Information is everywhere these days, especially on the internet. And, with good reason. Knowledge is power and with the right information, we can all make better parenting decisions. This article will outline the benefits of keeping breast feeding, pumping, formula and mom logs and provide tips for successful log keeping.
Breast feeding Logs
The benefits of keeping a breast feeding log when your baby is a newborn is to make sure you are feeding often enough. Most of us are in a fog the first month baby is home, but it’s important for your baby to feed 10-12 times in 24 hours in those early weeks to months, and when you can hardly tie your shoes from the sleep deprivation, it’s hard to keep track of when the baby ate last least of all whether you are on the 5th or 6th feeding of the day.
If you log which side you last fed from, it’s also useful to keep a breast feeding log to avoid engorgement and mastitis. I used to forget which side I last fed on and would have to feel them to figure it out (and hope I was right). More of a fun fact, but one final benefit of keeping a breast feeding log is to see which breast is the faster flow and which one your baby might favor.
The benefits of keeping a pumping log is that you can make sure you are keeping a solid milk supply going. You may have gone back to work and worried you’ll be able to keep up with your baby who’s getting bottles during the day with another caretaker. If you track the total you’re getting from pumping plus the total baby is feeding from a bottle, you can tell whether you need to add another pumping session or if you can finally take one away. It’s also fun to see how much your breasts can output! It always amazed me!
Similar to the breast feeding logs, formula logs can help you keep track of how much baby is getting, especially in those early days. If your pediatrician has told you your baby needs 16-30 oz of formula per day, it will be easy to see, at a glance, whether you have anything to worry about. It will also be easy to tell your doctor just how much she is eating at her check-up.
Keeping a mom log can especially be helpful if you think you might have the baby blues or postpartum depression. It’s helpful to keep track of how you feel, your mood, what you’re eating (to check for food sensitivities in breast feeding) and anything else you might want to note about what you are going through. It’s also interesting to read your mom log when you have a second child to see how much it’s the same or different.
Tips for Logs
1. Log immediately
It’s helpful to note the breast feeding, pumping, or formula log as soon as it happens, if possible. The longer you take to enter something into your log, the more likely it will be that you either forget about it or you become overwhelmed with how behind you have gotten. If you do this, it will only take less than 30 seconds to enter your information. Using online baby care software, you can keep your page open to enter information seamlessly. Easier still, take it with you on your mobile with mobile sleep tracking.
2. Track long enough
It is very difficult to get much out of your sleep log if you don’t track long enough. Similar to logging baby sleep, plan to log your baby’s information for at least 1-2 weeks in order to make the information as useful as possible.
3. Look for patterns
Once you have kept the log long enough, you can begin to look for patterns and make decisions with the information. Does your baby always breast feed twice as long on the right side as the left, making it easier to know whether you should plan to be on the sofa for 15 minutes or 30 the next feeding? Does he seem to start the day with only 5 oz of formula every morning making him a light eater? Or, does it mean he’s ready to night-wean? Can you pump at 8am and still have enough milk for the 10am feeding? Having your breast feeding log, pumping log or formula log can answer all of these questions and many more! If you also track your baby’s diapers, you can answer questions like “Does your baby wake up in the middle of his morning nap because of a poopy diaper?” and try to rearrange meals to accommodate this and lengthen the nap.
4. Look at the forest, not the trees
Don’t necessarily make big decisions on just one day of information, but putting all of the days together can give you a big picture and help you make good decisions about your baby’s car. That’s the benefit of keeping logs because you can go back and see the big picture rather than a string of a few bad (or good) days.
5. Try not to obsess…too much
With access to so much information, it’s easy to get fixated on the logs and look for patterns that may or may not be there. Unfortunately, some babies are simply inconsistent and the only thing that will be the same every day is the fact that the day will be different than yesterday. There might not really be anything you are doing right or you are doing wrong, so try not to drive yourself crazy…at least not too crazy.
Photo by Matthew Dobson on Flickr