FRIDAY Q&A: WORKING FROM HOME WITH A BABY, WHERE TO FIND AFFORDABLE RUGS, TIPS FOR DECORATING A SMALL APARTMENT, AND MORE

Happy Friday! Did this week drag on for anyone else? It was the first week it was really chilly in Connecticut and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dreading this winter in particular. I’m going to do some more holiday decorating this weekend to channel more positive wintry vibes, but if you have any other ideas I’m all ears! I hope you all have a good one.

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1. How long did you breastfeed Teddy for? I’m going on five months and need support!

Congratulations on making it this far! I breastfed Teddy for just over one year, which I wrote more about in this post. I’m not sure I have a ton of great advice on the subject; honestly it just became the easiest option for us — especially during Covid with zero temptations to leave the house — and I didn’t really have a goal in mind for how long we would continue. I think it’s infinitely harder for moms who work outside the home, have to pump to maintain their supply, etc. It’s such a personal decision and I really believe any kind of fed is best, so if it’s something that’s bringing you more stress than joy, I wouldn’t hesitate to make a change!

2. Best toys for a toddler boy? Anything that Teddy has really loved!

Your question inspired me to do a gift guide for babies and toddlers! I rounded up 50 items for little ones, many of them toys that Teddy loved as an infant or loves now as a toddler. 

3. How do you juggle working from home with Teddy? I’m going back to work soon and have an 8-week-old.

Congratulations on your new little one! I know this time represents unique challenges for new moms and I hope you’re doing okay in the grand scheme of things. I’m not sure if your partner is working from home as well or if you have plans for daycare or a nanny, so I’ll just share what we’ve done personally. This bouncer made for relatively easy multitasking in the first few months of Teddy’s life, but in general I had a hard time working while he was awake and would try to squeeze in as much work as I could during his naps. It’s hard to toggle back and forth between childcare and work all day, so please, please give yourself grace as you figure out a new routine! Once Will started working from home in March (when Teddy was 5.5 months old), we would trade off being with Teddy depending on each of our work schedules on a given day. Then we hired a part-time nanny just before Teddy’s first birthday in September, which gives each of us a solid window of time to work in the middle of the day between Teddy’s morning and afternoon naps (though we’ll have to adapt when Teddy switches to one nap a day at some point, which is a stressful thought!). It’s only now with Teddy nearly 14 months old (!) that I’m finally feeling more organized and working at the capacity I’d like to be while giving Teddy the level of attention he deserves throughout the day, so it definitely took us a while to get into a good groove. I’ll be thinking of you as you adjust to a new routine!

4. How did you choose a crib? I’m so overwhelmed by options!

I fell in love with the look of this crib from Serena & Lily and was able to see it in person in one of their stores before we ordered. I’m currently narrowing down options for a new crib for Teddy since baby #2 will move into our nursery and I love the look of this, this, and this. 

5. Do you have any good sources for affordable rugs? Looking for one for our playroom.

I just ordered a new rug for our playroom from rugs.com and found their selection very affordable. I ordered this one but depending on the size and feel of your space, I also love this, this, this, and this. And I haven’t ordered from them personally but I’ve heard interior designers talk about ordering inexpensive sisal rugs from a site called Sisal Rugs Direct and kind of wish I’d done that over the rug we got for our family room which I’m nervous about keeping clean.

6. Any advice for decorating a tiny rental apartment?

I lived in two studio apartments in New York in my early twenties and had a lot of fun trying to make the most of each space. It’s entirely possible to carve out space for sleep, work, dining, and relaxing in three or four hundred square feet! I used this large bookcase to separate my bed from my living/dining space; I arranged books on the top shelves and used baskets on the bottom shelves for extra clothes storage. I used this acrylic console as a desk — surfaces like acrylic and glass are great in small spaces because they don’t crowd the room visually. I used inexpensive pieces from IKEA like a dresser that would fit inside the closet and this round dining table and spent more on a sofa and artwork that I knew I’d be able to find a home for in future living situations. I don’t think I even had rugs in either of my apartments but if that’s important to you I’d recommend an inexpensive jute or sisal style (a few ideas linked in the question above) in case the size won’t be practical for wherever you move next. Happy decorating!

7. Recommendation for a cute dog collar and leash?

East Bay Leads makes the best rope leashes — I love the nautical vibe and they come in great colors. Rory wears a needlepoint collar that my Grandy made him for our wedding, but I love this personalized collar from Mark & Graham!

8. I’d like to do something nice for a pregnant friend. Any suggestions?

Ordinarily I’d say go for a mani/pedi together or gift her a prenatal massage, but Covid definitely makes things trickier! Could you offer to drop off dinner one night in her third trimester or put together a little self-care basket with a favorite candle or something like this set? Honestly even a thoughtful note or email to let her know you’re thinking of her will probably make her day, but I’d love to hear others’ ideas in the comments!

9. What pregnancy items have you used this time around (skincare, vitamins, food/drink, etc.)?

I had stopped using Vintner’s Daughter for a while between pregnancies because it’s just so expensive but between pregnancy acne and daily mask-wearing, I was breaking out constantly and knew that would quickly get my skin back on track. It pains me to spend that much money on a serum but it’s truly the only thing that’s ever made a difference for cystic acne and there’s a noticeable difference in my overall complexion after just a few days. I switched to Ritual prenatal vitamins while I was breastfeeding between pregnancies and highly recommend them if you’re looking for a new prenatal. They have a lemony flavor that makes them so much less nauseating than the enormous pills I took while pregnant with Teddy! They actually reached out about working together next month, so I should have a discount code to share on Instagram if any of you have been wanting to try them! In terms of food and drinks, I stopped drinking iced coffee around 6 weeks (only because it no longer sounded good to me, not because you can’t have it if you still want it!), live for Arnold Palmers (always but especially while pregnant), and don’t go anywhere without my beloved Hydro Flask filled with ice water. I lived on carbs (specifically toast with cinnamon sugar) during my first trimester but at 17 weeks, I’m back to eating more or less the same as I did before I got pregnant. 

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  1. Thank you for answering my rug question! I haven’t decided if I want to go sisal or not, but will spend some time on the sources you linked to. On another note, we also started our nanny 11-3 and had to adjust when my son dropped to one nap a day. It was stressful, but now she comes 9-4 and does some light housekeeping while he naps. I hope you and your family have a beautiful thanksgiving!

  2. For our daughter’s second, we formed a MealTrain . We weren’t sure if they would be receptive to people bringing food 3 days a week, but it was the most wonderful and appreciated gift ever. It was easy to set up online and we were able to list food allergies, preferences and favorite restaurants. I’d highly recommend this. Even out of town friends can order grub hub and have food delivered.