Nursing/Postpartum Tuesday: ‘Sprig’ Bottle Drying Rack

Special festive bottle drying racks for your kids: yea or nay? We never had one, but honestly I kind of regret it — I think it would have been a bright spot in the otherwise dreary task of washing bottles (and ZoLi cups and Take & Toss, and so forth) and would have made the kitchen look nice, too. I always think of the faux grass–looking one, but this new rack from Boon looks like it takes up even less counter space. It’s $12.99 at Nordstrom. Boon ‘Sprig’ Bottle Drying Rack

Psst: Looking for more info about nursing clothes for working moms, or tips for pumping at the office? We’ve got them both…

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  1. CPA Lady says:

    I have and really like the munchkin high capacity bottle drying rack. Not nearly as cutesy but very functional and you can take it apart and run it through the dishwasher if it gets grimy. I still use it for sippy cups.

    Also, do any of y’all do chore charts? After losing my mind and shouting at my kid to put her flipping shoes on yet again (spoiler alert, we need to do that EVERY SINGLE MORNING. WHY IS THIS STILL A SURPRISE????), I made a simple chart with pictures to put on the fridge.

    Is it reasonable to expect to be able to teach a 3 year old to follow a simple chore chart?

    • homework for 3-yr-olds says:

      I let my LO have her have her gummy vitamin only after her hair is done and her shoes are on. It seems to help!

  2. homework for 3-yr-olds says:

    Reporting back from yesterday — apparently the head teacher has been sending one book home every weekend, and my LO is the only one not reading her assigned weekend book. Also, apparently this began after Labor Day (so my LO has been with her dad, not me, every weekend so far). I feel much better about this and thought you all would be glad to hear it, too!

  3. Anon in NYC says:

    This is cute, and I think if you were really short on counter space or didn’t need to dry a lot of stuff it may make sense. But I find the Boon grass one really useful. I like having the flat surface as opposed to all of the branches (plus, as my kid’s stuff changed from bottles to food containers, the flat surface was more useful for us).

    • Second the big Boon grass one — it has been so useful and lasted great (going on 5 years). I got the flower and twig accessories to have somewhere to put small pump parts, bottle rings, and nipples to give me even more surface area for the bottles and larger pump parts.

      • +1. This was my setup and I loved it. I contemplated continuing to use the grass part after I was done with bottles, but 5 years later I was so happy to have my counter space back that I donated it to a pregnant friend instead.

    • We lived and died by the Boon grass one. I bought one flower accessory thing which was helpful for drying caps. When I was pumping and constantly washing pump parts and Medela bottles, the thing was a lifesaver. Basically I didn’t store my pump parts; they dried on the grass overnight and I packed them up the next morning. Having them right there on the counter staring at me also meant it was rare I forgot a part. I loved this thing.

      • AwayEmily says:

        This is giving me major flashbacks. My daughter is only 18 months old and I had already completely forgotten the constant drudgery of cleaning and drying all those pump and bottle parts. And we used the dishwasher! I can’t imagine doing it by hand.

        Guess I’ll have to remember all of that again in four months…I’m not ready!

        • Oh heck no we didn’t do it by hand! But we let them dry on the drying rack because we only use air dry in our dishwasher.

    • We had close to zero counter space in our old apartment and someone got me really narrow grass version. It was like a little landing strip but because it was long fit all I really needed. I still use it next to my sink for drying sippy cups/tops.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      We still use our Boon grass drying rack, and son is almost 7! I love that thing. We use it for wine glasses and everything else.

  4. Nay for me. We need a nigher capacity, less ornate rack since we end up cleaning and prepping all bottles in advance. In order to make the task less dreary, I just watch netflix on my tablet while washing.

  5. I have the boon drying rack (the original one) and still use it a ton even though we’ve been done with bottles for a while. When I bought I figured I could use it for our stuff too so I didn’t see it as a waste at all.

  6. I recently left my biglaw job as a fourth year associate to go in house at a nonprofit and I am bored. And getting to do no interesting work. It’s been six weeks and I’ve seriously considered asking them to take me back, although I don’t want to be a partner in biglaw either… Anyone else have a similar experience? Did it get better? Should I run? I feel like the idea of staying here for two to three years (my original plan) is going to be really depressing. Also this is more than a 9 to 5 so I don’t even get the family friendly perk!

    This is a main board question I know, but I also have two young kids and this site is nicer!

    • JayJay says:

      I agree this place is nicer!

      What’s boring about your current job – or – what are missing about biglaw life? It takes a while to ramp up in a new job, is there a chance you can grow your current role in the long-term to something you’d more like every day?

      • Great question. I feel like what I’m doing now is really a lot of admin work and I just don’t have to use my brain very much! I think I can ask for more work but I am one of several in my position and the newbie so it feels a little awkward at this stage. But I also came in with more experience than those in my position had, if that makes sense.

        Everyone is always talking about how busy they are but I’m just not overwhelmed at all and it hasn’t been that long. Big law trained me too well? Joking, sort of?

        There’s also no path to advancement at my current place of work – I was hoping to use this job to pivot into another job with more responsibility (hypothetically) down the line.

        • JayJay says:

          So, I transitioned to in house as a 7th year litigation associate in biglaw. And I agree that firms train you too well to be efficient and to work too hard. And I also felt like my first 8 months in this role (plus or minus) didn’t really require my brain and that I wasn’t doing as complex work as I was used to.

          At least for me, as the business got more comfortable with me and brought me in on more and more projects, my responsibility and the workload and complexity of my work grew. So, I was able to get some satisfaction from that. I’d recommend just proving over and over how good you are to your internal clients.

          I’d also recommend reframing this issue in your mind. And I say this because my husband has given me the exact same advice. Sometimes a job is just a job. So, focus on the fact that you aren’t mentally exhausted and you have time you didn’t have while you were in a firm. Take what you can from this experience and remember that you won’t die in this role.

          And yes, the path to advancement in-house has a definite ceiling. You’re either GC or you’re not. It’s a real paradigm shift from the path to partner in a law firm. I don’t have a desire to be GC at my company (we’re a financial institution and I have no desire to be potentially liable for that), so I’ve accepted that instead of increasing my title, I’ll find ways to increase my responsibility and exposure.

          Good luck! It’s an interesting transition going from a firm to in-house, so I know it takes a long time to adjust.

    • mascot says:

      What drew you to the job in the first place? Even if it isn’t exciting and interesting, are you still doing work that promotes the mission of the org? I think as lawyers, we are so focused on collecting gold stars at work and having our work take precedent over everything else in our lives, we find it hard to remember that this is just a job. What are your other activities besides job and kids? Your job doesn’t have to be your only source of stimulation and growth. Can you get involved in your community? Find a hobby that is fulfilling for you and let that be what you do that’s interesting.

      • So true. I’m used to having my work be important! I was drawn to the fact that it would be an opportunity to transition into the public sector, which has been my career goal all along. Those jobs are in high demand so I was willing to go more junior to something I felt over-qualified for in order to get a foot in the door.

        I have a one year old and a two year old so they are my hobby right now! I think that’s part of the problem though – I keep wondering why I am sitting around filling out form agreements when I could be going to music class and hanging out with my kids. But I don’t want to be a stay at home mom!

        • Every working mom has this lie circling in her head: “If I’m not saving babies or doing really important work, then I should be at home!”

          Meanwhile, my husband has no idea what I’m talking about when I share my “guilt” moments with him. (Down time at work? Immediately think of what I could be doing with this time at home. Boring project? Feed on thoughts that I’m squandering time and talents I could be spending on the kids.) You know what he does when he gets a boring project or has down time? HE FREAKING ENJOYS IT. He looks up baseball scores, reads more books, takes longer lunches, etc. The only time he thinks, “Wow, this time would be better spent with my kids,” is if he’s stuck working a weird holiday, like the day after Thanksgiving, and we’re all at home having fun without him. Normal work day? NOPE.

          It’s just this lie that’s been soaked into our brains and we’re silently believing–THE ONLY MOMS WHO SHOULD WORK ARE THE ONES WHO ARE ABLE TO JUSTIFY IT. Fight those thoughts! You don’t have to set the office on fire with your brilliance to justify being away from your kids–none of us do! It’s okay to be a bit bored and just…enjoy it. Like a Dad. :)

    • Artemis says:

      I totally understand where you’re coming from. I spent 10 years in midlaw litigation and 2.5 years ago, left for a local government job when I was pregnant with my 3rd kid. I knew I was over-qualified for the job but it has incredible work-life balance and some skills I didn’t have that I was looking for–I am now a manager which in itself has been a challenge.

      About six months in, after I’d had time to “recover” from my previously insane-feeling schedule, I got bored. Then I kept finding more things to do, and more things to learn, and as a manager, more things to improve in my department (and in myself!). My boss has let me take a lot of initiative in changing things precisely because she knows I’m technically over-qualified and am very efficient and hardworking due to my time as a lawyer. It’s been really nice to have an easy job for awhile.

      So about six months ago I started looking for a new job, realizing it could take me 2 months or 2 years. The point is, now I really am bored but it’s been a great journey for many reasons (my past environment was so toxic, this place is sooooo nice). I want to return to full-time lawyering (this is a law-adjacent job), and I actually am getting interviews at a wider variety of places than I would have previously because of the management and business operations skills I have obtained here, along with keeping in the legal arena. I’ve even had some job offers that I’ve turned down because they just weren’t quite right, and I have the “luxury” of waiting for the next really good thing since my job is stable.

      Bottom line, make this job what you can for a year–find ways to make it good for you. Enjoy the break. And then, in a year, start looking again. Take your time. Pick the right next thing. Realize that it is so much easier to look for a job when you’re not desperate to leave (like biglaw lifestyle), but merely want to leave to further your career. I have faith that my situation will work out, given the length of time I have left in my career, and that yours will too.

    • NYCer says:

      Yes, this happened to me too. Maybe not the answer you want to hear, but I am back in biglaw (after 1.5 years at my boring job).

      Granted, I am in T&E so my hours are significantly more regular and predictable than all other practice areas.

  7. Double Stroller says:

    We are purchasing a double stroller for Baby #2’s arrival in a couple of months. Our requirements are 1) must fit a Chicco Keyfit 2) prefer older child (2yo when new baby is born) to sit in front, facing outward. We live in a mid size city where the stroller will be used mostly after driving to our destination– grocery store, zoo, etc.– and not on public transit or narrow sidewalks, etc.

    I have narrowed it down to the Chicco Together and the Baby Jogger City Select. The BJCS is much more expensive, so my first question is: is the Baby Jogger so much better than the Chicco Together to justify the price difference? Second question: is there another double stroller that I am overlooking that 1) fits a Keyfit and 2) faces the older child outward in front? Thanks for any suggestions!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d do a Stroll-Air Duo – takes car seats, can have both rear facing, one front facing or both front facing. Can have one car seat and one stroller seat or two stroller seats. Narrow so it fits into most doorways that fit a wheelchair. I loved the huge sun shades for summer napping and the foot muffs for winter.

    • We have the Keyfit and the BJCS and LOVE it (similar use to yours). We didn’t compare to the Chicco Together, so I can’t tell you if it is better, but I can tell you what I love about our BJCS:
      1) Our first is a big kid (99% for height and weight) and so, when our second was born he had already grown out of the seats that typically come with doubles (we were compare the uppa baby). he fit very comfortably in either seat of the BJCS (still does).
      3) Maneuverability: My engineer husband loves how it’s designed for easy pushing/turning. Having two makes it a bit hard to push, but we still seem to be having an easier time than most ppl with a double.
      4) Endless configurations: We have two rumble seats plus car seat adapter. When my youngest was littler we used the car seat adapter more, but now that they are older (1.5 and 3.5) we can do a double stroller or single and can face them either way (fighting? face both forward, at a boring place? face each other for entertainment, one needs more interaction? face that one towards you. both are tired? face both towards you)
      5) Glider board: we bought this attachment when my eldest turned 3 and it’s been great for when we use the stroller as a single, but he still wants a ride. It does affect the stroller’s maneuverability though.
      6) fit: Because it breaks down into pieces (base, seats) it fits in our trunk well, and is also nice to take through airport security.

      For us the cost was justified because we want to have four kids. We heard rave reviews about the quality of the BJCS (confirmed by how expensive they are when they are older and second hand), and we wanted something we didn’t have to replace. We bought during their fall free second seat promotion (which should be coming up soon)

    • Anonymous says:

      I have the City Select … and don’t really love it. Our neighborhood is slightly hilly and it’s just killer on hills or even on uneven or slightly sloped pavement. It’s like it has a mind of its own and is soooo difficult to steer in those scenarios.

    • We will be buying the Uppababy vista once our third paycheck hits this month. Had you looked into it? It’s major $, but for us starting out we figure we can use it for a number of years to cover our first due in December and any subsequent children for a huge range of options based on how many kids we have and how we want to transport them. It will let you do a config with a toddler seat facing outwards and baby carseat facing inwards. You do have to pick up an adapter to make it work with the chicco keyfit, but given all the other features of the stroller that didn’t bother us. It even has a piggy back thing to where your toddler can stand on the stroller if they don’t want to sit if you ever end up having three. It comes with a bassinet that is approved for overnight use that we’re planning to use for our early sleep solution before we move her out of our room and into her crib.

  8. anne-on says:

    I mentioned I was doing the clear + brilliant laser treatments to get rid of some big patches of melasma from my pregnancy that didn’t respond to hydroquinone. First treatment was mildly painful (slightly less painful than a bikini wax, though the area above your lip does hurt) and I was definitely red afterwards. The redness was almost totally gone the following day, and easily covered by a BB cream. I wore a chilled sheet mask right afterwards and slathered myself in moisturizer that whole day which I think helped a lot. Going for my next one in 2 weeks, so curious to see what the results look like by then!

  9. Momata says:

    Any of you ladies recently give any gifts to the moms/aunts/stepmoms in your lives that knocked it out of the park? My stepmom’s birthday is next week. Sadly it is only a few days apart from the memorial service for HER departed mom. So I want to send something nice just for her. (I am not able to attend the memorial service and she is OK with that.) She is sporty and low maintenance.

    • AwayEmily says:

      What about a subscription to something like Naturebox? Fun healthy snacks, seems like it would be good for sporty people (as opposed to me, who snacks mostly on Cheez-its).

    • Legally Brunette says:

      Does she like sweets? I recently bought my sister a brownie sampler from Zingerman’s (6 brownies) and my sister raved about them to me for about 15 minutes on the phone, swearing that she had never tasted anything so delicious in her life! That was the first time I have bought anything from Zingermans and it won’t be my last. She liked the Blondie the best, followed by the magic brownie with nuts.

    • Anonymous says:

      Favorite treats/candy plus a nice note about how much you appreciate her (assuming that’s true).

  10. Anonnn says:

    Car seat question- I just moved my baby into a convertible carseat (Britax Marathon) from her infant car seat, and I’m surprised that she seems to fuss more. I thought she would be more comfortable! It’s not like out and out crying, just occasionally yells and cries, but it’s more than she ever did in her infant one, at least that I can remember. I give her toys, which she throws (which may contribute to the fussing? it seems to be easier for her to throw them in this seat than it was in the last seat). Is there anything I can do to make her more comfortable, or is this just normal for a baby that doesn’t like being confined?

    • AwayEmily says:

      How long has she been using it? It took ours a couple of weeks to get used to the convertible but now she seems much happier in it. Might also just be age…

      • Anonnn says:

        Two weeks now I think? Hoping she will get used to it, or maybe I just need a better toy selection ha.

    • Anonymous says:

      Double check the recline and installation. The Convertible seats have different reclines based on age and rear facing vs. forward facing. She might be uncomfortably upright if the recline isn’t right.

  11. This morning in the elevator I was chatting with someone from another floor whom I’d never met before. When I got off at my floor I said “have a nice day,” and she replied, “You too, enjoy whatever’s in there–” and motioned to the cooler I was carrying. I said, “It’s breastmilk.” Then the doors closed.

    • Amazing. I need this scene to be in my upcoming comedy series about working moms.

    • This is amazing. Did you at least catch her face before they closed??

    • ElisaR says:

      i love it

    • Edna Mazur says:

      This made my morning.

    • That is pretty awesome. But would have been more awesome if it were a an awkward male…

      • I’ve had the (young, single) male in my office complement me on my handy lunch bag. I just said thanks but was dying inside. (It’s the medela square bottle tote that virtually all nursing moms know so well…)

        • Anon in NYC says:

          Hilariously, I saw a man commuting with the Medela tote yesterday. Not sure if he was dropping something off for his spouse or if he had repurposed the bag, but I had a good laugh.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I had used a lunch box to transport milk, and it was the exact same one that one of my male colleagues had…we had a couple hilarious interactions when he accidentally took my lunch box and was surprised at the contents.

  12. Recs for NYC? says:

    TJ: looking for recommendations for NYC with kids in Nov. is the first week of Nov too early for holiday stuff? Specific must-dos for 2YO and 6YO? We’re not familiar with the city so any thoughts on where to stay, eat, etc very much appreciated!
    Note: We adore our Boon Grass, so much so that we actually upgraded to the Lawn :-) complete with twigs. Now that we are out of the bottle phase it’s still very useful for water bottle tops, big knives, straws, all sorts of random stuff.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caveat that I am not super familiar with the city… but we went this summer and had a good experience staying at the Excelsior hotel on the upper west side. Easy access to Central Park. The area generally seemed family friendly. My 4 yo enjoyed playing in the playground by the hotel and riding the subway. Did not enjoy “Top of the Rock” (too crowded when we were there). I liked going to the high line and seeing some galleries in Chelsea.

      • If you are staying on the UWS, and even if not – there’s the Children’s Museum on W 83rd (or thereabouts). You can have a nice lunch/brunch/breakfast before or after at Good Enough to Eat (just try to avoid actual weekend brunch at peak midday due to waits). Also, Café Lalo, nearby, is super fun for shakes and dessert. The Museum of Natural History is also great with kids. There is a small zoo in Central Park and the Bronx Zoo is an easy subway ride and lots of fun (Wednesdays are free at the Bronx Zoo, but also can be correspondingly crowded, so FYI). The Bronx Botanical Garden has a really fun train show for the holidays but not sure when that gets rolled out. Check their webs*te.

        In general, I think staying on the UWS is good – it’s a very nice kid friendly area. There is a wonderful carousel my daughter loves in Central Park, near 64th street. The Rockefeller skating rink will open by November, so that can be a fun thing for the 6 year old. There are other rinks too – I like the one by the Public Library in Bryant Park; you can sit around under heat lamps and watch the skaters, while drinking hot chocolate. BP is also cheaper and I think the holiday market shops may be open by then too. Rockefeller Center has a lego store, however.

        • NYCer says:

          +1 to all of this.

          UWS would be my recommendation with kids as well. It is out of the chaos of midtown, easy access to Central Park, good kid-friendly museums, lots of kids in the neighborhood so many kids at restaurants, etc.

    • I don’t have the link handy but the Cup of Jo blog has one or two posts on what to do with kids in NYC that are a good reference.
      Museum of natural history (dinosaurs) and Central Park Zoo are top of my list.

      • Also to your specific question, the tree at Rockefeller Center is usually only lit after Thanksgiving. I think the same is true for Macy’s Santa Land, with the Thanksgiving Day Parade being the kick off. So the city won’t be in full holiday bloom quite yet

    • Anon in NYC says:

      In terms of holiday stuff – the tree lighting isn’t going to happen until late November. There may be some holiday stuff up in stores, but I don’t think it will be as full blown as it will get later in the month. But, the Rockettes start up on Nov. 10.

      In terms of kid stuff, I think that a lot of that will depend on what you like/want to do. The weather will most likely be chilly, so I don’t know if that affects your willingness to do things outside. The Natural History Museum is always great. I also find that museums can be doable, so long as your expectations are very low – pick 1 exhibit, go directly there, and then get out before meltdowns ensue. My nephews (6 and 7) like playgrounds, Central Park, riding the subway, and the Central Park Zoo. My 2 year old likes playgrounds, the park, book stores (or libraries), and children’s museums (there is one on the UES, I believe). I’m dying to take her to a Broadway show at some point, when she has a better attention span. Perhaps that would be a fun thing to do – split up with your spouse and take your older one to a show and the younger one elsewhere.

      In terms of food, most restaurants (except for the really fancy ones) are friendly enough with kids, especially if you go in off peak hours. There’s been a bit of a boom in food halls over the past few years, and those are always great with kids.

    • In addition to what has been mentioned, check out the transit museum in downtown Brooklyn and children’s museum of the arts in Tribeca (depending on the interests of your children). If your child is vehicle obsessed, riding the subways, buses, etc is exciting. Staten Island Ferry is free and fun, although maybe a little long. For theatre, check to see if New Victory Theatre is doing anything good for young kids – they exclusively do family shows but have specific guidance for age ranges of each production.

      • Gazillion Bubble Show would be fun for the 2 year old and might work for the 6 year old, too.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Re Double Stroller (can’t reply on my phone):
    I only have one kiddo but am a bit of a stroller nerd. Almost every mom of two or more I know prefers a “side by side” double stroller as opposed to a “tandem” double stroller. Almost all double strollers are approximately the width of a wheelchair so assuming you live somewhere accessible, getting through doors shouldn’t be an issue. The most popular double side by side strollers in my area are City mini (or city mini GT which fits bigger kids and may be a better long term investment) or the new Valco snap Duo strollers which are a relatively new re launch into North America (but not sure about the Chico fitting it)

    • Counterpoint: When my two were both in the stroller phase, I much preferred the tandem. Especially because we were driving and then using the stroller at the destination – the side-by-sides fold up SO LARGE. We had the Joovy Caboose with the second seat (and the glider board) and it was great. About the same weight and folded size as my Bob, and easy enough to maneuver. My only complaint was that the storage bin was impossible to get to when both kids were asleep, but it was the best overall double stroller that I found.

      OP: Next time you’re at the zoo or museum, go “shopping” for double strollers. See which ones look good to you, and don’t be afraid to ask people if they like their strollers. I found that most parents were VERY willing to talk about it frankly with you, esp when you have a toddler and a pregnant belly. The City Select and the Joovy seem to get the most glowing reports in our suburban area.

  14. anonnymommy says:

    I’m starting a low-pressure book club (in an NYC suburb). Email me at [email protected] if you want in.

  15. Winter Coats for Pregnancy says:

    I’m due in March and am contemplating getting one of those Modern Eternity coats (via Nordstrom) that have the zip-in panel for the baby bump. Apparently they also cover baby carriers. My question is, it is worth it?

    My last baby was a summer baby, so I didn’t have this issue. Most of my current coats are fairly fitted, so I don’t think they will work. Also, I live in a fairly mild climate where temperatures hover around 30 degrees at the coldest time of the year, and are usually around 40 and rainy for the bulk of the winter.

    • ElisaR says:

      i had one for my last pregnancy (and i guess i’ll start wearing it again soon!). i definitely needed a maternity coat but the zip in panel was only needed for the baby bump – i never used it for a baby carrier. I probably wouldn’t wear this coat with the panel out (it’s supposed to be just a normal coat then) because it’s not something i’m super excited about from a fashion standpoint – but if you’re going to get a maternity coat you might as well go with that one…. it’s thin compared to other winter coats but when you’re pregnant you run warm and I basically wore it from the car to a building in the winter – not for long walks or anything. It’s amazing what a good scarf can do to amp up the warmth factor on any coat.

      • My first baby was due late November (ultimately born in December). I didn’t buy a maternity coat and regretted it, since I like to walk outside for exercise and was freezing by the time he was born. I bought one with my second, who was due in January, and ended up using it a lot – I found it to be quite warm so it was good for long walks outside. I walked up until she was born and also used it with her in a carrier in feb / march. Hated it from a fashion perspective (so I’d never use it without the panel) but it was very practical and warm.

    • avocado says:

      I bought a maternity coat and never ended up wearing it. I ran hot and just wore my regular coat unzipped or unbuttoned with a scarf. If your regular coats still fit across the shoulders, you may be fine.

    • I splurged for one of the seraphine coats that doesn’t have buttons or a zipper (it just wraps like a robe with a belt). It was one of the best maternity clothes purchases I made. I always felt more put together with it and there’s an annual wait list among my pregnant friends to borrow it.

    • I didn’t bother with a maternity coat. My regular one fit no problem. I did carry small and I buy bigger coats for layering.

      If you babywear outside the house in the weather you described, you should be fine with a regular coat partially zipped. Keep in mind that babies run hot and there will already be a lot of heat coming off your chest, so zipping up the coat may actually overheat the baby.

    • AwayEmily says:

      They have pretty affordable maternity outerwear at H&M and I’ve been happy with the parka I have from there. Old Navy has some things too. But I agree with avocado — you can probably get away without one if you aren’t doing a ton of outdoor stuff, especially given the running-warm aspect of pregnancy. If you’re only going to need it once in awhile you can also just borrow your partner’s coat (assuming they are bigger than you). Not the most stylish option but it works. Honestly I don’t think it would be worth it to spend more than $60 or so on maternity outerwear given that you’ll really only need it for a few months.

    • bluefield says:

      My first was born in February during the polar vortex winter, and I’m in NYC so it was cold and I walked a lot. I wore my husband’s North Face fleece (the kind that lines the parkas – not sure if they still make jackets like that), which zipped over my belly, with my parka unzipped above it. I didn’t look that great (color combo was blue & green) but I was warm. My husband isn’t especially large (I think his jacket was a men’s medium), nor am I especially small (women’s medium), but it worked really well.

    • I live in NYC and was fine with a $20 Old Navy puffer maternity coat. It may have been a mild winter that year, but I think I was hotter than usual during pregnancy. I wouldn’t buy something expensive on the chance that you might also wear it when baby wearing since not everyone ends up liking baby wearing.

  16. Katala for Double Stroller says:

    No experience with the BJCS but we have the Chicco Together and I don’t love it. I love our keyfit, our nextfit and our activ3 (chicco jogger). All those were new and we bought the together used so possible it’s worn out or an older model that’s been improved on, but it’s a pain. It’s super hard to open/close and to click the car seat in. I always get bruised on my shins. The canopy is hard to use and it won’t fit in my trunk with it on so I have to fight that thing every time. Cup holders are shallow, doesn’t really work to clip the diaper bag on the handle. Ugh, ready for something else now that baby can sit up.

    I considered the cortina options which I think lets you click in a keyfit with an adaptor. And maybe the newer chiccos are better. Not sure how old mine is but there are features on my 2 year old chicco jogger that are more advanced.

  17. Katala for Winter coats says:

    Ugh, wish the threading on mobile would get fixed!

    I had one of those panel coats and used it some in NYC winter. It was fine but not sure I would get one for a milder climate. I ran hot enough that I only needed it for sub-freezing temps. Otherwise, sweater plus open trench/rain coat was fine. I might go with a waterproof hooded coat in a bigger size to layer under if needed, maybe with a fleece vest. The maternity coat was OK in snow but not very waterproof at all, I wouldn’t recommend for real rain.

  18. ugggh anon for this says:

    I know this is partly sleep deprivation talking, but rant ahead: I am so. very. very. tired of being the breadwinner. I’m not in a high-flying position, or a high-paying industry, but I bring in 2/3 of household income. Husband is in the early stages of an emotionally + intellectually rewarding, but not financially rewarding, academic science career, which frankly is crappy in the early years – long hours, lab, fieldwork, low pay relative to level of education. We’re trying to figure out how to afford another kid on a five-figure household income. And my work is normally flexible, 40h/ week, but for the last month it’s been crazy due to projects all coming due simultaneously. I need one of those magical household fairies y’all keep talking about.

    • shortperson says:

      there are usually a lot of non financial perks to academia. flexible schedules, retirement pay, daycare priority, housing allowances when you are recruited to move, college consortia, etc. you hvae to look at the whole picture. and he needs to use his flexibility for the benefit of the family. i.e. be a household fairy when you are busy at work.

      • ugggh anon for this says:

        Oh, yeah. I totally recognize that the long-term big picture is great – good benefits for the family, flexible schedule for him. It’s just that in the early years, when most academics are trying to build their career… it sucks! And I am exhausted today.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Maybe this is too simple but…do you have to have another kid right now? Or can you wait until the softer perks of husband’s job become real and/or your kiddo is in an easier stage of childhood? Like, there is no possible way I would have had capacity for a second child (or more than twice-a-year haircuts, let’s be honest) the first few years of kiddo’s life. Now that she’s 3.5, things are not easy, but they are easier. And if I had a spouse who wanted a second kid, I would probably start trying about the time she turns 4.

      I understand if the clock is ticking or there are other reasons to do it right now, but I feel like sometimes the “second child” chaos gets crammed into already full, stressed lives when it could just…wait.

      And also – hugs. I just wrote out my to-do list and I need to do 4 days of work in the next 3 hours, and it’s daunting.

      • ugggh anon for this says:

        Hello from 3 hours later — did you make it? :)

        Good point! Real perks of H’s job will materialize only after the next 5 years – realistically we’re looking at some more job-hopping for a while (@(%#& post-doc contracts). And for various reasons it’s just easier for us to have kids a little bit closer in age than not (kid schedules, etc.) Kid is 2.5 so the age gap would be more like 3.5 years anyway.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          Oh heck no! I have completed approximately 1 of my 4 days of work and now have lots of angry people demanding the rest of it in the next hour…which isn’t going to happen!

          Living by the seat of my pants, and my pants are on fire.

    • I’ve been in your shoes, and it sucks. Sending good wishes! I was an artist by training and ended up being the main breadwinner (working in non-profit arts, so you know, not remotely lucrative) instead of getting to spend all my time making art while my husband went through a long, grueling midlife career change that inauspiciously began in summer 2008. Along the way I found a job I really love–although I do miss art a bit–and my husband found a very stable career that pays okay and has incredible benefits. But it was really hard for a while, and I built up some major resentments. I hope things ease up for you soon.

      • ugggh anon for this says:

        Thanks! You hit the nail on the head – it’s the resentment that’s getting to me. Rationally, what am I even resenting? I mostly enjoy my job. I’m proud that H is working hard towards his goals. Kid is relatively chill — active, but sweet-tempered (when fed & watered). And yet. I don’t do dishes when husband is home. But I do a lot of solo parenting and bedtimes, and juggle it all, and work after bedtime. H’s bosses all have SAHM wives. Grr.

      • ugggh anon for this says:

        Oh yes – another part of my resentment is due to the fact that most of my colleagues who are parents are also cushioned by high-earning spouses. I don’t get that luxury.

        • I think for me I hated feeling trapped, like this wasn’t the deal I signed up for. Or more accurately, finding the deal I kind of signed up for much harder than anticipated. And I also tend to not take credit for my contributions to my husband’s accomplishments. Maybe trying to take a step back and reframe this as a team project that you are contributing to–and that you choose rather than fell into (I hope)–would be helpful? Assuming you believe in the value of the ultimate goal that is.

          I should add that we only have 1 child, which was okay with me. If that had been a source of conflict I think all of this would have been even harder.

  19. can we just...not? says:

    I live in a wealthy suburb of a HCOL area. My husband and I make good money. I only work part-time and my kid goes to preschool with kids that have full time SAH-Ps.

    I just booked her 4th birthday and was grumbling that it’s going to run me a few hundred dollars to let the kids run around in a gym for a while and then eat pizza and cake on rainbow plates. We did a similar thing last year, which also ran $200-300. Fair enough, kids these days….

    But guys. I just found out that one of her preschool makes is having her birthday party at home. At first I was super impressed and happy to see that not everyone does things the expensive but lazy way (no judgement– this is my style!) and that some people recognize that 4 year olds just need a big yard to play in, some water balloons, cake, and pin-the-tail-on-the-unicorn to be happy.

    Oh no. Not this party. This party is at home, but will have a pizza truck, unicorn rides (ponies with unicorn hats I imagine?), a bounce house, facepaint/tattoo station, full bar for parents (with bartenders), and the parent I was talking to was asking me if I thought this was “enough to keep the kids busy.” WHAT. My kid could keep busy for an hour just running up and down the slide in their yard. THESE KIDS ARE FOUR. My four year old barely had enough people to make the 10 kid minimum for her gymnastics party!

    Am I completely out of touch, or is this what “at home” birthday parties are now? I can tell you in no uncertain terms that my home will not have unicorn rides. If it weren’t for the fact that I don’t want to clean my house, my kid’s party would be in our backyard. Maybe set up some kind of cardboard box decorating station/activity.
    We might have a magician after age 6 or so if I could find one on the cheap and minimally creepy.

    When I was a kid we swam in friends’ pools, dug around for candy thrown in bales of hay, and played some pin-the-tail-on-the[whatever]. The cool parties had pinatas.

    Get off my lawn (especially you, pooping unicorns).

    • ElisaR says:

      there are always people that go over the top. When I was pregnant with my first multiple people asked me “what’s the theme for your nursery??” my response was uh…… baby. i think there is a broad spectrum of parties and it sounds like this one is at one end of the spectrum. really, it’s mostly to impress the parents because kids are happy with the basics. it is not standard to have pizza truck ponies, bounces houses, facepaint and bars…… although now that i think about it a bar isn’t such a bad idea.

    • avocado says:

      Preschool birthday parties, in my experience, tend to be very showy. I was shocked to find bounce houses and adult beverages at all of the in-home parties. I was actually confused when I first discovered that I was expected to stay at the party instead of just dropping my kid off. In elementary school things got much more relaxed. Drop-off parties at home with cake and games and crafts were the norm. Roller skating, bowling, and swimming were popular low-effort options.

      In terms of cost, though, all of the parties I’ve hosted at home have ended up being more expensive than the ones I’ve had at outside venues. Craft supplies and decorations add up fast, and somehow I always end up buying more food for an in-home party.

      • SD in DC says:

        We ended up buying a small bounce house on a good sale (less than renting one), which we bring out for our kids’ birthday parties and have also loaned out a bunch of times to our friends for their kids’ birthday parties or family-friendly get-togethers. My kids are still young enough (pre-school aged) that the parties are honestly an excuse for my husband and me to have our friends (who all have young kids) over for a big party. We usually do inexpensive catering (think sandwich, veggie, and fruit trays) and have beer and wine for the adults. The kids just run around the backyard while we get to hang out with our friends. The cost does usually end up at about $200, but that’d probably be the cost of just about any large party we threw, no matter the occasion. My daughter has requested a pinata for her next birthday, though.

      • Anonymous says:

        We do a bounce house and have a cooler of beer for the grown-ups for my preschooler’s birthday party. The pizza is more expensive than both, I think. I hope people don’t think we’re trying to be showy! We just have a small yard and a small house so it’s an easy way to make sure everyone is entertained and stays outside! One of my kid’s friends has a July birthday and the past few years they’ve had a slip and slide, kiddie pool and beer for the adults. Just as good, I just can’t count on spring weather to be water-friendly. My daycare is big on beer, apparently. :)

    • shortperson says:

      i think you should just go and have fun, it sounds amazing, especially the bar. and then maybe see if you can get your daughter involved in activities eventually where she’ll have friends from a wider variety of backgrounds to give her some perspective on what is normal. there are lots of parties like this in our area but since we have mostly academics as friends we go to a lot of “basic” parties too.

      birthday party or not, if you live in an area like this you will have to figure out how to respond to her wanting expensive things/experiences that all her friends have so you need to figure out your philosophy. i just read “the opposite of spoiled” by ron lieber about raising kids to not be spoiled when you can afford to spoil them; had some good ideas.

      • can we just...not? says:

        This is great advice and really gets at why it rubs me the wrong way. My kid will have fun. My family could absolutely host this sort of thing, but it’s just not my deal. I want to make sure my kid is raised in line with my own philosophy and I think the book you recommended sounds great. Into the Amazon cart!

    • Delta Dawn says:

      Yeah, this is a lot… I trend much more towards your end of the spectrum. I went full-tilt-Pinterest for the first birthday party (no unicorns or bartenders, just Pinterest decorations I guess, and even that felt like so. much. work). I said any subsequent parties will be themed “90s Kid Birthday,” which means we order pizza and make yellow cake from a box and kiddo can pick which Happy Meal toys to stick on top of the icing from a can. No more over the top parties for me. I guess there will always be other people that throw them– I figure we can go and have fun, but we don’t have to compete.

      • We just did my 3 yo’s birthday party. Box cake and icing from a can for the win. We put mini m&ms on top. No party favors. Other food was, in total, pretzels, popcorn, baby carrots, and hummus.

        Backlash is coming, y’all.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      One thing I discovered shifting back and forth between my middle class family background and super wealthy high school was that the very wealthy threw those kinds of parties because (a) they thought it was fun and (b) they could afford it. They didn’t expect anyone to reciprocate; they expected other people to throw the kind of parties they found fun and affordable. Most of my wealthy classmates’ families really just wanted to host people and pamper them a bit. It’s a lot more enjoyable to participate if you take that perspective.

    • I’m with you. If it makes you feel any better (worse?) we just went to a 2 year old’s bday party at a kid’s museum that had to have cost at least $2K based on the number of attendees, not counting the food, cake and booze (I know because I took a brochure on “hosting a bday celebration at the museum” on my way out). The birthday kid had a total meltdown from the sheer number of people and probably enjoyed none of it. Every kid’s pool party I’ve attended recently (admittedly, 2) has had both a professional lifeguard (which is, admittedly, smart and great if you can afford it) and an ice cream truck come by.

      I don’t think you need to compete with this though. Go, enjoy, and try to expose your child to different experiences so s/he doesn’t think unicorn rides are the norm.

      • avocado says:

        Are you talking about pool parties at people’s homes, or at a public/club pool? Our neighborhood pool requires you to hire lifeguards for private events.

        • Home. Both were someone’s backyard pool but with private certified lifeguards to keep an eye on the kids.

      • Katala says:

        I wonder if you have to pay the ice cream truck to come by, or just tell them (how? internet?) you’ll have a pack of kids wanting ice cream at this date/time. They’re driving around anyway, right, so wouldn’t they want some guaranteed sales?

        Just thinking about scaring up some cheap thrills for the next bday. Agree lifeguard sounds a bit over the top (that was certainly not a thing at any party I went to growing up, and some were at houses with NFL players for neighbors, so they could presumably afford it) but great for peace of mind, and possibly insurance.

    • Blueberries says:

      Much simpler preschool parties are the norm in my experience (VHCOL small city in VHCOL region). If someone wanted to go all out like this, I wouldn’t object, but I’d still throw bagels in the park parties because that’s what my kid wants.

  20. anonanonanon says:

    Has anyone here tried UPPA baby products? Interested in the Cruz stroller and the car seat. Not too concerned about cost if it’s a good product. I like that I can get an insert and use it before six months and change which way it faces, and that it seems portable.

    • We have the cruz and mesa and love them. The mesa pops right into the cruz, which was great for the first few months. And, this will sound silly, but friends are always jealous of our stroller. It has a lot of features but it’s also not huge like the vista or other luxury strollers. The mesa is one of the heavier car seats on the market, but now it’s not as heavy previous year’s models and it’s manageable.

    • oh my god i have like, all of the uppababy products and i am evangelical about them. we have the vista and the mesa carseat, and recently purchased the g-luxe travel stroller. the mesa fits into the vista/cruz so easily without an adapter, and also was incredibly easy to install in our cars. the reason i chose the vista over the cruz was mostly planning ahead for additional babies – you can get adapters for the vista to be able to have multiple kids in there, and i also used the bassinet quite a bit during walks. one thing i particularly love about the products are the travel bags. if you register the bag and item with uppababy and then it is damaged during a flight, they will repair it. when delta messed up the vista on our first flight (really not too badly, it was usable but i was mad since the stroller had only been used for a few months), uppababy replaced it with zero questions asked. after that experience, they won me over for life.

    • anne-on says:

      Really really liked the vista and the g-luxe. We also had the snap in stand for the vista bassinet that converted to a hamper – that was also a fantastic option and lasted us a LONG time. Agree on purchasing the travel bag, it was $$ but super worth it for piece of mind for me.

      • So glad to hear about both the travel bag and the stand. We’re planning to buy both with the Vista but I’m still having a bit of sticker shock at the total package price! Just have to remember that this will be used SUPER often for the next 3-5 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have the Cruz and looooooooove it. Used heavily, daily for over two years (nanny, in a city) and it’s still in perfect condition. I never used their car seat so I can’t speak to it. We reclined the seat and used the insert from birth and it was great. All my friends are jealous of it, like the poster above! Can’t recommend it highly enough.

      If you think you want to have a second kid relatively soon, consider the Vista, but otherwise the Cruz is great. You can get the bassinet separately if you think you would use it. Also the bassinets come up on BST groups constantly in barely used condition, so that’s an option as well.

    • Yes – have both. Love them. We only used the car seat with stroller for the first 3-4 months but it was so handy, esp. if baby fell asleep. My only criticism is their cup holder kind of sucks. The customer service, however, is fantastic. We recently had an issue with our wheels (after more than a year and a half of daily use) and they sent a new set within two days. I’m expecting my second now and the only downside of the Cruz is you can’t convert it to a double. But we’re in NYC and I appreciate the narrower size for getting around.

    • Love Cruz plus Mesa. I’d also check out the Nuna equivalent which wasn’t around when I got them. But it was great.

    • bluefield says:

      I have the Cruz and I love it. Aside from the greatness of their product, Uppababy has great customer service. I tore the foamy cover to the handlebar (totally my fault when I put in in a trunk), and they sent me a whole new frame for free. I ripped the wheels (they still worked, just the cover was ripped), called and within a week I had brand new free wheels. I also decided that I no longer liked the color of my canopy and I bought a new canopy for $22 (IMO a minimal cost to have whatever color canopy your heart desired). Similar experience for the G-Luxe – I called to ask if there was a good way to clean the seat cover and they said No, sorry, but we’ll send you a brand new free seat cover. I also somehow broke the G-Luxe in a really weird way (they said they had never seen one broken like mine) and they sent me a whole new stroller, free.

      I originally had the Mesa but it did not fit in my car (Mazda3) and had to get a smaller-profile carseat. So check that it fits before taking the tags off.

  21. CPA Lady says:

    Incoming Rant:

    I’ve billed 400 hours so far this year. I am going to lose my mind. I’m making good money to sit in my seat and be available. I’m in a niche and am unlikely to lose my job. I may pick up some more hours at some point when a coworker retires, but who knows when that will be. In the meantime, I have complete flexibility with my hours, can work from home whenever I want. My boss is fantastic. My husband’s work involves a lot of travel and having this level of flexibility is necessary for our family. I came from a much more intense work environment and I find myself jealous of my former coworkers and dreaming of going back to work there, though I’m sure I’m looking at my time there with rose colored glasses. It’s extension season right now and I’m waiting for stuff to come in, but have been twiddling my thumbs all day for the second day in a row.

    400 hours. I want to run into the street screaming. So much solidarity with all the other working moms who leaned out and are seriously questioning themselves.

    • I could have written this post. So, solidarity.

    • 100% amen to this post.

    • I was the big law to nonprofit in house poster above – solidarity!

      At least you have flexibility? I actually don’t and in that regard I have some regrets!

    • I’m in a lean-out job (but still have to be butt-in-chair from 8:30-5) and question my life choices frequently. I won’t say every day, but a lot. Solidarity here too. Anything fun you can do (read a novel? Learn a language??) to kill time?

  22. How/when did you teach your kids to put on and take off shoes? Kid is 2.5 . Honestly his shoes are really hard to put on – very wide feet- but o sm struggling with teaching him to pull them off. Same for socks; maybe the answer is looser socks? With most things, I stress about teaching him to do things and then he just learns it on his own on his own timeline. Perhaps this is one of those things? Seems like Montessori kids have mastered taking off shoes so I’m wondering if I should be teaching him.

    • layered bob says:

      Montessori parent; yeah the Montessori kids have mastered taking off shoes (and mostly mastered putting on shoes) by 2.5 but that’s because the Montessori parents have researched, ordered, tried on, and returned hundreds of pairs of shoes looking for the unicorn shoe that their 2.5 year olds can put on and take off by themselves. My kids have 2 pair of shoes that they can handle themselves, which they wear to their toddler and primary communities, and the rest of their shoes require help to get on (although off is easier).

      In my experience if you make them learn, they resist it and want you to do everything, but if you LET them do it as soon as they express interest (even if it take 15 minutes and you are now late) the self-care comes when it comes without too much stressing.

    • anne-on says:

      My 5.5 yr old struggles with shorter (ankle) socks still, it is VERY fine motor focused, and that seems to come later. Daycare seemed to show them how to take off/put on socks around 2/3 (same with the flip method of coats, which my ex-elementary school teacher mom had to show me). There must be some youtube videos on an ‘easy method’ but I just showed him how to anchor the heel of one shoe against the toe of the other and do it that way.

    • This may be why my son, who has very high arches, developed such a passion for his rain boots around age 3. This was all fine until he developed a persistent case of athlete’s foot. He’s now 5 and firmly in Crocs this summer; I’ve blocked out the get on your shoes drama already. We’ll see how he does with sneakers when it gets colder. I often make him a deal that I’ll do one foot if he does the other. I think some kids like being really independent and insist on dressing themselves as toddlers, but mine would be happy to have me do it. But yeah, don’t stress, I think he’ll figure it out eventually.

    • my almost 4yo still hasn’t mastered socks. We just found out the top of his foot is higher than normal (I forget what this is technically called) so we purchased some shoes that are much easier for him to put on himself (the Velcro is attached to the tongue and the whole thing comes up) but before that he just couldn’t.

      Agree that this is much more of a fine motor skill than people realize, and that it just comes with time.

    • avocado says:

      2.5 is not much past the age when I was mostly worried about how to keep the shoes ON her feet. She liked to yank them off and eat them, which is why she did not wear shoes in the car for a long time.

      I don’t remember ever actually teaching her to put her shoes on. I taught her to tie them when she was just under 5 years old because she was in kindergarten and I remembered my kindergarten teacher being very insistent that we tie our own shoes.

    • Thanks! Maybe I’ll try the method of showing him the “anchor the heel of one shoe against toe of the other” method and then stop thinking about it till he’s older. He gets really frustrated that he can’t get his socks off, though!

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