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And — here are some of our latest threadjacks of interest – working mom questions asked by the commenters!
- If you’re a working parent of an infant with low sleep needs, how do you function at work when you’re in the throes of baby’s sleep regression?
- Should I cut my childcare down to 12 hours a month if I work from home?
- Will my baby have speech delays if we raise her bilingual?
- Has anyone given birth in a teaching hospital?
- My child eats everything, and my friends’ kids do not – how should I handle? In general, what is the best way to handle when your child has some skill/ability and your friend’s child doesn’t have that skill/ability?
- ADHD moms, give me your tips to help with things like behavior in the classroom, attention to detail, etc?
- I think I suffer from mom rage…
- My husband and kids are gone this weekend – how should I enjoy my free time?
- I’m struggling to be compassionate with a SAHM friend who complains she doesn’t have enough hours of childcare.
- If you exclusively formula fed, what tips do you have for in the hospital and coming home?
- Could I take my 4-yo and 8-yo on a 7-8 day trip to Paris, Lyon, and Madrid?
Okay, husband and I arguing this morning: can a 25 month old understand the word “obey”? I was proposing “do what I say” as an alternative but not sure… He thought we should be teaching “obey” if he doesnt already know it?
Favorite discipline tricks or books for this age?
We have 26 month old twins. We don’t use words like ‘obey’ but you could probably teach them what it means. At this age, you want to communicate in short concise sentences especially when they are upset so not more than 4-5 words. A direction like ‘obey’ or ‘do what I say’ is incredibly difficult for two year old to follow as it is an abstract concept. I would focus on what it is that you want them to do like ‘no biting’, ‘no throwing’, ‘gentle hands’, ‘go get your shoes’.
We don’t ‘discipline’ in the sense of punish. We redirect to an acceptable play activity if they are getting into mischief. We try to offer choice as much as possible within limits of what has to happen like we have to leave for daycare but the choice is do you want to put on your boots or coat first or you have to wear a bib at supper but you can pick red or blue. For a more significant offence like repeatedly hitting brother after being told no, child takes a two minute break (one minute for each year of age). We use the oven timer and don’t call it a time out- we say that if they are not playing nicely then they need to take a break from playing.
layered bob says
No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury.
One kid definitely understood “obey” by 20ish months; the others were close, right around there. Usually used in the context of, “I see you are having a hard time with [misbehavior]. I will help you obey.” (Used as seldom as possible because I don’t actually want them to be “obedient,” I want them to be respectful.)
Meg Murry says
Instead of obey, what about “follow instructions” “listen” or “cooperate”? The kid can definitely learn the concept, whatever word you use to teach it (whether they actually do or not is another question). If the child is at daycare, it would be easiest to ask the teachers what word/phrases they use and copy it, since the child will already be used to it. Or if with a nanny, agree on a phrase or two and repeat it.
Whatever phrase you use, I’ve found the best way to teach it is to use tons of praise when they *are* doing what you want. So I tend to say things like “thank you for getting your shoes and coat! Good job following instructions!” or “good job doing what Mommy asked/told you to do”.
my daughter uses “listen” which she picked up from school. she has definitely understood since 24 months.
Daycare started teaching kids to put on their “listening ears” when kiddo started in toddlers at 16 months. If we said, “Listening ears,” she would wave her hands around her ears and lock eyes with us until we told her what to do. It was adorable and helpful.
Fun morning project: If you could build an ideal set-up for grandparent involvement, what would you do?
In a few weeks, my mother will be moving across the country to live about a mile away from us. We have the only grandchild she is likely to ever have, and she wants to be able to spend more time with him. He just turned 3.
Mom and I have a fine relationship – both very introverted, both very protective of our privacy. I wouldn’t characterize our relationship as “close” (we haven’t lived in the same town for over 20 years, we e-mail / talk on the phone a few times a month), but no major issues.
To date, Mr. TK and I have raised Little TK without any family support nearby. Mr. TK is worried about the close proximity, and I want to be sensitive to his concerns, but my mom is very open to feedback (and very understanding of boundaries) so I don’t anticipate that will be much of an issue. That being said, for those of you that have grandparent help … are there things we should keep in mind, or plan for? Boundaries or expectations to set early on? Things you would do differently, if it were entirely up to you? Little TK has the option to drop down to 4 or 3 days a week at daycare during the summer … is that something we should consider, or is having a regular “grandma” day a bad idea for some reason?
Anon in NOVA says
i would LOVE that setup. my in-laws live about 30 minutes away, but both work full-time so aren’t super available for help.
You know your mom best, but starting out with a set day could lead to conflict early on if she has to cancel and you’re scrambling for last-minute help. My child is in elementary school, so things I’d think about would be:
-After-School care (being at our house to meet him when he gets off the bus and stay with him until we get home)
-Snow days (being available for the days that schools close or delay for snow but work is still open)
-Sick days (within reason, if it’s something where my husband and I both absolutely cannot miss, it would be nice to have this option)
-Vacations (paying her way for vacations and seeing if she can handle bedtime one or two of the nights so you can have couples time)
That’s great that your mother is doing this. If she’s open to feedback, it seems like you shouldn’t have too many issues. If she’s not working, is she expecting any sort of compensation? Are you and your husband on the same page about if you’d be giving her the occasional gift etc. in return for all of her help?
One of my friends has a nice setup where her child is in daycare 5 days a week, but her mom picks up her son around 3, takes him home, and they have snack/playtime until my friend gets home. It works out really well because it saves my friend time (no pickup) and it staves off the end-of-day overtired/hungry crazies. It’s also nice because if her mom can’t do it one day, her son has coverage and can stay at daycare until the end of the day. And also also, after 2-3 hours of toddler time, her mom is satisfied with her quality time and happy to go home and relax for the rest of the evening.
+1. This is what we’re doing and it’s great.
We do this too – my MIL will pick up my daughter from daycare after nap a few days a week or even every day depending on her work schedule (she has flexible hours as she does bookkeeping for a few different orgs). She also covers sick days when she can (e,g. today I’m WFH and she’s on her way to cover the rest of the day with my sick baby). It’s amazing. It’s a huge help and my daughter adores her. From the privacy/boundaries angle, we are SUPER close and I’m ok with her invading almost all my boundaries so it mostly doesn’t bother me if she oversteps – I know she just loves my daughter more than anything so if she tries to clean up while baby naps or buys her tons of stuff I try not to let it bug me and do gentle redirection when it’s too much (and I just re-do the sippy cuos when she washes them because she doesn’t get them clean).
As someone who is super lucky to have really an ideal grandparent situation, my first piece of advice would be to make sure you take her preferences into account. Depending on how much she has going on in her life, I’d probably not ask her to take the kid during one or two whole weekdays. That’s a lot, especially if she’s not used to it. My grandparent situation involves the following: Grandparents come over for dinner a few nights a week. When my husband is out of town, Grandma often picks them up from daycare, because it’s hard for me to get out of work that early. On those days, she often makes a meal for us ahead of time, and stays through getting ready for bedtime. (Really, she’s awesome.) She takes the kids to swimming class during the week, which is a special activity for them. Sometimes, she or my dad randomly pick up the kids from daycare (letting me know ahead of time, of course!) to take them on some adventure (pottery painting and going to search for frogs at the park were two recent adventures). Critically, she is usually our backup when a kid is sick and can’t go to school. She is also a reliable emergency back-up if someone needs to be picked up from school and has taken a kid to a doctor’s appointment from time to time (although I prefer to have me or my husband do this if possible). Also, my parents often babysit the kids for a couple hours on weekends so that my husband and I can do errands or go out to dinner or something without the kids. Maybe every other month they have a sleepover at the grandparents’ house so my husband and I can have a night out and sleep in. They also have “special” things that they do with the kids, like my dad is pretty much in charge of teaching my older son to ride a bike, and is also known for taking the kids out to get hot chocolate. If you and your mom are both introverts, I wouldn’t expect you need to do too much boundary-setting, other than to discuss expectations. I never really had to, but then, I’m pretty close to my parents, and they have always been very close with my kids, so there aren’t a lot of boundaries in the first place.
OK, now I am thinking of a few areas where I need to push a little bit with my parents. First is not to give too many sweets, or too many snacks before dinner. Second is dinner/bedtime. Third is safety, a bit, as my dad is a bit more reckless than I would be. I think that issue was solved after one kid had to get stitches after a sort of preventable accident on grandpa’s watch… They are generally happy to listen to me on these, as I’m the parent, and I’m not shy about reminding them.
This will be a great opportunity! I have a similar set up with my mom and it works well. She covers us on snow days as school/daycare closes a lot but my job hardly ever does. She also takes our oldest to swimming lessons after school once a week and karate after school on another day. This means we only pay for after school care three times a week. She also takes our youngest to a music class once a week (picks up at our house and drops off at daycare). She also covers for us if we get stuck and can’t make daycare pick up on time. I scheduled the lessons/classes so they are not on back to back days. About once a month, the kids have a sleepover at her house so we can have a date night and go for brunch with friends before picking up the kids. We make an effort to show our appreciation (kids make thank you cards for grandmas, we buy her flowers from time to time). For example, on Sunday, she took my oldest to a birthday party in the afternoon and when to her house to bake cupcakes, we can over for dinner for 2 hours.
I would encourage you to remind your husband that just like you and he do not do everything identically, neither will she. So figure out what you will be firm on – for us it’s properly installed car seats which we purchased and installed – and what you will flex on – juice boxes and oreos at grandma’s house but not at home.
Anon in NOVA says
This is a good point, it’s a good idea to get on the same page abuot what you will/will not relax on while they’re in grandma’s care, and to make sure ya’ll are on the same page about the fact she’s family, not an employee.
Meg Murry says
Yes, this was an issue with my MIL and we finally determined that she if she wanted to be “fun Grandma who spoils the kids and skips nap and gives them ice cream before lunch” that was ok for an occasional day, but that that wasn’t going to work for us on a 2-3 days a week basis, because the post-grandma’s house fallout was just too much for us. We now have hit more of a happy medium (Grandma’s house has juice and they are allowed one small cup of it with a meal, there is dessert most nights at Grandmas as long as you at least try to eat some dinner first) and Grandma’s house is more of an evening or weekend thing, not often in place of regular daycare. Grandma (and Grandpa) have also gotten better about saying no, or recognizing pitfalls and avoiding them beforehand.
My in-laws live about 5 min away and we have a great relationship. My FIL still works and my MIL has some health challenges, so we keep their regular commitments to us pretty light. Once a week, grandma picks up my older daughter from daycare and takes her to a class that is too early for me to get her to. That leaves me free to pick up & bring in the groceries with just one child (heaven!). One night a week, both grandparents watch the kids so I can work out. They have a car with carseats for both kids so they can be an emergency backup if needed. I would talk with your mom up front about how much she would like to do, and be very open to tuning the schedule as needed. She may find that it’s more taxing than she expected to keep up with a three year old. I try to limit my requests to times when I REALLY need the grandparents, and I still use babysitters very frequently. My in-laws travel fairly often, so they can’t be my only childcare option. We try hard to invite them to do things just to spend time with us – not to be “on duty” with the kids – dinner at our house, dinner out, walk/park, etc. That way they don’t feel like they’re just babysitters. Finally, we are very respectful of boundaries. They have a key to our house, but always check before they come over (even if we’re away).
You’ve already gotten good advice and I’ll echo some of what’s been said. You are smart to make boundaries early. Do you want mom randomly showing up at your house? Likewise, would she want you randomly showing up at her house? I think mutual respect is key. Don’t assume mom is available to babysit (ask politely and make plans in advance) and likewise, she shouldn’t assume she can always come hang out with your child.
Rainbow Hair says
My parents live 1/2 a mile away and it’s *great* but not the helpful panacea I was expecting, to be honest.
What’s great is: they’re real figures in my daughter’s life (the way my grandparents never were); sometimes they save the day (NYE food poisoning –> grandparents taking kid out of our hair for 24 hours); they can do fun spur of the moment stuff like meet us up for dinner without advanced planning; my mom in particular is a great, energetic babysitter.
What’s less great (NB, I only mean this as in, “living close didn’t solve my problems!” I realize I’m ridiculously lucky to get all the help I do!) is: my dad is immune compromised so if kiddo is sick they’re not able to be helpful; they have intense work and travel schedules, so we can’t really rely on them for babysitting (and it seems like every time I’m out of town, they are too, so husband doesn’t have any backup); they’re slightly judgmental (found veganism + being very health conscious late in life, so they sometimes express displeasure when we don’t do those things they way they would).
She needs friends says
I don’t have this situation (I wish!) but the only thing I would add is that it would helpful and beneficial for everyone involved if you can help your mom build a social network with people around her age. Figure out where the senior center is, where she can take yoga or gardening or whatever other class, try to connect her with a walking buddy. She will get to see you often, which is great, but she needs her own life, friends, interests, etc. It doesn’t sound like she is the type to encroach, but if she doesn’t have her own life separate and apart from you she will consider you as her main social outlet, and that can be hard.
Meg Murry says
I agree with others that it probably makes more sense to keep your son in daycare full time but let her pick him up (preferably on regular pre-arranged days of the week) for some Grandma time.
One tradition we started that I love is that my father was always into cooking and feeding everyone, so the day my mother picked up my son from school became “family dinner night” and on Wednesdays we would have dinner with my parents. Not anything fancy, but a night to be together, and where my husband and I didn’t have to cook – and often we were sent home with leftovers for lunches or dinners for the rest of the week. Once my son got to be school aged, we shifted that to him riding the bus to her house 2 nights a week after school, which helped us with the burden of after school care but wasn’t too much to be overwhelming for them.
The other thing no one has mentioned yet – would you prefer her to watch your son in her house or yours? Most of the time my kids go to the Grandparents houses, but occasionally they will come to us to play with the kids in their playroom, or to help out with morning routine or bedtime when one parent is sick or traveling. If the kid is going to Grandma’s house, you’ll want to help her with childproofing – or, since the kid is 3, more of a “de-mischief-izing”. For instance, putting cleaning supplies, medications, sharpies, makeup, etc out of easy reach, making sure any bookshelves that a kid would be tempted to climb are strapped to the wall, etc.
Other boundaries to set: what is the policy on visits? Does there need to be a call first, or are pop-ins ok? Is having keys to each other’s houses only for emergencies, or will you just let yourselves in?
Anyome have nursing bra suggestions? Im currently 32 weeks pregnant and starting to consider purchasing some. Im very small chested, 32a before pregnancy and slightly bigger now but not by much.
Also, anyone feel like their husbands were not as interested in s** in the third tri? My husband is still very intimate in hugging or kissing me and we even do other things but not the full actual thing. I know he doesnt want to hurt my feelings but i feel like having this huge belly with a very active baby freaks him out a bit. Hoping things will return to normal after birth?
Bravado nursing tanks – they are sized like bras and have small band widths available. I loved them so much I still wear them even though I weaned a year ago.
+1 on the Bravado brand – I liked their bras the best. Somebody on this forum suggested the link below which I also used. These weren’t as good in terms of quality as Bravado but the price was right and I needed some back up options!
normal after birth? bwahh hahahaha
You experience might vary, I found it painful while I was b feeding because of dehydration, plus zero interest after having another human feeding off of me 20 hours a day. Plus sleep deprivation. Plus baby weight, and leakage from b**Bs and elsewhere. Those people that have kids 12 months apart? I assume immaculate conception.
Did it return to normal? Yes, about a year PP.
+1 : also, look into a postpartum doula, who will not only come and make home visits but also do a little bit of handholding to guide you through a) what the average experience is and b) getting things back to normal(er).
“cake croissant” at nordstrom was by far my fave.
I am also on the small side (34A pre-preg) and found some good ones at H&M — they don’t have a huge selection in store but I ordered a ton of nursing-related things online (bras, tanks, etc) and then returned what I didn’t like.
I really liked the elle mcpherson nursing bras, they were (moderately) cute, supportive enough considering I’m small chested, and easy to open one-handed.
(was) due in june says
I was a 32B pre-pregnancy. When my milk came in, I hit 32DDD I kid you not, and eventually calmed down to 32DD. I’ve weaned and now am a deflated 32B. I wore the bravado bras.
If you think you might be pumping regularly, I highly recommend the rumina pumping/nursing tanks. It’s so convenient to have a hands free pumping bra built in to your tank. My baby spent time in the NICU and this tank was an essential item for me!
Anon Mom says
What time do your infants go to bed? And what time do you get home from work? I have a 7 month old baby and I did some research about sleep. The sooner they go to bed the better. I am trying to start bedtime routine by 7.30 so that he is asleep by 8.00 pm. But that leaves me with just a couple of hours to be with him.
CPA Lady says
If it makes you feel any better, my baby set her own bedtime, and that bedtime was 6:00 pm on the dot and so help anyone who stood in her way. Now that she’s 2.5 we’ve pushed it to 7:00 and she could possibly even stay awake later. This early to bed thing does come with early to rise though. When she was going to bed stupidly early, she would wake up between 5:15 and 6:00 am. Which is how I got to be a morning person. I think the reality of having a full time job and small children who need a lot of sleep is that you don’t get to see them that much during the week.
” I think the reality of having a full time job and small children who need a lot of sleep is that you don’t get to see them that much during the week.” This is true for us still and my kid is 6. We focused on the quality of the time we spend together and worried less about the quantity of time. If you want to scale down your weekend activities to spend more time with him right now, then that’s the better option over shortchanging him on sleep.
Anon Mom says
Yes, it is a sad situation but you are absolutely right-better to make-up on the weekends than shortchanging him on sleep. Sometimes I wish I was a SHAM…
Anon in NOVA says
I came to say the same thing. My child is also 6 and we’re reading to him at 7 then it’s bed time. Since he gets up at about 6:15, this is the only way to make sure he gets enough sleep (and he does NOT do well with less sleep than that).
Unfortunately, it’s part of working full-time and having a kid. The week is more about ensuring he’s fed, homework is done, he’s adequately groomed, and he’s in bed on time. Weekends are when more of the bonding happens.
Another one agreeing with this. And all the advice over the past couple of weeks to just focus on your kids for the two hours or so they are awake and you’re home, and pick up work/chores after they go to bed. It’s the only way.
This. Agree with everyone above that this is the reality of working full time plus kids. But I find that we can do a LOT of bonding in the two hours after school if I put away my phone and really focus on the kids. Two hours of uninterrupted mom-attention times five days a week is a pretty significant amount of time.
I actually dread when school and homework starts. I hate to be THAT parent, but I truly think I’ll push back on excessive homework just to preserve our limited time together.
Agree – my son goes to bed at 6pm which basically makes me a single parent during the week because I’m the only one that gets home from work in time to see him. It’s not ideal. But I try to remind myself that there are some upsides – my husband and I get to eat adult dinner together most nights.
Also agreed on all counts. My daughter is a year and her bedtime is 6:45. It sucks but is necessary.
16 months. We start bedtime routine between 630 and 645 and usually asleep by 645 to 7. I typically don’t get home before 615 and that’s if I time everything perfectly, some days it’s closer to 625 . It sucks that I don’t get more time but kid sleeps better if she has an earlier bedtime and we make up for it on the weekends. I just try to enjoy the bedtime routine with her – we’ll wash up, change into our PJs, maybe do a quick little massage, read a book or two, I sing a song, etc. It may be short but 20 minutes of actual quality time and a happy, well rested baby is enough for me until she is older.
I would love 8. Our 7 month set her own bedtime as starting the routine at 6:45. We get very little time with her, but she’s really done at that time.
Anon in NYC says
From about 4 months – 20 months, my daughter’s bedtime was 7:30. At 20 months she started staying awake in her crib for about an hour before falling asleep. Now we’ve pushed it back to 7:45-8pm.
I have two. When I had my first, she was in daycare and I wanted to mAximize our time. She went to bed 8:30/9pm, slept until 7am and took 2 long naps/day.
My second is different. I’m working from home and part time, so am home earlier. This one goes to bed by 7 (older sib no longer naps and goes to bed 7/7:30) and is up 6:30/7am.
My 13 month old goes to bed at 6:30 and has since he was around 7 months. We can occasionally push that to 7-7:30 if we have an event, but he gets cranky. We have to wake him up at 5:45 to go to daycare, but on the weekends he will sleep in until 7:30. My husband picks him up from daycare and feeds him dinner at 5, and I usually get home around 5:15 and we all hang out and play for an hour or so (my husband and I both try to drop everything and spend a full 30 minutes to an hour of quality time together as a family), then do the bedtime routine around 6:15 and he goes to bed around 6:30-6:45.
mornings can be high-quality too if you get yourself in gear. when my kid gets up early we make pancakes or waffles from scratch, her favorite. and we take little walks, play, etc. in the evening we can’t do any of these things.
Anon in NYC says
Yes, I find that this is one of the huge benefits of having a short commute. My kid usually wakes up at around 7:15 (although has been pushing that earlier), and so long as I’m on top of it that often means a leisurely start to our day.
Meg Murry says
To put a different data point out there, my kids didn’t go to bed quite that early when they were infants – but that was probably because they had more of a “late evening nap”, especially once they went to daycare and started falling asleep on the ride home (and we were often able to take them in the house in the bucket seat and have them stay asleep). With that last nap, we were then able to get a little bit more “playtime” in the evening, and then have them go down for “bed” more in the 8:30 timeframe(or later, depending on how long/late that last nap was). Or when they were very young, we weren’t too strict about putting them right to bed, and sometimes they would fall asleep in our arms in the evenings and we’d hang out with one of us holding the sleeping baby and my husband and I would chat or grab some food and get in some extra baby snuggles. But part of it was also that the baby slept in our bedroom for at least the first 6 months (it just worked out that way for us, we didn’t start off with the intention of long term roomsharing) so if we tried to put them to “bed” earlier than that we either had to get ourselves ready for bed in the dark and quiet and that almost never worked.
Meg Murry says
Oops, I was thinking “tiny infant” – I missed the 7 months part. Even still, we never got into the “bedtime at 7 pm routine”, it was usually a little later, except for occasionally when the kid came home from daycare so worn out that they went straight to bed after a little food.
But my kids were also able to sleep in, since my husband didn’t have to take them to daycare until after 8 am (and some days later if they slept in) so that probably also made a big difference – if we were trying to get them out the door at 7 am we probably would have had to enforce earlier bedtimes.
lucy stone says
Same age baby, she will not do bed before about 8. We’ve tried.
From about 6 to 16 mo, bedtime started 7:15/7:30 with lights out 7:45. We all got home 6:45 which was the earliest we could. This worked only because our kid kept 3 naps until 10.5 mo (third nap morphed into a catnap commuting home) and kept 2 naps until 17 mo. Woke up around 7. It sucked, but we also didn’t have to leave the house till 8:15 am, so we had a little time in the morning.
Now we are in a new location and new jobs; from 18 mo onward, we have only 20-30 min with the kid in the morning but have 5:30-7:30 in the evening (5:30-7 for the parent not doing bedtime that night). At 2, he is so much more talkative– we can really play and talk about his day during that time. I still miss him during the week.
It’s sad not to have that much time with baby, but believe me — you will be so so thankful in the long run if you put your baby to be early. It’s never too early to establish good sleeping habits. And habits are harder to correct as a child gets older. And keeping up baby past bedtime makes for a very cranky and overtired baby.
At that age, my son was going to bed around 7 pm. Sometimes I literally saw him for 15 minutes before bedtime. And I felt bad, but now 3.5 years later we have a champion sleeper.
Anon Mom says
Thanks so much for this! I have been putting him to sleep at around 8.30 pm sometimes even after 9.00 pm because I miss him so much during the day and I want to spend time with him. He is definitely cranky and tired. Thanks for putting things into perspective-I definitely want him to have good sleep habits. I guess I am not the only mom who does not spend time with her baby during the week.
You’re very welcome! I feel like sometimes I get beat up here for pushing good sleep habits so much, early intervention with sleep consultants, etc., but honestly, it is so crucial to establish good sleeping habits at a young age for both baby and parents. I am someone who really really needs my sleep (when I was pregnant, I was much more worried about sleep deprivation than labor) and so DH and I prioritized sleep from the very beginning, even if that meant seeing baby for just a few minutes at night. If you lurk here long enough, you’ll see that sleep issues/sleep deprivation is such a big issue with for so many. It can be so tough.
If you need some good reading material on sleep habits, I highly recommend Dr. Weissbluth’s book.
Maximize time with baby on weekends and maybe if baby wakes up early you can wake up before her so that once she is up you can focus 100% on spending time with her. Good luck!
Not sure if this is an option for you but I adjusted my work schedule so I get home by 5:00 and can spend 2 hours with our 7 month old before he goes to sleep. I get to work around 7:00 and leave around 4:15.
Can you wise working ladies help me develop a strategy for pumping? My baby is about a month old, and after some early challenges we’re finally in a good rhythm with breastfeeding – he feeds about every 2-2.5 hrs during the day and twice at night (about every 4 hrs). While this is working for us now, I will be going back to work when he’s 3 months old, and in the meantime would like the occasional night out while my husband watches him, so I’d like to build a stash. But I find that the only time of day that it seems logical to pump is right after he goes to sleep; otherwise, I worry that I will deplete my supply for his next feeding or simply don’t have much left after his previous feeding. Or I will have to wake up in the middle of the night to pump, ugh. Any tips? Or should I just not worry about building a stash until he’s a bit older?
I found the following worked for me:
Pump about 60 to 90 after your morning feed (for me this was the 10:30 one — the earlier one was too crazy what with getting toddler out of the house). This also worked for me because baby was (usually) napping at this point. Don’t worry about depleting for your next feed, the baby can get more out than your pump can. You might not get much at first, but this will eventually program your body to produce more (also a benefit for when you go back to work and want to make sure you are getting enough from pumping). Good luck!
I hate pumping and would not wake up at night to pump. On maternity leave, I’d pump after each daytime feeding when I was trying to build a little stash. I didn’t get much, but it adds up over time. After I went back to work, I’d pump right after baby went to bed. This was nice because it was just one extra session a day. My goal was to minimize pumping if at all possible. I would expect that you won’t get much at first, but your supply should ramp up to meet the breastfeeding + pumping demand if you keep it up.
Meg Murry says
Pumping is a royal pain – not just the pumping part, but also the logistics of washing parts, etc. And unfortunately, in the early days unless you have oversupply, you probably won’t get much to show for it – I remember getting only 1/4 oz *total* at some pumping sessions and being so very frustrated.
However, you can train your body to produce more milk at certain times, by pumping after regular feeding sessions. Depending on what time it is, a good time to pump might be after than 2nd 4 hour stretch of sleep (or the feeding after that). You won’t make much milk at first, but if you do that every day, you’ll be sending the “demand” signal and you’ll eventually work your way up to a couple of ounces, or even to the point where you can nurse off just one side on that morning and pump off the other. I had supply issues, so the only way I was able to even sort of keep up was to pump every single day after the morning feeding (including on weekends) to give me a couple extra ounces to cover for the fact that I couldn’t pump enough during the day when I was at work or to give me some buffer room.
There is a growth spurt around 6-8 weeks – for some kids (like mine) this meant they wanted to eat every hour on the hour for about 3 straight days. Don’t kill yourself trying to pump too during a growth spurt, or freak out and go through all the milk you’ve managed to pump thinking you aren’t making enough. If BF is going well for you, I personally would only use this time to make sure you know how to use the pump, and not worry about pumping for the freezer until after that growth spurt.
The only other thing I can suggest depends on whether you have any type of oversupply or overactive letdown. When you nurse on one side, do you have a letdown on the other side as well? And/or do you wind up with your opposite side nursing pad soaked while you nurse? If so, you could try using something like Milkies Milk-saver to capture that extra milk that would otherwise be wasted. My cousin had a super active supply and got a ton of milk that way. My supply was never more than just barely adequate and I didn’t have a strong letdown so the Milkies were a total waste of money for me – I never got more than a few drops in them, so YMMV a lot.
Two thoughts – 1) I wouldn’t worry about building up a stash now but if you know you are going to go out on X night you can squeeze in 2 add’l pump sessions (I did 1/day) before hand. So, e.g., plans Saturday, I would pump Friday and one extra Saturday. 2) as to when, there were times when my daughter tended to sleep longer (usually when we put her down for the night) and I would pump halfway through that period, right before going to bed myself .. so if bedtime for her was 9/10 around that age and she would first wake up during the night around 12:30/1, I would try to pump around 11. By the time she woke up my supply was replenished and it was replenished from the initial feeding to go to sleep so it all sort of worked out. She also took a long morning nap so half way through that was another good opportunity. Basically look for long stretches of baby sleep when you yourself are awake. FWIW, a lot of women here seem to pump after the morning feeding but that never worked for me; it may work for you though.
I pumped immediately after nursing. At first I got a small amount, but it increased over time. You are always making more milk, and you will still have milk for your next feeding. Pumping right after the first feeding of the day is supposed to be the best, but I always prioritized eating and showering, so it was usually mid-day before I could manage that. I never pumped after the baby went to sleep, because I slept then. About a month is a good time to start pumping.
Once we got nursing established, I pumped right after nursing and/or on the other side while nursing to avoid wasting the opposite-side leakage. When she was tiny, my baby was a night owl who stayed up late and slept late, so while that lasted I’d pump first thing in the morning an hour or so before she woke up.
Newbie Momma says
The lactation consultant told me to pump right after the earliest morning feeding to build up a stash –which I did (usually around 9 a.m.) and was able to build a good stash up for my return to work at 2 months. There were times when baby was ready to eat again RIGHT when I got done pumping, but he always seemed to get milk out. However, if I did it again, I’d just manually pump one side while baby ate on the other — any time, but production is best in the morning. That’s also what I do now when I want to go out — I’ve found pumping with a baby induced let down is so much more effective.
This is what I did. We got into a pretty good routine of doing the morning feeding and then baby would sit in the bouncy chair while I pumped for 20 minutes. I think I started this routine when baby was around 6 weeks old. I was able to build up a decent stash before going back to work. And yes, LCs and pediatricians will tell you you have more supply in the morning.
Question about having a nice-looking house with little kids: The public areas in our downstairs are hardwood except the living room, which is carpet. The carpet looks TERRIBLE. It’s a high traffic area + 2 kids = awful. Any opinions on carpet vs hardwood in the living room? Also – they used flat paint, so the wall in our kitchen is covered in food/milk splatter. In general, wondering if we should replace the floor and paint now, or wait until the kids are a bit older (now 2.5 and 5).
Re flat paint: you can just paint over the specific mess with a paint roller in half an hour once in a while. I’ve found that I can also clean splatters off flat paint decently. My living room has hard wood + a patterned rug that doesn’t show many stains. Full on carpet would be a recipe for disaster in my house. We also don’t really ever eat in the living room, so that helps.
None of this is to say that I have a nice-looking house with kids! Ha!
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will help with the wall messes, but I’d probably just repaint with a scrubbable paint.
Re. the floor, I’d be concerned about matching the existing hardwood. It’s going to look really odd if the hardwood doesn’t match. We have one carpeted room downstairs and went with a berber-style carpet with flecks of different colors in it for that room only. That style is probably less fashionable now than it was when we installed it, but it’s held up well and disguises a lot of dirt. We don’t wear shoes in the house or let our kid eat outside the kitchen, which helps a lot.
In House Lobbyist says
I am team hardwood all the way. We have a carpet looking rug from HD in our living room but I am thinking of getting an real rug since I have had good luck with some from Amazon in our formal areas. As for matching hardwoods to the other rooms- I think you should either match it or make it clear that you are doing something different. My family owns a sawmill so I have had hardwood floors my entire life except when I living in an apartment in law school that turned my feet black when I was barefooted even thought it looked clean. My kids are 6 and 3 and we repaint wall splatters and handprints about every 6 months- the dirt keeps getting higher up on the walls. I am having the same questions about whether to replace the couch now or hold out another year or two.
I am convinced kids just have dirt that falls off of them all the time. We only eat in the kitchen, take our shoes off, etc. but they just rain dirt and sand!
We have hardwood throughout our house and LOVE it. It is incredibly easy to quickly clean. The toddler loves to push the SwifferVac around so I actually have an 18-month-old floor-cleaning service nightly! We do have a very short patterned rug in the living room and we just get it professionally cleaned annually (that timing may be gross, but I’m just not going to do it more often – it is vacuumed weekly!).
Meg Murry says
Our carpet always looked terrible, even if we didn’t allow food in that room, no shoes, etc. It just was. However, we also have old hardwood in our house, which means it is cold underfoot, and since it really needs refinished we wind up with an occasional splinter if our kids run around barefoot.
However, a good carpet shampooing session can really make a world of difference sometimes (and sometimes it just makes clean spots and makes the stains more obvious, unfortunately). When I was growing up my mother would make arrangements to have our carpet shampooed while we were on vacation so it had plenty of time to dry. Is that something you could arrange? It is definitely less expensive than ripping out the current carpet. We also wound up putting a cheap rug *over* a really terribly stained carpet – not exactly pretty, but far less horrible looking than the stained and splotched carpet.
As for the kitchen, it’s not just a matter of flat paint vs non-flat. There is high quality flat (or nearly flat) paint that cleans up well, and cheap paints of all sheens that pick up stains and spatters super easily. But yes, in general, if you re-paint, don’t go with flat in the kitchen, and while you don’t need to get the super expensive stuff, you don’t want to go with the absolutely cheapest product out there either – because even glossy cheap crap won’t hold up.
I’ve found that kids may get less messy, but they never stop making messes, so it might make sense to wait a little bit longer (past potty training, and sippy cups perhaps) but for the most part you’ll get the same lifespan out of the carpet/paint job/whatever if you do it now or if you wait.
We have linoleum that looks like wood in our kitchen with carpet in our family room and dining room and my husband and I are both dreaming of the day we can afford to put linoleum throughout the whole downstairs (we have many large dogs so real word is a hard no for us).
Hardwood throughout the house. We worry a bit about the area rugs not being soft enough once we have littles crawling around, but it’s always easier to put down more padding/rugs/play areas than to clean carpet, I think.
I love our hardwood.
Hardwood throughout the house. All rugs are low pile and small enough to fit in our oversized washing machine (in some areas I have attached thin Velcro strips at the back at the edges so they hold together and visually look like one large rug). I had carpet until the oldest was 3. Never again. Trying to keep that carpet remotely clean took years off my life.
Amelia Bedelia says
My 2.5 year old frequently takes a 2 hours nap in the afternoon. And we have to awaken her from that. But, she doesn’t go down until 9pm and frequently takes an hour to fall asleep. She then sleeps until about 8.30. should I remove the nap? she really seems to need it. on the occasional day she goes without a nap, she still takes an hour to fall asleep. am I supporting bad sleep habits?
Ugh. I am struggling so much with this too right now. I’m thinking of trying to cut the nap short. Removing it would be a disaster.
Two Cents says
What about waking her up at 7 am, putting her down for an early nap (12 – 2 pm), and then putting her to bed around 7ish? Or even 8. Most kids that age will get tired after being awake for 5 hours. I assume she isn’t going to preschool/daycare, but she will soon enough and won’t be able to sleep in until 8:30 am for that long anyway.
Amelia Bedelia says
you know. I might just wait until she starts school to worry about it . . .
Two Cents says
That works too. :) I don’t think you’re setting up bad sleep habits by the way — she’s still getting adequate sleep. For me the issue would be that if my kids went to bed at 9 pm I wouldn’t get sufficient downtime at the end of the evening to goof off, do chores, do work, etc. But if it works for you, then no need to change it! And it will take care of itself anyways once she goes to school.
I would not remove the nap. I’d consider: what time is the nap? (Can it start & end earlier?) What’s your bedtime routine? (Is it relaxing enough?) What is her room like at bedtime? (Maybe too light now that the time has changed?)
So she’s getting 12-13 hrs of sleep which sounds right for that age. Is the schedule just not working for your family? What time is her nap? Is it later in the afternoon which in turn moves her bedtime later? Shifting everything may mean that she wakes up earlier because she goes to bed earlier. At that age we did a 2 hour nap right after lunch which meant bedtime around 7-7:30 and he was up probably 6:30-7. You can’t always force sleep, so if she’s in her room in sleeping conditions and is pretty quiet (not playing, wandering, cajoling), then it may just take her some time to fall asleep.
Is it a problem that she sleeps until 8:30? If not, don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken! My 20-month-old has a similar schedule (and I love it, because it means we can all sleep in on weekends + get play time on weeknights). She seems to be getting the sleep she needs, on a schedule that works for her. Doesn’t sound like bad sleep habits to me.
Amelia Bedelia says
actually, it works great for our family. I really like it! I think I need to quit worrying about it . . .
Yes, stop worrying if it works – she’s getting plenty of sleep!
Our son has had a similar schedule, and I worried for a while because it seems like everyone we know puts kiddos down for bed way sooner. My husband finally convinced me that we need to do what works best for our kid and family, and now I go with it:)
I replied below about shorting her nap but so much this! If 8:30 wake up doesn’t cause a problem for your family, no need to change it!
She’s getting the right amount of sleep, just starting later and ending later. So wake her up earlier in the morning if you really want her to get to sleep earlier at night. You could try shortening the nap but my first instinct is to leave that alone.
I would shorten the nap. Wake her up after about 1.5 hours and snuggle for a bit. Either that or let her sleep and get in lots of fresh air/running around after nap.
Today seems to be bedtime question day! Tagging on – our 2.5 month old doesn’t go down until 9-10ish (but then sleeps great). We’d really like to get her closer to a 7pm bedtime but if I try to put her down that early, she takes a catnap and then is up again until 9 or 10. Any suggestions on how to move up bedtime? I recall my older son went to bed around 7pm by 3 months-ish, but I can’t remember how we got him on that schedule in the first place.
I think she will probably adjust her schedule when she’s a little older and consolidates her naps more, or sleeps less during the day in general. Memories are foggy but this sounds fairly normal to me.
Mine basically switched on her own right after 3 months.
Anon in NYC says
That sounds about right for that age. When my daughter was that young we put her down at a reasonable time (7:30), but then expected a wakeup sometime around 9 or 10-ish to eat, and then we’d be able to put her down and have her sleep for several hours. I think at that age she was still waking up 2x a night (like 10pm and 4am). She gradually started sleeping longer to the point where I think she just dropped one of the wake ups, and we did CIO at around 14 weeks with a 7:30 bedtime and that adjusted her schedule.
It will get better as she gets older. At that age they cluster feed a lot in the evening. If she does to bed earlier she will just end up waking up more at night to feed. Try feeding and babywearing throughout the evening so you can still get laundry or whatever done but feed her enough for a good stretch of sleep overnight.
Ours self adjusted over time. Pretty sure bedtime was 9 ish around 2 months and 7:30 by 6 mo.
I would wait. I actually liked the later bedtime, and did not push it, because it meant once they were sleeping 8 hour stretches, I can sleep 8 hour stretches. My first actually refused to go down until much later, like midnight on a good night.
Anon in NOVA says
Thank you to everyone who weighed in on the issue I was having with my child getting in trouble for talking during school. I was so busy freaking out about it that I hadn’t stopped and realized I could ask the teacher clarifying questions
I emailed her to ask a bit more about her willingness to impose consequences for getting to “red” (right now they just fill out a worksheet if that happens) or to assign him extra work since he’s talking after he finishes his work. I haven’t heard back from her yet, but he suddenly started getting “green”, so who knows.
Glad to hear that you reached out to the teacher and things seem to be going better! The lack of a reply sounds somewhat frustrating, but something must have changed somehow. Perhaps the easter bunny discussion made an impression, the teacher is giving him extra work, or she’s just realized that his behavior doesn’t really warrant “red.” Whatever it is, sounds like progress.