When I started my new life with a newborn, a life in which I saw 2 am with more regularity than ever before, it was with a fresh notebook by my bedside, in which my husband and I religiously wrote down what time Baby Julian ate, produced stool, and slept. I thought the pediatrician would be so impressed when we brought it with us to his next check up a few days later, but she did not seem interested in reading about every minute of our newborn’s life, as measured by biological functions. Hmm.
Anyhow, it was reassuring for us, and we stopped logging after a couple of weeks. But then, sleep!
Sleep deprivation and sleep itself both make keeping track of time challenging. When our baby was old enough to begin consolidating some sleep but we were unsure if there were any patterns (because, what time was that? were we up for an hour or was that 10 minutes, it’s all the same) we went back to the trusty notebook, believing that if we wrote down what was happening, we could make some sense out of it.
For me, the one who was at home with the baby during “naps”, they always seemed like 20 minutes, so it was helpful to have logged the start time for a reality check. Woman, you’ve been surfing the Internet for 90 minutes. Whoops.
Whether you like a notebook, a spreadsheet template (we have a printable baby tracker you can use), or an app on your phone, here are some tools of the trade, some of which are brand-new to the market.
Hatch Baby Smart Changing Pad – Lay your baby down to change him and push a button to capture his weight at the same time. This gets stored and displayed in the free Hatch Baby activity tracker (which can be used without the smart changing pad, too) and parents can compare their baby’s growth to data from the World Health Organization, instantly. Use the app to log diapers, sleep and feeding. Plus, Hatch Baby will remind you to take a photo a day in the app so that it can generate a video at the end of the year that will show your baby grow a year’s worth in a minute. (This will surely go viral among your Facebook friends! Or at least your family.)
Lansinoh’s Smartpump double electric breast pump – This new pump connects to your smart phone with Bluetooth and automatically logs the output of your pumping sessions. Since they know pumping is not the only piece of the puzzle, they’ve included other tracking functions in the app, like feeding and diapers, so it’s all in one place. You might fall over when you see the price, but rest assured the consumer has a choice. Same pump without the Bluetooth connection is much less expensive. Both are available to ship in Feb 2017.
Project Nursery Parent + Child Smartband – this is a wearable wristband, like a FitBit, that allows the caregiver to push buttons to track feedings, diaper changes, and a few other metrics. The data goes back to an app, so parents can refer to it later, or keep tabs on naps while away from the baby. Available February 2017. Check this page on Amazon to see if it’s landed yet.
Plus 4 stand-alone apps that track babies
Sprout – Not only does this app track the details of baby’s daily life, but as you add developmental milestones and photos, it generates a cute report, in the style of a newspaper (remember those?) front page that combines age-appropriate tips with actual facts about your child.
Baby Tracker – another one that does it all, with an elegant interface that’s easy to use. See it in more detail here >
Eat Sleep Poop (ESP) – offers a simple logging app that is especially designed to be thumb-tapped, with the newborn’s parent — likely carrying a baby — in mind. More details >