Monday, January 23, 2012

iBaby Log app: iLove You

There have been quite a few baby items that we've really come to rely on already in these first 100 hours or so that Natalie has been home with us from the NICU. By far the most important one -- OK, besides Pampers Swaddlers in size one and well, frankly, my own boobs -- is the iBaby Log app for the iPhone. Best part? It's free!

This app allows you to set up your basic information about each of your children...
...and then start tracking information in 18 categories:

  • 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.
  • medication
  • temperature
  • sickness -- Not looking forward to using this one.
  • diary -- I'll use my paper and pen journal, but this one could work, too.
  • milestone
  • 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.
At this point, we've been using the sleep, diaper change and nursing categories the most. This means that I constantly have my phone on me (though I may not answer because I'm occupied with some baby duty).

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.
This iBaby Log app is truly outstanding. If you have a baby on the way, I highly recommend downloading it now and playing around with it before the baby arrives. It will take away a lot of the new-parent jitters.


  1. Awesome find Steph!
    This link might help you with expressed milk:
    Fresh breast milk milk is good 3-8 days in the fridge
    Frozen 6 mo in a reg freezer 12 in a deep freezer
    Thawed: 24 hrs
    Room temp 4-6 hrs
    Use the sniff test, just like you would milk we drink.

  2. Interesting! Does the data sync with a server, such that you could have two phones set up to sync data with one account? Or does the data live with that particular instance of the app? Basically I'm wondering if we'd have to have one parent be the designated tracker, or if we could both have it installed on our phones to keep track of the same baby.

  3. I have actually gone by different BM standards. Breastmilk is fine in the fridge for up to 8 days, and in the freezer for up to a year if it is a deep freezer (not the fridge freezer). It is actually find out on the counter for up to 8 hours, if I recall correctly. I am still working through my frozen stash from maternity leave and my kid is 8 months old. could give you more info here.

  4. ETA:

    24 hours is for thawed frozen breastmilk, everything else is much longer.

  5. Jennifer, you raise a great question about syncing data on phones, and right now I do not have the answer. Will have to get Matt to load to his phone and us try it out! Good point.

    Thanks for the tips on storing breast milk, ladies. I was purely basing my 24 hours and 3 months numbers off the detailed instructions from the NICU nurses upon discharge. Perhaps they're more cautious with the weakened immune systems of NICU babies. We'll have to check in with our pediatrician on this topic at our visit this week.

  6. Quick note on vaccinations: During the early shots they include a vaccine for rotovirus (a GI bug). That vaccine comes as a milky cherry flavored chaser to the others, so it actually does a great job of calming the crying baby. Sadly, they stop giving that treat, so the six month shots are all bitter, no sweet.

  7. Alright, so I've had this app for 8 wks now (basically since our daughter was born) and there have been many things I've struggled with yet enjoyed. It's great to be able to track things however it's an average app right now.

    Here's what I've found:
    If you share it with your caregiver, they must be a facebook friend. Once you share it with them you cannot take iBaby Log offline. What does that mean? If you lose internet the application is hosed up until you get internet back.

    Giving your caregiver the permissions to view certain sections is rough but cool. It would be much much better if they allowed searching your Facebook friends instead of having to scroll through them all. It really sucks when their last name is "Williams". :(

    Additionally, they need to put the Facebook users (caregivers) that you've selected at the top opposed in their original order. This would give the user quicker reference to remove or who they've chosen to view the data.

    There is no support for cross platform usage; Apple & Android. I told my babysitter about this app and the very first things she asked was "do they have this for android as well?" Unfortunately they do not.

    The timeline feature is cluttered with EVERYTHING. They need to allow the user to show what they want.

    What would be really awesome is if they allowed all users to import a note file, excel file or external file into the app for those individual that don't have time during the day. You know the caregivers that have several kids.

    The color scheme they just implemented is very bright. They changed it from the yellow to bright white. It's awesome because you can see it better but it's too bright during the night when the baby is trying to sleep.

    I did send the features and such to their support group in which they were very responsive too. I guess all you can do is send it over and see what they say right? :)

    App Grade: C+

    Enjoy the app and hopefully my review.