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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?
I am 7 weeks away from my due date and feeling a bit desperate for some lighter, springier clothes, mostly due to the changing temperatures not just boredom with my clothing. I’m so reluctant to spend more on maternity clothes right now and don’t have any friends in the area who can loan me their old things (just moved to a new state a few months ago).
My big question for this group is what clothing I should consider that will take me through the postpartum summer months, bearing in mind that I hope to be nursing. I’ve always carried a little extra weight in my midsection so while I haven’t gained an extraordinary amount, I do expect to carry enough of it with me through the summer (and let’s face it, probably a bit beyond!) and want to avoid feeling self-conscious in clingy nursing tanks. Can I get by with regular flowy t-shirts while on maternity or do I specifically want nursing tops? My biggest regret in this pregnancy was not investing in more versatile maternity clothing from the beginning.
Carrie M says
I don’t think you need to specifically buy nursing tops, though it can be convenient to have one or two of them. For me, layers were key. I typically wore a nursing bra + nursing tank underneath, so I only had to unclip them. Whatever top layer I wore had to be easy to pull up, down or unbutton. Think jersey tank dresses (pull down one shoulder), tunic button-downs (unbutton half or all the way), or really any t-shirt or blouse that you can pull up to provide access. The layers also helped me feel more sucked-in.
I was just checking out Old Navy and I think they have some cute spring stuff that could work for nursing and postpartum generally, both in the maternity section and in the regular section (if you buy a size or two up). I lived in tunic shirts when I was postpartum in the spring/summer. So I’d say definitely get a few cute things that will help you transition! There are also some cute flowy, sleeveless dresses that might work for you too.
Maddie Ross says
This was me a couple of years ago (due in early May) and honestly, I just really toughed it out the last few weeks in more wintery colors and dresses because I did not want to buy another thing. To me, you’re pregnant, you get a huge pass on looking seasonal. If you really want to buy something, I would probably invest in a t-shirt style dress or two from somewhere like the maternity line at Target. Maybe a solid color so you can wear a scarf or necklace that reads more spring-y. And personally, I would not invest a lot of time or energy trying to find things to carry you post-partum to. There was honestly nothing I bought that worked during pregnancy that also worked beyond the first 2-3 weeks post-partum (during which time I mostly wore maternity yoga pants and leggings anyway). My b**bs completely changed between pregnancy and nursing and things just shifted. I’d probably spend a little now (or nothing) and then a little later as summer starts so that you feel really good then in your post-pregnancy body.
Maddie Ross says
Oh, and I despised nursing tops. They all looked frumpy to me or seemed too expensive for such a limited purpose. Like Philanthropy Girl, I pretty much wore what I wanted and nursed primarily in private. To the extent I knew I was going to be out and may need to do it, I would wear a looser shirt I could pull up and just let it all hang out.
I had a late October baby and wore flip flops and summer dresses while raking leaves for this exact reason. I just DID NOT CARE. I then bought a ton of nursing and pumping friendly tops for the winter-all v-necks and wraps.
Philanthropy Girl says
I never bothered with nursing clothes, aside from a good nursing bra. I generally prefer to nurse in private, so I didn’t worry about a tank to keep my tummy/side covered and just pulled up a loose fitting shirt. I didn’t really mess with my cover much either, although there were a few times I was glad I had it. Your standard pregnancy empire cut shirts will be a pain to do this with, but anything loose/flowy should work just fine. It worked for me – but it’s probably a bit dependent on your preferences and set up. If you need/want to nurse under a cover in a more public space, you’ll probably prefer having a nursing tank under a flowy shirt.
I feel you on this — I definitely bought all the clothes because it felt like the only way to “prepare” — but I would advise you to just wait and buy things after you have the baby. Not only do you not know what will and won’t work for you body-wise (I fit in neither my maternity clothes nor my regular clothes from 2 weeks pp until 5 months) but you really don’t know what you’ll like lifestyle-wise. I bought a billion nursing tanks and… hated them. I thought I’d be in a nursing tank and open cardigan all the time, but I really wanted something I could CLOSE THE F** UP over my chest — so I ended up in zip-up hoodies most of the time. I ended up living in high-waisted jeggings a size up and high-waisted yoga pants, and then later old shorts a size up.
Congrats on being almost there! I don’t think nursing tops are necessary (actually, learned this from other people’s posting to this same board – thx!) Same with dual pregnancy+nursing stuff. I bought a few nice maternity dresses that were also designed for nursing and never ended up wearing them for the latter purpose — the first few weeks I didn’t feel like dressing up, and within a few weeks they were so roomy in the stomach that they made me look pregnant again. Not flattering if you are self conscious about still carrying a bit of weight around the middle, which I was. That said, the dresses also made me feel great in the last months of pregnancy, so if you still have 7 weeks to go then you could just splurge on something that will fit you now and not worry about whether it will work post partum.
10 weeks out I’ve ended up mostly wearing a nursing cami (coverage when nursing in public) beneath either a maternity t-shirt or a flowy non-maternity top that can easily be pulled up and a cardigan. I wore non maternity cardigans til the end of my pregnancy and bought a few more afterward — a couple of nice cardigans may add some life to your wardrobe and will definitely outlast the pregnancy.
Actually, if you have an unplanned c-section like I did, maternity shorts/capris will see you through the summer (you’ll want to protect the scar and give your stomach muscles a boost).
Other than that I’d recommend nursing tanks. Nursing bras are hard to buy until your milk comes in – you may be able to buy them at the hospital or a specialty shop or online.
Big, flowy t-shirts will see you through last days of pregnancy, early days/weeks/nights of maternity.
Scarves or accessories will brighten up the fashion and may help as nursing covers.
ThredUp does sell maternity clothes, fwiw. So, gently used is probably the way to go on your timeline.
Thanks, this is all really helpful. My real problem right now is that, at 33 weeks, I’m finally starting to feel overheated all the time and now that the weather is starting to warm up where I am, I’m nervous about feeling hot in all of my long-sleeve tops. Most of my work-appropriate items are on the warmer side, too, somehow. So maybe I should just buy a few t-shirts, a long dress, and a casual skirt and hope for the best?
I would be VERY relieved to not have to factor in nursing tops so all the feedback here is helpful — but for those saying they didn’t need them, did you also nurse at the office? I’m going back at 16 weeks and figured I would need tops then…but it seems like I can wait until I’m about to go back to spruce up my wardrobe. It’s hard to remember that I may actually have SOME time to shop (even if only online) post-birth!
Do you mean you will nurse at work, or pump at work? For pumping, it worked fine to just pull up a regular shirt or unbutton a button down. Dresses were challenging. Nursing tops wouldn’t help for pumping; you need more access to pump than you do to nurse.
Sorry, I meant pump at work. Thanks for drawing that distinction — hadn’t occurred to me that different clothes helped with pumping vs nursing.
I think this depends on where you’ll be pumping at work. I have a private, locked room, so I have been wearing pants or skirts with a nursing bra or tank and whatever shirts I used to wear pre-preg on top. When I pump, I take off my shirt, and flap down the nursing bra or tank. But I feel comfortable totally losing the shirt because my space is so private. I avoid dresses, which is a bummer because I really love them, especially in the summer.
Huh, I actually didn’t need as much access to pump as to nurse, generally. Like, for nursing I had to get the whole boob out, for pumping I could stick the flanges in my bra and it was fine (so I just wore regular cheap bras to work). The only things I didn’t wear when pumping were high-necked sheath dresses, everything else was fine.
Anon in NYC says
I pump at the office and just wear normal clothes. Either I’ll pull my top up or remove it, or unzip and pull my dress to my waist. I know that some people hate this, but I could not stand the idea of having to buy nursing-friendly-but-not-maternity tops.
Meg Murry says
Yes, T-shirts and comfortable dresses and skirts are probably the kind of thing to buy now that may carry over into your leave this summer, especially if you are running hot already.
If you can find T-shirts that aren’t empire waist or side ruched, they will be more versatile postpartum – I have a bunch of T-shirts from Old Navy and Target that are technically maternity but are still in my weekend rotation because they are basically just long-ish T-shirts.
I LOVED the Target Liz Lange maternity tank for under a cardigan or sweater while pregnant and nursing. The neckline pulled down very easily. Frankly, I still wear them as loungewear because I like how long they are.
Same! I bought 3 of them when I was at 31 weeks or so, and they were a perfect nursing “tank” (could pull down the neckline easily, very stretchy) but still covered my chest a lot more than a nursing tank did. Also, if you put a cardigan over it, it looked like a t-shirt instead of a camisole.
Other ideas: a maxi skirt with a stretchy waist (or a foldover waist) that can ride below your bump now, or be pulled up higher postpartum. Cardigans. A springy blazer that you can leave unbuttoned now, or button after baby comes.
Thanks, this is all super helpful! Good idea on the below-the-bump skirt option. I’m already getting tired of everything being above-the-bump but I’m also enormous!
Edna Mazur says
I got a few maxi skirts from Target (look at the ‘chevron’ style skirts) that I wore during both maternity leave and a subsequent pregnancy. I highly recommend.
I did the “two shirt” method for casual maternity leave/weekend nursing. Put on a (nursing) tank top or camisole, tight, and then layer any ol’ shirt over it. To nurse, lift the outer shirt above your boob, unclip your nursing bra/tank (or just maneuver yourself out of the tank) and nurse with everything but the essentials covered.
For pumping at work, I wore wrap dresses and nursing bras (because two shirts + a bottom was way too much to think about), and then also used a pumping bra so I could pump hands free. Usually I had a cami under the wrap dress. So it was like, scootch cami down or up, unclip nursing bra, spread out wrap dress fabric, put on pumping bra *over* all my clothes, flanges in, pump. Initially, I liked it because I could stay covered up in case someone walked in on me, but I grew so so so tired of my stupid wrap dresses. The last month or so I just unzipped sheath dresses down to my waist and sometimes threw on a cardigan over my pumping shenanigans.
Bravado nursing tank + leggings + cardigan with pockets + infinity scarf (when it was chilly)
I wore versions of this for my entire mat leave. For warmer weather I would do Bravado nursing tank + infinity scarf (to use as a nursing cover) + skirt/shorts
On this dress — can anyone report on the neckline? Is it “finished” — fabric intended to lie flat, with maybe a fold of fabric sewed to itself, or is it one of those kinds where the fabric is supposed to fold under itself but isn’t sewed like that so just sort of slips around? I’m not explaining this well, but there seem to be two kinds of wrap type tops, and only the finished kind works on me.
It’s not a wrap dress, just ruched, pretty sure.
The fabric lies pretty flat IME
Corporate Communicator says
Hi moms. Long-time lurker, occasional contributor here. I have an almost-3-year-old and a 9 month old. I work in corporate communications. My job is fine – well paying, decent benefits, understanding enough with mom-bligations, but PTO is lacking and I am so very bored with it. Kiddos are in daycare/preschool, so when you consider that cost, I’m not netting a lot…like, at all. It would be tighter, but financially feasible for me to stay home. I’m hoping/hustling to take some freelance/consulting work.
Daughter #1’s preschool is on the school schedule, and her last day is the end of May. As time gets closer, I’m getting more nervous – about my ability to be a SAHM, about the effect it will have on the family dynamic, about giving up a “good enough” job. I have not yet put in my two weeks (is two weeks appropriate?). I would like to leave my company on good terms. When daugther #2 was about 4 months old, I lobbied for a part-time position, which was denied although a short-term contract was offered.
Help? Suggestions? A swift kick in the you-know-where?
Can you ask for an unpaid sabbatical instead? We’ve had several folks (men and women) who have taken 2-6 months unpaid time off to decide whether they wanted to embark on the next thing in their lives. Some of them took time to start a new business, some took time to stay at home with kids (some returned, some loved being home, some ended up in other roles), some took time to travel.
I’m considering switching my “part time” status to “full time during the winter/fall/spring” and out of the office completely for a few months in the summer.
Is that possible?! Thank you so much for this idea. My company offers up to 4 weeks unpaid for all employees every year, subject to supervisor approval, but somehow I’d never considered making a summer vacation out of it. I will have to give it some serious thought in a couple years when the kiddos are on school schedule.
I don’t know whether my employer will go for it, but it makes so much sense for my practice – clients don’t care if you “take Fridays off” if you’re in the middle of a deal. It would be easier to just step out of the deal flow completely for two or three months, rather than try to mash client representation into a part-time schedule.
Most common advice I see here – that I also agree with 100% – is not to stay home to avoid a job you don’t like. Become a SAHM because you want to be a SAHM mom.
When you’re making the financial part of the decision make sure you factor in things like retirement impact of few years of contributions to social security etc. Even if you ignore the rest of ‘Lean In’ Sheryl Sandberg does a good job of explaining how the financial decision to stay home should not be just salary dollars vs. daycare dollars.
Hope you find the path that’s best for you and your family :)
Weaning Mom says
Hi moms! I want to wean my 15 month old son. I am already dreading it. He cries until he doesn’t get milk. He does not drink milk from a bottle or sippy cup. He only likes drinking other beverages (water) from a sippy cup. How do I wean him? We also co-sleep and he wakes up anywhere from 1-4X per night still. Has anyone weaned and stopped co-sleeping at the same time? Thanks in advance!!
Ugh….confession: I just weaned my 2 year old. I was terrified that it would mean huge tantrums and no sleep. Instead, we waved “bye bye” to nursing on the last night, had no tears, and it’s been fine for the last two weeks. I’m a little uncomfortable, but totally worth it to have my body back and the fear gone.
At 15 months, your kiddo doesn’t really need to drink milk as long as he is eating high calorie, high protein, high fat foods – cheese, full fat yogurt, beans, etc. I wouldn’t worry about the nutritional aspect of nursing unless he has other growth issues.
Weaning Mom says
Thank you for your advice. He definitely does not have growth issues. It makes me feel better about weaning knowing that he doesn’t actually wean the milk.
After you weaned your 2 year old, did he or she sleep better? Or were they sleeping through the night before weaning?
Weaning didn’t change her sleep – she’s been sleeping through the night (seriously, 12 hours a night) since a year old. I finally did cry it out after co-sleeping turned into no-sleeping. The CIO was a rough couple nights emotionally for me but I think it was the best thing for my kiddo. In contrast, weaning has been no big deal.
The big change for me with weaning was that our evening quiet time has turned into a more conversational, energetic back and forth, and our morning cuddles have been replaced with clapping games, singing, wrestling, and silliness. I thought I would miss the cuddles, but I’m learning a lot more about my kiddo’s personality and I really enjoy that.
I wouldn’t wean nursing and cosleeping at the same time. I would stop nursing in bed completely though. So if you nurse him to sleep – do it in a rocking chair. You need to break the association of the bed with nursing.
Have your partner sleep next to him when cosleeping. When he wakes, just have partner give him a snuggle and say that mommy milk is for daytime. I would let him nurse in the morning for a week or so after night weaning him to ease the transition. You might even think about gifting yourself a couple nights in a hotel. (full night of sleep!)
Second the advice to not worry about drinking milk. If he’s getting dairy nutrients from cheese/yoghurt/non-dairy sources then he doesn’t need milk.
Weaning Mom says
Thanks for the advice- so I should nurse him to sleep on a rocking chair and then lay him on the bed? He doesn’t understand much so I think if my husband went to him “milk is for the morning”- I am not sure how much he would understand. He keeps crying for milk.
I was kind of hoping I would start by making him sleep on his own bed in his own room by nursing him to sleep. I heard that if they sleep in their own room, they sleep better and wake up less to nurse. Thoughts?
If you want to end co-sleeping then I would start by nursing him to sleep in his own room and putting him in his crib. I would put in a blanket that smells like you for comfort as well as a familiar stuffie for him to snuggle.
You can have your husband go to him at night if he wakes and resettle him. He can try offering cow’s milk in a bottle or water in a sippy if he wants. Baby will probably cry but I think that’s very different from CIO as the dad is there comforting him. You may want to try ear plugs for you as I would often get let down when baby cried (to be clear – I only used ear plugs when dad was with baby).
I wouldn’t stop nursing entirely and co-sleeping at the same time. I think that’s likely to be abrupt change in your relationship that may be hard on both of you. I would nurse before bed and in the morning but not overnight. YMMV of course!
Meg Murry says
If possible, try to stop nursing to sleep – instead, nurse to sleepy and then cuddle, then put him to bed. Or nurse somewhere other than the bedroom a little earlier, then turn him over to daddy to do the rest of bedtime.
You first need to break the nursing-sleep association. Can you start by having daddy sleep between you and kiddo? That’s how we first broke my kid of nighttime nursing when co-sleeping. I can’t find the link right now, but search for night weaning and start there.
Has anyone hired a sleep consultant? Worth the money? Recommendations? I’m nearing the end of my rope and ready to try just about anything!
I think they mostly coach through their version of cry-it-out, which is totally NOT cry-it-out, if you catch my drift.
How old is your kiddo? How long has it been going on? What have been the changes?
She’s almost 16 months. For several months now, she’s waking up multiple times at night, 5 nights out of the week on average. So she’s capable of sleeping through the night, as evidenced by the few good nights.
We put her to sleep drowsy and don’t have any consistent trouble with bedtime (she’s been fighting us a little lately, but not significantly). The night wakings typically last an hour or sometimes even longer. For example, she’ll cry from 10-11, then 1-2:30, then 4-5. We’ve tried Ferber-type intervals where we go in at 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and then every 15 minutes until she stops crying. We’ve tried keeping her in the crib and patting her at the given intervals, and we’ve tried pick-up/put-down at the intervals. We tried shortening the pick-up/put-down, as we were starting to hold her longer and longer. We’ve recently tried checking on her once, followed by just letting her cry, but after three nights of that, the crying isn’t really getting any shorter. I’ve tried sitting in the room with her while she’s in the crib, but that seems to make her even angrier. I’ve considered teething as the culprit, but pain relievers don’t seem to make a significant difference (and it’s been going on for months now). The crazy thing is that she usually doesn’t seem affected during the day…she’s her usual happy self and doesn’t appear to be overly tired or cranky.
I’m not fully functioning anymore, and I can’t handle this level of sleep interruption much longer! I feel like my brain isn’t working. I’m a lawyer…my job is to speak and to write, and I find myself sitting for 5 minutes at a time trying to find a particular word. It’s terrible. I’ve come close to getting into a car accident because I’m in such a fog. I’ve gotta find a solution.
Anon in NYC says
I didn’t use a sleep consultant, but I know that people in my neighborhood did (for kids younger than yours) and thought it was money well spent. It sounds like you’ve tried everything, so if I were you I’d find one.
I have a baby the same age and he loves it when I babywear him after being apart at childcare all day. I put him on my back in the Ergo as soon as we come in the door, I make dinner with him on my back and just take him out when it’s time to eat. Sometimes I’ll babywear in the morning as well while I do my makeup/pack my lunch. I actually found it made my evenings easier because I didn’t have to try to hold him on my hip or play with him while also making dinner.
I found he started sleeping better at night when he got more physical contact with me during the times we were together.
To the Anon with the Ergo, thanks for mentioning that. I think it was earlier in the week, folks on this s*te were talking about separation anxiety and a few minutes of extra connection being helpful. I’ve added that into our bedtime routine, so maybe it will help! We used to just do several books, and when she started to get drowsy, I’d put her down. But now I’m taking some time to cuddle post-book and pre-crib. We’ll see!
Philanthropy Girl says
Those wakings seem sleep-cycle appropriate to me – it’s just she’s fully waking instead of just in a light sleep cycle. Does she have a lovey? Have you tried offering water? My 18 MO has needed a sippy of water with him at night for some time now because he is so busy during the day he forgets to drink and is then really thirsty all night. We found providing him with a sippy in bed really helped with night wakefulness.
Is she napping okay during the day? We have way more wakefulness when LO doesn’t nap well, or hasn’t napped well in a few days. Is bed time early enough? Going to bed overtired also seems to increase wakefulness in our house. Bedtime is at 6 at our place (although he’s out of bed by 6, too). Any changes to routine, caregivers, or something else that could be triggering separation anxiety?
On bad nights I’ve also relied on Hylands Calming Tablets. They’re similar to the teething tablets, but help with the wakefulness and/or irritability. I’ll give one dose at the second wakeful period (we’d often have him up at 9, and then up again at 10), and it seems to get him back to sleep for the rest of the night.
Is she communicating much? My LO isn’t verbalizing but seems to understand pretty well. So when I go in when he’s crying, the first thing I will say is “It is night-night time.” If he’s really worked up, I need to pick him up to help him settle. We have a no-sitting-down rule, so I pick him, sing him a song or hold him until he stops crying, and then tell him again “It is night-night time; are you ready to get in your bed?” Then I lay him back in bed, tell him again it’s night-night, and go thru the tucking-in, turning-on-white-noise routine and leave. Takes maybe 5 minutes if he settles quickly. It took some time, but teaching him “it is night-night” really helped us.
That’s the best I’ve got, but I’ll recommend again The Baby Sleep Site – plenty of free resources, but both email or phone consults if you need them. Good luck – the sleeping thing is hard.
Thanks for the many things to consider. She has a lovey but doesn’t seem to care. I’ve tried water…it doesn’t seem like she touches it. I haven’t tried Hylands, so I’ll look into it.
She’s not talking much but understands a lot. So I’ve tried to employ the same phrase every time I put her down, to give her a cue. Maybe I’ll try to talk more about it leading up to bedtime, so she hears it more.
FWIW, we went through a big sleep regression at that age. But I would be at the end of my rope too if I were you – my son was an amateur in comparison. Good luck!
Philanthropy Girl says
Have you read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and checked out The Baby Sleep Site? They are my go-to resources. Also, Baby Sleep Site offers one-on-one if just reading it isn’t helpful. I never used it, but they would be a trusted resource for me.
I purchased that book, but I’ve been too tired to read it! Ridiculous, I know. I’m to the point where I’d almost rather pay someone to just tell me what to do. I’ll check out the baby sleep site – I don’t think I’ve looked at that yet. Thank you!
Philanthropy Girl says
Good luck! Here’s to plenty of coffee, and a chance of good sleep soon.
I’ve had friends use sleep consultants for exactly that reason – the advice they got was all stuff that they *could* have figured out by doing their own reading, but they were tired and stressed enough that it was worth paying someone else to synthesize the information for them and come up with a plan. I think they both thought it was worth it.
I haven’t, but a coworker did when his kid was a little over 1. I don’t know which one though, sorry. He was happy with it. The impression I got was that they didn’t tell you anything you couldn’t find elsewhere, but they will give you a plan and hold your hand through it and reassure you that you’re doing the right thing. Whether that’s worth it depends on you and what you want/need. He was satisfied.
I hired one when baby was 6 months old. He wouldn’t go to bed until midnight, woke at 4, and then I couldn’t get back to sleep after nursing because I had to be up at 5:30 to get ready for work. I was about to drop from exhaustion. We tried everything to get him to sleep. (He was never a good sleeper as a baby; now he is 5 and I have to drag him out of bed for school.). I broke down and hired a sleep trainer for a week. The sleep trainer got him to go to bed at 9 (we didn’t get home until 7, so earlier wasn’t feasible) and to sleep for 6-8 hours straight, with no crying. She was worth every penny. She seriously saved my sanity, if not my job and my life (I was almost falling asleep driving to and from work).
Have you taken your kiddo in for a pediatrician check? I was having killer sleep issues with my kiddo at one point (all a blur now – a year ago? two years?) and brought her in, and lo and behold, strep. No other symptoms, and she’d be really happy at night as long as she wasn’t in her crib and I was with her. Painkillers didn’t help.
We’ve had similar sleep issues with ear infections, teething, and asthma. We’ve also had random “I’m learning to walk! I’m learning to talk!” sleep issues that just pass, but your kiddo’s issues seems to be lasting too long for that.
She had her 15 month check a few weeks ago. I actually asked them to check her throat because I have problems with recurrent strep, but she was fine. Interesting though that your child had it with no other symptoms.
We went through something similar with our son at the same age, though he was never a good sleeper so by 16 months I was literally hiding under my desk crying at work every morning. I did not hire a sleep consultant but instead at the suggestion of a friend called the Fussy Baby Network at the Erikson Institute. I am not sure we quite met the criteria for help – 16 months not really being a “baby” anymore – but the counselor I spoke to there was absolutely amazing. Just having someone listen to me speak about how tired and worn down I was – I honestly had no idea how close to the breaking point I was until I started crying on a complete stranger on the phone! Anyways, this might be a place to start. The counselor listened to the sleep issues we were having and suggested some unique solutions we had not considered. She also called me several times over the course of a few weeks just to check on how I was feeling and how our son was sleeping.
For us what worked was converting our son’s crib into a toddler bed. 16 months is incredibly early by most standards, but it made a world of difference in his ability to sleep longer stretches and to be comforted back to sleep upon waking. Now I wonder what it was about the crib that was waking him or making it hard for him to go back to sleep.
If you have Facebook, join the group “expect to sleep again- sleep training support.” It’s run by a sleep consultant but it’s free. If you want more in depth advice there are small groups that cost anywhere from $15-50, or she does regular private packages as well. This way you can see what kind of advice she gives/her style etc before you fully commit to an investment.
It sounds like to you, the money would be worth it.
Is your baby taking one nap or two? It might be time to switch to one if you haven’t yet. Also, have you tried putting her down earlier? It does sound like she’s fully waking up between sleep cycles, and in my experience (and from what I’ve read) that happens when a baby is overtired.
She’s down to one nap, and it’s not very long. I tried putting her to bed earlier last night, as I’ve been reading about the perils of being overtired. She only had one (albeit long) wake up last night, so maybe it will be a helpful strategy! Regardless, I’d be happy to get her down a little earlier for a little more time to myself before bed.
Thanks to everyone who responded! I greatly appreciate the advice, recommendations, and commiseration.
Hi ladies! I’m newly pregnant and my husband and I are thinking about things to do before the baby arrives and our life changes FOREVER. We have a big trip planned, and other than the obvious eating at our favorite restaurants, finding daycare, putting together the nursery, etc, is there anything else you wish you had done? Thanks!
I don’t know about “wish I had done,” but I miss the small, spontaneous things that are difficult or impossible with a baby but that I wouldn’t necessarily hire a babysitter or ask family to babysit for. Off the top of my head, this list includes leisurely weekend brunches, going to the movies, going to bars, manicures and pedicures, neighborhood restaurants, and running out for dessert after dinner. We have a full-time nanny, and she either works overtime or we ask family or friends to babysit about twice a week, but it’s almost always because we both have to work outside of “normal” hours, or for some event or special occasion that’s planned in advance. I love spending the time that my baby is awake with him, but some nights I wish (to be clear, I would never do this) that he’d be fine in the crib while we went out for ice cream for half an hour.
I really miss things like walking 2 miles to the gym, spending 1-2 hours working out, and walking 2 miles home. Such a luxury to do things that take that long!! I couldn’t enjoy restaurants while pregnant because of food aversions, but just did enjoy spending time on the weekends to do long, leisurely, relaxing things.
I wish I had read for fun more. In particular, I read a lot of parenting books, and I wish I had read more fun books instead.
Wish I had done more fun, spontaneous things instead of working a ton. Or just things that I wanted to do (instead of work). As PPs say, it is very difficult to do those things now. I also would have liked a big vacation, but that didn’t happen for non-work-related reasons.
I know we just vented about sick kids and cold/flu season a week or two ago, but here I am again. 10 month old had a fever of 104.8 last night. His nose is so clogged up he can barely nurse and is refusing bottle so all formula is going in via cereal/spoonfeeding. He’s miserable. I’m miserable. Pediatrician checked him out today and said its just a virus, basically wait it out. I’m glad my doctor doesn’t hand out antibiotics like candy but god now I really understand why some do just to help the parents. On top of that, we were supposed to go to the doctor tomorrow anyway for a weight check and iron level check because he was a little slow on weight gain at 9 mo (went from about 17th percentile to 9th) and a little low on iron. They pushed that back due to the illness but his weight today put him at like 8th percentile. I know rationally this is not a big deal. Ped was not at all worried (the extra check was more for iron) and said its not uncommon when they start to get more active around this age. But he has been eating well and has finally exited the spitting up phase so I was expecting an improvement. So between that and the fever, I still cried on the way home. Like I take the weight measurement as some kind of referendum on my parenting ability, which I know is not rational at all. If it weren’t for those damn percentiles, I wouldn’t be worried about how much he eats at all. While sobbing and driving on the way home, I was thinking how other people’s kids have to be hospitalized and have cancer and things like that and I really just need to get a grip. And I mostly have now that I had a good cry, but is it normal to feel so vulnerable about this stuff?
Don’t worry about your sanity too much until you get past this bought of illness – taking care of a sick kid is exhausting and miserable. Just give yourself a break for a few days and then you can reassess whether you are normal, etc.
Yes, it is normal!! I have to work really hard not to take every little comment the pediatrician makes personally. If your doctor is not concerned, your kid is probably fine — and could dehydration play a role in the lower weight?
I think it’s totally normal to feel vulnerable and defensive about perceived criticism related to one of the most important people in your life. Especially when it feels like you’re failing, or that your child could be doing so much better if only you were better. But I think you recognize that this is in your head, so that’s a good sign!
Hugs to you. It is so hard and sometimes a good cry helps. My son had a lot of feeding issues and was always hovering around the 5th percentile for weight. It is hard to not to make comparisons….but don’t. Think about where he is on his own growth curve and whether or not he is following that. And being sick and having a temporary weight loss is just a blip. You need to worry about trends, not each day. So pop back in to the peds in a month and ask for a quick weight check — he’ll likely be back on track. Is ibuprofen working to keep the fever in check?
It is working for the most part- the last dose not so much because he spit out some of it.
Thanks for the comments. Its one of those things where I think just getting it down in writing for some internet strangers helped.
RIP, Career says
I feel like I am finally coming around to admitting to myself that having kids will hold me back career-wise. I always thought (and was told) I could do it all to the extent that I wanted, but it’s just not true. I’m guessing most of you are saying duh… but it’s hitting me particularly hard as I think about switching career paths and finding it hard to even imagine a job that would offer the flexibility/challenge/pay I am looking for (I know, I know, you only get 2/3). I’ve only been back at work for a month or so, but working a second set of hours after bedtime feels completely unsustainable – and I already wish I had more time to spend with my baby. We are also trying to think about timing for baby #2, and the prospect of ramping up at a new job seems completely impossible… Anyway, interested to hear how others are feeling, or how this might have changed for you over time with your kids.
I have a one year old and am pregnant with my second and am absolutely mourning my lost career. I just don’t really see it happening. Partially because I still haven’t figured out exactly what I want to DO (I’m a lawyer, so not aimless) and between pregnancy and new motherhood, there’s never a time to actually do a good job at work, job search, make a good first impression. I’m tired. I won’t make a good first impression at a new job for the next four years.
My husband wants four kids too. I used to think that was a good idea but there goes a lot of productive years! I’ll still be employed, but I miss being good at my job. Yet I can’t make myself care enough to make myself good? The single 26 year olds are wiping the floor with me.
Same poster – on the plus side, while my career is suffering, my daughter is thriving? We high five ourselves all the time on our awesome parenting. So be sure not to forget to celebrate that!
CPA Lady says
First of all, I understand. Its hard. Hard hard hard. I’m just trying to remember that a career is a long game. Like 30 or 40 years. So you suck for a few years? So what. There are decades to make up for a few sub-par years.
A few months ago, I took a step back. I still work 40 hours a week during normal time and 50-60 per week during tax season (which is like 3 months of the year here rather than 6 months at my old job). I don’t have billable requirements. I have a giant nice office with a window. I get paid slightly more than I did at my old job.
But I don’t have any potential for upward mobility. It’s different. There is way less pressure and way less potential for financial reward or “prestige” like making partner or something. I’m thinking that this is a good time in my career to work on some things like networking, being on boards, etc. that way in case I want to get back on the ladder, I can.
It helps me to not think of a career as a linear thing, I guess is what I’m saying. But that’s partly because I’m so discouraged with myself too and not being able to force myself to keep working after putting my daughter to bed. Meh.
Anon in NYC says
I am also struggling with a lack of a career path and prestige issues in a job that is 1,000x better for my current life than my old job. I tell myself that it doesn’t have to be a permanent thing. One day my kid (and possibly kids) won’t need me to take care of them in the same way. Or, we’ll decide that we need more money and I’ll move to something that pays more (and that has a corresponding demand on my time). This job provides what I need (and want) right now: time with my kid and my husband.
This topic always brings to mind something I saw on the internet: We used to want to rule the world; now we just want to pee alone.
I laugh because it’s true.
So, I’m 7 years into parenting. What you’ve said completely resonates with me, and I had to go through the same a few years ago. I’m never going to give 110% to my career any more… and I’m 100% fine with that. Pre-kids me never would have thought I’d say that. Take the time you need to really let it sink in for you.
That said, it really will get better (caveat: if you have an employer with reasonable work/life balance) with time. Maybe you won’t be on the same path as pre-kids, but you’ll find a new normal that will bring career success. Am I working at 110%? No, definitely not. But I’m one of the top ranked people in my department, received the highest rating in my department on this year’s evals (and I was on maternity leave for part of the year, so ::mic drop::), and have been promoted twice since having my first child. I’ve done a lot of work of which I am proud and which had impact. I’m hardly treading water.
And you know what really motivates you to ask for that raise? The price tag of three kids in summer camps! ;)
I don’t have it all by a long shot, but I would say that my job has all three of flexibility, money, and challenge. Not law partner money, but enough that I live comfortably in a pretty HCOL area. I’m leaning in a little bit more now when my kids are young with the idea that I’m setting myself up to be employable in other regions and industries. The 5-10 year plan is for my family to move somewhere with a slower pace before the kids are older and — as discussed on the main board today — need more parental guidance/presence.
I have 2 young kids and am pregnant with #3, and the exhaustion and struggle are real. But what has helped tremendously is that I sought out a family-friendly company with a great commute, and got lucky that my boss is very reasonable and supportive. I’m definitely not giving 110% (maybe 90 at the moment), but I’ve gotten some major promotions since my first child was born and I’m still on an upward trajectory. It gets a little easier! You get better at prioritizing and managing your time. And letting go of the idea that a career is a linear thing can be really liberating. Sometimes you have to move laterally or step back to set yourself up for a big move later.
Guys, no. Please don’t mourn the loss of your career. You have babies. This is not a great time for anyone’s career, but it’s not the end. It’s just a transition time. The year after my twins were born, I felt lucky not to commit malpractice. I rode it out, and it got better. It was not a huge issue with my third, and now with school age twins and a toddler, I feel fine. Career still on upward trajectory. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint. You can stop for water and still have an amazing finish. Don’t make decisions until your baby is at least 18 months old. It gets better. Even with adding subsequent children, it gets better.
So much sympathy here. I work at a pretty family friendly company, have a relatively flexible schedule, and while the pay isn’t awesome, we’re comfortable. But within weeks of coming back from FMLA, I nearly had my hours cut by 20%, and then (to save my hours), ended up being shuffled into a position of taking over a second FT position. I’m totally burnt out, I want out, and while I can’t say directly I think it has to do with having a baby – the timing is pretty conspicuous. I’m almost afraid to talk about another kid for fear of what may happen to my position if I’m gone for another 12 weeks.
I would rather be home scrubbing toilets for free than working my current job. Not an option since we’re a one-income family. I’ve been on the job hunt pretty much since I got back from FMLA with no luck. If I can’t make a change soon, my career will be truly done for – my skills in my field of expertise are rusty because I don’t use them enough, I’m not up on current trends in my field, and my time for networking has been slashed because of all my extra job responsibilities.
Long story short – I despise being working mom in a way I never thought possible.
Thanks to those you said hang on because career is a long game. Maybe once I’m out of child bearing season things will turn around again.
Child care question:
Our son is 6 weeks old, I am an MBA student and am taking classes 2 afternoons per week. Because our initially planned private childcare arrangements fell through, I am looking for a nanny/babysitter right now for 2-3 afternoons per week, for a few months. As I am totally new to care.com and interviewing candidates: What would you ask them?
I am thinking
– previous experience with small infants
– activities during the ~5 h of care (I realize this might not be a decisive factor given how small our son still is, he’s sleeping most of the time)
– expected pay (we’ll pay hourly, $10-20/h is market rate where we live)
– flexibility of the sitter/nanny: off-hours, weekends?
Anything I am totally missing?
Will also repost in the morning,
layered bob says
I also asked – “what would you try if the baby won’t stop crying?” That weeded out a lot of people who didn’t seem to realize that babies sometimes cry, or people who answered, “tell them not to cry.”
The answer I was looking for was, “check if they are hungry or wet; see if a tag or sock is uncomfortable; try to rock them to sleep; maybe take them for a walk in the stroller; and if I get really frustrated, put her down in the bassinet and go in another room for a few minutes.” The nanny we have now said almost exactly that – it showed she had experience with babies before and knew how to handle them.
I also wanted to know where they were coming from and how they would get to my house – to see if they had a plan for being reliable. I was in your shoes (law student, not MBA) and it was really important that I get to class on time. I found some candidates thought my “few afternoons a week” job description meant the hours were flexible/not fixed and didn’t seem to understand that my class time was fixed. I had the nanny come 45 minutes/an hour before I actually needed to be at class so if it was a rough morning I could still get a shower after the nanny came and get out of the house on time.
Thank you for your advice! Very good point about being reliable. This is so important, as I am making a huge effort to keep going to classes, pumping in between classes… I have excluded candidates who live further than 10 miles away, since there’s just too much risk of them being stuck in traffic etc…
Many nannies here have kids on their own, so they know how to handle babies. One thing I want to make sure as well is that they are not giving formula, since my son is exclusively breastfed/fed with pumped breastmilk.