Beat the Heat: Tips for Summer Pregnancy

My first and third sons were born in late summer, which is great now that they are here because we woman by a bathtubalways have nice weather for birthday parties. But my goodness, when I was pregnant in the heat and humidity, I sure felt miserable. Here’s what I did to beat the heat and stay as comfortable as possible:

1. Find water! We sell some fantastic swimsuits to cover your belly and these will work for nursing after baby arrives. When you submerge yourself and feel the water support that wonderful weight of your belly, you’ll forget how swollen your feet feel.

1a. If you have older kids who are already begging for the wading pool in the back yard, don’t be bashful about joining them. Last summer, my kids complained that I took up all the space in their pool with my big belly. Oh well!

1b. Cool baths feel luxurious. Whenever I could, I tried to take a long soak during the hottest part of the day.

2. Lime popsicles. Or whatever flavor you prefer–I craved zesty, zesty lime. Chewing on ice cold pops, often in the bathtub, felt so much better than just sitting on the couch waiting for labor to begin.

3. Prenatal massage. A trained massage therapist should have special pillows or a drop table to accommodate your belly. You can lie face down and melt away in the air conditioned spa. You might need help to get up again!

4. Rings off. I was unable to wear my wedding band in late pregnancy, and I had to remove it by April for fear it would get stuck on my ballooning hand forever. I wore it on a chain around my neck instead.

5. Nap when you can. It sounds so obvious and it also sounds impossible. But your body is doing the hardest work it will ever do–growing an entire human being. If you feel tired it’s because you are tired! Think about all that blood your heart is pumping, all the extra fluid you are carrying around. Even if you can sneak 20 minutes in your car in the parking lot at work, you’ll feel so much better.

6. Drink extra fluids. Look how much of this list relates to water! It’s like we become mermaids when pregnant. Anyway, when you’re sweating like crazy, it’s important to drink extra water. The idea of plain water seemed unappealing to me when I was pregnant, so I’d add cucumber slices or fresh mint and lots of ice. I have a friend who buys ice from Sonic when pregnant because she just likes the taste of it so much better!

Were you pregnant in the heat of July or August? Leave us a comment to share your tips to beat the heat. 

Moms Who Wait: Motherhood in Late 30s

According to the CDC, the average American woman is 26 years old when she delivers her first child. The same data tells us that, increasingly, women aged 35-39 are becoming pregnant for the first time. Our founder, Judy, is one of those women.

Miksch family

The Miksch family (L-R): Joe, Jack, Baby Boy #2, Daisy

“I always knew I wanted children,” she says, very aware that a family was always part of her life plan. As Judy completed her PhD and worked to make a name for herself in the corporate world, it just took her awhile to find the right partner. She married her husband, Jacques, when she was 34 and they weren’t in a hurry to start their family at that point.

“When you’re a career woman, there’s never a great time to have a baby,” Judy says. “When you’re younger, you’re working hard to get ahead in your career. Once you’ve done that, well, then you’re working very hard, sometimes traveling.”

Judy stopped preventing pregnancy (stopped taking birth control pills) and became pregnant with her son, Javin, when she was 37.

Fellow Pittsburgher Daisy Miksch was 36 when her first son was born. She says, “My husband, Joe, and I didn’t meet each other until I was 34 and he was 38, so we knew that if we wanted to have children, it was time to try right away.”

Fertility was very present in Daisy’s thoughts when she was trying to conceive her first son. Now, pregnant with her second son, she says she worried about safe gestation and miscarriage. Moms like Judy and Daisy face rather unfriendly terminology during their pregnancies–“Advanced Maternal Aged” has morphed into “geriatric pregnancy”–but since both Judy and Daisy saw Certified Nurse Midwives for their pregnancies, they say their prenatal care for their pregnancies felt typical compared to what their younger friends experienced.

Daisy says, “The one possible exception is prenatal genetic testing, but Joe and I generally like to have all information available, so it’s highly likely that we’d have elected to proceed with that testing regardless of my age during pregnancy.”

Judy, Jacques, and baby Javin shortly after his birth in 2009 Photography by Buzzy Photography (buzzyphoto.com)

Judy, Jacques, and baby Javin shortly after his birth in 2005
Photography by Buzzy Photography (buzzyphoto.com)

Both women mention challenges with physical recovery from childbirth that may or may not have been related to their age, but emphasize that having young kids helps them feel young themselves. Judy, who originally hails from New England, was new to Pittsburgh when she started her family. She says, “All my friends are 10 years younger than me, so I feel 10 years younger than I am!”

Daisy agrees that her age does not seem to affect the friendships she’s made since having Jack. “My son’s age has played a role, but he and I both generally prefer a mixed-age environment. Some of my longtime friends have kids who are much older than Jack, and my newer parent friends are a mix of ‘old’ and ‘young.'”

Both Judy and Daisy talk about feeling very mentally prepared for motherhood as more experienced people. Judy says, “Jacques and I were also financially stable. We were able to take trips, owned our home, we were in a good position to start a family in that respect.”

In her 30s, Daisy felt confident knowing “a strong, healthy bond with your kid includes a compassionate, helpful relationship with your partner, and with yourself. You’re all in it together.”

Daisy says parenthood is always baffling, “but I’m more comfortable with being puzzled now than I would have been when I was younger, I think. I also really, really know, at this point in my life, that this is exactly what I want. This is the life I want, and I’m so happy to have it.”

Did you wait until your 30s to start your family? Leave us a comment to share your experiences.

5 Things You Need for Your Second (or Third…) Son

I’ve got 3 boys. By the time I was pregnant with my third son, I ran out of things to say when kind relatives asked me what I needed for the baby. So I thought about it and here are the essentials we bought to prepare for subsequent babies:

wrapped gift1. New nursing bras. Not only did I wear my nursing bras until they fell apart over the 2+ years I nursed each boy, but my breasts also changed sizes. Now that I am tandem nursing? They’re huge! I got refitted for new nursing bras during each pregnancy.

2. New bling. I got a new nursing necklace to wear with each new baby. These aren’t so essential with a newborn, but my goodness, it’s nice to have this for a distracted 8-month-old who would otherwise pull at my lips and teeth.

3. New nursing clothes. See how many of these items are actually for mom? I mean, they’re things that mom needs to feed the new baby, but still. Who doesn’t love a new dress that flatters a pregnant and postpartum body?

4. New socks. I always thought underpants would be the gross item of clothing I wouldn’t want to pass down. Turns out, it’s socks. My kids tear their socks to shreds, and each new baby got new socks.

5. New diapers. Even when I was cloth diapering, I still picked up at least a little new fluff for each new bum.

Pretty much everything else has been handed down. Did you get anything new for your second (or third) son? Leave us a comment to share your ideas!

Image source: Roberto Verzo/Flickr

Changing Up My Nursing Routine with Podcasts

Could you read while you were nursing your babies? My friends tell me all about the books and magazines they read while nursing. I’m not quite sure how this is possible, because nursing is a two-hand job for me. I need to compress or position one breast while using my other to support my baby, even at 9 months.radio equipment

Even if I’m side lying and I get a good latch and I maybe have a hand free, my curious little guy will swat at whatever I try to hold. This frantic reaching has been the norm for all 3 of my boys. They’ve ripped a few issues of my beloved Smithsonian magazine!

I’ve recently discovered podcasts. I might be super late to the party, but I know at least a few people out there don’t know what podcasts are. Let me tell you how they’ve transformed my nursing experience.

Podcasts are sort of like On Demand for radio. Much like I can search for and then watch any television show I want, whenever I want, using various streaming services, I can search for and listen to an audio show whenever I get a chance.

Like many people, I started this journey with the Serial podcast. Now, I listen to all sorts of things while I’m nursing my baby. Even late at night–I put the volume on my phone very softly and just listen to these friendly voices while I’m awake with my babe.

I learn things! I laugh. I feel aware of current events. I can still make eye contact with him while I’m listening, so that’s an added bonus for me.

My favorite podcast is The Longest, Shortest Time, whose tagline is “A 3:00 A.M. bedside companion for parents.” Every 2 weeks, they release a new episode at 3am! When we’re all up nursing…

This week, host Hillary even shared that she only had 1 nursing bra and then, when she was done nursing, none of her bras from before even fit her. We can help you with this, readers

Of course, I’m up nursing every day and this podcast only offers a new episode twice a month. I fill in the gaps with a show called Gilmore Guys and every now and then I’ll listen to NPR shows I miss during the day when I’m chasing my boys.

I feel much more informed about the world around me now!

Do you have a favorite podcast? Leave us a comment to share your list.

Racing to My Nursling

I did it! I completed a leg of the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay just 8 months postpartum from my third kiddo. Last time I did a physical challenge like this, I was exactly one year postpartum from my second son. I ran a half-marathon that time, but this time around training for a half marathon did . . . → Read More: Racing to My Nursling

Sleeping Arrangements to Maximize Family Sleep

I must begin by telling you I have not really slept for 6 years. If your kids sleep through the night, you might think this entire post is insane.

When I was pregnant with my first and we visited some friends with 3 kids, the eldest of whom was then 8, the mom in . . . → Read More: Sleeping Arrangements to Maximize Family Sleep

Special “Dates” with Each Child

Since having my third son, it’s become increasingly difficult for me to get in any quality time with each of my boys as individuals. I think the very hardest part of having multiple children is this constant ache of having to divide my attention. 

My middle son will plead with me to play with . . . → Read More: Special “Dates” with Each Child