Take a Penny: An Open Advice Post

I love those small trays next to registers. Some have a sign, some don’t, but inside there is a small collection of coins. Mostly pennies, sometimes some silver change will make its way in, but not often. If there is a sign it might say, “Take a penny, leave a penny”- it is something we have all come to be familiar with. If we have the spare change at the end of our transaction and we notice the tray I imagine most of us would happily leave a penny or two or three. But I wonder how many of us would feel comfortable taking a penny if we needed it. Like maybe there is a spectrum of need and you feel that if you take 3 pennies from the tray that you are then going to be the reason why someone won’t be able to afford to buy a loaf of bread that evening.

I will confess that some times I have been the woman that has taken all of the pennies. And I also have been the women that left silver change. I do what I can, when I can. And I am thankful that others walk around the planet living the same way. I don’t feel owed or entitled but I do feel responsible for others and if I am in a position to help I always will. And I am beyond blessed and lucky to know many people that live the same way.

Moving away a bit from pennies and spare change- but sort of on the same thread of thought- I started thinking about advice. I probably ask for advice more than I give it. I rarely feel like an expert on anything and I also worry that if I were to give advice without someone asking for it that I would become THAT asshole. But I also know that there are many people that don’t ask advice because they worry that people will think they are stupid. Or some other random reason. Or maybe people want to ask advice but they worry they might offend the person they are asking. I can think of many reasons why a person might stop themselves from asking a question- and at the end of the day where does that get us?

This is probably why so many letters to advice columns are submitted anonymously.

And now, the point of this post, FINALLY! I’d like to ask some advice about advice ad2some things and I want to invite you to ask my readers at large for advice on anything you have been wondering about. (yes you. If you are reading then you are a YOU.) I am lucky to have a broad spectrum of broads reading so I hope that no question would be too obscure to find an answer to.

Feel free to ask food questions, cleaning questions, parenting questions (but do know that not everyone that reads here is a parent or is even trying to be), sex questions (blush), creativity questions, fertility questions, yard work questions, YOU NAME IT. If you have been wondering about something- on the verge of seeking out a google, try asking a reader here first.

This is a participation post. Get involved. Do NOT think that you have nothing to offer. Even if you just want to chime in with a, “me too! I have been wondering the same thing!” My comments are threaded so you can respond to each request for advice directly. And if you try some advice let us know how it works for you.

Be kind, have fun, and let your readers know that an open ended advice exchange is happening here and that they are most welcome to participate.

If you feel nervous about your question you may opt to be anonymous, but hostile questions or cruel responses are not cool and will be deleted.

As soon as I click publish I will post my two questions in the comments.

I am looking forward to learning a lot!


  1. How do you clean items from a thrift store before using them? (Specifically toys)

    • Almost everything I buy is from thrift stores. I hate paying full price for something! I also do lots of eco friendly cleaning because I can, and it is WAY cheaper!! I will typically use a spray mixtures of water, a cup of vinegar and a Tbsp of baking soda. This gets off the greasy grimy stuff or the built up stuff you sometimes cannot see. I also like to use Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda for soaking things in a water. Or, you can use the same Super Washing Soda as an abrasive (kind of like Comet) by sprinkling it on dry and scrubbing with a lemon half, or just a rag and water. Works FAB!

      I actually gave my co-workers eco-friendly cleaning supply baskets for Christmas this year. I posted about it here: http://sherific.blogspot.com/search?q=eco-friendly

      I also add vinegar into my wash. It removes grease and softens clothes without using fabric softener. (and by the way, I offer way too much advice all the time! )

      • I just soaked W’s new (old) toys in water, vinegar and baking soda (sooo fun to watch that fizz!) and everything looks squeaky clean. Perfect!

    • I used to use baby wipes to clean toys in daycare.

    • Because we have both worked in the land where bodily fluids abound, we clean everything with bleach ( minimum 10% solution kills all). Then we rinse really well.

      My husband will not purchase any kind of stuffed toy that is not packaged. In fact, he hates stuffed animals. So I think it is hilarious that my daughter’s most prized possessions are her stuffed animals.

      • I will confess that I did not purchase any stuffed toys at the thrift store because I just didn’t know how clean I could get it from a wash.

        • Not a fan of buying anything I cant clean from the thrift store. If its a toy (plastic) I use bleach and/or bleach cloths. I get a lot of Omans clothes from consignment–and Im always OK after one good wash.

          • I agree, I throw it all in a super wash, and then I feel pretty confident that any nastiness is gone.

    • I throw them in the dishwasher on the sanitizer cycle if at all possible. Otherwise, I clean them with bleach.

    • I’m supposed to be cleaning them? :) Usually the only second-hand place I shop is Once Upon a Child and I honestly just let Cash wear the clothes or play with the toys without thinking much about cleaning them. Call the parenting police! Of course, I have also been known to let him sit in the floor and eat the Cheerios he just spilled, so you may not want to take my advice. But I will say this – he’s only been sick once in his two years of life and that was right after my fiance’s great aunt stuck her finger in his mouth to “check his teeth.” What the hell is wrong with people? Sorry, a little sidetrack there…All that to say that I don’t generally clean things I buy before he uses them.

      • New poster here, semi long time reader…. I don’t clean second hand items before first use either, but I don’t buy anything that’s visibly dirty. I figure it’s building immunities. (my daughter will be a year old next month)

    • If its really dirty or questionable, I wash it in bleach water, otherwise baking soda and vinegar should do the trick! :) I should add that I don’t ordinarily buy really dirty or questionable things, but I did score a free Little Tikes Workbench off cragslist and it was hella dirty. :)

  2. How do you make eggs in a basket? Do you cut the hole in the bread before you put it in the pan? While it is in the pan? What do you do with the bread tops?

    • We call them “one eyed jacks”. We cut the hole with a shot glass while on the counter. Put LOTS of butter in the pan, put the bread in, then crack the egg into the hole. We fry up the “holes” in the butter too for dipping.

    • Same as person below, but we butter the bread (oil in the pan). The holes, fried up, are the most delicious part.

      (FWIW, the butter-on-bread, oil-in-pan method also makes the most delicious diner-style grilled cheeses.)

    • WOW! I haven’t ever eaten nor made the “eggs in a basket” or “one eyed jacks” but it sounds delicious! Definitely going to make that this weekend! :O)

    • oh, and we called them “eggs in windows.” I love hearing all the different names. XD

    • Semi-related topic, now that we are on grilled cheese. I sprinkle parmesan cheese on the outside of the grilled cheese sandwiches. It makes a crispy delicious crust and makes the sandwiches feel much more ‘grown-up’.

    • We call is “Cowboy Toast”. It reminds me of being in the outdoors because we usually make this when we’re out camping. We cut out the middle with a small glass or just use a knife to make a circle, then butter both sides of bread and break the egg over the bread in the frying pan. I never used to use the cut-outs but now I’ll fry those up too!
      I love the parmesean addition. Thanks!!

    • Melissa says:

      I grew up calling it toad in a hole. I butter the bread, cut the hole, place both in the pan and crack the egg in the hole.

      • yay! toad in a hole is my favorite name for this, though i knew it as eggs in a frame first. a big hit around here, too.

        we cut out with a small juice glass, put lots of butter in pan, bread in pan, egg in hole. fry, flip, fry, done.

    • What else would you serve this with for breakfast?

    • I butter it all, then put it in the pan, cut the hole, and add the egg. I usually just put the bread tops in the pan to fry too and serve them as the “lid” to the eggy basket.

  3. Yesterday I had my early examination. I had scheduled the PAP with a nurse practitioner because the doctor is unavailable on Wednesday mornings and that is the best day for me. The name sounded familiar, but I didn’t think I had ever seen her before. Just before she is ready to “do the deed” she asked about work while making small talk and I told her where I worked. She said, “I knew I knew you. You were my supervisor!” She had worked for me long ago! I freaked out. Should I have asked for someone else or just let the awkward moment pass knowing that it’s awkward regardless?

    • I understand wanting to ask for somebody else TOTALLY, but I think the awkwardness was already there, and doing so might’ve caused more awkwardness. I mean, she was already ready to do it – it’s not like bringing somebody else in would’ve made it better, you know?

    • Let the awkward moment pass! Because it makes for great stories later…

      That would have been very odd…and I would have made it more awkward by commenting on how odd it was.

    • Oh wow. I honestly don’t know what I would have done. I guess just let the moment pass and make small talk. And then thank goodness such a thing only happens once a year!

    • Well I have a slightly different perspecive since I am an NP and worked in GYN for 10 years. I would just let the moment pass and in the future make an appt with someone else to avoid any awkwardness on your behalf. For the NP (if she’s like me) she was genuinely happy to see you and make the connection from your past work relationship and probably felt a bit of bonding and hoped you would continue to see her in the future. Assuming the work relationship was a good one: You would become someone that she would work hard to take extra special care of (speaking strickly medically) and make sure all needs were met not because you were her superior but because of having a prior positive experience between the two of you.
      But YOU need to feel that comfort level too and if it’s not there for you just schedule all future visits with an alternate GYN provider. She won’t take it personally. She probably sensed it might have felt a little weird for you.

    • Ooo, I think I would have had to just let it go, that’s a tough one though. Will you see her again?

    • Oddly enough, I did make my next year’s appt for a Wednesday morning knowing I may get her again. I was a tad creeped out, but not too badly apparently! It’s not like we were buddies, so the awkwardness wasn’t anything more than normal! :) Thanks ladies!

    • And by the way,as far as a good story goes, I immediately placed the experience on my facebook status upon returning to work. LOL

  4. I just switched to WordPress (thanks, Cali!) and I’d like a nice stat program. Anyone have any good advice?

  5. Grrrr…messed up the html…Stat Counter

  6. When I found J an exersaucer on craigslist, I threw the cloth seat into the washer, and ran the toys through the top rack of the dishwasher. Gave the rest with a spray of 7th generation and wiped it clean. Good as new!

  7. I’m torn. If you had a baby who generally (predictable-by-everybody sleep regressions, and falling into bad sleep for a few nights around milestones aside) sleeps well at night, but doesn’t do well with naps, and has trouble going BACK down if she gets up, would you work on sleep training?

    I’m hesitant to. A, because I don’t want to screw up what we’ve got (right now, going down pretty easily with a bottle & a rocking between 7 & 8pm, waking up between 5:30 and 7am), and b, because we’re not there most weekdays, and I know our current babysitter wouldn’t be able to do it, and have no idea what we’re doing as of July 1. It feels futile to work on it only on weekends.

    • We have a generally amazing sleeper, I really can’t complain. Thus, we didn’t have to even crack a sleep training book. But we did do one thing consistently when he was wee (and even now – he’s 15 months) – we didn’t put him to bed for the night until he was showing signs of being sleepy. That means he doesn’t go to bed at a certain time every night, because the few nights we tried that, he just cried until he got so tired he fell asleep. Some nights he goes to bed at 7:30, some nights it’s 10. Usually it averages 8:30-9 though. Anyway, all of this means he slept all night because he was tired, and still went down for morning and afternoon naps. He still takes 2 naps, the boy loves his sleep! :) I don’t think that’s very helpful unless you have a kid who really likes to sleep. Good luck!

      • We do what Alison does-no set bedtime, and just put the baby to bed when she gets sleepy. The result is that she’s happy, and sleeps through the night (she’s only 5 months, but started sleeping through the night a few months ago). She’s a terrible napper, though-she only takes catnaps during the day.

    • I didn’t do hard core sleep “training” for naps at all- just night time. And I think I started around 6 months. (& then had to start all over again when we moved!)
      But it kind of sounds like- if she is going down between 7 & 8 and waking up around 12 hours later- that she has trained herself!

      As far as naps- what really ended up working for us (& this is totally something ya’ll could try on the weekends) was the “EASY” method. It does involve having a scheduled day tho. But it is: baby Eats, baby has Assisted play, baby Sleeps, and then there is YOU time.

      When I am home this is what I use (sometimes inverting eating and playing) and it really has consistently worked.

      • Yeah. I tried that while I was home with her, but we always ended up reverting the eating and the playing. As much as I (eventually, right now I don’t care) want her to have sleep associations that aren’t related to eating, sucking just puts that girl to sleep.

        And yeah, she pretty much has. I know we’re SO lucky. But the part about it not coming about with help from us means that on the rare occasions that she DOES wake up at, oh, say, 2:30, she is then UP UP UP until, say, 4:45. Just to throw out some definitely completely made up times. 😉

        (last night she woke up about 40 minutes after being put down, and I thought it was just normal night waking, but felt bad later when she threw up alllllll over J. Poor gal. She was ramming things hard into her mouth yesterday, so I suspect gum pain. Probably should’ve gone with the tylenol before putting her to bed the first time, instead of waiting until the wake-up and the throw-up, but we’re trying not to rely on it as a crutch, and she had gone down just fine. ah well, live and learn.)

        • Re: sucking to fall asleep…we did this too, and from age 1-1.5 I just put water in a bottle and let her suck that to sleep. I let her outgrow it on her own, which she totally did. Maybe I just got really lucky, but I’m a big believer in (creatively) doing what works!

      • Yeah. I tried that while I was home with her, but we always ended up reverting the eating and the playing. As much as I (eventually, right now I don’t care) want her to have sleep associations that aren’t related to eating, sucking just puts that girl to sleep.

        Er, by which I mean, she often napped well while I was home. Not every day, in no means reliably. But probably 5 days out of 7 I could get at least one decent nap out of her. Now… not so much. And I don’t know if it’s b/c it’s not me, b/c J and/or babysitter are using different methods, or because she’s just At An Age where she’s gone on nap strike.

    • I have to go with…the night sleeping is the most important. Some kids just don’t nap, and trying to force them is counter-productive. If your baby is generally cranky in the evenings, then maybe I’d change, but if she’s pretty happy, then follow her lead.

  8. How do I make a good omelet? I still haven’t perfected it..and it frustrates me!

    • I watch the people at buffets do it! :) We had the most amazing omelets in Jamaica. I haven’t perfected it either, but they’re way better than they used to be. It takes a smallish pan, and lots of non-stick spray. After you get the bottom fairly cooked, you run a spatula around the edge of the omelet and lift it up and let the uncooked egg run under the cooked part, essentially the whole thing is cooked by the time you flip it. Also, don’t put the cheese on until the very end, or it cooks into it took much. :)

    • Low and slow is the way to go. Melt a blend of 1 tsp. butter and 1 tsp. oil in your pan over low heat, then brush it to the edges of the pan. Add beaten egg — just egg — and let the pan stay put for 20 seconds. Then begin picking up the edges of the egg with your (silicone, mixing-style) spatula. Tilt the pan gently to get the uncooked egg underneath the cooked. Leave it for 20 seconds and repeat. The top surface will look damp and slightly wrinkly. Run the (mixing-style) spatula edge around the pan again, gently picking up the outer ruffle of egg all the way around, just to make sure things are loose. Add a modest amount of toppings to the center of the omelette, then pick up one edge with the spatula again and fold the omelet over to just less than halfway. (all the way halfway will sometimes crack the back of the omelet.) To do a French, rolled omelet, nudge this less-than-halfmoon of egg over one more time with your fingertips and spatula it out onto the plate. For an American halfmoon omelet, get out the (flat, flipper-style) spatula and ease it out onto the serving plate.

    • My mom has/had an ancient omelet pan when I was growing up. It looks like a frying pan that folds in half. She never used it. I’m guessing it came from her mom’s house. I’ve been meaning to ask her for it since the day I moved out.

  9. How do I overcome my winning combination of anxiety and dyskinesia and learn how to drive a car?

    • Empty parking lots and side streets with no street parking (my dad picked industrial areas on weekends – they were deserted!). Practicing will help, but you have to find a comfortable place to practice, where it’s easy to pull out of the way if someone else happens to drive by.

    • and once you get ready to start driving on the street, find a calm friend who remembers what it’s like not knowing how to go with you. really, it’s better than being alone to be with someone who tells you it’s okay when you make a mistake, that she did that same thing, and so on. (this is how i got more confident driving stick.)

      • Jennifer says:

        I found it better to take driving lessons with someone I didn’t know. There wasn’t the same pressure to perform, and if I screwed up, I never had to see them again. After I had a general confidence in driving then I drove with someone supportive to practice. I couldn’t use empty parking lots because I need the other cars to give me some perspective on distances, etc.

        I got my license just before my 40th birthday. I’ve had it for a year and still haven’t driven with my partner in the car.

    • (((hugs))) But also kind of excited that you are asking!! Empty parking lots. Good friends.

      • See, you have a boat. Boats can be useful. But if I wreck it, it’s still your only boat. You know what I mean?

  10. This isn’t so much advice needed as it is an open-ended poll question. :o)

    I’ve had 2 interviews with a potential employer and go back next Monday to “meet with them one more time”. The manager didn’t call it a 3rd interview or say he needed to ask more questions. I’ve half convinced myself they’re going to offer the job there. So here’s my poll question – when you’ve gotten jobs before, do they normally call you first to offer the job and negotiate extras later, or do they have you come in and offer the job in person? My job offers have all come over the phone, so that’s all I know.

    • All my job offers have been over the phone too. Good luck, though!

    • I’ve had in person offers, phone offers and even e-mail offers (ahhhh…the modern age in which we live) It sounds like they probably have it narrowed down to the absolute top candidates and they just want one more face to face meeting. I imagine it would be a personality meeting more than a, “can you do the job well” meeting. Maybe they want to introduce you to more staff to see how they feel about you?

      The good news is that you are so incredibly genuine and kind that you are going to shine!!!

      • I’ve only been offered jobs over the phone, or via email. I’ve never been called back in for the offer. I HAVE seen situations where it’s a close call, and they invite the finalists back for more people to meet/for people to meet again to decide. Good luck!

    • Samantha W says:

      Offers can come in all shapes and sizes. Going in is not a guarantee that you are getting the position, but it means that either they want to meet with you one more time to get a final “feel” or they take the offering/not offering seriously and do it in person (which I love and so few people do it!). Secret HR person. :)

  11. What’s the best thing to do when people are trying to suck you into their office dramas? There are at least 2 feuds going on in my workplace these days (and there are only 20-some people in our lab!), and I am finding it difficult to leave my desk without feeling like I should army crawl to avoid the passive-agressive fire…

  12. This questions is due to many “discussions” that have occurred in my household as of late. What IS it with the whole ‘breastfeeding stigma?’ I really don’t get it. As in, you HAVE to breast feed for an entire year. And then the moment that year is up you HAVE to stop immediately because…ewww…that is just WRONG! We all know breast milk is best…blah…blah…blah, but if it doesn’t work out for you, no biggie. If it works out for a while and then stops, no biggie. If you want to breast feed your kid until he’s 3…no biggie. Why are so many people concerned about the state of my boobs?!?!

    • I wish I understood that. I actually got asked yesterday if I was BF’ing by a fellow co-worker… who followed it up with “I can’t believe I asked that, it’s so personal, and I was so annoyed by all the people who asked me.”

      I mean, I don’t care, and I’m not going to feel bad, no matter what our choices were, but I just don’t get it.

    • I don’t really get it either. I think its the first introduction to how people will judge you by the choices you make as a parent. Circumcision, vaccinations…it’s all the same. And I don’t know that it ever ends. I don’t have an answer for you, but I’m taking a seat on your bench. What’s the big deal?!?! Mind your bidnaz people.

    • A pause and then an, “exCUSE ME?” often stifle personal questions.

      Even more effective (especially if you want to sear the rudeness into their brains), say absolutely nothing. Just look at them with no expression; let the silence build until they cut and run or you feel like making a comment on something from left field (“how’d ya like the Nats’ new pitcher”) which signals that there will be no convo about your boobs, circumcision, or the color of your underwear.

  13. Calli – What a terrific idea! I’ve been sucked in to reading all the questions and comments. So helpful!! I’m going to make eggs in a basket this weekend now. Yum!

    I have a two part question.
    How do you clean your shower? I grew up with a tub/shower curtain combo and my mom always used Comet. Our home has a shower stall with a glass door. We squeegy (sp?) the door every day, but the walls, nooks and crannies are nasty.

    Likewise, do you use steam cleaner to help with keeping your shower clean? If so, what brand?

    • Just my Super Washing Soda and a lemon scrubber . . . . I really want a steam cleaner as I LOVE my floor one. . . .

    • I find that wiping down the walls (with a squeegee or towel) helps keep the mildew down. I usually clean with some sort of cleaner (Lysol bathroom, because the clorox green stuff didn’t do anything!) and a magic eraser about once a week (or once every 2 weeks).

    • Honestly? We have a very small shower stall with a curtain and, when I’m done washing myself, I take the body-wash covered poof to the walls, floor, and curtain. It actually seems to work better than when I used to clean it for real with bathroom cleaner… but maybe that’s just lazy wishful thinking!

  14. anonymous because, well, says:

    How does one get the smooooooothest shave possible? Without any razor burn? I have hardwood floors, so to speak, but still, after all these years, am not sure how to get a really close shave. Help!

    • Shave WITH the hair growth first. This gets it pretty close without irritating your skin. Then shave against the growth to get it super smooth. For some reason I don’t really understand, razor burn seems to always result if I go against the growth right away. Also – sharp blades, but not new-from-the-pack. I like to shave my legs first to just take off the newness.

      • Coochie Cream is the absolute best stuff out there. I have used it for two years now and have never, ever had razor burn with it. PS: I am a red head with super sensitive skin.

  15. Is putting our box of graham crackers in the fridge an effective way to avoid soggy crackers from the humidity in the air? If not- what else can we try? Soggy graham crackers are gross!

  16. When W is the extra loud child in a public place (meaning the screaming toddler- usually with glee- in the shopping buggy) should I acknowledge his behavior to other shoppers, apologize? I always seem to feel so guilty for how LOUD W is in public some days.

    • You know how they say “laugh and the world laughs with you; cry, and you cry alone?” I think those are good words to live by with the youngsters. If W is screaming with glee, laugh with him – try to see whatever is making him so happy, or just enjoy him being delightful and happy – even if it is loud. If he’s screaming angrily, focus on trying to distract/redirect/whatever to get him to stop. If he won’t, then you can apologize – but I find most people gave me sympathetic looks when I was carrying my 3 year old around like a sack of potatoes while she screamed and cried. They could tell I was just trying to get some milk!

    • I tend to tell J that he is a funny baby or make a joke with D that something that J saw was funny/silly etc. To be honest babies are babies and make baby noises. If people have a problem with baby noises then they should check out online shopping!

  17. Looks like I’m late to the party! Recommendations for baby accoutrements, please?
    I’m looking for a baby wrap/carrier thingie for a newborn or young infant. I have a baby Bjorn but that won’t help me until she’s a little older. I have my eye on the Moby Wrap but there’s so many types of infant carriers out there I’d love to hear people’s favorites. I’d love to have the option of breastfeeding while she’s in the carrier/wrap – anyone have luck with this?

    Second recommendation is for cloth diapers. I just bought some Gro-Baby diapers to try once the little girl arrives, but again I’d love to hear other’s favorites. Thanks!

    • Kat,

      I can say DON’T do the moby wrap-it is like 1/2 a mile long and cumbersome and HOT.

      That’s all I can say about that. I wish I had known some Moms when Adam was born so I could have found the right one, I never did get to wear him :(

      • I know how you feel. I REALLY wanted to rock Sol in a chair when he was a baby, but we didn’t have a rocking chair. I always felt like I missed out on something special. Of course, these things aren’t THAT important in the end, but they certainly can feel that way. Thanks for the warning about the Moby! Yes, I can see how it could be hot to wear.

    • I’ve never used one, but everyone swears by the Ergo carrier. And my back doctor told me it was the only carrier he could say was okay to use.

      • I always thought the Ergo was for older babies, but I just read that it can be used with newborns too – thanks!

      • We have an Ergo (the Ergo Sport), and it says on it that it’s not meant to be used with a baby that’s less than 14 or 15 pounds. Our 5 month old still isn’t big enough. The Baby Bjorn is likewise intended for a larger baby, although ours says on it that it’s okay for newborns (ours hated it). The Moby is ginormous and hot and hard to use because there’s so much to it. I finally gave up on carriers. I’d love to know what really works, as I’m still holding out hope.

        • It’s that you can’t use it under 14 or 15 pounds without the insert. With the insert, you can. We used ours (with the old style insert, rigged up to be more like the new one) from week one.

      • looooooooooooved the ergo. lots.

    • I was a baby bjorn girl until I became a ergo convert. It’s the best ever. My daughter is 13 months old and I still use it all the time. It’s fabulous. Go with the ergo. You won’t be disappointed.

    • Betty M says:

      I love my Moby wrap. It is long and it can get quite hoot on a really hot day but for a small baby it is lovely. They are so close to you it is like kangaroo care in action. Wrapping becomes very easy and quick too once you have done it a few times. I also have a Baby Bjorn, a Hotsling pouch and a Mei Tai too and for a newborn I would rate the Moby top.

    • I’m loving Blueberrie and Swaddlebee cloth diapers right now. I have a minky cheetah print one that I just love with all my heart. I’m finding that it’s easier to use cloth now that my little guy is a bit bigger.

      To piggy back on your carrier question:
      Why can’t I figure out my ring sling? I follow the directions but all I get is screaming baby that feels like he’s going to fall out.

    • I personally loved the Moby. Yes, it gets a bit hot in the summer, but any way you’re going to be wearing your baby up against your body will be hot in the hot weather. I had a hard time figuring out slings early on though I think for the second kid I will try harder, because it seems easier to nurse in a sling than the Moby and I expect to need to nurse in a carrier much more often when I’m chasing a toddler around. The Moby looks overwhelming but it really just took me an afternoon of practicing wrapping it over and over again and then we both loved it. I can’t tell you how many naps my daughter took in there while I bounced up and down on an exercise ball and watched TV in the early days :)

      A word about the Baby Bjorn — there’s concern in some circles (die-hard babywearers, chiropractors) about wearing a baby in any forward-facing carrier like the Bjorn. Some (babywearers) will say it’s a bad idea because it doesn’t allow baby to turn away from too much stimulation, while others (chiropractors) will say that it puts too much stress on baby’s developing hip joints. For an older baby I’d highly recommend a soft structured carrier like a Beco or Ergo. We have a Beco and I love it. I still carry my 25-lb almost 2 year old from time to time, when I don’t have a free hand to hold hers or when she needs some snuggle time but I have to do something like cook dinner.

      As for cloth diapers, you’ll get as many different answers as there are parents who use them on their kiddos! For us, we used prefolds and covers (definitely the cheapest option) in the early days which were great when we needed to change her all the time anyways. Around 6-8 months I started switching over to one-size pockets which is what she’ll be in until she wears underwear. BumGenius were great at first but the velcro doesn’t hold up very well over time. My personal faves are the Fuzzi Bunz one size. Lots of cloth diaper stores have trial packages where you can try several different styles to see what works best for you, then return whichever you don’t like for a percentage of your money back (they then go on to sell the used ones at a discount).

      Oh, and once you’re dealing with solid-food poops, I have found that diaper liners (we use the Imse Vimse ones) are the best. They’re flushable, but the ones that just get peed on go in the wash with the dirty dipes and we use them 5-6 times before they start to disintegrate. Some people scrape the poop off the diapers or use a sprayer but both of those options seemed too icky to me.

    • I love my Moby Wrap! Luckily I had a friend show me how to use it or I would have been really confused. Love love love it though. It still hurts my back, but not as much as other things I’ve tried.

      We really, really like the FuzziBunz sized diapers. I find the one size diapers are way too bulky. They have them really cheap with inserts at fuzzibunz seconds factory right now b/c they just switched colors so are clearing out the old colors. I also like rump-a-rooz, but not as well as the fuzzibunz.

      I HATE the GoodMama Ones. I thought I would love them, but in a pack of 8, four of them had defective snaps and one isn’t waterproof at all. They leak something terrible and leave big indents in my baby’s stomach. Just thought I would mention it since there is a GM craze and that’s why I thought they must be so great.

      • Thanks for the cloth diaper recommendations, and for telling me about the fuzzibunz factory seconds site!

        Knowing myself, I think I would like the Moby – I’m still keeping an eye on babysteals.com in hopes that it shows up there as I’ve heard sometimes happens. Perhaps I can practice Moby-wrapping with a stuffed animal before she arrives! I, too, wonder about nursing while carrying (or at least being able to nurse without completely taking the baby out of the carrier). The only carriers that I’ve heard are amenable to breastfeeding are the slings. Has anyone breastfed in a non-sling carrier (or at least without completely taking the carrier off)? Does the Moby allow this?

        • I was really surprised to see the Moby’s at Target the other day. Unless I was reading the prices wrong, they were selling for $25. They only had black, though.

          I haven’t tried to bf with the moby, or any sling. I have trouble being discreet.

          • Oh, but I do breastfeed without totally removing it. I just take the baby out. It says you can nurse in it, but I haven’t been able to figure out the nursing hold.

        • I was pretty happy with both the Moby and the Ergo.

          We were happiest with chinese prefolds, Snappis, and Thirsties covers for the first 4-5 months, and then Bumgenius 3.0, which we send to day care. I’ve tried G diapers and liked them, but too cheap to buy the inserts. Just bought some GroBaby diaps on babysteals and love them now too.

    • Samantha W says:

      Ergo! All the way :) The infant insert can be used from 8lbs I think.

      • ERGO! Can easily be used without insert for wee ones by fashioning a taco out of a baby blanket. In fact, I bought the insert but never used it–seemed much too thick. Still use the Ergo (mostly back carry) with our 21 lb 20 month old (she’s little but wiggly, and it works!).

        Re Moby’s: I think they are great for small tiny infants, particularly when out in public and you don’t want everyone touching your baby. But they are confusing at first and HOT always!!! I probably only used it about 5 times for that reason, but I run very hot. Perhaps if I had breastfed (we adopted) I would have appreciated it more for breastfeeding. Also, and not sure if this is a factor for all of you, but if you are anything other than very fit and trim without an ounce of body fat, I think the Moby made me look really faaat with all of that tight wrapping around me showing every flabby bit in my back and arms. Vanity!

    • Alexicographer says:

      I tried a ton of carriers/slings. The ones I liked best are …
      –fixed-size, non-flexible tube sling (e.g. peanut shell — go to the firm’s website, click on baby slings then on outlet to find them cheap, cheap, cheap). If in doubt about which size you need, buy the smaller size. You want baby snuggled close.
      –simple fabric Mai Tei; I bought mine new on ebay for about $25, shipped. Similar in concept to the Ergo or Beco but without the padding or the snaps (though you can get those).
      –Angelpack — similar to Ergo/Beco but smaller and lighter.

      I also bought/used the Beco, the Bjorn, a ring sling, a stretchy tube sling, just to name a few. None of those worked as well for me. The Kelty Wallaby (or was it the Kangaroo? Whichever of the two doesn’t have a hip belt) is similar to Bjorn but better built, IMO. Because of a better set up with the snaps it uses, you’ve got a fighting chance of removing a sleeping baby from your body without waking it. The waistbelt Kelty version didn’t work for me at all, though that may have related to my body dimensions.

      I’m big on something you can stash in a purse, and really prefer stuff in almost any fabric other than cotton (e.g. linen, silk, nylon) as in my experience cotton is darned sticky and it makes it hard to adjust baby/position (especially in hot weather) because of that.

    • Look up mei tais. No, not the drink, although I suppose if you drink enough you won’t feel your backaches. No, there’s a kind of cloth carrier called the mei tai, it’s an ancient asian design. Can get western ones like the Baby Hawk or Infantino offers one (no, not the smothering pouch-design). Also you can find hand-made machine sewn ones on Etsy or Hyena cart. I have two hand-sewn ones and one commercial one. I much much prefer them to the ergo. I’ve worn my kids from 8lb to 30+ lb. Love them.

      I tried the moby, never found the love. Slings and pouches just hurt. The Ergo is awkward and not nearly as awesome for me as everyone else professes.

  18. Any breastfeeding tips for large women with even larger boobs? Should I get one of those Boppy pillows or something related?

    • I can’t help with the large boobs part, but I loved my Boppy for nursing. It was also nice for sitting my son in when he was a baby.

    • I’m not necessarily a larger woman but my ta-ta’s are rather large and I used both the boppy and the “my brest friend” pillow. I used the boppy in chairs that had sides on it (actually for me the perfect thing was the boppy with a small travel sized pillow on top of it on the side she was nursing on to prop her head up a little; we still use this method today and she’s 13 months) and then I used the my brest friend when there wasn’t sides around (like in bed). Although once your baby gets big enough the bigger boobies make “bed nursing” easy cause you can just flop them in the general direction of the baby and lay there and let the baby take care of the rest.

    • I have huge boobs, even bigger when nursing. I love the boppy. I don’t know how people nurse a newborn without a boppy. Obviously it can be done, but it kills my back to do it. When you have a newborn you’ll want to use the football hold instead of the cradle hold. Your nurse or LC in the hospital should be able to show you the holds.

      • Oh, and you might want to pick up a reading pillow for the bed. I found it made nights so much better to be able to sit up in the bed and still be comfortable.

    • Big and floppy here too. Boppy were not around in my nursing days, but I had a little pillow I used that was indispensable; so, yay Boppys.

      What they said on the rest of it, but mainly what I found was that with a tiny baby there was probably a little more of an issue with positioning than the flatter ladies had. I had to keep a finger on my breast to make sure it didn’t cover baby’s nose, etc.

      I also found that I couldn’t really walk around with baby in my arms and nurse because (1) When I stood up my boobs dropped down to waist level, and (2) Jiggle does not adequately describe the movement the make when I walk, so baby couldn’t keep a hold of the latch. Whozat’s out the top of the bra trick might have greatly facilitated it though.

      Basically, for nursing comfort, I needed a chair with arms and my little pillow, although I managed at times in less than ideal circumstances. Anyway, plan that it may take a little trial and error to figure out exactly what positions are most comfortable for you and baby. Happy nursing!

    • I used a combination of regular pillows. I found nursing pillows wanted to be the shape that they are FULL STOP and that didn’t work for my boys. Accept that it won’t be a hands free experience and may not be a “nurse on the go” experience either (although I was able to move about and nurse my second boy but I was lighter with big boobs at that point).

      Big boobs mean nursing lying down is easier because of the space that they generate between you and the baby so you don’t have to have the baby >< this close to you which makes latching them on easier.

    • i used a standard pillow that wasn’t too fluffy and folded it in half. post pregnancy/nursing i have DDD breasts. you can imagine how big they were when i was breast feeding… ekk.

      anyway, that folded in half pillow, i stashed that behind my arm as i would hold the lil one in the football hold. as she got older, side lying breast feeding became king!

      i will say that the football hold always worked best for my huge breasts. good luck!

  19. Kat – When my daughter was younger (tiny – about 18 lbs) I LOVED my wrap. The one I used is a Wrapsody (formerly Gypsy Wrap) but other brands are good, too. Sleepy Wrap is stretchier, and is really nice for a little bitty baby.

    A wrap is very versitile, and can cover a wide range of baby and mama sizes as well as many different positions.

    If you plan to do back carries when the baby (toddler) is older, you’ll need a woven wrap, though, with minimal stretch.

    I did not use a ringsling when Peeper was small at all, but love it for a hip carry around the house now that she’s a toddler.

    I also now use it for the 2-month-old that we’re babysitting. Evidently the problem was that I just wasn’t understanding how to get her in there right!

    The ringsling is also good for nursing in, which is must more difficult (I never did it) in the wrap.

    For backcarries or front/back carries when we’re out and about, I love my (knock-off-not-really-an-)Ergo. There’s a newborn insert you can get for it, but I’ve no experience with that. I love it for a toddler, though. I can nurse it in, although it’s a bit tricky.

    I would not recommend the Bjorn, because it puts all the baby’s weight on the crotch, and puts the hips in a bad position. The baby should be in an upright sitting position, with legs “froggied” for a newborn, or straddling the adult for an older baby.

    I confess that Peeper usually rode facing out in the wrap, but that’s really not good (same as the Bjorn but with a little wider ‘seat’) – that should really face in. I wouldn’t have started her facing out if I’d known that, and she wouldn’t have gotten used to it.

    We use bumGenius 3.0 One-Size pocket diapers and really like them, except that the Velcro gave out, so we had them converted to snaps. If I had it to do over, I might go with the BG all-in-one with snaps. I understand that pockets dry faster than AIOs, though, and I just feel like they get cleaner (that might just be me).

    Jendeis –
    I’m very big and floppy, and I second (third?fourth?) the recommendation to use a Boppy or other nursing pillow.

    Also, if you want to nurse while wearing the baby, I great trick I read somewhere is to pull your breast up over the top of your bra, rather than dropping the cup. That way, your breast is supported and your nipple is nice and high, within reach of the baby.

    And, I agree that big, floppy ones come in very handy for nursing in bed with the baby’s bigger. I can nurse Peeper from either breast while we both stay in the same spot in bed. And, I can even lie on my back while she lies beside me nursing from the “near” breast!

  20. I just want to say thanks to Cali for doing this, and thanks everyone for sharing their experience and advice!

  21. Awesome idea Cali!

    What is the etiquette for someone crying in a public bathroom? I was at brunch yesterday and went to the ladies room. While I was in the stall, someone else came into the bathroom and went into another stall. And then, started heaving sobbing. Should I have said something (mind you, I’m in the stall still and she’s in her stall)? Should I have asked if she was ok? As it was, I finished my business, washed my hands and got out of there to leave her cry in peace (which is what I would have wanted).

    • I think you did the right thing. Nothing you could have said would’ve made her less embarrassed to be sobbing in public.


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