When you need to keep track of your nursing schedule

A few days ago, I was surprised and intrigued to see an application show up at the Apple iPhone Application Store that helped women keep track of when they were nursing their baby. I communicated with the program author and found out that it was actually a team: a woman who had the need for the application and a man who actually wrote the program itself. A bit of discussion and I ended up with two short interviews, one with each person. The more techie interview with the programmer I’ll be putting online elsewhere (and will link to it here once it’s online).

Mostly I think I was just a bit confused why women would need to track their nursing in the first place, so I asked Heather for some background. Please read on…
Q: When Linda nursed our children, I don’t recall us tracking anything. They just free nursed. Why would women have to track their nursing?
A: After I delivered my son, the hospital sent me home with a breastfeeding chart so that I could log my times and track my feedings. As a first time mom who had no idea what she was doing the chart was a helpful guide. Tracking allowed me to see if I had nursed the recommended number of times (8-12 times in a 24-hour period).
I was sleep deprived and overwhelmed, it was hard to remember what day it was let alone when the last time I nursed. I realized that if I was able to get in all my feedings during the day, the result was a well fed happy baby that slept the entire night! When you look back at the log, it is inspirational and tells you how well you are doing.

Q: Since it’s pretty hard to calculate how much the baby has drunk, what’s the purpose of tracking their nursing?
A: Because it IS so hard to calculate how much the baby is drinking is exactly why I kept track of the feedings. By making sure that not too many hours went by between feedings I was able to ensure baby’s hydration and most importantly proper weight gain. In the beginning, frequent nursing (every 2 to 3 hours) establishes a good milk supply. If the infant does not nurse at least 15 – 20 minutes they may not get all the benefits from the breast milk.
The baby needs to be at the breast long enough to get the “hind milk” (has the highest fat content). My detailed records also helped at pediatrician visits when the doctor asked how the feedings were progressing.
Q: Presumably, you didn’t have the slick iPhone application Baby Tracker: Nursing available when you started, so how did you track everything?
A: I had a chart that the lactation nurse at the hospital gave me. After it was all filled up, I made my own chart to fill out. Searching for pens at 3am and having a clock in view at all times, I only wish I had the Baby Tracker: Nursing App!
Q: I have to ask this, did you track “left” or “right” too, or just “nursing events”? 🙂
A: I tracked how long and which side. I had a bracelet that I would switch wrists to help me remember which side my son last nursed. In the middle of the night it made things easier to recall. Because the baby may take more from one breast than from the other, switching sides each time helps ensure adequate stimulation and emptying of ducts, plus avoids engorgement (ouch).
One last note, I realize this App may not be for all moms, in the same way that breastfeeding itself is a personal choice. However, it would have made my life much easier at a time when I needed order the most. I look forward to using this App for baby #2 someday.
Thanks again for the interview. Here’s a direct link to learn more about this helpful application for nursing mothers:

Apple iPhone Application: Baby Tracker: Nursing
(click on the graphic to learn about the app)

Do you have an iPhone application that’s relevant to attachment parenting? Maybe one that tracks how often your kids steal your phone to play games? 🙂 Please contact me, I’d like to talk with you further about how ubiquitous technology helps solve age-old parenting problems too.

4 comments on “When you need to keep track of your nursing schedule

  1. Hi,
    I’m currently pregnant with TWINS and have been looking for an easy way to keep track of their feeds and nappy changes. Your application looks great and I can see you’re working on a version for twins or more babies.
    Do you have any idea when it will be ready?
    Let me know ASAP as I’ll buy them both for my iphone.
    Can I make a suggestion?
    An application combining feeding, changing & sleeping would be perfect.
    Tks:) & look forward to hearing from you soon.

  2. I was intrigued by the title of your blog … and so not surprised that you hadn’t heard of tracking feedings.
    I’ve noticed how uptight many parents can get about people doing the complete opposite philosophy from them so it was great you took time to interview this woman.
    I’ve tried attachment parenting and a more traditional approach to spacing feedings with our six children. I was amazed to find how much more peaceful our children were when they were on a grace-filled, basic routine.

  3. I can understand both sides of this. Yes, I track with a bracelet how long since the last feeding and what side. If it’s been 2-3 hours its been TOO LONG. My internal clock checks for my baby’s hunger at every hour, if not less. Yes, sometimes us mother can loose our heads operating on little sleep but if we are paying real attention to our child’s signals, you’d learn that they were hungry before the timer went off. Babies root, get fussy and have a certain sound of cry when they are hungry. With that fact, it seems hard to believe a mother needed to be reminded to feed their baby after 2-3 hours, or worse yet feel the need to stay with in a schedule if baby gets hungry earlier. I’ve found my baby sets his own schedule so it’s not like were just feeding on the fly with no structure to our day.

  4. I totally do attachment parenting, but what intrigues me to this product is just the help knowing which side I should nurse on in the middle of the night and if you are having to block feed. Sometimes I nurse on the same side on demand for a 3hr block then switch sides for the next 3hrs. I did the bracelet thing with my first and forgot to switch it most in the middle of the night. Eventually, nursing was like I was sleep walking – just autopilot. When I forgot and nursed on the wrong side boy did I pay for it in the morning. Just b/c you might use this type of app as a tool doesn’t mean you are a rigid drill sargeant, you just might need a little extra helping hand.

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