How to Track Baby's Feedings, Diapers, and Sleep
Where to Track
There are a number of ways to track, including in a notebook, Excel, or a word document, with an app (such as Eat Sleep: Simple Baby Tracking), and with a chart, such as this one from Parents.com. Whichever method you choose, make sure it's portable or printable so you can bring it to your baby's pediatrician appointments -- it will provide valuable information to your doctor.
What to track. If you're breastfeeding, write down the time you begin and end each nursing session, which breast you start on, whether you switch to the other breast, and how long you nurse on each breast. If you're bottle-feeding, track the time you begin and end each feeding session, as well as the number of ounces your baby eats.
What you'll learn. If your baby isn't gaining the recommended amount of weight for his age, a feeding chart may help your pediatrician figure out why. It will also clue you into your baby's hunger patterns, helping you to create a routine suited to your baby's needs.
How much should your baby be eating? Every infant has her own needs, so follow your baby's cues and consider this a guideline rather than a rule: For the first month, bottle-fed babies should drink about 2 to 3 ounces every 3 to 4 hours. From the end of the first month until 6 months, they should consume about 4 to 6 ounces every 4 hours. Breastfed babies will generally need to be fed for 20 to 60 minutes, eight to twelve times per day.
What to track. Take note of the number of wet and dirty diapers your baby produces each day.
What you'll learn. The number of diapers your baby produces will help you determine whether he's eating enough.
How many diapers should your baby produce each day? Babies should generally produce about six wet diapers each day.
What to track. To keep track of baby's naps and nighttime sleep habits, write down the time you put your baby down and the time she wakes up. It can also be helpful to note the reason she wakes up (whether she was hungry, needed to be changed, etc.)
What you'll learn. Tracking your baby's snooze habits will let you know if he's sleeping the recommended number of hours for his age, and can help you and your pediatrician come up with a plan to prevent any setbacks from becoming habits. Disrupted sleep can also clue you into certain health issues, such as reflux. As with feedings, tracking Baby's sleep will also help you create a routine suited to his needs.
How much sleep should your baby get? Newborns should sleep about 16 to 18 hours per day. Infants between 2 and 4 months of age generally sleep between 14 and 16 hours per day. Babies between 4 and 6 months of age generally sleep 14 to 15 hours per day, and babies 6 months and older generally sleep about 14 hours per day. To see a detailed breakdown of your baby's sleep needs, check this chart.
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