This app allows you to set up your basic information about each of your children...
- sleep -- starts tracking as soon as she goes to sleep, or if you forget you can go back and enter the nap's start time.
- diaper change -- allows you to enter whether diaper was wet, dirty, or both, and write comments about what you discover in the diaper more specifically (this sounds insane, but once you have a newborn you start to become quite interested in the consistency of the items that come out of their little behinds).
- nursing -- track which breast you start a feeding with as well as how long the baby nurses on each side. You can pause the feeding, which is especially useful if you baby is like ours and needs to be burped frequently during a feeding.
- bottle feeding -- we are fortunate that Natalie was nursed both by bottle and breast in the NICU, so at 11 days old she is taking bottles just fine (what a blessing in disguise from her NICU time!)
- solids -- not for a while!
- pumping -- useful to know as I attempt to stock a freezer supply. Fresh breast milk is OK iin the fridge for 24 hours; frozen breast milk is good for up to 3 months in storage.
- to do list -- not really sure about this one. I still keep a running to-do list on a pad of paper on our kitchen island.
- activity -- probably cool for things like "tummy time" (i.e. putting your child on his stomach for a short period of time to help him develop neck muscles). All the NICU nurses commented that Natalie has impressive neck control for a newborn, which I would attribute to the fact that she was placed on her stomach in the NICU incubators while under the bilirubin lights for her jaundice treatment.
- mood -- I am not really sure on this one...haven't felt the urge to track...yet. Her moods appear to be awake and quiet or asleep and quiet.
- baths -- guess who's getting her first at-home sponge bath tonight? At least we got a practice round in the NICU.
- sickness -- Not looking forward to using this one.
- diary -- I'll use my paper and pen journal, but this one could work, too.
- Dr. visit -- Natalie had her first doctor's appointment Friday morning, after having been home all of 16 hours. When the doctor asked us about her habits and patterns, we said they were good based on our 16 hours of parenting experience. Good news: as of Friday's appointment she'd only gone down 6% from her birth weight. It is normal for newborns to lose 10% of their birth weight in the first couple of weeks. So, she is right on track.
- vaccination -- Also not looking forward to this one. There is a room in our pediatrician's office named "the shot room." Literally. It says that on the outside of the room on a plaque. I am sure this does not win over the little ones who can read.
- growth -- Natalie was born at 65 percentile for everything -- length (20 in), weight (8 lbs., 1 oz.) and head circumference.
It's great to start a nursing session and know when she last fed. Because she's supposed to be fed "on demand" for the time being (i.e. whenever she shows signs of hunger, mostly by crying and bringing her clinched fist to her mouth) we need to know how often she's feeding. She can't go more than four hours from the start of one feeding to the start of another feeding, doctor's orders to keep her on the right growth track. In other words, if she started one feeding at 11 a.m., even if the feeding lasted 45 minutes, she'd need to be awake and ready to feed no later than 3 p.m. Normally this is not a problem as she wakes up typically about 3 hours from the previous feeding. Also, for some perspective, sometimes babies eat every hour. This means if you start a feeding at 11 a.m. and the baby eats until 11:30 a.m., one hour later is actually 12 p.m., not 12:30 p.m. If it sounds exhausting, it is, and thankfully I've only had one 1-hour feeding in the time we've had her home. Otherwise she loves the 3-hour feedings.
It's also helpful in the middle of the night to press the "sleep" button and know when she finally went to sleep between feedings. Because without this app we would have no clue when she fell and asleep and subsequently we fell asleep. For example, her first two nights home she barely ever slept more than one hour at a time. Saturday night and last night she slept 3 or 3.5 hours at a time between each feeding, which was incredible. Matt and I each are logging 7-8 hours of interrupted sleep these past two nights. It feels amazingly luxurious. Matt gets up for diaper changes, then hands Natalie to me for breast feeding. Matt did one bottle feeding last night. So, we're pretty even right now, and it's a nice division of labor.
Finally, especially because our baby had a little early battle with jaundice, we need to know how many wet and dirty diapers she produces a day to know she's getting adequate nourishment. The best way to beat jaundice is to get the baby expelling waste because jaundice has to do with poor liver function, a problem every newborn deals with on some level. Doctors are looking for between 6 and 8 wet diapers a day. Dirty diapers can follow a more loose schedule (bad, unintentional pun). So far she is living up to her potential and I sincerely hope she doesn't back track.