Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here. But first… the weekly recs!

mat recs 6-27

Pictured above:

  1. For the pregnant mama: LOFT is offering 50% off EVERYTHING on the site right now, which means this is a great time to stock up.  On the maternity side of things, I like these cotton/rayon/spandex chevron herringbone slim bootcut pants – they’re the rare non-black pair of maternity pants.  They were $89.50, then marked to $79.99, but with code FIFTY they come down to $40. Maternity Chevron Herringbone Slim Boot Cut Pants
  2. For the nursing (and pregnant) mom: I suddenly find myself in need of new nursing tops since I’m less than thrilled with all of the ones I had during my first pregnancy — just one or two tops to wear to the doctor’s office, on airplanes, for playdates, etc., since I always seem to end up nursing in public on those occasions.  I’m drooling over this nice one from Baju Mama, which also works for maternity — I love that you pull fabric both up and down to nurse, so you’re covered from multiple angles.  It’s $54 at Figure8Maternity.  Jill Scoop Neck Nursing Top by Baju Mama  (Readers, which nursing tops were your favorites?)
  3. For mamas in the sticky-hands phase: I like the look of this machine-washable blazer from Old Navy.  VERY limited sizes are still left in a light pink, too.  It’s $39.94 (but comes down to $30 with code ONSAVENOW). Women’s Ponte-Knit Blazers
  4. For mamas in the diaper-bag phase: I’m intrigued by this Timi & Leslie diaper bag, marked down 33% at Nordstrom — it’s available in five color combinations, features a crossbody, adjustable, detachable strap, and comes with a changing mat, a zippered sack for soiled clothes, and “a stylish clutch that you can use as your own purse.”  It also has matching stroller straps, an insulated bottle pocket, and six interior pockets.  Wow.  It was $165 but is now marked to $110. Timi & Leslie ‘Hannah’ Faux Leather Diaper Bag
  5. For everyone: I just found these stackable number rings at J.Crew, and I love them — I’d get some with important dates (like my sons’ birthdays or my wedding anniversary).  (Note that J.Crew is offering up to 50% off sale styles and 30% off select styles for everyone this weekend with code HISUMMER.) Lulu Frost 14k gold code ring

Readers, what are/were your favorite nursing tops?  Did you buy birthstone- or initial jewelry once you became a mama?


  1. To kat – my favorite nursing top was the crossover wrap thingy from Gap – they have it with long/short sleeves and without.

    • I loved that nursing top. I had both the long and short-sleeved versions.

      Confession: I actually wore a Gap nursing top to work the other day but I have not been nursed my baby for 6 months. But I liked the color of the top with the skirt I wanted to wear.

      • To everyone who loved the Gap one – what am I missing? I feel like for it to work I have to pull my entire boob through the hole and it’s too tiny so it doesn’t cover me and isn’t comfortable. Do they stretch? Is my baby just too young to nurse more discreetly?

        • That might be the problem. I didn’t really have to nurse in public/while wearing that Gap top until my baby was 4 months or so….and by then he could hold his head up and keep a good position pretty well. I didn’t have to fuss around with holding him and supporting him while he ate.

          Mine also did stretch, but it could just be the cut of the top isn’t right for you. I could use all the Gap nursing tops, but the Old Navy ones that I owned, I never could get to fit me correctly.

    • Shay-La says:

      I never got into nursing tops, but I think I might this time. With my first I wasn’t working, so I would wear a champion sports bra from target (with thin straps) with a tank and then a t-shirt over it. I was studying for the bar, so yoga pants and this was my uniform…

      Are nursing tops just as practical for making pumping at work easy? I started my job while nursing/pumping and really never settled into clothes that made that process easy.

      • Shay-La says:

        Ooooo new feature? The “Click to Edit” option appeared for my comment. Pumped about that (no pun intended).

        Edited just to add when you comment before the 5min timer runs out on your first comment, both timers run. I like this!

      • EB0220 says:

        I was thinking the same – I didn’t get any the first time around but I’m thinking about trying it this time. I have one maternity top that is also supposed to double as a nursing top (and it will do fine, judging by the ease with which my toddler pulls it open) so I thought I would test that out first!

      • Katarina says:

        I never wore a lot of nursing tops, but my impression is they are not great for pumping at work, because they are designed to give access to one breast at a time. I always unbuttoned my top or pulled it up.

      • hoola hoopa says:

        Agree with Katarina in that “nursing tops” really only let loose one side at a time, so not ideal for pumping at work.

        That said, nursing tanks can open both sides at once, and I always wore one under everything because I’m personally more comfortable pumping with my stomach covered. Warmer and feels more modest since I admit I’m always nervous that someone will walk in on me.

    • Spirograph says:

      I have one of those Gap tops and wore it to death (literally, it’s shapeless and all stretched out weirdly now, I just haven’t thrown it out yet).

      Another one I loved was a Vince Camuto wrap top that actually was recommended on the main site at some point last year. It leaves a lot of skin exposed, because I basically just pulled the V open wider, but it was great.

      Like this, but mine has sleeves:

      • I have three of those Gap tops, short-sleeve and long-sleeve. I also bought a bunch of Old Navy v-neck tees in a size larger (both to accommodate nursing and weight :-p). I try to wear camisoles with sweaters/jackets to pump at work.

  2. pregomama says:

    I am still nursing and have been since the fall. Once I went back to work I switched to pretty much only V neck and/or wrap style tops and dresses. I pump in my office when i’m in the office, but I am often in airports and cars and who knows where else so the less undressing I have to do in the short amount of time I have to pump, the better.

    When I work from home, or when I’m (rarely) at my desk in the office, I wear a sports bra that I cut holds in to be hands-free. At home, I just throw a zip up on top. At work, I put a shawl over my shoulders and lock my door and pray there is not a building fire :)

    • Lawmom says:

      Pumping now. Had never considered a building fire. Now I am super nervous! :)

  3. Sizing on nursing camisoles says:

    How timely! I am expecting twins in August and have started to look at nursing camisoles this week. For those offered in s/m/l, do the sizes correspond to your pre-pregnancy size as with most maternity wear? Also very interested in favorite brands. I tried on some yesterday at Target on the basis of various recommendations but was less than thrilled with how they looked/felt (then again my giant belly can be throwing things off).
    I’ve also seen advice to stick with non-sized or s/m/l bras in the first few weeks until supply stabilizes. I have found the one-sized coobie bras to be useful during pregnancy. Could they also be used for early nursing? The straps are detachable, just not as easy to clip out and back in. But then again since we are talking about twins and I will be attempting tandem feeding, there really aren’t any ‘discrete’ options

    • Shay-La says:

      More power to you with tandem nursing! I have no experience in it, but I would imagine in the beginning while on leave you will figure out the method that works best for you. Once you have that, then I think you should consider tops. I have no basis for this opinion, but I would imagine with tandem you might just need to take the no apologies route and not worry about being discrete.

      Similar for bras/tops sizing, I would have one good option for immediately after you deliver. Allow your body to adjust to its new reality, and using bra/shirt shopping as an excuse to get out, either with or without the kiddos. I did buy a few things on sale pre-delivery, and counted on the S/M/L aligning with my pre-pregnancy size. It worked out, but I was buying nursing tanks and sports bras.

    • Coobie says:

      With a coobie, I found it was easier to just lift each side up and over (and not try to unclip). And throw nursing pads in there.

      Also: sports bras that are a little big (the stretchy kind with no cups or anything).

      • hoola hoopa says:

        I did this with my first. My patience was running thin with my second, I guess, because I found it inconvenient and instead got a bravado nursing sleep bra. Loved it. Highly recommend. I’d definitely get them or something similar for twins.

        To answer your original question, size to the size you’ll be with milk. NOT pre-pregnancy size. Good estimate is same band size as the end of pregnancy and 1-2 cups larger. I buy one or two to have on hand immediately and then stock up once the milk comes in.

        • hoola hoopa says:

          Oh, and favorite brands. I am a 30G when nursing, so I’m limited to bravado for nursing tanks. Thankfully I LOVE them. I’ve tried Glamourmom and fit aside, I genuinely didn’t like them as much. The elastic felt scratchy and the openings are tiny and awkward. Admittedly this was 5 year ago (although I’ve bought bravado more recently). I never tried the target brand.

          For underwire nursing bra: Anita. No question.

  4. anona says:

    I am finishing up week 2 of being back at work after maternity leave. The logistics of pumping are challenging, but I think I’m doing pretty well. Thank God I read somewhere about putting pump parts in the fridge between sessions rather than trying to wash them every time. My office doesn’t have a sink other than the one in the bathroom, and I don’t think I ever would have figured that out on my own.

    In that spirit, what is your best pumping tip? Do you have any secrets for making it easier, quicker, or more pleasant?

    • Shay-La says:

      I think making sure your taking care of your girls is the only thing that makes it work or “pleasant.” Because if there’s cracks or bleeding, then obviously is can’t be pleasant. I actually had problems with my breast pump flanges, and highly recommend the Pumpin’ Pal flanges.

      Nothing makes it quicker, your body will respond how it responds. The best thing to do is to zone out and forget you’re pumping.

    • Have extra pump parts in rotation so you’re not constantly having to wash and reuse the same pieces each night. That saved me a ton a time. And buy extras to keep on hand in case you forget something at home…there were several times I had to drive home to pick up forgotten tubes/flanges. Finally, I kept my pump at the office Monday through Friday when possible. It make lugging things to and from my car a lot easier during the week.

      • hoola hoopa says:

        +1 to all this. I transported the dirty/clean parts in the cooler and leave the rest of the bag at work. I didn’t pump over the weekend, so it actually never came home until I was completely done pumping.

        Usually I tried to read something grown up, but “Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom” was a perfect pumping read. It’s written with short sections and I found it very genuinely funny. I already had older kids, though. May not be quite so funny to a first time parent.

    • Spirograph says:

      Nap. Seriously. Or at least close your eyes and do some deep breathing/relaxation exercises.

      I am assuming you already have some kind of hands-free contraption. If not, you should invest in one immediately. (Also, everyone here knows your insurance will probably provide you a free electric dual pump thanks to the Affordable Care Act, right?)

      If you can’t bring yourself to nap, have something fun to do. Depending on my mood, I’d play games on my cell phone, read (fiction or magazines only, nothing that required thought). Going back to work with a young baby at home is stressful and exhausting — you need sanity breaks, and you need to pump; combine the two, and don’t work through pumping if you can possibly avoid it.

      As for making it quicker, thinking of something you associate with your baby can help (and pictures). For example, I sang the same couple of tunes to put baby to sleep every night when he was really young. If I “sang” them to myself in my head, it sped things up a lot. Also, it’s good to know that your body adjusts to pumping somewhat, especially if you can keep a regular schedule… it gets faster; your body knows it is “expected” to get X oz out at Y time.

      I second what JJ said: If you don’t have 2 sets of accessories for your pump, I strongly recommend buying an extra set to keep at your desk, along with enough extra bottles or storage bags for a day, unless you live really close to your office. There will be days you barely make it to work with two matching shoes, and if you discover at pumping time that you forgot some critical piece, you will be really sad. Speaking from experience. This also lets you skip washing the stuff for one night if you’re really tired.

    • Sarabeth says:

      My most important tip is to keep a spare set of pump parts, bags to pump into – and ideally, even a spare pump (like a hand pump) – at the office. If you are anything like me, you WILL forget something eventually. Your boobs will thank you when you can pump even though you left the power cord/membranes/bottles/whatever at home.

      • Agree on extra pump parts! I had seven sets (pump three times a day plus one side at night), and I’m always using my extra bags because I forget the lids to the bottles. Also, I have a small fridge in my office to store my milk (to avoid walking to the common kitchen with my milk and more importantly forgetting my milk on my way out the door). Pumping got faster as I got better at it – my first day it took 45 minutes per session! Three kids later, I can pump in five minutes (if the stars align), usually max of ten minutes. I use a tissue to encourage letdown (the tickling helps me, for whatever reason). Also keep extra nursing pads (the things that absorb extra milk) in your desk at all times…

      • Meg Murry says:

        Yes to extra parts! And extra parts are considered “lactation supplies” so if you have a medical HSA or FSA, you can use that money for extra parts as well.

    • Watermelon says:

      Freemie cups that attach to a regular pump–they just pop into your bra, so setup is pretty quick.

    • Extra pump parts! Those have saved me numerous times. Also, if you are pumping in your office, get a mini-fridge. That saved me tons of time from having to pack everything up and take to the communal fridge. There is some warnings about pumping fresh milk into refrigerated milk but my daughter never had a problem. Wouldn’t do it immediately though. Also, I REALLY liked having 2 pumps. Towards the end, my Medela stopped working as well and I got a rental. This time, I ordered a new Pump In Style and am immediately renting (thank you ACA).

      Also, don’t hesitate to tell people when you need a break. I’ve taken afternoon breaks in depos and stepped out of mediations before. It’s sometimes hard to explain to a client – but usually if you say you are stepping out to mother’s room, they usually wise up pretty quickly.

  5. I am the World’s Luckiest Parent, with a baby who’s been sleeping 8 hours at night since he was 2 months old. The baby books say that eventually he’ll be sleeping a 10-12 hour stretch at night, with 1 – 2 daily naps. So here’s my question / problem: once he starts doing this, when will I ever see him? I’m in a 2 lawyer family, and my husband and I have both adjusted our work schedules so we can share all non-breastfeeding baby duties: he works 8:30 to 6 and does daycare drop-off, I work 7:30 to 4:30 and do daycare pickup. In mornings I wake up at 5:30 to nurse the baby before I leave for work; at night we have a 1 hour wind-down, bedtime routine starting at 830 that involves dad reading him some books, one of us giving baby a bath, and me nursing before he falls asleep at 930. If baby sleeps 10 – 12 hours, most of this gets cut … either I won’t have time to nurse him before I leave to work, and/or dad won’t get home early enough to read / bathe the baby before bedtime. Am I doing the baby any harm by continuing to have him only sleep 8 hours at a time, to enable dad and I to spend some quality time with him?

    • My $.02: an overtired baby is not one you want to hang out with. And why give your caregiver a fussy baby?

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe I’m not understanding your current schedule and what the schedule would be if the baby slept longer, but I don’t see how you won’t have lots of time with the baby if you get home at 4:30 and he doesn’t go to bed until 5 hours later (assuming you keep the current bedtime and let him sleep later in the morning). When my (now 3 yr old) son started sleeping for a longer stretch at night, he would (and still does) go to bed at 9 and wake up at 7 (i.e., 10 hours). His two naps were while I was at work (and now he takes one 3 hour nap from 2-5).

    • Katarina says:

      My baby slept 8 hours at night very early on, and at 10.5 months with two usually long naps is only sleeping 9-10 hours, so there is a lot of variation. I would not prevent your baby from sleeping more at night if he wants to sleep longer, though. 10 hours is not that much sleep for a baby, you would still have plenty of time to spend with your baby during the week. 12 hours would limit the amount of time I see my baby, but it has not happened yet.

    • mascot says:

      I agree not to deliberately shorten the sleep schedule. Adequate sleep is a big part of growth and development. You’ll still have plenty of time to see your baby. During the week, that time may be broken up into smaller pieces (breakfast, a car ride, bath-time, etc). You still have the weekend for the hours on end quantity time.

    • Your child might not ever hit the 12 hour mark. My daughter never did and still has a very similar schedule (she’s almost 2). Since she was probably about 8 months (I could be wrong on the timing), she would go to sleep around 9 and wake up about 630/7. But we also have a longer commute and she’d usually get 2 30+ minute commuting naps, plus the naptime at school. Now, she doesn’t always nap in the car and we’ve never had a problem with her being overly tired.

  6. Question about maternity clothes sizing: do you really just wear your pre-pregnancy size? Is it safer to buy up a size? I don’t need maternity yet, still too early, but I wouldn’t mind taking advantage of the Loft sale. Is it better to wait until I pop and try stuff on then? Or is it possible to buy ahead of time?

    Relatedly, do you find that maternity clothes are “vanity sized” (hate that term but don’t know the alternative)? Especially at stores like Gap or Loft that also sell regular clothes?

    • It’s best to buy your pre-pregnancy size in that particular brand. Only now in the third tri with twins have I had to go back and get one or two larger shirts at the gap. Sizing wise, I had the most trouble with Old Navy. There were a lot of inconsistencies in sizing. Also their cotton shirts are quite scratchy on my now more sensitive skin.
      Finally, I found some of my best deals on Amazon..

    • Samantha says:

      I’d suggest waiting until you pop if you haven’t yet. The reason is people put on weight a little differently when pregnant – some are the same size all over except for a popout belly, and others put on weight in more places (even on the face!). If your body type is the former, you’ll want the same pre-pregnancy size but with an empire waist or gathers to accommodate an extra-large tummy.
      With tops, extra length was a factor for me (to cover the belly and avoid skin showing) so I went to tall sizes though I’m not particularly tall. With bottoms, you may have strong feelings about half-panel, full-panel, or below the bump type of pants/skirts. Your tummy may feel a bit itchy (with the delicate stretching skin) so you may feel strongly about the type of fabric covering it (or lack thereof, in which case you’d go for below-the-bump type bottoms).
      I haven’t found maternity clothes to be vanity sized (more than the brand typically vanity sizes for regular clothes anyway).

  7. Anonymous says:

    I bought my regular size. But i have friends who bought larger maternity sizes than regular sizes for a variety of reasons, including that they wanted the clothes to be looser, and had gained weight aside from in their stomach. And I found that if a store vanity sizes their regular clothing, they also vanity size their maternity clothing.

  8. Any New Yorkers here? Any idea how much of a raise to offer the nanny when moving from 1 kid to 2? The absolute most we can do is $2 but I don’t want to insult her… (we already pay $18/hr. In DUMBO.)

    • Anastasia says:

      I’m curious abt this too, since we have another I the way and 2 day care tuitions just seems outrageous to me.

      I’m in DC, but just wanted to give you a data point. We paid our nanny $600 a week for one infant, which was around $15 an hour plus overtime. When another baby joined for a share (both were over a year old by then), we went to $950/week for the same number of hours. But that’s a share, so prices tend to inflate a bit.

      I know this is a less-ideal option, but you may be able to hire someone new for close to what you’re paying now. Current nanny will expect a raise, of course, but $18-20 an hour for 2 kids is pretty much the going rate here. I know my nanny previously worked for a family of 3 kids (youngest was an infant) for less than she makes now.

    • (former) preg 3L says:

      No clue but would suggest you ask in the Brooklyn Heights Parents Yah00 group – might be able to get some info there? Many people post that their nanny is available; you could email one/some of them privately and ask what they paid. My daughter is in daycare; sorry I can’t help!

  9. (former) preg 3L says:

    Pumping Q. One side of my pump seems to be stronger than the other side. I’ve switched them and it is definitely the pump, not me just producing more on one side (though I do produce more on one side). Is my pump defective or is there anything I can do about it? I plan to check the manual tonight but thought I’d post here in case anyone else has dealt with this. TIA!

    • Meg Murry says:

      Check the membrane pieces (white flaps on Medela PISA) – if one is a little bit worn out or torn it will result in lower suction. Also make sure both sides of the tubing are attached tightly to the pump and parts.

      • (former) preg 3L says:

        Thanks! I’ll check. I’ve noticed it with various sets of pump parts, so I think it’s a pump issue, but I haven’t carefully inspected the membranes for wear lately.

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