October 20, 2017

Peeks from the Week

This week, Kippy found his hands!

He also had his two month old well check-up. It was the first time I took him to the doctor alone and it was a little hairy. I had him in a coat and the Bjorn carrier and he was restless. Undressing him is hard and of course he had a poopy diaper. He is up to 11 pounds and nearly 24 inches! He got a great report from the doctor and then got some shots.

Oh, my heart! It was so sad to see him scream from the shots. I nearly cried myself. His paci and a good snuggle from me calmed him down and then he napped so sweetly. Fortunately he didn't have any bad reactions and was a happy little guy by the end of the day.

On Tuesday we had the Lactation Consultant come back for a follow-up. We are figuring out the direct nursing but still struggling with oversupply. It complicates a lot of things and the LC said I would probably always have to pump more than a typical nursing mom would because otherwise Kip will continue to be overwhelmed by my let-downs and I risk infection if I go too long between feedings. I just have to keep reminding myself that we are still so new at this and, hopefully, with time we will both be more comfortable. In the meantime, I'm feeding another baby with my donated milk.

There was a dip in temperature on Tuesday and it really felt like fall outside. So I bundled Kippy up in a hoodie and although he wasn't a fan, he sure looked cute.

Then I put him in a hat and mittens!

Gosh, I love walking into the apartment after work and seeing my little monkey. He is usually cranky and hungry but I'm just so happy to see him.

Happy weekend ahead!

October 19, 2017

Picking a name

Random post.

Picking a name for another human being is really hard and feels like a huge responsibility.

Dan and I had trouble coming-up with boy names. We had a girl name picked out before we were even married but when we found out we were having a boy, we struggled. I kept a list on my phone of potential options and the goal was to have three names we liked and we would pick one once the baby was born. We didn't come up with three options until the end of July.

When the doctor asked us shortly after delivery if we had a name we both told her, Kipling Alan Johnson, without any discussion. Truthfully, we settled on that name a couple of weeks before he was born but left it open for change if for some reason he didn't look like his name. However, once we were asked, we didn't even hesitate. Though I will say, it was weird to actually call him by a name after referring to him as "baby" for nine months.

So, why the name?

My mom suggested Kipling months and months ago and I really liked it because it is unique in that it isn't used frequently and feels a bit classic but it isn't bizarre like some unique names can seem. The full name, Kipling, works as an adult and professional name but it can be shortened for something that works well for a teenager or little kid like, Kip. There are also loads of cute nicknames like Kippy (what we mainly call him) and Kippers.

The middle name was an easy choice. My dad's name is Allan and Dan's dad's name is James Allen, but he goes by Allen. Choosing Alan would honor both of our dads and we like that since Alan isn't a super common name anymore. We chose the spelling Alan with one L because our dads spell their names differently, one is EN and one is AN both with a double L. So we went with a third spelling so we didn't favor one dad over the other ;o).

So far we've been calling him mainly Kippy or Kip. But I also call him totally random things that just fall out of my mouth when I see him. Mostly, monkey or boo boo and I still call him baby. Mandy calls him Kippy K or K Man. Dan calls him monkey and boo boo too.

I hope Kippy likes his name as he grows up and feels like it suits his personality. We think it works well because he has a unique first name that stands out a bit more with a common last name and he gets a familial tie with his middle name.

October 16, 2017

Weekending it

And another Monday rolls around...

We had a fantastic fall weekend. Before I recap, I wanted to share our Fall Bucket List.

I just made it on our wall chalkboard and kept it really basic because we have a baby around and can't expect too much.

This weekend we checked off two more items. Mandy stayed over Friday night and hung out with us and a couple from Dan's old college church intern days. We had pizza and after they left, Dan got stuck in our building elevator while taking the trash out! He was in there for over 40 minutes!! I was so grateful he had his phone with him to text me and that Mandy was here so she could wait in the lobby for the fire department while I stayed in the apartment with a sleeping Kippy.

Now, Dan was brave and perfectly fine. Had that been me...different story. I would have called 911 immediately and likely had a panic attack, curled up on the floor, and passed away. And now, I'm never getting in that elevator again.

After the elevator incident we didn't get to bed until super late on Friday night and Kip woke up at 5 am on Saturday, as usual. The plus side of a baby is getting the day started early. We all got ready and headed out in Mandy's car for a day-venture upstate at Boscobel.

Boscobel is a historic estate near Cold Springs, New York, about 2 hours outside of the city. Dan and I have been many times throughout our relationship and I even dreamed about getting married there before I saw the price tag. Summer during our dating days. Fall, just before getting engaged, and Winter when we sat on Santa's lap and were so giddy to start wedding planning. We've taken my parents and Dan's parents to visit. This time was Mandy's first visit. See related posts here.

The leaves have just started to change so it wasn't quite as colorful as I wanted but it was still gorgeous and we had fantastic weather. The clouds cleared and we had perfect lighting for photos. Mandy took some amazing photos for us. Just what I wanted.

Kip did SO good on the trip. He was content and napped in the car. I nursed him in the parking lot when we got there. He was chill during the photos and then took another nap while we had lunch, explored Cold Springs, and we even had time for ice cream. I nursed him again before we headed back towards the city and he only got fussy the last half hour of the drive home when we were stuck in traffic. We all had a great day.

THANKS MANDY! Her car and generosity in helping us with Kip has really made for a fun season so far. If it wasn't for her (and her car) Dan and I would probably never venture out of our area with Kip. Seriously considering getting a car now.

We got Kippy a little souvenir teddy bear named Toothpick. SO CUTE.

On Sunday, we went to church and Kippy slept through the whole service!! We followed church with a trip to a French pastry shop for a treat, Trader Joes, and saying goodbye to Mandy. Dan watched the KC Chiefs game while I worked on part of our family halloween costume...stay tuned.

Have a great start to your week!

October 13, 2017

Peeks from the Week

It's been a mellow week.

On Monday it rained all day, so Kippy and I stayed inside and he was a content little buddy which allowed me to catch-up on chores around the apartment.

On Tuesday, we went out for a long morning stroll. It looked like fall but it still felt like summer.

Celebrated Kip's Two Months Old birthday!

And we had a friend come over and visit in the afternoon.

On Wednesday, Mandy hung out with Kippy and she even made us her yummy hash brown casserole for dinner.

Thursday, is Dad's day. Dan and Kippy went on two long walks.

And this morning I left a snugly Kippy all bundled up for a nap on Auntie Mimi.

We have fun plans for the weekend to head to Boscobel to see the fall foliage. Happy Friday!

October 11, 2017

Kippy || 2 Months Old

Yesterday, September 10th, was Kippy's two month old birthday! He is growing every day and engaging with us more and more. We are gaining confidence with this parenthood gig and enjoying the task more and more. Kippy is just a little ball of light and love for us. So grateful for his presence in our lives. 

Kipling at Two Months
Weight: 11 lbs.  1 oz.  (7 lbs. 5 oz. at birth)
Height: 23 inches (20 inches at birth)
Personality: still feisty and sweet



Month two was marked by a lot of fussiness. There was a good long stretch of weeks where if he wasn't sleeping or eating, then he was crying. It was frustrating but the month has ended on a high note with much less fussiness!!

The big highlight of month two is Kippy started direct nursing. That's what exclusive pumpers call it when a baby starts "breastfeeding." I've learned EPers (exclusive pumpers) feel strongly that they are breastfeeding so they use the term direct nursing to indicate a baby that latches to feed as opposed to bottle feeds. I respect that rationale, so I'll call it direct nursing. Anyways, read more about that here

Napping in the BabyKatan carrier
Doesn't mind diaper and clothes changes anymore
BATHS! He will calm instantly if given a bath
Nursing (unlimited milk is new for him and he is diving right in)
His pacifier (now he prefers the traditional hard plastic one over the Soothie)

Being burped
Getting strapped into the stroller (he loves it once he is in and rolling)
Sunglasses on his face
Empty bottles
Getting his face wiped

Size 1 diapers
3 month clothing (filling them out a bit more)
Still loves the Swaddle Up for nighttime

Things I want to remember about Kippy at two months old:

His little "coo" noise he makes after he sneezes 
How he looks like a little starfish in his little nighttime swaddle
The way he melts into me when I carry him in the BabyKatan
His little smiley belly button
How incredibly happy and sweet he is when he first wakes up in the morning. He gives us the biggest smiles at 5 am.
The way he "stretches" when he wakes up

Isn't this the cutest smiley belly button!!!

At two months, you've gone apple picking, had your first subway ride, bus ride, and ferry ride. Grandma and Grandpa Johnson came to visit a second time and lots of other people have come to meet you. You decided diaper changes and bath time aren't so bad and you've become particular about which pacifier you'll take. You started smiling and making strong eye contact and we are starting to see your little personality develop and it's the sweetest.


Kip is a rockstar at night. Praise the good Lord for this as it was the number one thing I worried about during pregnancy. We don't like to count on this good nighttime sleeping being a permanent "thing" but for this phase we are loving it. He goes to bed at 7 pm, unassisted, and wakes up around 5-6 am. He gets a little restless and makes a lot of noise around 4 am but I just pop the pacifier back in his mouth and he goes back to sleep. Now, before you get too jealous about his night sleep, he does not nap well at all during the day. He will cat nap but won't sleep for any extended time unless he is being held. So, we have to work on this one. 


We are starting to figure out the feeding a little more after seeing the Lactation Consultant. His weight was a little low so she is having us feed him every two hours during the day as opposed to the demand feeding we were doing. If I'm with him and nursing we do block feeding (two feeds on one side and then switching sides) to help reduce my supply. If he is with Mandy or Dan he gets a 4 oz bottle every two hours with the option of .5 ounce increments until satisfied. Since he is sleeping well at night she said we don't need to disrupt that rhythm to feed unless the pediatrician advises otherwise. Crossing my fingers that we don't need to do this. 

Kip likes looking at his mobile and is entirely captivated by any light. Grandma Johnson got him some little toys this weekend which he will hopefully start enjoying soon. He likes crazy/goofy noises and clapping. He holds his head up really well so we occasionally do tummy time but otherwise he exercises those neck muscles all on his own.

Happy two months, little monkey!!! 

October 10, 2017

Our Breastfeeding Journey, Part III

Well, I'm adding a third part to this breastfeeding saga because apparently it's never-ending.

Here we go with Part III

So, I thought I was going to be an exclusive pumper and I made reluctant peace with that. I figured I just needed to endure the first three months, wait for my supply to "regulate," start reducing the number of times I pumped, get into a rhythm, and survive. Add to, buy a mini deep freezer and convince Mandy to keep it at her apartment, purchase a better more "gentle" pump, buy stock in breastmilk storage bags, and never sleep through the night again. 

Well, a few weeks ago, Dan and I fed Kip a bottle in the early morning and got him back to sleep while we tried to catch a few more moments of rest. Not that long after, Kip was rousing and acting hungry again. We had been advised by the pediatrician to make sure we didn't overfeed him by offering a bottle for comfort. But he seemed hungry and was rooting around. Honestly, I was lazy and didn't want to get out of bed and get a bottle. So we decided to try a side-by-side laying down position and attempt nursing. And he latched!!!

Dan took this photo the morning he latched. We got video and more photos but this is a family friendly blog so we'll keep my ladies out of it ;o).

The fact that he latched was crazy and totally unexpected because I had "given up" trying and assumed the longer he went without attempting the more likely he was to forget. Evidently not. He nursed on both sides that morning and I felt so happy. I figured it was a one-time thing, not likely to be repeated but simply a tiny little gift from God to lift my spirits and give me one good direct nursing moment with my baby. 

The next morning we tried again and he refused. I wasn't surprised and therefore not disappointed. So I kept pumping. 

Exactly a week later, we tried again and he latched. I followed it the next day with another attempt and before long we had gone five days with successful latching and feeding. I was over the moon and so proud of Kippy for figuring it out. He just needed a little more time and probably less pressure from me. Nursing is pretty darn convenient and Kippy is so snugly and sweet after doing it and I just loved getting to share those moments with him. 

Post nursing session:

However, despite the nursing, I was still so engorged throughout the day, still having painful let-downs, soaking through shirts and bedsheets, and unable to get through a breastfeeding session without leaking on the other side. And I was still producing close to 60 ounces of milk every day. I couldn't skip pumps as it was too painful and as a result my body was stimulating more production with Kip nursing between pumps. 

We got through 3-4 days of sporadic nursing and then Kippy started having issues with it. Because my let-down is so forceful he was getting way too much milk too quickly. Nursing in about five minutes, gulping the entire time, and screaming in pain afterwards followed by huge amounts of spit-up. Even if I nursed him while I laid flat on my back to slow the flow, he still got too much. Pulling him off early to burp didn't help either. So I was only ever able to nurse him in the morning, right after my first morning pump. I was too afraid to try more often than that.

I suppose I could be ok with only getting to nurse him once a day in the morning. But the thought of not having to lug my pump with us whenever we went out and constantly worrying about the diminishing space in our freezer for my oversupply was just too enticing. And I wanted relief from the pain and relief from the stress of pumping. 

When I started back at work a couple of weeks ago, I hoped the added stress would help to diminish my supply. Nope. The hospital grade pump that they provide at my office for moms to use is so gentle that my output was doubling. Whereas at home I could pump for 15 minutes and get 3-4 ounces per side. At work, the pump is giving me 5 ounces from each side in under 10 minutes. I am never able to fully empty at work because I don't have enough bottles to pump into and I will NOT haul more than 30 ounces of milk home on the subway every night. This is what I have to carry home after work.

At the beginning of last week, I was just so tired and discouraged. I feel like feeding Kip has always been one giant question mark and it was stealing my joy of parenting. I was thrilled he was nursing but we clearly were doing something wrong as neither of us knew what we were doing. So we reached out to a Lactation Consultant, again. We saw an LC when Kip first came home but until last week, I didn't want to meet with another one. The first LC we saw wasn't super helpful and she was very expensive. And then when I decided to exclusively pump, I felt like a failure in some ways and I assumed an LC wouldn't be able to help me and instead force me to go "back to breast."

But now, since we were sort of nursing I felt like I "qualified" to meet with another LC. So last Tuesday we had a different woman come to our apartment (it was a major task to find someone that took our insurance) and she spent close to two hours with Kippy and me. She was super sweet and encouraging and really listened to me without judging all the mistakes I had made along the way. She weighed Kip, watched me feed him, gave me tips on how to help him control the flow, showed me other ways to help relieve his gassiness, and wrote out a schedule for me to follow to slowly reduce my supply and CUT PUMPING!!! After she left, I was covered in spit-up but Kippy was full and satisfied and I felt like the biggest weight had been lifted from me. The following day she texted me multiple times to check-in and see how things were going!! Super impressed with her and how helpful she is.

This past weekend I exclusively nursed Kip. No bottles. And I only had to pump 2-3 times in the day instead of 6-7. Some of our nursing sessions were great, others were a bit chaotic. But overall, we're getting the hang of it. I'm still pumping more than a nursing mom would, leaking a lot, and engorged a lot. But I have a plan and I feel confident about what we are doing. I'm sure I'll keep making mistakes but I don't feel like I'm responsible for finding my own solutions, I know someone who can help me out and give me professional advice.

If we could go back to day one, I would approach so many things differently. My lack of confidence with the initial breastfeeding attempts likely created the problem. If I had given myself more grace and Kip more time, we might have avoided all this. Or maybe not. Who knows. But we've learned a lot through the process and I feel like that helps me to treasure nursing even more, despite the increasing number of times Kip has puked on me (compared to bottle feeds). Direct nursing is what I wanted and I'm so grateful it is starting to work out. But I also deeply respect exclusive pumpers. It is an incredibly hard task and sacrifice and I admire all the moms that stick it out for any part of their journey.

Happy Kippy:

October 9, 2017

Weekending it

Happy holiday Monday

It's rainy and dreary here and still sauna hot. So Kippy and I are stuck inside.

Grandma and Grandpa Johnson were here this weekend!! It was a mellow two days with lots of baby smiles and hardly any napping. This little guy can power-through the day! Fortunately he wasn't very fussy at all!!

It was also his first full weekend exclusively nursing. Say WHAT?? Yeah, I'll share more about that tomorrow but he hasn't had a bottle in nearly three days!

We even made it to church in an Uber!!

Cutie phone dump for your Monday!!

New toys from Grandma!!

Reluctant Chiefs fan...I think he wants to consider his options...maybe.

We had a nice visit with Grandma and Grandpa and look forward to seeing them next month for Thanksgiving in Kansas! It will be Kips first trip!!!