Weekend & Family Friday: Wooden Vehicle Magnets in a Box

I recently bought a set of these magnets as an impulse purchase at Marshalls. My son loved them so much that I bought this set in addition. They’re brightly colored, easy to grab, and there’s a lot of them in the box. We recently had to replace our refrigerator (ugh), and luckily these magnets don’t scratch the outside of the new one (and my son is not a gentle kid). Best of all, if I put them all in the box, then set the box on the floor near the fridge, they buy me about 10 minutes of uninterrupted food preparation or eating. A total win in my book. The set is $9.59 at Amazon, eligible for Prime. Melissa & Doug Wooden Vehicle Magnets in a Box

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  1. Art work organizer? says:

    I remember someone here suggested an document storage system for storing kids art. I can’t find the thread, but if I remember rights it was a set of smaller plastic document cases that fit inside a larger plastic case or file box.

    Sound familiar to anyone?

  2. Anonymous says:

    My 4 year old wants to dress up as Zuma from Paw Patrol for Halloween but I can’t find a costume anywhere. Why does he have to like the least advertised pup? Any ideas?

  3. Fellow twin parents says:

    How did you handle getting your toddlers in the car solo during the bolting phase?

    Walking out of daycare to the car is fine since they’ll hold my hands, but it’s really hard to keep a grip on B while I pick up A to plop her in her carseat. I used to just let one stand next to me while I put their sister in, but now they want to wander off into the street. I can still sort of get one in the car while carrying the other on my hip, but they’re getting big enough that’s not really a good solution either. They’re still rear-facing so can’t climb in by themselves. I’m thinking about a wrist leash to tether the second one to me while I deal with the first, but that also seems like a pain for just this 2 minute process.

    • Not sure if this would work for you but we just plop one anywhere in the car, secure the second one, and then go back to actually secure the first. Sometimes this just means telling the toddler to climb in to the passenger side and then going back to get her. Curious to hear other solutions.

      • Spirograph says:


        This is why I love my minivan, because I just open the doors on both sides with the button, and tell the other kids to climb in while I buckle the wiggliest toddler. But even in the other car, I just pile everyone in and tell them to get in their seats and I’ll come buckle in a minute. Sometimes I have to physically capture them from elsewhere in the car because they don’t listen, but at least they’re safely contained.

      • Delta Dawn says:

        +1 I do this too. The older one basically pinballs around inside the vehicle while I buckle the baby in. Sometimes he then gets into his own seat when told. Sometimes not and I have to retrieve him.

    • Oh man, I’m going to remember this thread in the future and hope there are good solutions. Mine are only 3 months and almost three, but I’m already dreading trying to get three mobile people in and out of the car.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your older one will rise to the occasion! My Oldest learned how to do all her own buckles around 3.5, when my middle was a wiggly non hunkered infant. Now she (5) also does and in does my toddler’s while i strap in #3.

      • Your older one will rise to the occasion! My Oldest learned how to do all her own buckles around 3.5, when my middle was a wiggly non hunkered infant. Now she (5) also does and in does my toddler’s while i strap in #3.

    • KateMiddletown says:

      I know this sounds crazy, but a friend of mine let her kids climb in thru the trunk to make getting INTO the car fun. She had a van with third row down and no middle seat in the middle row, so it was kind of an adventure to get in there. (Obviously she’d then buckle the kids in properly via side doors.)

      • Anonymous says:

        Not crazy at all (or maybe I’m your friend!). I do this too, even when the third row isn’t down. My kids love diving over the back seats.

    • Anonymous says:

      I lift in the runner while I have the more compliant kid hold my coat. I just do chest clip on runner, go around and full buckle in compliant kid then go back and buckle runner properly. Can also use your legs to sort of hold #2 between them and lift #1 into car.

    • getting in the car says:

      I get it! We have 2.5 year old twins and do solo dropoff while my husband does solo pickup. I have HAMMERED IN hand-holding as “safely” and pretty much any time we go through a door now they say “safely” and hold my hand or each other’s hand. At the house, when we get to the car I have my more adept twin climb in and “get in her seat” (this means try to dive headfirst into the front passenger seat, usually fail, tip over the box of car toys, then finally climb into her seat) while I strap in her brother. Then I finally bellow at her to get in her own seat, or at least within grabbing distance, and strap her in. At day care, we can park fairly close to the door. I get boy twin out, carry him to girl twin side of the car, and set him down in the “wedge” between me, the open door, and the car itself– like I make a little triangle cage while I unstrap her. Sometimes that means he climbs back up into the car, but in that case I hold girl twin and kind of drag him out. We hold hands to the sidewalk, and then I let them sprint on their own to the door while I lock the car with the fob. It works pretty well, but the days I have to bring diapers or something into the day care involve either chaos or two trips.

  4. Anon Having it All says:

    I just want to share with this group because I can’t do so much in real life… Had a meeting yesterday afternoon with Big Boss and Big Big Boss (my first real exposure to her). Meeting goes over by 45 minutes because we are having a great discussion. I am anxiously watching the clock because it’s my day to get to daycare pick up. We leave, I race to the train, which is late, meaning that I have to sprint the half-mile from the station to daycare, peeing myself in my light grey mmLaFleur because I have stress incontinence from two ginormous babies. I make it there with one minute to spare, and the nice daycare lady gives me a cot sheet to tie around my waist. Winning, my friends. Winning. Hope everyone is ready for the weekend.

    • I am laughing so hard right now, and I hope that if you aren’t now, you will be soon. That’s an amazing story.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m so sorry. Have been there before. Full on peed in my garage. And, you MADE IT on time. Impressive.

    • Anonymous says:

      You got the kid on time! That’s all that matters!

    • Anonymous says:

      I am close enough to having given birth that I feel for you and can’t laugh about this yet. Anyway, it sounds like you managed everything spectacularly. Nice!!

      So…how long does the line “just had a baby” really work as an explanation for things like this?

    • Anon Having it All says:

      I have to say I was pretty proud of myself! And discovered also that our new daycare is both more flexible and understanding than our previous one. So next time I might do a gentle trot:)

    • Spirograph says:

      Power meeting, power workout, and on-time daycare pick-up. You’re a hero! (as is your nice daycare lady)

      Your handle made me imagine a version of this on the Man Who Has It All twitter, which would be incredible. If anyone here is the ghostwriter for that feed, please make it happen.

    • Anonymous says:

      God, this reminds me of how when I was pregnant I would think about walking on the beach holding my baby – it was my happy place and an image I tried (tried) to think of while in labor. When the baby actually came, I attempted it, only to find that the waist belt of the carrier made my stress incontinence worse, and I was slowly peeing myself for the whole walk. I eventually walked a little deeper into the ocean and just let it all go. Ugh.

    • I am in stitches, and that is definitely #winning! Did that once – I was racing from a conference in town to daycare pickup before the center closed at 6. They’re usually quite nice if you call ahead and tell them you’ll be a minute or two late…

    • You sound like a superhero and that daycare worker is a keeper.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally been there — both on the big meeting/late train/late to daycare and on the publicly peeing myself. This whole working mom lifestyle requires a good sense of humor! A couple weeks ago I did nearly the same thing — except I got on the train going the wrong direction due to single-tracking, late to pick up kids, and somehow my pumped milk cooler bag leaked onto my skirt.

  5. Boston Legal Eagle says:

    I’ve been listening to the podcast Best of Both Worlds recently (thanks to whoever recommended this!), and am on the outsourcing episode. Thinking ahead to when we have two little kids and are both back at work, I’m wondering how much additional outsourcing we should look into vs. how much we can do ourselves. I know this answer will vary from person to person, and depends a lot on work schedules and finances, but let’s assume we have some (though not unlimited) extra money to throw around. Both my husband and I generally work standard hours, with some later nights thrown in for me. Most days, we should both be able to get home by 6 and take on the evening together – it just sounds like a lot of work and not a lot of down time for us.

    For those who’ve gone from 1 to 2 kids, particularly when they’re both little, what additional outsourcing have you found to be the most helpful? Right now, we have a biweekly cleaner come and we do pretty much the rest of the household stuff. Our son is in daycare full time and we plan to put the second one in daycare as well. I guess my other broader question is, should I aim to have easier mornings/nights or just accept that the early days with little are just going to be chaotic and deal with it?

    • mascot says:

      I like that podcast – my thanks as well. We only have one kid (plus 2 furry dogs), but weekly house cleaning has made a bigger difference than I thought it would. House stays picked up more and our lady washes/folds/changes the sheets. Having a standing sitter for date nights or even a half day on a weekend would be helpful too. Having a couple hours a week of protected adult time either out of the house or during daylight hours really helps our relationship.

      • Anonymous says:


        We have a standing ‘date night’ for at least two hours on Saturday night. We try to go out but lots of times it’s just watching a movie on the couch with booze and chips. I often make myself a nice cocktail which makes it feel more like doing a thing. We both super protect this time and treat it as mandatory.

        • KateMiddletown says:

          Do you always get a sitter for this?

          • Anonymous says:

            Honestly – rarely. We just commit to, at a minimum, sitting down together between 9pm -11pm. We usually do fancy alcohol/snacks and try to have a bit of fun. We take turns deciding what to do – movie/board game/strip poker (DH picks this a lot but I tend to win).

            In theory we’d get a babysitter more and go out for dinner or movie or try a new acitivity but sometimes I just want to chill on my own couch. I give myself permission to not ‘do all the things’. Goal for fall is to prebook a babysitter for at least every third Saturday.

      • A standing weekend helper/sitter would be my recommendation. We do everything OP does and I think having some teenager come by for a couple of hours on the weekends during the day to play with my kids would be the biggest help. I feel like I can get everything essential done, more or less, but it’s all the stuff for me that falls by the wayside and stresses me out. If I knew that I had some time every Saturday morning to, say, put away clothes, figure out the week ahead, run an errand or two alone, it would be beyond helpful.

    • Anonymous says:

      We have a biweekly cleaner for the whole house, they don’t change the sheets – I do that the week they come. On the opposite week I have someone come to change the bedsheets, vaccum the main floor, wash the kitchen floor, and fold and put away the kid laundry. I wash all the kid laundry the night before she comes and set out which sheets I want for which beds. It feels like an indulgence a lot but honestly it’s sanity maintaining. I would outsource more food stuff via a meal prep service or similar but we have multiple food allergies so easily/less expensive to cook simple meals ourselves. DH and I split the cooking, he does all dishes and I do all household + kid laundry.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I like that podcast but I do think they focus maybe a little too much on childcare outsourcing (ie getting a nanny, a college student, etc) but not so much outsourcing other types of things. We are on a similar time schedule to you (not super crazy hours but full days) and the question I ask myself is “how can I make the ~4 hours I spend a day with my kids enjoyable for all of us” and “how can I make the ~2 hours after they go to bed relaxing.”

      The answer for us has been to cut waaaaay down on meal variety, and “outsource” a lot of our cooking to our personal chef, Trader Joe, as well as his sous-chef, Signor Costco. I’ve “outsourced” making baby food to my mom (she thinks it’s fun and drops off ziplocks full of Frozen Mush for us). We cook something super fast (the thread the other day on this was really helpful) and all eat together. Once the kids are in bed (usually by 7:15) we spend 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen and living area and then have the rest of the evening to work or relax.

      This was kind of a tough choice for us because even when we had only one kid, my husband and I really enjoyed cooking. We still do! But we’ve decided that it’s the thing that has to go in this season of life so that we can maximize time with kids and time to relax. If you have more money than us to throw at the problem, maybe you could look into some meal delivery services (not blue apron but the ones that deliver actual cooked meals).

      The one other thing I would outsource if I could is laundry, but there’s not a practical way to do that where I live.

      • We’ve relegated actual cooking to weekends. During the week we do Hello Fresh or something basic that doesn’t require a lot of planning ahead. We also got an instant pot and use it a lot for our weekend cooking – you can basically program it, clean up while it cooks, and then sit and have a long relaxing dinner while kids are sleeping. Plus leftovers are always a plus.

      • I would love to outsource meals to Trader Joe’s and Costco. Can you be more specific about the options at both that you use? Are there specific frozen meals that are in the rotation? Specific prepared items or pantry items that you always keep on hand? Kat, I think a Trader Joe’s/Costco post would be much appreciated!

        • KateMiddletown says:

          There was a great thread earlier this week about post-partum easy dinners that I bookmarked but can’t find now…

        • Anonymous says:

          Second this

        • Anonanonanon says:

          Trader Joes:
          -Orange Chicken (even my picky son and autistic brother eat it). Doesn’t need a pan, you just bake in the oven and pour sauce on
          -Frozen meatballs (I cook protein-fortified pasta, dump jarred sauce and these meatballs on top). My son dipped them in ketchup with a side of fruit when he was younger
          -The frozen stir fry asian dinners are good but again require more hands on than the orange chicken
          -Cartons of soups (their tomato soup is so good and a step up from most canned stuff) with grilled cheese that I make in the oven using a method I found online (much faster than the frying pan)
          -Their frozen rice that comes in packs that you microwave is a LIFESAVER and so good. Turns out much better than when I try to cook brown rice myself

          Regular Grocery Store:
          -Stouffers lasagna with frozen garlic bread. Really any stouffers stuff is good
          -Hormel meals from the refrigerated section (there’s microwavable pot roast and meat loaf that are amazing. I had to basically force my husband to try them because it sounds disgusting but they’re GOOD). We serve with microwavable mashed potatoes in the tub and microwavable steamed veggies

          • Anonanonanon says:

            Target has really good pre-cooked chicken strips that are fajita-seasoned that we like for wraps. Also has really good microwavable pulled pork that is juicy but does not have sauce on it (so we can use the sauce we like). Bonus points because I can add that stuff to my Shipt order

        • I’m more of a Costco shopper than TJ’s, but here are my regular pre-made buys from Costco: the chicken pot pie is fantastic and is excellent leftovers; the six-pack of stuffed peppers; turkey rollup sandwiches (comes in a pack of 12 I think); rotisserie chicken with microwaved rice / bag salad on the side; the salad kits from their produce section with the pre-made grilled chicken strips on top; they recently had a chicken enchilada bake that was good. Basically, if it’s in their deli case as a pre-prepared meal, I’m giving it a try. It’s rarely been a miss, other than way too many calories/fat (see: mixing in the salad kits with grilled chicken). Sometimes if I get my act together and go shopping on Friday after work, we’ll get a pizza from the food court – I order on the way in and it’s ready by the time I am done.

          • Oh – another hack is that I regularly buy the pre-cut fruit and veggie platters from Costco. It’s a good variety and provides a pre-cut option for a before-dinner snack or something to take for lunch.

        • We eat frozen tortellini and Caesar salad from a bag at least once a week. Fast and the kids like it.
          Our other Costco/ Trader Joes staple is Pot Stickers. I like the vegetarian ones form Trader Joes or the Asian market best, but they are farther away, so we often just get the big bag from Costco. Costco rotisserie chicken and (again) bagged salad. The bagged salad is great because the 6 year old can put it together, so it’s one thing off my plate.

          • Oh, also- another favorite meal idea is Costco shopping night where we go to Costco in A Tuesday after school, get the kids hotdogs and they sit in the cart and eat them while dad and I shop.

      • I LOLed at ‘our personal chef, Trader Joe’…so true. We joke that all our birthday parties are catered by Costco.

        Definitely decide what your priorities are, and outsource accordingly – in an ideal world, my outsourcing wouldn’t be a regular standing appointment, but on an as-needed basis. When you want to maximize enjoyable time with your kids, outsource cleaning and food prep. (I simplify food prep all year round through meal planning, strategically timed veggie-chopping, Instant Pot, bagged salads, and TJ’s!) When you need to power through a major project, get a weekend mother’s helper to play with the kids. When you need a date night with husband, call up the roster of sitters. (We wouldn’t be able to afford a weekend sitter every week, so date nights are also ad-hoc or short lunch dates during daycare hours…)

        Also, I am daydreaming of having someone come to organize the whole darn apartment, then a cleaning service to maintain its cleanliness and tidiness – does such a thing exist?!

      • Anonanonanon says:

        Things I told myself I would outsource when I got a HUGE raise right around the time I had my second a few months ago, but honestly just haven’t had the bandwidth to do because they still require some prep/scheduling on my part:
        -Regular housecleaning, but not for the whole house (I’m too picky for that). Someone to do the bedrooms, the kids’ bathroom, change our linens, and vacuum the stairs.
        -Laundry service- wouldn’t trust it for my clothes, but for bedding and towels it would save a lot of time on weekends

        Things I’ve done:
        -Grocery delivery: I opted to go for Shipt, because they do Target and that’s where we buy premixed formula in 32 oz containers. I’ve also added school supplies and other things I’ve needed to the order. We have other options in our area but they require you schedule much more in advance.
        -UberEats. I used to be really good about packing my lunch, and my new job isn’t always conducive to taking a long enough break to run out and get something (because I’d rather get to leave early) so UberEats brings me lunch a couple of times a week.
        -Amazon Prime (which I did before). If I can’t get it there, I don’t need it
        -Clothing rental service. Allows me to try new things (especially useful with a post-partum body in flux) and best part is I get to mail it back without washing

      • AwayEmily says:

        Trader Joes favorites in our house:

        – BAGGED SALADS (the kind that come with toppings and dressing) these are my major source of vegetables. They switch out the varieties fairly often but they are all great. The more “slaw” type ones keep for at least a week, too.
        – Precut broccoli (steam and top with lemon juice)
        – Pasta in the refrigerated aisle (spinach tortellini for kids, butternut squash ravioli for us)
        – Bag of frozen mixed vegetables/grains (the Superfood pilaf, the Melodious blend) with a couple of eggs on top
        – Frozen burritos
        – Mahi-mahi burgers

        But really, just go there and try out whatever looks good in the frozen section. The other underappreciated thing about Trader Joes is that it’s a much smaller grocery store so I find I can get in and out much faster (one day a week I come into work a half hour late and go right after I drop the kids off at daycare when it’s super empty).

        • Anonanonanon says:

          The spinach tortellini is a win for kids in our house too! (I haven’t told them there’s spinach in it, it is called “the pasta with stuff in it” in our house)

        • Ooh, another pro-tip: the ‘slaw’-type bagged salads also work well if you have randomly run out of veggies to add crunch to a stir-fry. More than once I’ve looked in the fridge at the end of the week and chucked half a bag of crunchy slaw into my fried rice or fried udon.

    • I’m all over this page today.

      We went from 1-3 this summer, and this was the first week back to work/starting daycare, so we’re just figuring this out too. We also moved into a bigger house, so I think we’re going to need more help keeping it clean. My MIL gave us 10 hours of a housecleaning service, so I think we’re going to start using that biweekly and see if it makes life easier enough to start paying for it. I think we’re going to try to get a babysitter/mother’s helper in for a few hours on the weekend once a month so we can power through house/yard stuff together. I feel like we spend so much time on bottles/dinner dishes every night that adding another nightly task would just kill our evening, but I’m still thinking about small tasks we can do throughout the week (in a limited amount of time, like AwayEmily) to ease up the weekends.

      As far as food (I was also the earlier poster looking for the fastest dinners possible), I’ve been looking for premade meals, but everything in my area is really expensive. My mom, however, lives in an area where they have a company that does prepared frozen meals (casserole and slow cooker type stuff) that are really good and really reasonable – like $17 for five-serving meals, so I’m having her pick some of those up for me.

      Overall though, right now I’m just accepting Team Chaotic and simplifying what we can. It’ll pass. But I’m basically not planning any type of weeknight activity for the next year unless there are grandparents in town.

    • I outsource a lot of stuff, or automate it. I made a long long list (in link) but my top outsourcing choices are cleaning, groceries and lawn care. I’m thinking about outsourcing laundry but haven’t done it yet. Also +1 to a standing weekly babysitter. We have a babysitter every Thu night and my husband and I got out and work out/have a beer or I go to the store alone or …whatever. It’s great to have that space to rely on each week.

    • Going from 0 to 1 (1 to 2 will be interesting, for sure) with BigLaw hours there are a few things for me sanity-wise. All grocery shopping is delivery. We use peapod and then supplement with instacart as needed (maybe once a month). We love peapod, but the instacart quality is hit or miss in our experience. We make a standing order every week for Saturday or Sunday morning when we’re likely to be home anyways, and then tweak it as needed before cut-off the night before. Since it’s app/browser based, both DH and I can edit from wherever we are. Also prevents a lot of the impulse shopping my DH would otherwise do in person (and I can edit what he would otherwise do online).

      All other shopping is 95% delivery – costco, gap, carters, nordstrom, the A behemoth, target. I rarely, rarely, rarely set foot in a store these days. Occasionally I will even pay the return shipping fees (most places are free mail returns) if I need to just to avoid the extra errand. All FedEx and UPS returns get processed through my office mailroom, so no extra post office trips.

      We moved our housekeeper from 1x to 2x a month. Picking up for the housekeeper, putting away valuables and breakables, etc. is a lot for me (usually at least 90 minutes the night before and morning of) so I don’t foresee us moving to 1x a week. We eat out or do takeout or delivery usually 1-2 times a week (usually tacos or BBQ so it’s break-down-able for LO). I have been using the slow cooker a lot so that we have shredded meat for the 1 YO regularly (my little carnivore). I’m also slowly weaning off my past inclination that things MUST BE HOMEMADE – I have (to my irrational chagrin) purchased many stouffer’s meals, frozen pizza, frozen steam in a bag veggies, the costco deli prepared meals, kraft mac & cheese, pre-chopped veggies and fruit, bagged salad and actual store-bought bread). Oh, and we (not the baby) eat hotdogs regularly now. I love to cook but as someone said above, tis the season of life. Meals are also simplified – if it takes more than 30 minutes to prep (or an hour total), it’s probably not happening.

      We have a lawn guy who cuts our lawn and does year-end trimming; this year I added overseeding and mulching to the tasks I would normally do.

      Once you’re ready, join a gym with childcare you like (we only did this over the summer, and it’s been amazing). Baby gets socialization with other kids, dad (and sometimes mom) gets peace and quiet and a kid-free shower, and everyone’s generally happy.

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      Thanks all. Very helpful tips and stories. I think we will definitely need to speed up our dinner routine with more pre-made food. There’s a laundry service around here that I’ll look into as well. I should have mentioned that my parents live nearby so we’ve used them for as-needed babysitting on the weekends and sick days, but I like the idea of a standing babysitting commitment, either from them or a third party, as they live just a bit too far to help on the weekdays.

  6. Nanny vacation coverage? says:

    What do you guys do for nanny vacation coverage? For the summer vacation week we just took our vacation at the same time. However, our nanny goes back to India for 3-4 weeks every other year to visit her family so we need to find coverage for that long chunk of time.

    This is our first year dealing with this. We are lucky to have family as an option but not for the entire 3 weeks. My husband’s office provides “back-up childcare benefits” – has anyone used such a thing? I’m not opposed but I worry about how a toddler would fare being thrown into a random daycare for a week (I mean, he’ll survive obviously but I don’t want him to be a nightmare for the teachers).

    I could also look for someone on care dot com, but wondering what the likelihood is of finding someone who can do full-day coverage, but only for a week or two.

    • octagon says:

      Find out what backup child care benefits actually provide. Ours gives a choice of nanny sent to your house, a slot at a daycare center, or reimbursement for hiring someone yourself. For three weeks, I’d feel better about a random daycare, since it would take a few days to get used to it but then could become an established routine.

      • I think it’s the same thing – there are different options you can choose.

        I suppose if we ended up using the daycare the whole time that would make the most sense, since he would eventually get into a groove. But I’m being overly anxious and of course thinking about how no one has ever taken care of him except his nanny and he’s going to just cry the whole day. Which is ridiculous, I know.

        • That’s not ridiculous. Daycare transitions are hard with toddlers. He probably won’t cry the whole day, but drop off may be challenging and it is a difficult situation for you to go through.

        • Thanks, I didn’t want to sound dramatic, but he’s literally never been cared for by anyone but his nanny or family. I was hoping someone on this board had used a backup care before and could attest to how it went – even for a day or two for some other emergency. It just seems like it’d be so tough for kiddo, but what’s the point of having this benefit if we don’t use it?

        • I would recommend bringing him to the center ahead of time. My work offers both options, and I have used both. I like using the center (I’ve used two different ones) because they are clean and safe. My kids have always transitioned OK, although they are normally in day care so they are used to being in that environment. Also, they like the new toys (and aquarium!). It’s helpful to visit so you and your child get familiar with the environment. My company partners with Bright Horizons, if that is helpful.

          I have also used the service where they send someone home, which has worked well for me the couple of times i have tried it, but I have heard from coworkers that it can be a little hit or miss (you have no idea who’s going to show up). For that long of a time, they might send the same person, which I think is really nice. I get nervous about leaving my younger (less than 5) children with an unknown person, though, so I only did it once at that age.

          • Thank you! I believe ours is Bright Horizons as well. This was the kind of info I was looking for.

          • Blueberries says:

            My experience with BH backup care is that it’s been tremendously hard to get them to actually send a nanny when I need one—if you might use them, you should schedule the backup care ASAP. Colleagues have reported good things about the centers, and hit or miss with the nannies (some excellent ones, some that were pretty mediocre).

            I’ve always ended up going with the expensive excellent agencies in our area because they more consistently come through with someone qualified than BH.

          • Anonymous says:

            I have used backup daycare through Bright Horizons. I have also had an option of a nanny. I have typically used the nanny since it was easier for us, but have used Bright Horizons at times. Check the Bright Horizons to see if it is a back up care facility or one that fits your child into an existing class. I prefer the transient nature of the back up care, as I think it is more used to kids dealing with the adjustment.
            I am in the DC area and typically have been able to obtain a nanny when needed. The only times I have not have been when the federal government was closed or I requested it the same day. I was able to request a specific person.

    • Anonymous says:

      What time of year? I babysat in high school and college for a family where nanny went home for Christmas every year. You might find someone who is interested in picking up even half days which means that kid would only be at back up daycare for the morning which might be an easier adjustment.

    • We also have the backup care option, but it’s limited to like 15 days a year, which I would probably want to save for emergency days throughout the year if I were you. What about a neighborhood SAHM/D? They might like a little extra cash for a couple weeks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you have any family that could help? My sister flies in my mom for two weeks every summer when their nanny is on holiday. Mom won’t accept payment but sister pays for the flight and a spa day together when mom is there.

      • We do – but both my parents and in-laws are not physically capable of doing the whole 3 weeks stint. I think 5 consecutive days from each of them is the most we could ask. In each set of parents only one is mobile/capable of caring for a toddler, unfortunately.

        • Anonymous says:

          If they are reasonably local I might try daycare AM and grandparents PM for a week each and then full week of daycare. Or one set of grandparents full days for the first week, you and DH split second week and other set of grandparents full days for the third week.

          Nanny to full time daycare will likely be a rough adjustment at first. If you can use the same daycare every year it will be easier.

          • That’s a thought. I could have grandparents take him to daycare in the morning, and then in the afternoon he’ll mostly nap anyway (which makes it easier for them).

          • Strategy Mom says:

            Totally agree with this! This is what we do when our nanny is out. My mom can’t handle both kids alone all day bc of a bad back. You could also hire a baby sitter for the whole few weeks and have your parents there the first few days while kids adjust and to make sure you like and trust the backup nanny.

            I also bet you have a 10 or 12 year old neighbor who is dying to have a babysitting/mommy’s helper job. They usually get out of school early enough to help my mom with the kids when they wake up from nap

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, I used to be a nanny and I wouldn’t have dreamed of taking vacation separate from my employers’ vacation.

      • Anonymous says:

        1 week of nanny vacation is standard, but 3-4 weeks seems really excessive.

      • It is pretty standard for Indian nannies in my area to go home every couple years to see their family. The vacation is not paid.

        Most people I know get by with family helping and cobbling together care as Anon at 11:14 suggested. Usually the nanny will take the month of December off, which makes it easier because it overlaps with the holidays.

        But this year our nanny has a niece’s wedding to attend (which takes a week just in itself!) and unfortunately the astrologer recommended a wedding date not near Christmas. Trying not to be US-centric and supportive of her culture!

    • Our nanny had some family obligations (several shorter trips instead of one long one) while she was working for us. She took more time off than is typical for a nanny, but unpaid. She recommended friends to cover for her. The backup sitters came over one morning to meet me and go through the routine with our nanny. I paid both of them for that time, obviously, but I paid the backup care $2 less per hour (which was actually market rate) than full-time nanny, so it kind of evened out. All of the backup sitters were all great, and now they’re our network of evening/weekend babysitters and backup care from daycare.

      I really trusted our nanny to only recommend competent, trustworthy people. To this day, if she and the original group are all busy, I ask her to recommend sitters. YMMV.

    • Penelope says:

      Honestly, I’d ask your nanny for a recommendation. I feel like the nanny employment cycle is so cyclical( kids go to preschool, families get into daycare) that there are a lot of great nannies that are underemployed. When our nanny returned to home country for an extended visit, she recommended a friend. The friend “shadowed” nanny for a day to get the general approach and we had her babysit for a few hours one weekend. No problems with adjustment and we paid the friend cash for the two weeks. It is also a good way to extend your list of sitters/back up care.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks, SC & Penelope, you both make an excellent point. Usually if I ask her for a recommendation it is a family member, and in this case she will also be at this wedding in India (or she’d be my first choice bc she knows my son already) – but I do know she has other nanny friends! I don’t know why I didn’t think of this.

    • Hi there says:

      My work also has backup care, 100 hours a year. When my guy was in toddler and preschool I used it more for a day or a week here and there, not 3 weeks in a row, and was worried about him picking up new germs in a new place. That sounds like I don’t think they clean but I mean from exposure to other kids. So I usually have the backup caregivers come to my house or office. I have been pretty happy with them. A lot of the caregivers come from a local franchise of College Nannies and Tutors, in case that helps.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I know this has been discussed, but the best early walker shoes? My kid isn’t really walking yet but she’s starting to cruise and daycare has requested shoes for when they go into the halls or outside. I think we need soft soles, to help her learn ‘proper’ walking, right? So I thought Robeez, but they look like they could be pretty slippery since there isn’t any traction to speak of. What am I missing? I really don’t want to spend more than even $30 on these since she is going to outgrow them quickly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Robeez with leather bottoms are fine. They are grippy enough for slow moving toddlers who are just learning to walk.

    • Anonymous says:

      +1 – Robeez leather bottoms have good traction

    • What about Skidders with the flexible grippy soles? I just looked on their website and they seem to have a 40% off sale right now. (They’re not paying me to say this!)

    • My kid has Stride Rite early walkers with the flexible rubber sole. They are relatively expensive (around $45, thigh I bought them from a shoe store that really fit your kids), but they are sturdy, and my son has worn them for about five months now. I kind of feel like $45 every six months is still less than what I pay for my own shoe habit and talk myself out of the sticker shock. I think with shoes, if you aren’t picky about the look, you can often find them on sale.

      • +1. I’m very cheap with kids items but think stride ride is totally worth it. We bought one pair a season and DD wore them every day.

      • Anon2 says:

        The SR Surprize line at Target has some decent early walker shoes. They are like $20 and work totally fine until your kid is really walking and needs something more durable. My toddling 12-month-old is in them now.

    • Patty Mayonnaise says:

      I loved Softstars for this stage!

  8. Big Kid Bed says:

    We are shopping for a Big Kid Bed. I have narrowed it down to either a) two twin beds or b) one queen bed. Hoping to keep this setup for a long time, maybe even through high school if it works. Any advice on two twins v. a queen bed?

    Thoughts on two twin beds: I thought it might be good for having friends stay over, or when little brother wants to sleep in big brother’s room sometimes. He and little brother adore each other (for now!) and I could see them possibly wanting to share the room later (little bro has his own room currently). It’s a pretty big bedroom and won’t hurt for space either way. My mom said she wished she had done two twin beds for when we were kids and had friends over. She said we would inevitably make pallets in the floor rather than share the bed, ha. (Maybe kids just like floor sleepovers though.) Plus, I just think two matching beds are super adorable. (That’s not a good reason, I know!)

    Thoughts on queen bed: I don’t know if he would get confused about why there are two beds in his room that’s not technically a shared room? Maybe he would rather have a bigger bed, especially in later years. It’s a little less expensive to buy and outfit one bed rather than two twins (but not a dealbreaker). Thanks for any thoughts!

    • Anonymous says:

      I would get two twin beds – much better for having friends sleep over. And no kid needs anything bigger than a twin bed — remember, when he goes off to college, he’ll have a twin bed. Plus, as you say, the boys might want to share a room later on (which would free up another room for you if you need a guest room or home office).

    • Anonymous says:

      omg, it never would have occurred to me that friends sleep over in a bed. Sleeping bags are half the fun of sleepovers!

      I would do the two twin beds, and have the kids share a room. The main benefit I see to a queen bed is that you could boot your son somewhere else and use it as a guest room for two adults if needed. Unless your son is likely to be particularly large (and even then, my 6’4 brother slept in a twin bed until he moved out of my mom’s house), a twin bed will be fine for as long as your child lives at home. My college dorms had twin beds, albeit the extra-long ones.

    • How old is your kid? I would opt for two vs. one and do a full over a queen if I was going to do one. But really I’d probably do a bunk (you can do twin over full) and use the top for toy storage, etc., for now. I generally think an extra bed is always helpful because in addition to all you mentioned, there may be nights when he’s sick and you want to be nearby, etc.

      I don’t think he’d be confused. In terms of “long term” planning I think it’s so hard to know how your needs will change that it’s hard to plan as far ahead as high school.

      • KateMiddletown says:

        +1. Bunk beds are awesome especially if you can de-bunk them or put them in separate rooms later if you need to separate your kids.

        But definitely don’t spend too much money on them that you feel like you have to get 10 years out of the set-up to justify the expense.

    • Anonanonanon says:

      My son has a full-sized bed and, as others have mentioned, it is useful to be able to “boot” him when someone who needs a larger bed comes to stay. We just do air mattresses in the basement (where the TV and toys are) for sleep overs.

    • That is a good point about a full/queen to boot kiddo out if we have guests. We do have one guest room now. I think also once little bro is out of his crib, I would put a full/queen in his room. So then we’d have: Guest Room (queen), Little Bro Room (full or queen), Big Bro Room (two twins). Do you think that would serve the same purpose? Thanks for all the good advice!

      • What about a trundle? That way you can push it in during the day for more space. This is for Big Bro Room.

    • In House Lobbyist says:

      We have a bunk bed with a twin on top and full on bottom. My kids are 8 and 5 and share a room. The full bed on the bottom is nice for those nights when they are sick and want to lay with you. That way at least one parent can sleep and you can trade off the next night.

  9. Rainbow Hair says:

    Help, moms! Kiddo has been sleeping alone forever (like since 8 months-ish, and she’s 3.5 now) but suddenly “there are monsters” and “i can only sleep if I’m snuggling you.” She comes into our room any time between midnight (noooo) and 6AM (livable) and it is *rough.* My husband, in particular, does not sleep well when she’s in the bed with us.

    I don’t know what to do … she does fall asleep, but it seems like she wakes up in the middle of the night and is scared and lonesome. I believe her fear is real — last night I bribed her (if you stay in bed all night, in the morning you can have a donut) and she was in tears going to sleep because she really wanted the bribe but was really scared to stay in bed all night. Poor thing. (She didn’t come in until 6, and 6:20 is wakeup time, so she got the donut.)


    • Anonymous says:

      Take her back. Sit by her bed until she falls asleep if you have to but take her back every night. Correction, every other night cause your husband does half of this.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      I think Anonymous’s advice is the best. Another option that we do, but is probably not conducive to getting kiddo to stay in bed, is throwing a pillow and blanket down on the floor right next to our bed. Can still hold hands if needed but the adults can sleep a little better.

    • Anonymous says:

      Monster spray? Better nightlight of her choice? Ok to Wake clock? Continued bribes?

  10. AnotherAnon says:

    This seems like such a dumb questions but where do you shop (online) for weekend clothes? Not athleisure but like jeans and t-shirts/casual date night outfits. I used to shop at LOFT and BR, but everything seems boring or way too trendy lately.

  11. Is this typical two-year-old or is something else going on? And…help?

    Our 26 month old has been having a rough time of it the last couple of days, especially around meal times/getting home from daycare. This morning, we had the first iteration of it at breakfast, and I felt like I was at a total loss. My husband did too, I think, but had to go up and shower during part of it (had to take older child to orthodontist) so I felt pretty alone and stressed.

    Over the last few weeks he’s been having a rough time when he gets home from daycare. He’ll be fine and happy, and even point to the door and say, “Dada? Yaya? [sister]” then as soon as he walks in the door and actually sees one of them he screams and tries to run back out the door. He’ll scream BYE BYE DADA! or BYE BYE YAYA! and cry and other grab onto me or just cry and run away.

    Then he’s just tough until dinner is on the table. He wants snacks. I’ve tried giving him snacks. They are the wrong snacks. I’ve tried not giving snacks, and having dinner instantly ready. He doesn’t want to sit in his chair. He wants TV before dinner. I try that. It’s the wrong Thomas. He wants TV before dinner but I say no, no TV today, and there’s a meltdown. I understand I’m probably missing consistency at this point, but things that have worked in the past don’t work now, so I’m trying other things.

    Last night was probably the worst iteration of this. I picked him up from daycare a little early because of my schedule, and he cried and threw a tantrum when I arrived because I picked him up while they were reading him a Thomas book. Calmed down by the time we got to the car. Lost his mind about the carseat. I said, “Carseat in one minute,” and held him until he calmed down, then just fine in the carseat. Then the above, “Yaya home?” in a hopeful voice followed by “BYE BYE YAYA!” and screaming/crying as soon as he saw her. Complete screaming mess putting him in his high chair, I rubbed his back, he calmed down, ate dinner, was 100% fine and sweet when my husband arrived home after working late and put him to bed.

    This morning was the first time it has ever happened with breakfast. He woke up normally and totally fine. But when we went downstairs, he lost his mind. He didn’t want anything to eat. He didn’t want to sit in his chair. He didn’t want to play. He didn’t want to be up in his room. He didn’t want to be downstairs. Everything was terrible. Finally I gave him a zucchini brownie and a pretzel to eat after about an hour of just terror. For that hour, I felt like I needed to be near him because if he was downstairs, he could (and was trying to) destroy things. And he wouldn’t stay in his room (climbing the baby gate).

    I felt like a terrible parent because I am generally very good at boundaries and giving space but I felt like I didn’t have a safe space to just leave him to calm down. I’ve been wondering if this is about being hangry but I don’t really know how to address it when he literally won’t eat anything.

    I know this is a novel. I would appreciate any advice. He’s not super verbal but has good receptive language and I can understand a lot of things he says, so I don’t think this is totally about me not understanding him, and more about him just not wanting….anything. AGH!

    • Is he tired? Is he napping well at daycare? Is he getting enough sleep at night? What time does he go to bed, what time does he wake up, and what time/how long does he nap?

      I agree with your idea that he could be hungry. To me this sounds like either hungry or tired. If it’s hunger but he won’t eat what you offer, could it be that he’s waited too long to eat? Can you keep some crackers in your car and let him snack on the ride home? Also, I know it is so terrible, but it’s also kind of normal two year old behavior, too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is he willing to drink when he won’t eat? When our toddlers are too hangry to eat we can often get them calmed down enough to drink a cup of milk which seems to take the edge off and then they become more reasonable creatures.

      Also seconding snacking on the way home from daycare, if you’re willing to try that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hate to say it but… it could be typical two year old? Agree that hunger (or being tired, or molars, etc) could be the root cause but it’s hard to be a little toddler and kids go crazy sometimes. It doesn’t like sound behavior that is indicative of some larger or more serious problem, unless it gets worse (like he starts hurting himself or others).

      My niece when she was two had tantrums where she would lay face down and sob and hit you if you tried to comfort her. That was just what she did. There was not much you could do to help her, especially if she was hungry but you gave her the “wrong snack”. She 100% grew out of it.

    • Penelope says:

      This could be typical 2 year old behavior, but have you had his ears checked? My similar aged kid was crazy like this and turned out he had a double ear infection with none of the typical signs. Poor kid.

      Also, we greet the kid in the morning with a cup of milk and let him drink a half cup while getting dinner ready. Makes a world of difference.

    • Thanks! Our daycare recently switched to a new reporting system, and we are getting way less details on naps, so this is a good reminder to ask and make sure he’s actually sleeping during them. I should totally have thought this might be about naps. He is a great night-time sleeper, and we have in fact done slightly earlier bedtimes through this period – usually 6:30-7:15 rather than 7:00-7:45. He goes to sleep well and sleeps through the night until probably around 6:30 or 7, and entertains himself in his crib until we go get him, usually around 7:15 or 7:45.

      I am going to try home-commute snacks and I am also going to get his ears checked just in case! He had an insane double ear infection over the winter that took two rounds of antibiotics to get rid of, so I think it is worth checking. I wouldn’t have even though about that. Thank you!!

      And I wish my kid was more into milk. Once it stopped coming out of the b00b he was way less into it.

  12. cleaning service q says:

    We have been using a small cleaning service for years and it’s fine–they are very nice, but things aren’t necessarily as clean as we would like (particularly with a toddler contributing to the messiness now), and they come with a crew of 3-4, so don’t stay long enough to cycle laundry through. We are thinking about trying to find an individual who could come for a longer time and clean, do laundry (at least towels/sheets), maybe some cooking–other things that are useful? Basically I’d like to pay one person for 5 hrs/week, rather than 4 people for 1.5 hrs. Has anyone successfully transitioned to this model? Likelihood of finding someone ok w/being paid on the books? We are in DC if anyone has recommendations. Thanks!

  13. Resentment says:

    Any advice on letting go of and moving past resentment in your marriage? My husband and I have had a really challenging last 18 months in our personal and professional lives (unemployment, a scary and complicated pregnancy, and undiagnosed PPD, to name a few). My usually wonderful, loving husband was not emotionally available or supportive during these challenges and I basically went through a lot of these struggles alone. He now admits that he checked out because he was really overwhelmed and afraid of losing our baby and he didn’t know how to deal with what we were facing, so he just shut down. Now that we’re through the worst of it, he owns his behavior and he continues to apologize profusely for how he acted during my pregnancy and those first few months postpartum.

    However, it’s been a few months and I’m struggling to let it go and move on. I’m usually good at forgiving people and I’m not one to hold grudges, but I’m having a really hard time forgiving him for how he acted during the most difficult time in my life. I’m hanging on to this resentment and I don’t know why I can’t move on yet. I really don’t want this to ruin my marriage. Therapy is unfortunately not in the budget at this point.

    Any advice or words of wisdom from those who have been able to move past big disappointments in their marriage or relationship?

    • COtoNY says:

      I feel like many of the other commenters would tell you this same thing– you may think therapy isn’t in the budget, but is it worth saving your marriage over? Can you possibly cut anything else so you can fit it into your budget?

      Honestly, if my husband did to me what it sounds like yours did (we just had a baby), I would have an incredibly hard time ever forgiving him, especially without therapy.

    • I am going to take you at your word that counseling isn’t possible right now but that you really want to move on. My advice is to make the conscious decision to forgive him. I know you say you want to forgive him and are trying to move on but I think you have to decide over and over that you are actually going to forgive this and then you have to actively work toward that. The second part can be tricky – but you need to create opportunities for him to show you that he is truly remorseful; you should also look for ways to reconnect together and as a family. None of this is quick or easy but saying I am going to forgive you this one time is step 1.

      One exercise I find helpful is to really put myself in the other person’s shoes. This is not to excuse how the person behaved but to work on understanding for your own sake and for empathy generally. You have to really imagine the whole context. It doesn’t work to say, “he was scared but I was scared too and I acted differently” because you’re not him, you didn’t come to this with his baggage or his personality or whatever. Also, this may be counterintuitive, but I think you should give yourself permission to re-assess the situation if he becomes emotionally unavailable again. I think one of the things that’s scary about forgiveness is that it can feel like you’re making yourself vulnerable again and open to the same thing happening twice, so the resentment is almost a self protective mechanism. But if you acknowledge that you can always reassess you see that you have nothing to lose by trying to work on this right now.

      • One additional exercise I like to do sometimes is to imagine I was just dropped into whatever situation you find yourself in. Sometimes it’s a matter of “what would I do if this wasn’t my life” (because I don’t know about you, but I have a much easier time knowing what to do about my friends’ problems than my own), but in this case it’s maybe imagine you at your happiest and most generous with each other; if that you was transported through time to now, how would she try to resolve this impasse? I read something in a book recently that really articulated it well and I wont be able to do it justice but basically when we are at the beginning of a relationship, we tend to read good intentions into everything and one happy moment leads to another but when things get difficult each minor annoyance or problem will make the next minor thing seem that much worse until it all becomes impossible. Not saying you’re dealing with minor issues at all here, but I do think that it’s worthwhile to step back from this and try to have a bit of objective distance.

        • Resentment says:

          Thank you so much for this thoughtful advice! I didn’t even realize that I’ve been somewhat unconsciously comparing how I behaved to how he behaved until I read your second paragraph. I usually consider myself an empathetic person, but my usual “putting myself in the other person’s shoes” exercise wasn’t working here and I couldn’t figure out why. Thank you for giving me that perspective.

          I think you also hit the nail on the head with why forgiveness is scary. I didn’t know he had it in him to completely check out on me and as a result, I’ve become pretty emotionally self-sufficient over the last year. It was really hurtful when he shut down and forgiveness does mean exposing myself to that again if we hit another crisis.

    • Anonymous says:

      I went through a much milder version of this with my husband and it was really hard, so sending hugs your way. I would try to spend some time exploring what holding on to this could be doing for you–and I mean this completely without judgement–what practical function does your resentment serve? Is it protecting you from further hurt?Is there still something else you need from him that you haven’t gotten? E.g., are you upset about X smaller issue (such as him not doing his fair share of housework) but your feelings about that seem unjustifiable so you focus on this big legitimate gripe? Are you struggling emotionally and focusing on what he did rather than your scary feelings?

      • Resentment says:

        Thank you – it’s nice to know others have been through this and come out the other side. I think it’s probably a combination of a few things. A small part of it is just adjusting to our first baby and constantly feeling like I’m doing more than he does, on top of handling all of the crazy and scary things we’ve been through recently so much better than he did. It’s also that the resentment is sort of a protective or defense mechanism at this point. It was really painful to go through everything virtually by myself, but I figured out how to do cope and get through it on my own. Now I’m much more emotionally self-sufficient and I worry that letting go of this and letting him in again means I’m going to get hurt again, should we face another crisis in the future.

    • anon for this says:

      Not sure of your insurance situation, but if you are diagnosed with even acute depression or “other unspecified anxiety” (my diagnosis of choice) your insurance company will handle it very differently than “couples counselling.”

      Even with therapy you might find resentment creeping back into your brain years later. It’s hard to avoid entirely. You have to deal with it on your end as best you can – journaling is huge for me when I want to have a screaming at you conversation, and so is crying in the shower and telling myself I’ll get over it.

      The biggest mental “lightswitch” I was able to flip was basically making the choice that my life was better with him than without him. It really was a conscious decision to say Yes and choose to forgive, and vocalize that I was making that choice (in therapy or to the few people in my support network who knew our situation.)

      • Resentment says:

        Thank you! I didn’t realize that we may be able to have therapy paid for by insurance for this type of thing. I’ve previously been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, so maybe we can leverage that into individual or couples therapy.

        Thanks for your advice as well. My life genuinely is better with him than without him. I think I do need to flip that light switch to move on, and make it a conscious decision that I focus on everyday for awhile until this is less painful. People really weren’t kidding when they say marriage is hard. :)

  14. COtoNY says:

    I probably won’t get a lot of responses to this late post, but I’ll give it a shot…

    I gave birth to a daughter 3 weeks ago (yay!!). I love her so, so much, but this has honestly been a really tough time. The first week, specifically, was terrible. It was the worst week of my life, actually. I cried almost constantly. This was due to various factors (jaundice, breastfeeding issues) but probably mostly hormones.

    Things are much better now in terms of my emotional health, but (especially now that my husband has gone back to work) life feels… mundane? I feel like my day revolves around feeding my daughter, and it’s starting to grate on me. Feeding her still isn’t a wholly pleasant experience– it involves feeding at my breast (including difficulties getting her to latch), then supplementing with pumped milk in a bottle, and then pumping. It’s a long process and I usually only have an hour of rest before the whole things starts up again. I’m basically either feeding her or dreading the next time I have to feed her, all day, on a 3-hour cycle.

    Please tell me it gets better??

    • First time mom to a 9-month old here, and it gets SO MUCH BETTER. Those first 6 weeks of my daughter’s life were some of the hardest I’ve ever experienced (we had jaundice and some breastfeeding issues too). You’re still so much in the newborn fog/thick of things with a brand new baby. As your baby grows and doesn’t need to eat constantly and starts sleeping longer and developing a personality, it gets so much easier and so much more fun. I found that once we hit 6 weeks, things got progressively easier in 2 week chunks, and once you hit 4-5 months, you’re golden.

      Also, the breastfeeding + feeding + pumping routine sounds exhausting. Don’t be afraid to supplement with formula or stop breastfeeding if you think it’s going to help your mental health. I’m still EBFing at 9 months, but I almost wish I had been kinder to myself and more flexible with regards to BFing in those early months, when it was so constant and stressful and painful. I think I made it unnecessarily hard on myself and I wish I had been kinder and more considerate to my PP self.

      • COtoNY says:

        Thank you so much– people keeping saying it gets so much better after the first few weeks, but it still makes me feel better every time an additional person says it.

        I really don’t want to stop breastfeeding but if this triple-feeding routine doesn’t resolve in the next few weeks, I think I might have to :(

        • Stopping breastfeeding isn’t your only option. You can combo feed (there was a post on this a few months back), which would give you and the baby the benefits of breastfeeding, but also give you a break. It’s the presence of breast milk that counts, not the absence of formula.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes!!! Just add formula to your nursing. You’ll skip the pumping and pump parts cleaning part of the equation.

    • Anonymous says:

      It gets better, so much better. What you are doing is at best boring if not outright painful, and the baby can’t smile and doesn’t act the least bit grateful or even happy to see you! You are not alone. I guess some women love the newborn phase, but I did not. For me the most critical thing was finding other new mothers. You need adult company if at all possible, and ideally other women who are in the trenches with this strange new world. It’s a huge shock even if everything is going right. For me, 6 months was a turning point, but it was incrementally better before that too. Older babies just start getting more…human. Newborns are like angry mysterious aliens.

      • Boston Legal Eagle says:

        Yes, find a new moms’ group! It was a sanity saver for me in those early months. Your baby will change so much in even just a few months, even though it feels like every day is such a slog now. I remember looking at the clock every 5 min when I was on leave, just waiting for my husband to get home. This was probably due to a combination of boredom + exhaustion + anxiety, but it was not pleasant. Having the weekly groups and setting up lunches outside of that gave me some purpose and goal for the long days.

        Hang in there though, newborns, especially your first, are so hard. And you absolutely don’t need to give up b-feeding if you want to supplement. I am much more open to supplementing from the start with my upcoming #2 baby instead of stressing myself out by pumping on top of b-feeding as I did with my first.

      • “What you are doing is at best boring if not outright painful, and the baby can’t smile and doesn’t act the least bit grateful or even happy to see you!” – so true! I didn’t enjoy the newborn phase much either. Around 3 months things improved enormously. And everyone acts like you are supposed to be on cloud nine which only made me feel like an a-hole for not loving every minute. A friend going through the same thing is fantastic advice. The NYT had an op-ed about this recently even. This community can serve a similar purpose so feel free to post often :)

    • First, you’re doing great! Second, it gets so much better!

      The first few weeks are so hard. It’s like your body went through the most intense thing ever and then you got rewarded with a little alien who is complete out of its element and can’t possibly tell you what it wants or needs and can’t fend for itself in the slightest but you have to figure it all out. I had no idea what to do. My hormones were all over the place. I always felt like I should have been doing something else. It’s just exhausting. But it goes by so quick.

      As far as feeding, I would agree that you should give yourself permission to supplement with formula because this sounds like a LOT. But that said, if you’d rather not, have you spoken to a lactation consultant? They may be able to help with the latch issue which will make all the difference in the world. Feel free to ignore this advice but I think unless you specifically have weight gain issues with your baby it may be easier on you to just try to nurse without the constant pumping (again, I don’t know enough about your situation so please take this with a million grains of salt) and that may help your body and baby establish a better rhythm for all this.

      Motherhood is tough. I have two relatively easy babies who took to eating well and slept decently and I still ended up crying last night because my son is teething and I haven’t slept through the night more than a handful of times in I don’t know how long and he just kept waking up every 2 hours and I lost it. But you know what? That’s okay. It happens. It passes. I am okay now. You will be okay, too. It’s all going to be so worth it.

      • COtoNY says:

        Thank you! We’ve seen lactation consultants regularly, and we did have weight-gain issues, which is why we’re on this crazy regimen. She isn’t currently getting enough milk from exclusive breastfeeding (the jaundice issue interrupted my ability to build up my supply in the critical first week). I’m truly hoping that we can be exclusively breastfeeding within the next week or two, though. We are also supplementing with formula, in addition to the pumped milk, I left that out of my first post to try to avoid a novel :)

        • You sound amazing! Truly – that is all so much and you are doing great. One thing that helped me is to break everything down into “just this one thing” – you can get through any one feeding, any one night, any one growth spurt. Give yourself two weeks to work out the feeding issues. Then reassess if you need to so that you can maintain your sanity and enjoy your baby. Your baby will do great whatever you choose.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Oh I remember those weeks. <3 <3 <3

      Remember how tired you are. I know this sounds silly, but like, if you're sleeping in one-hour intervals for weeks at a time, you're going to feel like hell. So if you feel like hell, ok, accept that. It's not because anything is wrong, it's just a really hard time. So cut yourself slack on everything, even on feeling blah. This is the hardest time, I think. It's exhausting and intense but also boring, Sisyphean… Unfortunately, your day probably will revolve around feeding her in this period. But that is one of the things you *will* get through. It can be intense and lonely and weird though. Soon she'll be doing things like looking at things in surprise! Or showing an interest in certain noises! Smiling! Or clearly loving the feeling of wind on her face! And those things are so rewarding, after the period of feeling this fierce, overwhelming love for someone who can't really do anything. It gets so fun, and then even more fun, and then even more fun!

    • Anonymous says:

      It gets so much better!!

      My advice:
      1) Find a new moms group, ideally a b-feeding support group. I found one at a local hospital and it was not even the hospital I delivered in. The LC and other moms there were the #1 reason I made it with b-feeding. I went every week during leave and there were always 1-2 women doing the dreaded triple feed. Just having someone to commiserate with was so helpful. The LC had one of those special baby scales so you could do weighed feedings which helped me understand how much baby was eating, and also I could be assured he was gaining weight. My LC was an RN and an IBCLC, so I could ask questions about my health and baby’s. The group was also very pro-combo feeding and almost all of us used formula at the beginning. One of my favorite parts was when a mom would finally be done supplementing and bring in her extra formula to give away to new moms who needed it.

      2) Find a Netflix show or podcast to binge while you feed and pump. I needed the mental stimulation while being tethered to a machine or tiny piranha for upwards of 15 hours a day (personal record for a cluster feed).

      3) Try babywearing. My little guy would sleep longer if snuggled against me in a carrier, and I could wash/sterilize pump parts or eat while he slept. When I got more confident, I would take him to the coffee shop in the carrier and just sit there with other adult humans. It helps with the mundane feeling to get out.

      4) Piggyback on #3, if you can get someone to help you at home, having them wash/sterilize and prep food for you are two easy things that save so much time. If it’s just DH, have him do this before he leaves in the morning – every day of my maternity leave DH made me a smoothie and brought it to me in bed. Some days he would make me a lunch and put it in the fridge, too. I never mastered eating while nursing (other than the aforementioned smoothie) but at least it saved me a few precious minutes not having to make myself lunch!

      good luck! it gets so much better!!

      • COtoNY says:

        Thank you! Ensuring that we have a show on during the night-time feedings has been particularly helpful, actually. I never realized how drastically TV could improve your life (that sounds so sad to say out loud!).

        Definitely going to have to *suggest* that I get a smoothie every day before DH goes to work :)

    • Spirograph says:


      It gets so much better! It’s not so much that infancy is the toughest phase, it just feels the most tedious & thankless (at least to me). You’re exhausted, you start feeling like a food dispenser more than a person, and it’s pretty boring to be home all day with someone whose only form of communication is a cry that evolution has designed to drive you crazy. The turning point for me was when the baby learned to smile, and it gets steadily better from there for at least a couple years. :)

      Please be kind to yourself, that feeding schedule sound grueling. It may be that exclusive pumping, combo feeding, or even switching straight to formula works better for you. All of those are OK. The important things are that your baby has nourishment, and you maintain your sanity. I second the suggestion to seek out other new mothers or other adult company during the day. I found a new moms group through the hospital, and was so thankful for it. You’re doing great!

    • anon for this says:

      It gets better. Find a tribe, even if it’s La Leche League to start with, or a playgroup that introduces you to a better playgroup. And tell your OB you’ve been feeling this way. You will benefit from therapy (even if it’s just to have another adult to talk to during the day). I say this since we’re getting ready to enter fall and winter, and winter is HARD even if there’s no newborn chaining you to your house. Be proactive with your self-care on this front.

    • Triple feeding is so hard! Im about two months ahead of you and I was doing it for my twins but was literally spending all day feeding, so i had to switch to just pumping and feeding pumped milk. Also supplemented a bit with formula. Glad Im not the only one who thought the day my kids were born was one of the worst of my life. I had a terrible delivery and a baby in the nicu and a part of me feels guilty for it not being the best day ever and then another part of me is angry/resentful that i didn’t have a positive experience. The whole day does consist of feeding and it is boring! A pediatrician friend convinced me that keeping the tv on in the background while feeding does not count as screen time for a baby. I believe the Emmys are this weekend and new tv will start up again soon. Echoing the comments to join a new moms group. Many hospitals have them. I really wish I could’ve but it was too hard for me to get out of the house with twins. Try to shower at least every other day and when DH gets home and on the weekends go outside! Where I live summer is really hot so i couldn’t really go outside with the babies and not stepping outside the walls of our apartment all week was literally making me insane. Go get a pedicure or ice cream or something

      Hang in there! I know everyone is saying this but i promise it does get better. I also keep telling myself that if people voluntarily decided to go through all of this again it must get better or no one would have more than one kid. But yea it does suck at the beginning. I actually think you should be honest with your friends. No need to sugar coat it

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh god no – don’t worry about screentime now. Truly. It becomes obvious when they start paying attention, and I don’t think that was until closer to a year old or later. (Foggy memories). Treat yourself to as much bad/good media as possible right now.

    • Hugs and solidarity. This was me for the first 2 weeks of my son’s life, 3 years ago – he was jaundiced, I BFed and formula-supplemented and pumped to try to up my supply, he spit up all the time and I eventually cut out dairy, and we had to wake him every 2-3 hours to eat. We’d just moved 3 months prior, I barely knew anyone, and my maternity leave wasn’t paid. Few of our friends in the area had kids at the time. It. Sucked. Here’s what I wish I’d known or done then:

      If you can, find a new moms group, preferably one with a Facebook presence so that you can stay connected even if you can’t physically make it to meetups. (I know how difficult and anxiety-inducing it can be to get out of the house with a new baby.) Take any opportunity you can get to meet other parents.

      TV, movies, podcasts and e-books make that feeding time go by faster. Mindless games on your phone are good, too.

      If you’d like to continue breastfeeding, don’t give up hope. My supply did eventually even out to match baby’s demand, and I managed to BF my son for 19 months. Cluster feeding is baby’s way of naturally increasing your supply, so if it feels like your whole life revolves around feeding baby, know that there is a purpose to it.

      If this is kid #1 and keeping them clean and fed is your job, have your partner do the rest of the work, including keeping *you* fed. Anon 2:23 has great advice – I love that smoothie idea!

      It gets better, it really does. (One day things will click and the baby will smile at you!)

    • Knope says:

      I promise it gets better. We had a rollercoaster of difficult issues with my son (my first) from birth to 6 months, including latch issues (fixed at 8 weeks when tongue tie was fixed), weight gain issues, eczema, and sleep regression/not sleeping for more than 1.5 hrs at a time. When we hit 6 months, everything changed. Since then – he’s 18 months now – we have had the happiest, easiest baby ever. It’s a joy to be his mom.

      I echo Anon above – don’t be afraid to have the TV on in the background for entertainment. Also, if you haven’t tried side-lying nursing yet, try it – might be more comfortable when nursing.

    • Annie says:

      It gets better! Some suggestions: find a new moms group (lifesaver), get into a TV series to watch while bfing + get into a pretty mindless good book while bfing, set one very very modest “goals” for each day (e.g. shower OR get outside OR put dirty clothes in the hamper) and then feel fantastic that you met your goal, think of this as very temporary (if you are going back to work).

    • You have so much good feedback already, but I’ll also throw out there the idea of hiring help if it’s in the budget. It didn’t cross my mind to do this until I was 2 months into a 4-month leave, thinking it was my job to care for baby and other childcare could start when I went back to work, but wow did it improve my life. I was also in a triple feeding fog and switched to formula only around 3 weeks (not saying you have to do that – was the right choice for me, but as noted above there are lots of options!). While the formula switch made a huge difference, I eventually realized I wanted more of a break from being the primary caregiver than DH and occasional family visits provided. We hired a part-time nanny to come every M-F for a few hours a day, while I went to the gym, slept, or just went out for coffee without baby in tow. Even a couple of days would have made a big difference. We communicated with the nanny ahead of time that we wanted to be flexible on division of labor, so if some days I felt like hanging with my daughter more, nanny would grocery shop or do other tasks instead. Hang in there – regardless of how you manage in the short term, it will get better.

  15. COtoNY says:

    lol– angry mysterious alien is so accurate.

    None of my friends have kids, and they keep asking how I’m doing, and I want to be like… life kind of sucks? But I’m sure no one wants to hear that, unfortunately.

    • COtoNY says:

      Obviously meant to reply to anonymous at 2:15

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      Yep, it does. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kid. I’m sure everyone here gets it so feel free to post away (and find other new moms to commiserate with!)

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it is important to be as honest as you feel comfortable with. They will likely feel similarly, and part of what makes it hard is feeling like something is wrong with you or you are the only one who feels this way.

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