How to Track Your Baby's Feedings, Diapers, and Sleep

Learn how to create a few simple charts to keep track of your baby's health.

There is nothing sweeter on this green earth than a new baby. But since babies don't come with a user manual, it can be easy for a parent to get worried about how much their little one is eating—is it enough? Should you feed more? Even funky diapers or sudden changes in sleep can throw a parent for a loop and set them up for a lot of worry.

To help ease these common fears, try tracking your baby's feedings, diaper changes, and sleep patterns. It's not as complicated as it sounds and can provide you and your pediatrician with valuable information for times when something seems off, like if your baby develops constipation or an allergy.

Here's everything you need to know about how to track your baby's feeding, diaper changes, and sleep.

How to Start Tracking Your Baby

Tracking your baby doesn't have to be overly complicated. For those who love keeping information all in one place, like an app, many free baby tracking apps are on the market now. For others, you can use a notepad, a Word or Google document, Excel, or even a printable from Pinterest.

Ensure that the tracking system you choose is easy to understand and follow. It helps if the tracker is also portable so that you can easily keep it with you throughout your day, especially if you're running errands or traveling.

Some important information to make sure you include in your tracker is:

  • Your child's pediatrician contact info and any appointments
  • Note any allergies or health issues that anyone else reading the tracker should know
  • Space to take short notes, such as medication schedules
Alexandra Grablewski

Tracking Your Baby's Feedings

One of the most common worries that new parents have is whether or not their baby is eating enough, especially breastfeeding parents, since you can't measure how much milk your baby is ingesting. Tracking feeding can help you feel more confident, plus it can also help you spot any potential issues like digestion issues or potential food sensitivities. Here is what you need to know.

What to track

If you're breastfeeding, write down when 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 and the number of ounces your baby eats.

What you'll learn

If your baby isn't gaining the recommended amount of weight for their 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 their 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.

Tracking Your Baby's Diapers

Diaper duty might be one of the most unpleasant jobs as a parent, but if your child is ever feeling under the weather, that dirty diaper can hold a wealth of information. Too many dry diapers may mean dehydration. That diaper blowout? It could mean that your baby has diarrhea. Here's how to track diapers.

What to track

Take note of the number of wet and dirty diapers your baby produces daily. If your baby is experiencing constipation, diarrhea, or other bowel issues, track the color and consistency of their bowel movements. This information can help your pediatrician pinpoint a cause for that upset tummy.

What you'll learn

The number of diapers your baby produces will help you determine whether they're eating enough and if there is a digestion or health issue.

How many diapers should your baby produce each day?

Babies should generally produce about six wet diapers each day. If infants younger than 6 months produce little or no urine in 4 to 6 hours, they may be dehydrated, and a call to the pediatrician is warranted.

Tracking Your Baby's Sleep

When you first bring your baby home, you will notice that they sleep a lot. But as your baby grows, new sleeping patterns will emerge that may leave you feeling mystified. One way to help identify any sleep issues is to track your baby's sleep schedules, including when they go to sleep, how long they sleep, and any problems that may arise.

What to track

To keep track of your baby's naps and nighttime sleep habits, write down the time you put your baby down and the time they wake up. It can also be helpful to note the reason your little one wakes up (hunger, wet diaper, interruptions, etc.)

What you'll learn

Tracking your baby's snooze habits will let you know if they're sleeping the recommended number of hours for their age and can help you and your pediatrician devise a plan to prevent any setbacks from becoming habits. Disrupted sleep can also clue you into specific health issues, such as reflux. As with feeding, tracking your infant's sleep will also help you create a routine suited to their 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 typically sleep 14 to 15 hours per day, and babies 6 months and older generally sleep about 14 hours per day.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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