I love lists, planners, apps — all of it. I get obsessive over a lot of things because I'm terrified I'll forget. I have severe ADHD and if I don't keep track of things, or set constant reminders, I'll forget. Breastfeeding was different because babies let you know when they're hungry, but the logs were of paramount importance because I'd forget about how many wet diapers there were, and how long my kids would eat. There are several apps for that and hospitals encourage you to keep a log. But how long should you keep a breastfeeding log?
Breastfeeding logs are a good way to track how often your baby eats, how long your baby is eating, how many diapers they're producing, if they're gaining weight, and how your breasts feel after they've finished. They're by no means mandatory, but moms may find them helpful if they know they benefit by seeing the data charted out. In keeping this sort of log, you can get a good idea if your child is eating well, seeming satisfied, and growing steadily, according to The March of Dimes. While there's no set length of time to track your breastfeeding and your baby's output, it's good to do it until you really know their rhythm to the point where you'd notice a slight shift in their behavior.
There are lots of apps for this, as well as hard copy planner-based logs available if you do want to keep track. There's also around 10 gazillion Pinterest boards dedicated to print-outs, bullet journal guides, and everything else boob-log related. Honestly, I just kept a tiny moleskin in my purse or pocket and wrote it down. I was low-tech when it came to remembering crap (literally) in the moment. Sure, sometimes I had to hunt down a pen with only one eye open, my boob hanging out, and a diaper in my other hand, but I managed. I think if I did it now, I'd use my phone, because let's be honest, it's never far from me.
I spoke with lactation consultant and doula Meghan Taylor to find out about the ins and outs of a breastfeeding log, and to ask her how long you should keep one. She tells Romper, "I only suggest using one if it won't add to your anxiety and make you neurotic." (OK, maybe I shouldn't keep one. I'm pretty much the most neurotic person you'll likely meet.)
"In the first few weeks, you're feeding on-demand, and watching for around six wet diapers a day — after your baby is a week old, around two dirty diapers per day. If your breasts still feel really full after feeding, or your child isn't wetting many diapers, this is when a log becomes important," Taylor explains.
However, if your pediatrician or your obstetrician tells you to keep a log, Taylor suggests asking them for how long you should be tracking. "They might mean between one appointment and the next, or until you get the hang of nursing and tracking poop." There might also be another reason, like your baby was premature or you think you have low supply that is driving the request. "If there is any concern at all about your baby's ability to thrive, that alone is a good enough reason to track and why they might ask you to do so. Especially if your baby isn't gaining back the weight they lost post-birth."
Taylor argues that you shouldn't let it overwhelm you. You can minimize the anxiety related to the tracking by realizing that it's going to be to you and your baby's benefit in the long run. If you track, and for how long, is up to you and your baby's provider, and thankfully, there's no limit to the options available for doing so. After that, maybe go back to having Netflix and Alexa being the only things that track everything you do in your life. Heck, I bet Alexa could even track your breastfeeding.
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