Posts tagged with ‘mom’

I saw this Anthropologie pointelle wrap sweater ($128) and I thought that it would be AMAZING for nursing moms. You could wear a nursing tank or tee underneath and still easily breastfeed, but with a little bit of extra coverage (and warmth) too. 

I saw this Anthropologie pointelle wrap sweater ($128) and I thought that it would be AMAZING for nursing moms. You could wear a nursing tank or tee underneath and still easily breastfeed, but with a little bit of extra coverage (and warmth) too. 

rivermelody-pondsong asked: I love the idea of tube dresses as nursing dresses (well, I have one actually), but I can only wear mine with a shrug to cover bra straps. Have you found decently supportive strapless bras for this phase of life?

Yes AND no. I had Isobel in January and by the time summer rolled around, my supply had regulated and I wasn’t right in the thick of needing as much support as I had at first. I was a DD+ at first, but once everything regulated, I was a solid C until weaning. 

I started wearing more tube/strapless dresses as the weather heated up (so easy for nursing) and I began to feel more comfortable going without the heavy duty underwire/strap nursing bras that were necessary in the early nursing days. (Even then, though, I usually preferred nursing sports bras or the like to full-on underwire because I couldn’t stand everything being so constricted. It stressed me out.) 

Anyway, on to the bras: 

These bandeau bras from Target ($12.99 each) were my favorite. They had just enough support to keep things in place but they weren’t constricting. I also loved Shimera’s seamless convertible bandeau ($18). You can wear it with straps too, but what I really liked was that it was cut a little long so it helped smooth out the annoying breastfeeding back fat. Another option (but one I haven’t tried) is this convertible underwire demi bra from Motherhood Maternity ($29.98). Also check out Aerie’s hidden underwire bandeau bras ($29.99). These might be great if you need more support! 

Another thing you can try (I also did this and it worked great!) is wear a VERY molded regular strapless bra. The key is use one that has a lot of structure because when it comes time to nurse, you can basically just rotate the cup down. In order to do THAT, you’ll need one that has a slim connector between the cups. 

On the cheaper end: Target’s I-Fit strapless bra ($7-$15, up to size D). I liked Aerie’s Audrey multi-way bra ($29.99, up to size DD). On the pricier end: Lou Light Sensations Strapless Bra ($69, up to size E). Simone Perele’s Celeste bra ($89) goes up to size F.  

playinginthesunshine asked: Could you repost the doc you had created for toddler meals? The link had been broken.. It had lists for a protein, fruit, veggie, etc. Also what are your favorite items for toddlers at Trader Joe's? We finally got one in the neighborhood so I'm excited to see what they have for my 10 month old daughter as she expands her eating these next few months. Thanks!!

I guess all my Dropbox links stopped working at some point! Here is the post with updated download links. 

My favorite Trader Joe’s items for Isobel’s lunches are:

  • Any of the dry cereals (Gorilla Munch, etc.). These make good snacks for longer drives in the car.
  • Dried fruit/nuts. They are less expensive at Trader Joe’s than other stores, so I try to stock up. I often use dried fruit as a little dessert treat for Iz in her lunch box. 
  • The frozen quinoa and rice blends. These are AMAZING for toddler lunches. I’ll either serve as is, or add cheese or extra veggies or meat (shredded rotisserie chicken is quick/easy).
  • FALAFEL! The frozen falafels are outstanding. Iz likes to dip them in stuff, so I’ll heat up a few of these and give her tzatziki or hummus for dipping. The meatless meatballs are another similar option. I serve them with marinara sauce or ranch. 
  • Stock up on frozen veggies and veggie blends. I try to grab as many of these as I can because I can use them in so many things: soups, omelettes, her rice/quinoa mixes. Trader Joe’s frozen edamame with broccoli, tomato, feta, etc., is such a good lunch for Iz and me. I tend to just throw a bunch of these things together, season it and add a protein. 
  • I was raised vegetarian and some old habits die hard. Trader Joe’s sells some Morning Star products and I like to stock up every now and then when I get a random craving for fake meat. (I don’t even know.) Isobel likes the “bacon” strips. 
  • Sweet potato fries are fun to serve with Iz’s sandwiches. (Dips!) 
  • I always grab some of the individual unsweetened apple sauces too. These are good for throwing into her lunch box. 

I’m sure I’m forgetting some stuff, but those are the ones that popped into my head. Anyone else have any favorites?

Don’t Forget

"The facts in each case differ a little, but always there is the terrible moment when the parent realizes what he or she has done, often through a phone call from a spouse or caregiver. This is followed by a frantic sprint to the car. What awaits there is the worst thing in the world." - Gene Weingarten

I posted this last year but since the weather is heating up, I think it’s a good time to revisit it. 

Leaving a child in a car is easier to do than the rational human brain is willing to comprehend. The people who have done it are shocked that they did. They said that they never thought it would be their mistake to make. It’s a tragic, terrible thing that any one of us could do or will do. 44 children died after being left in vehicles last year, but I’m willing to bet there were thousands upon thousands of close calls. The younger the child, the easier it is to get out of the car without a backwards glance. Infants are quiet and lethargic in the heat. They are probably asleep when you lock the door. 

If you read my post last year, you’ll remember a moment when I locked the car door and began to walk away from it with Isobel still inside. That moment scared me more than anything else has ever frightened me in my life. It is the ultimate preventable tragedy and it is lurking so close to every parent. It’s just one distraction away. I don’t want to scare you, but I kind of want to scare you. There are a lot of irrational paranoias that come with parenthood. This is not one of them. This is worth being scared of. 

Here are some things that I’ve read can help reduce your risk:

  • Put your bag (handbag, diaper bag, whatever) in the backseat. 
  • If you (or especially dad) doesn’t carry a bag, put your wallet or suit jacket in the backseat. 
  • Set an alarm on your phone to go off at the approximate time you’ll reach your destination. 
  • Tape a piece of paper over your inside door handle. 
  • If your routine changes and your spouse or partner will be handling daycare drop-offs, etc., be sure to alert them before they leave (“Don’t forget to stop at daycare”) and give them a follow-up phone call. This works the other way too, obviously. If you are suddenly responsible for transporting your child and you haven’t been the one doing it often, ask someone to follow up with you. 

And last, please read this article. It is one of the most important things I’ve read as a parent. 

Diaper Comparison Spreadsheet

My diaper comparison spreadsheet must be on Pinterest or something because I’ve gotten several emails and requests over the past few days for the Dropbox link. The link broke somehow (?), so I figured this would be a good opportunity to update the data.

Download the new spreadsheet here.

My thoughts:

  • Diapers have increased in price across the board since I first rounded up all this data. In some cases, a box of diapers went up by at least $10—and had LESS diapers in it! Annoying. This wasn’t limited to one or two brands here or there either. I can’t tell you how many prices I had to increase while the # of diapers per box decreased.
  • Except for the Diapers.com brand and Honest.com brand, I pulled all of this data from Amazon. I included Subscribe & Save diapers in the spreadsheet this time too. Amazon is doing some shady, shady work there though. First, I saw prices on Prime items increase by a near universal $5 or so. That’s not a coincidence. I think they’re building their shipping costs into the “low” Prime shipping price. Second, this year’s Subscribe & Save prices are pretty damn close to last year’s lower prices. So it’s not really a savings, though it kind of is, but it…also kind of isn’t. That sucks. Amazon owns everything. The end.
  • I was looking at my charts with the estimated # of diapers you may use in a day, but I didn’t factor daycare into this number. If you have to supply your own diapers and wipes at daycare, beware that they will often use a lot more than you may be expecting. At Isobel’s daycare, they will change a child’s diaper when it’s soiled, but they also have regular “diaper checks” throughout the day—and even if the kid hasn’t gone, they’ll change the diaper. We were going through diapers like crazy last year. We sent at least a pack a week (30-40 diapers). This is on top of what we used at home too, obviously. Something to keep in mind.
  • Honest has gotten more expensive. Bottom line, end of story. They are obviously more expensive than discount diaper brands, but the savings are just not there against comparable “natural” diapers either. This is primarily because Honest has decreased the # of diapers per bundle while keeping their price (about $85 per month) the same. This isn’t so drastic in the smaller diaper sizes, but once you get up to the Size 5 diapers, they’re a whopping .57 cents per diaper. PER DIAPER GUYS. That’s absurd. One could reasonably justify the added cost when looking at comparable brands through about size 3. After that, the expense skyrockets and unless you feel really strongly about Honest’s diapers, you should probably look elsewhere.
  • You probably already know this, but buy diapers in bulk (boxes of 100 or more). I don’t care what brand you go with, but you HAVE to buy them in bulk. Buying a single pack here or there is good in a pinch, but if you do that all the time, you are losing so much money.
  • Size matters. There can be big price differences within the SAME DIAPER BRAND depending on what size you’re looking at. It is worth shopping around when your child moves up a size.

In the end, once you factor in wipes and your monthly diaper supply needs, Honest and its natural brand competitors can come out pretty damn close in price. But, unfortunately for Honest, there are no savings to be found. And, once you get into the bigger sizes, Honest’s prices are mind-bogglingly high per diaper.

If you don’t mind paying this premium, I can vouch for the effectiveness of the actual diapers. We’ve still never had a blowout and I wrote the original spreadsheet post almost exactly two years ago. The quality is there. The eco-friendly credentials are there. But the savings are not. They are not an affordable alternative. They are just an alternative.

I hope this helps you make purchasing decisions for your family and I hope you find a great diaper brand that works for you and your baby.

(ETA: The link was still broken when I posted this, but should be fixed now. Reply and let me know if it’s not. Technology is so hard.)

Toddler Things Worth Checking Out

  • We made the transition to Honest Training Pants ($12.95 per pack or available in your diaper bundle) several months ago. We still put Isobel in diapers at night, but these are fantastic for day. They fit well, are very absorbent and they feel almost cloth-like to the touch. If you’re interested in checking out Honest, please consider using my referral link here
  • Isobel loves dips so I found these containers that hold a snack AND a dip. I try to include one in her lunch every day. They’re $4.99. 
  • Isobel seems to enjoy coloring in her wipe-clean books more than in a coloring book (they’re very fun and bright, not surprising). The tracing and pen control one (about $8) is a good beginner one. The ABC one is getting a lot of use lately too (about $8). 
  • Melissa & Doug’s reusable sticker pads are amazing, but sweet lord, I’m sick of them. Isobel can play with these things for hours—I’m not exaggerating—and she insists on me holding the book in my lap so I can assist her if she needs it. It’s…so fun. We have every sticker pad they make (so fun), but don’t bother getting all of them: just get the Vehicles and Habitats bundle for $12. 
  • I recently discovered Iz can fit fairly well into the XS size in the Girls section of Target. This is exciting news because this section usually has a more varied selection and large clearance racks. They also have…activewear! I got her a few things, like this tank top ($15). 
  • The Endless Reader app is a transformative app experience. It’s so well-done and I can’t explain just how thrilling it was to watch Iz start to sightread words after just a few sessions with the app. She thinks it’s a game, so we haul it out at restaurants if she’s getting wild and she’ll sit there and READ basically. Here’s some more information about the app and you can download it for iPhone or iPad. The app is free, though you have to pay $4.99 to unlock additional packs within the game. (It’s well worth the money.) 

Speaking of toddler-friendly apps, it’s way too hard to find good ones. Do you have any suggestions?

Copycat

My back was hurting so I took a bath. I hardly ever take baths. I don’t find them relaxing. They’re reserved for times of desperation. Mid-winter, for example. When I’m wearing two sweaters, leggings, socks AND slippers? Okay, a bath before bed might work.

Isobel came in the bathroom and was chatty with me for a few minutes. She unscrewed the bottle of bubbles and poured some into the tub. “There y’are,” she said. She took her fish loofah from the edge of the tub. She held it out to me for some soap. I squirted some on. Then she started scrubbing my shoulders. “All clean,” she said. I said thank you and got out of the bath.

I brushed my hair, curled it a little bit. Iz took my other brush. Started brushing her own hair. “Hair!” she said. We watched each other in the mirror.

I put some aloe vera on my legs where I got a bit of heat rash at the beach. I had a bad bout of it years ago (damn you lifeguarding!) and it’s prone to pop back up if I’m not religious about keeping myself covered in SPF. (I was religious about Iz’s SPF coverage, not my own. Sigh.) She whined a bit until I put some aloe on her hands. She rubbed it onto her legs, just like me. “All done,” she said.

I brush my teeth. I hand Isobel her toothbrush. “Teeth,” she said. We brush together and rinse out our mouths together. 

I started doing my makeup. I put on mascara. “Eyes,” she said. I put on some blush and bronzer. “Face,” she said, and took another one of my brushes and wiped it all over her forehead.

I went back into the room and got dressed. Shorts and a shirt. She went to her room, opened her drawer and took out a pair of shorts. She tried to get them on, but both her legs went into one side of the shorts leg. “Let me help you,” I said and I did. I put her shirt on too.

I picked her up and we looked in the mirror together. She smiled at her reflection.

I am exceedingly aware that she is watching my every move more closely and thoughtfully the older she goes. As I go through my morning routine, I can feel her eyes follow me as I move from hair, to makeup, to clothes, and I find myself questioning every step I take. Am I putting too much emphasis on this? Is her interest just harmless mimicry that I am looking into with over-sensitive adult context?

We encourage her to copy us most of the time. When I am blow drying her hair before bed, she’ll often pick up Brandon’s electric razor and try to put it to her cheeks. (“Try” being the optimal word here. She is fascinated by razors, scissors and knives. Of course she is—she’s not allowed to touch them! Ugh.) When Brandon is building things, she is eager to assist with the tools. She helps both of us load and unload the dishwasher. When we clean the kitchen or the bathrooms, she will take a rag and help us wipe. She tries on my shoes. She tries on Brandon’s shoes. I played my flute the other day. I gave her my piccolo and she pretended to play with me for quite a long time. “A fooot!” She likes to sit at my desk, clack the keys on my keyboard. She picks up the phone. “Hello! How are you! Bye!”

She copies the good and the bad. She has copied the cursing a few times. She knew to use the words properly, to my dismay and shameful amusement (but mostly dismay, I promise). I am on high alert, Defcon 1. I am careful about what I say.

It is a solemn responsibility to live with a sponge. What am I teaching her or not teaching her? What should I be doing that I’m not? What should I stop doing? I think about this a lot now. I think the best we can do is encourage her curiosity and let her explore new ways of thinking and learning and doing. I love watching her grow up and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years have in store.

Daughters

(Trigger warning: this post might contain some scenarios or experiences that could upset you.) 

I remember the first time my mom taught me to hold my keys properly in my hand to walk to my car if I was alone. 

When I left for college, she presented me with a keychain pepper spray. I scoffed and laughed. So over-protective! I won’t need that. “You might,” she said. On nearly every phone call for the next few years: “Did you take your pepper spray on the metro/for your run/while you got groceries?” Yes, mom. It’s on my key ring. I always have it. 

I almost forgot about it and I certainly never uncapped it until one night I arrived home late at my apartment building and had to park far away from my door. It was a big complex. I probably had a quarter mile to walk. I got out of my car, felt weird and saw a guy standing nearby. I walked quickly and he walked quicker. I started jog-walking and he sped up too. I scrambled for my keys, uncapped the pepper spray and started to run. I held my keys out to the side, hoping that the dim light from the parking lot lamps might reveal what was in my hand. A car suddenly pulled into a spot near me and a couple people got out. The guy turned around abruptly and walked the other direction. I ran into the building, locked my door and turned out the lights. 

That wasn’t the first time I was frightened but there were other things yet to come. I got fondled on the Metro. Several times. Rush hour, full cars, jostling commuters. They grab a boob here, an ass cheek there. One of the worst was when I went to Brandon’s apartment, parked my car and several guys approached me and started talking to me. I think I’d had a late class. I don’t remember. It was dark and quiet, anyway. I walked past them, kept my head down, didn’t respond and moved in a beeline for the door. They followed until I was buzzed in. The next morning I had “BITCH” carved across the hood of my car. I told Brandon he had to come meet me in the parking lot from then on. 

A man followed Isobel and I around the grocery store last year. I noticed him right away. His cart was empty. He stared luridly, smiled grotesquely. He ended up in every aisle I was in. I skirted the outside of the aisles. I saw him at the opposite end of the aisles, passing each one in sync with me. He cut down towards me and I grabbed Iz, abandoned the cart and went for the car. You have to turn your back to put a child in a carseat, so I unlocked the car, jumped in the backseat, relocked the car and buckled her in from there. I saw him come out the front of the store and look around. He went back inside. 

There are other stories I could tell and won’t. I’m not ready to say them out loud.

The thing is: Every woman has her own stories. It doesn’t matter where we live, where we work or where we went to college. It doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant or if you have a kid with you. It probably doesn’t matter if you’re in a group or with a male friend or boyfriend or whatever. 

I’ve read your experiences, I’ve read the #yesallwomen thread on Twitter, I’ve thought about my own experiences and then I look at Elliot Rodger and I am disgusted and angry. I am heartbroken for the families of his victims. I feel a general sense of helplessness, hopelessness. I think about my daughter, all that it means to be the parent and protector of a young female, and I become enraged.

One day I know I’ll have to give her pepper spray too. She’ll probably laugh at me. Mom, you’re being over-protective! But what else can I do? I’ll tell her stories, I’ll tell her about the time I got off the elevator and took the stairs in the parking garage to see if the guy was really following me. I ducked down behind a car, watched, saw him look around. I’ll tell her this shit isn’t just in the movies. This is real life. Bad guys are everywhere and sometimes they win. She won’t really understand until that first time she walks through a parking lot or down a street, heart pounding, listening for the footsteps matching her own—just a little bit behind her. 

The most sad part of it all is that I’ll also tell her it becomes a way of life. A state of living. These protective instincts and the little alarm bells become the background to your entire life. You will never stop looking over your shoulder, but you’ll stop realizing you even do it. 

For all the daughters out there, I hope Jessica Valenti is proven right: that misogyny and violence against women does not have to be inevitable. 

Happy Mother’s Day.

Isobel calls me “mommy” and the thrill has not waned.

There are other labels that feel good too. For example, a person calls you “spouse” or “partner” because they chose you and vise versa. Or, you are called “employee” because you have earned the title. But when a child calls you “mommy,” it’s because they know instinctively that they belong where you are. 

In the beginning when Isobel was so, so small, there was intense love, but it was a one-way, encompassing, responsibility-driven, smothering kind of love. A protecting, caring love from mother to baby. I was content with your sweet-smelling cheeks and your long eyelashes resting upon them as you ate and slept beside me. 

And then you grew. So fast! You are learning how to love now. You call me mommy and I smile. I look at you and think, yes, I am your protector. I carried you physically, emotionally, the weight of you and all that it means. I will carry you until the day when the world turns upside down and you carry me instead. But, even then Isobel, even then—I will always be mommy to you. I will remember the day I first heard it and I will thrill, for the rest of my life, when I hear it again. Even when it’s said in anger and especially when it’s said in sadness. 

I gather you into my arms at the beginning and the close of each day because that is my life. Those are my days. You expect me and I anticipate you. Will you remember how I sometimes wake you early? You won’t, but I’ll remind you. I’ll tell you about how I wanted to see your smile when you realize it’s me coming through your door. I’ll tell you about your messy hair, your warm hands and cheeks—fresh from sleep. When I sneak in, sometimes you are tucked into a ball on your bed, or splayed sideways, hands and feet everywhere. I will say, “Hi, honey, good morning,” and you never, ever startle. You always know it’s me, even when you’re in the deepest of sleeps. You remember somewhere that it’s okay. I am mommy and I am safety. And you wake up and lift your arms. I pull you up to me and you rest your head on my shoulder. I say, “I missed you!” And then, as you cling to me in the early morning hours, I know for sure you missed me too. 

Isobel, I’m so happy I get to be your mommy.

bee-arthur asked: I'm in need of help from one slug to another! I'm having my first baby in early July and am at a bit of a loss as to what I should wear as my going home outfit. I know it's not a big deal, but I want to look good and feel good, while also feeling comfortable. Any tips on what to pack? It's going to be hot and sticky where I'm from too.

Hi there! 

This is tricky because I think everyone feels different about what they’re comfortable wearing immediately post-baby, but for what it’s worth, I wore black yoga pants, a gray cotton tank and a wrap sweater. BUT! It was also January, so not hot and sticky. That’s key, because all I remember is postpartum sweating. So much sweating. I was admitted to the hospital with a fever, shivering, three blankets piled high on top of me, and then tried to leave several days later wearing only a tank top even though it was snowing. 

I’d normally recommend a dress (maxi or otherwise) because of the heat outside and the potential for you to be feeling warmer than usual anyway, but leaving the hospital (or the birth center or wherever) in a dress is something I hesitate to advise you to do. The undergarment situation is going to be uncomfortable. You’ll be wearing a diaper (basically) and a dress might not give you the coverage that you need to feel comfortable. So, what’s a good option that will keep you cool AND will be comfortable enough to accommodate heavy bleeding and/or bigger boobs than you’ve ever had and/or sweating and/or diapers and/or incisions? (Childbirth, SO GLAM!) 

Here are my thoughts:

  • Soft, black pants in a breathable fabric. If you have a pair of maternity leggings you like already, those might work. (You’ll still be around the size you were 6 months pregnant when you go home.) If you want to buy new non-maternity ones, go up a size from what you’d normally wear pre-baby. You want some give in the waistband so things aren’t too tight and constricting. (This is especially important if you have incisions from a c-section or stitches from tearing.) I prefer yoga pants over leggings for this reason. Aerie’s yoga pants are just $30 and you could unroll the waistband if you need more coverage. 
  • You’ll want to be able to wear a bra with nursing pads inserted with whatever top you choose. Since it will be hot, I suggest a tank or sleeveless top. This Liz Lange for Target nursing tank ($19.90) would work great. If you don’t want a “nursing tank,” you could just go with an oversized plain tank like this one from Wilt ($57) or this one from Target ($12). 
  • You could go sportier with a pair of cute sneakers (like these from New Balance, $70), or more chic with a pair of simple ballet flats (Gap, $40) or summery with great sandals. Be cautious about flats or sandals, since your feet might still be swollen. Sandal-wise, go for something that’s a slip-on like Joie sandals ($125) or these from BC Footwear ($45). Love these Sam Edelman ones too ($50). These from Ecote could work too ($24). 
  • Throw on some big sunglasses and some blush—the only makeup I wish that I’d worn. I was so pale that when I saw myself in the natural light, my face was all:

image

Anyway, I hope this gives you some ideas. Comfy, slug, practical, new baby, YAY!