Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More Boobs at Work

Ok, really why do I bring my baby to work? Because it means I don't have to live like a cow. Or, at least, an agro-industrial cow. Check out Jill Lepore's New Yorker essay about the history of pumping and how we're becoming, as she concludes, "our own wet nurses."

My favorite part?

"It appears no longer within the realm of the imaginable that, instead of running water and a stack of magazines, 'breastfeeding-friendly' could mean making it possible for women and their babies to be together. Some lactation rooms even make a point of banning infants and toddlers, lest mothers smuggle them in for a quick nip. At the University of Minnesota, staff with keys can pump their milk at the Expression Connection, but the sign on the door warns: 'This room is not intended for mothers who need a space to nurse their babies.'"

Besides which, there's nowhere in my office to pump, so I'd be doing that under the poncho. Surely it's less weird just to bring the baby and feed her?

Anyway, the whole New Yorker essay is here

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Working Baby Essentials

All kinds of things that make life safer, easier and more interesting for the working baby...

Note: some of these aren't exactly cheap, and in some cases you'll probably be duplicating gear you already have at home. But the goal is to keep the shlepping to a minimum, and remember, it's almost impossible to underestimate the amount of money you're saving by not paying for child care.

for nursing

Nursing ponchos: There are actually lots of options out there. Office Mom's taste tends toward the subdued (if not downright boring), and the products listed here all pretty much come in earth tones and a few soft pastels. If you're looking for a nursing poncho in bright, baby-friendly colors--which seems to me to defeat the main purpose of the whole thing--you'll have to do your own legwork!
1. The Under Wraps Nursing Poncho, by Victoria Laurin & Baby. This looks to be a little more stylish than the one I have--stylish is good--but also to provide ample coverage. Plus, it comes in black, and many other colors. Also has a bag. $39.99.
2. The L'ovedbaby Nursing Shawl. This is soft and almost suede-like, with a subtle pattern in the stitching. Comes in six really mellow colors and has a bag. $29.95
3. The BUNDLEUNDER. This one comes to a point at the bottom, which seems like it might leave some skin showing (on you, if not the baby). Comes in six soft, pretty colors. $35.

A nursing pillow--you'll want this at least early on; it helps support the baby and helps reduce the strain on your neck and shoulders. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Boppy, but there are other, similar products out there. I actually took a regular pillow to work for a few months, because it worked better with my desk chair. Plus, I had a Boppy for home and didn't really want to buy another one.

Plenty of burp pads

Extra clothes--for you and the baby. Because you never know quite what's going to come out of the little bugger, and most likely it'll happen right before you have to go to a meeting.

for sleeping

A pack-n-play or other portable crib: If you have the space and plan to bring the baby to work regularly, this is essential. A close-to-newborn will sleep much of the day, and while she won't weigh a lot and you can certainly get a lot done with her sleeping in your lap or over your shoulder or even in a sling, it's also helpful to have both hands free occasionally. Plus, many models have a diaper-changing tray, which is also handy not only for the advertised purpose but for storing the nursing pillow. Plus, if you think you'll be bringing the baby to work even after she outgrows the bassinette layer and the diaper tray, it's nice to have a secure place for the toddler to sleep (Working Baby #1 was a thrasher). Also, as the baby gets older, it doubles as baby jail, and every so often it's good to be able to keep the baby out of something that's going on in the office--if there's a reason to sort piles of paper on the floor or something else temporary but fragile.

Anyway, the model I have is navy-and-white, very subtle. It also has a sort of sunshade/umbrella thing that might help some babies calm down, or at least it blocks some of the light, and there's a little vibrating doohickey that connected to the bassinette, to which first Working Baby seemed mostly indifferent, though #2 quite likes it.

These look comparable:

from Graco, this model, which lacks the sunshade.

Also this model, with the sunshade.

Or, if you know you'll be limiting the baby's time at work to infancy, and space is at a premium, you might go with a Moses basket. Most of these are long and narrow and have soft but not too puffy linings. I never had a reason to have one, but I love the idea (though I think the temptation to store stuff in the basket would be overwhelming, and then it wouldn't be much use for holding the baby). For those in larger office who might have (or want) to move a sleeping baby--to a meeting down the hall, for example--a Moses basket would be ideal. Plus, talk about low-profile for the office--you could shove the kid under your desk, and no one would ever know it was there!

Here are some good options:

from babybeemine, which also sells old-timey wooden high chairs.

or, if you're trying to impress, posh tots has fabulous baskets in a variety of patterns and styles (at a variety of not-so-fabulous prices. They also sell a $75,000--yes, there are really that many zeroes in the price--bed shaped like Cinderella's carriage. Really, it's worth a visit to the site just to gasp at it.)