Best of Both Worlds podcast: Baby!

Best of Both World podcast with Laura Vanderkam

We welcomed our fifth child to the family in late December. As promised, this week’s podcast episode is all about the baby’s arrival. Sarah and I recorded this one on January 9th, and it’s funny to think how much has changed even in the last 12 days since then! I’ve been enjoying getting to know the little guy over the past few weeks as he’s become more alert. He is growing bigger by the day and I’m feeling more and more like my old self. Week one was tough (partly because of the bad cold I contracted, and partly due to some abdominal muscle weakness) but now I’m feeling much stronger and more energetic. I have a newfound appreciation for core muscle strength. It’s something I plan to focus on when I return to strength training in a few weeks.

I’m looking for opportunities to spend individual time with the bigger kids, particularly my 5-year-old, who’s had a slightly rougher adjustment to big brotherhood. The good news is that I know kids do grow up — and the older kids are genuinely helpful. My daughter held the baby for about an hour Sunday as she sat on the couch watching TV, occasionally sticking the pacifier back in. I enjoyed being able to use both hands during this time.

The Q&A section covers a query from a listener about first trimester productivity. How do you handle the extreme fatigue while at work? We recommend figuring out what absolutely has to happen on any given day, and limiting your to-do list to that. Note if there are certain periods when you’re slightly more energetic and aim to take advantage of those windows, knowing the rest of the day might be a wash. We found that exercise can help with energy, even if it’s hard to get going. And we both found ourselves feeling far more like ourselves during the second trimester. This doesn’t happen for everyone, but it’s possible the listener might be able to push more complicated projects to those months if they seem impossible during the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Please give the episode a listen, and check out our advertisers: Better Help, and Thrive Causmetics!


11 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Baby!

  1. The haakaa is amazing, even if you don’t leak. I never leaked either, but I was able to get a lot of milk using this little guy. When you stick it on, there is enough suction to get the drops started. I was usually able to get a full ounce or two extra each feeding. It was amazing! I used it pretty much every feeding and built a very respectable stash without pumping for a while.

    1. @Kayla – definitely a good way to build up the stash! and it feels far more humane than being strapped to the electric pump…

  2. Great advice! Learning to figure out what absolutely has to happen and limiting your to-do list is a great skill that I’ve found continues through parenthood — when a kid is sick at the same time you have a big deadline at work, when you have a newborn, during intense travel or work seasons, etc.!

    1. @Amanda- I live by limiting my to-do list! Even when everything is going well, I find I’m better off making a short list, and getting everything on it done, vs. making a long list and feeling defeated.

  3. Laura – have you thought about using melatonin for Alex? I don’t use it very often, but it has come in really handy when I just can’t handle a bedtime battle because I’m exhausted! I use a really small dose (1mg tabs that expired 4 years ago – so probably 0.5 mg by now – that’s how often I actually use it), but it makes a difference!

    1. @Lindsay- in the past I’ve used melatonin myself, but I didn’t know there was an option for kids. I think in general, I’m trying to recognize that he’s an incredibly spirited child and there is a major adjustment in life going on (he’s not the baby anymore!) so I need to be patient and trust that this too shall pass.

  4. Melatonin isn’t a great option for kids. While I know some MDs who give it to their children, the considered approach is to only do so if there is a sleep disorder like those associated with Down’s Syndrome etc. This is bc if you are under 40, your body produces enough melatonin and giving it in supplement form can encourage your body to stop producing it. I’ve found melatonin, even in minor doses, to be more powerful than sleeping meds. Just because it’s “natural” doesn’t mean it’s efficacy is mild or subtle.

    1. Totally agree!! And to clarify, I’ve used it 3 times in nearly 7 years, so I definitely didn’t mean to push meds. My kiddo requires very little sleep (like Laura’s 5 y/o), so when there has been some kind of major stressor, I have found that using it one time can help get things back on track overall. However, in the end, just as you mention, @Laura, parenting is learning to be patient and letting our kids learn how to deal with new circumstances.

  5. Does the disruption also occur for adults? Re lack of ‘proper’ maternity leave I think it’s common in academics to assume people are still working especially with ongoing pressures (grant applications, papers) that don’t stop when you take leave

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