sale, and I think her model was originally a Costco special, so maybe not exactly the “sport” model.

      It’s tiny, for a double!

  10. dc anon says:

    What did you pack in your hospital bag? This is my second, so I should know this, but I really cant remember.
    Also what kind of gift did the baby “bring” for your toddler?

    • Granola bars. Chocolate. Chargers for phones. A soft robe and nursing tank and pajama pants. My Kindle (ha!). Shower shoes. An outfit to wear home. Some light makeup for the photos on the way home (not sure I wore it though).

    • NewMomAnon says:

      What I did bring: a bunch of aspirational clothes (jeans, sweaters, pajamas), a digital camera, two novels, phone charger, and a grocery bag full of food (box of cereal, clementines, chocolate, pretzels, granola bars).

      What I should have brought: the food (of course) but with something satisfying and meal-like (single serving beef stew, for instance), phone charger, nursing tanks/tops in a bunch of sizes, yoga pants, cardigans, TOILETRIES (my hospital didn’t provide them), n*pple cream (my kingdom for some Lansinoh…), slippers. Clothes for baby. Maybe a nail clipper for baby too.

      • AwayEmily says:

        This is smart advice. I should have brought more comfy clothes than I actually did. Normally I am fine with wearing the same pair of pajama pants for 24 hours, but post-childbirth that was not really an option, especially given my insane night sweats — I ended up needing to change 2 – 3 times a day, and finally sent my husband home to get more PJ pants and tops.

        May I recommend button-down flannel shirts? Great for nursing, and also cozy.

    • Blueberry says:

      In addition to what’s listed above, dried prunes (sorry if this is tmi, but I was terrified of pooping after a rather bad tear) and dry shampoo! I never felt up to taking a shower in the shared shower room in the hospital…

      My toddler got a toy camera and mini photo album for pictures of the new baby and anything else. He was very into pictures at the time, but he didn’t really put these to use.

      • October says:

        Your hospital hopefully should give you Colace, but you may want to pack some just in case, for the abovementioned issue. Very effective.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      I had an emergency-C, which of course I hope is not your outcome! But it made wearing some of the pants I had brought awkward — they had seams or something right where the scar was. Anyway, consider a night gown or something like that, or at least a variety of pants choices, so you have options.

    • I brought a robe, yoga pants, nursing tanks, slippers with rubber-soled bottoms, my own ice packs, Lansinoh, depends, phone charger, stuff to shower (didn’t bother to wash my hair), make up, and stool softener.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      Toiletries. A hair dryer and dry shampoo. A big comfy wrap sweater (which I wore over my hospital gown the first day and night). Comfy clothes to wear home. Nursing bras. A pair of Ugg boots, as my feet always swell up badly from the fluids and I can’t fit in the shoes I wear to the hospital. I didn’t bring any food or snacks. Between the sprite and graham crackers offered by the nurses, the three mails a day, plus sending DH out for food/coffee/snacks, I didn’t need to.

      We got our LO an American Girl Bitty Baby that came with its own bottle and some baby clothes.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        My kiddo was born at 8 pm and we didn’t get to the recovery room until after 11 pm – room service closed at 10 and I was STARVING. Kiddo’s dad wasn’t functional to go find food, so I ended up eating cold cereal straight from the box until the hospital kitchen opened at 6 am the next morning (my food arrived at 6:38 am, which was apparently important enough that I remember it even though I can’t remember the exact time kiddo was born). I’m pretty sure that box of cereal is the only reason I didn’t murder kiddo’s dad right there in the recovery room. Moral of the story: bring food, it may save you from a lengthy prison sentence.

        • avocado says:

          Room service??? My hospital only served food at scheduled mealtimes, so after my evening delivery all I got was graham crackers in peanut butter. Breakfast came while my doctor was visiting me on rounds, and I remember desperately wishing she would leave so I could eat it.

        • I really wish more hospitals would change their food policy for their maternity units. You’re not supposed to eat (much) once you go into labor, and there’s no way to predict how long your labor is going to be or when you’ll actually give birth.

          My kiddo was born at 2 pm. But Hospital had been full the night before, and they were still preparing recovery rooms. So we weren’t moved into recovery until 7 pm. At that point, dinner had already been served, and no food was available until 7 am the following morning–at which point, I would have gone 36 hours and given birth without eating. I had granola bars and chocolate, and my parents brought me food from a local restaurant. So I was fine, but I’m still angry for people who have dad/relatives watching the older kids at home and/or can’t afford a restaurant meal or whatever.

      • Maddie Ross says:

        I feel like I should clarify that I have had relatively short labors both times and for some reason am not able to eat a lot after giving birth. I have been super thirsty and had a ton of water, but really only had smoothies (and a milkshake one time) and crackers to eat for about the first 24 hours. So YMMV. I guess this all depends on you and your hospital’s rules. The idea of eating a single serving of beef stew as someone suggested above would have made me vomit after-birth.

    • My one regret is that I REALLY wish I had packed a cute outfit for baby. Instead, he wore a plan blue onesie and socks.

    • Momata says:

      Toiletries, stool softener for that first postpartum BM, fuzzy socks, black yoga pants, protein shakes, a comfy wrap sweater, toiletries, hand cream, chapstick, earplugs, snacks for your partner so (s)he doesn’t have to leave you to go get fed, n!pple cream. Cute outfit for the baby to go home. Big sister (20m) got a new puzzle.

    • mascot says:

      I hated the thick pads/mesh underwear so I sent my mom out to get some thinner pads and cheap cotton undies along with stool softeners and medicine for my reflux. Also, filling snacks were a must. I remember sitting in my room counting down the minutes until I could order breakfast.
      I also washed my hair and put on makeup/real pajamas which made me feel much more comfortable for the inevitable visitors and photos.

    • ElisaR says:

      The most important thing I brought to the hospital was slippers I didn’t care about. You need to wear slippers when walking around the hospital and you’re going to want to throw them out afterwards. (Think about the germs that travel on doctors/nurses shoes all around the hospital)

    • Anonymous says:

      Sleep mask! Flip flops. Nipple cream. Reusable bra pads and double stick clothing tape.

      It was the last time I got a really good shower for months, so I’m shocked at how few people showered. I bought myself fancy travel spa toiletries.

      +1 to colace, wish I’d had that. Also, I found regular pads to be much more absorbent than the “maternity” ones. A box of super double plus (or whatever) at home next time.

      My mother in law brought me a dozen apples (I asked for them) after I had the baby. I ate two or three a day in the hospital. All I wanted was fruit.

    • Anonymous says:

      All of the above are great. The best thing we brought was a ton of food/snacks and drinks in a cooler. Hospital kitchen was closed. My husband went out to Whole Foods for an actual meal but the snacks were key in getting my blood sugar up after bleeding a lot. Also – bring more than one pair of pants for the trip home in case you pee your pants like I did! Ended up wearing DHs sweatpants home haha

  11. AwayEmily says:

    I have this shirt. It is quite nice, though a warning: it runs VERY big.

  12. Wedding Pumper says:

    Hi! I wanted to report how our wedding went this weekend.

    We had to leave our baby around noon, nursed him before I left. After the church I went to pump in a family members hotel room. Then at the venue I asked the catering manager and they allows me to pump in their office. It was clean, private and her staff member was outside the door waiting for me to finish. I didn’t feel rushed. I puked about every 4 hours which is my normal schedule with the baby.

    I had called the venue and emailed ahead of time but they didn’t answer me.

    It worked out well to have my nursing cover with me just in case I did get walked in on. Ii did save the milk…. when we got home baby was asleep so I pumped again and got almost nothing. Nurses like usual in the middle of the night. Over the course of the day had 3 glasses of wine but always felt fine since it was so drawn out. Kept the milk!

    Thanks again!!

  13. ATLien says:

    Paging whoever recommended this blouse (or others in the know): have you tried the white? A professional white blouse without buttons is the holy grail but everything is sheer! Let us know what colors you have and like

    • Maddie Ross says:

      I’ve tried it – it’s sheer-ish. I’ve worn successfully tucked in with a nude for me bra, but if I leave it out I need to wear a cami underneath.

      • ATLien says:

        Huh – I usually feel the opposite way, like if it’s tucked or tighter I need a cami moreso than if I leave it loose. At $15 this seems like worth a try. Thanks!

        • Maddie Ross says:

          I think it’s something about the way it moves that makes me feel like a cami is necessary when not tucked. Also, the side slits come up really high on your waist, which is masked somewhat when tucked, but can cause some skin to peek through when untucked.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What do you do about kids and social media? Expecting a baby soon and if it were up to me, there would not be digital images of my daughter anywhere online until she’s old enough to post them herself, but I realize this is probably unrealistic. Husband and I will probably share a handful of photos on Facebook to announce her birth and mark subsequent milestones such as Mother’s/Father’s Day and her birthdays, but we don’t anticipate sharing photos online regularly. I’m not enthusiastic about my parents, siblings or sister-in-law putting any photos of her on their Facebook pages (parents-in-law don’t have social media pages). First grandchild/niece for all of them. It seems hypocritical to tell them not to do it if we’re doing it but a) we know exactly who can see our photos and there are no strangers on our Facebook friends list whereas I have no idea who can see our family member’s photos and even if they’re all friends-only they’re certainly visible to a lot of people my husband and I don’t know and b) we are going to be extremely selective about what we post, while I feel that my mom and SIL especially will go crazy and upload hundreds of pictures a month – giving them a blanket “you can’t post any photos” seems like an easier line to draw than “you can post one photo every three months” or whatever. And I know I don’t have to worry about this for a few years, but will I totally ostracize my kid if I ask her classmates’ parents not to put photos of her on social media?

    • AwayEmily says:

      I would not stress about it until you actually see what happens. Maybe your family will be super responsive (and they will DEFINITELY be more open to following your requests when you just had a baby — a very good time to ask for things!). And maybe you will turn out to care a lot less than you thought you would.

      This may not work if you are a very Facebook-centered person, but we have a private Instagram account for our baby (ie, I only give access to people we know personally). Instagram photos aren’t downloadable or shareable, and I don’t post any photos to Facebook. So, even if my in-laws wanted to post lots of photos to FB, they wouldn’t be able to.

    • avocado says:

      I wouldn’t worry too much about it. I am not on FB and my husband reads but does not post. Family members have posted photos they’ve taken of our daughter only a handful of times, and since she doesn’t have an account they get “tagged” with my husband’s name instead of hers. Many kids’ activities ask parents to sign a release giving permission to post photos, which you can decline. A couple of my kid’s activities have posted group photos without names, which doesn’t bother me much.

      What I do worry about is what her friends are doing on Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever other apps the youth are currently using. She does not have social media access, but most of her friends have cell phones with social media enabled and I am sure they are taking selfies together. For you, this is so far in the future that who knows what the social media environment will look like at that point.

    • I’ve posted about this before, but for the first year of my son’s life we posted a lot of photos of him on social media. When he was around a year old a former caregiver who had some mental health issues posted a photo of him on her own page without our knowledge and we were pretty creeped out by it. We were able to get her to take it down, but we decided to quit posting photos publicly from that point on and asked family not to post anything either. We have a private FB page where we post photos and videos for family members and close friends, and it has a description asking people not to post/share photos on their own page. He is still young so we don’t deal a whole lot with his friend’s parents posting photos of him, but we have mentioned to most people in our lives that we don’t post photos of him on social media and people are pretty respectful of it. I don’t make a big deal if someone posts a photo of him in a group (like a photo of all the cousins), I just ask them not to tag us in it.

    • I have a family member who started a Tiny Beans account to share baby photos, and it has worked well. She invited close family members to the account, and I think she did it to keep pictures of her son off of facebook. The beauty of the app is that it’s *like* Facebook, in that you can like and comment on photos, but it’s only limited to people who have the account information. She shared the account information via email with a brief explanation, and I think people have been respectful of it (something like “We are so excited to share pictures of Baby! We’d prefer to keep his and our embarrassing antics out of the public view, so rather than posting any photos on Facebook or Instagram, follow along with us here!”). I think it has kept the number of re-posts or sharing photos down, which I’ve seen happen from private Facebook groups, as you’d have to actually download the pictures and post them separately.

    • Walnut says:

      I did not post any photos or references to my kid on facebook until he was about six months old and now only do so sparingly. I simply asked family if they would respect my wishes for minimal social media presence. As an alternative, I try to text photos to family via group text messages often. My Mom and MIL get physical copies of photos and photo books whenever I make them for myself.

    • October says:

      Nothing you post online is secure, even if you think you have locked up FB privacy settings. Anyone can screenshot and share anything, and Google can dig up pretty much anything. So, I don’t put much stake in the “my photos are secure but other people’s aren’t” argument. I post pics of my son sparingly, and even though many of my family members are very facebook-centric, they also rarely post pictures of him. T ones they do are usually with other family members, during holidays and get togethers, etc. Basically, it just hasn’t been a big deal, and I agree with other posters that you are borrowing tomorrow’s problems — see how it plays out after baby is born. I have some general ground rules — nothing in a state of undress, nothing embarrassing — and everyone abides by them. This is a digital society, like it or not. Your kid is going to end up online, and I personally think that safety concerns are overblown.

  15. momoftwins says:

    Pumping Tuesday prompts me to ask: When did you stop or cut back on pumping at work?

    My twins are 8 months old, and I’m pumping 4x/day (3x at work plus once in the middle of the night) to fill their bottles while I’m at work. I’m fortunate to have my own office to pump in and just enough supply to feed my littles, but I’m finding it incredibly time-consuming, draining, and exhausting. Yet I can’t quite give myself permission to stop. I don’t judge others for using or supplementing with formula (and, in fact, I myself was combo fed), but I worry that I will judge myself if I stop or cut back now when I could keep going until 1 year.

    • Anonymous says:


      Give yourself permission. It’s okay to stop. It’s okay to slow down. You’ve done AMAZING. It’s the presence of BM not that absence of formula that counts. Try switching to pumping twice a day but pump an extra 5 minutes at a time. That means your total pumping time only drops by ten minutes but you only have to pump twice a day at work. Around 9 months was the time on all three of my kids that they started eating enough that they didn’t need as much BM anymore.

      Signed, Also a Mom of Twins.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I dropped to 1x at work at 10 months (and started supplementing with formula during the day), stopped pumping altogether at a year (just did AM/PM) and we just weaned entirely (she’s 14 months). In retrospect I wish I had dropped to 1x at 8 months. I was really worried about my supply tanking if I dropped daytime pumps, but my sense is that that was really misguided. If you’ve made it to 8 months, your supply is fine. Your body will adjust, even if that means making a lot of milk in the AM and PM and not much during the day. That’s what happened to me — I had no problem keeping up my AM and PM feeds, and my life was a million times easier. The advice on here about “the presence of bmilk is what’s important” made a huge mental difference to me, so thanks to everyone who emphasized that. She was still getting plenty from me, and I was a much happier mom.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      I stopped at 6 months. That was as long as I could stand.

    • I didn’t stop until 13ish months, but I only pumped 2x a day at work, often 1x – I just pumped enough to get the milk I needed, or until I got tired of it I think (foggy memories).. It didn’t seem to affect my output that much. But I was only nursing 1 baby and was blessed with an abundant supply until 8 months or so. In hindsight, I really wished I hadn’t worried about getting all that milk pumped – stopping pumping was basically the best milestone of early motherhood ever. So I encourage you to do what you are comfortable with. In a couple years, the details are not going to matter to you very much.

    • I just dropped to two pumps at 7 months and one pump about two months ago when he was 9 months. I’m supplementing some from the freezer as the amount I pump in one session varies. I felt like I was pumping all the time and I wasn’t getting up at night to pump! Do it for you – it’s a huge relief.

    • I didn’t cut back on pumping until 10 or 11 months, but I wish I had cut back earlier. Not convinced at all that breast milk until one year was worth the amount of time spent pumping. When I finally weaned, I realized I had forgotten what freedom felt like.

    • As a twin mom, I wholeheartedly give you my permission! I started tapering down around that time and wish I did it sooner. Nursing/pumping for multiples is no joke. I feel like I’m still recovering from my year of being a milk machine (down to once a day at the very end).

    • lucy stone says:

      I dropped to one pump at work at around 8 months. I have not seen a drop in supply and it’s been awesome. That said, I have an oversupply so this may not work for everyone.

  16. Spirograph says:

    I’m down to 2x per day, once during work, once after kiddos’ bedtime, at 9 months. I nurse whenever it’s convenient. No rhyme or reason to any of it anymore. I think I cut back to one pumping session at work around this time with the previous kids, too. I’m just over it. My freezer stash has been gone for months, so I top off bottles with formula, give some straight formula ones, whatever it takes to get the baby fed, and I don’t lose sleep over any of it. I fully weaned the older kids around 1 year and plan to do the same again.

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