Accessory Tuesday: Caroline Pump

This pump is highly rated at Nordstrom and has the sort of grandma heel that that’s very popular right now, with patent leather and a cute little bow. It actually looks very much like the Ferragamo Vara pump that has a price several times higher. I think it’s a classic look and is especially good for not-so-great weather. Michael Kors shoes are always highly rated, and their Flex pumps are in our Workwear Hall of Fame. If you like the look of these, I would definitely give them a try, especially if you’re looking for a dupe for the Ferragamo. The shoe comes in sizes 5.5–10 in black and the pictured color, and is $115. Caroline Pump

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Looking for advice on nursing tanks. I’m 8 months pregnant now and want to buy a couple in advance for that changing-size period. I’ve tried on so many and they all seem to have a few common problems. I’d prefer a style that has some sort of extra coverage like molding since I don’t really want to wear a bra underneath. Lots of the ones I’ve tried on don’t have this sewn in so it gets all crumpled up when I unclip and lower one of the sides – can I just sew this in myself? Any reason not to try that, or is it just going to look dumb?
    I also find that lots of them are hard to lower just one side. To get one side low enough, I’d basically have to unclip both sides. What am I doing wrong??

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I don’t remember owning many nursing tanks, and my son is now 8 so I may be remembering incorrectly, but I thought the ones with clips didn’t need pulling down? That they unclipped, a “flap” opened into another layer of tank top with a slit for the necessary bits to come out. I DO remember that they were horrible, though. A lot of people seem to use normal camisoles under a shirt, and just pull the camisole completely down and the shirt up, exposing only what they need. Could that be an option for you?

      Do you want molding for support or to make sure no one.. er… knows if you think it’s cold in there? If you get the stick-on disposable nursing pads and stick them to the inside of your nursing tank in between feedings, that may provide a bit of coverage.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 for disposable nursing pads. If you want molding for support, that’s another story, but I’ve been satisfied with nursing tanks with nursing pads, plus a shirt over the top that can be pulled up.

      • Anonymous says:

        Did you wear nursing pads the whole time you were nursing? I was thinking that nursing pads were more useful as your supply got established but then I wouldn’t necessarily need/wear them anymore. I may be totally confused though, in which case this could work as a substitute.
        A normal camisole could work though, I’d just get some cheapo ones I guess since I think all that pulling down would ruin the elastic eventually.

        • Anon at 9:53 says:

          I have been using them the entire time. It’s probably not necessary, but it gives me peace of mind and also creates the habit so I don’t forget to put them in when I want them and I’m running late or sleepless.

    • I always unhooked the cup, then sorta folded it over, then down into the band while I nursed so it stayed put. YMMV — it worked for me because I’m a very average cup size, but I can see that this might not work well if you had more fabric to work with.

      • Meaning you folded it over inward toward you rather than outward? I had not thought of that! Will try when I get home with the box of tanks I’ve ordered and can’t admit defeat on!

    • Thisperson1 says:

      Bravado nursing tanks are great… I actually still use two for pajamas even though I’m done nursing, because they’re comfortable and supportive without having to wear a bra with them.

      • Butter says:

        +1 to Bravado. They are pricey but worth it, and offered me way more support than my other nursing tanks. I think I wore one every day when I went back to work, under my clothes.

        For around the house I was a fan of the cheap H&M ones, two for $15 or something like that.

        • +2 They cost more but were totally worth it. And the bra sized sizing was helpful as well. I basically lived in these both maternity leaves, and continued to wear them under sweaters when I went back to work.

          I also wore nursing pads the entire time I was nursing/pumping. It didn’t happen often, but occasionally I got delayed on a pumping session or otherwise had a bit of leakage or let down, and those pads were a life saver.

    • How busty are you?

      • Not. At all. I think that might be part of the problem, because I need the cup to fold down pretty far in order to expose enough to get the tank out of baby’s face.

        • You’re going to get bigger, so that might not be an issue once baby is actually here. I’d buy a variety, leave the tags on, and see what works best after your milk comes in.

    • Anon CPA says:

      I love the Pea in the Pod nursing tanks!

    • Anonymous says:

      Disposable nursing pads were the WORST. They never stayed in place, they were bulky and left weird shapes in my bra/tank top. Get reusable ones and use clothing tape (an X shape on the back worked best for me). Just peel the tape off and toss them in the laundry. There are different thicknesses for day and night. I used night all the time early on, and eventually just day.

      I bought six nursing tanks to start: two each from Old Navy, Target and H&M. I also bought the pull down / sleep tanks from Target. I actually wore that a lot during the day. I liked Old Navy, but they stretched out and didn’t fit after a few months. Target ones were pretty good. I think the H&M ones fit well, but the straps seemed thin/twisted easily.

  2. Can I rant about an emotional labor thing that has me super annoyed? My church hosts Wednesday night dinners for families participating in some of the evening activities. Church Lady Super Mom asks if anybody could pick up milk for the dinner. I responded sure, how many gallons do you need? She then responds: Actually, I think we have that taken care of. Could you bring 5 pounds of sliced apples instead?

    No, Church Lady, I cannot. I was counting on stopping at the store on my way home to pick up milk. I do not have time to pick up my kids from school, go home, slice 5 lbs. of apples, and get them to church by 5:30 p.m. And I’m sure as h3ll not slicing 5 lbs. of apples before work. I’d have no problem telling her that in a private message, but of course this conversation is happening on a semi-public Facebook page.

    This is why I’ve stopped volunteering to do much of anything. Not every mom (and it’s always the moms) has a flex schedule, and even something small like this is actually a big ask. Then I feel guilty for not contributing because I know it’s the same core group of moms who do most of this stuff.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      That’s quite the bait and switch, I’m sorry!
      I wouldn’t feel bad about saying “Actually, I won’t be able to. I volunteered for the milk since I could grab that quickly after work, but I won’t have time to slice apples between work and the event. Let me know anything comes up that can be grabbed from the store, and I’ll be glad to contribute!” (as long as that last line is true).

      I feel you, I always want to help out more at my son’s school, but it quickly turns into “You can drop off _____ item at the front office the day of or the day before the event!” No, I can’t. I work 40 minutes away, and the front office doesn’t open until 8:30 am. I’d basically lose half a work day to “drop something off”.

      • I like your script and will use some version of that. I may send it to her privately, so as to not be the B on the Facebook page. The evil part of me wants to respond publicly, just to call out how ridiculous the ask is. But Church Lady Super Mom is generally sweet and is doing a good thing by organizing the meals, so I probably won’t.

        Do you find that this stuff makes you feel more isolated as a working mom? I feel like there is this entire universe in my neighborhood and kids’ schools that I’m not part of because of simple logistics. I don’t expect everybody to change for the working parents, but becoming part of a community has been harder than I ever expected.

        • Anonanonanon says:

          I’ve found the same, and sometimes it (seemingly randomly) gets me very discouraged. Sometimes it seems like even the other working parents have more flexibility, like work-from-home arrangements that allow them to pop out during lunch and run stuff by the school, more flexible start/end times, etc. Being on a strict, in-office, full day schedule 5 days a week makes it tough.

          • AwayEmily says:

            If it’s any comfort, my husband and I are some of those parents with a more flexible arrangement (ie, I don’t have to be in the office from 9 – 5) and we talk a LOT (especially on days where for some reason we do have fixed hours) about how tough it must be to not have that flexibility. I think you guys who make it work with strict hours are doing a really incredible job.

            I get very frustrated when people in my line of work complain about having to work 60 hour weeks…yes, we do have to work a lot, but at least we get to choose WHEN we do it, and that makes such a big difference.

            Which is all to say — maybe some jerk parents are judging you, but lots are also looking at your life and schedule and thinking that you are amazing.

          • I agree. Even at daycare dropoff, I see tons of parents in casual clothes or even workout wear. I don’t know what they do, but it seems like they have a degree of flexibility that I definitely don’t — from the hours worked, to what they wear. (What are those jobs, and how do I get one?)

            By the way, I messaged Church Lady and she’s put me back on milk duty. I’m sure she’s not pleased with me, but them’s the breaks of working with volunteers.

        • Just wanted to say that following that script isn’t remotely b*tchy.

        • Even if I was not a working mom, I would be annoyed by slicing 5 pounds of apples. ;)

    • anne-on says:

      I would totally follow the script above! It is also why I now (and was trained to as a kid) sign up for something that can be bought, stored, and ideally sent in with kids for school events – ie, napkins, cups, plates, cutlery, etc. I don’t think schools realize how much they depend on the unpaid labor of (mostly) moms to make the social/charitable/and sometimes even academic functions run. I’m all for volunteering once or twice a term, but come on, I work too!
      Also, DO NOT get me started on when day cares pull this ish. I obviously send my child to daycare so I can work, so no, I do not have time to construct/buy a different costume for every day of ‘theme week!’.

      • The fact that it’s the moms who get saddled with these tasks makes my blood boil. I’ve gotten better at just refusing to go along with the program or to provide labor in a way that works for me, but it doesn’t always work.

        • anonymous says:

          Yes! My husband and I are both signed up with our kid’s sports team, both on the email list, and he is the one who usually takes her to practice. I was LIVID when the snack coordinator parent sent the email with snack week assignments only to the mothers of the players. I replied back asking her to please include my husband on any future emails but it made me so angry that I even had to do that.

      • Anonymous says:

        +100 on the daycare point. /rage

      • Less than 2 months in, I already have the reputation as THAT mom, who brings the napkins and cups. I literally had to respond to the Halloween email “I can buy stuff for the class activity on Oriental Trading, and I can send it to school that morning with DD, but I will not be able to distribute it individually to each kid. Let me know if that’s okay?”

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        UGH on daycare. My daycare is at my work — the other parents are my colleagues — WHEN are any of us supposed to have time to do all this stuff? And I’m more inclined than most because I freakin’ love crafts and costumes, but like, you can’t have a cardboard car thing one week and a potluck the next week and a ‘party’ the next and expect me to show up. I pay you so I don’t have to!

    • I am totally going to be the mom who does not volunteer for stuff.

      • Boston Legal Eagle says:

        I don’t remember my parents ever volunteering for anything school-related when I was growing up. They came to school shows that were at night or on the weekends, but during the day? Never. They both worked and generally couldn’t just leave to go to some school event. They had more flexibility later on in their careers, but even then, they didn’t volunteer. It is truly ok not to volunteer if you don’t have the time and frankly, if you just don’t want to.

        • anne-on says:

          +1 – my mom was a teacher then later a vice principal. Guess which parents can’t go to school events? The ones who are running those events at another school!

          • Anonanonanon says:

            Yesssss my mom became a school nurse when I was in high school, and she missed most of my younger brother’s school events.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 Both of my parents worked full-time, demanding, jobs and I’m 99% sure my mother never volunteered for anything at my school, ever. It may seem selfish to the moms who do, but she was in survival mode and I don’t blame her. Why stress yourself out more just so other people think better about you for one millisecond of their day?

        • I agree with you on the whole, but there truly are some things that you can’t opt out of. Or if you do, it reflects badly on your kid and family.

      • My parents, who both had demanding jobs, came to exactly two meet-the-teacher sessions throughout my entire school career: the first one, in first grade, and the last one, at the end of high school. Why not the rest? “You were doing well at school, and you didn’t have any problems.” (see also: yesterday’s discussion on the Gen X midlife crisis and the evolution of parenting since the 1980s!)

    • I’d reply “I’m happy to bring apples instead but won’t be able to slice them in advance since I’ll be coming right from work…will that work?”

      Devil’s Advocate, she probably didn’t think.

      • Anonymous says:

        + 1 When I’m working through a task list trying to get things covered, I’m less likely to stop and think about the task from the perspective of all the different people I’m contacting, remember their schedules, or understand their constraints. I think it’s perfectly OK to say “I don’t have time for prep work between work and church. Is there anything else I can stop off and buy on the way home?”

  3. Anonanonanon says:

    Does anyone know anything about/have any experience with comotomo bottles? They seem pretty cool. I want to register for just a few bottles and was thinking these might be cool to try. I know bottles are generally baby-specific, so I won’t register for many, but I’m struggling to think of smaller ticket items to register for since my instinct is to “wait and see” what I need and order from amazon prime

    • lucy stone says:

      Yes! They are great. They cured a bottle strike for us and we used them reliably for months. My daughter is off the bottle now, but this was my favorite. They are so easy to clean, don’t land nipple down – only downside is they are harder to label for daycare. We just wrote on them with a Sharpie and it came off in the wash.

    • Newbie Momma says:

      My baby seems to be the only baby in the world that wouldn’t take them. From a practical standpoint, they don’t fit in some bottle warmers, so something to keep in mind. Other than that I still think they look cool.

      • Ditto – my bottle-refuser was not swayed by the comotomos. Also this may be just be me but I couldn’t figure out how to warm them, since the silicone was pretty effective at insulating (ie keeping the milk cold).

      • Anonanonanon says:

        I totally forgot that some babies want you to warm them. My first didn’t care, he would drink it straight out of the fridge, but I forgot that may not be the case for this one. sigh.

    • I am an EPer and use comotomos now. We started off with Dr Browns, and after having to wash approx a billion bottle pieces, the comotomos are a breeze. If you do end up using them, they fit in the Tommee Tippee bottle insulated totes. My baby is not too picky about temp, but I’ll usually take a bottle out of the fridge a while before I know she’ll want it (or run under some warm water) to let it warm a little and dissolve the fat.

    • There was a whole post featuring comotomos a few weeks ago! I love them – my baby took them right from the start, and they are super easy to clean, and supposedly less concern about chemicals seeping into the liquids than with plastic bottles (but I am not super concerned about that).

    • No advice — but my exhausted, solo parenting for the last month brain will only read the word “comotomo” as “Tamatoa” — the crab from Moana, who is voiced by Jemaine Clement, and is easily one of my favorite parts of the movie. On that basis alone, I’d buy them.

  4. AwayEmily says:

    This is in response to ifiknew’s post from yesterday about her baby wanting to eat frequently throughout the night — I agree with the people who said to space out her feedings during the day so she learns to eat more at each sitting. This was a struggle with my daughter…she preferred to graze all the time. Our pediatrician strongly suggested we slowly train her to eat every 3 hours during the day, and once we did that her sleeping (and my quality of life) improved a lot.

    • ifiknew says:

      Thank you so much!! So helpful to hear. That’s what I plan to try after reading everyone’s comments..

  5. anne-on says:

    Gift help – my nephew is turning 1 right after Christmas, so I need both birthday and Xmas suggestions. He’s the second boy, so has plenty in the way of clothing/toys (and his parents SO do not want more space hogging things in their apt.). Any ideas of cool/useful stuff that you would like for babies? My idea right now is some new board books, a cute hooded towel, and….that’s it.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      I like the idea of a cute hooded towel, especially if you can have it personalized with his name. If he gets a lot of hand-me-downs/shared items, that might feel special to him. Someone gifted my son a nice hooded towel around that age and he loved it (because it was a dinosaur) and I loved how cute it was, plus it was functional, so it was a win-win.

    • Your ideas are great! I would add to that: fun dishes and cups designed for older kiddos. Specifically, Boon makes some bowls and plates with this rubbery seal along the bottom that keeps them from getting tipped over as easily. They’re kinda spendy for everyday dishes, but I would’ve been so excited to get them as gifts.

    • You could get him a subscription to Babybug – its a magazine for babies (kind of in board book form). A keepsake ornament or engraved frame or something might also be nice. At his age he’s going to be most excited about the boxes stuff comes in so try to please the parents.

    • +1 to Babybug magazine (or Hello from Highlights, or Nat Geo Little Kids). He’s also just starting to get into the fun art stage – maybe one of those giant rolls of paper and a bunch (like several sets) of washable markers? You could also do the larger crayons and stampers and stickers to go along with a sort of art theme.

      Along the lines of the bowls/plates, also look into kid-size stainless steel silverware and cups and plates as a joint gift for him and older brother. Those things are expensive but I’d love to replace my Ikea set with a nice steel version.

    • Maybe some cute new bath toys to go with the towel? Those tend to get gross after a while so even if his sibling has a bunch, a couple of new ones will not go unused. The Crayola bath drops that color the bath water are also a big hit in our house.

      • Pigpen's Mama says:

        +1 on the bath toys Boon has some fun ones that are unusual.

        Also +1 to the toddler magazines – my kiddo loves getting them in the mail and they are easy to toss in a diaper bag.

    • Anonymous says:

      Big hits at 1: an Ikea walker, a wooden shape sorter, a Fisher price doll house, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, wooden cars, baby doll with clothes,

      Also for siblings, I’ve had real success ordering personalized things off of Etsy. Tote bags for library books and lunches are good!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes to personalized things and things that can replace baby stuff, like big kid dishes and utensils (for a while my go-to 1-year-old present was a set of Oneida kid utensils. We’ve had ours for 8 years and they are still going strong after 3 kids…)

      I also have 2 boys 2 years apart and STILL struggle with getting the second kid something special. We have everything (seriously all the stuff) and since we tend to buy quality to hand down to the second kid, he never really “needs” anything new. So gifting to him is more about assuaging my own conscience that we’re treating him equally. Anyway, at 1, kid won’t notice that you didn’t get him anything, but the parents might feel totally overwhelmed w stuff, so my #1 advice is $$ that they can use for college. Even if it’s $25, the parents might be able to use it (we automatically throw the amount of any cash or gift card amounts kids are gifted into college savings and then spend the actual dollars or cards used. That is getting harder w/ older kids now that they understand how to spend, but it was fine while it lasted.)

      But in terms of personalized stuff – I second the tote bags. One of my favorite favorite gifts ever was an LL Bean Boat and Tote bag (small size) with their names embroidered on them. When they were little they used them to put stuff in and take stuff out, and since they started piano they’ve been perfect piano bags for books and snack. Plus they are small to store.

      • Onlyworkingmomintulsa says:

        Thank you so much for the LL Bean Boat and Tote suggestion. I just ordered one for my goddaughter’s 1st birthday and she is #3 of 3.

    • ElisaR says:

      great suggestions – also since it’s his first christmas (and assuming the family celebrates christmas) I would recommend a personalized (non-breakable) christmas ornament with his name and/or picture on.

      I got my niece that (she was the 2nd girl born in that family) a few years ago and it’s very special to her. The first born was gifted several but by the time the 2nd came around…… everybody forgot :(

    • shortperson says:

      chunky beeswax crayons are my standard 1 year old gift.

  6. Pigpen's Mama says:

    What sort of “background checks” do you run on new sitters?

    So far the people we’ve used have been vetted by other people (daycare, friends) so I didn’t call any references. I’m now looking through a local Facebook group for sitters and wonder what other people are doing.

    I suppose my maybe irrational fear is that someone will give me a reference who isn’t a real reference, but a friend who is pretending to be another parent that used this babysitter. Logical me says that’s a lot of work to be deceptive, but paranoid mama me is a little bit paranoid.


    • I look for common connections on FB and then ask them to vouch for the sitter, and then mention to the sitter that we both know X. I don’t pick someone if I can’t find a common thread somewhere, for some reason having that real life connection makes me feel better.

      Then I do a “mother’s helper” as the first outing, always. Usually a weekend afternoon where I need to get things done on a different floor of the house, so I’m out of sight but still available. Or sometimes I’ll be right next door helping our elderly neighbors. Basically there’s a possibility I could pop in at any time to check on them. I don’t know what this really accomplishes, but it makes me feel better.

      We also have a Nest cam in the kid’s room, so when I’m gone for real, I know I can check in at any time and make sure everything is okay.

    • Anonymous says:

      I could have written this question today; we just hired our first person who didn’t have a personal connection and realized we have to vet her somehow. But basically we do what the first Anon says. DH and I both work from home a lot, so we have sitter come while we’re working from home and can hear everything and are available for issues. And since we work from home a lot anyway, there is always the chance that we’ll be around to check in on sitter.

      I think you can also use Sitter City or similar to run background checks. If your person isn’t already on one of those services you can ask them to get on it and authorize a full check (I think they might have to pay though, so you could offer to pay their fee).

      For interviewing references I think if you have some good questions lined up you should be able to tell whether someone is a real reference or a fake. Ask about their kids, what kind of sitting the person has done for them (full-day, evenings after kids are asleep only, putting kids to sleep), how frequently, for how long, what the kids like about her, what issues you’ve had, etc….

    • I have used the checks that provides. I think Trustline may be more comprehensive, and is what the agency we often use relies one. That could be expensive to request for a casual sitter, but I wouldn’t hesitate to bear the cost of that, assuming it comes back clear, for someone I will be using frequently if there wasn’t a reliable referral source known to me.

      I agree with prior posters that an initial session with a new sitter with you nearby is ideal, and that with the right questions with specifics about how they’re respond in certain scenarios can get you a lot of comfort about their experience and abilities. We also have nest cams throughout our house (everyone who sits for us knows they are there!) – I don’t make a habit of monitoring them, but do check in periodically the first couple of sessions.

    • I only use people that have references I know OR I work from home for their first few days.

      Our town has a facebook group for sitters so getting a friend-of-a-friend referral is pretty easy.

  7. Angry momma says:

    I stopped nursing about 3 weeks ago after a slow wind down over a period of 2 months of increasing the amount of formula my baby drank. I made it to 11 months. I still feel completely off emotionally. I can go from 0 to rage in a second. Is this likely from the hormones? I am wondering how long this will last. I don’t remember being so quick to anger when I weaned the last time. Anyone else experience this?

    • It is definitely from hormones, same thing happened to me. It lasted a couple of weeks for me – hopefully you’re near the end of it if you stopped 3 weeks ago.

      The rage was scary. I’d never experienced anything like it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yup sounds normal. They told me that some hormones stay in your system up to 3 months after weaning. This doesn’t mean you’ll be experiencing the rage for 3 months, it just means that it takes a little while for things to level out. If it keeps up I’d see my OBGYN or PCP.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, actually, this was a postpartum feature for me. I went on zoloft. I came off it when my kiddo was a little over 3 years old, but after 2 months without meds (and that terrifying 0 to rage), I’m back on, and I seem to have a better handle on my rage now.

  8. My 7 month old has recently started waking up at 3AM, not upset or hungry – just wanting to play. I change his diaper, give him a bottle (which he’s not interested in) and then put him back in his crib 30 min later. He doesn’t cry – he just wants to be awake and hang out. His bedtime is 7PM (FWIW, Hubs thinks that’s “too early”). The only thing I have changed recently is stopping the dream feed at 10PM, because he’s drinking 24+ oz of formula during the day. Should I try adding that feed back in to get him to sleep through the night? Is waking up at 3AM to play normal? DH and I both work full time so this is a bit of a challenge.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is he working on crawling? sometimes when hitting milestones babies want to “practice” even in their sleep.

      • Yes! Interesting. I knew it wasn’t teething but I hadn’t thought of it being developmental.

      • +1. My son, never a good sleeper, always went haywire sleep-wise when hitting other major developmental milestones – crawling, walking, talking. Quite memorably, he learned to crawl at 6mo when my husband was away for a two-week work trip, and would be up to hang out with me for two hours in the middle of the night. I…just white-knuckled through.

    • Anonymous says:

      If he doesn’t cry, why are you even interacting with him? Get him a night light or sleep sheep or crib aquarium. He’ll go back to sleep on his own.

    • ElisaR says:

      7pm is not that early of a bedtime – my son is 18 months and often goes to bed at 6:30 and at 7 months sometimes even 6pm.

    • Starting when my son was 4 months old, he would be awake in the middle of the night for up to an hour. I generally nursed him when he woke up, put him back in his crib, and he would roll around babbling in there while I tried (and failed) to get back to sleep. Occasionally he’d start fussing again after a while but a lot of the time he just went back to sleep on his own. In hindsight I think it was mainly because he was getting all the sleep he needed and just wasn’t that tired. Since he never really had a third nap, realistically we couldn’t push bedtime back a lot later – he nursed to sleep around 6:30 or 7 – and mornings were already earlier than I’d like. I would totally try adding back the dream feed – you don’t have much to loose – and if that doesn’t help you could try moving bedtime earlier or later, or shortening naps. It could also totally be developmental. It will eventually go away no matter what you do. (There is a reason he’s doing this, you just don’t get to know it!)

      • Thanks! It does seem most logical to add the dream feed back so I at least won’t worry that he’s awake because he’s hungry. It does seem like maybe he’s bored, but selfishly, the babbling/playing keeps me from sleeping! Thank goodness we moved him to his nursery.

        • I know, I could never get back to sleep until my son did and it was just the worst. I hope it passes soon!

    • Knope says:

      My just-turned-7-month-old did this for a week recently too! He would wake up at 3:30 and just start babbling to himself. But he didn’t need us; he was perfectly content. So we let him just do it and he would go back to sleep in about 30 mins. He stopped it after a week. So if feasible I’d just ride it out and not give attention to the behavior.

  9. Anonanonanon says:

    Has anyone tried freezing cooked shredded chicken or cooked ground beef for use in dishes? I was scrolling through freezer meals and that suggestion popped up in a few places, but it never occurred to me to try it out. It sounds kind of gross for some reason, but if other people have done it successfully I’m willing to try it!
    Also do you thaw it overnight first or something? or just throw it into your recipe?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh I definitely will freeze ground beef. A lot of times we do this because we have like half a pound or a quarter of a pound left over after making burgers. Then we just throw it in like spaghetti sauce to make it meat sauce! But I wouldn’t hesitate to use it in recipes. Since its cooked I don’t think you need to thaw it out first. Plus it should heat up pretty quickly.

    • grey falcon says:

      Yes, we freeze shredded roast chicken all the time and it’s a life saver. Usually just throw directly in dish from freezer: you only need to heat it through and it takes very little time.

      • +1. I usually make a bunch of chicken in the instant pot, shred, use half and freeze half for later.

        • Anonanonanon says:

          This is exactly my plan! The instant pot is the best for making shredded chicken!

          • ElisaR says:

            quick question – how do you guys serve the shredded chicken?

          • mascot says:

            The trick is to not season it very much before freezing other than maybe some salt and pepper. That way you can customize what you want to use it for. Chicken salad, chicken on a salad, add salsa and toppings and put in tortillas, BBQ chicken sandwiches, chicken cheesesteaks sandwiches, nachos, over pasta with your favorite sauce, etc.

          • CPA Lady says:

            If you have a kitchenaid mixer the fastest and easiest way to shred (boneless) chicken is to put the hot chicken in the mixer bowl and turn it on with the paddle attachement for about 15 seconds.

          • CPA Lady says:

            ^wow, I misread that as how do you shred chicken, not how do you serve it. Good lord. Someone pass the coffee.

          • Anonanonanon says:

            ElisaR: I use shredded chicken from the instapot in a variety of ways. Usually:
            -Quesadillas (either just chicken and cheese for kiddo, or I might mix it up and do something like BBQ chicken quesadillas with bbq sauce and smoked gouda cheese)
            -Mixed with bbq sauce and served on a bun with smoked gouda and red onion
            -Used in a casserole (cheesy chicken/rice/broccoli, “chicken and biscuits” which is basically chicken pot pie casserole but instead of a pie there’s biscuits on top, etc.)
            -randomly mixed into my son’s food to add protein (added to mac and cheese with some microwave-steamed broccoli, added to pasta and red sauce, etc.)
            -My husband uses it in salads sometimes
            -Chicken salad for myself (no one else in my family likes it)

          • Anonanonanon says:

            Oh! I forgot I’ll sometimes microwave trader joe’s frozen brown rice, chop some veggies, and throw that into a pan with some shredded chicken and pour trader joe’s “soyaki” sauce in there for yummy chicken teryaki fried rice

    • I’ve done that with ground beef – I’ll cook up several pounds and freeze most of it for later meals. It’s a little tough figuring out the post-cooked weight (like I need a pound pre-cooked for tacos, so how much is that?) but it saves a lot of time. I usually stick it in the fridge that morning and it’s fine to use by dinner.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      Thanks all! This is amazing news! We just got a new refrigerator and the old one is going to the basement, so I have extra freezer space. That and a second kiddo on the way means this is very exciting news!

  10. Reposting from the main site since I sometimes get more helpful responses over here.

    Hive, I need some recommendations/help!

    1) I have a few pairs of pants that are too long to wear with flats because they drag on the ground. I wear flats as I commute. What does everyone do to keep their pants from getting ruined in that situation??

    2) I typically use the Laura Mercier oil-free tinted moisturizer but I am starting to need a little bit more moisture but don’t want my skin to become a total oil spill. Anyone have any recommendations?

    • Re #1, I use the fashion forward method of ‘binder clips’ to do a temporary hem while commuting.

    • Clementine says:

      1. I commute in Dansko clogs that I’ve waterproofed. Tall enough so my pants don’t drag and comfy enough for a commute. I’ve also totally used binder clips.

      2. I’m a big fan of the first aid beauty moisturizer. Maybe a thin layer of that at night and then keep using your normal tinted moisturizer during the day?

    • ElisaR says:

      i used to use safety pins and do a quick pin-up for the commute. Then I stopped wearing heels all together and eliminated the issue….

  11. Everlong says:

    My first baby was EBF, so all our bottles were Phillips Avent natural flow. My second is exclusively formula fed. He’s a month old and he has gas issues. We’re doing probiotic drops and gas drops but im wondering if it’s the bottle n*pple. Should I switch him to “non-natural”? The natural do look more challenging and he has no real incentive to have a good latch. Bonus points if you know if the unnatural work with what I have or if I have to buy different white topper pieces.

    • Anonymous says:

      I had the best luck with Playtex drop in nursers for my colicky baby.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        ^Yessss. I used these with my first and they were amazing. Also, much easier cleanup!

    • AnonMom says:

      Try the Philips Avent slow flow nipple. This helped ease my baby’s gas issues. Also, you may want to switch to Sensitive formula. At around 6 months we started using Similac Sensitive and it made a huge difference. I would ask the pediatrician for a formula recommendation. It will get better in a few months, babies have very sensitive tummies when they are so little. Lastly, Mylecon drops are very good.

      • Everlong says:

        Thanks for the input. I probably messed up my language a bit. We are using the naturally shaped nipple versus the anti-colic. We’ve been using newborn flow and I think it’s time for slow flow. Since all our bottles are for the naturally shaped nipple, I’m hesitant to buy all new bottles but the anti-colic shape makes more sense to me.

    • octagon says:

      Dr Browns made a huge difference in my gassy baby.

      • I know you probably don’t want to buy a whole other bottle system, but +1 to Dr. Brown’s. We switched formula twice due to milk allergy-ish/something wonky involving reflux but these bottles helped a lot.

  12. blueberries for Comotomo question says:

    Comotomos were awesome for my BF babies since the shape was more familiar to them! We heated milk in a tiny metal pitcher (the kind used for frothing milk gor a latte—name is escaping me) in a bowl of hot water. It was pretty quick and the pitcher is fun for an older baby or toddler to practice pouring.

    Kat, threading is still broken on my phone (running latest version of iOS).

  13. Out-of-touch PTO? Our PTO for my son’s school just announced their fall fundraiser (2nd year). It is a pre-k to 2 school. The fundraiser is that you pay the $10 entry fee, and then the “child” is supposed to cook/bake/whatever 150-200 bite-sized desserts in one of a handful of categories. Then, you bring the 200 desserts to school in the evening for a tasting contest.

    These kids are not old enough to safely turn on the oven or stove! And who has time to cook this on a weekday?? This seems like a veiled cooking competition for SAH parents, and is really getting under my skin. I know the organizer who is SAHM extraordinare – head of the church Christmas fair, PTO president and seller of MLM products. Any advice on a tactful response to saying that this is not appropriate/ out of touch??

    • Anonanonanon says:

      Ewwww no no no no no. As a local health department employee, just… no. Either the parents are doing the cooking, or kids are actually helping in which case there is an outbreak on the horizon (I call norovirus)

    • Anonymous says:

      150 – 200!?!? How many taste testers are they expecting??? How many entries?! I couldn’t imagine trying 30 or 100 “bite sized” pieces of dessert.

    • Buy a couple packages of Oreos. Arrange them on trays and call them “Working Parent’s Oreo Dupe.” They’ll get the message when they realize that’s your actual submission.

      If your kid is old enough to actually want to do something, you could try letting them spread icing on one side and then dip in sprinkles of their color choice. Call that “Rainbow Oreos” or “Orange Oreos”.

      • I would totally do this.

        You could try reaching out to the SAHM to give her a heads up – “This assignment is impossible for working parents to achieve so Jr will be bringing store-bought goods.”

        Alternatively, skip the fundraiser and just write a check.

      • buy mini oreos :)

    • My LO is 7 months so I am truly ignorant but can you not just say “My kid is young and I work full time, therefore we are not participating.”? Do you have to pay? I’d be grumbly but fine with paying. This is so over the top.

    • anne-on says:

      Um, what is the ultimate point to this competition? Fundraising for the school? This just seems unnecessarily complicated and penalizes not just working parents but parents with limited budget – it is NOT cheap to buy butter/chocolate/eggs/etc. for 200 desserts.
      Can you point out that the logistics and the cost make this an unnecessary burden for many parents (not just working parents) and instead propose something that requires ONLY a nominal fee OR a nominal amount of time/skills to contribute to so that nobody is left out?
      Of the top of my head, a child judged/decorated ugly holiday sweater contest the parents pay to enter, a pumpkin decorating contest ($5 or so to buy a pumpkin), or a family bingo night with prizes contributed by parents ($5 per parents can go a long way for prizes!).

    • Dear Super Mom,
      You don’t know my life.

      Here’s $10, though.


    • OP, I second all the comments that you don’t have to participate, but…

      One of my life hacks I got from my mom, who worked full-time, is to choose a dessert for all bake sales, pot-lucks, last-minute-people-are-coming-over, etc., and become “known” for that dessert. It has to be something you can make quickly and that does not require icing (because that requires time to cool and an extra step) and does not require a million dishes. Hers was pound cake, mine is brownies, and cookies would be a good option. I keep the ingredients on hand and can make a batch in 15 minutes (plus cooking time) with 3 dirty dishes (plus the pan). So, in OP’s situation, I’d probably make 2 batches of brownies, which would likely get me about 100 “bite size” pieces (not 150-200, good god), and call it a day.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        My mom became known for her “brownie bites.” Which were awesome but also, totally store bought. Sometimes she would go crazy and drizzle a vanilla glaze over the top of them or dust them with powdered sugar. But usually – open the store-bought bucket, dump onto a plate, artfully arrange, serve.

        • Anonanonanon says:

          I was going to suggest somehow artfully arranging store-bought brownie bites if you choose to participate as well. Let’s face it, those things are deeeeeelicious. Only if you feel like your child will notice/care if you don’t participate. Otherwise don’t bother :-P

        • 100 brownie bites at my grocery store would probably cost about $40, which would bring the cost of the fundraiser to $50. Unless the PTA only has 1-2 fundraisers for the year (seems unlikely), that’s way out of my budget.

          My question for all of these things is, Wouldn’t the school/PTA rather just have $50, or $50 worth of classroom supplies? Why make it so much work?

          • And plus, are these kids supposed to be taste-testing all the desserts? If you have to bring 200, does that mean there are 200 kids each bringing a dessert (and thus 200 desserts to try)? Seems poorly thought through.

      • Mine is Oreo-stuffed brownies. Prepare brownie mix (Ghiradelli is my favorite). Pour half into a baking pan. Place a layer of Oreo cookies on top. Pour the other half of the brownie batter on top of the Oreos. Lengthen baking time slightly so the thicker brownies are fully cooked. It sounds and tastes WAY fancier than it is.

        • I make a version of these with a not-so-nice name, but instead of brownies on top and bottom, I do chocolate chip cookie dough on the bottom and brownie on the top. Amazing.

    • I’m not even sure tact matters at this point. “This is inappropriate for the age group and is an incredible burden on working parents. We won’t be participating.” Points if you can get other parents with you – I’m certain you can find many people who also find it ridiculous.

    • Strategy mom says:

      Once the event is announced, it’s too late to get them to change without major drama. If they aren’t blind, they’ll realize how awful an idea it is and will pursue a different approach next year. I’d bite my tongue and cut up something store bought (you won’t be the only one!),

    • How is this not a food allergy nightmare?? No packages listing the ingredients. Our daycare has banished all home baked goods because of food allergy issues. I would tactfully let PTO it needs to modernize for this real issue affecting kids today.

  14. Turtle says:

    Can anyone point me to an old thread (assuming there is one?) about child care costs / options?

    I’m in the Boston burbs, 12 weeks and looking for some anecdata re: where to start and what to expect, especially related to cost. TIA!

    • A little farther than Boston burbs, but daycare in Newburyport for 18 mo is $2,000/month for full time. Since we’re new to the area, I literally googled daycares in the area, read online reviews and then visited and asked every question we could think of.

      • Anonanonanon says:

        From a different HCOL: I also started by just googling centers near me. You can likely find the state department of social services (or whoever licenses them) inspection reports online and use that to narrow it down a bit. Then call them to ask some general questions and start doing tours. The tours tell you a lot.

        Also, if your state licenses in-home daycares, you can likely search the department of social services (or equivalent entity) database by location and read those inspection reports, and use it to narrow down your options, then start calling to see who even has a spot open during the time you’re looking, and go from there.

        For my HCOL, center-based daycare for infants runs about $1600-$2100/month. Home-based (the ones that are state-licensed etc.) seems to be in the $1300-$1600/month rage.

        • This is what we did too (in LA). Google and state licensing board search. I’ve since joined nextdoor and found people asking/recommending on there pretty frequently, and I’d try that if we were still looking. We needed extended hours available, so before we bothered visiting I called to confirm open hours, which left us with exactly 2 options within a reasonable distance. Both were around $2k for the extended hours option.

    • My son went to Bright Horizons in downtown Boston. $2900/month for infant room, $2500/month for toddler room.

      • Redux says:

        Good god. We moved away from Boston to a LCOL area when my kiddo was not quite 2. I have blocked from my brain how much more we used to pay for daycare there. I’m having vicarious sticker shock.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hingham: $2500/mo for infants @ Bright Horizons; $1900/mo non-Bright Horizons. Both 7am-6:30pm.

      Wayland: $1800-2600 for infants depending on the room

      Newton: $2800 Bright Horizons infant

      Boston: $2800 Bright Horizons

      I’ve also looked at more home-daycare like settings (out in the metro west there are a few farm daycares)- those are more like $1800/2000 mo for infants but hours are more narrow (8-6)

      • Cornellian says:

        Helped my cousin do this research near Boston and these numbers seem right. They’re on par with NYC, too. Apparently daycare is one big budget item that’s as expensive in Boston as it is in NYC.

        • Thanks! I’m in the northern suburbs – 128/95 intersection – Reading/Wakefield/Lynnfield. I hope that the cost isn’t quite at downtown or Newton levels, but this is very helpful calibration as we start this overwhelming process.

    • Needham/Newton: 2450/month for infant at an independently owned center.

      This was the low end of average for the places we looked

  15. Or resource in general! I would like to calibrate our expectations before I start making calls and doing visits (which I realize needs to start pretty darn soon).

  16. Pogo to Turtle re:daycare says:

    Ugh, on my phone, so can’t reply-

    I used the MA state licensing website to find mine. I’m at 495/Rte 3 (Carlisle/Chelmsford/Westford) and we’re going with an in home that I found on the website. In addition to checking her references I spoke to the state inspector that renewed her license most recently (a few months prior). I think someone on here suggested that and i thought it was a great idea.

    For pricing I’d think our areas are similar. I found things to be cheaper than what’s noted above, so maybe you’ll find the same-

    BH, Knowledge Beginnings, Lil Sprouts etc were all around $2K a month for infant.

    The one independent center we toured was also around $2K.

    The in homes we looked at were around $1300.

    Hope that helps!

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