Washable Workwear Wednesday: Shoulder Tuck Top

machine washable top for workOooh: I love this pretty white and burgundy, machine-washable top for work — the high collar and notched neckline look flattering, and like an easy way to look pulled together with a cardigan or blazer on top. (Oooh, try a light blue cardigan — you might be surprised how much you like the red and blue together.) The top is $59 at Nordstrom, available in a few different colorways and sizes XS-XXL, petites and regular sizes. Shoulder Tuck Top

Psst: have you checked out the Nordstrom Winter Sale yet? Check out our roundup.

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


  1. Anon in NOVA says:

    Random thoughts that are actually about work clothes :-P
    1.After looking at the main site, I’m trying to avoid seeing if my favorite cashmere sweater is on sale on the neiman marcus (just kidding I just looked and it isn’t marked as “on sale” but it IS about $100 cheaper than last time I looked. Just purchased. Woops.) It is seriously the best sweater ever, it’s the “Modern Open Cashmere Cardigan”
    2. I’ve had exceptional luck with the Boden dresses I purchased after seeing them recommended for my body type in the comments section of the main site. They’re machine washable but feel like dry clean only quality, if that makes sense? Anyway, very happy, though they’re a bit long. Fine with heels, but I also wanted to wear them with tights and boots and they look a bit silly that way. I kept them anyway, though. I’m 5’4″ or 5’5″ so it’s something to consider if you’re my height.

    • Legally Brunette says:

      I suspect that I have the opposite body type from you because as much as I want to love Boden dresses they don’t love me back (I’m an hourglass). Love their colors and quality, so enjoy!

    • Onlyworkingmomintulsa says:

      May I ask which ones you have purchased? I still haven’t pulled the trigger on Boden clothes because of the inability to try-on, but I love so many of them. I’m your height as well so good to know.

      • I haven’t bought dresses from Boden, but I have bought several tops and they are very good quality. I found everything to run TTS along the lines of Banana, Ann Taylor, etc.

        • avocado says:

          I have a straight-up-and-down figure and have bought tops and wrap dresses from Boden. The pants, jackets, and sheath dresses are too curvy for me. I have found the sizes to run small at the small end of the spectrum. I take a size larger in Boden (US sizes) than in US brands. Comments on the main s!te lead me to believe that the sizes run TTS or large at the other end of the spectrum, so there must be a bigger gap between sizes in Boden than in most US brands.

          • Anonymous says:

            I think Boden sizes are adapted British sizes, so it makes sense to me that they may scale differently on the large and small end. When they used to just use British sizes there was one particular size, around a US 10 or 12 I think, that didn’t have an exact equivalent – you had to size up or down.

            I’m closer to an inverted triangle or rectangle than a true hourglass, but I’ve had luck in their fitted sheath-type dresses – styles that look good on me in other brands. I have more tops from Boden than anything else though. I agree their clothes are great quality.

          • This could totally be the case. I’m a US size 8, somewhat curvy, and whatever Boden told me was equivalent to a US size 8 fit perfectly.

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        I’m a “skinny pear”. I’m almost completely flat on top but have some hips and a booty. When I got measured for a sheath dress for a wedding, I was “below a 00” on top and a wedding-dress-six on the bottom. sigh.
        I purchased the maggie ottoman dress and the curve and flare dress. I got two of the curve and flare dress. Links to follow. . Both hit just below the knee in regular length. Like I said, it’s actually great in heels, but won’t work with tights and boots. They’re both fit and flare styles for those who don’t feel like looking them up.

    • Depending on how long ago you’ve purchased it, I’ve had success using the price protection feature on my credit card. I had purchased a dress from an independent designer and a week later received a 30% off promo code. I was able to upload the relevant screen shots and got a check back for 60 bucks a few weeks later. It was the first time I tried it and I was surprised it worked. My credit card offers $500 per claim /$2500 year limit.

  2. Pumping PSA says:

    I also have a random thought about clothes.

    I’m wearing a Karen Kane cascade wrap dress today. So comfortable, flattering, and great for pumping. I am wearing my hands free bustier thing with it, and I didn’t have to take off anything. And it’s made in the USA. I’ve been wearing lots of pants for pumping reasons, and it’s nice to be able to wear a dress without having to strip.

  3. Tips on transitioning to two naps? It seems really early, but my nearly 7.5 month old has been pushing his last nap so late that it seems sort of crazy. He still falls asleep fine at 8:00, but just the last two nights he has woken up a lot more at night. We are still nursing overnight. If we eliminate nap 3, do we do an earlier bedtime? He is also thisclose to crawling so I think that’s part of his general anger/discontentment/sleeping issues as it seems to really frustrate him AND he keeps practicing at naptime. Today I am a complete zombie.

    • MomAnon4This says:

      Yes. Eliminate 3rd nap. Keep him up, feed him “early”, quick warm bath (everyone likes a warm bath before bed, right?), and bedtime earlier, say 7:30 or 7. I bet he’ll sleep great through the night, though you might wake up with sore breasts if he stops feeding all of a sudden. Try pumping before you go to bed if you’re confident you’ll be able to supply him with food if he wakes up, OR try pumping first thing in the morning. Or, just SLEEP when the baby sleeps! (usually that is terrible advice, but who knows, it might work)

      • Momata says:

        I definitely used returns from sleep regressions to pump more. I was able to get more for my freezer stash for a week to ten days afterwards. Silver lining?

    • FTMinFL says:

      As an intermediate transition step, we let little guy take a late catnap (woke him up after 20-30 minutes) until he could manage the wake intervals between naps and bedtime. THEN we moved bedtime a little earlier and the adjustment didn’t affect his morning wake up time. Good luck!

    • mascot says:

      Do you read alphamom? She has a blog post today where she talks about the hard time one of her kids had when dropping the late nap.

    • Thanks, all! When I’m so tired I feel completely paralyzed in my decision-making and I really appreciate hearing others’ experience so I don’t feel so helpless. Ugh.

  4. Migraine says:

    Cross posting from the main site.

    I got the occasional migraine a few times a year before I had kids. Now the week of my period is pretty reliably at least 5 bad migraine days with aura, nausea, etc. as well as sporadic other days throughout the month.

    I know other ladies here have struggled with chronic migraine. I recently went in-house and I’m concerned about handling this the right way as an employee. I’m missing an hour or so of work in the morning once a week for PT right now, plus doc appts. And at least every few months I have one so bad that I either have to leave very suddenly or call in sick. Please tell me what to do. Do I need to report this as a disability to HR? My manager doesn’t seem concerned/ is generally very supportive, but I really do not want this to be a problem for my career other than the obvious suffering/ missed time/ playing catch up. How do I manage having this condition professionally?

    I’ll note that preventative meds and PT have gotten me down to where I’m really only having a bad leave-work headache once every few months, and only during the week of my period. So I’m happy with my medical treatments, and I’m confident this is going to continue to improve. But I am new to being in-house and I want to be on top of the issue instead of feeling like a reactive hot mess.

    • Anon in NOVA says:

      No advice, but i’ll be following. I’ve started getting migraines the week before my period and it’s miserable. I went to the doctor mid-migraine and got some medicine that make me sleepy, so I can’t use that at work. For now, do you have the option to try to minimize the number of external meetings/appointments you schedule those few days of the month, to minimize the impact your sudden absence would have?

    • ChiLaw says:

      If I were you, I would talk to HR. I know one camp believes that in no instance is HR there to help the employee, but the laws that HR is aware of *are* there to protect you. Migraines that keep you from working sound like a disability to me, so you may qualify for ADA accommodation. And don’t forget that FMLA protects intermittent leave. If they know you have a disability, they can’t discriminate against you for seeking accommodations for said disability.

      The conversation doesn’t have to be at all confrontational: just tell them this is your situation and ask if they have any guidance.

    • Migraine says:

      Thank you both for your responses!! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. The meds make me sleepy and foggy, but they’re the only ones that work. I think I am going to talk to HR just to get some protection in place, even though I think my biggest problem is worrying about this too much.

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        My other “trick” is to use this time to do webinars/trainings. Then I’m not burning leave and I’m in the office, but I have an excuse to close the door. And I can still hear the webinar whie i’m laying on my office floor in pain, right?

      • Solidarity. Last week I had a migraine for three days, and normally drugs work great for me but as I’m pregnant I can’t take them. Laying in a dark room is pretty much all I could do last week.

        I think it’s easy for me right now because I’m pregnant, but I just said I was very ill and had to leave (2 days). The third day, when I woke up still in pain I said I would be staying home because I was still feeling ill. I didn’t have any concerns about work questioning this (again, I think being pregnant helps a lot here – no one will question a pregnant lady who says she feels ill!), but I did really struggle to get my work done.

        In the future I plan to take an entire day off at the first hint of a migraine and try to kill it in a day, rather than suffering through three days and ending up with less productive work time than if I’d just sucked it up right away. This would be my recommendation to you as well.

        Also, have you tried hormonal birth control for your migraines? I don’t know if you’re nursing, but I believe you can still take the mini pill while nursing. The mini pill did WONDERS for my migraines. I can’t wait to go back on it.

    • This was me, though years before having kids. I went through a really challenging period where I was missing a lot of work both for doctor appointments and for actual migraines. I chose to talk to my boss because I was feeling extreme stress and guilt and was worrying that it seemed like I was faking it when I would take off a sick day then come back fine, by all external measures, the next day. I was very, very glad I did. I had a very informal conversation saying that I was experiencing a very large uptick in migraines, that I was using PTO both to recover from them and for medical care, and that I was confident that my medical team was making progress and it would be temporary that it was taking such a toll on my presence at work. This was a midsize nonprofit, and while we did have an HR person, I felt more comfortable speaking with my boss. It was a trust issue for me – I wanted her to know there was a legit issue and that I was taking care of it. Turned out she thought I was pregnant. She also did let me know I could take FMLA if I needed to and was otherwise very supportive and understanding.

      And if it makes you feel any better – hello from the other side. While I still get migraines, that period taught me a lot of great management techniques and also what drugs work best and how and when to take them, etc. It was a very challenging time of my life, and I didn’t even have kids! You are amazing for getting through this.

      And finally, I know you said you’ve got the drugs under control, but Sumavel Dosepro (an injected sumitriptan) literally changed my life.

    • Anononymous says:

      +1 to birth control. It halved the number of migraines I had (and I had two in the eight weeks between giving birth and going on the mini pill).

      A study came out this year that mouth bacteria that more efficiently breaks down nitrates may be linked to migraines, so you may want to schedule a dental cleaning, toss your old toothbrush and change up your oral hygiene routine.

      On the crazy research end of the spectrum there’s evidence for micro-dosing LSD to permanently eliminate migraines, but you’d need to find a university studying it.

      • Migraine says:

        I’m going to ask about the mini pill.

        Thank you all for your stories and commiseration. It helps tremendously, as usual, to hear I’m not alone. My boss is supportive and understanding, and a lot of the stress around missing work is in my head. A hangover from bad bosses / work environments, if you will.

        The PT I’m doing is also really changing things– it’s called dry needling and is a method of manually relaxing the muscles in your neck and the base of your head. It does involve sticking needles in your neck. But it has already had dramatic results after 4 treatments. I think I’m still in the “figure out what treatment regimen is right for you” phase, which is hard because I still have to live life and can only try one thing at a time. Hearing scripts for how to talk to my boss, and stories that this phase may not last forever (stopped nursing almost 6 months ago, one boob is still stubbornly lactating)…you are all so awesome. Thank you.

        And wow, I am going to schedule what was an already overdue dental cleaning!!

  5. Patty Mayonnaise says:

    Anyone have experience with ECV? My trickster baby decided to flip to breech at 38 weeks so I’m scheduled for the procedure tomorrow and kind of freaking out about it.

    • Yes. I had a footling /transverse breech, did external version at around 38 weeks. It failed; I had to get C-section. Turns out my nugget’s foot was wedged into my pelvic bone. Awesome! And it was lovely having his head under my ribs (or the sensation of that).

      The procedure was very uncomfortable, I won’t lie. But don’t freak out— the more anxious & tense you are, the more you’ll seize up and it will hurt more (no pressure, I know!). After the first go, I told my OB that I was going to probably scream loudly and say Ouch etc. but to please not stop unless I actually shouted “Stop!” And that’s what I did— I just said Ow Ow Ow loudly and without embarrassment, and also tried to do my birth-class breathing. The good thing is that it was short. I rested for the rest of the day. I can’t imagine the pain is any worse than labor, and it’s much, much shorter:)

      I’m happy to talk more about the breech experience if your ECV doesn’t work— I hope it does!!! I tried everything, and although the things didn’t work (because of the pelvis thing), I still recommend them if you want to try a vaginal birth. These things gave me something to do other than worry. I started around 34/35 weeks, so it was basically the last 6 weeks of pregnancy.
      Acupuncture with moxibustion
      Swimming daily (I did lots of somersaults)
      Webster Technique (chiropractor)— you might be too far along.
      Spinning Babies exercises (use the g*ogle): breech tilt and forward inversions

      Depending on your babe’s position, anything could work! When I did the moxi, my nugget would always squirm and move– he just couldn’t flip.

      • blueridge29 says:

        My eldest was breach at 40 weeks and we tried ECV without success. It was intensely uncomfortable, but it is quick. Focus on deep breathing. Even though it did not work I am glad we gave it a shot because it made us both feel better about the c-section. FWIW, the c-section recovery was relatively quick.

        Good luck!

        • That is such a good point about the C-section. I was so depressed about shredding my “birth plan” before the ECV, and then after, I knew I had done what I could and it was easier to accept and prepare for the surgery. Honestly, thank heavens for C-sections; giving birth literally would have killed me not so long ago.

          Speaking of which— Kat, have you ever done a post about preparing & recovering from C-sections? Both mental / physical and dealing with the sometimes-stigma associated with?

    • Patty Mayonnaise says:

      Thanks so much ladies – this is really helpful!

      • I hope you are still reading – because I had one and it worked! I thought it would take longer so I was all prepared with my deep yoga breathing and then it was over in less than 30 seconds. If you have any specific questions or if I can allay any fears you can email me at grrl (underscore) type at yahoo dot com.

        The one thing I did not anticipate was that I almost passed out before they even did it because of low blood sugar. I have issues with low blood sugar anyway and turns being 8 months pregnant and not allowed to have food or drink for however many hours beforehand (10? 12? I forget) is not a great combo. I ended up with a glucose IV that basically made me 100% better and the ECV went off without a hitch.

      • AnonMN says:

        I had one with my second and it worked great. I was planning for a natural birth, so just used my hypnobabies techniques and found mine to be completely painless.

        We opted to have it done at 39 weeks followed by an immediate induction. I wasn’t comfortable with the (very very very very) small associated risks of going home after the ECV, so this was the plan I was most comfortable with, and my midwife was 100% on board as I was already 3cm dilated.

        The MFM doctor turned the lights down low and used olive oil as a lubricant to help massage baby around. I had heard that if it is really uncomfortable for you/not working, then you shouldn’t push it. So I told my doctor to not push it if baby was resisting. He said that it was his practice not to push it at all, so I felt comfortable with this. We literally chatted for less than 5 minutes and it was done. I went on to have a really terrific (am I allowed to say that?) induction and the epidual free birth I was hoping for. 8lb 1oz baby, so not small, yet he was willing to turn. I was really glad we opted to atleast try the ECV.

    • Sowieso says:

      I opted out of ECV but did everything else AEK described above. None of them worked and I ended up having a scheduled c-section and a relatively easy recovery. My ob also told me that if it’s your first, the success rate of an EVC is lower because your uterus has less “give”. Depending on how you feel about it, watching some videos of ECV may also help you understand and visualize the process. Although it can backfire as my husband was pretty freaked out by the videos we watched.

  6. avocado says:

    Another post that is actually about workwear. Thoughts on pastel colors for business formal? The theme of my business formal wardrobe is currently all M.M. LaFleur, all the time. This means that I am pretty much always wearing a sheath dress in a muddy dark color, except for a couple of bright-colored ones. Lately I am loving the greys and pale colors I am seeing on the minimalist blogs. I fell in love with a powder blue sheath dress by Classiques Entier. I am thinking of wearing it with either a white jacket or a grey summer tweed jacket. Is this going to be too pale and Easter-y for business formal? I work with judges and attorneys but don’t actually appear in court.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      FWIW, I often wear pastel colors under blazers and suit coats. When I was interviewing for very conservative law firm jobs in law school, career services advised “white or light colored shirts under a dark suit,” so I tend to see pastel colors as pretty conservative unless it’s a full dress or something. My general rule is that I only wear one pastel item; a shirt, a scarf, a blazer, or shoes. I don’t own any pastel pants, dresses or skirts and can’t see myself purchasing any because my laundry skills are not up to that challenge.

    • The white makes me think of Easter, but the grey tweed sounds nice. But I work with engineers and architects (I am one of a few in a suit), so may have lost touch with what’s formal.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I think the white blazer with the powder blue sheath could veer non-Easter if you paired it with black, gray or very modern accessories. I have a mottled gunmetal gray silk scarf that would take that back into business territory, when worn with the right heels (sadly, I think the closer you get to “church shoes,” the more this will veer Easter – I would avoid anything flat or with a low, chunky heel).

        You could also take it up with a bright red necklace, or dark purple accessories.

        A camel colored blazer also sounds like it might work with that dress, and wouldn’t veer “Easter.”

        • avocado says:

          Ooh, had not thought of black accessories. Black heels would definitely read less “Easter” than my usual nude-for-me (pasty pale) pumps.

    • I see no problems with pastels in work wear but I live in the south.

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        This relates to what I was going to say- which is that I think the answer to this will partially depend on the region you live in.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          In the Midwest, the spectrum of “work appropriate” is broad enough to cover pastels too. I think East Coast might be more challenging (except for DC and more southern areas, which have an even broader spectrum of “work appropriate”).

          • avocado says:

            I work all over the country, so regional appropriateness is a challenge. I often end up being the most conservatively dressed woman in the room.

  7. FTMinFL says:

    Do y’all have recommendations for a birthday gift for a three year old boy? My usual go-to is blocks, Lincoln Logs or something of the like, but we gave Lincoln Logs for his last birthday. Bonus if the gift is Prime-eligible. TIA!

    • Famouscait says:

      An enormous box of sidewalk chalk (with all the colors!) Perhaps same for playdough. A kid-sized soccer ball or basketball.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Umm, more Lincoln Logs? One box is never enough. Tinkertoys are pretty awesome too. And we got some Tegu Blocks that are so much fun.

      Otherwise, a really fancy bubble machine would make my 3 year old happy.

    • My just-turned-three year old boy loves:

      Play Doh


      Anything with trucks, dinosaurs, or pirates

      Fisher Price Little People sets

      His new umbrella and rain boots

      Floor puzzles with big pieces

      Games: Lets’ Go Fishin’, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Pop up Pirate

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Yes, my kiddo just got a new rain coat and boots and is wearing them everywhere. Bonus points if they have a matching umbrella (ours don’t, but the nonmatching umbrella from a previous set is still popular).

      • Anon in NOVA says:

        ditto magnatiles

    • PhilanthropyGirl says:

      Three year old nephew is a big fan of:
      Brio trains
      Brio roller coaster
      Stamps & stamp pads (dinosaurs)
      Costumes (knights & pirates)
      Play food (I like Learning Resources coloring sorting fruits & vegetables)
      High Ho Cherry O game
      Art supplies (safety scissors, stickers, construction paper, glue sticks, crayons)
      Pattern blocks

    • rakma says:

      Melissa and Doug Top This! dress up hat set. Crown, cowboy hat, pirate hat, firefighter’s helmet and a fedora (?) Comes it it’s own storage box. My new go-to birthday gift.

    • Vanessa says:

      Magformers or tegu blocks (because they travel well), stomp rockets, books, train stuff, sand toys (stuff they can play outdoors), coloring books or art kits

    • Anonymous says:

      Kid tool box — melissa & doug, black & decker, and craftsman all have different varieties.

    • Duplos! Look for the sets that are age 2-5 (although the 1.5-5 are just fine, esp if he has/will have younger siblings). Tons of options at tons of price points, and you can never have too many.

      These are my go-to gifts for all gifts for all kids (boys and girls) age 1 and over. Around age 4 I switch to Lego Juniors, and then age 6-7 moves to “real” Legos. They’re all compatible, so they can keep using their favorite ones, and they can pass on or donate any unused ones.

      Boys and girls both LOVE legos. They’re quiet and creative and educational. Perfect gift.

    • EBMom says:

      I always go for books or consumables (like play-doh or crayons or fancy craft project kits) because I just hate all the stuff. If you Google something like “great books for 3 year old boys” or similar than you can come up with a ton of ideas. I really don’t think a person can ever have too many books, but maybe that is just me.

  8. NewMomAnon says:

    Tantrum question. My daughter has been having giant, extreme meltdowns lately. They are so extreme that at first I assumed she was sick, but she’s been very clear that nothing hurts and she doesn’t feel sick. She is 3 and has gotten pretty good about reporting symptoms.

    Is this a thing that happens at 3, or is it cause for concern? Yesterday she had a wailing, sad meltdown when I brushed her hair – we ended up rocking in the rocking chair for about 10 minutes until she calmed down. Another one when she launched out of bed and fell on the floor that night. And another one this morning when I said we had to wait for peanut butter crackers until daddy said it was OK.

    I’m used to her being angry and spitting, or hitting, or stomping her foot, or trying to do the forbidden thing herself, but the hysterical tears are new in the last week.

    • avocado says:

      Mine went through a tantrum phase at 2.5 and possibly again at 3.5 (can’t remember exactly). The tantrum phases definitely hit at the “and-a-half” mark and lasted a few weeks before disappearing. They did not seem to be the result of being unable to express her feelings (she was old enough to be quite verbal), just from not getting EXACTLY WHAT I WANT RIGHT NOW. They were exacerbated by fatigue.

      • avocado says:

        And I will add that we just went through another tantrum phase right before she turned 10, which mercifully seems to have ended. I think it just happens when they are going through a lot of brain development or something.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          When do I get to have a tantrum stage? Can that be soon? Because I think it would be amazing to just sit down and wail on the floor when I don’t get the big office I want or my computer turns on the blue screen of death just as I’m ordering a case Flaming Hot Cheetos from Prime.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      We’re in one of these phases now too (hoping we’re starting to see the light a bit). As Avocado says, ours does not appear to be the result of not being able to verbalize what she wants – she is nearly 4 and quite verbal. It is totally the result of not being able to do what she wants, when she wants, like right.that.very.second. It is exacerbated by fatigue. And excessively being told no (so it’s like a spiral where a breakdown seems to beget more breakdowns). I think it is unfortunately age appropriate and just something you have to get through with love and consistency.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        That is actually a huge relief. I’ve just been rocking with her until she calms down, and I’m happy to keep doing that, but I was worried she was in pain or something. If it’s just part of growing up, I’ll just roll with it.

        Kiddo is really verbal, but when she gets into a tantrum lately she reverts to repeatedly signing “please” and it’s heartbreakingly adorable.

      • My niece is also 3, really verbal and will have tantrums where she lays face first on the floor wailing as if being tortured. I think because when you are 3, being told you have to wait for peanut butter crackers feels like torture.

        Rubbing her back and making suggestions of other things to do (if the thing she wants is actually forbidden) or other ways to do things (“can you try brushing your hair instead of mama?” if she’s freaking out about hair brushing) will often get a sobbing “noooo” response 2-3 times and then eventually she’ll give in.

      • We’re right there too. Screaming, wailing, hysterical sobbing, laying on the floor, launching off of chairs, sweating, and out of breath tantrums. She’s almost 4.

        Someone once told me it’s because when you’re 3, being told you have to wait for something you want is LITERALLY the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. All you can do is talk about Big Feelings and the proper way to express them, and make sure to get extra sleep time in. Good luck!

  9. Migraine says:

    PSA for Prime members– Amazon is giving away $8.62 for eligible purchases over $50 today.

  10. CPA Lady says:

    Another work clothes post!

    I’m so pleased with myself today and had to share– my closet is a complete hodgepodge of stuff I’ve bought over the past decade and things I bought to put on my “mom bod” right after my daughter was born. All kinds of random pencil skirts from BR (remember when they used to have Italian wool?), some random ponte skirts from Macy’s, some old Ann Taylor skirts from my sister’s brief foray into the work world. I just feel dumpy wearing most of these skirts, but just keep wearing them out of habit.

    I bought a skirt that fits me perfectly about a year and a half ago as part of an interview skirt suit. I’ve been stalking this skirt in the other colors this whole time and it has never gone on sale. Today I decided I was being absurd and ordered it in three more colors. I’m going to purge all the random crap skirts out of my closet as soon as I get the new ones. I’m so excited! And proud of myself for sucking it up and not being cheap.

    • Anon in NOVA says:

      Awesome job! It’s always hard to bite the bullet and click “order” when it feels expensive, but we spend more hours in our work clothes than our “regular” clothes! Good for you! You’re going to feel so much better!

  11. (x-posted from main site)

    Hi all,

    Our first child is 2 weeks old today (!) and I wanted to solicit advice since I have low milk supply so far (I think it’s due to lingering postpartum edema in my breasts from getting a lot of IV fluids pushed during labor when I had the epi + pit, but this is just a theory… thoughts on this welcome! My breasts basically feel really engorged but despite being like this since a couple days after delivery — so about 10 days or so now, I haven’t been able to pump out that much milk, and it also hasn’t progressed to mastitis — knock on wood). Since baby wasn’t gaining enough weight with BF only, we started supplementing with formula about a week ago and she’s now gaining weight well which we’re relieved about! Have also been working with a great lactation consultant on various options to up my milk supply so far, to no avail, so it looks like we’re going to be supplementing for a while. (Lots of emotions about this but I think I’m coming to terms with it.) I want to keep up some BFing as long as I can, so want to ask the experienced mamas here on how to best keep my limited supply up.

    Also, related question: currently we’re feeding her about every 3 hours and a “cycle” of getting her up, changing her diaper, nursing at breast, supplementing with bottle, and then pumping, and then finally getting her back to sleep takes at least 1h15m, usually closer to 1h30m. This means not too much down time in between feedings! LC pointed out that this is likely difficult to sustain for the long term. Exclusively pumping seems like something that won’t work for now since I get very little milk when pumping currently (though maybe that would change if I weren’t also nursing…?). LC has suggested using a supplemental nursing system like the one made by Medela or by Lact-aid (basically you have a small feeding tube that goes to an expressed BM or formula source in a bottle or pouch, and the baby nurses at your breast and also gets additional milk from the feeding tube simultaneously, so this cuts out the step of making the bottle after nursing at breast). From what I’ve researched online it seems like moms either love or hate these supplemental nursing systems. Does anyone have experience using one?


    • NewMomAnon says:

      My only advice is to drink lots and lots of water. Like, twice what you think should drink.

      Otherwise – hugs. You are working really hard, and I’m sure this is draining. You are doing a great job. If you need permission to do less so you can recover/enjoy time with your baby more, I hereby give you permission.

    • Pumping PSA says:

      Are you using a hospital grade pump? My LC said that the other pumps are more for moms with an established supply.

      My daughter was not good at nursing in the first few weeks. We used a syringe of formula that we would push into a feeding tube that was underneath a nipple shield at breast, so my daughter got used to nursing at breast. (Hope that made sense…) She was mostly drinking formula, but she got some of my milk too. Then I rented a hospital grade pump, and pumped the expressed milk in the tube. After a few weeks she started nursing at breast with a nipple shield just fine. We still use nipple shields at 7 months.

      • avocado says:

        If you are still reading, I second the recommendation for a hospital grade pump. Even with a well established supply, I couldn’t get anything with the Pump in Style and had to use a hospital grade pump the whole time.

    • Congratulations on the new kiddo, and hang in there! I was you. I didn’t get a whole lot of milk from pumping, and for a month or so we supplemented with formula as kid was jaundiced and needed to drink a ton. For two weeks we had to use a tube feeding system with a small tube and syringe, and I hated it – it would slip around, fall out of kiddo’s mouth, and so on. I was so glad when we just gave up on it and switched to bottles. A short while later, I had a consult with an LC who weighed my son before and after nursing and we saw just how much he was getting from nursing alone. At the 1-month checkup he was gaining weight fine so we no longer needed to supplement. But it is really, really hard. Eat all the oatmeal and drink all the water, and in particular don’t be afraid of getting extra carbohydrates and fat in your diet, you need it to make milk.

      Can you enlist as much help from spouse as possible? They can do the outputs (diaper, clean up spit) and you can do the inputs (nursing; while you do this, they prep formula, feed it to her, and get her back down while you pump). It is gruelling. At one point we had to feed every 2h…

    • No, the cycle you’re on is not sustainable for the long term, but baby won’t need to eat every 3 hours in the near future. I remember those first 3 or 4 weeks being the longest of my life since you’re basically awake or about to be awake all day long. It took 2.5 or 3 weeks (plus mastitis – all the nursing plus pumping eventually told my body I was trying to feed triplets so once my supply got going, it went overboard) for things to normalize. Supplemental feeding worked fine for us, and allowed for some extra breathing room for me.

      But really – you’re doing great! Get through the day as best you can with whatever combination of breast and formula and supplemental keeps baby gaining weight AND you from going loopy from sleep deprivation. There isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – power through and everyone will come out ok on the other side.

    • Hugs. I have a 10 week old and had really low supply at the beginning. She was getting probably 80% formula. Today she’s getting at least 80% bmilk. It took forever to establish supply but I just kept nursing her and topping off a feeding with a bottle of formula or pumped milk if she’s still hungry. Never wanted to use an SNS–it’s important to me that she can take a bottle and that way others can help.

      The cycle you’re on may make you hate bfeeding since it’s so, so much work. You must be exhausted. I didn’t pump much at all the first few weeks. It was the most droppable piece of the puzzle. If you are putting baby to nurse every 3 hours and she has a good suck, you are getting plenty of stimulation.

      Remember…the presence of bmilk, rather than the absence of formula, is the goal.

      • mascot says:

        “Remember…the presence of bmilk, rather than the absence of formula, is the goal.” +1000. I wish I had cut myself more slack about combo-feeding from day one. It was so helpful to be able to hand baby off to dad to take a bottle.
        I had low supply and never could get much production from a pump, even a hospital grade one. I was more responsive supply wise to my baby nursing than I was to the increased pumping. At two weeks, both of you are still figuring all of this out so some inefficiency is to be expected.

    • rakma says:

      Late reply, but I hope you see this.

      I had a really hard time establishing supply with my first, she was jaundiced, so was tired and didn’t suck well, she gained weight so slowly, and I was really discouraged.
      By 5 weeks, we could stop supplementing, she was gaining well, and healthy. She just needed some time to get good at eating, and I needed some time to heal and adjust.
      One of the pediatricians in the hospital told me the more you sleep, the more milk you make, and to stay in bed, in your pjs, until you had slept for 8 hours, (even if that meant staying in bed until noon). I didn’t follow this advice every day, but when I was so exhausted from the interrupted nights, it helped to have that ‘permission’ to stay in bed and just focus on feeding the baby and trying to get some sleep.

      Make sure you’re eating. Eating over the baby while the baby nurses is a good time saver (I can’t be the only one who’s wiped my dinner off the baby’s head right?) I found thick stews and chili an easy thing to eat one handed, and a good way to get in a bunch of protein. Order take out, get pre-made dinners from the grocery store, what ever time savers help you to feed yourself without sacrificing those 30 minutes of free time between feedings.

      If you know someone who likes to bake (or who is willing to do something to help) the nursing cookies really worked for me. (http://www.food.com/recipe/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-lactation-cookies-by-noel-trujillo-192346) They’re basically oatmeal cookies with brewer’s yeast, flax, and chocolate. Pretty delicious, and easier to grab and eat than a bowl of oatmeal. You can also get them pre-made from Babies R Us or Amazon. I also enjoy the Traditional Medicinal Mother’s Milk tea, and find 2-3 cups a day can help me increase my supply a little. Adding honey can make it taste less ‘herby’.

      • Thanks so much all! This is all so helpful and I appreciate all the support. My mom is constantly harassing me about eating and drinking enough. I don’t think I’m getting enough rest but it’s hard! Our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to stop the every 3 hours target overnight if she’ll sleep longer, so hopefully we can sleep more at night soon! I may drop some of the pumping sessions too so I can get more rest.

        I do have a hospital grade pump per LC’s reco.

    • Been there, done that says:

      The presence of breastmilk comment is so true. I had supply issues that never worked themselves out, despite pumping, lactation cookies, mother’s milk tea, those expensive all natural pills — everything! After four weeks I stopped pumping, since it was making me miserable, and reconciled myself to supplementing with 8 oz of formula a day (4 2 oz bottles after breastfeeding, scattered throughout the day — I think that we we increased the number of 2 oz bottles when she got closer to 6 months). Pumping was taking away precious sleep and bonding time, and I just hated the being milked feeling. The other stuff may have made some minimal difference, but it was hard to tell.

      Others have given good advice on increasing supply, but let me just say — please do not drive your self crazy over this. Stop pumping and sleep! Every mom I talked to who had supply issues said some variation of “I wish I had started supplementing earlier and worried about it less.” The fact that you are on this site makes me guess that you are a high-achieving woman who is used to working hard for what she wants. For me, supply issues were my first sign that this might not apply as well to parenting as it did to my work life. Be kind to yourself! Hard work does not solve everything in the parenting realm.

      Last thought — one major upside was that I went back to work at 5.5 months, I did not have a single bit of angst about giving my daughter more formula. My friends who had been exclusively breastfeeding during leave at some point couldn’t pump enough, and went through the same “ack I’m using formula” agonies that I did, just months later! Even worse, some of their babies refused to take bottles because they had never had them, leading to lots of stress. So at least you are getting over that hump early, and can go back to work knowing that your baby will happily guzzle formula like a champ. It will save so much stress in your transition back to work.

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