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- If you’re a working parent of an infant with low sleep needs, how do you function at work when you’re in the throes of baby’s sleep regression?
- Should I cut my childcare down to 12 hours a month if I work from home?
- Will my baby have speech delays if we raise her bilingual?
- Has anyone given birth in a teaching hospital?
- My child eats everything, and my friends’ kids do not – how should I handle? In general, what is the best way to handle when your child has some skill/ability and your friend’s child doesn’t have that skill/ability?
- ADHD moms, give me your tips to help with things like behavior in the classroom, attention to detail, etc?
- I think I suffer from mom rage…
- My husband and kids are gone this weekend – how should I enjoy my free time?
- I’m struggling to be compassionate with a SAHM friend who complains she doesn’t have enough hours of childcare.
- If you exclusively formula fed, what tips do you have for in the hospital and coming home?
- Could I take my 4-yo and 8-yo on a 7-8 day trip to Paris, Lyon, and Madrid?
Closet Redux says
Anyone else get annoyed when people tell you your baby “seems hungry” when they don’t want to hold him anymore? I’m probably hormonal and overreacting but something really grates when I hear that. I know when I last fed him and I wouldn’t give him to you to hold if it was likely he needed to nurse soon. Babies fuss! Pass him back without the (always inaccurate) assessment of his nutritional needs/ demand on me. I’m sure my reaction is in connection with all the social pressure around breastfeeding/ the reality of baby’s total dependence on me for survival, but what I wouldn’t give to go one day without hearing this and internalizing it as an admonishment.
Yes you’re being hormonal and reacting to social pressure. I was the same way. I got angry with my FIL and wouldn’t speak to him for months because I was mad when he made an innocent comment like “wow that baby sure seems to eat a lot”. I took it as a total slam on me breastfeeding in another room, hence taking baby away from the family. Or something, I was a hormonal sleep-walking zombie so not entirely sure what my thoughts were. Raising a baby is hard. Breastfeeding is hard. You’re sacrificing of yourself and your body in so many ways for the kid, and it’s hard not to feel pressured and torn and just beat up.
(Yes, formula is not the devil and bf-ing is probably not nearly worth all the hassle we put working/ pumping moms through.)
I’ve said that when a friends baby has tried to nurse on me while I’m holding her.
I felt this way about “gassy.” It felt both an excuse for anytime the baby made a gurgle that made someone uncomfortable and an indictment on whatever I ate because I was nursing. Also when someone said the baby was cold. Come to think of it, also when baby was “hungry.” Hormones are hard. As are well intentioned, clueless relatives.
Also, now that I have two: it just seems clueless. Yep, baby is gassy! Have you ever met a baby before? They are all gassy! That’s what happens when your digestive system is tiny.
YES this used to drive me totally crazy. My husband would get this look and I just knew the dreaded 4 words “I think she’s hungry” were coming. This too shall pass :)
I never minded it apart from my husband. He was a great partner in those early days, but it always seemed like a way to shift the burden to me rather than soothe fussiness. And bfeeding twins when they were clusterfeeding is a unique form of torture.
My oldest is about to turn six. I still remember a time when he was four months old, and he got fussy and a mom that I knew and trusted told me that he needed to be fed. At that point, I was still on maternity leave and had spent nearly every moment for four months with the kid attached to me or within arm’s distance. I knew my kid and it felt like I was being told that I couldn’t read his cues. Now, I can see that she was trying to be helpful but it grated on me.
I HATED that comment. My mom, however, would phrase it as a question, “do you think he’s hungry?” It seemed like she was acknowledging and affirming my ability as a mom and I loved her for it. I’ve since consciously phrased every parenting/caregiving-related comment to my husband, friends, whomever as a question and it always seems to be received much better.
That said, hormones are so hard.
I, too, hated when people asked if my babies were hungry, or gassy, or sleepy, etc. Both of my kids were extremely fussy babies, and these “helpful suggestions” felt more like accusations that I wasn’t properly caring for my baby, and was somehow responsible for their fussy temperaments.
I don’t think it had anything to do with hormones. Those questions are obnoxious. Whether the person asking intends it or not, those questions implicate that you are not fulfilling your baby’s basic needs. It’s just insulting that someone would think “oh, this baby is fussy, perhaps it did not occur to his mother that he is hungry!” People should just keep their unsolicited advice to themselves.
I would feel differently if it was in response to rooting that I did not see, as described above by another poster. Or “I’d be happy to give him a bottle so you can go take a shower/nap.” But it seems like those comments are made mostly by unhelpful, fretful in-laws who start freaking out any time the baby fusses.
I always thought truly clueless comments were more comical than offensive. Like when little old ladies would come up to me and tell me that my poor baby’s feet seemed cold with no socks. Well, she isn’t wearing socks because she has already put all three pairs of socks that were in my diaper bag into her mouth, and wet slobbery socks are colder than no socks. Or the other little old ladies who would criticize me when my toddler refused to wear a winter coat. Well, she had a temper tantrum when I tried to put it on her, so I assume she isn’t cold.
That said, I wouldn’t get offended when someone tries to make an excuse to pass your baby back. Some people like holding babies, but lots of people don’t, and some people (including me) just can’t hold a baby without making it cry. When pressured to hold a baby, I usually hand it back with the comment that “I think she wants her mommy now” when it inevitably starts to fuss. I wouldn’t presume to diagnose gas or hunger, but I’m not going to torture the poor thing by continuing to hold it when it clearly doesn’t want me to hold it.
I’m the easily offended poster above you and I think saying “I think she wants her mommy now” is a GREAT way to pass the baby back.
But who are these people who are pressuring you to hold their babies? That’s weird.
It is weird. It happened most when I was a newlywed and friends wanted to show my husband and me how adorable babies were and how great it would be if we had one.
My dad always used to ask “Did he feed?” or “Does he need to feed?”. I’m not sure why but I ABSOLUTELY HATED that phrase. Thanks, hormones.
“Feed” grated on me because it made me feel like a cow, or a milk factory. And animals feed, not humans (yes I know we’re all animals).
Anon in NYC says
Ugh. My dad kept saying “mothers milk” in reference to bfeeding. It just skeeved me out.
Mine used “milky” — like “oh you must feel better with that nice milky!” gag, vomit, ew, etc.
I HATE that phrase. “Did he feed?”
It always sounds like a vampire to me. Gives me the creeps.
Super annoyed. Especially in the early days when I might listen to someone else, try to feed the baby (who would just snack), and then throw off his rhythm because what he really needed was stimulation/help sleeping/cuddles/to go outside.
New Mom Anom says
I’d love to hear some success stories on bf’ing after weeks without (particularly for a NICU baby)? Or, alternatively, ways to manage exclusively pumping?
Fwiw, daughter was born a few weeks early and earned herself a 3 week stay in the NICU. Toward the end, she was allowed to try bf’eeding but didn’t really take after 3 days so they moved her to a bottle. Hospital encouraged me to keep trying and I have been but it’s frustrating, especially because I have to pump after each feed to maintain supply. So what should be a typical diaper change, feed, back to sleep session takes forever with the added trying, bottle feeding and then pumping. I’m going crazy with it. Part of me wants to just give up and move on to formula but part of me really wants to bf’eed. I’ve met with lactation consultants throughout but I’m feeling very defeated now that we’re home.
Make life easy for you both by pumping and then bottle feeding, or just formula. She will be fine either way.
You can always bond by cuddling or whatever.
Don’t pressure yourself, it will make things worse.
My baby was born about 3 weeks early, so he was very sleepy and did not take to nursing at all. He didn’t even latch in the hospital with LC help. So I exclusively pumped — I think it helped that I was pretty single minded about wanting to give him breast milk, because I understand how tedious pumping is. At night, my husband would do the first feed while I got up to pump, so that helped cut down on the time awake a bit. And then there was the stress of not having enough pumped when he was hungry. But I just took it one day at a time and got down a solid routine after about 4-6 weeks.
But good news: baby started latching at 11 weeks, and we are still going strong at almost 18 months (though, hopefully stopping soon). We did see a new lactation consultant, and she had me: 1) strip down baby and take off my shirt, 2) bounce on an exercise ball lightly to sooth baby, 3) hold him upright against my skin and then slowly lower him toward the breast (but keeping him more or less upright, rather than cradling him horizontally)…and then, he latched!
So there is hope if you want to keep going.
This is very similar to my story. My son was born 3 weeks early for a medically necessary c-section. He was sleepy, and his suck/swallow reflex had not yet fully developed. I exclusively pumped for about 7-8 weeks, until he finally latched. I also had a lot of support from my husband – every feeding I would take 10-15 minutes to allow a chance for baby to latch. When he did not, I would hand him off to my husband, who would give a bottle, while I would pump. We quickly fell into a routine, until baby started latching. We successfully nursed for 12 months until baby self-weaned.
We used paced bottle feeding – something demonstrated by our lactation consultant. We also did a lot of skin-to-skin time.
It took a lot of patience and determination – and help. I could not have done it without the support of my husband.
This is similar to my story as well. Baby was born 4 weeks early. We did not have a NICU stay (which may change everything, actually), but he would not latch at the hospital without LC help, and he was very sleepy and jaundiced when we got home and lost weight. We did the routine of trying to nurse and then pumping and bottle feeding. After a few weeks, he started latching and nursing well, and I moved to pumping just to build up a freezer stash.
A few things that helped/encouraged me:
– We saw another LC, who was a tremendous help. She was very encouraging, mainly in telling us that we weren’t doing anything wrong, baby was just sleepy and his suck-swallow reflex was underdeveloped. Also, she emphasized that when you’re in this sleep-deprived fog, it seems like it’s never going to end, but this challenge really lasts for such a short period of time, and you can do it! She also gave us some super helpful tips/techniques on nursing, but I can’t remember them now. So now that you and Baby are out of the hospital, I would try another LC.
– Let your partner help. You’re right that nursing+diaper change+back to sleep+pumping takes almost the 2-hour feeding cycle, so by the time you fall asleep again, baby is waking up. For the most part, my husband did the diaper change and put the baby back to sleep while I pumped.
-Also, I took one feeding “off” entirely, and DH just fed Baby a bottle, so I could get one 4-hour stretch of sleep. (And DH took one cycle off too so he had the same.)
-Buy enough pump parts to last through the night, so you’re not washing pump parts in addition to nursing, pumping, and putting baby to sleep in the middle of the night. I think I needed 3 sets. We’d “go to bed” at 11 or so with everything clean, and feed at 1, 3, 5, and 7 (but with me skipping one of those), and then I’d wash parts sometime before the 9 am feeding. This made a huge difference!
If you want to go to formula or exclusively pumping, do it. It’ll be fine. Do what’s right for you and your family.
FWIW, once Baby started nursing well, I enjoyed it. I’m not a very warm-and-fuzzy, maternal person, and it was a tangible way to nurture and bond for me (something I’m struggling with with now-Toddler). It also was easier and more convenient than pumping and dealing with all the equipment and pump parts etc.
My full-term baby would only take a bottle for the first few weeks. I went through a similar ordeal of attempting to feed + pumping + bottlefeeding and was on the verge of giving up and EPing. I made one last-ditch visit to the lactation consultant. While we were there, the baby decided that she was going to BF, and from that point on refused the bottle completely. When she started day care, I relied on a combination of midday visits and soft sippy cups. Nothing the lactation consultant did made any difference–the baby just suddenly changed her mind in the lactation consultant’s office.
If I had to do it over again, I would have EP’d. I found BF’ing to be exhausting and limiting and I disliked sharing my body in that way. I kept pumping a couple of times a day anyway, and it probably would have been easier just to pump a few more times a day and not mess with BF’ing. BF’ing also allowed the baby to go through a horrible phase where she would demand to nurse every 15 minutes between 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. or so. This lasted for a couple of months and turned me into a zombie. I suspect she would have consumed more milk at each feeding and gone longer between feedings if she had been bottle-fed.
Bottom line: If you really want to BF, there is still hope and things might click all of a sudden. But if you are ready to stop trying and make the choice to EP, this internet stranger supports you!
I had two preemies and was not successful with breastfeeding. My first was in the NICU for 10 weeks, and spent a significant portion of time NPO (not allowed to feed.) My second was in the NICU for a week. With my first, I felt so helpless and I thought that pumping milk was the only way I could help. We had to monitor his feeds so closely when he was finally able to eat and fortify the milk… it was too hard. When he was released, I tried spending a day in bed with him, feeding on demand, but it just didn’t work. So I EP-ed for a year. Not what I wanted, but he got breast milk for his first year.
With my second, again it was hard because you aren’t there over night and they feed from a bottle. I had a toddler at home, so hanging out in bed for a day or two wasn’t an option. I had EPed before, so I knew what I was in for and just sucked it up.
I really do wish someone, any one, had told me that babies would be fine on formula. The hospital was such a pro-breast feeding place, especially in the NICU, I just felt enormous amounts of guilt. I couldn’t carry to term, I couldn’t feed my babies like I was supposed to, I didn’t know how to hold my preemie properly…. I didn’t sleep like I should have because I was pumping in the middle of the night, as well as tending to the baby. I don’t know — I guess what I am trying to tell you, it might be hard but with the help of a lactation specialist you might be able to breast feed. But it is okay for you and your baby if you don’t want to try that hard, so hard, and feed formula. It isn’t a judgement on you or your parenting. You’re going to be a great parent!
Take this with a grain of salt, because all babies are different and mine, though a preemie, did not need a NICU stay.
That said, my son was a month early and couldn’t successfully breastfeed for the first week, then it took another two weeks or so to transition to exclusive breastfeeding (ie, without supplementing with either pumped milk or formula).
What helped for me: figuring out how to give a bottle and pump at the same time, not trying to nurse overnight, and skipping one pump session. We were still waking baby to eat every three hours (so horrible). So we’d go to sleep after the 9 pm feed, and at midnight I’d give a bottle while pumping at the same time. At 3 am, my husband would give a bottle while I kept sleeping. At 6, I’d give a bottle while pumping. At 9 am, we’d go back to nursing for 15 minutes before giving the bottle and pumping.
Don’t get me wrong, I was still kind of zombie, but that schedule allowed me to keep myself basically functional.
And agree with everyone that if you need or want to EP or switch to formula full-time or part-time, it’s ok. I wanted to breastfeed because this was my second child, and I remembered how easy and convenient breastfeeding was with my first once we got it figured out. It’s now like that with my second too, so I’m glad I stuck with it. Much easier to just breastfeed in the middle of the night rather than dealing with formula or warming up a bottle of pumped milk, and I don’t have to worry about packing anything for baby to eat when we leave the house. But this is all just about what’s easiest and feels right for you, and I totally get how and why someone would make the opposite choice.
So I had twins and had to pump after every feed because neither was a good eater. I was only ever able to get to 50% BM despite all the drugs/tips but I stuck it out because I’d had an amazing nursing relationship with my oldest and I really wanted that again. I was able to nurse them for about 16 months before they weaned entirely. It was never quite as good as with my oldest, but for me sticking it out was the right decision. I really loved BF (despite the hard moments – it was the hardest best thing I ever did) and I’m so sad that I’m done and won’t get to nurse anymore.
If you do decide to stick it out, when DH is home, he can settle the baby while you pump. Nurse right before he gets home so you can hand off baby when he walks in the door and go pump. It gets much easier around 4 weeks and then easier again around 8 weeks. Use a hospital grade double pump for most efficiency in terms of time and production. Do compressions while nursing to get the most milk you can into baby.
Formula is fine – zero guilt – but it’s also okay to want to put in a lot of effort to make BF work. It’s not an either/or and there are no prizes. You do you and baby will be fine whatever you choose.
My quality of life improved so much once I rented a hospital grade pump…I gained a whole hour per day. Here is DC you can rent from the breastfeeding center on k street. Mine is $79 a month.
Been there done that says
I exclusively pumped for 15 months with my first, who while full term and healthy, just never figured out how to properly latch. The first few months are the hardest, then it gets significantly easier once you can drop the number of pumps. In the beginning, I was doing upwards of 10-12 pumps a day. That was very tough. Around the fourth month I think I dropped to 6 pumps, and by 6 months I was doing 4 pumps a day (which wasn’t bad at all).
I highly recommend taking Go Lacta supplements for maintaining supply. There are also a wealth of good online resources on EP’ing — try Kelly Mom for some helpful links.
It’s definitely hard but doable. And if it doesn’t work out, that’s ok too. Baby will be fine with formula. Good luck!
New Mom Anom says
Thank you all. These responses are so helpful!
Have you tried a n*pple shield? My kiddo never latched without one, but nursed until she was 18 months old. I know some LCs and others say it’s not ideal, but it is less of a hassle than pumping, in my opinion. Anyway, the whole thing w n*pple confusion might work to your advantage — a shield is a bit like a bottle.
+1. Was coming to suggest this as well. I had to use a nipple shield for awhile with my oldest when he developed a preference for bottles.
Edna Mazur says
Second this. A nipple shield is the only thing my first kiddo latched on, and he was overdue. Buy at least three (they’re cheap). We were eventually able to wean off the nipple shield, sometime before the second month I believe. I would just offer bare first and if that was rejected use the shield.
Oh yeah, that was one of the things my LC gave us! It was helpful until Baby started latching better, which only took a couple of weeks. I totally forgot about that. So, my advice stands–keep seeing your LC, or go see a new one. (I didn’t love the one I worked with at the hospital. She meant well, and I don’t really think she did anything wrong, but I was so exhausted, and somehow she made it seem even more complicated/overwhelming than it was. Or maybe it was just the state of mind I was in at the time.)
NOVA Anon says
Baby was eight weeks early and had a six week NICU stay. I exclusively pumped during that time, with nursing just as practice (for him). I made it bearable by going longer overnight – sometimes up to six hours – and just making sure I got in eight pumps during the times I was awake. Having him in the NICU actually made that part much easier – once I was home, it got a lot harder.
For nursing, we used a n!pple shield at first – it helped a lot. I’ve heard that many LCs highly discourage these, but I don’t think we ever could have nursed at all unless we had started with that. I was able to ween him off the n!pple shield by the time he was ten weeks old. I kept up with a lot of pumping while on maternity leave, and then it actually got easier when I went back to work because I’m lucky enough to have an office with a door that locks. So if you haven’t tried that, I would highly recommend it – once his mouth got bigger, he didn’t need it anymore, but it really got us over the hump and onto a decent nursing experience. He never loved nursing like other kids (several nursing strikes throughout his first year), but by a few weeks after he got home, we did half nursing and half my milk + Neosure, which we kept up for my maternity leave, then nursing while together and bottles when apart after I went back to work.
Good luck with whatever you decide! You’re doing GREAT – having a preemie and a NICU stay is so hard. You may not even realize how much of an emotional toll it took until months or even years later – so please take care of yourself and know that it only gets better from here!
I had preemie twins who spent some time in the NICU. I pumped from the start and they took a while to learn to nurse and then to stay awake long enough to get a decent feed. Especially if your baby came early, he/she may just need some more time to put it all together. I would say keep trying, but don’t sweat it if you are pumping and using a bottle. Progress was not gradual for my kids.
If you haven’t yet, you might want to try a nipple shield. They work in part by hitting the roof of your baby’s mouth, which triggers the suck reflex (so they do their job automatically instead of having to learn how). I got many warnings not to use one, and it actually was hard to wean my kids off of it, but in the meantime they nursed well enough. Were they ever good nursers? No, and it drove me a bit crazy to go through the whole process with each of them for every feed. But you know what? They got enough, grew well, and I was able to nurse them to 8 months (and pump). I never loved nursing, which was a disappointment to me, but I am happy they got that much milk and me time.
NICU time is so hard even under the best of circumstances. Please give yourself credit for all that you are doing and have faith that things will work themselves out one way or another with time. Everyone has a transition with a newborn but the NICU really does add some extra bumps.
Hi New MomAnon! I went through some seriously stress about bfing and I felt serious pressure to do it from society, friends and family. If it works for you, then great! But don’t fret too much if it doesn’t. You’re going to be taking good care of this baby and nourishing him/her one way or another. Your baby is lucky to have such a loving mama!
I know it takes awhile to establish supply, but you can get your body to adjust to feeding less often than you may be encouraged to (ie. use formula at night, then breastfeed during the day). My kiddo dropped night feedings at 8 weeks and she’s a year and nurses twice a day. So go ahead and use formula when you want, but try to keep it consistent day by day. Good luck! Glad you’re all home!
Thanks to everyone for the thread yesterday on playdates. Not the OP, but I’ve been wondering if I’m missing some secret sauce on how to do playdates for my 2 year old. Basically, anytime you hear something like “Diego is having so much playing with Katie at school” then that’s the cue to ask to exchange numbers or set something up. It sounds so organic when other people wrote it out, I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me.
At age 2 it’s a bit more challenging because you don’t want to just leave your child with someone else so I feel like you really have to like the other parents. My LO has made noises about wanting friends over but I pause on some of them because I just haven’t clicked with the parents. But, I also see it as an opportunity to branch out and make friends which is nice because having a child can be very isolating.
I don’t do playdates; the kids are in daycare all day and get enough social interaction there. The weekend is my time, so a playdate has to benefit me, as in, someone I want to socialize with regardless of whether they have kids or not. If I see a friend who has kids, I’ll take my kids along. Also they don’t really play until age 3, and you spend more time dealing with the kid than socializing.
As a parent of an only child I now LOVE playdates because it gives my son someone else to run around playing superhero transformer ninja bots with instead of me. When he was younger? nope, not interested, they don’t so much ‘play’ at that age anyway.
hoola hoopa says
Yeah, 2 year olds don’t really play together, so at that age it’s more of a mom’s playdate. Which is a great thing in its own right, but a different purpose so I find those come together with two moms are compatible rather than because the kids are.
15 month old Baby HSAL is newly terrified of baths after months of loving them. It’s been the last couple weeks – she just cries. Doesn’t really struggle to get out, but doesn’t want to go in and is clearly scared to be in there and it’s super sad. She’s slipped in the water a couple times, but never anything super traumatic and nothing immediately precipitating the new fear. Mr. HSAL is taking this personally because bathtime is “their” time. Thoughts, suggestions? I got in there with her last night which helped a little, but she was still so sad about it.
This may be different given the age but my daughter went through something similar at around 8-9 months. No reason for it, just started to cry every time we came close to the bath. I just kept with it and it passed after about a week and half. She still hates having her hair rinsed but otherwise is fine.
What helped: bubbles, new bath toys, playing pattycake to distract her.
I think this is a common 1-2 yo phase, but my son’s coinsided with an eczema flare-up that I think made the bath’s uncomfortable for him. Like most toddler phases, it just ended at some point, nothing special we did. We just kept baths short and sweet (and largely standing up) for a few months. I was sincerely worried we had done something to ruin his love of baths, but alas, it just ended.
Anon in NYC says
It’s a phase. My kiddo went through the exact same thing at around that age. It took a few weeks but she eventually grew out of it. My husband got in there with her and that sort of helped, but really it just changed one day. We just tried to get through baths as quickly as possible!
We use an Ikea bath mat in the shape of an alligator. It’s a great distraction for the kids when they are in a bath phobic phase. I give them a facecloth and tell them to wash the alligator which is popular.We talk about washing his toes and his nose etc. I wash them while they are washing the alligator. Corelle also makes a lovely water friendly baby doll that might be a good bathtime buddy.
Agree with all the other posters — it’s a phase, completely normal, just switch things up (new toys / new activity). You can buy color tablets for the bath, so it’s their favorite color; you can buy bath finger paints so they can paint on the wall with their fingers; you can buy toys or bath mats or dolls that can all go into the bath. You’ll get through it!
Had the same phase – we moved a baby tub back into the bathtub. Anon Toddler got comfortable in the baby tub again, and we eventually filled the tub back up around the baby tub, then just stopped putting the baby tub in the big tub
We just went through this too!
Meg Murry says
My oldest became terrified of pools, water and bathtubs around 15-18 months when he got water (and probably sunscreen) in his eyes at the pool when going under the water feature. We managed to coax him back into the bathtub without screaming eventually, but washing his hair required either a lot of negotiations, reassuring and bribery (my way) or just pinning him down and getting it over with quickly (my husband’s way).
It took until he was 5 to be truly comfortable getting his head wet, sorry to say. But some things that did work on occasion to ease him back to the tub:
-Just washing with a washcloth while standing in or next to the tub, no water in it.
-Sometimes washing his hair in the sink separately from washing his body.
-Washing hair with a washcloth, not by dumping water over his head.
-Letting him wash our arms, legs, feet, etc or a doll.
-2 adults – one to reassure/distract/hold still while the other scrubbed
-Having a pile of dry washclothes and hand towels available so that he could *immediately* dry his face or eyes anytime water got near it
-Offering to let him splash in the shower at our feet when an adult showered (rarely worked, but we offered).
Good luck, and may I suggest *not* to go to the “hold him down and scrub/dump water on him” route until it’s a last resort – my husband really thought my son would just get over it and it made every bathtime so much worse.
This is sort of a tangent but wanted to offer a different perspective in case it helped. When my daughter started finally growing her hair out she really objected to having her hair rinsed. We tried a few months for very gradual hair rinsing and I think it just made it worse. Finally I decided that if it were me, I would want something fast where I knew what was going on. We have a big water pourer (ours is in the shape of a whale, or a really big cup would work). I tell her to close her eyes and tip her head down, and then I count as I pour three quick times. I have a wet, wrung washcloth handy so that I can immediately wipe her face to get the water off. It took her about two weeks and she doesn’t mind at all anymore. She knows what’s coming so it’s not so scary, and the time when she has water on her face is very limited.
If your child is 3+ and this unhappy about water in the eyes, just buy goggles. You can wash hair over them and it makes life easier.
hoola hoopa says
Shower! At that age, hold them and just run them under the water, with a washcloth on their back if they don’t like the feeling. At that age, it’s also easiest to have your partner wash their hair.
Legally Brunette says
Hi ladies, any suggestions on useful and fun party favors for a 4 year old boy’s birthday party at a nature center? Doesn’t have to be related to animals per se, though. If you’ve seen something that your kids have loved please let me know.
Little magnifying glasses to look at bugs and leaves outside?
Perhaps it’s terrible, but my first thought was, “Or to burn them!”
I would say a net, except I think that is likely to destroy too much nature for the nature center to be comfortable. Other ideas: A bug box – one of those cube-shaped plastic boxes with a magnifier in the lid (good for rocks, leaves, etc too); pretend or real binoculars (make from toilet paper tubes), or even just a bag for carrying treasures.
My 3.5 y.o. is obsessed with a pair of plastic binoculars he received at a similar birthday party.
Not at all nature related, but we recently went to a birthday party where the favors were superhero masks and capes. So cool.
Yes! Doing that for my son’s superhero birthday party this weekend.
My son went to a “lizard” party where the favor was a magazine (or a short paperback?) about lizards. I think it was kids’ national geographic. It was great – not more plastic stuff and not candy!
hoola hoopa says
I’ve done scholastic books as favors – huge hit with kids and parents – and they always have sets of national geographic books (which are great for ~4-7 year olds).
I just saw some stickers on Amazon that looked fun and came in a large pack. There was a large sticker of an animal face, and little stickers with eyes, noses, and whiskers so that you could add features to the face. I actually just ordered as a birthday gift but I think it would make great party favors.
There are little clear plastic containers that magnify on one end (we call em “bug lookers”) that you can put bugs/flowers/feathers etc in to examine in detail.
Legally Brunette says
Also, any suggestions on good indoor activities for a birthday party at a nature center? My son’s 4th birthday is next month. As part of the birthday, a naturalist will do a guided hike with the kids outside, but in the case of inclement weather, I want a back up option for some fun indoor activities. Any thoughts?
Making animal masks or the stand-up animals with construction paper and toilet paper rolls?
Does the nature center have either (live) reptiles or specimens they could bring out? Like, skulls, taxidermied animals, etc? I visited a nature center recently with my kiddo and they had a “paw print treasure hunt” – you had to match specimen paws to the prints they left. All the kids made their own pawprints using plaster of paris.
As far as party favors – could you have the kids all make a bird feeder to take home? There are super easy ones (roll a pine cone in peanut butter, then bird seed, tie a string on top) and more complicated ones. I bet pinterest could give you some ideas.
+1 for handling the taxidermy!
At my 4 year old son’s party, the kids wanted no part of my organized activities, so don’t kill yourself. You could try simple games like ring around the rosie, make up a nature-themed obstacle course, have a scavenger hunt…when my son was 3, at his train-themed party I gave each kid a “train car” (shoebox attached to a string) and had them hunt for rocks we had spray painted gold. They loved dragging around their boxes, a few actually got into looking for the rocks. This was outside but you could do something similar inside and call the box a wagon or something. Animal dress ups?
Co-sleeping transition question. We’ve inadvertently ended up co-sleeping with Baby AIMS and she usually spends part of the night in our bed. It used to be that I would bring her in toward morning but now it’s basically midnight on and has been for months now. As she’s gotten bigger though it’s become harder to share a bed. Also, it’s now spread to her nap time and she’ll wake up after napping on her own a very short time and only sleep more if someone lies down with her in our bed. I’d like to stop this but not sure how to proceed. Are there resources for this you’ve found helpful online? Anyone care to share their own transition experience?
This happened with my kiddo – it started with “let’s get another hour of sleep when she wakes up at 5 am” and then she kept waking up earlier and earlier until she was spending the whole night in our bed.
I probably would have continued it (I kind of liked it), except that she suddenly stopped sleeping in my bed too. At that point, it was like – well, either you can be awake in your bed and I can sleep, or we can both be awake in my bed, so I moved her to her room and did full extinction CIO. Naps remained a struggle and naps at home are still a struggle (2 years later….).
Your kiddo sounds a little like mine; give an inch, she’ll keep taking more inches. I’ve found that the OK to Wake clock was effective at preventing the wake up creep, but I have to be vigilant about enforcing it. If she wakes up even 1 minute before the clock turns green, she has to stay in her bed.
Side car the crib to the bed if you have room. She can be in the crib and you can stick out your arm to rub her back/hold her hand while she sleeps etc. Then she gets used to the crib and you can move it out to her room once she’s established with sleeping in it.
To keep her asleep, I’d actually audio record yourselves sleeping – just 10 minutes is enough and play it back on a loop (kind of like a personalized sleep sheep).
How old is baby AIMS? I feel like advice might be different based on age. For my second, I started sending my husband in to rock him back to sleep and put him back in his crib. It took a few days of constant wake-ups before he started to sleep longer. We also started using a heavy sleep sack when It dawned on me that co-sleeping next to me likely kept him very warm. It was the magic bullet that started getting him to sleep through the night (this is an 11 month old though).
She’s a little over a year. The creep happened just as NewMomAnon describes. One hour at a time. I stopped nursing her at one year and this made it a little better. She definitely wakes up less now and aside from moving to our bed at some point, she mostly sleeps through the night or wakes up once at most. But again this is if she moves to our bed.
I have this shirt in the sleeveless style and the snap seems to fly open all the time – especially when I have a wriggly baby. How have other people dealt with this? I inadvertently flashed people the first time I wore it.
(former) 3L mama says
Just wanted to say thanks to the women on this s i t e – I just had my quarterly review (for new first year associates at my firm) and my reviews are great and I’m enjoying working here.
I don’t think I would have had nearly as positive experience without info gleaned from much lurking and some question-asking here – before I started at my firm, we lined up a housekeeper, a nanny, a personal trainer, a dry cleaning service that picks up/delivers, a grocery delivery service, and two kinds of back-up care. We made a budget, automated our bill payments, and figured things out with a financial planner. I went to Nordstrom and had a personal stylist figure out a 12-outfit business/business casual capsule wardrobe and had everything tailored. I have a drawer in my office with duplicate makeup, prescriptions, a back-up outfit, and healthy snacks.
All of this means that since I started work several months ago, I haven’t done a single load of laundry or gotten groceries once. I don’t think about what to wear or what to eat. All I have to do is work and see my kid/husband, and I think that’s making me enjoy life much more. My mom thinks it’s a little ridiculous how much household help we have, but I think it is worth every penny to be able to devote the hours needed to a BigLaw job I enjoy and spend a meaningful amount of time with toddler, who is a delight.
I would not have known what steps to take to make this transition smoother without y’all, and I appreciate it.
Wow – you are amazing. Good work!
You are amazing. And so is this community—I can’t even imagine how I would have survived the past 2 years without all of these internet strangers.
ooh, please tell—what are your two kinds of back-up care? I’m 2 years in and still have nothing in place for when my kid is too sick for daycare. No family nearby so one parent always has to miss work.
And also, good for you!!
(former) 3L mama says
my work offers subsidized Bright Horizons back-up care, so we have three in-home caregivers we like through one of their nanny agencies, and then also have a drop-in center we’ve toured, completed all the paperwork, and had the baby spend a morning at.
I should also say that my husband only works part time, which helps a TON.
Hooray! Go you. This is what your salary is for: to help make your life easier in ways that are meaningful to you, now and in the future. Sounds cost-effective to me.
Um, you’re rocking it. Mama fist bump.
In House Lobbyist says
That’s great. I think you should have as much help as you can afford. Congrats!
Anon breadwinner says
Great success story! And I love seeing this concise list of tips all in one place. Individually, all these tips sound good but hard to justify. But all together in can see how they would allow all free time to be spent on family / fun / self.
How do you balance paying for services versus expecting spouse to do things when you have a spouse who works part time? My partner works anywhere from 2 – 30 hours a week, depending on season/ local economy, so it can be tough to plan what household help to outsource…
(former) 3L mama says
Basically, my husband’s income covers the nanny, housekeeper, and grocery delivery. So, if he were not working at all (he works 5-25 hours/week, depending on the season), we would drop those three things and he would probably handle more of it. But this way, we’re break-even on the household help and he keeps his skills current for his eventual return to steadier work (probably once we’ve had all our kids/they’re older).
And, he loves taking care of the kid and cooking, but does not like cleaning/getting groceries, so it just makes things less stressful for us. We are contributing fully to my 401(k) and a retirement account for him, paying my law school loans back at a very accelerated rate, and building out our emergency fund, but we are not doing any other saving at this point (e.g. for the toddler’s college, down payment on a house, etc.) So we could theoretically cut down on services and save more, but having time to really focus on work AND really enjoy my toddler is more important to me right now.
We are committed to keeping these expenses pretty stable, so that as (hopefully) our incomes increase, our expenses do not, and we can do more saving.
Anon breadwinner says
Thanks for the details. We are working out our budget for 2017, and I plan to make this part of the discussion!
The blouse pictured is from Loft, actually.
When I first looked it was a different picture, and now I see the Loft blouse too.
I think Kat just linked to the wrong picture – she featured this blouse the other day.
Baby on the move says
Baby is 7 months now and too long for the baby bathtub but not super steady sitting up so I am nervous about going straight to the regular tub. Also, our tub is very awkward- the sides are really high, which I think might make the task of steadying him while washing him a back breaking ordeal. What do people do to wash babies this age?
Also, I am trying to bring some personality and organization to my boring office at work. Anyone have any recommendations for cute work accessories that can be found on amazon?
Can you put him in a bumbo seat or similar? I used a bath seat with mine until he was sitting steadily – but I wonder if a bumbo might set him up a little higher.
I love cute file folders, or at least color coordinated ones, especially if they have to be out on my desk.
Anon in NYC says
I got something like this and used it in our tub until it got a puncture and deflated: https://www.amazon.com/Munchkin-White-Hot-Inflatable-Duck/dp/B000066665/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1485275635&sr=1-1&keywords=inflatable+bathtub+duck
It is inflated on the bottom so there’s some elevation (although not as much as a bumbo), but I appreciated that it was squishy in case my LO slipped.
(was) due in june says
Yep, duck tub in the regular tub. We used it for months and months. Fantastic. Also uses a lot less water to fill up the duck than a few inches in the tub.
We used and loved this too! Daughter outgrew it right around 12-13 mos which was good timing as it started deflating around then. Will definitely buy it again for next baby :) We used a 3M outdoor sticky hook to hang it on the back wall over the tub.
We used this too! Worked great.
I just get in the tub with my kiddo. A small pain, but she has fun and it’s easier on my back.
I laid baby down on their back with only a small amount of water in the tub. Showed them how they can kick their feet etc and they loved it.
We laid my son down in the tub from 6 months until just recently (10 months). It made hair washing a lot easier too.
We got a little tub that was inflatable and looked like a duck from Target. It was like 10 bucks. Baby absolutely loved it, and it made us feel that he was more secure as he learned to sit. It was also nice bc it eased our fears that he would hit his head on the hard side of the tub. We could also take it with us when we went out of town. Highly recommend.
We had this duck! We purchased it for that exact reason, and they just love it. $10. We even replaced it when the kids wore it out giving each others rides around the house.
We sat him in the baby tub (with a towel behind him to steady him) and put the baby tub into the big tub until he was ready to make the switch.
I used a plastic weaved storage bin from Target. They have a variety of colors now, but it’s the same thing we use in the bathroom to store all of the bath toys (3 year old is taking a bath too, so the bath toys are plentiful). It worked really well until he was about 9 months, and I’m happy it also has other uses.
similar to this: http://www.target.com/p/y-weave-extra-large-storage-bin-white-room-essentials/-/A-50253764?lnk=rec|pdpipadh1|related_prods_vv|pdpipadh1|50253764|9
Mrs. Jones says
We always bathed our son in the regular tub. easy peasy.
I was just about to post that I used this awesome baby bath ring, I think by a brand called Keter, but I just googled it and see these things have been recalled due to a drowning hazard, so… (Although honestly I’d probably still use it because it was so helpful. I never let my kid out of my sight while bathing him at that age.) I would note that I only got this once I started bathing my littler kid together with his older brother, and I was worried about too much slipping and sliding. I always felt just fine about bathing one baby at a time in the bathtub after he was about 6 moths old.
My almost-two-year-old has decided she MUST bathe in her baby bathtub again. God knows why. But she fits! It’s the Summer Infant one with the weird hammock insert (which we’ve never used).
Another co-sleeping topic. I *hate* co-sleeping, especially as my kids get older (have a 2 and 4 year old). When they were babies up to about a year and a half, we did it out of necessity for middle of the night or early morning wakings when we all just needed a little more sleep. We definitely had the early morning creep with our second, who was a notoriously early riser. Now, especially with my 4 year old, I just hate it. He’s super cuddly, and is extremely up in my space if he crawls into bed (wants to touch my hair and my face and like wrap his body around me).
I keep seeing these random facebook posts about how they are only little for so long, and they need us, and to provide that security. While I”m usually pretty good at “good for you, not for me,” these have me feeling very badly. I tend toward attachment parenting in a lot of other ways, I guess, but for whatever reason, I just can’t with all the touching in this particular realm. I’m very affectionate with both kids during the day (lots of hugs, and snuggles, etc.), but I just want my space in my bed. I’m not going to like raise a serial killer because I don’t let either kid sleep with me, am I?! I was feeling particularly guilty last night because my younger son woke up with a fever and was crying to go to my room to sleep with us. I rocked him, then tucked him in, then rocked in his room for a while then left.
layered bob says
I am a big co-sleeping proponent, and very much not a proponent of any kind of CIO sleep training, so there are my biases up front. BUT the big thing for me is that – babies grow up and *change.* Things that were not good for them at 12 weeks or 6 months or 1 year are totally fine for them later. What works before maybe doesn’t work now. Children at different ages have different needs.
E.g. My 17 month old sleeps (mostly) in her own bed now, and she’s totally capable of doing that now without it being stressful for her. She understands that it gets dark at night and will get light in the morning, that mom and dad are in the next room folding laundry and being boring (we didn’t disappear), that we will come if there is a real problem. She wasn’t capable of understanding any of these things a year ago. So while I (*I personally*) did not feel it was appropriate for her to spend the night alone when she was younger, it absolutely is appropriate now.
So I would say, even from my explicitly very attachment-parenting/pro-co-sleeping perspective, that your kids are fine in their own beds, and you are definitely not going to raise a serial killer :-)
My son is 4.5 and has never spent the night in my bed. I can’t sleep that way. He never seemed to need it. We didn’t do it. Fingers crossed he’s not a serial killer…. I think a lot of people do it out of necessity, not because they enjoy it. I never slept with my parents and I am not a serial killer (yet – being the parent of a 4 year old does inspire significant rage), so there’s one piece of anecdata for you.
Mine is 2 – and has only spent the night in bed with me once or twice, when we’ve been visiting relatives and CIO wasn’t an option. He slept – I did not. I figure my child is more likely to become a serial killer if he has to deal with a mother who hasn’t had enough sleep, and decided early on that cosleeping wasn’t a good option for our family.
Every child-parent relationship is different. You need to find the things that provide for the most emotional and mental health for your whole family. No guilt!
Ugh. I hate it too. I’m a bad parent if I co-sleep – any good that our cuddling did is wiped out by how grumpy I am the next day due to lack of sleep.
We did Ferber for my six month old Thursday night and he cried for 1 to 2 hours twice. Brutal. Has slept through the night every night since and everyone (including him!) is so much happier! Last night he woke me up but it was because he was laughing to himself in his crib having a fine old time. Laughing so loud it woke me up on the monitor! And not calling me to feed him! Then went back to sleep on his own peacefully! It was amazing!
So do what you need to do and everyone is happier is my takeaway.
CPA Lady says
If it makes you feel any better, I put my baby in her crib in her room and slept down the hall starting when she was five days old. She has literally never, not one single time, slept in my bed. She is totally fine, well adjusted, not a serial killer yet, as far as I know.
I think we all have limits and boundaries. Enforcing those doesn’t make you a monster. People who wheel out the “they’re only young for a minute, enjoy every moment, it goes by so fast!!!” need to STFU. My best friend and I now quote that at each other any time one of our kids is having a tantrum. “It goes by so fast!!! TREASURE EVERY MOMENT!!!!”
But seriously, for me, my bed and my bedroom is a place for me and my husband and for our marriage. That is a priority to me. It does not include our daughter. Just because we have one area of our life where she is not a priority doesn’t mean we love her any less.
We also had our child sleep in his own room starting the week after he was born. Co-sleeping wasn’t for us either. Now that he’s older, he will occasionally get to sleep in our bed if my husband is traveling. It’s not the most restful night’s sleep though, so I limit it to one night as a special treat or if he’s having a really rough day and just needs me to be close. One night only cause mama needs her space.
Mrs. Jones says
Like CPA Lady, our son slept in his room down the hall starting at less than a week old. He has never ever slept in our bed. that’s a slippery slope I don’t want to start down.
Aww, it will be OK. My daughter often begs to sleep in my bed, but then she doesn’t sleep, so it’s always a no. She also begs for chocolate at breakfast, and to wear her sundresses on the coldest days of the year, and to wear my shoes to school. Also all no, all the time.
I had a mini breakthrough when my daughter was sick the other night. I was mentally whirling about how to “fix” it and how to “make” her feel better. Finally I realized there wasn’t anything I could do and just settled in to comfort her through it. She sighed and fell asleep within minutes. Sometimes, what they want is to know that you are with them and that you are calm. If you can give them that stable base, they will be fine.
We do a fair bit of co-sleep because I love it but I’m actually strict on consent based touching. If I need a break from the touching – kid sitting on either side of me and one on my lap when watching cartoons or to go to the bathroom by myself – I definitely enforce no touching/giving someone their space/respecting if mommy or sibling wants a break from touches.
Especially with boys, I think it’s really important as early as age 4 to teach that when someone says they don’t want anymore touches, that you have to listen to them.
layered bob says
+1 to consent-based touching. Even when we co-sleep, kid knows she can’t whack mama and that she has to ” ‘coot ‘coot ” (scoot) when I ask for more space in bed. I always ask “may I give you a kiss/cuddle?” and usually the answer is yes (“da!”) but sometimes the answer is no and I respect that.
This is an interesting concept for me – I never thought of consent-based touching? I could definitely be accused of overdoing it on the kisses for my 10 month old son. Is the theory that I should always ask before giving “mommy kisses”? What age? He gets an awful lot of them!
This is an interesting concept for me – I never thought or heard of consent-based touching? I could definitely be accused of overdoing it on the kisses for my 10 month old son. Is the theory that I should always ask before giving “mommy kisses”? What age? He gets an awful lot of them!
layered bob says
We are big Janet Lansbury people – going to put a link to a good article about babies and affection in my next post —
layered bob says
Definitely not that early! I had to discuss this with my husband (who is a progressive guy). The idea is to give them body autonomy early on so that later, they know they can stop unwanted touching (by a friend, an adult, etc.) or that they don’t do unwanted touching. So we don’t make kids touch anyone, even hugging grandparents – we suggest a high five or a wave instead.
I definitely don’t ask every time I hug them because our family culture is one that hugs, kisses, and wrestles a lot (except in my bed, ha!). So far, the kids welcome the contact, but I feel like they will tell us when we need to back off. For us, it is applied more that a “stop” is always respected and always okay. We often repeat firm rules such as “If someone says stop, you stop.” This first applied to things like tickle fights – if my son asked us to stop, we stop.
Now that there are two of them, we apply it to how they behave with each other. Also, my dad will sometimes pretend wrestle with my son, and he doesn’t like it and will say “stop please!” and then firmly “STOP” if it’s too much (and he’s a kid we had to work with to stand up for himself, so I’m happy we started early). We also teach them to say “that’s too much right now.” I’ve had to repeat in front of my dad a few times that it’s “fine to say stop if we’ve had enough.”
No don’t feel badly about it. Lots of people don’t co sleep and their children are fine. To NewMomAnon’s point above – sometimes kids don’t know what they need. And they don’t know what you need. You need your space for sleeping and that is totally fine.
No. If not co-sleeping made kids into serial killers, we’d have a lot more serial killers.
Also, sleep deprivation can lead to maternal depression, which isn’t ideal for kids either.
Thanks all!! I appreciate the camaraderie and stories from all different positions on the co-sleeping issue. We are also big into consent based touching, but it all goes out the window if we are all crammed into our small bed with such little personal space. Regarding last night, my husband reminded me that by the time I left 2 year old’s room last night, he didn’t cry and was already mostly asleep, so really it was a ME issue more than a HIM issue (that’s probably true of most parenting issues, no?!).
I also really agree with the other statements — I do a lot for my kids, but I have a lot of boundaries I’ve realized have really made me a happier, less anxious mom. I don’t bring homemade stuff to the kids’ daycare events because I hate baking, and we found another school after our first daycare pressured me about my non-homemade food and my inability to attend 25 annual hours of “mandatory volunteer” hours, which occurred mostly between 9 and 3. I let my 4 year old dress himself and don’t ever intervene unless he’s dangerously under or over-dressed — and even then, both kids have gone without coats a few times (but they pay close attention to the weather now!).
Oh god, there is a facebook thing about “I want to sleep with the one I love, so why wouldn’t a baby?” and it makes me have a rage stroke. I don’t even want to sleep in the same bed with my husband, to be honest. I need space and sleep and I have never slept so poorly as I have in the past year. I easily need 9 hours a night.
I would rather be a nice mom who can think through a day’s worth of baby meals and cuddle and read and play with my daughter than fulfill someone else’s ideas about what parenting is. (I also don’t wear makeup or heels. I breakout easily and am clumsy. Bite me.)
I secretly love traveling for work or having my husband travel so I can have the bed all to myself. Neither of us does much solo traveling though, so I recognize that the disadvantages might outweigh the bed thing if it were frequent.
CPA Lady says
We have a king sized bed. I can never go back. If my husband were hit by a bus and I was single, I would still, 100% without a doubt sleep in a king sized bet ALL BY MYSELF. And it would be amaaaazing.
Nanny question! My husband and I are friendly with another couple that lives down the street from us, and we are interested in doing a nanny share with them (we are both due with our 1st within 2 months of each other). We are both a bit clueless though on how to go about looking for a nanny for this arrangement. I’m aware of some sites like care.com, but have people had good experiences with that? Are there other resources we should look into? The other caveat is that two out of the four of us work in politics, so it is important that the person we hire can legally work in the US and we pay them on the books. Thoughts?
I think this is very regional. In Chicago, NPN is a good source, and we got some good candidates through Urban Sitter. Have also heard good things about College Nannies. Be really upfront about the on-the-books thing. Are you in DC?
Yes, I’m in DC. Thanks!
Broken record on this but Park Slope Parents has the best resources on this, even if you live nowhere near Brooklyn
As for finding a nanny, I struck out on Care but had better luck through local listserves and Facebook groups. There are also nanny agencies where you might have better luck finding nannies wanting to work on the books
+1 for PSP – even if you are not in the NY area, they have a very detailed guide for how to hire a nanny with a lot of questions and things to consider about what you want that would be relevant almost anywhere.
Local facebook groups are great in my major metro area. Also, FWIW, it was very very easy to find nannies who were legal and wanted to work on the books – would have been much harder to find someone willing to work off the books! I think press coverage of every political appointee makes it seem like that’s much more common than it is. Go ahead and state it but I actually think I offended our nanny when I was impressing how important that was to us – it was important to her too.
We found our nanny on care.com. She had a reference from someone in our neighborhood and I was able to have coffee with that mom. It worked out great.
Another good source of info are local email lists. We have one for my neighborhood that has lots of nanny recommendation. Where are you located? Maybe someone here knows of a local list.
Anon in NOVA says
Just a FYI Care flagged my posts when I posted for a Nanny share (apparently you can only post on behalf of yourself).
Some things to consider: Whose house will ya’ll use primarily? One of you will have to still pack up their child and everything the child needs to get them to the other house, which is almost as much trouble as a daycare drop off! If one family is on vacation and the other isn’t will you both still pay for the week? etc. If one kid is sick and the other family doesn’t want their child exposed, which family gets the Nanny? I recommend talking through all of this beforehand, it will make things go much more smoothly.
NOVA Anon says
We used our local neighborhood Yahoo group list serve, as well as several neighboring ones, to find our nanny. We posted what we were looking for about six weeks before we needed her to start, which freaked me out but I’m told is very common around here. If you’re in DC, posting to DC Urban Moms nanny forums might yield some good candidates. In NOVA, Del Ray has a good parent’s list serve, and the Nextdoor [your neighborhood] website seems to be gaining some traction. We did not have good luck with Care.com. Several candidates replied to our posting directly, but the best candidates were ones that we received from families who were moving and needed to find their nanny a new position. I agree with Anon in NOVA re all the things to consider with the other family. Also discuss how much you’re willing to pay and how many hours per week, as well as whether you want the nanny to drive your children anywhere, such as to story hour at the library.
I am a nanny-share veteran, and they can be awesome if you have a good relationship with the family and a good nanny. I have a ton of thoughts, but most of them (logistical) are probably covered by the PSP listserve. Adding that in my experience, kids “age out” of a nanny-share around 18 mos. to 2 years (that’s when it gets harder to keep two non-twin kids in one one house with one nanny), and that’s the age when there are a lot more school programs open up. The cost factor also tips in favor of school around that age. We paid the market rate for a nannyshare, which was about the same monthly cost as a corporate daycare for infants. As the kids get older, daycare costs drop, but nanny-shares get more expensive (paying for classes, and the nanny’s rate doesn’t drop).
When you start the nanny share – walk through the house and make sure you are comfortable with the set-up. As the kids get older, re-visit childproofing in the host home(s). Make sure both families are comfortable with the sleeping set-up. Be comfortable enough with the family that you will be able to talk out any concerns. Things like limits on TV or screentime will eventually come up, and things like outdoor time – go out even when it’s cold? willingness to pay for baby extracurricular activities (viewed as a waste of money or good for socialization for kids and/or nanny)? does nanny drive? are you okay with CIO? will come up right away.
With a family and a nanny we loved, it was amazing. The other mom and the nanny were a built in support network for me, and did a lot to help me combat some PPD that showed up when I went back to work (the other mom and I often drank wine and commiserated about pumping, working, etc. while the kids played after the nanny left — or stayed with us sometimes). We still see each other on the weekends a lot, and our kids are still extremely bonded, even though they’ve gone to different schools for over a year. They are “Aunt ___” and “Uncle ___” to even my older kid, and having the other mom/nanny around all the time was great for him as well.
With a nanny we loved and a family we liked, it was still good – and better than our experiences at a daycare. We had flexibility with hours, and I really liked having contact with our child’s caregiver throughout the day (some parents don’t want this in a care set-up, so YMMV). I felt like my son got a lot more outdoor time than he would’ve had with the daycare he initially attended, but I always felt a little bit like an outside at the family’s house. In some ways, I felt like we were subsidizing their nanny (she worked with them before and after we left the share), which I was okay with b/c I felt like my son got excellent care.
I found my (former) nanny on care.com, and I can’t say enough good things about her! That said, she’s told me that she didn’t use care.com for her next job search because they changed the setup so job-seekers now have to pay in addition to potential employers.
Any advice for a Tonsillectomy/Adenoidectomy recovery? My 4 year old is having the surgery tomorrow. I’m fully stocked on gatorage, apple juice, prune juice (in case the meds cause back up), popsicles, yogurt and pudding.
Meg Murry says
No specific advise for tonsils, but do you have a medicine syringe? When I couldn’t get my kid to drink *anything* during a particularly bad case of strep and we were worried about dehydration, we gave him dilute Gatorade/Pedialyte one syringe at a time and told him he had to take it because it was medicine. Also later got him to drink some out of a medicine cup the same way.
And let me know if you learn any good tricks because we are probably heading there with our 5 year old soon .
Will do! And I do have a syringe, thanks!
We had this done when my son was 2. He spent the night in the hospital because he was on the younger side, so I don’t know if you’ll need to. Just know that the kids may really refuse to drink because of the pain. We could only get ours to drink Slurpees.
But seriously listen to the doctor – if you think your kid is getting dehydrated, take them to the ER to get fluids. We had to do that and I probably waited a couple hours too long. My son passed out completely on the way to the hospital and it was terrifying.
And not to scare you, but once we got through that complications, the surgery was totally life-changing. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Thank you so much for sharing!! I hope the end result is the same : )
I can’t speak from the parent-side of this, but I had mine removed when I was 18. Anything acidic (citrus) was incredibly painful. Cool dairy liquids and ice cream felt great and were easy to get down. Steer clear of straws or sippy cups (anything where you have to suck out the liquid) as they put pressure on the stitches. Mashed potatoes with butter and applesauce were all that I ate for a while. It was tough for me to talk, so think of some alternative ways of communicating (pictures that kiddo can point to?). Stay ahead of the pain; give meds as soon as you can on the schedule and don’t wait for your kiddo to express that it is sore.
I will echo the above that it sucked but I would do it again (and would for my kids if they need it) without question. Total game changer for me.
Good luck. Mentally prepare yourself for a long, long recovery. My son had it done at 2.5 and I was used to maybe 3-4 days of really bad sicknesses that then resolved. Instead he was a total mess for almost 10 days straight. Be on top of the medication, we could totally tell when hour 3 of medicine hit. Ask your doctor if you can ladder dosages (so one dose of heavy duty stuff, then a dose of advil 2 hours later) if you kiddo is in significant pain. You WILL know if there is an issue – the bleeding is not subtle if it does happen to you, so don’t worry that you may miss it. Be prepared to revert back to feeding them, and there is absolutely NO shame in letting them have as much TV/ipad time as you or they need, the recovery is truly truly sucky.
But, it was SO SO worth having it done – our ear infections went from 10 one year to 2 the next. And we’ve only had 1 viral throat infection since, and he sleeps SO much better.
Anyone here love a pediatrician in NW DC? I’m feel OK with mine, but looking for something better.
Survey – how many days a year is your daycare closed? Our is only closed 6, big holidays. A friend is waitlisted at a Jewish center and they close for Jewish holidays as well, but between all the holidays and in-service days, they’re closed 21 days a year. I can’t even imagine – that would use up all my vacation or I’d have to find a reliable day sitter. What do people do in those circumstances?
I think our center closed around 10 days a year, which was really unusual in our area (and great for us). Most of those days were federal holidays, so we were off too. 3 weeks doesn’t seem totally outrageous to me, is it a few days here and there or like one week they close in the summer and then random holidays throughout?
Most parents would take one of those ‘vacation’ weeks in the summer as their summer break, and then trade off the days they also were working (that weren’t federal holidays). Our town also has other centers that offer ‘holiday break camps’ for things like presidents day, MLK day, etc. where you can drop your kid for a half day or full day to help cover the time off. Welcome to working parenthood…ugh.
Anon in NYC says
Ours is closed 11 days, both big holidays and some smaller ones that not everybody gets off (Columbus Day, day after Thanksgiving). For the vast majority of them, I also have off so it’s usually okay. I think in those types of situations, you have to resort to back up care (like at a Bright Horizons), stay home, or ask a grandparent (if they’re willing and able).
Ours is closed 24 days per year. MLK Day, spring break (5 days), Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day (2 days for some ridiculous reason), Labor Day, Thanksgiving (3 days), winter break (10 days). It’s a huge problem for us. My husband and I usually try to alternate taking days off, but this past winter break was really stressful for both of us. We are trying to decide whether to line up better backup care or find another daycare. Ugh.
Oh man, that’s crazy. I suppose it’s practice for when school starts, but at least there are lots of programs to address that situation. This one has one three day stretch of days off, but most of the others (except for Thanksgiving) are just one day. I’m not sure if that’s easier or harder than the big chunks you have.
One thing to ask is whether those days off are “in service” days. If they are truly days that staff is off (ie, not in-service days), you might be able to get staff to babysit on the off days. If they are in-service days (training, classroom set up or cleaning), then staff won’t be available.
Twin cities, let me count … 9 days.
2 days for Thanksgiving
3 days over labor day weekend
I’m a gov’t employee so this is totally doable for me.
Ours is closed stat holidays plus Jewish holidays as well, but we observe the Jewish holidays so that fits our schedule (and we picked a Jewish daycare on purpose). We pretty much have to use up all our vacation days to accommodate our holidays so we don’t get a lot left for travel. Luckily I have a generous allotment so I have extra days to use for things like a day off to take baby to an appointment across town.
Other friends are in daycares that close stat holidays + Jewish holidays + sometimes an extra day or two ahead of stat holidays, which is more difficult.
Ours is on a school calendar, and they’re closed all.the.time. The daycare is mid-August through May, and they’re closed for the 2 Jewish holidays in the fall, 3 days for Thanksgiving, 2 weeks + 1 day for winter break, MLK Day, a teacher day in February, another week in February, and the week before Easter. I think that’s 28 days, just August-May. They have a “summer camp” for 6 weeks in the summer, but there are 6 more weeks where we have to find backup care.
We use backup care. Our former nanny recommended several of her friends to us. (Obviously, we have a lot of trust in her.) They covered for her when she had planned days off work, and we also use them to babysit, so we already know them pretty well. Sometimes my in-laws can help for just one day. My parents come stay with us during some of those weeks. And we use our vacation during a couple of those weeks. Oh, and during the summer, some of the other daycare programs that are on the school calendar have “camps” with more days, so we’re hoping to get into some of those.
Jesus, what’s the point of paying tuition? Are of the schools in your area on that schedule?
I have the same thoughts about the tuition. But there are a lot of good things about the daycare, and we plan and budget for the days off. It’s less expensive than when we had our nanny, and on the whole, it’s more convenient day-to-day than several of our other daycare options.
The schedule is pretty common for the schools in our area (New Orleans). Not every school offers the Jewish holidays, but 3 days for Thanksgiving, 2 weeks for Christmas, MLK Day, week for Mardi Gras, week for Easter, is fairly common for both public and private schools. Of course, not all the daycares are on the school schedule, but many are.
My first thought was also “Jesus!” I thought my daycare was bad!
The worst part about our daycare being closed so often is that the daycare workers are hourly employees and therefore don’t get paid on those days. Every December I think it is so sh*tty that the daycare basically gets a windfall in tuition while its employees have to live on half their normal pay. I think a lot of them are able to pick up work watching daycare kids privately on those days, but then the parents end up paying for childcare twice. It sucks.
Meg Murry says
And I thought it stunk that ours was closed for 5 days between Christmas and New Years this year. 10 day winter break that you pay for but the teachers don’t get paid?!? That’s crazy. Our teachers at least get paid for the holidays, and then I’m pretty sure they get pretty generous vacation days (since many of them have been there for 15-30+ years) so they get to chose between taking those extra days (Dec 26-29) either as unpaid or saving vacation days for them to be paid.
FYI, for anyone that has daycare open between Christmas and New Years – our school doesn’t do much for teacher gifts, but I did bring in a case of wine (that I got for a song, long story, but it was decent wine) and put it in the break room as a gift for the teachers & staff that were working that week. My kid was super popular!
NoVa Bright Horizons says
Ours rarely closes. There are 4-6 scheduled holidays (Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years) and then tracking the Federal Gov’t for snow days.
We are affiliated with a hospital, so while we were told that the center follows federal holidays, they seem to be open even when the Feds are closed, for example they were open for MLK day and innauguration last week.
Elementary school is going to be a HUGE shock.
Yes- oldest is in K now and the PS calendar just destroys me! I don’t know what parents without backup care / care for those days do… our youngest is still at a center and they keep school aged siblings as long as there’s a daycare-ager as well… well worth the arm and a leg we pay!
Mine is closed a lot. All federal holidays, plus a week in the summer and the week between Christmas and New Years.
And adding to what someone said above: We do get one of my kid’s teachers to watch him for holidays that school is closed but my office is open (MLK, President’s, Columbus, Veterans Days). They’re happy to make the extra $150.
I just added up the days our day care is closed and it totals 2Q q! It follows a public school calendar and has additional teacher in service days and some 4 day weekends for holidays (no idea why). My mom and husband (who works part time) cover most of the days off. For the longer breaks (Christmas, spring break, random 4 day weekends) we try to time family vacations with school closures.
Totals 28 days
Meg Murry says
Ours has been slowly creeping up a couple more days closed every year. This year (2017) it’s 16 days, but only 7 of those are days when my office is also open – 4 they are closing for professional development and 3 between Christmas and New Years. Quite a few of the daycare teachers and staff have state teaching licenses where they need to do professional development to maintain them, and professional development days are required in order to step up a level on the state “Stars of Excellence” chart, so I get it, but it is rather annoying since when we started it was only 1 day plus 2 half days a year.
But I don’t complain now that I have a kid in the public schools, which just had 2 days off last week and now has 10 more days off this year before school lets out – only one of which my office is also closed for. And the 2017-2018 school year has 28! days off scheduled, in addition to the 12 weeks of summer vacation.
Oh gosh, i can only think of 6, and they’re all big holidays like Christmas Day and July 4. They are even open on Black Friday and they almost never close for snow.
The only “minor” day is MLK… same day every year, they use it for training staff. Kind of nice to “have to” take that day… otherwise it’s a long time between NY and Memorial Day.
TBH DH or I just take off if daycare’s closed, or if a kid can’t go due to sickness. We both have a reasonable amount of flexibility and we can “share” a day off in weird ways to lessen the burden. I do think 21 scheduled days would be a deal breaker for me though!
I just realized our center is closed: NY, MLK, President’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Day after Christmas and NY’s eve. My husband and I are both federal employees so these days are not a huge burden. The real burden is all the crazy teacher work days, union meetings, half days, etc. that we have to arrange care for my school age son around. On days we telework we can care for him but other days are a mix of one of us taking off or politely asking my parents to watch him.