Freezing Week + Asking for Child Care Search Tips!

Hi guys! Happy Friday. It is reeeeeeeeeeeeally cold on the east coast right now – we had about one day this week that didn’t have windchill “real feel” temperatures in the single digits (or negative digits, like this morning), and yesterday we woke up to a bit of snow, too!

snow day

Wednesday was the warmest day (sunny and temps in the upper 20’s – positively balmy!), and my brother was back in town briefly before leaving again for grad school, so Matt and I spent the day with my family and got in some nice walks with the dog and baby in tow.

cold winter walk in the woods


It felt so good to get out – I’ve been getting a bit stir crazy this week and really missing the nice long walks that Matt and I were doing every day when the weather was nicer! Here’s hoping this cold snap departs quickly because fresh air = my happy place. Plus, those walks have been my main fitness lately, and my body doesn’t feel good when I just sit around all day!

winter hike

It has been a nice week, though, even with the crazy cold! I’ve been working a lot (so amazing to still have Matt home… I know I’m lucky!) but also enjoying lots of baby snuggles and some social time, too! On Monday, my high school BFF Jenny and her sis Gretchen came over for a baby party – seeing these ladies is the best, and their little ones are adorable! All the babies!


Here’s the outtake – lol!


So fun to have Jenny meet little Riese for the first time. You can tell Jenny has done this before (x3) – Riese loved her! <3 I so wish Jenny lived nearby!


Jenny and Gretchen’s babes also loved testing out all of Riese’s fun nursery gadgets and toys! It will be nice when Riese is more into this stuff. I was impressed Jenny got her to sleep for a bit in the boppy lounger… baby whisperer, I tell you. :) (Please ignore the ginormous mess that is the crib right now since it’s not in use!)

babies in nursery

While the babes were hanging out, Gretchen was amazing and showed me how to use my breast pump! She has the same one (the Spectra) so she’s a pro at it, and I was still so overwhelmed by it that I still hadn’t even taken it out of the box. Thank you for saving me from myself, Gretchen. ;)

gretchen powell fox

Like most things in life, the pump not nearly as complicated/as big of a deal as I made it up to be in my head – although of course it helped to have someone with me who knew how to use it! Now all I need is a hands-free pumping bra (or tank, since it’s so cold now…) – any recs? I know some of you said a cheap/old sports bra that you cut holes into was the way to go vs. a real pumping bra? (Side note: if you’re an expecting mama, one of the best tips I got was to apply to order a breast pump through Aeroflow. You put in your insurance info and they let you know what pumps you’re approved for (both free and “upgrade” options); you can order the pump directly though them, too. Insanely easy vs. trying to call/deal with insurance directly. Another tip: these microwave steam sanitizing bags for breastfeeding bottles/parts are AMAZING and way easier than boiling everything. For a bottle brush, I love this one – good to have a separate one vs. using the same one you use for all the dirty dishes. And these are the breastmilk fridge/freezer storage bags I’m using!)

I haven’t used the pump since the ladies were here (still rocking the Haakaa – more on that in this post – in the meantime), but I’m going to incorporate it more now that I know how to use it! It will be easier when I don’t have to hold the bottles up… must get a hands free option ASAP!

The other big baby-related thing we are getting a move on this week is trying to figure out childcare. Matt goes back to work in 2 weeks and business is really busy for me right now (both the blog and then I also want to start seeing my ongoing AnneTheRD nutrition clients again later this month – I won’t take new clients until March, though, I don’t think, so I have a minute to figure out a new routine first) so we need to figure something out ASAP! I’m lucky to have my mom nearby to help out in a pinch, and I think Matt’s mom may come down the first week he is back at work to babysit some so I can continue to work, but obviously those are both short term options. I was originally thinking an in-home daycare would be the way to go, and I still think I’d like to do that later once Riese is older and can play with other kids, but after doing more research and talking to a lot of friends I think for now while she’s so little a nanny is the way to go. Especially since our little cuddlebug always wants to be held!

5 week old

It’s tempting to try to just do it all/be everything to everyone, but I know that there’s no way I can sustain my business while also taking care of Riese, and that would just be a recipe for me being really stressed. It is hard to think about someone else taking care of her… but I know that it’s for the best for all of us for me to have the time and space to focus on work so that when I am with Riese, I’m fully with her.

So, nanny it is! For those of you who have nannies – any tips in terms of finding one, interviewing them, logistics of the set up, etc? I’d love any tips or advice you have! I’m already looking at, and I posted an inquiry on one of the local mom listserv groups I’m in, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I’m thinking we are going to start with about 30 hours a week and see how that goes/if I can get enough work done in less hours than I’m used to. It will encourage me to be more efficient! Although I also want to intentionally use some of that time for self care (like yoga, or lunches with friends), too. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to my co-working space just yet – I’m thinking it may make sense to take advantage of the luxury I have to work from home a lot, and continue to breastfeed Riese most of the time vs. having to worry about stockpiling a ton of milk or hauling a pump around all over town. I definitely am still going to have some milk in the freezer for when I need to be away for longer than a few hours, or when I am out meeting clients all day, but for the most part not having to lug a pump to an office is, I know, a MASSIVE luxury that I should probably take advantage of! I’m thinking I’ll just take more advantage of the option to work in coffee shops and bounce around a bit to those when I feel like I need to get out and about. We’ll see – if it’s not working, I can always change the routine, right?!

Riese is 6 weeks old today – crazy how fast that time has gone by! She’s so much more alert and interactive now than she used to be, which is really fun, and we have even gotten a couple little smiles here and there too which absolutely melt my heart. I posted a fun video of her on my Instagram stories today if you want to see her in action. <3 I took the video this morning – she is always most energetic, alert, and happy in the mornings, just like her mama! It cracks me up how much she looks like a little old man in this photo! Lol!

baby riese

I will leave you with today’s breakfast, which was in two parts – part 1 was avocado toast with a fried egg when I first got up and started working. Part 2 was a whole milk latte (here’s why I have whole milk instead of skim) and a delicious pumpkin muffin enjoyed a few minutes ago as a late morning snack! I also had some unpictured blackberries. My mom made the muffins so not sure of her recipe, but here’s my fave whole wheat pumpkin muffin recipe from my blog, plus a paleo pumpkin muffin recipe variation if you’re into that instead. For lunch, I’m looking forward to some of my Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette, Avocado & Arugula!

breakfast part 1 and part 2

Have a nice weekend guys! I’m really excited because this evening I’m going to my very first postpartum fitness class – a yoga class with my friend Karen! And I have plans for another yoga class this weekend with my workout buddies Kathleen and Chelsea. I really miss them since I can’t do our morning weekly boot camp dates right now! It’s going to feel really good to stretch, although I’ll be modifying a lot (no planks or ab work, for example) to make sure I don’t overdo it!

p.s. If one of your new year’s goals is to start a blog, I wanted to share that BlueHost, the hosting company I used for a few years when my blog was in the early days, is running a $3.45/month basic shared plan hosting sale right now through January 12. Check out my How to Start a Blog on WordPress post for step-by-step instructions on how to get all set up! :)

Please note there are affiliate links in this post.


  1. 1
    Emily McDougall says

    I bought a medela hands free pumping bra off I tried the sports bra cut out, but didn’t like having to keep changing bras when it came time to pump. Having the pumping bra that zips over your existing bra or tank is way easier in my opinion and worth the investment (it was like $30, I think). When I go back to work, I’ll use that pumping bra multiple times a day so convenience is key. My 4 week old baby boy enjoys being held too. My other babies were the same way, but began sleeping in their cribs by 3 months. Good luck with everything!

  2. 3

    Hi Anne! I’m a local mom (Falls Church) and we found one of our nannies through (5 years ago) and the other through a pretty legit FB group called “Babysitter Network of Northern Virginia.” It can be hit or miss for nannies because the majority of the posters are looking for weekend/evening babysitting jobs, but you can always post in the group and see what responses you get. Also, if you consider an in-home down the road, I HIGHLY recommend an organization called Infant Toddler Family Daycare. Once we moved on from nannies we used them to find an in-home provider and she was wonderful. Please let me know if you have any questions! Congrats & good luck!

    • 4

      This is really helpful – thank you so much!

      • 5

        Also, one thing about pumping bras (that I discovered the hard way)–make sure you’re getting a bra that is compatible specifically with the Spectra. My old pumping bra, which I used with my Medela, did not work once I switched over to the Spectra. It’s hard to explain, but the Medela pump parts come apart differently than the Spectra, so you have to get a bra where the holes “expand” to allow you to insert the pieces properly. Again, it’s hard to explain when you haven’t used both pumps, but they definitely require different bras. I can’t link to it for some reason, but it’s called Simple Wishes Signature Hands Free Pumping Bra. Hope this helps! Like I said, I learned the hard way. ;)

  3. 6

    Good luck finding a nanny. Several of my friends went that route and were so happy with it. I have heard it can be hard for mom to be home when the nanny is there as the nanny is more likely to come to you if the baby is fussy or it might be hard for you to hear her crying during the day. But I can totally see the appeal of not wanting to leave the house since it will make pumping so much easier!

    I just ordered my pump today through Aeroflow – thanks for the rec. I hate calling the insurance company because it takes forever for them to figure out what is covered, etc. So that was a huge time saver! I also went with the Spectra as I’ve heard good things about it!

    Your food pictures, especially the muffin, have me craving carbs! But with my gestational diabetes diagnosis there’s no way I can eat a muffin as I am so sensitive to carbs since I’m on prednisone. A new GF bakery just opened up in November but I hadn’t gotten around to going and meant to after the holidays… but now I will have to wait until the baby is born in March. I think I will be sending my husband there to pick up some goodies for me when we get home from the hospital!!

    • 7

      The spectra is really quiet which is nice — and apparently more comfortable than the Medela! Good idea to pick up some post-delivery treats – will be good to have those to look forward to! Hang in there!

  4. 8

    For the D.C. area, Sittercity attracts a higher-quality nanny population, I think, than does I recommend using the Sittercity site to identify nannies aligned to your needs and then contacting them directly rather than only posting an ad on the site and waiting for nannies to contact you. This recommended strategy informs potential nannies that you are serious and immediately makes them feel valued, which naturally eliminmates those who are not serious, thereby improving the outcome of your search.

  5. 10

    I bought a hands-free that clips onto my nursing bra/tank and then hooks in the back over the top. No removing and super fast. I purchased mine online from Bravado.

  6. 13

    These are the main two pumping bras I used. I pumped with both of my kids for a full year, so these suckers got lots of use. The Madela one is not cute, but it seemed to fit better and held up better to repeated washings. The other one was nice because I could just wear it under my clothes and not have to change entirely when it came time to pump, but it started fraying before the year was over. Both worked pretty well, so it sort of just depends on how your pumping parts attach and your own comfort levels . . . . like everything with pregnancy/childrearing! ;)

  7. 15

    Yes, I’m here in Kentucky and it’s been frigid!! I love the Winter, but any temps below 30 for multiple days and I start to complain. I have also been missing walks and I agree that my body almost starts to feel sore from sitting too much when I can’t get out and move more. I’ve definitely been taking advantage of the treadmill a bit and also walking up and down the flight of stairs in my house. Good luck on the childcare hunt! Wish I had suggestions, but I’m the mother of fur babies still for now. :)

  8. 16

    Good luck finding a nanny and figuring out how work will play out. I can only imagine how stressful it is. I totally agree about getting outdoors during the winter. It’s the only way to make the short, cold days manageable!

  9. 17

    Hi! The dairy fairy has a lot of pumping/nursing bras that are pretty great. They are super adjustable. I’ve used and Finding a nanny is sort of like dating. there’s a lot that comes down to chemistry. But, also, be super clear in what you want/need. What are the hours, how will you handle payment ( can do your payroll.) Do you want the nanny to perform any non-childcare tasks? Do you want to the nanny to get a flu shot? CPR? etc.
    I think it’s important for the nanny and baby to get to know each other. We never had an issue where I was home and the nanny was bugging me, but the babies definitely preferred mom. So, you want to balance breastfeeding and nanny/baby bonding. At least at the beginning.
    I have a ton of interview questions, but for us the most important aspects were that the nanny was interested in taking the kids on outings and that she knew what to do in an emergency situation. We have had two nannies, both great. I’m happy to provide more info if you don’t get what you need through friends and commenters.

  10. 21

    Aww yay! So glad you got to see Jenny and Gretchen and their little cuties! :D

  11. 22

    Hi- we ended up doing a nanny share in Denver. We went through an agency that set up the candidates and interviews- you have to pay for the service (one time fee) so that’s an expense, but it was worth it. The agency also helped with payroll, workman’s comp insurance, overtime pay, negotiating healthcare stipend, etc. They also have a service to find you sitters for nights out if your nanny isn’t available. We don’t have family nearby so its been a life saver. 3/4 of the parents are lawyers, so we wanted to do everything above board, which costs more. I’ve been back at work for four weeks and am thrilled with our nanny and the whole situation. I’m sure there are similar agencies in the DC area that could assist so you’re not trolling websites non stop. This is the pumping bra I got.

    It gets the job done. I hate pumping more than anything- it basically dictates my life, so if you can avoid it, I would. I’m also not producing enough to sustain him, so we started supplementing formula and its so easy compared to pumping a bottle. You do you- remember fed is best!

    • 23

      Thanks Colleen, I appreciate the tips! That nanny service sounds amazing… I’ll have to look into ones that do that here because it would be nice to avoid the logistics!

  12. 24

    I’ll give a plug for daycare. I didn’t want to have to worry about being someone’s boss (I get enough of that at work) and deal with nanny taxes, payroll, vacation, etc. If you go the nanny route, look into agencies or websites that handle the payroll stuff for you. I think has one called HomePay. Another perk of daycare is early socialization (that comes along with germs but helps build immunity) and getting your kid used to being in a group setting. I get that Riese might not benefit from that right now, but in a few months you might feel differently. Daycare kids also learn to sleep and nap anywhere with crazy noise around them. :) Food for thought. I also echo the comment above that some babies have a hard time when their parent is around (even if you’re in another room) and won’t take bottles from anyone, won’t sleep, etc.

    • 25

      Yeah… we’ll have to see how things go. I definitely see the appeal in daycare and really do want that for her at some point… just not sure how soon! I just feel like for at least awhile she’d basically just be sitting in a bouncer a lot of the day if she was at daycare, you know?

      • 26

        Totally depends on the daycare. My daughter started at ~4 months and they had them finger painting, “playing” in the yard, doing sensory stuff.

        • 27

          Oh wow, that’s good to know! I have no clue what babies slightly older are capable of… I forget how quickly they change and grow!

  13. 28

    Finding a good nanny is SO important! I was lucky and found a fabulous nanny through A few tips: I set up phone interviews with the candidates first and then from there decided who I wanted to meet in person. Saved a lot of time! I’m an employment attorney, so I drafted a childcare services agreement that laid out the terms of the relationship once I decided who I wanted to hire and she accepted. You don’t necessarily need to do the same, but some things to think about include: whether you’re going to guarantee the nanny a certain number of hours a week regardless of whether he/she actually works that many hours or if you’re only going to pay for actual hours worked; whether you’ll pay the nanny when you tell her she doesn’t need to work like if you go on vacation or take time off work for another reason; establish a method for the nanny to record his/her hours worked to avoid disputes about pay; whether the nanny may leave your house with Riese, administer medicine without your prior permission, etc. I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that to avoid overwhelming you if I haven’t already :) Please feel free to email me if you have questions or want additional help/advice. Good luck!

  14. 29

    I used the simple wishes pumping bra. It was recommended by the lactation consultants in my hospital. As for the nanny, take advantage of your ability to work from home to train her. That made me infinitely more comfortable when I went back to work, but I was really crazy about leaving my baby in anyone’s care. You’ll find someone great, I’m sure! Think of what’s most important to you because no one will have everything – I really wanted someone loving and patient and so far that has worked out well for us.

  15. 30
    TrackBuddy says

    I have a lot of crazy nanny stories – we had really lovely people and they always took good care of my girls, but there always ended up being drama. My take-away is that it is REALLY hard to get a good, super reliable, part-time nanny. In my experience, the best nannies want full-time and hold out for families who provide them with full time.

    That being said, in my experience if you are looking for part-time, one good strategy is to check out nursing schools / grad schools. More flexible schedules, qualified / professional people, and more open to part-time since this is not their only job. However you MUST make sure to have plenty of heads-up about their schedules, which tend to change each semester.

    Finally – +1 to having an agreement with a nanny in writing! Absolutely essential. Spell out all of the expectations – do they also help with baby laundry / washing bottles etc while baby sleeps? Are they allowed to take baby to xyz locations? Can they drive with baby? What happens if they are sick? There are great templates / suggestions online.

    Finally – employer taxes etc. are very complicated and expensive for nannies. You have to register with the state and with the IRS, and file quarterly. Services will do this for you (for a decent fee). Also many nannies expect to “take home” their hourly rate – and want you to either pay taxes for them, or “gross-up” their taxes so that their take-home is the rate that they want.

    GOOD LUCK and ping me if I can share any other stories/suggestions re taxes or any of the rest of it.

  16. 31
  17. 32

    Also highly recommend the simple wishes bra – it’s adjustable and worked great! You can buy them on Amazon and the Breasfeeding Center downtown also sells them (along with lots of other nursing/pumping supplies – great if you’re in your office and realize you’ve forgotten something).

    Re finding a nanny: DC urban moms has a page devoted to nanny postings, also local listservs have been my go-to. I found to be very overwhelming – you’ll get a ton of responses, but lots of people will “apply” without checking to make sure they meet the job requirements.

    Re interviewing a nanny: First and foremost, trust your gut! If an interaction bothers you, listen to that and don’t let the panic of finding childcare rush you into a situation you’re not comfortable with. This is someone who will be in and out of your house more than anyone else, and you will need to interact with her multiple times a day. If something seems off at the beginning, it’s likely that it will continue to bother you. Check references and always ask why they left (one other mom once told me that they parted ways because the nanny was chronically late – that was a dealbreaker for us). has a great list of questions on their site to both ask nannies and references.

    Also, just one other thing to keep in mind is that it can be tough to find someone who is willing to work less than 40-45 hrs a week. It’s do-able, but the pool will be smaller and in my experience, nannies may want some flexibility so that they can supplement their income with another gig (eg work for you from 9-3 and then take another job for after school hours).

    Hope this helps and good luck!!

    • 33

      Very helpful, thank you! I was thinking that hopefully our hours (the current plan is an 8 to 3 type deal) would actually be good since, like you said, they could do after care for an older kid… but we’ll see!

  18. 34

    I would push for getting a pump bra. Getting a wrong bra fit can lead to clogged milk ducts, poor milk production and other problems. Why worry/deal with that hassle if you can afford a pump bra? Also, consider buying more than one once you find one that works for you. If you plan to pump more than once a day, you’re going to get milk on it at some point and want to wash it. It’s nice to have a fresh one on hand if you need it instead of having to do an emergency laundry load.

  19. 35

    In terms of daycare/nanny, there is not one right answer. With my first, we sent her to a daycare center when she was 6 weeks old. We had an amazing experience and certainly not stuck sitting in a bouncer all day. She was there thru preschool. With my 2nd, we did a nanny for the 1st year (she was premature & we were advised against daycare bc of germs) and then switched to a montessori school at one year for socialization etc. We found a great nanny on and used homepay for all payroll issues. For us, the nanny was significantly more expensive than the school. In advance, it was difficult to figure out taxes, homepay fees and insurance (some states require unemployment insurance). My very personal preference was the school/daycare environment because there’s so many safety checks & balances & regulations. You’ll figure out what’s best for your family.

    • 36

      In the DC area is actually seems nannies are about the same price as daycare, since daycare is SO expensive here! Crazy. I hear you on all the taxes/fees though… seems really confusing!

  20. 37

    Dairy Fairy makes beautiful and functional nursing and pumping bras. Loved mine. No need to keep switching from the standard hands free pumping bra and then back to a nursing bra.

  21. 38

    I was never able to find a pumping bra that I was crazy about and the sports bra hack didn’t work for me either. I did stumble upon this great hair-tie hack from KellyMom (Awesome site for all things breastfeeding btw!) which worked perfectly for me because it worked with any nursing bra and I ALWAYS carried massive amounts of hair ties at all times. It was deceptively simple – which was especially nice considering I could rigg it up anywhere esp when I forgot my pumping bra! but worked pretty well for me

  22. 40

    We used au pairs when we were both stationed at the Pentagon (lived in Annandale) with very small kids (started my son at six months and our daughter from the get-go). Check out Au Pair In America. There’s a pretty robust organization there in the DC area. We still keep in touch with all our au pairs. They are like family and took lovely care of our babies. It’s a leap…as they live with you but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages…or they did for us. Cheers!

  23. 42

    Hang in there, everything will work out just fine. You’ll figure out what works best for your family- you got this!

  24. 44

    I didn’t even know pumping bras were a thing! This morning I was trying to eat cereal, pump, and do something on my computer all at once and it was not very successful ;) I have the Medela swing pump and have found it easy to use. I usually only pump once per day and only 1.5-2oz at a time so it works for that!

    My baby girl was born the same day as Riese but I live in Canada so have 12 months maternity leave. I could not even imagine going back to work so soon! Where I live it would be almost impossible to find care for a baby that young unless you have family who can help. I hope you’re able to find a great nanny – good luck with the transition!

    • 45

      Man… 12 months would be so amazing! The U.S. really needs to get with the times in terms of maternity leave! Although it wouldn’t matter anyway since I’m self employed… but still!

  25. 46

    I found our nanny on a neighborhood listserv (I live in Capitol Hill in DC and we have a very active parents’ listserv). I found that to be easier than, because you get recommendations from parents in your neighborhood, which made me feel more comfortable right off the bat. Plus the nannies found through neighborhood listservs typically know your neighborhood a bit better since they’ve already worked there, so they know the best activities, etc., for when your baby is ready to get out and meet other kids, and they may even have other nanny friends in the area with whom they can set up playdates! I will say that a nanny is significantly more expensive for us than daycare especially once you factor in workers comp insurance (required at least in DC), taxes, payroll service fees, etc., but we have found it to be worth it at least while our daughter is young. We did have one bad experience with a nanny even though we fully vetted her, so I would just say that you should go with your gut and find someone that you really feel comfortable with, even if they don’t necessarily have as many qualifications or references as someone else you feel less sure about. I am sure you will find someone great — good luck!!

  26. 48

    Love that purple sleeper – she looks so cute and alert in that photo! And so happy we had our nursing/weighing/pumping party while Jenny was in town. Alex was living for that bouncer of yours – he looks so happy in that picture! 😍

    • 49

      Oh yeah and just as a reminder, I got the Medela battery pack and it is compatible with our Spectras if you do end up deciding you want more mobility / to move it around the house without having to plug it in / wanna be able to pump on the go, etc. And Spectra also makes a car adapter if you just think you’d need it for the car too.

      I ended up ordering longer tubing as well so I could sit farther away from my machine (ie lean back on the couch and watch tv while pumping ahahaha)

    • 51

      I know I love his little smile, so cute!! So awesome to see you guys. <3

  27. 52

    Riese is officially my favorite baby…she has a terrible towel in her crib!

  28. 54

    I live in Arlington and we have had our nanny for 17 years….she is our housekeeper now and only works part time, but she started with us at 40 hours a week. There are a number of nanny services in the DC area, but you pay a pretty hefty fee for something that you can really just do yourself. Most nanny’s in this area will expect you to pay taxes and provide some vacation pay (even if it is just that you pay them when you go on vacation). You can do VA unemployment taxes on-line and other taxes through your own filing if you use something like TurboTax. You really don’t need to hire someone to do this, although there are a number of services that will do it for you. Someone commented about workman’s comp. You don’t have to pay that in VA. I totally agree, though, that the best way to find a nanny is through your neighborhood list serve. Neighbors will know her, she will know all the playgrounds and indoor playgroups (lubber run community center used to have an indoor playtime in the winter and there was another one in Falls Church). Finally, if you are interested in pre-school in Arlington, you should start looking now. Some (like Westeover) have waiting lists that you can add your kid to when they are born. Don’t wait until she turns 2 to start looking.

  29. 56
    Roadrunner says

    Very nice to see the help from visitors to your blog — a great community!

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