If you talk to mothers who have breastfed, you will hear a wide range of stories about their journeys, varying from easy to a few bumps in the road to down right difficult. As you will know if you have read my breastfeeding story, one out of my four breastfed babies presented me with an especially difficult time. At a time where doctors, health visitors and other health care professionals were worried about his health and his weight, there was one thing that helped me get his breastfeeding back on track, and that was record keeping.
Why Keep Breastfeeding Records?
There are a good number of reasons that monitoring not just your baby’s feeds, but other elements of their little lives, can be especially helpful to you as a parent.
I use an app called Feed Baby to track my little one’s feeding, eating sleeping and pooping. It’s an awesome app that syncs between my iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch which has proven to be so valuable for so many different ways. Read on to find out why my baby log app has become one of my essential parenting tools.
Which Boob Was That Again?
It may sound simple, with remembering which boob you fed on last and which is up next is not an easy task when your whole days seem to revolve around feeding. If I am totally honest, I don’t think that I would have had a clue which boob was up next without some sort of system to remind me. There are a number of ways that you could do this; a bracelet or band that you move from wrist to wrist as an indicator, you could leave your nursing bra unclipped on the side on which you last fed, or you can do what I do and use the app.
You quite simply press go on the relevant side when the baby starts feeding. You can pause the timer when the baby drifts off and resume when they continue feeding. As I explained in my Doing This One Thing While Breastfeeding Will Help You Get More Sleep post, I also find the app really helpful for recording not just how long you are sat attempting to feed your little one, but how long your baby is actually feeding, to ensure that they get a full enough feed.
Track More Than Just Feeds
This handy little app can be used to track more than just feeds. Like I mentioned earlier, I also use it record wet and dirty nappies. More than that, I use the app to record weights when the health visitor measures them (far easier to see the information than in the red book), any temperatures they have had, medications given and vaccinations received.
When you are in the middle of the baby haze, it can be hard to see patterns and overall trends in your child’s eating and sleeping. Why are they suddenly sleeping less at night? By looking through the data on the app, you can look for reasons that this might be happening, such as not feeding enough or sleeping too much during the day.
When Dealing With Health Care Professionals
If you have ever had to see a doctor about you child’s weight and the words “failure to thrive” were used, you will understand the levels of panic that a parent in this situation can reach. You feel like the worst parent in the world. In order to get to the bottom of any child’s weigh issues, health care professionals will ask you questions like “how long do they feed for exactly?” “How often do they feed?” and “How many wet and dirty nappies do they have in 24 hours?”
Now, I don’t know about you, but, off the top of my head, the honest answer to all of these questions is “I haven’t got a clue”. I cannot tell you how empowering it was when I was in this situation with my youngest son to be able to say “I couldn’t tel you off the top of my head, but I have all of his feed, nappy and sleep information in this app would you like me to send it to you?” It enabled me to go from feeling helpless and useless to feeling like I had finally done something right in the whole situation. The doctors were delighted to have so much information to work with, and although I am sure that they were never “blaming” me for what was going on with William’s weight, it was comforting that they knew that I was doing all that I could.
There is also a feature within the app to record instances of illness such as diarrhoea and vomiting as well as fevers. Again, I have found this incredibly helpful when I am sitting there like a sleep deprived mess who can barely remember her own name, attempting to explain to a GP exactly what has gone on with my child when they have been ill.
When More Than One Person Looks After Your Child
This app can be a huge help when more than one person is looking after your little one. By installing an synchronising the app across a number of devices, more than one person can input the information and everyone can see what exactly is going on. If you know exactly how much your baby has eaten or slept while they were away from you, you are best equipped to decide how best to meet their needs when you have them back. This becomes not just useful but essential when dealing with things such as administering medications. Not only do you need to know when your child has had their medicine, you need to know quantities and times so that you know when they are due the next dose. The app has been super handy in these situations.
Help With Routine
As I mentioned in my Routine To Help Your Baby Sleep post, I am a firm believer in the fact that following a structured day can help your baby sleep for longer blocks of time at night. Luckily, the app can help you should you decide to follow a routine, by supplying reminder notifications. For example, newborn babies should be fed no more than 3 hourly from the beginning of the last feed, so the app can be set to remind you to feed your baby if no feed has been entered and three hours have elapsed since the beginning of the previous feed.
Feel In Control
In a time where life seems to rush by in a sleep deprived Mummy blur, it can be nice to feel like you are reclaiming a little but of control. Using this app to record my baby’s feeds and more really helped me to feel on top of things. Had they fed enough? Had they slept enough? Being just a click away from knowing has always felt quite empowering.
Various Apps Available
So while I am aware that baby logging is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, I personally have found it hugely useful and reassuring. If you are the kind of person that likes to feel like you have things under control, this is definitely the app for you.
Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links.