If you have spent any time with Heather in the past seven months, you are familiar with her stopwatch. She appears to be a normal person, but as soon as she puts Milo to her breast, she reaches over to her wrist and starts the timer. It’s all one fell swoop, the feeding of the baby and the starting of the watch. She says that this action is the embodiment of a geeky girl turned sleep-deprived mom. She transfers the info to a piece of paper later, and although I could never ever keep up with this system myself, it was pretty handy when I paged through it to see when Milo’s sleep began consolidating in order to remind myself that Scarlett was doing ok. (By the way, Scarlett slept through the night until 7 this morning, so, other mothers of three month-olds, go on and start hating me now.)
A month or so ago, I realized how blurry my days had become. I had absolutely no clue if it had been an hour or three hours since Scarlett’s last feeding, or if her nap was seven minutes or seventy minutes, or if, worse, she had been awake for seven straight hours. I bought myself this little device – the Itzbeen baby timer. I have not made a habit of using it consistently, but I used it a lot for a couple of weeks. Even though it’s been sitting on my shelf for a month unused now, I recommend it. Here’s why:
1) Simplicity of use. Start nursing? Press button with picture of bottle. Timer has started.
2) Belt clip. Keep it near you so that when you do one of the actions it measures – feed, diaper change, jiggle to sleep, you can press the button. I don’t like to wear things on my pants, but when I’m out and about and most likely to lose track of time, I can clip it to the inside of my diaper bag so it doesn’t fall to the bottom.
3) Great price. At $25, this is a good gift for your not best friend. Put it on your registry and someone will be excited about buying it for you.
4) Extra “wild card” button. Need to time something else? There is an extra button, with an asterisk icon.
Use cases that make this worth owning:
1) Sharing childcare responsibility. Keep the timers up to date before handing baby off to a grandmother and you don’t need to answer a battery of questions: When was she last changed? How long has she been awake? When did she last eat? Tell grandma to press the bottle button when she gives her a bottle, and you’ll be on track when you get the baby back.
2) Too many things to remember. Need to take motrin every three hours, nurse the baby every two hours, vicodin every six hours, and make sure baby gets put back to sleep within any two hour time period? Assign one of the buttons to your pain meds, and track everything else with the existing buttons.
Finally, a criticism:
I’m not always going to remember to push the button. But, if I do remember forty minutes later, I wish I could somehow back time stamp the activity. It’s simply not helpful if I glance at the timer, see that baby was last fed 2:09 ago and then have to add 12 minutes because I didn’t press the button until I got out of the shower.
And a wish:
If there could be a summary at the end of the day to report 9 feedings, 7 naps, 8 diapers, it would be super fun.
That’s the upside of Heather’s system. I envy her dedication.
Find it at Amazon: Coast Innovations Itzbeen Baby Care Timer