Maternity Monday: Brookfield Dress

Happy Monday! Did you guys know that Of Mercer has a maternity collection that’s all office-appropriate? A lot of the pregnant models are featured on the site wearing (and looking good in) dresses in straight sizes, but this one is only in maternity sizes. It comes in black and navy, and I like that there’s a snap closure at the waist that’s adjustable. There are also hidden zippers to allow you to nurse after the baby arrives. It’s a nice, loose dress for that postpartum transition period, and it’s machine washable, too (lay flat to dry). The dress is $195 at Of Mercer in sizes XS-XL. Brookfield Dress

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  1. Anonanonanon says:

    Doesn’t seem super flattering, but it’s certainly nice to see something besides all of the bodycon shift dresses everyone seems to be pushing for maternity right now, and it looks like it could work for third trimester (which I’m down to 2 appropriate work dresses at 35 weeks now)

    • It’s cute! I bought something similar (non-maternity) from Uniqlo that I wore to a meeting at 38 weeks.

    • Agree that it seems to make her look really wide! It seems retro, like something Betty Draper wore while pregnant.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        It does look kind of like a bag. Or something like I remember my poor mother having to wear in the early 90s when she was pregnant with my little brother. But at 35 weeks I think anything is going to look ridiculous on me and the idea of a bag full of room is kind of appealing hahahaha

  2. Update on my endless bottle drama – baby had a few unsuccessful bottle attempts over the weekend but finally managed one last night. He also had some milk out of a ceramic soup spoon. It’s 2pm and I haven’t been called home yet! He’s had some cereal made with expressed milk and a small bottle. He also had a diaper blowout – grandpa hasn’t managed cloth nappies yet. My husband is staying home tomorrow so they can tag team him and I can put in a full day at the office.

    Fingers crossed we’re making some progress.

    • Hugs! Mine took quite a while to get into the bottle but he now does 5oz at a time. Does he like to hold the bottle himself? For mine that seemed to help. My mom also found he fed better on the boppy.

      • He’s starting to hold it. He likes to sprawl out facing away from whoever is holding him. I called the breastfeeding support line this AM and the woman suggested I put rice in a bottle and let him play with it to get used to it.

  3. My husband and I are starting to think about TTC. We are trying to get “prepared” in other life areas and our current topic is whether to replace the dishwasher or the washer (laundry) first. They’re both old – the dishwasher is cleaning the dishes 80-90% right now (so I usually leave at least a few items in for another wash), and the washer is functional but sometimes has an issue that results in it banging and we have to stop and restart it. WWYD? (The second appliance would be replaced about a year later, so maybe in early life of baby?)

    PS – My husband has heard me say “Well I read on [this site]” enough that he suggested I post our question and he’ll abide by the consensus!

    • Do it! Do everything that would be inconvenient or annoying with a baby. If TTC takes longer than expected, you’ll have lovely new appliances.

      Signed, the person who has spent 6 months of maternity leave starring at unpainted base boards and cursing her inability to choose a stupid paint colour.

    • mascot says:

      Washing machine, hands down. Loud, unreliable appliance that could break down in the middle of washing sheets after a diaper explosion is not something you want. You can always hand wash dishes and even use the microwave if anything needs to be sterilized.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I’d replace the laundry first. You can spot hand-wash bottles if needed, but hand washing poo out of things would be miserable.

      Good luck :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Honestly, I’d do both if you can swing it. I ran all the bottle and pumping stuff through the dishwasher and also used a washing machine with a quick small load cycle for diaper blowout situations a lot. You end up doing more smaller loads with baby messes in the first 6 months because if you wait for a full load then the puke/p00p etc sets into the material. Costco has some good appliances for a reasonable price. You could spend $500-600 on each vs. $1200 on one.

      • +1 you need both. I run diapers through the laundry every other day, and bottles/pump parts through the dishwasher every other day. Could not live without either.

      • +1 Do both. This is what credit cards are for. And I know you didn’t ask for recommendations, but I am so fed up with washing machines that don’t actually wash (or bang, like yours does), that I did a ton of research and ended up with a Speed Queen washer. Old school controls (so no electronics to break) and it actually washes clothes and should last forever. I didn’t like their dryers, so I just bought one from Maytag and it looks like it matches my washer and I am happy to not be dealing with my GE POS that I had before.

        • strongly disagree with this that this is what credit cards are for, though that is of course just my opinion. if you can avoid it, do not go into debt over an appliance.

          • Anonanonanon says:

            I agree unless you run into a true emergency, but since you have some heads up here there should be time to save.
            Some great advice I got here when TTC was to reward myself each month if it didn’t work out. I set aside $100 a month, planning to fly to visit a friend if it didn’t work out. When I did conceive before my self-imposed deadline, I had a good chunk saved to spend on maternity clothes etc! maybe you can do the same and if you conceive you can get a dishwasher, and if not something fun?

        • Sabba says:

          Get what you are saying, but making some interest payments for a few months would have been far preferable to me than going without a functional dishwasher or washing machine with a new baby. I strongly believe that debt can be used as a tool to make your life better or simpler, although certainly you need to be sensible about it and have a budget and plan for paying it off. As others are pointing out, if OP is in the TTC phase, she still has plenty of time and maybe she can swing both without debt. But I think she will appreciate having both and not having to deal with it after the baby, and she can probably get a better deal if she takes time to shop around now instead of having to replace an appliance at the last minute, which almost always ends up costing more.

    • I’ll disagree with the others and say replace the dishwasher first, since you haven’t even started TTC yet and will be replacing the other one in a year. Sounds like it’s the more problematic of the two. If you were already pregnant, I’d agree with replacing laundry first.

      • avocado says:

        I agree, as everything will be replaced by the time baby arrives.

        Do not put yourself in a situation where the washer and/or dryer may catastrophically fail after you have a baby. An emergency washer replacement is enough of a pain even without a baby in the house, especially if you don’t have family nearby with a working washer and will have to visit the laundromat. Ask me how I know.

      • +1. We manage to live without either with a LO. It’s not ideal, but bottles and pump parts are everyday and have to be 100%.

    • Washing machine! You can always hand-wash bottles; you may not need to wash more than a couple of bottles a day for the first few weeks; and you will be doing laundry all the darn time. (We actually survived the bottle year without a dishwasher – we live in a tiny apartment and don’t have one. Shock, horror, American mod cons, meh.)

    • I agree. Washing machine, no question. I’ve lived without a dishwasher w/o issues. Being w/o a washer is much harder.

    • If you have a local appliance store, go talk to a sales person and explain you’re in the market for both. They usually can give you insights on which ones will go on sale at what times of the year, and sometimes you can even get a discount on buying multiple pieces.

      Signed, we replaced our washer and dryer the week before the baby came… and then both our oven and fridge died within the next two months.

    • if possible, replace both by the time baby arrives- you’re not pregnant yet, so this could be 12+ months from now!

      If this is truly either-or in the next 12-18 months, I’d replace the dishwasher and mentally be prepared to buy the washer on a credit card.

      If you have an old-but-functional-enough washer, this is ideal for all the baby poop laden stuff you will have. Why dirty up a brand new washing machine with poop when you can throw it all in a machine you plan on replacing? HOWEVER if your washing machine is truly on its last legs and there’s a >25% chance it will croak on you after the baby arrives, I’d replace that too.

      If it’s a question of a high end appliance vs two lower end appliances, I’d err on the side of getting two appliances. A $400 dishwasher that works > a dishwasher that doesn’t work, even if you really like the $800-$1000 model because it’s quieter.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dishwasher first. Baby clothes that terrible things happen to can just go in a dishpan hanging out in the bathtub with a scoop of oxiclean overnight and don’t need special laundering beyond that. But having the option to wash pump parts/bottles can be make or break for pumping.

      (Also see if any laundromats in your town wash and fold. It’s worth every cent.)

      • Lorelai Gilmore says:

        Dishwasher first. You can outsource the laundry. You can’t outsource the dishes.

  4. Anonanonanon says:

    A spot opened up at a home daycare we were on the wait list for, which is exciting because they have much better hours than the one we had secured a spot with.
    She gave me phone numbers for some of the current parents, what questions would you ask? Obviously they have some confidence in her, as their children are there every day, but all I can think of is:
    -What was your experience with the recent snow days, did she delay or close? (I’m asking because she was vague about snow closures when I initially asked)
    -Have you ever had to discuss something uncomfortable with her, or ask her to do something differently, and how did she respond to that request/conversation?
    -Is there anything you wish you’d known or realized before starting with this daycare?
    -How is communication with her, is she generally easy to reach during the work day or do you feel like you struggle to get in touch with her?

    Thanks all

    • Anonymous says:

      What’s your favourite thing about X as a caregiver? What does child like most about being there? What does child like least about being there? What made you chose X over other options?

    • These questions are good, especially your second.

      I also found both the parents I interviewed brought up all their own anecdotes about the provider and that really sealed the deal for me.

    • POSITA says:

      I might ask if they’d had any tough transitions as the kid has grown. How was introducing solids? Dropping to one nap? Potty training? Discipline situations?

    • AwayEmily says:

      Worth asking if they’ve used any other daycares and what the differences are (positive or negative).

  5. Mom to Mom says:

    I’m struggling with whether to confront my mom about something. Last night on the phone I was talking about my recent return to work after my second maternity leave and the struggle of getting baby adjusted to daycare and all of us adjusted to the new routine. I think I had a tone of “it’s hectic now but we’ll get the hang of it eventually,” and I was generally upbeat in this conversation. She then said, with a serious tone, that she “doesn’t envy me.” I skipped right past that at the time but as soon as we hung up it really started to bother me. I am not looking for her pity, nor do I actually think my life is pitiful (yes it’s totally chaotic at times because we have demanding jobs and young kids, but I have a fantastic husband, two wonderful kids, a good job, and ultimately, we’re rich white people – what do I really have to complain about?). She was a SAHM when my siblings and I young, so it feels like judgment. But if anyone is a poster child for not giving up your career when you have kids, it’s my mom (she was up a creek when my dad left her for another woman, and shortly thereafter lost his job and struggled to pay child support).

    Should I say something to her? Or am I making too big a deal out of this? Maybe I’m feeling insecure because things really are hectic right now and I don’t love it (though as I said, I know it will get better eventually). My mom and I have a reasonable relationship. We’re not best friends, but we’re certainly not estranged. We’re just mother and daughter. Should I say something?

    • Brown Bear says:

      I wouldn’t. It sounds to me like she was trying to be empathetic. There is probably a part of her that thinks you have it much easier than her and I suspect she is trying to keep that in check and realize that things can be challenging for you as well. I say this all as someone who is a working mom but whose mother was a SAHM. My mom and I tend to pick at each other about interactions like this when really the speaker is trying to be thoughtful.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wouldn’t say anything. It was probably meant to be empathetic in that she is acknowledging you are in a tough phase right now. She doesn’t have a shared experience of being a working mom to know what to say or not say that you will find supportive. One of the lawyer’s I work with had a SAHM and her sister is currently a SAHM. She doesn’t always talk to them about her struggles as much because she finds that they can’t really relate.

      You may need to moderate your expectations of the level of emotional support that she will be able to provide to you on this. And she is still your mom, so she probably finds it hard when you are struggling and she can’t really do anything to make it better.

    • mascot says:

      I’d let it go. I mean, I get how hard it is hard to return from maternity leave and adjust a kid to daycare and I don’t envy you either :) My mom occasionally makes similar comments that I’m sensitive to bc she was also a SAHM and I’m in a dual working parent household. I probaly wouldn’t notice if anyone else said it, but it’s my mom and I’m always more reactive to her. I also try to make mental notes of when she says supportive things like how proud she is of my career even though those comments rarely happen in the same conversation.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      When my friends started having babies years after I did, I think I was guilty of similar comments. I meant it in the spirit of “oh man that’s definitely a hard time and I’m glad I’m not back there!” than that I thought their lives were miserable. Now I feel bad! I’m sure she just meant she doesn’t envy the season of her life where she had small children, but if it’s bothering you I’d approach it as “hey i realized from your reaction during our conversation that I may have sounded very down and negative the other day (**even though I don’t think you did**). I just wanted to reassure you that it’s tough and we’re all a bit tired, but we’re going to get the hang of it soon!”
      Of course you know your mother best and I could be entirely off base. Either way, I’m sorry, it’s not fun to feel judged, even if it’s unintentional.

    • I also wouldn’t. She’s your mom, even if you assume she meant it literally, there’s nothing inherently objectionable about her feeling like she wishes you had it easier right now, which is basically what that sentiment means to me. I’m super duper pregnant right now and my mom is constantly saying how she wishes I didn’t have to go to work anymore and how all of her friends/relatives can’t even conceive of how I am making it into the office every morning. It’s annoying (especially because in some ways being at work is easier than being at home with my toddler) but I just presume good intentions. My mom and her friends and my older relatives didn’t have to work at 9+ months so they think it’s absurd that I do, but that’s okay.

    • I wouldn’t say anything, I think she was trying to be empathetic. It’s not like she said, “that’s what you get for choosing work over your family” or even, “I never had to worry about any of that.” She was acknowledging it was a tough time, with something that she’s never experienced.

    • EP-er says:

      Let it go. Vent to us, vent to your sister, vent to your friends… it isn’t worth it, unless this is a repeated pattern of remarks. She probably doesn’t mean it like it sounds and wants the best for you. Think about how different your life is than hers was.

      My mom was a SAHM. She just doesn’t understand what it is like to work long days out of the house. We just got this awesome new science oven (microwave/convection/radiant heat all in one!) I was so excited that I was able to cook frozen chicken breasts to perfectly baked in 20 minutes! And she said “Well, that’s great for *your* lifestyle…” So I said “Yes, it sure is!” changed, the subject, and called my sister. :)

    • Oh no. I say “I don’t envy you” to people all the time meaning to be empathetic. Am I using that wrong???

      • Anonanonanon says:

        Haha I said the same in my comment above- now I feel bad! Oops!

      • Anonymous says:

        Ahhh! I will admit that I actually kind of hate that phrase. It is a slightly more polite version of “suck$ to be you”

        I try to hear it in the spirit intended, but to me it makes the speaker sound more focused on themselves than the other person (i.e., “Wow, lucky me for not having to deal with that!”) rather than offering support or empathy to the other person (a “That sounds really hard” reflects on their situation, not you).

        Anyway, my mom also says similar things to me (“I didn’t have to sleep train b/c I didn’t work so I could just sleep when the baby slept during the day.”) She is an unfailing cheerleader for me, so I tried to hear the comments and let them go as a failed attempt at empathy.

    • I can see why you are upset. A comment like this would bother me too and I might think about it for days. But I agree with letting it go. Don’t say anything and try to take the comment with the good intentions it was likely intended with, even if it didn’t come out that way. Being a mom is hard. I think she was just trying to be empathetic, or maybe even thinking about some of the days she had it tough as a mom and was honestly wondering how she could have ever balanced a career on top of it all (i.e., she is proud and kind of in awe at you).

      It sounds like you are at peace with your choices. Adding a second child is difficult and you sound like you are doing an AMAZING job with it.

    • I wouldn’t. She was a SAHM and you are not. I have the same situation with my mom. In her mind, she’d just stop working and all the Tricky Stuff I have to deal with would go away. She may even feel that you “have” to work, which she “doesn’t envy.”

      When it comes to my mom comparing her experience as a SAHM with a spouse that worked LONG hours with a LONG commute vs me and DH, who work hard, but are home for dinner and bedtime almost every night-and DH is a much more “present” parent than my dad ever was (my dad openly admits this/admires our situation), it’s just a non-starter. She made her choices and I made mine.

      FWIW, I don’t envy you either right now ;) Childcare transitions stink.

    • Mom to Mom says:

      Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. I will assume best intentions and let it go.

  6. Has anyone had experience with correcting a night waking habit? Baby Pogo is 5.5 months. He goes down for naps and for bedtime with no problem, pretty consistently now for a couple weeks. I’ve watched him on the monitor and he babbles for a few, sucks on his hand, and passes out. So we’re not dealing with a strong sleep association to FALL asleep (paci, nursing, rocking, etc).

    So that’s what makes it tough – EVERYTHING out there basically assumes your kid can’t self-soothe to sleep and that’s why they wake up at night frequently. Not so!

    I’m happy to keep 1-2 night feedings, since everything I’ve read says babies may still need those feeds up to 9mos. Before his 4mo regression and me returning to work, he did 1-2 predictable night feeds so I know he can do it.

    Has anyone successfully broken this kind of habit? Whenever I look for resources, the story is always that the person did CIO for like, two nights, kid cried going to sleep and then STTN. Since mine doesn’t cry going down at all I can’t really relate to this. I also don’t understand how you do CIO with night feedings – Baby Pogo doesn’t know if it’s time for his feeding or not when he cries?

    Sorry for the novel. I’m beyond exhausted and can’t find any resources on this type of situation.

    • avocado says:

      Is he reverse cycling–eating at night to make up for eating less during the day while you are at work?

      • I thought so at first, but he did it all during Christmas break when he was with me 24/7. He does it on the weekends. He does it when I give him solids. He does it when I dreamfeed.

        He takes the bottle at daycare and eats 5oz each time, so he’s not bottle striking. We’ve also tried having husband give him a bottle at a night waking and while he takes it, he will continue to cry and refuse to sleep until I come in and nurse him. Then he might comfort suck for 2min and fall blissfully asleep. It’s a habit, for sure, but I’m just struggling with how to break it when he doesn’t conform to the normal storyline of sleep associations.

    • Mama Llama says:

      My baby was the same way – not a problem to get to sleep, but she work up wanting to nurse every couple of hours all night. I used the Precious Little Sleep method to very slowly night wean her over a couple of months from about 6-7 months. In retrospect, I should have pushed this faster because I was so miserable and sleep-deprived. Good luck!

      • Did you actually time the feedings? I’m imagining myself stumbling around with my phone trying to time it, forgetting to stop the clock, and just generally not being accurate on that front. He definitely isn’t nursing for very long – one side only, less than 10min already.

        • Mama Llama says:

          Yes, I would set a timer on my phone because otherwise I would doze off. Then I shaved a minute off of one feed every couple of nights until we could drop it all together. Dropping it was the hardest part and did involve a little crying, but less than I thought. The way I did it was I would say OK, now no feeds after 3am, then 2am, etc. etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      How many times is he waking up now?

    • Anonymous says:

      Is he having a growth spurt? The time around 6 months approx was hard for us. Sometimes baby work more often to feed (3 times a night sometimes), and once we started solids then baby wasn’t hungry as much but sometimes new foods bothered his belly. Like he loved to eat green peas but they gave him awful gas at night so I had to stop the peas. He was also sensitive to quinoa even when I ate it and he nursed. Hang in there – just before solids and just after solids was a rough couple of months for us but then baby started sleeping better.

      Alternatively, is he teething? Have you tried a dose of advil/tylenol/whatever at bedtime? Sometimes it doesn’t bother them as much during the day because there are so many distractions but they have a hard time settling back if they wake at and their teeth are hurting.

      • Both of these could be the case – I’m sure adjusting to food is part of it, and yes, he’s definitely in the early stages of teething.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’d try a pain reliever in that case. If he’s 5.5 months he could have a tooth on the way and it’s most bothersome right before they break through.

          • I’m willing to try it! We did give him Tylenol once when he first started teething, but since then hes managed well during the day with various toys to chew on. How many days would you do it tho? I don’t really want him on Tylenol for more than a couple days, and this night waking has been going on for almost a month now.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’ve given it for as much as a week at a time. Pretty rare to go a full week though – usually there would be 4-5 days and then the tooth would break through but teething can come and go as well.

            I had better luck with advil for teething than tylenol – forget if you can use advil before 6 months or not though so check that. I usually just gave once at bedtime as advil lasts 8 hours. Tylenol only last 4-6 hours I think so if you start to see waking after 6 hours asleep, then you can try a second dose. I saw pretty immediate results (wakings went from like 4 to 1) so that’s how I knew it was teething and that the pain reliever was helping.

            Maybe also get his ears checked? Sometimes an ear infection won’t present a lot of symptoms other than fussiness.

    • You’re not alone, I’m in the EXACT same situation right now. 5.5 months, at least nursing 3x/day plus 2 7oz bottles/day, solids 2x/day (my supply is fine). He can’t possibly be hungry, but he wakes to “snack” at least 3x/night right now even though he was sleeping through the night two months ago. All I can think of is teething, but I’m. So. Exhausted. Following this convo for sure.

      • I’m not happy you’re in this spot too, but happy to know it’s not just me! He can’t possibly be hungry but nothing else makes him happy. I also can’t get any sleep when husband is in there with him because I still hear the crying (even with earplugs). So I basically leaned in to the comfort nursing and here we are. ugh.

        • Another member of the well-fed 5.5 month old who is waking up so much I want to die club. He was sleeping 6-8 hours at a stretch from 2-4 months.

          We had peak misery when he got his first daycare cold combined with a sudden uptick from 1 poop every several days to 10 poops a day, 4 at night. If the sniffles didn’t wake him up, the poop did.

          No real guidance, just solidarity here.

    • I dealt with a similar issue with my child a few years ago. Hopefully my memory will work, but here is what we did:

      1. My child had a pretty strong nurse-to-sleep association, so it wasn’t enough that baby was going to sleep on her own by going down awake. She needed to be WIDE awake when we put her down in the crib. For too long, we let her get drowsy by nursing, then put her in the crib “awake,” but she would drift off to sleep really quickly (5 to 10 minutes with minimal fuss), followed by night wakings all night long. The problem was that she wasn’t really putting herself to sleep because she was relying on the nursing to make her drowsy first. We had to move nursing up to the first part of her bedtime routine, then we put on PJs, changed diaper, read a book, and sang songs so that she was really awake when she went in the crib. Unfortunately, this made her fussier and she would fuss for up to 10 minutes before going to bed. Not like CIO bad, but I had to get used to the fussing. At 4yo, she still talks herself to sleep, so I think this is just her way of processing her day.

      2. As soon as my baby skipped a night feeding on her own for 2 or 3 times, I pushed her to skip it for good. When we were doing 2 feedings, I would feed her if she woke up between 10 and midnight, and then again after 4:30 am. Any other wake-ups did not result in food. I think we went down to one feeding at 6 or 7 months, so at that point she did not get fed unless the wake up was at 4am or later. Husband went in to soothe her if she woke up and it was not time for a feeding. We had to keep the 4am to 5am feeding for awhile, maybe up to 11 months? It sounds silly to expect the baby to follow a clock, but it made it easier for me to know what to do with all the random wakeups and I think she eventually picked up on the schedule and some of the wakings started to drop off. I still wonder if we should have dropped the pre-4am feedings earlier, but we did what we thought was best in the moment.

      I remember being frustrated with this issue because so many of my friends just did CIO and were done with things, but it didn’t work that way for us either. Good luck!

      • #1 I can try, no problem. Although he usually is pretty wide awake, nursing close to last in the routine.

        #2 The problem as I detailed below is he’ll still cry when I try to drop a feeding. Husband can go in and it doesn’t matter, he’ll cry. He will literally cry until the next scheduled feeding.

        • I’m sorry you have to deal with this.

          For #1, did you mean to say that nursing was not last in the routine? I’m sure it isn’t a silver bullet, but it really helped for us to move nursing pretty far back from bedtime (at least 20 minutes) so that there was no nurse to sleep association.

          For #2, I made it sound too easy! “Husband went in to soothe her . . . “Husband could not easily soothe her! She would often cry for hours in his arms, even up until the next feeding. We still just stuck to the schedule. She wasn’t hungry (sometimes waking up 45 minutes after her scheduled feeding where she had eaten ounces of milk) and we had to change things eventually because sleep is important.

          You say below that you don’t want to let him cry for hours and I totally get that. He is your baby and still really young and you should listen to that feeling because you do know what is best for him. You will know when it is time to try something new. For us, I can say that our sleep journey involved lots of crying and we did reach a point where we knew she no longer needed the feedings, our soothing did not work, she was exhausted, we were exhausted, and we had to leave her to cry it out for hours. It was not an easy night or two with just a little crying at bedtime, it took 7 or 8 horrendous days. None of the easier methods ever worked for us. Every sleep victory was hard won in our house, and I am sure that is the way in many homes.

          Finally, I will say that consistency is key, no matter what you are doing. I remember our pediatrician cautioning us that if we let her cry for 45 or 60 minutes and then got her, that was OK if we weren’t ready for the crying, but we had to give up on CIO for awhile after that because otherwise we were just teaching her to scream for 60 minutes and then we would come get her. It made a lot of sense and we made sure to really commit to CIO when we were ready for it, and it was so awful to go through but also so amazing once we were all sleeping.

          It may not comfort you right now, but I really do think the babies with strong personalities grow up to be great people that can be dedicated to what they want and what they believe. The sleep battles with my child were seemed never ending, but they did eventually get better. And as she grows older, I can see my child’s persistence playing out in other ways. This summer, she refused to put down some gross mud-covered pinecone that she wanted to bring in the house, and I said no, she could leave it outside and play more with it later. My usual distraction tactics didn’t work and she would not put it down. I had the day off, so I decided not to take it by force (that always feels so wrong to me), and told her we were not going into the house to eat snack until she put it down. I even promised her favorite snack and her favorite game after snack, but I still saw the stubbornness etch her face. Lines were drawn. We were outside 45 minutes while she tried to outlast me and would not put down that darn pinecone. I was super frustrated, but so proud of her determination to hold her ground. And I understand a bit better why she was not an easy baby to sleep train, although I was tearing my hair out at the time.

          I hope things get better for you soon, I really do.

          • Ha, strangely I feel better – you did make it sound so easy!

            Yes, nursing is close to last in the routine – that’s what I meant. So I could move it to the beginning.

            Your experience does sound very similar, and the fact that you got through it is helpful!

          • Yes, there is the other side and you will eventually get through! I remember people telling me over and over again “This too shall pass” and I was like, wtf, I’m dealing with this major issue right now and how is that supposed to help? But they were right. With babies, things are changing all the time and eventually whatever issue you are dealing with changes over time. Still sucks to go through it. And I’m telling you, you have a dedicated and persistent little stinker that knows what he wants and will work hard for it– that trait will serve him well all through his life!

    • AwayEmily says:

      This sounds tough; I’m sorry.

      If you’re open to CIO (of whatever variety), I think it would still work in this situation. CIO doesn’t assume the baby doesn’t know how to self-soothe at ALL, just that he doesn’t do it consistently. When we did CIO, our baby was waking up a bunch of times at night (I think most babies do — they are just pretty light sleepers), but the majority of the time she’d put herself right back to sleep. She’d only cry for food once or twice, I think because she just got in the habit of a 2am snack.

      In some ways the fact that the wakeups are SO consistent despite everything (including a dreamfeed, etc) should be super reassuring — it shows that it’s not a hunger thing, it’s a habit, and so he can probably make it through the night just fine (and within a week he will learn to eat more at dinnertime!).

      Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

      • I’m not ready to try CIO again – we did try full extinction once, going in only at the pre-determined feeding times. However that basically resulted in his crying from whenever he woke up until the next feeding time. It wasn’t like he woke up and cried for 5 mins, fell back asleep. He woke up and cried, off and on, for hours. It was terrible. No one slept. On the third night after I’d already fed him twice (our pre-determined number of feeds), he cried until morning. That broke me. I’m sure CIO diehards will say that was his extinction burst and I just needed to get over it, but I couldn’t.

        It’s weird too because he is a tension decreaser – he wouldn’t wail so hard he’d throw up or anything. In fact he would settle, only to start up again 20 min later. But he never really fell asleep for any measurable period of time, until I went in and fed him.

        • AwayEmily says:

          Aw man, that’s really rough. Poor little guy, and poor you! I’m probably as close as it comes to CIO diehard but it sounds like you made the right call for both of your sanity.

          If/when you do decide to try CIO again, lots of support waiting here for you! But I bet as with all sleep issues there is a good chance it will resolve on its own with time anyway (easy advice to give, of course, but much harder when you’re in the midst of all this…good luck).

    • Right there with ya at 5.5 months. Down at 9 last night, up at 10:30, 12:30, 2-3, 5 and then for the day at 7:30. Also my (formerly colicky) gremlin has an insane ability to scream for hours on end, so CIO doesn’t work for us. She knows how to STTN because she’s done it a handful of times. We’re also dropping our late afternoon nap so that contributes to general fussiness (but does mean we can put her down at 9 instead of 11).

    • ifiknew says:

      In this situation exactly, 7.5 months old. We did sleep training about a month ago and it took MUCH longer than 3 days, but baby does now go to sleep in less than 5 minutes with some fussing. We do nurse, bath, book, sleep. However, sleep training did nothing for my night waking habit (although I find crying at 2 am MUCH harder to endure than the bedtime crying).

      She sleeps at 7, wakes up at 11, 2, and 4:30, and then at 6:30, when I bring to my bed for another hour of sleep if I need it. It’s horrible. I’m in the same miserable place, stuck as to what to do. I want to try the PLS link above where you slowly decrease the amount of feedings.

      I had a sleep consultant and she recommended no feeding before midnight and the first feeding after midnight should be a bottle and that it would be easier to wean off a bottle. I’ve also heard people say try giving the baby water (I’ve never tried this) to see if it it’s just a comfort thing or if they’re hungry. I have not tried either of these things.

      So many hugs. It is hard.

      • “although I find crying at 2 am MUCH harder to endure than the bedtime crying” RIGHT?! Like, I could listen to my kid cry at 7pm for an hour. No problem. Bring it on. (I’ve never had to do this though as I said – he puts himself to sleep)

        But in the middle of the night??? It’s actual torture. I can barely take 2 minutes, it feels like an eternity.

    • Is he having a developmental spurt? I noticed the night wakeups would get worse when baby was about to start doing something interesting like rolling, crawling, pulling up to stand or walking. 5.5-6 months was nightmarish because he started crawling right at 6 months.

    • Moms Solo says:

      Yep this was us. I went with “The Happy Sleeper” method. He feel asleep without any associations/rock solid nighttime routine but still woke in the night. Book said not to feed if it hadn’t been three hours, so I didn’t. But he seemed to wake up every three hours on the dot. I tried cramming him full of calories during the day. I also tried night weaning using the timing method at night feeds.

      Ultimately I just leaned into the night feeding — giving him both sides. Eventually it stretched out and now (at 11 months ugh) he has just grown out of it and sleeps 12 hours without intervention. I found it was easier on my nerves and maximized my sleep to lean in and let him grow out of it.

      • Anonymous says:

        I learn so much from this blog – I didn’t realize that sometimes only one side is fed during a feeding. I always fed both side at every feeding and totally didn’t realize that’s not how everyone does it!

        • I did offer both sides initially because why not! But it had no impact on his next wakeup. Or, he’d be so fast asleep from feeding the first side that I couldn’t get him to feed on the second. Daytime I always offer both sides.

          I have a friend whose LC instructed her to only feed on one side to control oversupply – so that’s what she did from day 1. She didn’t know some people fed on both!

    • Thanks everyone for the thoughts. 6mo appointment is in a week and a half, so at that time I’ll ask about anything medical that could be causing waking (teeth, ear infection) and see what the ped’s thoughts are on night weaning and/or sleep training.

      In the meantime timing the feedings and trying to reduce can’t hurt.

  7. Wondering says:

    NYC’s school cutoff date is the calendar year. So any kid born in 2013 must start kindergarten in 2018, even if they are 4 years old.

    I have a late December-born boy who is developmentally on track, very verbal, very sweet and loving. I hate the idea of making him start school at age 4. I’m not concerned so much about academics at that age, but I don’t want my boy to feel behind on things he’s not developmentally ready for (sitting still for long stretches, for example). And I’m wondering about the ramifications for him in higher grades when puberty hits.

    My brother and I were both the youngest in our grades growing up, and while I didn’t care that much, he really hated it.

    It’s very, very hard to hold your kid back in NYC bc DOE cracked down on redshirting a few years ago. I have heard of parents successfully holding kids back by sending them to private school for a few years, but these kids usually also have developmental delays. This is an expensive solution (and a successful outcome is not guaranteed).

    I guess I’m looking for stories about boys who have done well despite being the youngest in the class. Does it all even out in the end? Am I dooming my boy to a lifetime of feeling inadequate if I don’t try holding him back?

    • avocado says:

      We know a handful of children, mostly girls but also a few boys, who started kindergarten at age 4 in a state where the birthday cutoff is September 30 and redshirting is rampant. Despite having some classmates 16-18 months older, these kids have all flourished. They don’t seem to feel inadequate because they are smaller and younger than their classmates–rather, they are challenged and engaged by being placed at the academically appropriate grade level.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was worried about this with my oldest (girl though). No idea if it’s luck or fluke how it worked out but it has been fine. I had her in daycare/preschool full time and pushed to have her move up with her calendar year group. There are often classroom moves in September when the oldest kids go to kindergarten and I asked to have her moved up in her preschool room at that time when they probably would have otherwise moved her in January. So she was used to being the youngest and wasn’t bothered by it. I also had her in a preschool where at least a couple of the kids would be in her elementary school class. She’s done very well with the adjustment to elementary school.

      My nephew is born slightly later in December. He was at home with his paternal grandmother except preschool two mornings a week. He seems to have struggled more with the adjustment to school.

      • avocado says:

        It does make a big difference whether they were in full-time day care/preschool or mostly stayed home. I have a nephew who never went to preschool and was redshirted, and he still had a terrible time adjusting to kindergarten at age 6. A kid who’s always gone to school and knows how to navigate that environment will probably be fine in kindergarten even at age 4.

    • POSITA says:

      Do you ever intend to live elsewhere? I might be okay with it in a jurisdiction where there aren’t redshirters and the age cutoff is the same for all the kids. I would be more concerned if I thought I might move elsewhere. Most jurisdictions have an earlier cutoff now. Maryland is Sept 1. DC and VA are Sept. 31. I wouldn’t want my kid being the youngest by 4 months. What are the cutoffs in NJ and NY suburbs? If you’re staying put, then it’s less of an issue.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      My son is one of the younger ones in his class (not so young that he started at 4! sheesh that’s an insane cutoff!) and it’s been a bit difficult. He’s already on the small side, and he’s solidly the smallest boy in his entire grade and is getting to the age where he feels it. We also recently got the results of the cognitive ability testing they do in second grade in our area, and I noticed his results were much higher when they compared his results to kids his age vs. kids in his grade.
      In terms of emotional maturity, I’m not sure if it will be an issue in middle school etc. or not, but it was a bit of an issue in Kindergarten. He would tear up at certain things, and the teachers acknowledged they had a hard time not feeding into it because he was so small/young/still had bouncy toddler curls etc.

      Also, a lot of the sports leagues here are by grade not age, so I notice the effects there as well.

      All-in-all he does well in school, has friends, and is fine. But if I was faced with him being even younger for his grade than he is, I would probably try to avoid starting kindergarten at 4. This is all 100% just my experience, though!

    • mascot says:

      I don’t think you know until you try enrolling them on time. Some kids do fine being the youngest and some kids do better being on the older end. And some kids seem ready and then you find out that they aren’t keeping up part-ways through the year. Our son made the kindergarten cut off (Sept 1) by 2 weeks. He’d done a pre-k program the year before and seemed academically and emotionally ready. By winter break, it was obvious that he would benefit from another round of kindergarten. So we made the decision to have him repeat the grade. Several friends were also on the younger side and they moved on to first grade without issues.

    • I have a December birthday daughter in NYC. She’s too young for school at this point (2) but we decided we’re not going to worry about it because everyone is going to be in the same boat vs. a jurisdiction where a lot of kids are redshirted and even a September birthday puts you at a potential disadvantage. FWIW, we have a niece who went through this and she did struggle a bit initially but is now an honor roll student (middle school) and has really thrived the last few years. I think to some degree this all matters much less in NYC than other places. If you read that Malcolm Gladwell article that all this is based on, some of the main reasons parents do this for boys has to do with team sports and dating (getting your driver’s license first & t/f being more in demand). Well, most schools in NYC don’t emphasize team sports all that much (some do, but a lot of sports is separate from school) and no one needs to drive here.

      I skipped a grade based on age cut offs growing up due to a move and honestly it didn’t affect me much at all, or at least any more than the move did.

      Is your son in pre-K now? Can you use that as a base line to see how he would fare?

    • Can you talk to your local school’s administrator about your concerns? My husband is an elementary school principal and handles these questions routinely (including from me, where our daughter is within two weeks of the age cut-off). His response is to also think about the flip-side: Your child could be the oldest in the class. While that may bring advantage in sports (maybe), there are also issues with your child be the first to be able to drive, buy cigare**es, hit puberty earlier within the cohort. Children tend to mature emotionally with the group that they are with, so while there may be a short term struggle, the emotional piece levels out in a few years.

      • avocado says:

        +1 to all of this, especially your last sentence. My sixth-grader is the youngest in her class. She missed the cutoff by four months so we had to do private K, her best friend is exactly a year older, and many kids in her grade are 18 months older than she is. She is also very petite and a late bloomer, so she’s a foot shorter than a lot of her school friends, but she is still at the same place as they are in terms of social and emotional development. (She also takes one class that consists entirely of giant eighth-graders who are as much as three years older than she is and gets along just fine there.) She has another group of friends from her sports team who are all exactly her age but are a year behind in school. The sports friends seem so much younger than she does and sometimes she gets annoyed with their immaturity.

        I would worry a lot more about having an older fourth-grader or fifth-grader who matures early and looks like a teenager in elementary school than I would about having a kid who matures later than everyone else. That seems much more challenging to navigate.

    • My son is one of the youngest in his class. Even in daycare, mine was always “hanging” with the older boys in his class, trying to keep up with them. It was clear even then that holding him back would have made him bored, that he liked the challenge of keeping up with kids ahead of him. I am keeping an extra eye out for things like being branded “ADHD” or “disruptive” because while those could be accurate, I’m also aware they can be overused for kids on the younger side of the class. But someone has to be the youngest, and I feel once they’re past daycare ages, a few months doesn’t really make as much difference in development as we like to think it does.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        I agree that someone has to be the youngest (as much as we don’t want it to be our own). I also think this is kid-specific. My BIL was one of the youngest in his grade and hated it. So much so that when his son was at the age to start K, he held him back and had him do another year of preschool/pre-k because his birthday was just 2 weeks before the cutoff. But, after a few months, his son got bored and started asking for homework, so they would up moving him into a private K class. Now he’s in public K and doing well.

        You could also consider the flip side. Yes, your son will always be the youngest, but he’ll also learn how to work hard to be able to keep up with his peers. That’s a skill that he’ll be able to use for the rest of his life.

    • Just a note to say it’s not easy for anyone. We’re in a state/town where the cutoff is 9/1, and my daughter was born 9/15. She’s ready for kindergarten –way more ready than kids she knows with summer birthdays–and it is a total non-starter in our town. They won’t let her go. They won’t even accept her as a transfer after 1 year of private school- we’d have to send her to both Kindy and First in a private school- and many won’t take a kid past 9/1 anyway.

      I do know a lot of people who sent their kids even though they were close to the cutoff. Many of them ended up repeating kindergarten. In NY, is transitional kindergarten an option? Do his preshool teachers feel he’s ready? My daughter’s preschool teachers have said she’s ready, but that our school system won’t budge.

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      My son went to 2 days a week mothers day out program from 2-5 years old. He was an end of June birthday so we held him out of kindergarten until he had already turned 6. Most of the boys in his class were already 6. He was more than ready academically and socially. His teacher told us how great he was everyday. But we kept him home for first grade (this year) to homeschool him mostly because school is a really long day and we didn’t really like the tons of worksheets he was doing (but that’s another issue). But I had no idea how tiring it would be for him and he was gone from 8 am to 4:30 everyday by the time we drove to and from school. We pretty much stopped all nighttime activities while he was in school – not even going out for a quick dinner because he needed so much time to decompress and play with Legos or climb trees. So personally I think 4 would be too young. My daughter will make the cutoff for kindergarten by just a few days this fall and we are sending her even though she will just barely be 5 but she is so ready to go.

    • Another NYC Anon says:

      We are also in NYC, with a son currently in Kindergarten. He has a September birthday, so is not the youngest in his class, but is the smallest kid in the class by a pretty decent margin and is definitely not a kid you would imagine doing well in an academic kindergarten (in perpetual motion, slow to become verbal although he never stops talking now, struggled to keep up in Pre-K/didn’t care and so wouldn’t try…). And shockingly to me he is really blossoming in Kindergarten. He is doing very well socially and has made a lot of friends, behaves well and pays attention to the teachers, excels in math and despite some struggles is progressing in reading, and LOVES school. Overall it was really rough for the first week or so, there was a brief period in October with some name-calling over his small stature which the teachers nipped in the bud, and otherwise it has been fantastically positive so far.

      And remember than the teachers here should be used to 4 year olds and barely 5 year olds – they logically should have a different set of expectations than teachers in areas where the Kindy classes are older.

      • Anonymous says:

        Is your son in preK now or younger? If he is going to public preK now or will, I would definitely ask the preK teacher for advice. Also find out more about what kindergarden is really like at your zoned school. The City’s universal preK curriculum is really not very academically focused; it’s more focused on social and emotional learning and is rather progressive. In my experience, this is fairly true for K as well. (I haven’t looked at any official learning standards for K so I’m not sure if this is just my son’s school or a broader policy). My son’s birthday is in June, but he loves kindergarden. Anecdotally, I know his preK class had a lot of kids with late birthdays, and I only know 1 who was redshirted. That particular boy’s birthday is Dec. 28, and his family was planning to send him to a Jewish day school anyway. In general I think NYC schools are used to dealing with kids with a wide range of needs – lots of recent immigrants learning English, etc. – and about 25% of any incoming class is going to be 4, so your son is not going to be a complete outlier.

    • NYC December baby says:

      No real advice, but commiseration — also in NYC, and my late-December kiddo will likely be the youngest in his class (he’s starting pre-k in the fall). I think this stuff is really dependent on the individual kid, but I remember this article giving me a little peace of mind:

      • Wondering (OP) says:

        Thanks, that article does help. And thanks to everyone else who gave their thoughts. I actually have boy/girl twins and I’m not as worried about my girl; the research (and anecdata from teachers) indicates that boys have a harder time than girls when they are the youngest. But as In House Lobbyist says, I just think that 4 is too young to do the type of stuff they expect from kindergarteners now. And if you mature with your cohort, maybe it’s good to be a bit older when adolescent issues and choices become salient? I don’t know, I think it could cut both ways (like most things).
        I’m grateful of the reminders that this could be a way for him to learn to work hard and that teachers in the area should be familiar with this situation. By the time they go to kindergarten, my kids will have been in a daily half-day 3s program (2.5h per day) as well as a daily full-day (6h) preK, so they will be used to the routine.

    • Ontario says:

      I live in Ontario where we have full-day junior kindergarten starting the calendar year a child turns 4. So a December baby would actually start Junior Kindergarten at age 3.75 in September. While some parents worry about this (and kindergarten here is optional, so you can certainly keep them home/in daycare/send them part time), a friend of mine has taught kindergarten here for years and on the large part, kids adapt.

  8. Women's Work says:

    In things I thought didn’t still happen today…. My husband decided to stay home with our baby and give up his law practice while I stay full time at my BigLaw firm where I think I’m in a good position to make partner, definitely counsel. My MIL was babysitting because he still has a few cases to wrap up and I am back at work full time. I was complaining (half-way jokingly) that he was lacking in the house husband department because he forgot to put the towels in the dryer (the one thing I’d asked him to do – admittedly the baby went on a 4+ hour crying jag so I can see how it happened). She says I can’t expect much because otherwise he’ll run off with a waitress who appreciates him more. I informed her that we don’t believe in divorce in this family, if that happens she won’t have a son anymore. She later informs me I have to remember that “He’s a lawyer”. I said, “what am I, chopped liver? I’m a lawyer too and I can do this stuff.” To which she says, “It’s women’s work, you’re trained to do it”. I told her not in this century and stormed off. 5 days later this is still blowing my mind, even more so when my husband confirmed that is in fact the way she thinks. Fortunately it is not the way he thinks, although he is asking for patience because he’s new to this whole baby-care and house husband thing (but he cleaned up dinner last night, without asking, and the baby took 5 bottles on Friday rather than hunger strike, so progress!)

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I’d be irritated too, what a rude comment!
      However, I do want to caution that the “gender reversal” as some people call it needs to go both ways. If someone here posted that their husband came home and criticized them for not moving the towels into the dryer, after they had a rough day at home with the baby including a multi-hour crying jag, I think we’d all be saying that the husband wasn’t being kind and needs to be more understanding.

      My husband and I are trading off who stays home when baby #2 comes to stretch our leave out to 6 months, and we’ve agreed that staying home with the baby should be treated the same as a full-time job, meaning we will each retain the chores we currently take care of. That way, everything house-related won’t fall to the person who’s home with the baby all day. So whether he’s at home or back at work, he’s responsible for anything dishes-related, just as always. And whether I’m home or at work, I’m responsible for toilets etc., same as always. I was a stay at home parent with my first, and being expected to do everything house-related even once my husband was home is a lot of what broke my first marriage. staying home with a kid is HARD.

      • Women's Work says:

        I hear ya. I try to be mindful as I was there and I know it’s a lot. When we were both working, I was doing 95% of the house work (and pushing for more from him). When I was home full time with the colicky gremlin for 5 months on leave (and recovering from my c-section and gallbladder removal) I was doing 100% of the house work. Now all I want to do is about 50% of the house work since he is home I feel like 50% would be achievable. Which he understands and we’re getting there, but as they say, it’s a process. He calls himself a “house-husband in training”. He offered today to fold the mountains of laundry that have been piling up since I billed 60 hours last week, but I don’t anticipate that will get done given how angry the baby was this morning that mommy wasn’t home.

    • With my MIL, it helps not to engage. She will say to me “wow, you’re so lucky that [huband] helps with the baby!” and I just stay silent. She has tried to engage multiple times and I remain very neutral and say things like, “we are equal parents”.

      I think aside from the obvious generational differences, moms always think their child is the best and their career is the most important. At, this is what I’ve decided based on MIL’s comments. She goes on and on about how tough DH’s job is, he works so hard, he’s so valued, etc and has never once treated my work with the same awe. She has also never once tried to understand what I do, despite the fact that DH and I both have very technical jobs she makes an effort to at least get a basic grasp of what he does. But he’s her baby, and she’s crazy proud of him, so I try to leave it at that and not take it personally.

      bottom line: don’t engage. Be glad your husband didn’t inherit these views.

    • Marilla says:

      This kind of thinking is prevalent among MILs! Mine would never say it that straightforwardly but she still believes it and expresses it and lots of other ways. I have found you can create gradual, minor shifts in mindset – but not directly or very dramatically. It’s best to nod along and focus on making sure you and your husband are on the same page.

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      My husband stays home with our two and has for almost 7 years now. It was an adjustment for awhile for him and kind of isolating at first so just be prepared for that as he transitions into that new role. Stay at home moms can be suspicious of stay at home dads and it took a while for him to make some “friends” to do play dates with. My MIL rarely babysits for us and when she does it is more because the kids want to see her than us needing a babysitter but she loves to say things like “My daughter in law travels all the time – I have to go help them – I don’t know what she would do without my son staying home and taking care of things”.

      • Is that MIL comment a dig though? I would expect someone to say similar about a father who traveled all the time- “i don’t know what he would do without [wife] staying home and taking care of things.”

    • So, my in-laws are funny. FIL is 80, took an early retirement package in the early 90s, and was “at home” with DH while DH was in middle/high school. Except, “at home” meant “retired” and all he did was be an adult in the house, and I believe he drove DH to and from his private school.

      MIL on the other hand is now 70, but worked until 2005. In addition to working full time, she was the one that did the cleaning, cooking, and general housekeeping.

      With that as background, DH and I make about the same amount of money, maybe me moreso than him. I do more of the housework and emotional labor, but he gets assigned house chores and does them (part of this is that I “see dirt” and he does not. So if I ID it and assign him, he does it. Left to his own devices, it would just never happen.)

      FIL *always* makes comments that get under my skin–like, “oh, the house looks so clean!” meaning, “I like that you finally cleaned the house.” I have absolutely no qualms with telling him off. He’s been my FIL for a decade and I dated his son for 5 years prior to that; I have no tolerance for his $hit. Last time he made a comment about the house, I told him I don’t know why he’s attributing cleanliness to me, as his son was the one that cleaned up the playroom with the kids, and the housecleaner did the kitchen.

      What actually gets me the most is how my MIL, who never says a negative word, just kid of accepts FIL. I assume she accepted it back when she agreed to work, keep house, and raise the children by herself while FIL got to hang out like a retired dude all day. It was her choice, not mine, and she’d never expect someone else to make that choice.

  9. Did anyone go to a woman’s march this weekend! I proudly went to the one in my state capital, with husband and child because no drama was expected in our state. I was happy I went last year and this year and will continue what activism I can until some of the disasters I keep seeing subside.

    • That exclamation mark should be a question. *Sigh* Guess I was just really excited to go to a march and sad I’m not seeing much media coverage of it.

    • Jeffiner says:

      I took my daughter to the Fairytale Princess Party downtown in our city. After about 45 minutes she was done with princesses and wanted to go home, she even walked straight out of the door. I could see our city’s Women’s March just gathering to start, about 2 blocks away. I grabbed my daughter’s hand and we jumped right in, wearing our princess dresses. My daughter actually had more fun at the Women’s March than the Princess Party!

  10. Okay, birthday party etiquette for twins. My sons have been invited to a friend’s birthday party. Do they each bring a separate gift, or can they bring a joint gift? I know I’m always overwhelmed by the number of gifts my kids get at their party, so I would LOVE for people to bring joint gifts. But I don’t know this family very well (our au pairs are friends, and the boys became friends because the au pairs get them together for play dates during the week — I’ve never met the parents) so I don’t want to make a bad impression. Two gifts or one? And what’s the typical price point for 4th birthday presents? $25?

    • Anonymous says:

      I have twins and do one gift from both. I spent $15-$20 on a single gift from a single child (my oldest) so I do $30- $35 when it’s from both. I either get one item or two-three smaller items (book, puzzle, action figure) depending on how well I know the kid or if the boys have ideas about what they want to get. Even if I do more than one item, it’s in one gift bag from both of them.

    • JayJay says:

      I wouldn’t expect twins to give my child two presents. I think one is perfectly fine and $25-35 is the standard range in my area for that age.

    • Just one gift is fine. I don’t know about price point–I’ve seen everything from $10 to $40 in a HCOL area. I usually aim for $15 to $20 for a similar age.

      I hate getting “stuff” so my go-to gifts are books and easily used up art supplies. I think one can never have too many books and I like that the art supplies can be consumed and used up. For art supplies, we’ve given fancy washable paint markers that dry in 90 seconds, fancy sticker pads, scratch off sketch pads, craft kits, and those paint with water pads. If I know the family’s style well enough, I might also get a practical item of clothing, like a warm hat, gloves, fleece vest, nice wool slippers, or socks. We never give toys.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      Not a twin parent here, but as a singleton parent I can’t imagine ever thinking “I can’t believe her twins only brought one gift- how cheap!” anyone who would even notice that isn’t worth contemplating getting closer with anyway! As long as your boys don’t mind bringing a combo gift I definitely wouldn’t worry.
      I’m in a HCOL area and we usually do the $15-$25 range for kids in the situation you’re describing (where my kid likes them but I’ve barely met the parents).

      • +1. Would never judge twins for bringing only one gift and would probably expect a joint gift.

    • I always did a joint gift. I just spent double what I otherwise would have. I gave a lot of games.

    • In the Boston ‘burbs, we do a gift $10-15 for kids we don’t really know well at all, and more like $20 +/- for kids we know well. I have a 4 year old.

      A joint gift is fine. Have them make separate cards. if you think it would be fun, do a 2-part gift and each twin could give part (book + matching stuffed animal or toy), or maybe spring for a $25 lego set if you’d normally get a $15-20 gift.

    • following up on this – what if the twins are the ones having the birthday party. Do you bring a gift for each of them or do you bring a joint gift? (i’m currently pregnant with twins, which is why i am curious). Not that I think kids need a lot of stuff, but twins are still individuals so my thought is that people should bring them each a gift, but that also means when they are invited to a party they should either each bring a gift or a bring a joint more expensive gift. Thoughts?

      • Anonymous says:

        I am a twin and agree with this line of thinking. I don’t remember how this specific issue was handled when I was a child but I know it was always super important to me to be recognized as an individual. Birthdays are hard because they are shared. So I say you should always give twins each an individual gift, and then to go with that, each twin should give their own gift at another person’s party.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have twins and give one joint more expensive present. I would prefer to receive two presents as the twins are sensitive to not being seen as individuals – but I know you’re buying two gifts for one party so I wouldn’t think it was cheap if someone split the usual party budget. Like a puzzle each is probably under $10 each but the twins would take that much better than trying to share one $30 toy. Sharing would work for something like art supplies or playdoh probably.

      • In our circle, it’s common to bring siblings to parties, and it’s common for siblings to have joint parties. I usually don’t increase my gift when I bring all of my kids (with permission of course), or maybe by $5-$10, which is pretty standard. I would bring two gifts for a joint party, sometimes a big present and a small present, sometimes two individual presents, depending on how well I know the kids.

      • Anonymous says:

        It probably won’t matter much when they are little (<4). But I can easily see having to do a friend party for one kid the week before their birthday and a friend party for the other the week after. And a family thing the week of. And probably get them used to smaller parties (take two friends to the zoo instead of have eight kids over for cake).

        Twins run in my family, so I've actually thought about this a ton.

  11. New Mom says:

    I’m almost 6 weeks postpartum and I’ve lost all but 7 of the almost 30 pounds I gained while pregnant within the first 2-3 weeks after giving birth. While I admittedly haven’t been eating great (holidays, new baby) and I’m not yet cleared to workout beyond walking, these last 7 pounds seem to be pretty stubborn. I’m breastfeeding, so I was hoping that would help, but it doesn’t seem to be making a difference. Has this happened to anyone else? Did the weight eventually go away after you stopped breastfeeding or did you need to work at it?

    Also, did anyone’s body change after baby and permanently stay that way? I worry that my hips (and maybe rib cage?) are now permanently wider, which doesn’t bother me too much but makes me want to cry when I think about having to give up my expensive pre-baby denim collection. Is it possible that they could still shrink back?

    • Anonymous says:

      My ribcage permanently expanded. My hips shifted a little, but I could still wear a lot of pre-pregnancy pants.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        My hips and ribcage took a while (longer than 6 weeks) to shift back, but it did. I think my hips are slightly wider now though.

    • Breastfeeding did absolutely zero for my weight, sadly. But I would definitely give yourself some time – six weeks is, like, nothing!

    • Anonanonanon says:

      The last few pound came off on their own about 3 months in for me (with my first, in my early 20s… so probably not what I can expect this time around).
      My hips never shifted completely back, and while the number on the scale returned to normal, my proportions were forever changed. My b00bs migrated to my @$$ and hips, never to return (went from a B to a AA)

    • The last few pounds are pretty stubborn, but I’m also not working out as much as I used to. My stomach is also very… jiggly. I’ve thought about Restore Your Core or one of those type of things but who has the time! lol.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rib cage is permanently wider (especially on my left side) from my twin pregnancy. Hips are slightly wider from singleton pregnancy.

      Try not to stress too much about the last 7 lbs. I couldn’t get 100% down to my pre-pregnancy weight without seeing a dip in my supply (everytime I came close, I saw a supply dip) but it came off pretty easily once I stopped nursing so hormones probably played a role.

    • avocado says:

      My hips got narrower and my waist got thicker. I had to replace all my pants with a different cut even though I weighed exactly the same as I had pre-baby. The changes were permanent.

    • Cornellian says:

      I think my ribs and hips are not going back at this point. I weigh less than pre-baby and ran a half-marathon yesterday, but my bones are in different places than before. Sorry :/

      • Congratulations on the half-marathon! I ran one right around the time kiddo turned 1 – it was, uh, his birthday present to myself.

    • I hate to scare you, but my hips expanded (even as breastfeeding ate my butt) and I had to slowly acquire a brand new collection of pants. Also, don’t worry about those 7 pounds – give yourself time, and grace.

    • 5.5 months PP. Rib cage is still wider. Hips I think are still wider, given that I am now 25 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight (thank you BFing and a colicky gremlin that had to be held and moved constantly). The last 5 or so of those have come off in the last month or so, since I think my BFing hunger has waned and I have given up my weekly box of oreos (sad, but better for my health of course). Despite my weight being now what it was in 2014, I am wearing pants that I was wearing in late 2016 (the 2014 pants are not even close).

      • Anonymous says:

        I would say give it a year, at least, before you get rid of anything! I had a twin pregnancy and didn’t lose the last 5-10 lbs until I stopped pumping when they were 9 months old. Pre-pregnancy I wore size 6 or 8 pants and I bought some 10s while pumping. I got rid of the 6s thinking I’d never get thin again and now the twins are 2 and my 8 pants are falling off. Sometimes the bones do flex permanently but sometimes your body is still adjusting.

    • Oh my god it’s been 6 weeks. Give me a break.

      • Edna Mazur says:

        This but more gentle. You are only six weeks out. Please give yourself permission to put the scale away for at least a month or two.

    • It stinks but yes, be patient. I’m 4 months out from my second. I’ve been running since 4 weeks postpartum. I eat well. I ran 24 miles last week, including a 12 mile long run on Sunday, which is a pretty standard week for me.

      And I am 20 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. It will come off, just maybe not as soon as you’d like.

    • Anon. says:

      Personal experience (because everybody’s different): of the 45 lbs I gained during pregnancy the first 25 disappeared within 2 weeks, the next 10 took another month, the last 10 took 3 more months. I’m now 6.5 months post and 10 lbs less than before baby. I’m going to credit pretty much all of that weight loss to breastfeeding. I’m exercising semi-regularly (mostly long walks) and trying to eat responsibly but not watching calories closely or anything. Give yourself some time before you start getting rid of clothes.

    • Anonymous says:

      I actually REALLY lost weight when kiddo was about 8 months old and still breast feeding/pumping. She was eating two meals of solids a day and was crawling everywhere. I was actually down to what I weighed just a few years out of college. So don’t give up yet!

      (I think if I’d been able to hit the gym at that point I’d weigh what I weighed then. Unfortunately, the next three months we had a housing crisis, lost our childcare, had to postpone a job transfer, move, kid got Hand Foot and Mouth, then just when things seemed to be settling down there was the presidential election and I think I literally had some sort of depression from that. So, I gained a LOT back. Sigh.)

  12. Sleep Training the Second Child says:

    All – My youngest is about 14 months and while she’s always been a decent sleeper, it’s really time to sleep train her completely. I’d ready to stop the nighttime nursing and rocking routine. Mostly selfishly (I’m ready to have my body back and this is the only time we still nurse), but also because it’s just harder and harder to get her to settle this way. We sleep trained our oldest at around 18 months when these same problems started happening (fought being rocked mainly) and we used a modified cry it out. It worked well (in like 2-3 nights with less than 30 minutes of crying even the first night) and she’s a rockstar sleeper at 5. But how do I do it with a second? Did you send your oldest away for a few nights? Or just “out” even if it’s past their bedtime? Or do you just suck it up and realize the oldest is likely to be bothered by the crying? Help!

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you tried nursing for a set amount of time and then having your DH put her down? We switched to this when I was ready to stop. I nursed for 10 minutes. Then DH sang her one song, then put her in bed. After a month or so, we introduced DH giving her a sippy with milk instead of me nursing. Worked better if I was out of the house (even pretending to be). Now she just gets one book, one song and bedtime.

      • Sleep Training the Second Child says:

        Thanks. I’m less concerned about the “how” for my toddler, and more concerned about the impact on her big sister.

    • LittleBigLaw says:

      +1 Also struggling with similar issues. Our 6 week old is generally a pretty happy baby but her nursery is right beside our 2 year old’s room. When baby does cry for extended periods, it’s usually at the “witching hour” and makes bedtime very difficult for our toddler, who sleeps through anything but still has trouble falling asleep. How did you mamas of two handle noise complaints?

    • When we sleep trained our youngest at about that age, her older brother was in the neighboring bedroom and never even noticed. Our youngest initially cried for an hour the first few nights and then decreased her amout of crying. Our oldest never even stirred.

    • have you tried it? Do they share a room? My 4.5 year old sleeps right through my 18 month old’s middle-of-the-night screams and howls, and we don’t even use a white noise machine.

      If it’s the actual going to bed that’s a problem, could you let your older one go to bed in your bed/on a couch/somewhere far away from the screaming and then move her when you’re ready to go to bed?

      • FWIW you might try putting the older one down first, then putting baby down once older one is asleep.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I haven’t had to do this yet (but will in about three months) — we are going to use a white noise machine (the LectroFan is really good at blocking even high-frequency screaming) and make sure they are in separate rooms (tho eventually the plan is for them to share). If that doesn’t work, we were thinking about sending the older one to her grandmother’s for the first night, or potentially letting her sleep downstairs (“sleepover party with Mama!”).

  13. Cornellian says:

    +1 on nursing eating your butt!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why?!

  14. Thank you to all those who posted last week on this site with positive comments about having kids, after the somewhat negative discussion on the main site. I’m currently pregnant and have been freaking out a bit about how much our life is going to change (which I hope is normal). Our pregnancy was very much planned. We had some trouble conceiving so during that time I tried to remind myself about all the great things about not having kids (sleeping late on weekends, travel, etc., but I think I did too good of a job! We had delayed trying due to some life circumstances and during that time every time I heard another friend was pregnant, my heart would ache and I would end up in tears, so deep down I know I am thrilled to be pregnant, but it can still feel scary sometimes!

    • That’s totally normal! My pregnancy was planned, too, but I was so sick for so long (you’re welcome, everyone I didn’t murder for saying I should be feeling so great during my second trimester) that I felt strongly ambivalent, and then super guilty for not being over the moon at all times. You’re doing great, and it sounds like you are approaching parenthood with real expectations, which isn’t bad! Hugs!

    • Anonymous says:

      If things get tough keep in mind that parenting is constantly changing. You might HATE parenting a newborn. And that’s okay because you might LOVE parenting a 4 year old or a 14 year old. It’s a long journey, expect some bumps along the way but it’s a pretty awesome ride even when it looks nothing like you expected.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was so surprised by the negative tone of that discussion – and I’m a person who was ambivalent about children before I had them. Here’s the rub: your life will change. You will sleep less, be exhausted all the time, experience frustration like never before, and become very accustomed to bodily functions you never thought you’d become accustomed to. But you will also find yourself staying up at night to watch your little one sleep (because it’s so magical), and experience moments of pure wonder and joy. There is nothing – NOTHING – like watching a little human you created (or even just one you’ve raised) experience the world for the first time. There is nothing like having that little human give you hugs and kisses and say mama or dada for the first time. Being a parent is SO MUCH work and it completely changes your life but I wouldn’t do it differently for all the money in the world!

    • 2 Cents says:

      I think if you weren’t freaking out (or at least concerned) with how different your life would be, that would be strange. I’m Type A, expecting our first, who wasn’t planned exactly, but very much long-awaited. Some days (hours/minutes/seconds — thanks hormones!), I am over-the-moon thrilled. At other times, I seriously question my (our) sanity with starting on this journey. Occasionally, I try to remember how much fun I had when I was a kid with my family and try to look forward to the stuff we can show/do with baby once he’s here.

  15. I know this is pretty basic parenting but I trust this s!te more than the internet. How do you calm/redirect a crying, clingy 11 month old? Mine has been sick off and on since Thanksgiving, but he’s on the mend now. But now he will NOT let me put him down! When I put him down, he cries/screams, and now he’s started throwing his head down or hitting his head on the floor. Then he follows me around crying until I stop (to fold laundry or wash dishes), then he clings to my leg. I left for a couple of hours yesterday and my husband commented that he played quietly by himself the whole time, so I know part of it is me. He goes to day care (missed all last week due to illness) and his caretaker even commented that he gets very upset when she cannot hold him too though. I feel like when I pick him up I’m reinforcing that throwing a fit is how he gets his way. Do I just gently remove him and say “I can’t pick you up right now”? Do I ignore the tantrums? Help!

    • Anonymous says:

      FWIW, even without being sick, I think that’s part of the age. Many get pretty clingy around that age, because they have realized that they can be apart from you, and they want your attention, and (especially when they’re used to getting it) they realize that fussing works. Depending on the circumstance, I alternately ignore (like if I’m finishing curling my hair in the morning), or redirect (I find stacking things or containers with small blocks, etc. are good distraction).

    • Anonymous says:

      I hate the most success when I leaned into the need. I started baby wearing a bunch around 1 year old with one of my twins. I would often put him on my back as soon as we got home from daycare. Then I could help his twin more easily. He’d be perfectly happy up on my back in the Ergo – sometimes he only need 15 minutes of ‘up’ before he was happy to go play.

      He’s three now and I still leave the Toddler Tula hanging on a dining room chair so he can bring it if he needs an ‘up’. Sometimes the ‘up’ is just 5 minutes but I’ll leave it around my waist in case he wants to get up again. He likes seeing me wear it – almost like it’s his ‘bat signal’ that mom is available for ‘ups’ if he needs it. Somehow the carrier gave him more security than just being held, maybe because it stopped him for worrying if I was going to put him down? This might be completely useless to you but thought I would share in case it helps.

      • Anonymous says:

        I hate = I had

      • It had not occurred to me to wear him on my *back*! That would probably work well since I’m often doing chores when we’re home. This is helpful – thanks!

        • Anonymous says:

          Back for sure. I stopped doing front carries around 9 months old. It felt much heavier and baby was so big I couldn’t get anything done, especially things like chopping vegetables or folding laundry. Sometimes I’d just sit on the couch with him on my back in the carrier and fold laundry.

          Just make sure you read the instructions for back carry, you don’t want the belt too low.

      • AwayEmily says:

        I really, really hate clingy periods. It gives me flashbacks to the newborn cluster feeding days of feeling trapped.

        What’s worked for us is a combination of “leaning in” and firm “no,” depending on whether she seems really sad or just kind of whiny.

        We use the phrase “needing a minute” if she seems really sad (usually during transition times — morning, leaving for school, etc). So I’ll say “it sounds like you need a minute,” pick her up, focus on her entirely for a minute or so, and then put her back down. Usually that gets her in an ok place to be on her own. But if I think she’s just being whiny/clingy/bored, then usually I say “I hear that you want me to pick you up right now, but I’m finishing unloading the dishwasher. I will play with you in three minutes when I am finished.”

        These strategies are a lot easier at closer to 14 months, though, when they are a little more expressive. So not sure if it will work for you. But sympathies regardless.

        • Mama Llama says:

          I remember doing something similar that read about online where I would say “need to wait” with a “stop” hand gesture and then wait like 30 seconds before getting her, the idea being that if they wait patiently you praise them effusively, if they whine and cry you ignore and wait the same amount of time, and you gradually extend the amount of waiting time. Actually, now that I think about it, this might have been in The Happiest Toddler on the Block, so you might want to check out that book or video.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Can you lean into it a bit? Baby wearing?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sit on the floor with him whenever you can. Put toys just out of his reach. Sit with him on the floor and fold laundry. Eventually he will accept that you are not moving/going anywhere and he can move away from you and come back.

  16. CPA Lady says:

    I need a sanity check re: kids stuff and budgeting.

    This weekend I ordered my daughter’s twin size bed, mattress, and box spring, and bought sheets, a blanket, a throw pillow, a mattress protector, and a comforter. I want to also get a duvet cover to put on the comforter and a second set of sheets.

    During this entire process I kept understanding exactly why retail is failing. But then I wonder if I just have unrealistic expectations? I did a ton of shopping around and researching, both at stores and online, and it seemed like everything, both furniture and bedding, fell under one of the following categories:

    1. Good quality but astonishingly expensive
    2. Mediocre quality and almost as astonishingly expensive (this appalled me the most)
    3. Mediocre quality but pretty cheap
    4. Actual garbage

    I pretty much went with option 3. I don’t want to spend $2,000 on a twin size bed and bedding for a 3 year old. I just don’t. And my only other option is crap? What is going on with the world???? Are my expectations unreasonable? I live in a LCOL and we have a decent HHI, and I’m just… like… how do people afford anything that’s not crap?

    • Anonymous says:

      I buy used things that are good quality (e.g., the bed frame) or buy on sale, and accept mediocrity for most things than can’t be bought used. Good vs mediocre is so subjective though. Generally speaking, I think at IKEA more than most places, you get what you pay for. Their solid wood furniture costs more than the stuff that is particleboard.

      • Anonymous says:

        This. Ikea solid wood furniture is usually good quality and well priced. I also like their linens/duvets/room accessories for kids. Mattress set up are less expensive as well because their beds are designed not to need a box spring.

      • CPA Lady says:

        Yeah, I buy a lot of stuff second hand. I furnished most of my house with antiques. But that was a multiple year process that involved going to auctions, getting things gradually as I found just the right thing… maybe that’s why I have such sticker shock over this. I used to have more free time to shop around.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah, buying used is harder. You could also just do a mattress on the floor for a while.

    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      I hate furniture shopping for that reason — mostly trying to avoid the second category of expensive, but bad quality. IKEA’s wood furniture (HEMMES?) seems to be the best for the third category, and that’s what we use in the LO’s and guest rooms.

      Also, having just gone thru kiddo’s first tummy bug, I’d say three sets of sheets and at least two mattress protectors, and maybe an extra pillow — one on the bed, a spare, and one in the wash, or two in the wash… I find Target is the best for bedding, although Bed Bath and Beyond has a few lines that are reasonable, especially if you use the 20% of coupons (and you can use more than one per transaction).

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I was struggling with this for a while, and then realized this is probably my only kid and I can afford to spend what I want – might as well lean into it and dress her/furnish her room the way I want. We have a big group of families who will accept hand-me-downs, so as long as things don’t break, I’m OK.

  17. I have 2 kids already but we are moving everything around. I just bought *two* sets of everything because I’m moving one from a crib and one from a full both to twin beds.

    We got a headboard ($100), Metal bedrails ($40), mattress & box spring (~$200), waterproof mattress pad ($18), And sheets ($20). Going to deal with a duvet later.

    I looked at a regular bed (vs rails + headboard) and decided against spending $600 for mediocrity especially when it’s for a 2 and 4 year old. When they get bigger, they’ll get their own rooms and bigger beds.

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