Washable Wednesday: Hannah Jersey Dress

This great dress has sleeves and pockets; comes in petite (2–10), regular (2–16), and long (4–18); and is available in six colors. There’s a denim color that I don’t really recommend — we’re featuring it in the navy here. It does have some seaming on the front that you should know about before you buy — it’s hard to see in the photos of the darker colors. The dress has a nice, thick ottoman rib that’s very popular at Boden, and it’s getting great reviews overall. It’s $110, but the yellow is on sale for $88. Hannah Jersey Dress

Here’s a plus-size option.

Looking for other washable workwear? See all of our recent recommendations for washable clothes for work, or check out our roundup of the best brands for washable workwear.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Please make me feel better and tell me this will all get back to ‘normal’ – I’m pregnant and am so swollen down there. Random googling makes me think I am the lucky recipient of varicose veins you know where. I didn’t even know that was a thing! Not to mention, my back spasms are just absurd lately. I really don’t know how one gets thru 4 more months of this. Between this and regular old aging, life feels like it’s just going downhill. Please tell me it gets better?

    • It does! I found the third trimester weirdly amazing (at 40 weeks, I would have happily stayed pregnant for ages) and felt good a week postpartum. I think I was exceptionally lucky (although had nausea for 41 weeks) but yes, it does get better.

    • Oh I had weird bulging down there – I think it was bulging veins – and I had forgotten about it until you posted it. DS is a year old. Feel comforted!

    • Blueberry says:

      I had this earlier in the pregnancy and now that I’m in my third trimester, it seems to be better, strangely. Bodies are so weird. Of course it’s likely to get super swollen again after the delivery, which (based on my experience) probably does *not* mean you have a prolapsed uterus requiring an emergency visit to your OB….

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I had this for the duration of my pregnancy – it was so awful. Plus my b**bs were huge and painfully sore the entire time as well. But, happy to report that everything goes back to normal! For me, it was basically immediately post-partum (minus the obvious recovery period). It’s one of those things I’m not looking forward to with a second pregnancy.

    • Cornellian says:

      Not sure where exactly you’re talking about, but I felt very swollen over my p. bone, and it turns out that is because my pelvis was separating! I ended up leaving the delivery room in a wheelchair and am not back to normal 8 months post partum :/ Read up on p. symphysis if this sounds like you.

    • Go online right now and order a V2 supporter. It is weird and awkward but it will help SO much. I didn’t know varicose veins were a thing until I was about 5 months pregnant with my second. The support belt helped tremendously.

  2. Leatty says:

    I will be returning to work in a few weeks when my daughter is 16 weeks, and I plan to pump at work. I have a pumping schedule in mind, but I am trying to figure out some logistical issues, specifically:
    1) How to transport milk – Should I transport it in the bottles I plan to send to daycare, in lanisoh bags, or do something else? I use the spectra pump with Dr. Brown wide neck bottles, so I won’t be able to pump directly into the bottles.
    2) Cooler – I will be able to store the milk in fridge at work,but I assume I will need a cooler to transport the milk since my commute (including daycare pickup) will be roughly an hour. Any suggestions for a good one? If I transport the milk in bottles, I would need a cooler large enough for four 8 oz Dr Brown wideneck bottles.
    3) breast pump tote- is it worth it to get a bag for my breast pump? If so, any favorites?
    4) hands free bra – I plan to purchase a hands free bra, but I am not sure which one would be best. The simple wishes one is popular on Amazon, but it would mean that I would need to undress from the waist up so I can pump. Has anyone successfully used the bravado one that clips onto your nursing bra with another brand’s bras?

    • 1. I liked bags because they are less bulky and weigh less and as the kid gets older and drinks more I also found them more spill proof.
      2. I used a pack it. It’s good for about 3-4 hours and def. fine for 1. They come in packs of two on amazon so you can have one for work and one for daycare.
      3. I don’t think so. I left my pump at work during the week and only took it home for the weekend. If you are pumping at home a lot, I’d say an extra pump may be a better investment or maybe borrow one from a friend and just buy new parts for it. I kept a manual medela at home for those just in case times.
      4. I don’t remember which one I used but it was about $20 on amazon and I think you’ll still need to undress regardless. I found button down shirts to be a godsend for pumping at work, specifically the AT Loft utility blouse (note: I never ever wore button downs before b/c of gaping, etc., but these were perfect). The other thing I did to feel less naked is nursing tanks. I could just pull them down and still feel somewhat covered.

    • I also used the spectra but with the medela flanges so I pumped into medela bottles. I bought the small cooler for the medela bottles (has an ice pack that’s curved to fit 4 bottles). I would pour milk from the medela bottles to Dr. Browns. I broke down and bought one of the sarah wells pump bags. I don’t think it’s necessary by any means but it’s a nice bag and though I haven’t, I could see getting other uses out of it as a gym bag or something. I also had the simple wishes bra and honestly it’s better to undress from the top up because if I didn’t I would always manage to spill some on my shirts. If you feel weird about being undressed, you can use a cover or I used an huge knitted poncho my MIL had given me for pregnancy. It was hideous but kept me warm and covered in my office. Good luck!

      • Also, since you said you have a long commute, consider pumping in the car. It’s awkward and you’ll definitely need a cover or something, but after a while you get the hang of it and it’s such a better use of time.

    • 1) How to transport milk – I had a Medela pump with Medela bottles, so was able to pump directly into the bottles. What do you pump into? If it is directly into bags, I would probably leave it in the bags, but if it is a different bottle, I would transfer it into the bottles. I found transferring from bottle-to-bottle a lot easier than bag-to-bottle, and I was always a little concerned the bags would break or leak.
      2) Cooler – My Medela pump came with a small cooler that fit 4 bottles and an ice pack. We had a fridge at work but it is far from my office and I wasn’t enthused about having to walk there and back multiple times a day, so I just kept my milk in the cooler with the ice pack during the day. It stayed cold and I never had any issues.
      3) breast pump tote- My pump came with a bag so I never had to make this decision, but if I did I would likely get a separate tote. It was nice to be able to take the tote someplace, without my full purse, and also to have a bag that fit my pump perfectly, was discrete, and had all my pumping supplies in one place.
      4) hands free bra – I used the simple wishes one. It’s true that you have to pull your shirt up/down/to the side, but I didn’t usually get completely undressed from the waist up when I pumped unless I was wearing a dress. I usually just pulled my shirt up, got everything situated, then put it back down while I pumped.

      • Boston Legal Eagle says:

        Same responses for 1,2 and 4 for me. I used the Medela pump and pumped into Medela bottles, which I then brought home and transferred to the Philips Avent bottles to give to daycare. Our pump room has a fridge so I kept the bottles in there during the day.

        I kept my pump at work and I also purchased a second one to have at home. I also kept the pump parts at work for the week and took them home only on Fridays. We also have a sink in our pump room, so I washed them that way during the week and did a deeper wash once a week at home. Made the daily transport a lot lighter. I just put the cooler in my regular backpack.

    • 1 – My daycare was okay with me sending milk in large storage bottles,, which they decanted into a smaller bottle they washed and reused for feeding. So I consolidated my milk into 2 8 oz Dr Brown’s bottles I had on hand and either pumped into them with my Medela pump or smaller bottles. I found it a bit tricky to ppour into bags without spilling so used those mostly for freezer storage. But i kept some bags at work in case I forgot the bottles or had extra or something.
      2 – I didn’t worry about temp on the commute really (30-45 min) since breast milk can be at room temp for 6 hours but I did have a little cooler bag I used to store my pump parts in the fridge at work between pumps. I kept them in a ziplock inside the cooler bag; it basically just hid the pump parts from view.
      3 – Mine came in a backpack which was nice since my other tote was usually overflowing with my other stuff.
      4 – I had a very basic one similar to simple wishes; I used it over my regular nursing bra, just unclipping the cups, so didn’t have to take that off and just pulled up my shirt.

    • I’ll bite. I think I had a really good system and it worked well for me, but YMMV.
      1) I pumped directly into bottles and transferred them that way. That way, the bottles were all made and I didn’t have to do any prep when I got home, except wash that days bottles that baby used that day. I also used the Medela PIS.
      2) I just bought a cooler lunch bag at Target and some blue ice. My LC also told me that using the larger bottles can be depressing because it is rare that you pump that much milk. My LO took roughly 4 ounces each time he fed for the entire duration of bfeeding. So I just used 5 oz bottles and they fit into the cooler bag I brought. At work, I stored the bottles in the cooler bag, in the fridge, and put the blue ice in the freezer when I got to work in the morning.
      3) Yes, I transported my pump back in forth. I only had one pump so I had to, but I had 2 sets of the plastic pieces so I could have one at work and one at home. I got a big enough bag (a diaper bag from Target) that I could fit the pump and cooler bag in it, plus wallet, phone, keys so I wouldn’t have to carry a separate purse.
      4) I used the simple wishes bra and it worked great for me. I didn’t mind stripping every time, but I did have a blanket to put around my shoulders because I got cold. This does eliminate wearing dresses, unless you can unbutton the top. That was not an issue for me.

    • PregLawyer says:

      If at all possible, I suggest getting a mini-fridge for your office (if you have an office). So much more convenient than going to the kitchen, and you can store pump parts in it in between pumping sessions. They’re super cheap on Amazon and you can just ship it right to work.

      • Delta Dawn says:

        +1 to the mini fridge– game changer. Made my life so much easier.

        • ifiknew says:

          +1 to the mini fridge. I was debating and couldn’t be more glad I have one in my office. I got the smallest Haier for ~$50 bucks.

          I use the spectra and pump into the Philips Avent bottles which are compatible without any special adapters etc. Pumping into the bottles has been easy since baby drinks from those bottles and no worry of losing milk in pouring it etc.

          I never take the pump home. I pump 3x a day and baby usually has a little leftover every day, so it’s not be an issue yet to where I need to add an additional pump at night or in the am or anything. I feed on demand basically at home and pump in office at around 9:30 or 10, 12:30 or 1, and 3:30 or 4. I leave the office at around 4 to 4:30

          I use a packit as well to transport.

          I have a lanisoh hands free bra. Put it on TOP of your nursing bra if you can. It’s easier. I haven’t changed my wardrobe much, but I pump in my office. I’m debating getting the simple wishes, so I always have one clean on Mondays. I forgot to take my hands free bra home this weekend for example..

    • lucy stone says:

      1) How to transport milk – Dr. Brown’s bottles always intimidated me. I used these https://www.amazon.com/Maymom-Changer-Spectra-Flanges-Bottles/dp/B01EUNA96W to pump into Medela bottles, and now I pump into Kiinde bags.
      2) Cooler – I never used a cooler after the first weeks. When it’s super hot and I have a long ride, I’d just toss an ice pack in with my bottles in my Sarah Wells bag.
      3) breast pump tote- YES. Sarah Wells Abby will be the only bag you need. It fits the Spectra perfectly.
      4) hands free bra – I either lift up my shirt or my dress and use the PumpEase bra. I have huge boobs (38G uk size) and it’s all that would fit.

      You’ve got this!

    • Katarina says:

      1. I used the same bottles for pumping and feeding, so I transported in those. I used a mix of Ameda bottles with Dr. Brown’s nipples and Spectra bottles.
      2 and 3. My Ameda pump came with those. For my first I transported my pump back and forth each day, because the day my baby went on a (temporary) nursing strike and I only had a not very good hand pump was awful. With my second I kept my Spectra pump at work and my Ameda at home.
      4. I used the Simple Wishes pumping bra. I wore regular nursing bras and put the pumping bra on over it. I am not sure which option requires less undressing than this.

      I also second a mini fridge in your office.

      • Katala says:

        1. Look into adaptors to pump into wide mouth bottles. I have a set from born free that work with other wide mouth bottles, so with my first I pumped directly into the bottles he’d use the next day. Daycare doesn’t allow glass, so for #2 I pump into glass and pour that into the silicone Como Tomo bottles for the next day (or in the morning if it’s one of those nights). Bags are only for freezer storage, I find they leak/spill.

        2/3. Also had Ameda bag and cooler that I used for #1. They got funky through 2 moves so this time with my PISA I bought a cheap cooler from amazon, the medela contoured ice pack and a cheap (but very light) canvas bag with no pockets. I have the Ameda pump at home, so I leave the Medela at work. Canvas bag is for pump parts and cooler. A couple of wet/dry bags for the pump parts has been nicer than the ziplocs I used before.

        4. My uniform is button down or easy to remove shirt, cami, nursing bra. I take off the shirt (I would drip on it so I remove button downs too), pull down the cami, unclip bra, put on Simple Wishes and go. It’s not bad but I don’t get cold and have my own office with locking door.

        Third a mini fridge. I have a tiny one that’s been passed around the moms in my office and it’s so much better than going to the main fridge. Keep pump parts in there between pumps. I don’t worry too much about the cooler etc. because as mentioned breastmilk is fine for several hours at room temp, so if it was in the fridge it’ll stay cool enough for an hour commute.

        Another tip that really helped me is looking at pics/video of baby on my phone to help with letdown. And/or have a blanket that smells like baby and will also catch drips on your lap.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have a Spectra and this is what I do:

    I pump into Medela bottles. There are adapters available via Amazon so that the Spectra flange will screw onto the bottle. This may work with the Dr Browns as well. I use the ubiquitous square Medela cooler that fits 4 bottles as well as the ice pack that fits the cooler. At night we clean the daycare bottles (soap and then pop them into the Dr Browns sterilizer), pour the milk in and assemble bottles, and then clean/sterilize the Medela bottles. I have extra flanges/valves. I also rinse out and refridgerate pump parts while at work (the CDC now recommends you don’t do this…but we’ve never had a problem. I would be more careful if I had a premie.)

    I have a Sarah Wells pump bag which I like. It’s big but it fits the bottles and my laptop. It can also fit the Spectra pump, but I have a pump at work and one at home. I also carry a Medela handpump and flange in my bag at all times in case I forget my pump parts (which has happened twice now). Even worst comes to worst and I forgot bottles I could at least pump and dump into a coffee cup.

    • BTanon says:

      This comment reminded me – even if you generally pump into bottles, I encourage you too keep a pack of milk storage bags in your pump bag as backup in case you forget the bottles one day. They take up so little space and will keep you from having to run out to the drugstore midday to buy, or else pump and dump. (Yes, I did this TWICE before I learned my lesson…)

      • Katala says:

        +1 to having extra bags.

        If you do forget bottles, you can also buy a water bottle, pour out the water and use that for milk.

  4. anne-on says:

    So, my son is still getting used to full-day kindergarten, and is super crabby in the morning/after school. We’ve been moving bedtime earlier, pushing quiet activities at home after school, earlier dinner (and protein based snack) but man, he so very obviously could still use a daily nap. Other than giving him nap time during the weekend (which we do) any other suggestions/tips?
    And any suggestions for mental zen type mantras as I tell him for the umpteenth time to get dressed/eat/brush teeth/etc.? I’m also dieting and currently unable to do any cardio and MAN could I use either a hard workout or a glass of wine most nights…

    • I know someone whose kid really needed a nap and just did a late nap afterschool in kindergarden, even though it left a narrow window between waking and bedtime. Not sure what your afterschool situation is but if possible you could try it.

      Regarding the second question, I have no advice. It is maddening. I think they use up their ability to pay attention at school or something.

      • avocado says:

        They totally use up their ability to pay attention at school. Mine is 10 and in the sixth grade and still has to be constantly prodded to eat, shower, brush teeth, etc. or she will just sit there and stare into space all night. We have tried timers, bribery (if you finish brushing your teeth by X time we will read or watch TV), and threats (if you are not in bed by X time then mommy is going to bed and will not be awake to tuck you in) with varying degrees of success.

    • mascot says:

      Lots of patience, along with bribery, gold stars and some threats. We found that a general promotion of independence helped with the morning routine. They can do a lot in kindergarten but just don’t know it yet. So promoting self-dressing, shoe tying, teeth brushing, whatever at all times (not just on school mornings)helps. I think it takes some of the pressure of off mornings when they just can’t deal with getting their shirts on by themselves and need your help. We also were lax about where/when he got dressed (after breakfast on the couch? sure) and finally got to the ultimate goal of showing up dressed when you come down for breakfast.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you walk him to school? Or even park a block away for drop off and walk the last block? My first grader is a million times better when she gets outside everyday before school. I also do more help with getting ready than i used to, (e/g brush her teeth), so she has all of her executive functioning energy saved up for school.

      It will get better. I remember that the adjustment to full day kindergarten last year was a PITA. Once everything is less ‘new’ and they settle into their school routines, just getting through each day becomes less exhausting.

      • avocado says:

        A kindergarten teacher I know says that the kids acclimate and everything calms down by December.

    • colmama says:

      Is he in full day + aftercare or just full day (ie until 3 or so)? Does he get home at 3 or is it more like 4 after the bus?

      Could you (or have someone) pick him up and let him power-nap in the car ride home, or take a quick 15 minute refresh on the couch?

      Also, on the morning end can you have absolutely everything ready to go so he is wake and take to school (including skipping the bus in favor of driving if it is shorter)?

      I know some of these aren’t feasible for a lot of work situations but just in case….

    • anne-on says:

      Thanks all, we drive him to school to avoid the super early pick up, and he is home by 3:20 or so. I’ll try offering a quick catnap on days he’s really tired/out of it, and hope he just adjusts better as the year goes on.

      • Schedule and routine at home also help. We recently had a family meeting with our K and 3rd grader and established “first things first” where homework has to be done, lunches made, before other things happen at home. Just getting that stuff out of the way in a predictable manner has eliminated half the nighttime battles.

  5. Threading doesn’t work but a tag along to above about pumping –

    What bag would you recommend if I’m leaving the pump at work? Meaning, I need to just carry the pump, cooler bag, and anything I want with me while pumping from desk to pumping room and back.

    Sarah Wells seems overkill for this (plan to keep my regular rotation of work totes for laptop etc). Is it weird to leave my pump in the pumping room if I’m the only one using it and no one except me & facilities have keys?

    • Not weird to leave pump in pumping room. I would just get a cheap tote bag with a zip top to hid contents from view.

    • Not weird. I got one of those pop-up fabric boxes with a lid, and leave it on the table next to the outlet. I also keep a stash of nice paper towels, spare pump parts and a slew of milk storage bags in there, to decrease what I’m carting around every day.

  6. Ladies, I’m 8 months postpartum and have been having The Rage. I understand this is pretty common and likely a hormonal issue, but I need help coping in the moment. Like, when I get completely furious about something that’s not really a big deal – rationally I recognize my reaction is disproportionate, but that doesn’t really help me pull out of it. (A few hours later or the next day I’ll feel back to normal.) I’ve been seeing a therapist but I think she’s not a great fit for me / hasn’t been much help.

    Any tips for coping in the moment?
    Any recommendations for therapists in DC? Ideally focused on postpartum issues, ideally near foggy bottom.
    If I can’t find a better therapist, any resources for CBT (books?) to work on my coping skills?

    • GW has a Five Trimester Women’s Clinic. The number is 202.741.2888

    • colmama says:

      oh man, I had that. I attributed it to my 8 month old who WAS NOT IMPROVING in terms of sleep, eating habits etc. and it was stressing me the F out.

      I was telling my husband I JUST CANNOT TAKE THIS; THIS IS NOT THE BABY I SIGNED UP FOR. HER SIBLINGS WERE NOT THIS NEEDY! And literally, the very next day she started napping like a champ, stopped trying to eat literally everything, stopped scream-shrieking always, and started to eat an appropriate amount of food. It was like she heard me and realized she was being a giant PITA. I honestly thought someone had stolen my baby in the night and replaced her with a “regular” version.

      She’s 2 now and the best kid ever. Easy going, a total ham, and dimples for days. It gets totally better!

      • The baby is actually pretty easy, all things considered… it is her 3yo brother who tends to send me over the edge. Man, preschoolers are exhausting.

        • colmama says:

          For me, the preschooler sent me over the edge but it was only because I was a sleep deprived crazy person because of the baby. The moment I slept through the night again, I was a better mom to the preschooler (who wasn’t actually all that bad, I was just ragey)

    • I got The Rage when I started weaning after solid foods were replacing breast milk. Hormones were clearly part of it, but so was sleep deprivation.

      I remember 8 months being tough – I’d been able to get through on adrenaline for a while, around 8 months it all came crashing down. All I wanted to do was to sleep in a sound proof room for a week and not see anyone.

  7. When do infants start sleeping through the night? Baby is almost two months and usually sleeps from 9-2am and then wakes up every 1.5 hours to nurse and/or cuddle. He is big and has a large tummy so he does not need to eat that often. This is my second baby and I can’t remember what we did with #1, but I don’t feel on top of things this time around.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I think it really varies per kid. I remember 6-8 weeks being a period of a lot of developmental changes, so my kid ate a lot and woke up a few times a night. By about 12 weeks she was only waking up once per night to eat.

    • Around 8 weeks, when we went to a 7 or 7:30 bedtime, I started a dreamfeed before I went to bed. I got the baby up around 11, changed her in a dimly lit room, and fed her. I had a good two or three months of her sleeping to 7 am with this.

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘sleeping through the night’ is considered 6 hours of continuous sleep. You’re basically getting that now with 9pm – 2am (5 hours).

      Can you get him to nurse on both sides? My babies always slept longer if I woke them after they finished the first side and encouraged the second side. Have DH go in if he just needs cuddles.

      It’s normal to not feel as on top of things with #2 – your attention/time/energy are now divided between 2 kids.

    • My baby is the same age and is also big (13 lbs!). If he goes to bed around 9, he wakes up at 1:30 and 4:15, he just dropped his 11:30 feed. He wakes up with my husband at 6, and if we are really lucky, goes back to sleep. He isn’t feeding for ages, normally doing a longer feed at 1:30 and a shorter feed at 4:15. Hoping to stretch this out a but apparently breastfed babies get hungrier early.

    • colmama says:

      #1 slept through the night (5 hour stretches) at 3-4 weeks. Slept 7-7 uninterrupted around 4 months.

      #2 didn’t sleep more than 3 hours until about 6 months, at which point it was something like 7-12, then up at 12, 3, 5, 6. Ugh. She finally started sleeping 8 hour stretches around 8 months, and 7-7 (ish) around 10-11 months.

    • Pretty Law Belle says:

      My baby, now 15 months, would wake up at 1,, 3, and 5 for months. Eventually, around 5 months, she dropped the 1 am feeding. She eventually dropped the 3 am feeding when she started eating solids. She is JUST NOW, like this past two weeks, finally sleeping from 8-7.

  8. dc anon says:

    Did you have a goal for maternity leave? I am having a hard time with all of this unstructured time. Baby does not nap for very long yet, so I feel like I can’t get much done during the day. Every night I think, “Where did the time go today? What did I actually do?”

    • I had so many goals. I didn’t meet many of them, and I was beating myself up. When I’d bemoan not doing anything all day, my husband would say, “You kept the baby alive.” That really is something. Just relax into the lack of accomplishment. Eventually, I made a single goal every day: today I will go grocery shopping. Today I will go to post-natal yoga. On bad days, my goal was a nap or a shower. But it was a plan, and usually an attainable one.

    • Anonymous says:

      goals = (1) keep baby alive and (2)leave the house once a day at least 5/7 days.

      • This, plus I tried to get in a walk most days for my own health (physical and mental).

        • Spirograph says:

          Yup, these were also my goals. If I happened to also do something constructive like grocery shopping, so much the better, but mostly it was
          – feed baby
          – feed myself
          – nap
          – shower?
          – walk

          I read a ton on my Kindle while I was nursing, but I stuck to light books (so much YA). I also binge-watched a couple TV series so that I’d have something other than the baby to small-talk about at work after maternity leave.

          • ifiknew says:

            I found the first month of maternity leave completely overwhelming. Granted, it’s my first, but I didn’t get ANYTHING done. I was happy to shower and go #2 lol. After about 3-4 weeks, I started walking around the house carrying the baby listening to audiobooks. I did this a lot and it was fantastic. Easier than Kindle, because my baby slept for SUCH short periods of time. Good, light fiction, not better yourself non-fiction lol.

            Also, I think it’s amazing how well so many of your babies slept. Mine is 4 months and has never really slept more than 3 hours at a time. We’re in the midst of the 4 month sleep regression and I’m just dying. She’s up constantly for the nurse to soothe, replace my pacifier. I am up atleast 5-6x between 7 pm – 7 am. I’ve started sleeping at 8:30 pm to feel good with all these wake-ups. Grateful I can fall asleep easily though, ugh. I need to sleep train (I think), but feel like I need to wait until she’s older.

    • POSITA says:

      I found that the relationships that I made during maternity leave with other moms with babies the same age are really valuable. I still keep in touch with those moms even now that our kids are 4 yo. Those moms are great resources even now as kids go through different phases. We chat about daycares and schools, temper tantrums, husband issues, vacation ideas, and all sorts of other issues. We initially met up at a local new moms meet up and then kept the relationships up post-maternity leave via an email list.

      If you’re up for it, I’d make it a point to try to meet local moms with babies. It so much easier to form those relationships when you’re on leave versus back to work.

    • PregLawyer says:

      On this same note – Any tips for surviving maternity leave all by yourself? For serendipitous reasons, my husband was home with me the entire 3 months I was off with my first. He’s going to have 2 weeks this time around (due date in March). So it’s just me. Aside from concerns about PPD, which I had pretty bad the first two weeks with my first, I’m stumped about how to structure this time.

      • POSITA says:

        I generally followed the Eat-Play-Sleep schedule. My general routine was:

        Early AM – Husband leaves for work, play with baby, drink coffee, pump if building stash
        AM Nap – Take shower and clean up while baby takes nap #1, pack diaper bag to go out
        Post-AM Nap – Go out for errands, moms group or stroller strides
        Mid-Day Nap – Eat lunch and take nap #2 with baby
        Mid-Afternoon – Play with baby, take walk or hang out outside with baby if weather is nice
        PM Nap – Prep dinner or do house project (e.g., laundry or cleaning out closet) while baby takes nap #3
        Post-PM Nap – Wear baby while cooking dinner, give baby to husband for quality time, start cluster feeding and camp on couch with Netflix

      • We didn’t change the childcare situation for DD1 when I was home on maternity leave so that 1) DD1 had the same structure and routine and 2) I had time where I could focus on the baby. Not having to split my attention all the time was a huge help.

        Can your husband take the 2 weeks a few weeks apart, or do they have to be consecutive? I had an easier time in the first few weeks with the second baby (I felt like I knew what I was doing, and I knew that phase where you’re not sure if it’s night or day but the baby’s hungry again was going to end) but around 6 weeks I could have used another set of hands because we had some issues come up. I wouldn’t have been able to schedule that in advance, so the fact that DH had some time he could use was a big help.

    • With my second, I made small weekly goals. I read a couple books on my Kindle, so finishing a book was a goal. I tried a few new recipes, I tried to get out of the house sometimes. I planned some activities with me + older sibling.

      Weekly goals worked better for me, because if I was having a rough day, I wasn’t feeling guilty about meeting my goals, and if I was having a good day, I could sometimes check off more than one thing, which was a rush. Also, just sitting down and thinking about where I was, what I wanted to do, and how that fit with everything else going on, reminded me that while it seemed like a never ending cycle of eat sleep feed the baby, there was more going on.

    • I ironed everything in my closet in between nursing / sleeping / changing baby / tired-crying to myself.

      Haven’t done it since – baby is now almost 4.

    • mascot says:

      Re-framing your thinking around this may help. Your job is to keep baby alive and let yourself recover. We don’t expect childcare workers to be learning a new language or getting all their personal stuff done while they are watching our baby. Now, it gets complicated because you are presumably doing this job from home and around the clock while also dealing with your own recovery and sleep deprivation and someone has to do some laundry around here. Take care of yourself and take care of the baby. Everything else is gravy.

    • anne-on says:

      Goals – shower, get outside, feed myself, keep baby alive. Anything other than that was gravy!

      If you’re up to it, having 1 activity a week (mommy group, baby activity group, lunch with my mom, etc.) was also really nice to look forward to. Ditto to having company – I’d ask my mom or a friend to try to come visit me on Wednesdays so it split up the week a bit.

    • I get out every single day, a mix of errands, social stuff for me, and baby activities (baby walking group, massage, breastfeeding group). Baby only naps well when we are on the go. I also make a small to do list of things I’d like to get done but prioritise getting out above chores for my mental health. I’m also reading on the kindle during feedings.

      So today, we went to baby massage and had lunch out, I did a few loads of laundry, made some cookie dough, and tidied the kitchen.

    • shortperson says:

      making photo albums. tangible, useful, can be done in fits and starts.

    • bluefield says:

      My goal was to transfer my husband’s extensive CD collection to mp3 so we could throw the CDs out. I never did and we ended up throwing out 80% of his CDs anyway.

      I watched all of How I Met Your Mother, listened to some podcasts, returned all my unwanted baby gifts, and made some mom friends that I’m still friends with today (3.5 year old). I went to Target a lot. I probably went food shopping but I don’t really remember.

      But yeah a month in I was still struggling to put on pants every day.

    • Pretty Law Belle says:

      I had about 3.5 months off for maternity leave. I didn’t set any goals, and did what I felt like doing every day. Sometimes going to the breastfeeding support group. A walk when it wasn’t too hot. Binge-watching Netflix. Lots of trips to Target just to get out the house.

    • My goal was to make local friends. Trying to meet that goal got me to a new moms group, had me txt people out of my comfort zone, and do a lot of coffees/walks. It worked out well.

  9. When can I buy new bras? says:

    Hoping for a little anecdata and advice — I have successfully weaned my 11 month old, and I want to know when my size will have settled down so that I can invest in new bras. If it matters, she was only nursing at night for the past month, and despite all the nursing, I never dropped below my pre-pregnancy weight. But there is no way my pre-pregnancy bras will fit at the moment.

    • I would give it a couple of weeks after weaning and then buy two new bras. If you end up needing new bras because your size readjusts again or you lose weight, fine, but no need to torture yourself with ill fitting bras in the meantime.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s taken about 6 months for me each time I weaned.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Threading doesn’t work on mobile… responding to son starting full-day Kindergarten.

    For evenings, do a photo chart. Take a picture of him doing each task, then print a schedule with only pictures, so he can look at it and remember. Then you can just redirect him to the chart/list each night (“are you doing your next job on the chart?”) and you’re not the bad guy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks. This makes me feel a bit better. Right now my downstairs just feels like a disaster area, I made the mistake of looking with a mirror, and it’s hard not to feel like it will never recover.

  12. Anon for this says:

    Thoughts about breast lifts post kids? I’m planning on doing this after I’m done nursing my second. Not immediately after, obviously, but within a few years. Has anyone done this or know anyone who has? What is the range in costs? Do they typically do a lift + implants, or will a lift suffice if I have a fair amount of tissue, but a lot of sag?

    • Anonymous says:

      If your issue is sag and volume is fine, I would avoid implants. You have to get them replaced every 10-15 years for the rest of your life which is a PITA. That’s like 3-4 more surgeries.

      • Spirograph says:

        REALLY? I didn’t know this about implants. I haven’t actually started looking into them seriously, but it’s in the back of my mind as something I might consider in a couple years.

        • Nah, not necessarily true any more. I’ve had mine for almost 12 years, and the rule now is that they only need to be replaced if/when something happens.

  13. I can’t tell if I’m replying to RDC or not, but I had the same rage issue. Turns out it was a symptom of significant post partum anxiety. I had a prescription for anxiety meds that I used on the worst days. The other things that helped were time, taking magnesium and vitamin D, and oddly enough, removing my IUD.

    • Did you have Paragard or Mirena? (or other)

      Currently exploring some rage that I’ve had at 15m pp.

      • Wehaf says:

        Rage and wild mood swings are a very common, but not commonly-discussed, side effect of IUDs, both hormonal and copper. I know tons of women who got the IUD, dealt with rage for months not knowing why, got the IUD out and were 100% back to normal shortly after.

        • Ugh. I got off the pill more than a decade ago because I was having rage issues every month for a few hours. IUD (copper) had worked fine until now…

  14. It Went Awry says:

    I got up early this morning so I could get kiddo to daycare and turn around to host a telecon. I got up 20 minutes early, we got out the door 10 minutes early (yay!), but he decided to throw a fit when we got to daycare because his socks were bunched in his shoes (they weren’t?). He changed shoes twice because he didn’t like how they felt, and at that point I had to leave because I would be late to the conference call… so I left him throwing a fit inside his classroom. I told his teachers what was bugging him, but just couldn’t this morning with him.

    Then I got to work just barely on time, dialed in, and the person who had let me borrow their call-in line didn’t have the host password. He claimed it was my boss’s call-in line (spoiler: it’s not) and that I should ask my boss for the host password. Then I had to scramble to borrow someone else’s telecon line, all while people message me who are trying to call into the conference….

    I could really go for some Baileys in my coffee this morning.

    • Cornellian says:

      The early morning daycare struggle is awful. Yesterday I got my 10K steps in before I even got to work courtesy of forgetting my baby’s milk and having to walk all over town before I even started my commute to work.

      Every week or two I freak out and start looking for nanny recommendations. I hear this gets easier…

  15. Belly woes says:

    I’m at my wit’s end. I had a laparoscopy last summer to remove an errant IUD and ever since, my stomach has blown up, and I look, at any given moment, at least 4 or 5 months pregnant. Diet and exercise hasn’t helped – makes me lose weight elsewhere, which I don’t want, and my stomach doesn’t budge. My PCP ordered a pxlvic ultrasound, and that all checked out. I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for the last few weeks and she actually agrees that my stomach looks bigger. It’s not diastasis, which makes sense, because this didn’t occur after pregnancies, but rather after the surgery (almost immediately.)
    I’m so frustrated. Has anyone gone through anything similar? Any suggestions?

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Have you tried any sort of elimination diet to rule out a food allergy? I developed a dairy sensitivity in my 30s and looked pregnant (despite a really good diet and plenty of exercise) before I figured it out.

      • Belly woes says:

        That is awesome advice. Thank you! How long did you go without dairy before figuring it out? And did you try eliminating any other foods first? Wondering what common culprits might be.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          It was a little easier for me in that I had recently increased my dairy intake (started eating cereal with milk for breakfast) so it was an obvious one to try first. I cut out all dairy (switched to almond milk, eliminated all cheese, butter, etc.), and definitely noticed a difference within a month. My stomach shrank and some annoying acne cleared up. Over time I’ve experimented and realized that I can eat small quantities of dairy (like cheese on my burger) on occasion without a major problem, but am cognizant of not eating too much.

          I hope that’s your answer!

          • Anon in NYC says:

            Oh, and I think gluten and dairy are the most obvious common culprits when it comes to food sensitivities. I haven’t bothered to eliminate gluten because I don’t feel the need to, but I do notice bloating/water retention when I eat pizza or pasta (but that doesn’t stop me from eating those foods!).

          • Belly woes says:

            You rock! Thank you so much – this is so helpful. I hope that’s my answer too!

  16. (former) 3L mama says:

    When should I start pumping on maternity leave?

    Last baby, I started pumping as soon as we were home from the hospital because I was in law school and needed to immediately go back to class. Turns out my body hates the pump, I had issues for many months with engorgement, low supply, clogged ducts, etc. – which would resolve when I was on winter break or spring break and could just nurse for a week without pumping.

    This baby I am taking a six month maternity leave (thank you big law). On the one hand, I want to just nurse for awhile to see if I can avoid all the pump-related b 0 0 b drama. On the other hand, I’d like to limit the number of times a day I have to pump once I’m back at work and always hear about the importance of building a stash.

    I know I can combo feed, and I did use a little formula with baby #1, but I’d like formula to be the back-up plan and would instead appreciate thoughts on when/how often to pump on maternity leave.

    • Sarabeth says:

      I would worry less about pumping to develop a stash, and more about making sure that baby takes a bottle. If you start pumping around 8 weeks, and try to fit in a few sessions a week, I think you will be fine in terms of a stash (you only really need enough for the first day, especially if you are ok with formula as a back-up plan). But I would want to start giving a bottle sooner than that, and on a regular basis (I started at 2 weeks with my full term kid, at birth with the preemie, both worked fine and caused no nipple confusion). While you could give a formula bottle, you probably want to pump enough to replace that feeding so that your body still gets the appropriate cues to make more milk. The bottle, for me, wasn’t just about the eventual transition to daycare. While I loved the period of EBF-ing both kids, it was super important to my mental health to know that I could leave the kid with someone else if I needed to. I didn’t do it all that often, but it was crucial to know that I could. And especially for kid 2, it meant that I could carve out some time for kid 1 without being constantly interrupted.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      I went back at 4 months this past time and started pumping in earnest at around 3 months. Prior to that time, I pumped a few times in the very beginning when I was so engorged I thought my skin might rip, and a couple of other times when I was specifically going to be away from the baby. It definitely was easier to do that than pump right away, as I never had the massive oversupply issues as I did the first time around.

    • Blueberry says:

      I didn’t start until about a month before going back to work at biglaw. I have a lot of leakage on one side so used these little cups (I think called O Cal e t t e or something) to collect it so it wouldn’t get my shirt wet and wouldn’t go to waste, and that added up to maybe a bottle’s worth of milk every other day. Agree with the above about making sure the baby has a bottle from time to time so it’s no big deal when it becomes a regular thing.

      • ifiknew says:

        I completely agree about pumping at around 2-3 weeks to make sure baby takes bottle. I started this (recommended by my ped too) and would pump/bottle feed atleast once every 2-3 days. I’ve had no issues with baby taking bottle now that I’m back at work.

        Also, try the spectra. It’s truly fantastic and so so easy. It was my first, so I was intimidated by the pump at first and am shocked by how great/efficient it is.

        • ifiknew says:

          also, my baby completely rejected all the freezer milk. Not sure if this baby specific or something I could have done differently.. I don’t think I have a lipase issue either.

      • If you’re still checking responses – a great way to save some milk at the beginning is with the Zerlar (available at amaz0n for like $12). It works by sxction, so you squeeze it and stick it on one b00b while baby is on the other side. It catches the leaks and the sxction also works like a mini pump. I was able to get a few extra ounces a day which makes for a big freezer stash over time. (Rotating the freezer stash is a whole separate thing for me, but maybe you’ll be better with that part!)

    • shortperson says:

      i started at 3 weeks last time. i had so much more extra milk early on so i’m glad i did. by the end of my 17 week leave i had enough of a stash to get me through about 10.5-11 months, baby ate a supplemental bag almost every day at daycare.

    • Blueberry says:

      On a related note, I’ve wondered for a long time how good it is for the baby to be drinking milk that was pumped a few months ago. I know milk evolves as the baby grows, so is it good for a 6-month-old to be drinking milked pumped a few months before? I suppose it’s better than formula? Don’t mean this to come off as judgmental — I’m curious for my own purposes for when I’m facing this in a few months. The answer is probably that nobody knows.

      • I just rotated my stash :)
        So, e.g., you have frozen milk from Sept 1 and milk you pumped today, you freeze the milk from today and give the milk from Sept 1 so that it’s not just sitting there… Milk is generally good in the freezer for about 3 months but I never had anything in for more than 1-2. I also didn’t start pumping so early and only had a few days worth of “stash” when I went back to work. Once we got through day one, it was mostly pump and give the next day for me. There were times where having those extra bags of frozen milk was helpful like when I got a cold or baby was going through a growth spurt but a lot of the people I know with huge freezer stashes ended up just throwing that milk away when it expired (it is also much harder to donate milk than I realized if you think you want to go that route).

      • Anon in NYC says:

        So I had read 6 months is the standard, but then someone told me 3 months. So I tried to stick within that general time frame, erring on the closer-to-3-months timeframe.

      • This is totally anecdotal, but my son definitely had milk pumped months earlier and seemed to be fine. I had worried about it too but the reality was that it was that or formula. I had several short-term trips for business and one longer (five day) personal trip while my son was EBF, and I had to build up enough milk to cover those trips over a period of weeks and months. I did my best to cycle through the oldest first and also encouraged the caretakers to use a mix of “current” fresh or frozen and older bags. (For example, if I left for a trip and had three pumped bottles and X frozen bags, I would ask them to use a combo of fresh and frozen for the first two days.)

      • (former) 3L mama says:

        I thought about that last time too, when at one point I discovered more milk at the bottom of the freezer and my 11 month old was drinking milk pumped for a 5 month old. But formula never changes at all, so I do think even old milk is preferable to formula (we used formula too!)

        • Blueberry says:

          Thanks — this was sort of my haphazard approach the last times, and I don’t believe my kids suffered any ill effects. (They also had formula and seem to be just fine :))… just sort of curious if there is any more scientific answer.

  17. In House Lobbyist says:

    Regarding kindergarten question – my son was exhausted all the time. We stopped all evening plans- not even grabbing a burger on school nights. He would say he just needed to climb his trees at home and play with his Legos. We tried to do all our school work on weekends and just let him play outside after school no matter what the weather was. We stopped night time showers and did them in the morning. It was hard on all of us. You probably don’t want to hear this but that is one of the reasons we are homeschooling now. He’s 7 still gets a nap once a week or so.

  18. Kindergarteners be tired says:

    My 1st grader still naps on weekends!
    She was totally used to the all day daycare and summer camp routine but K exhausted her. She was practically falling asleep at dinner and had major meltdowns pretty much every night until… Thanksgiving? Defintiely better by Christmas. Some of it may have been developmental, she’s always had a 6-month cycle of “perfect child” vs “complete devil spawn.” We coped via extremely low expectations, zero evening plans, and wine.

  19. coffee queen says:

    My 1st grader naps on the way home. There are a lot of times, DH (he works flex hours so we don’t need childcare) is in the driveway doing work on his mobile while she sleeps in the car

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