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Week 23

Jun24

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week by week pregnancyYour Baby:

  • Is a tad bigger than last week! Are you sensing a pattern! Goodness, I never realized how boring this stretch of pregnancy is, what with the “close to a pound, just over a pound, 11 inches long, 11 2/3 inches long” comparisons week after week.
  • The pancreas is kicking into gear sometime around this week, and blood vessels continue to develop in the lungs. Lung development is a Big Thing right now, since babies born around 24 weeks gestation can often survive outside the womb. 23 weeks is pretty questionable, and 24 weeks certainly isn’t a peachy keen time to be born or anything, but still. If you’re the morbid sort who gets a tiny bit of comfort knowing that your baby has a fighting chance If Something Terrible Were To Happen, well, there you go.

You:

  • “OMG, you’re so big! Are you sure it’s not twins?”
  • Or, alternatively: “OMG, you barely look pregnant! Are you sure you’re 23 weeks?”
  • SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP. Thank you. No woman is ever going to appreciate your boneheaded commentary on her size and/or weight. Last time I was plagued with dire predictions of hidden twins and early labor and 14-pound babies. This time I get only-sort-of affectionately called names by other women when queried about my weight gain. Which is 1) none of your business and 2) yes, everything IS okay, my baby is growing just fine, thank you for your nosy and very annoying “concern.”
  • I AM ALSO CRABBY. PERHAPS YOU ARE TOO.

If there was one pregnancy symptom I hoped and prayed would skip over me this time — more than morning sickness, more than swollen ankles and sciatic nerve pain — it was anxiety. Terrible, intrusive, racing-brain anxiety.
It didn’t skip me this time.

I’d hoped it was really the whole firstness of my first pregnancy that was to blame, but here I am again, going through the same doubts and fears and worries. When I do manage to shut off my overworked brain (money, jobs, that snippy tone of that one email, need to replace the tub, money, two babies oh my god TWO BABIES), I am plagued with really annoying anxiety dreams, of the “I have a final in a college class that I never attended but forgot to drop” and “I’m waiting tables and can’t seem to get orders in and customers are storming out and/or ordering stuff that isn’t on the menu and what do you MEAN I have to get soda refills from down the block?” varieties.

And then I wake up from these dreams with my mind racing as I fret about the very same things I worried about with Noah, even though I KNOW everything will be okay and work out in the end. Will I love my baby? Will he love me back? Will I get PPD? Will I be able to breastfeed? How will I cope with middle-of-the-night ear infections with a toddler and a newborn and still get any work done? Will I ever leave the house? Will I ever make some more mom friends? Will I ever be anything other than a mom again?

Here’s the thing, though. Not all anxiety and depressive feelings during pregnancy should be casually swept away under the rug of Crazy Pregnant Lady Hormones. Full-blown panic attacks and major depression can happen during pregnancy, and you should always tell your doctor if you’re experiencing anything like this.

Women who have previously struggled with (or have a family history of) depression and anxiety are at a higher risk for pre-partum depression, as are those who have lost pregnancies, undergone fertility treatments or are classified as a high-risk pregnancy. Major life events, like relationship problems, big moves or job changes, can also trigger anxiety far beyond a manageable level.

Having had a long rich history with regular old anxiety, I’m grateful to have a built-in set of coping mechanisms. Namely, writing, list-making (I write down everything I’m stressed about and/or putting off and then tackle it, item by item), long walks and meditation. But how do you know when that’s not enough?

A lot of the depression checklists are downright laughable when applied to a pregnant woman (extreme fatigue? a desire to eat all the time? increased irritability or crying jags?), but if the feelings are unrelenting for a good two weeks — or coupled with bleak feelings of emptiness, anxious obsessive-compulsive behaviors, thoughts of self-harm or a feeling like your baby would be better off not being born or being given to someone else — then call your doctor right this minute. Many antidepressants can be safely taken during pregnancy, with the benefits far outweighing the risks. Talk therapy can also be extremely beneficial in helping you work through your fears and issues before the baby is born. Just SPEAK. UP. And don’t let anyone disregard your feelings because you’re pregnant.

And now, COMPLETELY switching gears, here’s this week’s registry checklist.

FEEDING

Buy Now

  • Bottles*
  • Bottle sterilizer & warmer**
  • Plain cloth diapers for burp rags (four or five packages, at least, and don’t bother with the “pretty” shoulder rags and lap pads. Cloth diapers rock, and we are STILL using those suckers for every mess our child managed to make these days.)
  • Bibs (small absorbent ones for infant drool and spit-up, larger pocketed ones for solid feeding)
  • Breast pads (Avent nursing pads are great for leaks, the gel varieties like Soothies are lifesavers for sore/chafed nipples)
  • nipple cream/ointment
  • Nursing pillow (You’ll never get a consensus on these — some mothers love them, some never use them. Some love the Boppy and others swear by the My Breast Friend. I found the Boppy to be very helpful early on, but it was soon relegated to the pile of Stuff That Never Got Used Very Much In The End.)
  • Breastmilk storage containers
  • Bottle brush
  • Nursing wrap/cover

Buy Later

  • High chair or booster seat****
  • Splat mat
  • Plates, utensils, sippy cups
  • Small blender or food processor for pureeing baby food (I’m a fan of the bullet-shaped ones. Convenient, easy to clean and great for hiding veggies in toddler smoothies later on.)
  • Ice cube trays for storing homemade food

*Yes, yes. No matter what your lofty breastfeeding plans are, it’s not a bad idea to have a bottle or two handy. If you know what kind of breast pump you’ll be using**, get something compatible. Otherwise, ignore the big gift sets and try out a couple of the BPA-free options (Evenflo glass, Born Free, Dr. Brown’s, etc.) and see what works best for you and your baby. Make sure you start with level one nipples — your baby will let you know when it’s time to move up to a higher flow with RIGHTEOUS PISSED-OFF-NESS.

**As for the sterilizers and warmers — we loaded up on all that crap and got rid of it a few months later. Unless you don’t have a dishwasher and really find warming up a pot of water to be INCREDIBLY TAXING, these might not be worth giving up your precious counter space for, particularly if you’re only using bottles as an occasional supplement. (Of course, it didn’t help that we tried TWO electronic bottle warmers that didn’t work at all.) (For washing bottles and pump parts in between dishwasher sterilizing runs, we used a handy little plastic basin we swiped from my hospital room. LIFE LESSON: Steal everything from the hospital that is not nailed down.)

***DO NOT buy a breast pump. Rent one from the hospital or your lactation consultant. The small hand pumps are USELESS for establishing a supply, and while the Medela Pump In Style is a very good option for working mothers, you can often rent one for much cheaper and try out different models as well.

****Did you register for a bouncy seat? Use it for those first cereal and solid feedings instead of some giant plastic monstrosity. Wait until your little one can sit up unassisted to pick out a high chair — your options will be MUCH smaller, more streamlined and better looking.

Here’s a complete online version of our Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist and here’s the downloadable & printable version of our Baby Registry Checklist in case you’re going to the store (like they did way back in the 90s).

Don’t forget to visit Amalah’s Pregnancy Calendar from Week 22 when she starts the baby registry discussion.

********

If you’re considering an online baby registry, we recommend our affiliate Amazon’s Baby Registry, which offers free 90-day returns on baby store purchases. You can even add items from other websites onto to your baby registry.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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25 Responses to “Week 23”

  1. Olivia Jun 25 at 9:11 am Reply Reply

    I am loving your purchase suggestions. I had no idea breast pumps can be rented. That totally rocks my small budget world!

    • Sarah Feb 14 at 10:07 am Reply Reply

      Olivia, if you have insurance, check to see if a breast pump is covered. My insurance covers the purchase or rental from select places (OB Office, Hospital, Medical Supply Store, but NOT retail such as BRU). The way it was explained to me was this was part of the insurance reform recently passed. So if you have insurance you should be covered.

      I still need to look for insurance coverage of breast pump supplies, but I think FSA will cover those if insurance does not. 

  2. Michelle Jun 25 at 9:19 am Reply Reply

    GARGH! SMASH!
    I went to a family function this weekend and EVERYONE kept saying how I was ‘huge’ compared to my cousin (her first, my second, she’s due a month before me) and I just wanted to kill them all. WHY would you say that to someone, especially given that she was a tiny little thing before and I was NOT! Also, my second, HELLO! Sigh.

  3. Elizabeth Jun 25 at 10:00 am Reply Reply

    While a hand pump isn’t good for establishing supply, it does have its place. I used the hospital pump in the hospital when they told me (wrongly) that I couldn’t nurse for the first 48 hours (punks). But I knew I wasn’t going back to work right away and would only need to pump the occasional bottle, so before the baby had arrived I’d bought the Medela Harmony and it was so good to have when I was dealing with issues of extreme engorgement where the baby couldn’t latch. Pumping off an ounce or so of milk didn’t make my supply go any crazier than it already was and made it possible to actually nurse the baby.
    If you or your partner work for a huge employer, check out all their maternity policies carefully. Some will actually subsidize the cost of a good pump because they want you to be coming back to work. (We could have gotten the Pump In Style for $150–still a fair bit of money, but way better than full price, and probably less than the cost of renting.)
    Um, okay, I’ll stop now.

  4. MrsHaley Jun 25 at 1:27 pm Reply Reply

    I’m going to defy the Gods of Sterility and reveal that I got my Medela PIS, used, on Ebay for $150. I brought all new parts so nothing that touched the other person’s baby or skin touched my baby or skin. Surprisingly, neither one of us died of a horrible pump-borne infection!
    Shocking, I know.
    I did EBF and even so, I still used it a lot, even as a SAHM. My freezer was stocked with breastmilk like I was preparing for Armageddon. DD was still eating/drinking breastmilk for quite a while after she weaned at 13 months (weaned herself because I got pg). I HIGHLY recommend getting one ASAP and learning how to use it before baby arrives (it takes practice). A hand pump, too — for alleviating engorgement just prior to latching.
    Sorry, Amy.

  5. Becca Jun 25 at 2:28 pm Reply Reply

    Best comment I ever received was last week in the security line at the airport: “You’re not trying to sneak anything in in there are ya?”
    Ditto on the high chair. I kind of wish we’d gone straight for the kind you strap onto a chair, but I am glad we didn’t go for the reclines to a thousand different positions, takes up almost your entire kitchen floor variety.
    I’ve been enjoying your sensible buying list!

  6. Jessica Jun 25 at 3:42 pm Reply Reply

    Laughing hysterically at this one… with my daughter I was HUGE… I’m not as big this time around but people still feel the need to go Oh you MUST be due ANY MINUTE now when actually THANKS BUT NO NOT FOR 14 &%$@%$ WEEKS LIKE I NEEDED TO BE REMINDED WHAT A COW I AM. Or my sister, whom normally I love dearly but am not horribly fond of right now going No really sweetie you don’t look pregnant at all! The hell I don’t, because if I don’t look pregnant then that just means YE GADS I LOOK FAT …(I’m not and I know it, but, jeez people SHUT IT!) No, I’m not sure what crabiness and anxiety you’re talking about… cause I’m FINE. JUST PEACHY.

  7. Erin Jun 25 at 4:19 pm Reply Reply

    As the mom of a 3 month old (with a 3 year old big brother) I wanted to chime in on the list of things to buy, as someone who is currently test driving this stuff all over again.
    1) Bottles – as a note for 2nd time moms, Babies R Us is currently letting you exchange your evil BPA bottles for less toxic versions. Just did this today – was very easy.
    2) Nursing wrap – I used my old pashmina in March-April (yay – a use for it!) and am now using a sarong now that it is hotter. I find the nursing wraps to make women look like they are wearing an actual pup tent, and after having a baby, that is the last thing anyone needs.
    3) I have a Medela Pump in Style and still rented the hospital pump for the first month. The hospital one is quieter, nicer to your nipples and equals the babies sucking (which retail-bought ones do not), and it was helpful when my son took chunks of flesh from me during the first week. (So Amy, no, it seems that still happens the 2nd time around – I was hoping BF had toughened me up some.)
    4) I really like the fabric breast pads. This would be another item I would suggest buying a few samples of to see what you like – I find the paper ones like sandpaper on my sensitive girl parts.
    5) I would also add “nursing bra” to your list, and bring one to the hospital – the girls get really big, really fast. Of course, I haven’t not worn a nursing bra in nearly 4 months now…
    6) Instead of people buying you a swing for your shower, could they maybe pool resources and get you some Elizabeth Arden certificates instead? Because some post-partum massages are REALLY an essential item.

  8. Hey You Jun 25 at 6:04 pm Reply Reply

    Yay for everything but the pump. If people are going to nurse very long at all, then BUY YOUR OWN PUMP. A nice one. A good pump can make all the difference between BF success or not for working moms. I was a WOHM and am now the SAHM of an almost two year old and I still use my pump occasionally. It was the best/most important purchase I made. I have the Medela PISA, and LOVE it.

  9. Jess Jun 25 at 10:17 pm Reply Reply

    I just have to put in a vote for buying a pump if you’re going back to work (but you can wait until after the baby is born and you’ve determined that you will, in fact, be breastfeeding/pumping).
    I think when I worked the numbers, it made sense to buy my own rather than rent as long as I breastfed for at least 6 months. Going on 11 months now, so I’m glad I didn’t rent.
    The pump I bought, after much research, was the Avent Isis IQ Duo. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. Did I mention I LOVE it? I have used the hospital-grade Medela (harmony or something like that – not sure of the model name) and it was SO uncomfortable compared to my Avent pump.
    I did find that I wished I had saved myself $100 and gotten the single pump instead of the double, but that’s something you can’t know until later on, so I guess it’s better to err on the side of caution if you can afford it.

  10. Erica Jun 26 at 3:01 pm Reply Reply

    Yes, yes, exclusive breastfeeders like me, get the bottles.
    Both my children were slow to start nursing and would have starved for a week with great crying and not sleeping without a little pediatrician mandated supplementing while the pump and I worked on our supply issues.
    But more than that, I’ve many friends who never gave their child a bottle and never pumped and therefore never left the house alone until their children were weaned. They usually speak of that choice with wry “boy, we didn’t think that through, I didn’t have a date with my wife for 5 years straight” regret. We HAD to teach our kids to eat from bottles as well as my breasts because I HAD to go back to work, however, even if I didn’t I would still pump once a day just to make sure my children would take a bottle so that babysitters and other loved family members and friends can join in the fun baby-feeding play while my husband and I (or even just me by myself!) steal away for an occasional set of hours without kids.
    Just my two cents.
    Very worth it to help your infant learn “nipple flexibility.” :D

  11. silver Jun 27 at 8:04 pm Reply Reply

    The dishwasher doesn’t actually sterilize things. For most babies, that isn’t actually a problem. But if you have a premie (or your baby has a compromised immune system for other reasons) or you have to battle thrush, you really should get a sterilizer.
    My son and I had thrush and I (per the doctor and the lactation consultant) had to sterilize everything that touched my nipples, my milk, or my baby’s mouth. So pump parts, bottles, pacifiers, etc had to be sterilized several times a day. Did you know that you have to boil for at least 10 minutes to properly sterilize things (preferably 20)? By the time I would pump, bottle feed, and sterilize, it would be time to start all over again! I loved my microwave steam sterilizer during that time. Yes, I could have nursed him and it would have been quicker, but I had thrush and open sores on my nipples–I needed to pump for a week to let them heal before letting baby barracuda back on them.

  12. kathrynaz Jun 27 at 8:57 pm Reply Reply

    Amen to the plain ole gerber type cloth diapers…. they never make it onto anybody’s registry- yet they are the best kept secret of motherhood! So, if you invite me to a shower- I’m bringing em. Spit up- covered… stray poop on the changing table… covered… coffee spill by bleary eyed parent- covered.
    I’ve been known to accost first time mom’s in babies r us with my fanaticism over this overlooked item…

  13. Mrs. Flinger Jun 29 at 10:55 am Reply Reply

    Dude. If I had one ounce of ooomph in my not-at-all-pregers self that you have building an entire human being, what with your awesomeness writing and the incredible advice (thank you, because the anxiety piece still hits home to me even to this day), then I’d be a friggin’ superhero.

  14. jessica Jul 02 at 12:36 pm Reply Reply

    Just a heads up: Check with your hospital regarding renting pumps. I had planned on renting one, but found out that my hospital did nto rent them, at all, ever. and neither did any hospital in the county we lived in. So, just make sure you check with your hospital early so you have time to find a good pump if you can’t rent one.

  15. Liz Jul 02 at 12:57 pm Reply Reply

    Re: the highchair when they first start eating. We had a bouncy seat, but found that using a Bumbo worked better for us for those early baby food feedings. Luckily, I love the highchair that we registered for and were given before he was born, but we didn’t even take it out of the box till our son was 7 months old, maybe 8.

  16. Karen Aug 05 at 11:43 am Reply Reply

    I really thought the “OMG you’re so big/OMG you’re hardly showing” thing would not happen to me. But it did. It really did. In the past week I have been accused of being bigger than my grandmother EVER was with any of her pregnancies, having surprise twins, and “barely looking pregnant”.
    The hilarious thing was the (8 months pregnant) woman who told me I “barely look pregnant” and that I “could just have put on a few” then turned around and complained about people saying SHE was huge because “Hi, that’s NOT a compliment!”
    I nod, I smile, I back away slowly.

  17. charlotte Aug 20 at 7:59 am Reply Reply

    Wow. Your shopping list rocks. As a first-timer, I am feeling completely overwhelmed by what to buy and what not to buy, but I’m going to print that list out and go shopping this weekend.
    THANK YOU!!!

  18. Della Mar 06 at 10:41 am Reply Reply

    AVENT NURSING PADS, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I tried every kind of disposable nursing pad that was out there.
    Some of them did not have plastic backs. This is like putting a regular table napkin in your bra. Once it is wet, so is your shirt. DUH?
    Some of them are poorly designed; they say they’re discreet and non-noticable but that’s just not true. If it comes folded, it will likely try to fold up in your bra.
    Some of them are a combo of these problems: they’re very thin to be “discreet” but then they don’t have much capacity. When your boobs are leaking so hard that they can literally project milk 18″ horizontally before gravity kicks in, capacity is important.
    Some of the disposable ones are scratchy.
    I even tried the plastic LilyPadz. I will admit, if I wasn’t letting down SO much milk I think the LilyPadz would have been perfect, but the tiny little bitty space that was left between my nipples and the ‘Padz would fill up with milk and lose suction (if that doesn’t make sense, go here: http://lilypadz.com/pages/faq.html for a description of how they work). So I ended up supplementing them with disposable pads. Granted, they allowed me to only change the disposable pads two or three times a workday, instead of having to basically change them every time my boobs got excited, but still.
    So, if you’re leaking, yes to the Avent nursing pads. They are velvety soft and comfortable for a while even when wet (eventually any wet thing is going to chafe, no matter what). They are discreetly shaped. They have plastic backs and a little sticky bit that holds them in place. Yes, yes, yes.

  19. jenn Apr 06 at 11:12 pm Reply Reply

    I want to 2nd the cloth diapers as burp rags. When I had my first, my mom got my a ton of these and I thought she was nuts..until the kid was born, then I couldnt live without them! used them for my second child, and it was the first thing on my list for baby in the oven #3~

  20. Joyce Apr 06 at 6:05 pm Reply Reply

    Gee i feel crabby a lot lately, and i know its all hormones. I am usually not like that at all. I am sure this will get better soon though. The belly isnt so big yet, i was at a friend’s birthday party and i kept being offered alcohol, even after i said that i am pregnant and  not drinking alcohol for that reason. I guess i dont need to worry though since last week’s echo showed us we are going to have a little girl and she is doing great. Firts pregnancy, so everything i experience is new and sometimes a little scary. Your calendar helps a lot though!

  21. kate Aug 14 at 3:23 am Reply Reply

    “I’m waiting tables and can’t seem to get orders in and customers are storming out and/or ordering stuff that isn’t on the menu and what do you MEAN I have to get soda refills from down the block?”
    Totally nailed my anxiety dream. 

    I’m about 19 weeks along with #2 and just discovered your site today. Fantastic – very well written, and full of sage advice.

  22. NC Dec 23 at 5:14 pm Reply Reply

    If you plan on exclusively BF, do yourself a favor and definitely introduce a bottle at some point early on. I made the mistake with my first of exclusively BF and NO bottles so there was no nipple confusion. Well, when it was time for me to go back to work, it wasn’t so pleasant. My daughter would not take most bottles. Finally we got her to take the playtex bottles with the drop in liners and she wouldn’t take the latex nipples — the brown ones only (I don’t remember what material that is!). The only place I could find those nipples were online or at BRU which is 1+ hr away from us! There were times when my husband would have her when I was at work and he would drive 45 mins each way just to bring her to me so she could feed! Eventually she was ok with the bottle but it took some time for her to take a bottle from either me or my husband. Note to self: an occasional bottle won’t hurt this time around!! 

  23. Desirre Feb 02 at 10:45 am Reply Reply

    Hi! Loving the week to week progression as I am 21 weeks pregnant with my first. I know this was written 6 years ago but for those reading this now, most health insurances will cover a new breast pump saving yourself $300 and the trouble of renting a used one. Just call them and ask. They will tell you what models you’re eligible for, how to get a prescription for it and where you can fill it.

  24. Crystal Mar 14 at 12:28 am Reply Reply

    hahaha I love this!! I’m 23 weeks and can definitely relate. This will be my 4th little one and I can definitely say that the must-haves are:

    bottles, pump, sterilizer, swaddle blankets, nursing pads, lanolin, some kind of vibrating bouncy seat, glider or swing for baby (mine LOVED those and would only fall asleep in them for a while… also helps with gas), some sort of baby carrier (I liked the MOBY because it could grow with baby, but they are a bit complicated… so the baby bjorn was also nice) and I started drinking a meal replacement shake, called Shakeology while I was nursing my daughter, which helped increase my milk supply, gave me all the vitamins of a multivitamin and added those extra calories that you’ll need while breastfeeding (but in a healthy way). I loved it so much that I signed up to be a discount beachbody coach so I could get it for 25% off… and now I’m actually making an extra $500/month from home just helping other mom’s get back in shape and get healthy with personalized meal planning and workouts from home. Definitely let me know if you’re interested and I would love to share what I know about all of it! (including the baby stuff… with 3 already, I seem to have it down to a science at this point lol) jk! :)

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