Nursing Tuesday: Nursing Tank

Yummie by Heather Thomson Nursing Tank | CorporetteMomsI’ve been eyeing this nursing tank, and may pull the trigger, even though the end feels like it’s in sight (Harrison is almost 8 months, and the plan was to nurse him for a year). I haven’t been super happy with other nursing/shapewear tanks I’ve tried, but this one seems to be missing the issues those present. One of the other ones I swear gives me plugged ducts every time, and yet another one doesn’t have the straps “anchored” in any way so when I release the clasp to nurse, the strap ends up somewhere down my back, leaving me to do a bit of a crazy dance when I’m done. This one is $68, and available in white and black at Nordstrom. Yummie by Heather Thomson Nursing Tank

Comments

  1. This raises an interesting question for me: nursing goals. Do most people set them? Did you end up meeting them?

    Personally, I set a goal of nursing/pumping for 6 months. We are at 9 months now and still going with some formula supplementation to make up for a dropped pumping session (went from 3 to 2 per day). This is my first child, and I ended up liking nursing a lot more than I thought I would, so now my goal of making it to six months has turned into me telling myself “you have to wean, or at least stop pumping by 1 year.” I’m lucky in that I have never had any major issues with nursing (except for milk blisters, ouch!), but that means that making these decisions is turning out to be a lot harder than I thought!

    • I had the vague goal of nursing/pumping for 1 year. At around six months, my supply started to decrease, so we started supplementing with formula until I weaned at 11 months. Toward the end, baby was probably getting 2/3 of her liquid from formula and only 1/3 from pumped BR/nursing. I weaned at 11 mos because my husband and I were spending 2 days away from the baby and I did not want to have to pump, but also because baby was doing just fine with formula and was not attached to nursing versus bottle feeding. I have to say, while the experience of nursing was positive (and I will do so again if/when baby #2 arrives), I really enjoyed having my body back to myself once I weaned her.

    • Artemis says:

      First of all, congratulations for making it to 9 months! That is awesome!
      With both of my kids, I set a goal of nursing for one year because of the general information I read that nursing up to one year provides the maximum benefits, if I made it to one year exclusively nursing I wouldn’t have to use formula and could just switch to regular milk (I have nothing against formula except that I’m cheap!), and that was the age I was comfortable nursing up until (again, I know lots of moms who nurse past 1 year which is great, just not for me).
      I made it with both of my kids (even though the start of the nursing relationship was very difficult with my first), although I ended up having enough frozen stash that I was able to stop pumping at work at about 9-10 months for both of them, and also because after talking to many friends who did so and realizing that fortunately, my kids appeared to have no allergies, I switched both of them to whole cow’s milk for their afternoon bottle at about 10 months with no issues (I continued nursing morning and evening and all feedings on weekends). If you’re comfortable with it and you discuss it with your pediatrician, you might be interested in switching your baby to cow’s milk or another type of milk in another month or so, unless you and your baby really favor the formula for any number of reasons (again, I’m cheap).
      I think I’m an oddball in that nursing became relatively easy for me, as did pumping, and my husband was very supportive, but I just didn’t like it that much. I didn’t hate it, but I viewed it as my motherly obligation to do it until a year because I was physically and emotionally able to do so, rather than something I did because I loved it so much. So for both my kids, within a week after their first birthday, I stopped all nursing cold turkey (I mean, I had sort-of weaned them down) and none of us ever looked back or had any issues.

      • I was similar, with nursing not being particularly difficult (though my supply was always low enough that we had to supplement – I suppose that I could have done more to try to increase it, though), but not liking it that much. I just never got the great connection and wonderment that people seem to associate with it.

        My (non-)goal was always to just try it and see what I want to do – I ended up nursing for about 6 weeks, then weaning to formula before going back to work. I’m happy with that and will probably do it again for this next one.

      • Thank you both for saying this — I don’t really love nursing and it’s so nice to hear I’m not the only one. Baby is just six weeks now and nursing is going ok, but it just isn’t the magical bonding experience that I had heard about. I definitely feel like it’s more in the motherly obligation category.

        I guess my unofficial goal is to nurse until I go back to work around 14 weeks, and then maybe do some pumping and start supplementing with formula. But who knows. Just trying to take it week by week and not stress about it.

        • I think that that’s the right attitude, RDC. I’ll add that my pediatrician said that he thinks that the most benefits really come from doing it the first few weeks, so there’s no real harm in just doing that. (I’m fairly certain that there’s no real harm in not doing it at all, really.)

          For me, I felt more bonding when I was bottle-feeding – I could look directly at his face (rather than it being turned) and it was just relaxing to sit with him.

        • CPA Lady says:

          I agree with Lyssa… honestly, I started enjoying nursing only after I began supplementing with formula. I wish there weren’t such a stigma about formula and about combo feeding, especially since my experience with combo feeding has led me to nurse and plan to nurse a lot longer than I had originally thought I would.

          Once I stopped feeling so obligated and so tied down and solely responsible for providing sustenance, nursing became more of a pleasure and less of a chore.

        • Artemis says:

          RDC, I agree with your approach too . . . when any of my friends/acquaintances ask me about nursing, I always tell them my ambivalent feelings about it. I feel that there are so many things moms don’t share with each other out of fear of how it’s going to be received! But I figure my honesty will 1) prepare others in case they feel that way too, so they don’t feel so alone, and 2) prove that feeling that way is not a barrier to achieving whatever nursing goals you set before feeling that way, if everything else is working. You’ve made it six weeks, maybe you’ll make it 14 weeks, maybe more, all are awesome–but also, for what it’s worth, I think being relaxed about it, like you are, and not stressing about how it’s going or how you’re supposed to feel about it can actually help you nurse longer if you want to.

    • Congrats on making it so long!

      I had a 6 month nursing/pumping goal with both my kids. For both, though, they also always supplemented some (whether a tiny bit or more) with formula, so I wasn’t EBF.

      With my first son, I easily made it to six months nursing and pumping. Then, a series of unexpected life occurrences happened and I ended up traveling for most of a month, including weekends. I used that time to wean and to stop pumping. When my oldest was 9 months, I got pregnant again (wheee!). I had another plan to nurse/pump for 6 months, but it took a lot more effort. At 5ish months, I ended up having to take a medication for 14 days that would prevent me from nursing or giving pumped milk to my son, so I used that as my excuse to wean.

      I did enjoy nursing a lot, especially right before bedtime. But I hated pumping and hated that I lived my life on a 4-hour timer. And since I had essentially been pregnant or nursing for over two years at that point, I was pretty ready to have my body back to myself.

    • quailison says:

      My “goal” is to nurse until about 6 months, when I start my first job in August (I’m due early February with my first). I’m playing it by ear to see how it goes before I psychologically commit to pumping at work. I’m currently in law school so shouldn’t have to go more than 2 hours – my longest class – between feedings, and during bar study this summer I can take breaks whenever.

      On that note, when did those of you who pumped when you went back to work buy a breast pump? Did you rent or buy? Did you use the pump at all on maternity leave? I have all of these “registry completion” coupons which I could use, but am hesitant to commit when I don’t know 1) if I want to pump at work (or just switch to formula at that point, or before if I’m miserable) or 2) what model will be best for my hypothetical needs.

      And if you took the bar exam while nursing, is using an electric pump pretty much mandatory with the breaks they may or may not give you?

      • Mrs. Jones says:

        I rented a breast pump. I used it for the first month after birth, when son wouldn’t latch on. Then I used it when I went back to work at 10.5 weeks. I nursed for 7 months and used an upcoming vacation as my excuse to wean. I HATED pumping while working SO MUCH. If I had a second child, I would nurse for about 8 weeks and then wean, to avoid going back to work and pumping.

        • quailison says:

          That’s a good point that there might be a medical/practical need to get a pump earlier than expected. Thanks for the input!

      • I felt the same way about spending money on a pump when theoretically I could have not been able to breastfeed at all. On the advice of my midwife, I ended up getting one when my baby was a week overdue to try to induce labor (this did not work). I was happy to have it during my maternity leave, though. I was able to pump and leave the baby for doctor’s appointments and a couple of weddings. I also did some pumping in the last weeks of my leave to try to build up a freezer stash before returning to work, and I was also glad that I had some familiarity with the pump before I started pumping at work. So I guess if I were doing it over again, I would probably get the pump during leave, once I knew that breastfeeding was going to work for me.

        • quailison says:

          The thought of inducing labor with a pump is giving me the heebie-jeebies, but in a few weeks it will probably sound like a great idea (as in anything would be a great idea just to do something…). I hadn’t thought about things like weddings so that’s super helpful. And I guess if I do decide to pump at work I could get one at the latest a month before to get used to it, if I haven’t gotten one already. Thanks!

      • Artemis says:

        Congratulations! And best wishes with your delivery–and the bar exam!

        On your pumping questions, I bought a Medela Pump-In-Style before my first was born and it’s made it through two years of pumping for two kids. I hate pumping but love that pump.

        I did use the pump on maternity leave. My lactation consultant advised me, since my kids were going to daycare, to introduce a bottle at about 3 weeks and give one bottle a day until about 10 weeks, when I should try for two bottles a day (I took 12 weeks of leave).

        So, for the one bottle a day, at first I had to pump and then have my husband feed the baby the bottle. I was lucky to build up a little stash quickly, so then I could pump at the exact same time my husband was feeding baby the bottle. When we moved up to two bottles, my husband still did one, but I had to do the other one during the day, which obviously took longer–I had to feed and then pump or the reverse (because I had a stash).

        One of the best things I did to alleviate any supply issues/stress when my kiddos went to daycare was, when my babies were both around 6 weeks old, I would nurse them first thing in the morning and then immediately pump, since that is when I had the most supply. This pumping session was purely for freezer-stash purposes. It kept my supply going strong and meant that when my kids started daycare, I already had a really good freezer stash of milk and never really got to the point where I was going day-to-day with milk supply. I think it also sort of primed my body for getting used to pumping at work. It was a bit of a pain but so worth it in the end. If you have good supply and have established a good nursing relationship before your maternity leave ends, I highly recommend instituting this morning pumping session for yourself.

        • quailison says:

          Thanks for the stash advice – if breastfeeding works well that is exactly the sort of thing I would like to theoretically do. My husband is taking six months of paternity leave so giving him some bottle time would be great for everyone, and if it helps with supply all the better. The last thing I want is to try to transition to day care + majority pumping + bottle + new job/bar exam + husband back to work at the same time and have it all crash and burn.

          • If your husband gives the baby the bottle at bedtime and put the baby to bed at least some of the time, you can set yourselves up for an easier time leaving the baby with family or a sitter for the occasional date night. And you can take the opportunity to unwind at the end of the day (and maybe have a glass of wine.)

      • Anonyc says:

        I did buy a breast pump (Medela pump in style) before I went back to work and did use it both at home and at work. I also have a Medela manual which I used a lot as well. I left the electric pump at work and just carried bottles/parts back and forth. Now it seems like you should be able to get a pump through insurance at little or no cost, so why not?

        I nursed my first two kids until about 13 months, although by the end it’s just morning/night and they are not really getting a ton of nutrition/calories from nursing. Right now I’m on month 8 of baby 3, still nursing with one pump session each day. I did EBF with my first kid for 6+ months and then realized that it was too stressful to feel like I was such a major source of nutrition, so with kids 2 and 3 I’ve introduced formula around months 4/5 so I’m not ever stuck somewhere panicked that my kid has nothing to drink/eat because I’m not around (for instance, I was able to go to my book club meeting last night without worry; baby had formula and slept through the night like a boss). Once straight cow’s milk is added into the mix around one year, I feel like it’s time to wean, although I might go a little longer this time as it’s my last baby and I’m not ruling out sentimental nursing for a few months (totally for my own sappy benefit). OTOH, I’m also looking forward to physical autonomy and my kiddo has shown signs that she’s ready to ditch me and move onto more exciting things in life, so we’ll see.

        I have never really set goals in a serious way; I’ve been extremely lucky that nursing/pumping/etc. worked out with all my kids and ended up being often the easiest/path of least resistance. After I realized that a lot of the pressure I felt to nurse exclusively! for so long! was just nonsense I’d absorbed from momboard comments, etc., I adopted the attitude of what works for us (me + baby) in reality, meaning that if BFing didn’t work, cool, we’d just roll with formula.

        And as for bar exam–I brought my manual and pumped in the gross bathrooms at the Javits center. It didn’t occur to me to bring the electric and I didn’t know if I’d find a private space with an outlet. My baby was older then (7 months), so I was able to make it through a full session without b**b disaster, although I did leave before the final 15 minutes (when you’re not allowed to leave, even if you’re done) so I’d have more time to nurse and eat. (Still passed, thankfully.)

        • quailison says:

          According to the nice insurance lady on the phone, my new insurance will generously cover a manual pump, but not electric. At least I don’t have the $45 OB copays anymore, which works out to about the same amount in the end with all of these 5 minute visits.

          I like the philosophy of rolling with it and preventing panic about food. Unless you have a big stash of frozen milk it could get really stressful and I would just worry all the time.

          Hadn’t thought about outlets at the bar exam. Manual seems like the way to go as a stopgap, since baby should be 5 months and I should have the hang of BF timing by that point. Luckily my state lets you go to your car in between exams, so worst case I could pump there in quasi-privacy and silence. Lots of people eat lunch in their car just to get away from everyone.

          • I find this really surprising — I might call the insurance co again and see if a second person gives you the same answer. I got all kinds of different answers from my insurance company (although they never said only a manual pump would be covered) and in the end I just bought an electric one (Madela pump in style I think) from target and was fully reimbursed.

            That said, if they’ll really only cover a manual one, I’d go ahead and get that to start — they’re actually useful in different situations (e.g. no access to a plug). And then you can get an electric one later.

          • I agree with RDC. I’m certain that when we spoke to a consultant at the hospital, she said ACA had a list of the ones insurance companies were supposed to provide access to. I know the Medela is one of them, but then I think there was another brand as well (can’t remember b/c I knew I wanted the Medela PIS). If you don’t get the answers you want from your insurance company, you can talk to your pediatrician or a lactation consultant and they can help you figure out the ins and outs of your insurance company’s policies and make sure you get the right product.

      • Katarina says:

        A breast pump is probably 100% covered by your insurance, or close to it. I had an Ameda Pureley Yours, which was fine, although Medela’s are more popular. I did pump during maternity leave, to build a stash of milk, to introduce bottles, and to help build my supply, but next time I would be more laid back about it. I didn’t mind the act of pumping too much, but I hated how much of my work time it took up.

        • quailison says:

          Yes, I’m concerned about the time at work taken up. I’ll be clerking at a federal trial court, so will have long stretches where I don’t dictate the schedule when my judge has a trial (the rest of my at-work scheduling should be fairly flexible, though long hours at the office). I’d rather be able to get my work done and go home than be there an extra hour because I took more breaks.

          My insurance reads the breast pump requirement so that they only cover a manual pump, not an electric. If you or anyone has a way I can fight that I would love to hear it! I suppose it might be covered under an HSA as well which is at least some savings…

        • Not knowing your work situation, this may not help. But I bought a hands-free pumping [email protected] and it allows me to continue working while I’m pumping. You’ve got a few minutes set-up/tear-down time on either end, but for the 20 minutes the pump is running I can check email, read reports, run queries. I’ve even been known to answer the phone (although I wouldn’t advise it). If you can take a laptop or phone with you when you pump, or have a private office in which to pump, you may not loose as much work time as you envision.

          • Katarina says:

            I have my own office and worked while pumping, and it was still a big hit to my time. I find I am now able to bill much more for the same number of hours at work. I also only pumped twice a day for a long time. But the setup and take-down take some time, and it interrupts my work flow.

          • I also had the Medela Freesytle and worked while I pumped. I bought a mini fridge to put under my desk, set up 8 ounce bottles with the horn thingys attached when I got to work and just stuck everything in the fridge when I was done and washed stuff at night. I felt like other than walking to my door to lock it, it didn’t really take any time at all and didn’t feel like a time suck. I lost count of how many calls I took while pumping.

      • Check your health insurance. Most plans now provide one, since ACA mandates include providing a breast pump. Unless you have a grandfathered plan, you probably won’t have to buy one. I purchased one with flex money and my insurance reimbursed me the full cost less taxes.

        I ended up using mine way more than I anticipated. It took my LO 8 weeks to latch, so I was pumping the first 8 weeks when I didn’t plan to do so. I was so glad I had one – and of course it helps to have insurance coverage for it.

        I plan on bf/pumping for at least a year. My hope is to let baby self-wean, but to stop pumping at 1 yr, and offer what remains of my freezer stash in a bottle or cup during the day, and then let baby nurse at night/morning until he weans himself. But I wouldn’t call them goals, babies and bfing can be so unpredictable, I look at it more like a hopeful plan and intend to be relaxed about whatever my body and baby decide to do.

        • quailison says:

          It sounds like it might be worth it to at least budget for the expense early on in case we have latch issues or other problems, and play it by ear. Unfortunately my insurance only covers a manual pump, not an electric. I’m going to double check but I think I’m stuck with that crummy interpretation of the ACA…

          Flexibility seems to be key for all of this for sure! Sounds like you had a good experience though once you got past the 8 weeks if you are even considering a year.

          • Yes – getting through those early weeks was so rough! Because I wanted to be able to get baby to latch, every feeding I had offer him the chance to nurse. This could last from 5-20 minutes. Then he still had to have a bottle. I felt like I did nothing but try to feed that baby for 8 weeks.

            Once he latched, it’s been a breeze – no problems with blisters or clogs or anything. I feel very fortunate. Being flexible has been pretty instrumental in our bfing relationship – so hopefully being prepared to be flexible will allow you to feed your child in whatever way works best for you! Good luck!

    • I set mini goals. Like “See if I can breastfeed” and then “Make it to 3 months (when I go back to work).” Then “See if pumping works” and then “Make it to 6 months.” Then 9 months, then 1 year. After 1 year, I felt like that was enough. Although pumping/nursing was easy for me and I actually somewhat enjoyed the break during the day, I was ready to give it up at 12 months, so that was the end of the goal.

      I’m a believer that you should just go with whatever works for you. If at 12 months you still enjoy pumping, and your kid is happy and healthy, why make yourself stop?

      • Mantra says:

        Yeah, exactly. “See if I can breastfeed”. “Try it for a week.” “Try it for a month.”

        It worked for us, and it saved a lot of money, thank goodness, but I am so “eh” about the whole thing. Not meeting nursing ‘goals’ or not being able to nurse does not mean failure as a mom, even sarcastically (and I love #mommyfail as a hashtag). There should not be any guilt or shame or heroics or awards tied up with nursing. It’s 1 way to feed a kid, that’s all.

      • Maddie Ross says:

        I did the same and felt much less stressed about it that way. I ended up exclusively nursing the first 10 weeks or so, introducing a bottle for around then in a limited fashion for purposes of my daughter starting daycare at 16 weeks. Then she was fed exclusively BM, either nursing or bottle at school, until 8 months or so. At 8 months, it just felt right to me to cut back on pumping at work. It took about a week to adjust, and from then on I just nursed at night and first thing in the morning. I only pumped when I was traveling for work. I had a crazy large supply from about 6 weeks post-partum until 7-8 months, so I had a huge freezer stash. When I stopped pumping, we started supplementing for formula, but still had BM for at least a couple bottles a day until baby was about 10 months or so. I kept nursing morning and night only until baby was 13 months. Frankly, at that point, I could have kept going doing that longer, but baby was starting to lose interest in nursing and I was afraid we were going to start relying on it as a crutch to get her to sleep at night. So I used a trip out of town for work as the impetus to wean. Weaning sucked (no pun intended… it was awful) for me. I seriously almost broke down went back to nursing at least once a day for two weeks, but because I realized how little baby missed it, I was able to keep from back-sliding.

        • Can I asked what sucked about weaning? Do you mean emotionally or physically or both?

          • Maddie Ross says:

            Nothing emotional, just physical. I was ready emotionally and so was my daughter. I had a horrible, painful experience weaning. Since I was only nursing morning and night, and not really for all that long, I thought my supply had decreased. While it had from the oversupply of the beginning, my body still produced a lot. I got super engorged and was afraid of getting mastitis (which I’d had twice before). I ended up having to bind my b**bs with two ace bandages and a sports bra and it still took over 2.5 weeks to stop leaking and for the engorgement to go down. I think a lot of the problem was that everything I read seemed to say it would take a week. 10 days in I lost it. It was painful and more hormonal for me than any part other of the post-partum experience.

            I don’t say this much to scare people, only to put it out there as literally no one told me. My doctor’s office laughed at me when I told them what I was going thru (sidenote – am getting a new OB).

    • CPA Lady says:

      This is a really great question that I’m struggling with too… I originally hoped to wean at 12 weeks when I went back to work, so we started supplementing with formula when she was about a month old. 12 weeks kept getting closer and closer and I totally freaked out.

      Long story short, she’ll be 4 months old in a week and a half and I’m still nursing her 3 times a day, not pumping at all. She gets formula at daycare. I nurse her first thing in the morning, right after I pick her up, and before I put her to bed. My new goal is to make it to 6 months. I don’t know if I’ll make it that long, because I’ll be working 70+ hours a week by the time she’s that old, and I just don’t see starting to pump at work at that point.

      If my supply holds out through tax season, I could see nursing her once or twice a day until she’s older than 6 months. I just get so freaked out and feel like crying when I think about weaning though, and I am not sure why. I didn’t expect to like nursing either, but here we are.

    • Yes, I did set nursing goals. My goal for my first was to exclusively breast feed or pump breastmilk for 6 months, introduce solids, and keep nursing for at least a year. I weaned at 13 months and pumped at work until about 11 months, but had enough of a stash that he got breastmilk until a year. For my second my goals were similar, but I ended up pumping at work until she was about 15 months and weaned when she was a little over 2. I didn’t mean to breastfeed that long, it just happened. One reason is that I think I get high off of breastfeeding or pumping — the oxytocin really had an effect on me so when I was in a miserable job I hated, the 3 times a day pumping was like a little vacation. Oh, and the calories. So it felt like there was a lot in it for me and that’s one reason I loved it and did it for awhile.

    • Burgher says:

      My goal was pumping/BFing for 1 year. While we did have to supplement with formula occasionally, I was able to make it. I planned on weaning at that point, but once I stopped pumping, it was easy to continue at home. I kept thinking he’d lose interest and self-wean at some point, but it hasn’t quite happened yet and he’s almost 2 1/2. He finally has almost no interest, just in time for his little brother to make his debut. With baby #2 I don’t really have a goal other than to not stress myself out about it so much this time!

    • EB0220 says:

      Interesting question, and answers! When I was pregnant with my first, I though I would see how it went. I had zero goals beyond trying to nurse. It turned out that we both loved it and didn’t have any major issues. When I made it to 6 months, I set a new goal of making it to a year. I ended up supplementing around 8 months due to supply issues and then weaned at 10 months due to some medical problems. I was very sad to wean, but I was taking some medications that were not breastfeeding-safe. With my second baby, I went in with the goal to make it to a year. I’m hopeful that we can achieve that now that my medical issue is under control. Going strong at 5 months! I do enjoy the bonding with breastfeeding, but I’m less enthusiastic about it this time. Nursing a baby while chasing after a toddler isn’t quite as relaxing as nursing a baby in her nursery while watching movies on your ipad. That being said, I love the convenience. We do a lot of traveling and there’s nothing easier than having a built-in milk supply. That’s really why I keep at it, and why my husband is so supportive.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I had hoped to nurse for a year, but gave myself flexibility to do whatever I needed. My kiddo and I ended up loving nursing, and I’m coming to the conclusion that I can’t give it up in two weeks. So I’m thinking of not pumping anymore, nursing twice a day (morning and bedtime) and giving whole milk otherwise…and seeing how long that goes. I’m thinking I won’t nurse in public since I’m only doing it twice a day anyway, but would give milk in a sippy cup if out and about, since I never liked nursing in public.

      My husband (living separate now) is not on board – he decided at 8 months in that nursing is “weird” and that he shouldn’t have to explain himself any further on that. So that’s a fight and I’m not looking forward to it.

  2. Spirograph says:

    Good morning ladies! New baby made her appearance a few days ago! we’re both doing well and I’m really glad to not be pregnant anymore.

    Question: a few of you raved about the freemie pump a while back. I already have a Medela Pump in Style from baby #1. I’m thinking of getting a second one and then buying the Freemie conversion kit (basically just hook the cups up to the Medela pump) to use with them during my commute and as practical at home. Any thoughts on conversion kit vs the whole Freemie package? Or other comments/wisdom in general?

  3. Paging POSITA says:

    How’s your nanny, and how’d drop off go?

    -Shayla

    • POSITA says:

      After all that and us packing bags last night, the nanny decided she was fine this morning and came as usual. Oh well, at least I’m better informed for next time. Thanks again all!

  4. Artemis says:

    Esteemed C-Moms, I need a gut check on car seat “expiration dates”. Any and all responses welcome.

    I’m pregnant with my third child, due in July. I just checked my infant car seat that I used for my two other kids and it expires August 2015. So, at least technically I can use it to take Baby #3 home from the hospital and for the first few weeks.

    My question: how strict are you about car seat expiration dates, and/or how do you feel about them generally?

    I can afford another infant car seat, but because I historically have only used it for 6-8 months, I’m reluctant to buy a new one. I love the infant carseat I have, and it has only ever been used by our family. It has never been in an accident, has no visible cracks in the body or wear on the straps, I’ve never washed the straps (wipe-down only), and in between uses it has been stored in our basement, which is not damp and does not have any direct sunlight (which can degrade plastic?). The bases have been stored in the same way and are similarly in very good shape from what I can tell. All the moving parts work, everything fits the way it’s supposed to in the bases, etc. etc.

    Bottom line, I’m OK with using it, but I have that nagging feeling I’m “disobeying” the “good mommy rules”. I honestly have some doubts about the true efficacy or meaning of car seat “expiration” dates assuming it’s in good shape. Also, my husband, who is always very particular about our children’s safety on many fronts, thinks it’s a bunch of hooey and doesn’t want to buy a new one.

    Are we being reasonable or unreasonable? Have others used car seats for a few months past their expiration dates, or is that an absolute no-no for reasons I’m not seeing?

    • I would use your car seat without hesitation. The only thing you didn’t mention was whether the infant seat was in the car while sitting outside, in direct sunlight, in hot weather, which I guess might also degrade the plastic. It would be a real concern in Texas (where I am), because the +100 days outside in the car would probably have an effect. But if that’s not the case, I would absolutely use it.

    • Shayla says:

      As long as there have been no recalls, and you feel confident in the structural integrity of the car seat (no accidents, not out in the car in direct sunlight like JJ says) then I would use it.

    • Burgher says:

      I’d use it, too. My understanding is that the plastic degrading is the biggest reason for the expiration, but I assume that is based on heavy use for the entire 5 years, since they can’t know how much use they will get, and safety factors and all of that. Since it was well taken care of, and only going to be used a few months after the expiration date, I’m sure you’re fine.

    • I would get a new one but that’s just a personal choice and mainly because I used our infant car seats way over a year. The car seats I purchased 2 years apart seemed so different in terms of structure and safety.

    • I’m in a similar position, and I’m a huge stickler for carseat rules (but definitely bend/break all kinds of kid rules elsewhere, so in large part I think it’s all in what you choose to focus on). I’m pregnant with #3, due at the end of June, and our infant (bucket) carseat expires in December 2015. I basically sang the hallelujah chorus because my other two babies were pretty big and we used the bucket for 6-9 months max., so I figured I’d just swap #3 into a rear facing convertible next January and call it a day. One less baby item to purchase!

      One thing to remember is that you can put a newborn (usually) in a rear-facing convertible seat pretty soon after birth if not right at birth (depending on weight). So if you were really uncomfortable using your infant carrier seat past August 2015, then you could move him/her into a RF seat in September. I don’t have a huge opinion on this myself, but I’d ask yourself how you’d feel if you were in an accident, God forbid. I’m the type to self-blame and I realize a carseat isn’t a be-all-end-all, but that if I were in a crash with an expired seat and my kid was injured, I’d jump to conclusions pretty quickly. Know thyself, I guess?

      • Katala says:

        This is a good point – I’ve been wondering if we should skip the infant bucket altogether since we don’t have a car and would use a carseat so rarely. I’m torn because of the snap into the stroller feature of the infant seat, but I would totally use a convertible in the car and the existing infant seat for the stroller. Although maybe you wouldn’t do that since you drive..
        Anyone who doesn’t have a car (city dweller, public transit mainly) have thoughts about car seats? It seems very silly to buy one I’ll use to come home from the hospital and maybe in a taxi 1x month but not really sure what the alternative would be…

        • Anonymous says:

          Suburbanite here but I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase just a RF’ing convertible if I lived in a city and was only in a car 1x/month! The click-in feature of the infant bucket is convenient, sure, but those seats don’t have a very long lifespan. As long as you have a fully-reclining stroller, you can take your newborn on a walk.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m in the same situation (due with #3 the same month that our infant seat expires) and chose to replace. The expiration date is based on the plastic degrading – and while I’m sure there’s a very healthy buffer built into that date and another ~9 mo would be fine, the What Ifs are just too great.

      Another thing to consider is that if you are in an accident and using an expired seat, it could have insurance ramifications.

      I do agree with Jen that it’s amazing how much carseats have improved over the last 5/6 years, so the price is painful but in the end I’m happy with what we got. They also seem slimmer, so it’s easier to get three across, if you are.

    • Artemis says:

      Thank you to all of you for your thoughtful replies on this subject! Actually, it makes me feel better that the replies were 50/50 . . . interesting too.

  5. Nanny Help says:

    Ugh – I am really struggling with a new nanny hire. I am headed back to work next week, and our new nanny started yesterday. I’m finding myself hyper-critical of her, and can’t tell whether it’s just the set-up or if my concerns are justified. She is an older woman, and seems to struggle going up and down the stairs with our youngest. She asked whether she can keep his infant seat in our basement, so that she doesn’t have to carry it up the (admittedly narrow) basement stairs. She doesn’t seem terribly steady on her feet, and I really worry about her keeping up with our 2 year old and keeping the baby. Also, she let the baby fuss on his activity mat while she cleaned for a bit. I don’t know – I know I hate watching other people watch my kids, and I don’t want to make any rash decisions, and so I can’t tell whether this is a gut instinct that she isn’t right, or whether I am struggling with the transition back to work and watching someone else care for my kids (older son started in daycare, and I knew it was a safe environment but I didn’t have to actually watch someone else care for him).

    I guess my question – did you feel comfortable immediately watching a nanny with your kids? Do I need to give it time? or should I trust what feels like a gut feeling that she isn’t right for our incredibly active kids and family? I just can’t imagine her taking my sons to the park or for activities, etc. her references swore she was great at taking multiple kids places, park, library, etc., but it’s just hard to watch her “in action” and imagine her doing all the activities with my guys or running after my big guy. Thoughts?

    • Newly pregnant says:

      I’m not a parent yet, so no personal experience to share. In terms of whether you’re being too critical: do you feel this way about your parents/in-laws watching your kids with you there? Your friends? Are you critical because you can see things that you would do differently or because you think what or how she is doing things is wrong or harmful to your kids?

      I’m not sure that a few hours one day is enough to judge whether she’ll be able to keep up with your kids, but I think it’s fine to look for someone else if you feel like she’s not a good fit or you didn’t get a good vibe.

    • Hi there, I did not really feel 100% comfortable with our childcare provider right off the bat either. I take my kids to an in-home daycare husband/wife. They are great with kids, and I trust them wholeheartedly now, but they are different from me and always will be. I’ve come to the opinion that no person will ever meet 100% of my preferred qualifications, but if my kids are learning and they feel safe and cared for, that matters most. Cost is also a factor too, unfortunately, but that’s life. I would give your nanny a little more time. If she still concerns you talk to her about it, you have nothing to lose. Good luck, mama, childcare stuff is hard!

  6. Anonyc says:

    I finally looked at this nursing top and I don’t understand why it’s better or different than the Gillian & O’Malley (sp?) nursing tanks at Target, which are $20, rather than $68 (!!). Am I missing something? Does this tank also do something magical? If not, I’d save my cheddar and get three or more of the cheaper tanks, as they tend to get thrown in the wash fairly frequently thanks to baby (babies! so spitty sometimes!). I mean, it looks perfectly nice, but not $68 nice.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      It actually does do something magical – it sucks in your post-partum belly. I had one of these (in black, not white, as it was on sale from amazon). It did feel like it smoothed me out and sucked things in – esp. the first few weeks. I probably wouldn’t bother investing at 8 months PP, but (a) I didn’t nurse in clothes much past that point (only jammies) and (b) I felt like my belly had gone back down as much as it ever would at that point. But to answer your question – yes, it definitely is different than the Target tanks. (Which I owned several of too and liked, but for different purposes.)

      • Yup. I wore a similar tank 4 out of 5 days a week under my clothes to work from 3 months until 6 months (when I weaned). I had a couple white tanks and then some other colors. They held me in, held my nursing pads, and made my clothes fit better over my post-partum body. For me, they were worth the price increase from the Target ones (which I slept in and would wear around the house).

        • Anonyc says:

          Huh, never considered shapewear post-partum (or at least for a good while). Related: I might be a bit of a megaslob during those first few weeks/months after the baby. I’m 8 months out now, and my tummy is more or less down to where it might always be (= a bit poochy after three kids), but I do wear high-waisted Assets tights to work most days (finally took the plunge and OMG I love these tights so hard).

          • I LIVED in my high-waisted tights when I was pregnant, so I totally understand. I even bought a maternity Spanx thing that I wore most days because it functioned more as a support belt and less as “shape wear.”

  7. Is there any point to buying nursing tanks before the baby arrives? I realize that getting fitted for a nursing bra can’t really happen, but seems that a tank is a good stop-gap for the early days.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      Yes. I took two of the aforementioned Target tanks (one regular tank, one of the sleeping ones that is a cross-over) to the hospital with me. I wore them under a robe or wrap sweater in the hospital and home. You will want something with easy access and some support. Another option is the Bravado nursing bra. It is stretchy and can accomodate a fairly significant variation in cup sizes.

      • Chiming in that the Bravado nursing bras were my favorite baby products of ALL TIME. Love love loved them.

    • I wore them in the hospital without a bra underneath. I was glad to have them in advance.

    • hoola hoopa says:

      Nursing tanks are sleep bras are what I have on hand before baby arrives. I wait to get fitted for my underwire bras, but the shelf-bra styles are flexible enough that you can guess. Anticipate 1-2 cup sizes increase when milk comes in, IME.

      If you already have a small band / large cup, then IMO you should just look at Bravado nursing tanks. I haven’t found any others that are for larger than a D or maybe DD.

    • Thanks, ladies – and thank you especially, hoola hoopa for the tip re Bravado (as I am in the small band/large cup camp).

  8. I’m 30 weeks pregnant with twins and really starting to slow down. My main problem is that I get up 3-4x per night to pee and sometimes my leg and hip go numb when I’m sleeping so I have to wake up to rollover which is a production. In summary, I “sleep” 10 hours but I certainly don’t feel like it since it’s very interrupted sleep. I had a meeting with my boss yesterday regarding where I am on my responsibilities and it looks like there’s still about 4 weeks of work left that would ideally be done before I go out. I never agreed to meet any certain milestones on this project because I can’t make any guarantees – what if I would’ve went out on bed rest early??? I’d like to approach him about reducing my hours from 40-45 a week to 30 starting next week. I don’t care how I get to 30 – vacation, unpaid, take it from my FMLA, I don’t care. I’m just worried about putting too much stress on my body. These babies are THE most important thing. I don’t want to leave my work in a pickle (not sure if I’ll be able to get all 4 weeks worth of work done before I go out completely) but there’s not much else I can do. How should I go about asking about this??? I feel like it will be met with – well, the work isn’t done so I don’t know how you expect to start working less…..

    Should I get a doctor’s note first? I don’t think my doctor would have a problem writing a letter stating that my hours need to be limited.

    • I had a really smooth twin pregnancy until about 32 wks then it went downhill fast. From 33-36 weeks I worked from home, 36 weeks went on leave and delivered 10 days later.
      In my experience, people get nervous when you are that far along with multiples. I got stares of astonishment when simply walking down the street. So they would likely be amenable to you winding down and going on leave early (getting paid for it is a different matter). I would also highly recommend working from home if you can swing it. I commuted by public transportation and the last few weeks simply walking around the block was a strain.
      Do you qualify for any short term disability insurance? If so, your doctor can maybe write you out.
      No matter how sleep deprived you get with the babies, it is so nice to comfortably sleep again! In which ever position you wish.
      Best of luck in the home stretch!

    • Tunnel says:

      I think a doctor’s note cannot hurt in this situation.

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