Kenneth at seven months…

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Kenneth is seven months old!! Wow. Specifically, he is 31 weeks old today. He has become such a little BOY lately. He is very mobile and loves exploring everything. Which includes grabbing everything and tasting everything. This is very good for his development, but not so good for accomplishing his monthly photo shoot. He could not resist his sticker this month. I was frustrated that we couldn’t get the “perfect” photo, but Travis reminded me that he is just a baby. Oh, right. Maybe I expect too much from him, but he always seems to roll with everything we subject him to. He goes into the city on the subway, checks out museums and parks, goes for hours of rides in his jog stroller, and even flew (on a red eye) to and from Oregon last month without much trouble. He is a cooperative and fun boy!

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Fun facts about Kenneth at 7 months:

  • Big news! Ken’s first tooth started poking through on July 28th! It is his bottom left tooth and he seems quite proud of it, even letting me touch it and take photos. Ha! Since then his second bottom tooth has poked through.
  • I’m not sure of Ken’s official height and weight, but he is definitely a big boy! We are now dressing him in mostly 9-12 month clothes. I only buy 12-month or larger nowadays.
  • At the suggestion of our pediatrician, we have been giving Ken some water to drink out of a sippy cup. He amazed me by catching onto holding and drinking from the cup right away. Wow!
  • He has also been eating a lot more solid (“human”) foods, including his first Cherrios. Yum! He can feed himself from the baby food pouches and he eats in his high chair with us at nearly every meal. In addition to the usual fruits and veggies, he has had bread, smoothies, and a little cheese. Last week he had his first taste of animal: chicken! And yesterday, he had his first little taste of a Shake Shack burger!! He loved it and wanted more.
  • He loves grabbing ANYTHING… and promptly putting it in his mouth or throwing in on the ground.
  • Kenneth’s greatest passion of late is cords. He loves cords. He can somehow find and propel himself toward any and all cords in the house. Which isn’t good because they aren’t exactly safe baby toys. We are keeping an eye on him.
  • He isn’t technically crawling yet — just spending a lot of time wiggling around on all fours — but he is scooting, army crawling, rolling, planking, and pushing himself all over. He spends a lot of time playing on the living room floor. He also likes trying to climb things and standing up while hanging onto the coffee table. He can pull himself up to standing from sitting, but it is still really tough and wobbly for him. He works especially hard at trying to throw his body off the changing able at every diaper change, which I am trying hard to discourage.
  • He is definitely exploring his voice and loves squealing and saying “dada” over and over. He also seems to say things like “hi” and “hey” in response to us, but I can’t be sure if he is really trying to use language or just making noise. I think we still have some time before he officially says a first word.
  • Kenneth is very interested in Crusher and other kids. He loves to pet Crusher, but Crusher has to be bribed with treats to allow it to happen. We’ve taken Ken to a few parks, but I need to get him enrolled in some sort of class so that he can interact with other babies.
  • On August 2nd, Kenneth went to his first Mets game. He has now been to four baseball games at four different MLB stadiums… and has game balls from each to prove it!

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Mama Thoughts:

Overall, I am feeling extremely happy with being a stay-at-home mom these days. Ken is a lot of fun and I am so glad I get to spend time with him. My only complaint is that I REALLY WISH I could get more non-mom tasks accomplished. I have so much on my Swap-bot to do list! I haven’t figured out child care yet, but we have actually booked our first babysitter for tomorrow night, so we will see how that goes.

Breastfeeding is actually becoming comfortable, which is really nice. With all of his extra solid food consumption, Ken seems to be nursing less. It makes me hopeful that the weaning process will happen naturally over the next few months. I still stand by my many previous statements that I won’t miss breast feeding, but it does feels a little sad to know that he is growing up and won’t need me for food for much longer.

I didn’t think I would be a very sentimental mom, but I have found myself crying on more than one night when thinking about him growing up. He already pushes my hand away when I try to wipe his face. He will be a boy soon. And he will be embarrassed of me and tell me not to talk to him at school. Then he will be a man, and get married, and move away, and never need me again. But I guess that is actually the best case scenario and I shouldn’t dread it. I am just really glad that I get to experience him and his development. Certainly, having kids is not for everyone, but I am enjoying being a parent even more than I thought I would. I am just grateful that it is part of my life experience.

Kenneth is awesome.

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We have taken SO MANY photos of Ken! Check out all of mine in my Kenneth Gunner Johnson Flickr photo album. Nearly 7,000 photos at 7 months old, that seems about right, right? (Travis has also taken a few photos of his son… view them on his Flickr.)

Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, Kenneth at five months, and Kenneth at six months.

Family Time in Portland

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July was a big month for travel! After our trip to Maine, we had less that a week at home before heading out again to Portland, Oregon. Travis had a conference to attend there for work and Kenneth and I came along to visit with my brother, sister-in-law, and parents. It was a great combo trip!

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Kenneth got to meet his my brother, Adam, and his wife, Nina, for the first time. He liked them both, but Nina could really get him to smile! Nina and Adam are both completing their Oncology/Hematology fellowships at OHSU. They work really hard. I’m impressed by their dedication!

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Travis and I have been to Portland many times (most recently two years ago) and we had to check out a few of our favorite places (like Papa Haydn’s and Dutch Bros), but we also did a few new things this time…

My favorite things to see/eat/do in Portland, Oregon:

  • Screen Door – Our first restaurant stop! We did brunch on Sunday and I had the praline bacon waffle. It reminded me of New Orleans.
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  • Ava Gene’s – Delicious, fancy restaurant from the people who make Stumptown coffee.
  • Sizzle Pie – Creative pizza with lots of hipster, vegan, gluten free, etc options.
  • Blue Star Donuts – So much better than Voodoo Doughnuts.
  • Salt & Straw – Amazing ice cream (with the long lines to prove it).
  • Lan Su Chinese Garden – A pretty oasis in downtown. We had tea and moon cakes in the tea house. So lovely.
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  • Powell’s Books – ALL the books. I couldn’t resist buying Ken four new kids books.
  • Multnomah Falls – This was my first time visiting and the falls were quite impressive. We ate at the lodge restaurant and Adam and I climbed the uphill mile to the top.
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  • Haystack Rock – At Cannon Beach on the coast west of Portland. Some of the scenes from Goonies were filmed there!
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In addition to meeting his aunt and uncle for the first time, Kenneth got to spend a lot of time with his grandparents… and he loved it! They spent a lot of time holding him, playing with him, and strolling him. They babysat him while Travis and I went out on a double date with Adam and Nina to Ava Gene’s. Very nice!

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While Travis, Adam, and Nina were doing work stuff, Ken and I got to go with Grandma and Grandpa to Haystack Rock on the coast west of Portland. It was Ken’s first time touching the Pacific Ocean! We also did some sight seeing and walking around the city, including checking out Powell’s and the Chinese Garden.

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Once Travis was finished with his conference, our little Johnson family had a nice day of walking around downtown Portland. We shopped, I drank too much Stumptown coffee, and we went to check out the Timbers’ arena.

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I love Portland. I think it is such a fun, cool, easy city with great food and a lot to see. I really think anyone would love visiting this lovely Pacific Northwest hot spot. Bonus points if you also get to spend quality time with family while you are there!!

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Check out all of my photos from the trip in my Portland 2015 Flickr Album.

Maine Escape 2015

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Earlier this month, Travis, Kenneth, and I took our first ever trip to Maine to visit with family and friends. We stayed in the tiny island town of Stonington, Maine, as guests of our awesome friends, the Billings. The lobster fishing town has about 1,000 residents, a beautiful view of the sea, and a cute main street.

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This was our first road trip with Kenneth and he did quite well on the drives. We stopped in Boston on our way up and back from Maine and got to check out a few sights, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Blackbird Doughnuts, and Fenway Stadium.

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This was my very first time in Maine and I was blown away by the beauty of the stone and sea and sky. Even though I wouldn’t describe myself as an ocean person (I was born in the landlocked midwest!) I really enjoyed being on the water and seeing all of the sea life, like seals, jellyfish, lobsters, and seagulls.

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We had a great week of kayaking (my first time — I loved it!), boating to a small, uninhabited island to hike and picnic, visiting Cadillac Mountain and Bar Harbor, shopping in town in Stonington, and my favorite: eating the local lobster and clams.

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Ken achieved a lot of milestones on this, his first road trip: he sat in a restaurant high chair for the first time, he rode in a grocery store cart for the first time, he road in his first boat and touched the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, and he attended his third baseball game at Fenway Stadium.

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Traveling with a baby is more difficult than not — I was quite sleep deprived all week from sharing a bed with Ken and waking to feed him more often than usual — but it is still a lot of fun and worth the effort. I think Ken enjoyed spending time with family and friends. We plan to keep dragging him along on many more adventures!

See all of my photos from the trip in my #MaineEscape2015 Flickr album.

Kenneth at six months…

Kenneth at 6 months

Kenneth is six months old! This feels like such an epic milestone. Like, we should have a 1/2 birthday party to celebrate. Happy 1/2 year of life, Baby Boy!!

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Ken has been simply amazing over the last month. He has mastered so many new skills: rolling over all the time, sitting up unsupported, standing on his own while holding onto something, getting into the crawling position, using a high chair, riding in the big jog stroller, and most amazingly, sleeping in his crib every night. I know that I am biased, but I’m impressed. He most definitely inherited Travis’ hard working and chill demeanor.

That being said, he is also a six-month-old baby, a rolly-polly wiggle worm who loves to move, kick, squeal, and grab anything within reach and put it in his mouth. Taking his portrait this month was a challenge. He was quite upset with me for not just letting him chew on his sticker the whole time. The word I would currently use to describe him is determined. I think he gets that from me.

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He is definitely expressing himself more strongly these days. This is what happens when he doesn’t get his way with the sticker…

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Fun Facts about Kenneth:

  • At his 6-month doctor visit today, he weighed 18 lbs and 12 ozs and he was 28 inches tall. He is still above the 90th percentile for height, but his weight, although growing steadily, is around the 70th percentile. The pediatrician said his stats were “perfect” so I will try not to worry that he weighs three pounds less than his dad at the same age.
  • He is eating all sorts of solid food now. He loves chomping on bananas and plums, and eating bits of avocado and bread. We’ve also been giving him a few ounces of these organic baby foods each day. He seems to love it all!
  • No teeth yet, but he has grown a whole lot of white-blonde hair!
  • He is REALLY into toys these days. Especially new ones. He studies them intently and loves any type of moving parts that he can fiddle with.
  • He seems to respond to his name, but he has so many different ones — Kenneth, Ken, Kenny, KennyG, SpecialK, BabyJ, Gunner, G4, hashtag — that it must be confusing!
  • He is very interested in Crusher and always reaches for him when he is near. Crusher seems to be more open to interacting with him, too. I hope they become good friends.
  • Just within the last few weeks, he has started trying to crawl. He can get up on all fours and rock forward and back, but he can’t actually go anywhere, yet. He wears himself out trying, though!
  • He is still sleeping in his crib most of the time, but he has also gotten back in the habit of waking up to eat AT LEAST once in the night. I hope we can start helping him to sleep through the night asap.
  • Kenneth has been on a train trip to Philadelphia, a plane trip to Kansas, and this month he took his first road trip to Maine. He was, once again, an excellent travel baby, but ten days away from home started to get tough by the end of the trip. There were some tears on the car ride home, but we made it.

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Mama thoughts:

Ken is such a good baby. Smart, and fun, and sweet. I really have no complaints about him. (Well, except for when he pinches me or pulls my hair, but we are working on that.) But being a mom is tough. Especially when I am trying my best to be a “work-at-home-mom” and keep Swap-bot running to some degree.

I have always known that taking care of children is hard work, but I regret that I also secretly questioned work-at-home-moms who hired nannies so that they could take a nap, go to an exercise class, or, your know, work. I thought for sure I could handle it all on my own, but having zero family help or child care options is becoming untenable. Sure, I can throw in a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, or read a few emails while Ken plays, but working on complicated design projects or composing email responses and blog posts is much more difficult to do with one hand and half of your brain. Nap time is key, but it is never guaranteed. So… I have started looking into child care options. I am not sure how it will play out, but I daydream about having a few extra hours of work time per week.

What else do I daydream about? The end of breastfeeding. I know some will say I’ll miss it when it is over, but I’m not convinced. Thankfully, my infections have been eradicated and it is not currently painful, but I still haven’t come around to enjoying it. It has NOT helped me lose weight. (I swear that is a lie used to trick women into doing it.) It hinders my fitness aspirations. (Running with jugs of milk attached to your torso is not fun or easy.) And it is getting harder and harder to convince myself that “breast is best” when there are plenty of excellent humans in the world who did just fine with formula. Anyway, protesting and complaining is a waste of time when deep down I know that I am too stubborn to stop anywhere short of my one-year goal, but still! Breastfeeding. Ugh.

Anyhoo, I’ll try to end on a positive note… I hope I am a good mom, because Kenneth deserves the best. His smiles and giggles are the most wonderful things in the world. I pray for endless patience and tons of fun and educational play time ideas. I hope he can feel my love.

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Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, Kenneth at four months, and Kenneth at five months.

Kenneth at five months…

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So much fun! That is how I would describe Kenneth at five months old. He loves playing with toys (especially new ones!) and moving all around. He loves for us to read him books, looking astounded at each new colorful page. (He even seems to be attempting to turn the pages himself, but maybe I’m reading too much into his grabbing reflex.) He likes his dad and me to sing him to sleep, that or talk to each other about something very boring. He doesn’t have any teeth yet, but he definitely wants to put everything in his mouth to chew on. And he drools. A lot. Sometimes he is very serious, observing the world around him intently. But overall he is just a sweet, easy-going, happy baby.

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I know that I can’t really be objective, but to me he is absolutely perfect. I love him so much.

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Some Fun Facts…

  • Kenneth weighs 17.5 lbs and is somewhere over 27 inches tall. He went into the doctor’s for an extra 5-month weight check last week since his weight hadn’t been increasing as quickly as his height. The doctors were pleased with his gain and didn’t even check his height… so I guess that means all is good.
  • Kenneth’s two passions lately seem to be blowing spit bubbles and doing backbends out of mom or dad’s arms. Both of which I don’t love. But I try to support him in his interests…
  • In addition to the backbends, Kenneth is much more rolly-polly and movement-focused lately. He loves to try to sit, and stand, and roll, and even attempt to crawl. He sort of throws himself out of our arms in an attempt to get places, which makes him somewhat difficult to wrangle. He is a boy who loves to move!!
  • He can sit unassisted for a few seconds at a time… and he is very proud of himself when he does!
  • He giggles when I kiss his neck and pretend to munch on his fingers or toes, and he LOVES “flying” around as Super Baby with his dad.
  • We started feeding Kenneth a bit of solid (ish) food just after his four month birthday on the advice of his pediatrician. So far he has had rice cereal, mashed bananas, a little steamed and mashed carrot, sweet potatoes, and a little avocado.
  • Ken went on his first plan ride to Kansas City on May 22nd to visit his grandparents and aunts and uncles. He was an awesome travel baby, sleeping for the majority of the flights and barely fussing. The entire trip went well. Ken went to his first Royals game on the 23rd, spent a lot of quality time with his grandparents and great Grammy, and got to meet most of his aunts and uncles for the first time.
  • Nearly all of Ken’s brownish-red baby hair has fallen out and fine, white-blonde hair is taking its place. He looks like such a different baby than he did at one month!

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I read somewhere that the only thing more profound than the love you have for your child is your fear of losing them. That thought has stuck with me. I am a defiantly optimistic person and try hard not to dwell on fear and worry, but Kenneth is so precious to me that it is scary. I just hope and pray that I can give him the love and support he needs to have an incredible, rewarding, happy, long life.

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Also, check out Kenneth at one month, Kenneth at two months, Kenneth at three months, and Kenneth at four months.

Kenneth at four months…

Time is going more and more quickly and I’m starting to panic about not keeping a diligent record of all the cute things Ken has been doing. Turns out that blogging takes a lot of time, computer time that I don’t really have these days…

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Last week Kenneth turned fourth months old, and he just keeps getting more and more fun. He is more like a little person and less like a hungry little crying creature. He has likes and dislikes, and he loves interacting with his mom and dad.

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Things I don’t want to forget:

  • At his four month doctor check up he weighed 16 lbs and was 27 inches tall. His height is off the charts (greater than the 98th percentile), but his weight is a little low (75th percentile). The doctor suggested we start him on a little solid food to supplement. I am very grateful that breast feeding has gotten less painful and I am proud of myself for breastfeeding him exclusively for these last four months, but I welcome any relief in the feeding department.
  • He is so cheery (and wiggly) when he wakes up in the morning. All smiles and giggles.
  • When Travis and I read and sing to him in our bed while getting him ready for sleep, he reaches his arms out to either side to make sure he is touching us both.
  • The way he strokes my hand while he is eating.
  • How excited he gets when I lean in to give him kisses on his face. He looks at me with such adoration. It is such a sweet feeling.
  • He is working on rolling, but hasn’t quite made the back-to-front roll totally by himself yet. He rolls side to side often to grab toys and he is able to wiggle himself all over the floor by throwing his legs in the air repeatedly.
  • He loves trying to sit and stand with assistance ALL THE TIME… which can get tiring for mom and dad.
  • He visited the Brooklyn Museum for the first time this month, and got his very own passport!
  • He had his tongue tie treated with a laser on April 17th. He recovered quickly and seems to enjoy his new tongue mobility.
  • He went to his first baseball game on May 8th at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees were playing the Orioles, and he slept through most of it despite the noise.

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Travis and I were and are so thrilled to be parents and we couldn’t have hoped for a better baby… But for a while it was was hard to admit that the pain and difficulty of the first few months was worth it. Motherhood is the most difficult challenge I’ve ever embarked on. But at the same time, Ken is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Maybe that sounds like something that parents HAVE to say, but it is actually exactly how I feel. My love for him just keeps growing. To me, he is perfect and precious. He is so amazing that it borders on magical. It boggles my mind to think of what a unique person he is — someone we never could have predicted before meeting him. It may sound cliche, but his smiles and little advancements really are immensely rewarding. Parenthood just keeps getting better and better.

A few more cute pics:

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Want more cute pics? I have almost 3,500 photos of Ken in his Flickr album.

Also, check out Ken at one month, Ken at two months, and Kenneth at three months.

kenneth at three months…

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Yesterday was Kenneth’s three month birthday! Wow. He is a growing boy! Ken and I are close and inseparable friends these days. He and I have been going on a lot more adventures this month, heading into Manhattan at least once a week and running errands all around Brooklyn. He is a fun baby who loves to interact, babble, and trade smiles. We spend a lot of time adoringly staring into each others eyes and grinning.

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Facts about Kenneth at three months…

  • I’m not exactly sure what his measurements are because we don’t go back to the doctor until next month, but he definitely weighs more than 14 pounds and is over 25 inches long. He is wearing some of his 6-month clothes already!
  • We are blessed in that he is a great sleeper at night. He sleeps in an initial eight-hour chunk, wakes for a feeding around 4 am, and then sleeps another three hours. We all feel pretty well rested.
  • He loves the mornings and is a cheerful little early bird.
  • He lights up when you smile or talk to him. He has been trying out all sorts of new sounds and loves conversing back and forth.
  • He is getting much stronger at tummy time, and even enjoys it. He is also working on arching his back and swinging his legs in preparation for rolling over. He loves trying to “stand” with assistance from mom or dad.
  • He loves his toy mirrors and holds intricate conversations with the baby he sees in them.
  • He still hasn’t quite figured out his thumb, but he loves sucking on his hands and fingers. He also loves clasping his hands together and admiring his feat of dexterity.
  • Sometimes his hair looks brown, sometimes red, but it seems to be growing in light blonde at the roots.
  • He has seen the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building, and last weekend he went on his first big train trip to Philadelphia. He did great riding in his stroller all over town and he loved the art museum and the Liberty Bell.

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Mama Update:

I want to show no weakness and tell you that everything is going well… and it certainly is in the sense that Ken is an awesome and healthy baby… BUT I am in pain. Unrelenting, endless pain and discomfort. All of the new baby things you worry about before the baby is born — sleepless nights, poop explosions, spit-up, their constant need for attention — all of those things are minuscule inconveniences when compared to being in pain all of the time. I feel like if I could just feel comfortable in my body again, I could really kick butt at this mom thing. This is how you’ll know things are serious: I really don’t even care about losing weight or ever running again, I just want to feel less pain. It sounds dramatic and I wish it wasn’t the truth, but it is.

Breastfeeding is still very painful. We are working on getting Ken’s severe tongue tie treated, which may end up being the solution, but the process has been frustrating. The pediatricians have been dismissive of tongue tie in general, but I finally insisted on a referral to a specialist. The specialist saw him and agreed that he should be treated, but now we are stuck in limbo waiting for insurance to approve the procedure. Which is ridiculous, because the “procedure” will literally take 30 seconds. But at this point I am worried that there may be more problems going on in addition to the tongue tie… my breasts are always tender and in pain, during and in between feedings. After reading what seems like every breastfeeding resource on the planet, I’ve started every possible homeopathic treatment for breast infections while I wait to see my doctor in two weeks.

Competing with breastfeeding for first place in the pain and discomfort category is my entire hip and pelvic region. Walking while wearing Ken in the baby carrier is hard on my body, which isn’t good because it is a necessity if I want to leave the house. The good news is that physical therapy does seem to be helping. It is slow going and I still need to avoid high impact activity, but I think I will eventually make some progress. And my therapist, Justine, at Renew is so professional, kind, and helpful. I am grateful to have access to the therapy… and that they let me bring Ken to my sessions.

Minus the pain, everything is going so well. Travis and Ken are wonderful. (Crusher is a bit of a stinker these days, but he is wonderful, too.) I just keep trying to stay strong and get through this tough time. I try to remind myself that in a year I will have gotten through all of this and I probably won’t even remember why it was so tough. And I can honestly say from the heart that it is worth it.

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Want more cute pics? I have almost 3,000 photos of Ken in his Flickr album.

Also, check out Ken at one month & Ken at two months.

Kenneth at two months…

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On Sunday, Kenneth turned two months old. He seems so big and so old now! It has been fun to watch him awaken to the world and start interacting with us a bit more. What else has he been up to? Practicing his smiles, discovering toys, requesting kisses, and of course, sleeping quite a bit.

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Facts about Kenneth at two months:

  • At his two-month doctor appointment last week he weighed 12 lbs 10 ozs and was 24.25 inches long! Very tall (99th percentile!) and a bit skinny, but the doctor was pleased with his weight gain.
  • He has been sleeping longer at night, which is amazing. On Sunday night he slept for eight full hours straight! That was a big deal, but on most nights he gets in at least one 4-6 hour chunk. Not bad at all on his parents. We are feeling good!
  • He has started smiling a lot more and even initiates smile conversations. He giggles a bit, but we can’t wait for more!
  • He is not a big fan of sleeping in his crib and isn’t really on a strict nap schedule. But he does like looking at his play mirror in his crib.
  • He likes blowing drool bubbles. Bibs have become a necessity.
  • He loves getting kisses on his face and even “asks” for them by putting his mouth up in the air. Very cute.
  • He still likes being swaddled at night and loves riding in his baby carriers during the day.
  • He seems to have noticed Crusher and sometimes watches him walk around. Crusher has attempted to “play” with Ken by barking at him and teasing him, but Ken doesn’t seem to understand the game.
  • All four of us have really started to get to know one another and become a more cohesive family. It is a fun time!

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Mama Update:

You guys, things are getting SO MUCH BETTER. (I had real coffee for the first time today, which may be positively affecting my mood.)

Breastfeeding can still be uncomfortable and demanding, but Ken seems to be eating less frequently and my boobs are feeling much better. Feeding him feels more natural now, even if it is still time consuming. I am proud of myself for making it for more than eight weeks of exclusively breastfeeding. I plan to try to make it a year, but whatever happens, I am happy that I have stuck it out as long as I have.

Over the last two weeks I have started working out again. It feels great. I am out of shape and running is still nearly impossible with my wonky hips, but I really like my video workouts and can already notice strength improvements. And I have lost two pounds! Thank goodness for progress!

The weather is finally better this week and I have actually been getting stuff done. Ken and I have met up with a few friends for food, we’ve gone to mom & baby yoga, and we’ve even gone to the grocery store AND fixed dinner on the same day! I didn’t know if that last thing would ever be possible again. I feel confident taking Ken out and even feeding him in public.

Sunday was a down day after attempting to run and then attempting to buy new workout clothes. Neither attempt was very successful and I started feeling sorry for myself again… but I am having many more good days than down days lately and I feel like I am coming into my own in this new mommy life. Hooray!

And that is all I can post for now because Ken just started crying for his afternoon snack…

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postpartum and newborn favorites

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Kenneth is more than six weeks old at this point (wow!) which means the immediate postpartum period is over. I had worked extremely hard to prepare myself for parenthood, but being prepared doesn’t really decrease the amount of work it takes to sustain a newborn! Finding time for anything other than breastfeeding and baby rocking is tough… but I am getting into a groove and really starting to enjoy Ken’s emerging personality.

In addition to the obvious necessities (diapers, wipes, crib, baby clothes, etc) these items all helped the postpartum period go more smoothly:

  1. Eat Sleep app – While still in the hospital, the nurses tell you to log each feeding and diaper change. Keeping track helps you to determine if your baby is getting enough to eat and helps you to start learning his routines and demands. The nurses suggested a paper log, but an iPhone app is much more handy! I don’t know for sure if Eat Sleep is the very best one, but it is super easy to use and allows you to track feedings, diaper changes, and sleep. I don’t track Ken’s sleep, but it is great to have a record of when he last ate and got his diaper changed.
  2. iPhone6 – Speaking of iPhones, I don’t know how women survived the postpartum period prior to their existence!! Travis and I had splurged on the new iPhone6s with extra storage space before Kenneth’s birth because we figured we’d need the extra space to store tons of photos… but my phone has meant much more to me than just cute photos. It is amazing to have access to friends (via Facebook), family (via text), entertainment (via YouTube), distractions (via blog posts and Pinterest), and knowledge and support (via internet searches) all in the palm of my hand while breastfeeding or soothing my little symbiont.
  3. Miracle Blanket – Kenneth seems to like being swaddled at night. It prevents him from waving his arms uncontrollably and hitting himself in the face. We have used traditional swaddle blankets, but this Miracle Blanket is the best we’ve tried. It stays wrapped up nice and tight all night long. I can even breastfeed him while he is still wrapped up!
  4. Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads – Breastfeeding is demanding, but it has gotten much better over the last few weeks. I wear these pads in my bra at all times to absorb leaks and to protect my sensitive nipples. I like that they come individually wrapped so you can pack them in a bag easily.
  5. Lansinoh HPA Lanolin – I put this medical grade lanolin on my nursing pads to help soothe my worn out nipples. It is safe for breastfeeding and doesn’t need to be cleaned off before feeding.
  6. Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breastpump – Breastfeeding is basically my full-time job at this point. I feed Ken every 1-4 hours (we are still working out our schedule) and if I want/need to be away from him for longer than that, I have to pump a bottle in advance. I actually have only done that a handful of times and I don’t use the pump very often, but it was nice to have on hand in the first few days after his birth to relieve engorgement and help establish my supply while Ken and I were first figuring out the whole nursing concept. (You should be able to get this pump for free via your health insurance when you are at 36 weeks.)
  7. ErgoBaby Carrier – A baby carrier is a necessity! Ken loves traveling in one and it helps him go to sleep. It also keeps him warm while outside in this frigid winter weather! We have used a Moby wrap, a BabyBjorn, and the ErgoBaby. All three work great, but the ErgoBaby is the most versatile and comfortable.
  8. Baby Nail Clippers – Baby nails are SO sharp! And they grow fast! I clip Ken’s nails while he dozes off after eating.
  9. An awesome husband/partner – A lot of the baby care falls on my shoulders, especially now that Travis is back at work, but I wouldn’t have survived these last six weeks without his support. Ken loves being held by his dad and Travis has spent many late nights walking him around the apartment to get him to sleep. He sings and reads to Ken at night, and brings me water when we are breastfeeding. Travis has also been doing all of the grocery shopping and much of the cooking. Plus, he brings me chocolate on particularly tough days! Two adults vs. one baby seems like the perfect ratio!

I recommend having all of these items on hand prior to baby’s arrival, if possible.

Have you recently brought home a newborn bundle? What do you recommend for the first few weeks?

Kenneth at one month…

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Little Ken is one month old! We are extremely fortunate and grateful that he is healthy and sweet and progressing perfectly. It is amazing that he is a miniature human made of equal parts Travis and me. He is not quite what I expected, but instead a unique individual with a distinct personality starting to emerge. He is a lot of fun. He looks like Travis, my brothers, my dad, my father-in-law, and myself all at once. The last month has flown by and dragged on. I hope Kenneth has enjoyed getting to know us as much as we’ve loved meeting him.

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Facts about Kenneth at one month:

  • He weighed 9 lbs 10.5 oz at his four week doctor appointment. Two pounds more than at birth!
  • He sleeps in 3-4 hour chunks at night… which isn’t too bad on his mom.
  • He is a champion eater and has been meeting all of his dirty diaper quotas.
  • It took a few weeks, but he has been making eye contact, making lots of cute noises, and even cracking a few adorable smiles.
  • He loves riding in his baby carriers and being swaddled at night.
  • He makes endless funny faces, especially when I give him kisses on his face.
  • He has had lots of visitors and he has been on trips to Shake Shack, Ample Hills, Calexico, and Prospect Park.
  • He is the best baby in the world!

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Postpartum Update:

I was ready for a lot of the things that come with bringing home a new baby — sleepless nights, getting little accomplished except baby care, dealing with a flabby, out-of-shape, recovering body, emotional highs and lows — but you add it all together and this new life can feel TOUGH sometimes. Thankfully, Travis has been a huge help. He has done the grocery shopping and much of the cooking. And despite being back at work full time now, he stays up with the baby when I desperately need to sleep. We are adults and I know we will get through this early baby time just as billions of other parents have. Hopefully, we will even remember it fondly. I try to keep things in perspective and remember that everything is actually going very smoothly…

BUT I need to vent about one major challenge… breast feeding. Ugh. Overall, Ken and I have had a lot of success and I am going to stick with it, but I am sad to admit that I don’t really like it. I had high hopes in the first week, but then the pain set in. It was excruciating for about a week. There was blood and blisters and a lot of tears. It felt terrible to dread feeding him. But as all of the lactation resources predicted, things have gotten better. (These nipple pads and this lanolin help.) I no longer dread it, but it is still uncomfortable, time-consuming, and utterly (udderly?) draining. I have a low level dehydration headache at all times despite my best hydration efforts. Also, my boobs are unmanageably huge and sore and stretched to the max. I know Ken is getting plenty to eat (he makes lots of dirty diapers and is gaining weight) but his feeding schedule is still unpredictable, and he can be quite demanding! Oh, and my weight is absolutely NOT “falling off” as everyone said it would if I breast fed…

It has only been a month and I know things will continue to get easier, but even compared to my fertility struggles, the pregnancy, and childbirth, I consider breast feeding during this postpartum period to be my least favorite and most difficult challenge. Of course, maybe my feelings will change once I get through it…