Best of Both Worlds podcast: Pregnancy and babies (again!)

So after my pregnancy announcement last week, Sarah and I decided to do a full-on baby episode. I talk about expecting #5, and how I revealed the news to the kids. We talk about the idea of a “family baby.” When you are expecting a first child, or even a second or third if the older siblings are quite young, much of the anticipation is concentrated in the adults. But as your kids get older (and their numbers stack up!) the arrival of a new sibling is a community event. My kids have a relationship with their little brother already, and he is being welcomed into their tribe, which has its own identity — completely separate from me.

We talk about how I’m doing: not bad, all things considered with my “advanced maternal age.” I’m still running. I did four miles outside on Monday morning, and it felt awesome. Not all runs feel awesome, but on the margin they’re still good enough that I keep going. For now. Anyone following the running streak should know that I do plan to pause it for a few weeks after delivery.

Because my children have a reasonable age gap (my eldest will be almost 13 when this little guy is born!) I’ve seen quite an evolution in maternity and baby products, and how they’re advertised. (No Instagram for #1!) We asked listeners for their favorites and their advice, and part of the episode is devoted to that. I’m quite curious about the wearable, portable in-bra pumps (Willow, Elvie) and plan to get one of them. As for maternity wear, I’ve been mostly doing Seraphine and JoJo Maman Bebe. I got an awesome pair of maternity jeans from JMB, though when I ordered a second pair I somehow got the wrong size, so the system isn’t perfect. For speeches, I’m wearing a Seraphine blue tweed-ish shift dress with a blue blazer. I’m also wearing a stretchy (non-maternity) MM Lafleur blue shift dress with a houndstooth blue-and-white blazer. And I have a snazzy pair of Seraphine dress black pants that I will wear with my tunic sweaters (non-maternity, but roomy enough to work). So I feel pretty set.

Finally, we take a question from a listener who is expecting baby #3. She runs her own business, which she was not doing when she had her first two children. So she wants to know: how do you take a maternity leave when you’re self-employed? My answer is that it’s possible, but it won’t look like a corporate type leave. I pretty much never go down to zero — but you can take time to scale back up if you’d like, and if your business involves some flexibility, you might be able to work full time while still breastfeeding during breaks. I’m personally limiting travel during Q1 of 2020 and then scaling it back up in late spring.

We apologize for the late posting of this episode — there was a snafu with the default publishing time. I know some listeners look forward to it on their Tuesday morning commutes. But it’s up now, so hopefully you can listen on the way home!

16 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Pregnancy and babies (again!)

  1. I’m the 4th of 5 children in my family and remember when my parents told us they were expecting. I was 7 when my sister was born so that was a huge age gap! My oldest brother was 17 when the baby was born. He was VERY embarrassed that my parents were expecting again and didn’t want them to tell anyone. Ha. Our little sister was definitely a ‘family baby’. She was a total surprise but it worked out great as my parents got enjoy 7 years of having only one child in the house. So they didn’t get empty nest syndrome since they gradually emptied out the nest.

    I considered the willow when we had our son 1.5 years ago but the bags for the willow were so expensive that it was pretty cost prohibitive. So I opted to go with the Spectra pump, which I was really happy with. The willow wasn’t covered by insurance, either, so that was another reason I didn’t go that route. But if money isn’t a consideration, there are so better products out on the market these days! I’d be curious how much milk you get using a more conspicuous pump like the willow, though. I found I had to do a lot of ‘massaging’ to get more milk out when pumping. But I was exclusively pumping so really wanted to get as much volume as I could as the more I pumped, the more I could freeze and the sooner I would be done pumping (which was basically my personal hell – I’ll never EP again. Hopefully the next baby breastfeeds better).

  2. Regarding siblings naming baby: My oldest son was 5 when #3 was born. For whatever reason Big Brother was a big Beattles kick. He desperately wanted to name his new brother Paul McCartney LastName. That is not the name we chose for #3, but he did end up being born on Paul McCartney’s birthday–a trivia fact my husband discovered while I was in labor.

  3. I have a 6 month old (kid #2) and haven’t tried either of the hands-free in-bra pumps. BUT I have traveled a few times without the little nugget, including a 6-day trip to England when he was 10 weeks old. For the flights, I got a battery pack for my Medela pump, brought a nursing cover, and pumped in my seat. I got up to put on the hands-free bra in the bathroom, but then came back to my seat to do everything else because it seemed too complicated to take up a bathroom. On the (overnight) flight over, it was totally not a big deal because the plane was dark and everyone was sleeping. On the (daytime) flight back, I just…went about my business. I was able to do everything under the nursing cover and just figured that I’d never see these people again, regardless. The noise isn’t an issue at all, since the plane’s white noise drowns out the pump sound. So even if you don’t get the in-bra pumps, it IS possible to pump in your seat on a plane! Like you, I pumped right away to set my baseline milk production at higher-than-necessary, so I didn’t bother trying to bring milk home from that trip since I already had several hundred ounces in the freezer before I left. This did make the airport logistics easier, since I didn’t have to try to keep things cool, deal with TSA making me take out or test the milk, etc.

    My only other ‘tip’ (which should be taken with a grain of salt since this is only kid #2 for me and you are clearly far more experienced!) is that I purchased a sleep course from a person/company called Little Z sleep. She has a bunch of tips about setting newborn routines to set you up for good sleep later, and they either worked or I got lucky (or both). My little one consistently sleeps 11-12 hours overnight and puts himself to sleep for naps/bedtime with no or just minimal fussing. 95% of the time, we just lay him in his crib and walk away and don’t hear a peep. I never used the Snoo or Merlin or any other fancy sleep stuff beyond a swaddle and pacifier (which my kiddo has now rejected anyway). I had forgotten a lot in the 3 years since I had kid #1, and I found the sleep course helpful because it was a list of instructions that I could follow. You may not want/need that, but it worked for my personality.

  4. In response to your listener’s question about how to plan for a “maternity leave” while running her own business, I too had left corporate life following baby #2, and by baby #3 was running my own business. That was nearly six years ago, and in hindsight, the experience helped to actually grow my business and enable it to run smoothly, even without me at its core. There were a few things that I put in place in advance of having the baby that helped enable this:

    1) I brought in a senior-level colleague to be the go-to in the initial weeks post-partum. She was introduced to clients and our other colleagues, included in meetings, and cc’d on emails, in order to develop a rapport. I didn’t want to be stuck in a situation where I was the first (or only) person a client could call with an opportunity or issue, so at the very least, this individual could act as a buffer, if not resolve things altogether. Fast forward to today, and this individual has continued to grow in her role, allowing me to focus on the areas where I need to in order to grow the company.

    2) I had my nanny: I had jinxed myself because I had been thinking my third baby would be easy to settle and sleep all the time, like my first two. Not so! Third baby needed lots of rocking and was generally just more awake. Working from home had perks like being able to cuddle, play and breastfeed in between work, and it also meant that my nanny could take the fussy baby to allow me to focus on work when needed.

    3) Mindset shift: Just do your best and know that the best laid plans can (and will) change in a moment’s notice. Being realistic with how much I could get done was key to not feeling stressed all the time.

    Good luck and relish in the opportunity to nurture two babies: your little kiddo and your burgeoning business!

    1. @Amy – I would definitely recommend keeping the childcare! Maybe I didn’t stress that enough – but yes, having childcare is key if you’re working, even if it’s a limited amount.

      I haven’t brought in anyone else, partly because of what I do – but we shall see. Maybe I should.

      1. Hi Laura,
        I’ve found that even when I’ve thought “I am delegating all I can” I can push myself to look for even more opportunities to redistribute work such that I am pretty much doing ONLY the things where I add the most value. And now I look back on those things I’ve essentially traded off, and wonder why I was ever doing them in the first place. I know you’re a big proponent of small blocks of time adding up to big impact…I am too.

  5. My husband kind of named his little brother. This was in Israel, so won’t make sense to all, but I think it will to you.
    He was 5 when his mom was pregnant, due in June. When Passover rolled around, he decided the baby should be named Moses – that was a hard no. The next holiday was lag ba’omer, the hero of that story is Shim’on Bar Yohai, so that was his next name pick. His mom actually liked the idea and his brother’s name is Yohai.
    So it is quite possible for siblings to come up with good name ideas, you might need to be a bit creative about it. [side note: unless you come from a religious family, Shim’om and Moses are not names people in Israel give their children anymore]
    On a different note, I am 37 years old and really itching for another baby. My kids are 8 and 9 and my original “dead line” for another pregnancy was 35. There are many things I need to get together in my life before I can have another kid, but it is so nice to hear how happy you are pregnant at 40 when you also know what’s it’s like at 27.
    Big congratulations!

  6. I would also recommend the SNOO. I will say I also think I am lucky and have a magic baby who is inclined to sleep, and the SNOO just helped her along, but I think it also helped to solidify her as a good sleeper. My friend has an older daughter and a younger son and used the SNOO for her son, and said that while neither of her kids were great sleepers, the SNOO made things much more manageable for her and she would highly recommend it. It was a stretch for her to purchase it but she felt it was worth every penny. You can also rent them now if you would rather try it out. Another big benefit is the ability to swaddle your baby through six months (the longest you can use the SNOO) because the specialized swaddles (which are very easy to use) attach to the sides of the bassinet so there isn’t a risk of the baby rolling over.

    1. @Caitlin – we may just check it out. My kids aren’t particularly inclined to sleep – and they still aren’t as big kids – so we shall see…

  7. Definitely rent the SNOO if you decide to try it – I haven’t personally tried it (my two slept great right away in our UppaBaby bassinet – we purchased the stand to go with it), but I have had several friends rent it – some swear by it and others insist it’s all a hoax. I suspect it just works better or worse depending on the baby, like most things. Thanks for sharing your journey with us – very inspiring as another podcast listener approaching my very late 30s 🙂 and still considering adding to our family (but we need some more time – juggling a 1.5 and 3 year old has us two full-time working parents maxed out for the time being!)

    1. @Nikki – thanks for the tip on renting it. I, likewise, believe that most baby sleep strategies and gadgets wind up working for some people (or corresponding with children being good sleepers) and then the parents swear by it. It doesn’t work for others and then they often think they did something wrong but…it’s probably just that nothing works for everyone.
      Good luck as you decide what to do about joining the “advanced maternal age” club!

  8. I got the freemie for #3 and it was covered by insurance. It has it’s issues but once I adjusted it’s so much better than my old medela and spectra. Pumping took longer 30-40 min but I could wear it and get along my day. It made my breasts look enormous but I wore a scarf and it was fine. Unlike the willow there were no bags to buy (willow bags were .50 each and held 4 oz each so each pumping session costs 1-2 dollars and is wasteful).
    Places I pumped:
    Walking around the city
    jury duty
    helping kids get ready in the morning
    Seriously it’s a completely new world compared to being chained to my pump for #1 and #2

  9. I really look forward to following your journey with the new addition! For the podcast, I’d love an episode focusing on how to make things work on a budget. A night nanny feels way out of a regular budget and even 50 hours of nanny-care during the day is not affordable for many couples. While it’s still fun to listen to, it cannot be applied to e.g. my life which is why I’d be curious to her you and SHU’s advice on other-income-solutions.

    1. Good luck with that. I doubt Laura and Sarah will ever cover this angle well, because it’s not what they personally experience and doesn’t seem to be on their radar (beyond, “I had to be frugal as an intern once in my life”). The podcast really only targets women with very high household incomes. Too bad for the rest of us.

  10. I love the Haakaa breast pump. It’s really easy to feed on one side and pump on the other so a great time saver when you’re at home with your little one.

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