Budget Thursday: Ruffle Cuff Blouse

These ruffle cuff blouses at Target seem really cute, and they’re getting a lot of good reviews. There are a ton of sizes and patterns, which is quite nice — they are available in sizes XS–XL and, since the Who What Wear collection includes a plus-size range, there’s a plus-size version. It’s machine washable, too. The shirt is $24.99–$27.99. Ruffle Cuff Blouse – Who What Wear™

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  1. Everlong says:

    How do you handle the needs of a newborn and a toddler at the same time with just one adult around? I know people do this, and do this with far more than 2 kids but I am completely intimidated. My husband returns to work soon and I’ll be home solo with both kids from early afternoon until the middle of the night. Mind is boggled at how this will work.

    What happens when they both wake up from their naps at the same time? Who do I get first? What happens when toddler is having an epic meltdown and the poor baby just needs to eat? Better yet, how does this bedtime thing work? My naive, optimistic, pregnant mind thought I’d magically put baby down and then spend the next half hour getting toddler ready for bed but every night thus far, baby needs fed at the exact same time toddler takes a bath.

    We have really good nap and bedtime routines for the toddler that I’m afraid to mess up. Please, teach me how to manage the needs of two little people at the same time!

    • Clementine says:

      You got this!

      Key things that will get you through are babywearing (24/7), having toddler ‘help’ or ‘include’ baby in things like reading books (nurse while reading books), and just getting into a groove.

      You will handle this. Maybe your routines will change a bit, but maybe your wee babe will love sitting on the bathroom floor in a bouncy seat or rock and play while Toddler performs the floor show.

    • How old is the toddler? Do you have the newborn already or are you preplanning aka borrowing trouble ;)?

      I did a stint at home with a newborn and a toddler and survived. It’s a mix of lowering expectations, creating routine, expecting more of the toddler, expecting more of your husband (when he’s home), and calling in favors.

      Things that helped: babywearing, prepping the toddler to be more self-sufficient (put snacks in a cabinet s/he can reach, put dinner dishes in a place where s/he can reach, teach him/her to use the sink or dispenser to get water), prepping food/meals the night before– you do NOT want to have 2 hangry kids underfoot and be trying to make dinner. Have some default frozen meals (premade or bought) that you can pull out and throw in when it’s one of those days (there will be many of those days). Find some shows/movies you think are OK for your toddler– screen time will help get you through. And it doesn’t last forever- my older one watched a LOT of TV when the baby was < 6 months. She's back to basically screen-free now without issue.

      We got a sit-and-stand stroller that helped- baby in front, toddler walking and/or riding. We also did a lot of activities at places where the baby could nap on the go: visit the farm/zoo/neighborhood walk with baby napping in the carrier or in the stroller.

      For bathtime, mine bathed together pretty much from the start. I put baby in the plastic bathtub in the bottom of the bathtub, then filled the bath enough to bathe toddler but not so much that the baby bathtub started to float. As soon as infant was old enough, that plastic tub went into the trash. In your case- pop toddler in the tub and nurse/bottle feed baby sitting on the toilet or floor in the bathroom. If you have space, put a bouncer on the floor (or put it in the hallway). Set baby there when feeding is over, remove toddler from bath, put on toddler diaper if needed, have toddler go pick out pajamas and/or look at books, then put baby into crib. If baby cries/fusses/needs to be rocked to sleep, expedite pajama-ing, read to toddler with baby in bouncer. Say goodnight and then bring baby into room for bed. OR move bathtime up, then nurse baby while reading toddler bedtime story.

      You have this!!! It gets easier. Mine are 4 and just over 1 now and they play together!!! They played barbies quietly and peacefully for TWENTY MINUTES WHILE I TOOK A SHOWER. ALONE. I had the baby monitor on in the room they were in so I could see if anything dangerous happened, and it did not. It was heaven.

      • Oh- and toddler having an epic meltdown? Take toddler, place in quiet safe space (bedroom?), tell them “when you calm down come and play with me.” Then take baby into another room and feed. If cause of meltdown is hunger, place low-mess snack in safe space (piece of bread, cheerios, cheese stick).

        Toddler will either still be crying 20 min later when you’re done, or will be over it. If toddler comes into your space and starts screaming, either ignore, or say “I will play with you once you are calm.”

        I have no patience for toddler meltdowns so YMMV.

    • Katala says:

      Following this because 8 months in I still haven’t spent more than an hour or so alone with both kids awake :/

      Husband does it every day before I get home and sometimes bedtime so it is possible! I’m just so intimidated.

    • Anonymous says:

      My second kiddo was super fussy in the evening, so taking care of him and toddler at the same time was very difficult. Agree with baby wearing (I used baby k’tan). But honestly, in this situation, I would try to find a family member or a babysitter that could come help for an hour at bedtime for the short term.

    • ElisaR says:

      thank you for asking this question everlong – i have an 18 month old and i’m 30 wks pregnant….. starting to freak out about how in the world this will work.

    • Second time mom says:

      I have a 3 month old and a 2.5 year old. It has become so much easier in the last month or so! Hang in there, it gets waaaay better.

      –Being able to carry around the baby using only one hand = transformative. This started to happen at the two month mark for me.
      –Toddler is now used to sharing my attention with the baby. She adores him. In the first few weeks, my normally extremely well behaved toddler was very jealous and would storm around the room throwing toys when we were holding him. Now, when he cries, she starts bossing us around to help him: “he wants mommy’s milk,” “feed baby J, mommy,” “pick baby J up, daddy” etc. It melts my heart.
      –Nursing and reading to toddler is way easier now that baby is older.
      –Baby is ok being put down for longer periods of time. 10 minutes versus 2 minutes makes an enormous difference.
      –Baby is a very social creature. He loves being in the room with his older sister. If I have him on the bed, listening to me brush toddler’s teeth, he’ll happily hang out there for much longer than if I have him on the bed while I surf the internet (for example).

      I have only had them to myself for a few nights, but when I do, I start dinner and bedtime a lot earlier – I aim to have dinner ready about an hour earlier than normal. That way I have budgeted time for a toddler meltdown, for example, and to nurse baby on demand. When I bathe toddler, I put baby in a boppy newborn lounger on the bathroom floor so that he can hang out with us. I try to anticipate baby’s needs for milk and then suggest to toddler that we take a break from our normal bedtime routine to read a book (aka feed baby), but I might also let toddler play in bath while I nurse baby sitting on the toilet seat. I don’t have baby on a feeding schedule, I just feed him any time it’s convenient – if toddler wants to read a book, I’ll pop him on just because. I don’t do screen time, but I hear that makes everything easier. (Conversely, if you’re bottle feeding, I think that makes everything much harder.)

      Finally, I realized that I was terrified of having them alone to myself because I was worried that one or both would cry. And that has happened, but it’s okay if they cry for a short amount of time. Everyone is safe. I euphemistically refer to these moments as “it’s very noisy in here” haha. I have a lot of patience for toddler meltdowns and I have more of a gentle discipline approach than some other parents on this board, so when there’s a meltdown I typically comfort the toddler first, then switch to holding the baby (“baby is crying – do you think he wants to be picked up?”), then switch back, etc. In the long run, I believe the toddler feels more secure when she sees me caring for the needs of the baby, in addition to her needs. And like I said, both kids have already started to adapt to the new family dynamic. Sometimes now I’ll be on the couch reading/nursing, and I’ll think to myself — I want to hang onto this moment forever. These are the best days of my life. When I am 85 years old I’m going to want to relive this. exact. day. (Or, maybe I’m just hormonal….)

      My kids are both very easy, so YMMV of course.

    • Honestly? Things got a lot easier when I embraced the idea that screen time for the toddler was an acceptable solution to this problem (and it turns out we don’t actually need it that often, but it reduced my anxiety levels to have that in my back pocket). When I have both at bedtime, toddler gets to watch one Daniel tiger episode on the iPad in his bed while I nurse baby and put her down (they share a room, so that way I can keep an eye on toddler). Then I get toddler ready for bed in the other room and read books etc. before we sneak back into the bedroom for toddler to get in bed. We had to push back toddlers bedtime by about a half-hour to make this work but it has worked out ok for everyone. (So, baby bedtime is 7-7:30, toddler is 7:30-8 every night).

    • AwayEmily says:

      In a few months I will have a newborn and a 22-month-old and this is all SO helpful. Seriously, thank you to everyone who took the time to write all this down — I am bookmarking to read again (perhaps several times).

      Any particular advice on room-sharing?

      • Spirograph says:

        for room sharing: Kids are sound sleepers (at least mine are), so just go for it. In my experience, 2 y.o. plus baby is pretty smooth. You’ll have to move bedtime stories out of the bedroom, probably, if your baby goes to sleep earlier, but otherwise it’s fine.

        The problems start when they’re both old enough to think that playing is more fun than sleep.

    • Spirograph says:

      You’ve gotten a lot of good advice so far. Main point: It won’t necessarily be pretty every time, but you can definitely do it!

      1. Do not expect everything to go smoothly. If it does, you can be pleasantly surprised.
      2. Have some kind of baby-wearing apparatus
      3. Keep snacks and baby toys accessible enough to grab with one hand, and kid toys kid-accessible
      4. Plan meals that require little-to-no prep to serve. Slow cookers, sandwiches, and anything heat-and-eat are your friends. Also cheese sticks, cut vegetables, and berries or fruits that your child can eat without you needing to cut or peel.
      5. Strategically position baby gates and swings/containment devices
      6. Screen time is one of the most fool-proof ways to keep a kid quiet and in one place while you’re putting a baby to bed.
      7. Keep an extra changing pad, diapers and wipes near toddler’s play spaces. For example, we have diapers in the drawer of our TV stand in the family room.
      8. Know the truly childproof areas (my standard for this is safety, not lack-of-destruction, otherwise it would be nowhere) of your home and how to keep your toddler there successfully. Get comfortable with having your toddler out of sight, if you haven’t already!

      How old is your toddler? How big is your bathroom? You can definitely sit in the bathroom (on the toilet if you don’t have space for a stool or chair) and supervise bath time while nursing the baby. Ideal? no, but efficient! My bathroom is next to the nursery, so I would instruct the toddler to sing me a song and go put the baby down – asleep or crying, doesn’t matter, sometimes you just have to get stuff done – in the crib before coming back to get toddler out & toweled off. I know you’re not supposed to leave kids unattended in the tub, but the singing told me kiddo was safe (it does not prevent water from getting splashed all over the bathroom by an unattended toddler, unfortunately).

      Not helpful to the original question, but just in case anyone is wondering: I actually found that in some ways my third-newborn logistics were much easier than second-newborn. With #3, the two older kids could easily entertain each other for 15-30 minutes and let me take care of the baby.

    • Blueberries says:

      It’s hard, but it gets better. Some tips:
      – +1 for baby wearing. Also, if you tend to walk places, have a double stroller so you can strap both kids in if they’re melting down at once.
      – make toddler the super important helper. Strategically have things you need in places that are a little far away so as to occupy toddler’s time during nursing
      – sometimes, screen time is necessary
      – have food prep be as easy as possible. Now is the time for delivery/microwave meals/so many pbjs
      – if outside help is possible, use it!

  2. Cornellian says:

    has anyone been on psych meds while nursing?

    I’ve been put on a tiny dose of seroquel (far from the perfect drug for me, as my problems are anxiety and bipolar, not psychosis) because it’s very nursing friendly. Less than 1% passes through to baby. I’ve gained three lbs each week I’ve been on it, and it knocks me out in the mornings to the point that I often have to tell my husband I can’t be left alone with the baby for him to start his commute. The side effects are supposed to start abiding, but I’m not sure how long I can last on this.

    I have a perinatal psychiatrist who is great and is comfortable putting me on what she thinks is the best drug for me so long as we monitor the baby (he is 24 lbs and nearly 9 months, and getting calories from food). Psychiatrist also has pregnant and exclusively breastfeeding moms of newborn on this drug, and those patients’ obstetricians/pediatricians are comfortable with that exposure. I’ve also considered giving up nursing during the day, and just nursing once at night right before my dose of medicine to minimize exposure. My pediatrician, however, won’t entertain monitoring or limiting breastfeeding to 1 out of 6 meals or any other mitigating steps.

    I appreciate that she is looking out for my baby, but I’m not sure what to do. I really like nursing. I could get over nursing him on demand and just nurse when the drug levels are lowest, but it seems like nursing is something that’s actually going well in my post-partum life, and I don’t want to totally give it up. It’s the only baby time I get some days. Obviously I can pediatrician shop, as perinatal psych has indicated that it’s the only time she’s gotten a hard “no” from a pediatrician with respect to an older infant, but I’m not sure that’s the right path, either.

    Has anyone faced something similar?

    • No experience, but have you also consulted a lactation consultant? Their perspective might be helpful here too. Good luck!

    • Anonymous says:

      In this case meeting your needs is the primary concern, both for your well-being and for your baby’s well-being. I would not mess with psych drugs that are not the best choice for you just to make your pediatrician happy. I would ask your psychiatrist to refer you to a more open-minded pediatrician or consider weaning if you are not willing to switch pediatricians.

      I would not go to a lactation consultant, as in my experience their focus is 100% on the baby regardless of the mother’s needs or the complexities of the situation.

    • What’s best for you = what’s best for baby.

      Gently, I would consider seeking another pediatrician if the one you have is shaming you for considering reducing your nursing schedule for your own mental health.

      • Agreed. I understand that you like nursing and I’m definitely not saying to end it if the professionals agree that it’s safe, but for a physician to not even consider it an option (and at 9 months!) is extremely troubling and makes me somewhat distrustful of him/her. Formula is a perfectly adequate option.

      • Cornellian says:

        Sorry, I was unclear. She wasn’t saying “you can’t take this drug because you must keep nursing”. She was saying I should switch to formula and that 9 months is a commendable period of time for breastfeeding.

        • Ah, never mind then. :) I still agree with getting second opinions about the safety of the drug in the milk, though. It’s certainly not something that I’m comfortable commenting on.

    • mascot says:

      Yikes, no real advice but you have my sympathy. At this point, I would get a second opinion for a different pediatrician. Your mental health is just as important as your baby’s health and I think (not a doctor) can have a huge impact on your baby’s wellbeing.
      Also, if you need to stop nursing, that’s ok too. You can still find baby time and you will still be feeding your baby. You are doing a great job. I know we as a society make a really big deal about EBF/BF and I think it puts an undue amount of stress on moms. This gets worse when mom is also dealing with her own valid reasons for choosing to feed her child another way.

      • mascot says:

        Also, in a battle of the experts, I’m guessing that a perinatal psychiatrist has a much better grasp on the use of psych meds by pregnant and post-partum women than an general pediatrician who doesn’t exclusviely specialize in kids whose parents take psych meds.

        • Cornellian says:

          Yeah. I’m a bit peeved because that is why I am PAYING huge amounts out of pocket (800 the first appointment! 400 every appointment after that)… so that I can find something that works with nursing. I think my pediatrician is out-experted, but she is still the pediatrician whose buy in I need.

          • Why do you need her buy-in? Honest question, not snarky question. Just because she is your baby’s doctor doesn’t mean she gets to make every decision for you. Do what you think is best, and tell her that’s what you are doing (or don’t tell her, it’s up to you).

          • Cornellian says:

            Wehaf, I guess I like having her buy in (or else why do I have a pediatrician), but mostly because the protocol for breastfeeding moms on this drug is to have baby’s blood drawn to check kidney function after three months of exposure. I need a pediatrician willing to do the monitoring.

            Of course there are some breastfeeding parents who don’t do the monitoring, but that’s too risky in my book.

          • Anon in NYC says:

            I think if you took this drug and told the pediatrician that you were going to do this and that your son needed to be monitored and needed blood tests, she would do those tests. But, I’d still be concerned about her ability to interpret those results because she may be not that familiar with the drug/its impact on infants. Like, if your son’s blood work shows X, she would view that as a problem, but maybe a pediatrician more familiar with this drug would consider those results within the range of normal.

          • Wehaf says:

            As other commenters have noted, your pediatrician will almost certainly do the necessary testing whether he approves of your use of the drug or not. I understand wanting him to be happy with the choice you make, but it sounds like he is not the best person to advise you on this and is strongly prioritizing minuscule risks to your baby’s health over very real ones to your own. Other people have said this, but you can’t take good care of your baby if you don’t take good care of yourself.

            I hope you come to a solution you are happy with. Good luck!

    • What do you think your ped will do if you follow your Psych’s advice instead? If you went back and said I consulted my various specialists who had differing opinions and went with theirs. I am on this med. Deal with it. I guess the doc could fire you as a patient or report you to CPS in an extreme scenario. Obviously, you would prefer to have a good relationship with the doc. It just always surprises me how much power these docs think they have. My specialist wanted to forbid a trip to Florida in an area that doesn’t even have Zika and I was like, yeah, thanks for your opinion but I’m not changing my plans. I’m changing docs for other reasons but I’m curious what he would have done if I returned and said, I still went to Florida and oh, I also got pregnant. I’m sorry you are dealing with this. Doctor shame is THE WORST. I echo everyone else. You have to take care of yourself first.

      • Cornellian says:

        I have considered this, ha. I am happy to have baby’s blood drawn every 3 months to make sure he’s not having any negative side effects, but would need an on-board pediatrican for that.

        Maybe I will try to stay on seroquel for a couple more months and then have this conversation when baby is eating more substantial amounts of food.

        • Anonymous says:

          How long are you planning to nurse? If blood monitoring is every 3 months and he’s already 9 months old, then you couldn’t you just nurse to the standard 12 months and then be done without even having to test him?

        • Anon in NYC says:

          FWIW, our ped told us that kids can start drinking whole milk as early as 10 months, which would further reduce demand for nursing. I noticed a shift in my daughter at around the 9-10 month mark, as her appetite for solids increased. Then again at around 11 months when we introduced whole milk. And by about 12 months she was basically only nursing 2x a day. So your son may naturally just start to demand less.

          From everything you’ve described, I think it sounds like you need a new drug and you also need a pediatrician who is more familiar with these types of drugs and how to monitor your son. Sure, maybe not taking those drugs is the most conservative gold standard, but it’s not a good situation for you or the baby where you feel unsafe taking care of him by yourself.

    • I’m not sure I understand either the psych or ped’s positions here. Working with my OB and therapist, they were comfortable keeping me on my normal meds – nobody ever mentioned needing to switch to something “not ideal” for me because it wasn’t absorbed in b-milk. I would revisit that especially if the Seroquel isn’t helping you and it seems like the side effects are super rough. Many SSRIs have been studied in pregnancy & nursing (I am on Lexapro fwiw).

      For the ped, that also seems an odd stance to take. Mine did not bat an eye at my Lexapro use; he cautioned monitoring only if I went off the drug because LO would have the same withdrawal as I would (so tapering would be key and making sure LO wasn’t feeling too badly – it makes them cranky). Otherwise as he weans when he’s older he will naturally taper himself off.

      Maybe in my area doctors are just generally more comfortable with nursing moms on SSRIs? But both ped and OB assured me they have moms on them all the time and there is plenty of literature backing up the safety – furthermore, a healthy mom = healthy baby!

      • Anonymous says:

        I am guessing the drug under consideration here is not an SSRI and may require blood work to monitor in the baby.

        • Cornellian says:

          Yup. Blood work is suggested, although not everyone does it with non-newborns. Happy to have his blood levels monitored but obviously need an on-board pediatrician for that.

          • Anonymous says:

            If I’m guessing the drug right, it is the absolute best drug for many people and these people do not do nearly so well without it. In your shoes, I’d find a new pediatrician or wean. I would personally just wean because by 9 months I was so over nursing, but it sounds like you are not ready to give it up.

        • When OP mentioned it wasn’t the best drug for her (an anti-psychotic, when psychosis is not her issue) I thought maybe that an SSRI was preferred and was wondering if she should push back on that as well.

          • My understanding is SSRIs can be problematic for bipolar as they can cause mania.

          • Ah ok, that makes more sense. I was questioning why she was put on something that wasn’t working great for her in the first place AND concerning the ped – I assumed she had switched from an SSRI but you’re right, it could have been another class of drug that is totally off limits to nursing.

            OP, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this and I’m glad you’re working through it!

    • Can you clarify what the pediatrician said? Was your proposal to limit BFing and replace with formula? Or was it to limit BFing and replace with solid food only?

      If replace with formula, then I think your pediatrician’s advice is way off-base and you should find another ped.

      If replace with solids, then I think her response is a little more reasonable. We’ve had two different pediatricians in two different cities for two different babies and both said that during the baby’s first year, the vast majority of her nutrients come from milk (either BF or formula) and solids are just for fun.

      • Cornellian says:

        My proposal was to limit breastfeeding and replace with formula (so I’d wean off the pump at work, send baby with formula to daycare, and then nurse in the evening when levels of drug were lowest).

        • That’s insane, he’s basically saying it’s not ok to give your baby formula? Or he’s saying the tiny exposure baby would get from the little bit of nursing you’d still do is unacceptable to him?

          • Sounds like the issue is the exposure. Ped doesn’t want her nursing at all while on this drug, even though the perinatal psychiatrist says it’s safe.

          • Anonymous says:

            It sound like the latter.

        • That seems INFINITELY reasonable if your psych thinks it’s safe. I tend to agree with mascot above than in the battle of the experts, your pediatrician seems out-matched.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I nursed while on psych meds – I was on Zoloft, prescribed by an OB pysch, for exactly the same reasons as your psych mentioned; low transmission through b*milk, some studies showing the impact on baby was negligible, etc. Kiddo’s pediatrician was 100% on board with whatever I needed to do, and even cited studies showing that moms who treat their mental health issues have better child-rearing outcomes than moms who don’t treat mental health issues (which is the proper comparison; some docs compare moms treating mental health issues to moms who don’t have mental health issues, which is so flawed).

      Your kiddo is so, so close to getting most of his calories through solid foods, and it seems like he’s an appropriate weight for a 9 month old; is there any “failure to thrive” concern? I honestly don’t see the issue with limiting nursing to once a day. That’s one time more a day than most American babies get, and it’s fantastic that you are bonded with baby enough to enjoy that experience.

      One caveat: I would consult with your psych before you reduce nursing. Sometimes the hormones associated with weaning can make psych issues temporarily worse, so you’ll want help monitoring and responding to that. Hugs.

      • Cornellian says:

        The fear about hormonal shifts when you cut down nursing is one of the reasons I’d like to shift to once a day rather than to nothing.

        No failure to thrive concerns, he’s actually quite large. The two big fears around the drug are that it can affect kidney function (although it’s only been shown to happen when people are taking much higher doses [5x] than I would be) and that it can dehydrate him. Blood test monitoring every three months is for the kidney function.

  3. I took zoloft starting around 12 months, but I’m guessing that is not an option for you due to concerns about mania. I think if I were you I would at least push back with the pediatrician and ask why she is taking this stance, what evidence she is using, etc so you can better evaluate how much you trust her judgement over the other doctor. My guess is there isn’t a lot of research either way so it is a hard call. But I think getting a second or third opinion from other pediatricians would not hurt here if you can stand it.

    Two potentially helpful resources for you: my psychiatrist recommended Mass General’s website, womensmentalhealth.org, for info about psych meds and breastfeeding and general postpartum mental health info. You could also see if there is a NAMI support group near you or whether they have online forums where you could talk to other women who have made this decision.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think most are misunderstanding. The pediatrician is not telling her not to take the Seroquel so she can keep breastfeeding. She is telling her not to breastfeed while using Seroquel. I prescribe Seroquel all the time and it is a hard-core drug. We don’t know what dose OP is on. Ped is taking the stance of minimizing all risk for the infant by stating don’t breastfeed while this drug is in board. Ped is stating that formula would be the acceptable option. Optimizing mom’s mental health med + formula fed baby to ensure safety for all is not a bad thing in any universe. I think her ped actually sounds like a good one to encourage the formula which would allow mom to take many of the other meda for bipolar which are not lactation safe.
    Edit- I do not work with nursing mothers or children- I use Seroquel in the elderly population.

    • Cornellian says:

      Seroquel is definitely a hardcore drug, but apparently it only appears in <1% trace amounts in breastfed babies, even exclusively breastfed newborns. It's not the drug for me, but my pediatrician is fine with me being on it and still breastfeeding. I'm not wild about the immediate side effects, its (lack of) efficacy for me, and the potential long-term complications (although it seems like all the scary studies are on folks on 500mg+ doses).

    • Anonymous says:

      I understood OP to say that she is being switched off Seroquel to another drug and that her Pediatrician is the only pediatrician whom the psych has heard of that raised an issue with continuing to BF. It would seem to indicate that the standard of care is to continue to BF while on low does psych med.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Would y’all travel by plane at 36 weeks pregnant? It’s a little over an hour flight away from home. It’s not my first kid, fwiw, so a higher chance of labor being fast. It’s to a location with a fine hospital, etc., but it would obviously not be ideal to deliver a baby an 8 hour drive from home! It’s for a conference that I’d been looking forward to and a good networking opportunity, but not essential. The doctor gave me the the okay (but not with a big thumbs up…), and I know it’s right at the end of what most airlines allow.

    • I’m not sure, but just make sure you have a letter from your doctor in addition to a thumbs up to avoid any potential issues. A friend was given a hard time boarding at that stage in her pregnancy by the airline.

    • ElisaR says:

      no way…. (i unexpectedly went into labor at 37 wks)

    • I wouldn’t, especially with it not being my first, but if it could be a nice break and you wouldn’t totally freak out if you had to deliver in an unplanned location (without partner, toddler, etc.), and you OB OK-ed it, I might consider it.

    • Spirograph says:

      No. I didn’t even want to be in a car for more than a half hour at 36 weeks, let alone dealing with planes and airports.

      Is this soon? or are you looking several months out? I’d definitely take a wait and see approach to how you’re feeling closer to the date, too. I had much, much more general discomfort with my second and third pregnancy. I did go to a local conference when I was about 8 months pregnant with my third, and I was so not in the mood to network or even be there in general, even without travel.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I probably wouldn’t unless I was comfortable delivering in that location without my spouse (and for me the kicker would be my spouse more so than the hospital, assuming that the hospital was good).

    • No. My water broke at 35.5 weeks. I didn’t even want to travel at 30 weeks, but I had a one-hour direct flight, and it happened to be in the same city where my parents lived.

    • been there done that says:

      I traveled at 37 weeks on a 1.5 hour flight but only because I was interviewing for my dream job (which I now have). I traveled with my husband in case I went into labor in the other city and needed him close. My mom flew in and took care of my other child at home. It was a bit of a production but I’m so glad I did it because I have the job I always wanted. But I certainly wouldn’t go for a conference.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would do the drive and stay overnight but I wouldn’t fly. My understanding is that the pressure changes associated with flying itself is what most likely to bring on early labor.

  6. Newbie says:

    Carolyn Hax article today from a woman who wants a baby and 8-10 hours of sleep; while I think most would agree she’s being unreasonable, what is a reasonable strategy to get through it when you don’t expect any extended family support and are on a limited budget? Just grit your teeth and expect it to be somewhat awful, but everyone comes through it alive and then you can enjoy them more later? Throw some money at the problem with a night nurse once/twice a week to give a few hours sleep once you’ve been able to create a stash of br33st milk?

    • Newbie says:
    • At first, it’s just hard, and it helps if you can take maternity leave, nap when baby naps, and lower your expectations of what else gets accomplished. Once baby can/will take a bottle, it helps to alternate wake-ups and give each parent one longer block of sleep. For us, Baby sleeping in his own room and sleep-training were important, and we did it as soon as the pediatrician gave us the green light, so the time of major sleep deprivation was pretty short. There’s something about sleep deprivation that makes everything feel like it’s going to be hard forever, but it might help to remember that it’s temporary.

      • mascot says:

        Yeah, this was pretty much our experience too. My child has always been a good sleeper, but not the easiest/chillest kid when awake so it’s always about tradeoffs. I’d say that I probably did get 7 hours of sleep in a 24 hr cycle, but I also adapted to sleeping in a couple of chunks instead of one long stretch. By 3-4 months, we got real STTN. But, early childhood is full of occasional sleep disruptions (teething, illness, potty training) and those first few months were good training and reassurance that we could get through a couple of bad nights.

      • To clarify, the one “longer block of sleep” was, at the beginning, 4 hours. Later on, it was probably closer to 5-6. Like mascot says, you adapt to sleeping in chunks.

        Baby was a premie and had nursing issues, so I was pumping after every feed. When Baby ate every two hours, he’d nurse for 20 minutes, then I’d change him and put him down, and then I’d pump. I was lucky to have one hour of sleep before the next time I had to feed him. A 4-hour block was heaven.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      OMG, I almost snorted tea out my nose chortling at that. I, too, would be a better parent with a consistent 8-10 hours of sleep each day.

      But the deeper thing is; there are so many ways kids will push you past your breaking points. Sleep deprivation, constant illnesses, blow outs in inconvenient places, defiance, budget strain, food wars, time crunch, etc. The writer is basically just anxious, and attaching that anxiety to sleep. There is no way to have kids and everything you thought you “needed” pre-kids. You learn what you really need, and then you find ways to make that happen or you go insane.

      • Yes this. I thought I “needed” a ton of stuff before kids too. But as every single person on earth knows, you don’t get to make plans for kids. Everyone has heard the “Well when WE have kids, we’ll keep up our 3x/yr international vacations” and “Well my kid will definitely be STTN by 2 months, it doesn’t hurt a kid to cry” and “Everyone else seems to let their lives revolve around their kids. OUR kids will just have to fit into our life as it is now.”

        This letter feels fake because it’s so over the top, but I think it’s trying to satirize that Special Someone we all know who thinks they are the exception to the rule, and everyone else is struggling or exaggerating just because they didn’t read the right book, or just weren’t disciplined enough to do it right.

        • Spirograph says:

          This. I’ll go ahead and say I’m pretty sure I used to be that Someone Special, but now I have 3 kids and am well aware of 1. reality 2. innate personality differences in children and 3. finite resources (time, money, [email protected]#&s to give).

          One of my friends is pregnant with her first child and, in response to a story I was telling about how my preschooler is so frustratingly resistant to sleeping these days, she said something like “oh, we would never allow that.” Silly me, I had never thought of just telling my daughter “after bedtime, you’re not allowed to get out of bed.” Man, I wish I’d thought of that earlier.

          • 12345 says:

            That is amazing. How did you refrain punching her?

          • bluefield says:

            My BIL is always bragging about how his 18 month old eats everything, including broccoli, and how they don’t believe in depriving him of any food (i.e., a cookie before dinner) and as a result he’s a great eater. Yeah, because he doesn’t realize he can refuse food yet. My kid used to be the same way and now only eats chicken and pasta. Talk to me when he turns 2.

          • avocado says:

            @ bluefield, OMG yes. My daughter was the best eater until she was 2 or 2.5. She would eat pretty much anything and actually chose broccoli over other foods. Then overnight she turned into the world’s pickiest eater.

            Recently one of my colleagues told me, “When you used to tell me how your daughter would only eat mac and cheese, I would think ‘I am never going to let that happen.’ Then I had my daughter and she turned 2 and now she will only eat mac and cheese.”

          • bluefield says:

            @avocado, if you steam & puree spinach, you can mix it into the mac and cheese and they can’t eat around it (or even really taste it or identify it) and it turns into health food.

          • Blueberry says:

            @bluefield Ay I wish I could go back and punch myself on baby #1 who would brag about how good an eater kid #1 was, because we gave him a variety of grownup food and no special treatment. Turns out it had nothing to do with my parenting skills, as evidenced by baby #2’s pickiness. (Same story re how quickly and easily me on baby #1 dropped the baby weight and went back to having a flat tummy. RIP, flat tummy.)

          • avocado says:

            @bluefield Butternut squash puree is yummy in mac and cheese. I also julienne spinach and basil and stir them both into pasta sauce and say it’s all basil.

            My kid is 10 now and still pretty picky, but expensive picky. She likes sushi and Canadian cheddar aged at least 2 years.

          • @Spirograph, that’s hilarious. I too was that Special Someone. I swore (to everyone, and loudly) that it’s cruel to lock kids in their rooms at bedtime. And…. my preschooler stays in bed at night because we put a gate on her door that she can’t open, and took everything but the bed out of her bedroom and locked the closet doors. We basically recreated a jail cell to make it boring enough to force her to sleep. I want to go back and beat my Special Someone Self on behalf of everyone I told that to.

      • 12345 says:

        Omg, I think this actually might be a friend of mine. We have had this conversation, and she is a huge Hax fan. Carolyn’s answer is right on point.

        OP, to answer your question, I would say budget for a sleep consultant, read the sleep books, be prepared to sleep train, but also realize that your plans will almost certainly need to change and adjust. What if your baby has reflux? Or health problems? What if she is just the world’s worst sleeper? What if you appetite for letting a baby cry is a lot less than you thought it would be before you had a baby? My child has been, at different times, a great sleeper and an atrocious sleeper. How did I function through the bad patches? In some ways I didn’t. I cried a lot. I made mistakes at work. I once fell asleep in my car at a stoplight, after which we started serious sleep training. One of the biggest lessons of parenthood is learning to go with the flow of the individual that your child is and the way her needs change over time and in various phases.

    • avocado says:

      That letter writer cannot possibly be sincere: “Right now our loose plan is to formula feed with a night nanny every other night. My husband can do the night feedings every other day, but he needs to catch up sometime.” That is over the top.

    • bluefield says:

      If you read the comments the LW wrote in and said she drastically underestimated how much a night nurse would cost (it seems like her quoted price was high, I paid $20/hr in NYC, she’s saying $28/hr) but she “thinks we could do it if it wasn’t so expensive.” Uh, yeah, everyone could do it if it weren’t so expensive. What else is holding people back? You think people WANT to wake up in the middle of the night?

      Also she thought it would be cheaper than a regular babysitter because it was at night – this is really the height of special snowflake. She needs her sleep but no one else does? You pay a premium for nights!

    • AwayEmily says:

      To play devils advocate, though, I do think that the “omg you will never sleep again” thing is exaggerated — especially the extent to which sleep schedules are out of your control. Yes, there are babies who have colic and really are up *constantly* for the first year, but most babies will sleep longer stretches within a few months, and there are many things you can do to make that happen sooner/faster (ie, sleep train). Many parents *choose* to get up with their kids a lot, or co-sleep, or whatever else, because they are making a conscious choice to prioritize that time with their kids over a full night’s sleep. And that is a completely legit and awesome choice! Other parents (like me) prioritize sleep, and sleep train at nine weeks and refuse to get the baby from her crib before 6:30am. That’s totally fine too! There are certainly SOME parts of sleep that are beyond our control, but I think the dominant cultural narrative of “having a baby = never sleeping again” is just factually incorrect.

      • avocado says:

        Sleep training doesn’t work for all babies, though.

        • AwayEmily says:

          Agreed – I think whether your kid responds to sleep training is one of the parts of sleep that’s out of your control. Same with health stuff, etc. It’s not that you can control every aspect of your child’s sleep, more that you have more choices than are often presented in the popular “you’ll never sleep again” narrative.

        • mascot says:

          I’ll agree that sleep training doesn’t work for all babies (like those kids who scream until they puke or have other extenuating circumstances), but I do think it works at least somewhat for most babies. Part of our job as parents is to help our kids develop healthy habits, whether they be sleeping, eating, hygiene, etc. That’s not to say that every method works for every baby, that every baby/family is ready at the same time, or that it isn’t hard as heck for everyone. No one likes to hear their kid cry or question if they are scarring their child in some way. Parenting is full of hard work and figuring out what path works best for your kid- sleep training is just the first exposure that most of us have to that.

          • bluefield says:

            I agree with this. Obviously there are some kids for whom it doesn’t work, but a lot of parents I speak to who say CIO didn’t work didn’t really commit to it. They’ll say they tried CIO but the first night the baby cried for X amount of time so they gave up, or they started CIO when the baby was a year old or something.

      • AwayEmily says:

        Also, I totally agree with 12345 that the narrative of “good sleeper” and “bad sleeper” is silly. My kid will go for months at a time sleeping peacefully for 11 hours at night, and then have horrible weeks where she wakes up at 2am and screams. Most parents I know have had this experience. Anyway, I realized I forgot to actually give advice to the OP — my approach was to read about a lot of different approaches to infant sleep beforehand and then once the baby got here, make a strategy that took into account her particular quirks and our needs/capacities. I liked going into it feeling like I was armed with lots of information. These comment threads can also be a great resource — we never co-slept with our first, for example, but I’ve bookmarked some threads on safe co-sleeping in case we need to do it with our second.

      • Boston Legal Eagle says:

        I agree with this, with the huge caveat that our son has so far been a great sleeper (STTN consistently starting at around 3 months). I think that moving him to his own room at 6 wks and not getting him when he cried in the middle of the night has helped. We’ll see what happens if/when we have a second.

        For the OP, having your partner either get up with you or switch off is helpful at the beginning and later, if you have a bad sleeper. Even if you both end up exhausted, it’s nice to know that you have a teammate in the trenches with you. My memory is rose colored from the passage of time but some of our best moments were when my husband and I were up at 3am rocking the baby to sleep and just talking.

        It will be hard. You’ll feel completely out of control some (most?) of the time. You’ll get through it. I think it’s given me a better perspective in life generally, and lowered my Type A-ness for the better.

    • For the OP, in terms of reasonable strategy, yes, grit your teeth and deal, but also realize you are probably more resilient then you think you are.

    • I am a zombie on less than 7 hours of sleep. Lack of sleep is also a huge migraine trigger for me. I am convinced something about having a baby changes your body at least temporarily to help you survive, because I EBF for a year (although we cut night feeds and did CIO at 6 months) and I was fine for the first 15 months of my son’s life. I worked, socialized, and functioned like a relatively normal person, despite multiple night wakings for the first 6 months.

      • +1 sleep deprivation was the thing I most feared about having a baby, also due to migraines and general non-functioning. I agree with the other comments that you’re a lot more resilient than you think, and also something with the hormones helps you get through those first few months. Even when the baby was up every 2-3 hours we could usually manage a (cumulative, with breaks ) 6-7 hours for both me and DH by trading shifts. I was surprised by how well I was able to function on that (since my fear had been that I wouldn’t be able to at all). And with bf-ing I’ve had very few mingraines. This held true for both kiddos.

    • Agree that you have to adjust expectations and frankly not having too many expectations is best.

      Re: sleep – one thing that helped me in the beginning (which I found the hardest) was going to bed early while Mr. AIMS could stay up with the baby. If I just got 2-3 hours from 9-11/12, a sleepless night was much more tolerable.

    • Newbie says:

      Thanks all! Glad for the reminders to read up on sleep training options – will add that to the list. And I bet that 1st trimester exhaustion makes it seem that much more daunting. And add another pro to the “take the full 12 weeks of leave” even though it’s (partially) unpaid list. I feel like we’re generally go-with-the-flow people so I’m sure we’ll figure it out, just like everyone else!

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