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Breastfeeding: Keeping Track Simply
So you can't remember which breast to start on?
Here is a simple, helpful chart to keep track of all of the important information you need as a breastfeeding mom.
If you're looking up helpful hints on breastfeeding, you are probably a new mom attempting to understand the chat room lingo on approximately 45 minutes of sleep. Trust me, I've been there. As a mom to an EBF baby (exclusively breast fed...took me a while to figure that one out!) I know full well what it's like to have a hungry, screaming baby in front of you and think "ok now what side am I on?"
Download This Free Chart
A Simple Solution
There are two important things to keep track of when you are breastfeeding a newborn. 1. Is your baby meeting all healthy growth indicators? (i.e is your baby pooping and peeing enough?) And 2. Keeping track of what breast you lead off with for each feeding, as you are supposed to rotate.
Seems easy, right? It's not. Especially when you are feeding every two hours around the clock.
As a breastfeeding mom, you're probably worried about whether or not your baby is getting enough milk. The two major indicators (before you get into the doctor's office and they can weigh the baby and give you a solid answer) are the number of the baby's poop and pee filled diapers (aka BMs <bowel movements> and Wet Diapers). For answers on what is "right" you can check out the Kelly Mom website. This link will bring you right to the page with the healthy growth indicators: http://kellymom.com/bf/supply/enough-milk.html
(Kelly Mom is an excellent and thorough source for all breastfeeding questions...and you won't find any hard to digest chat room lingo)!
Another great source for growth indicators is the book On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Bucknam, M.D. Even if you disagree with their sleep theories, there are great charts in the back for keeping track of BMs and Wet Diapers. Let's face it, when you are changing 12 diapers in 24 hours and the days and nights are all blurred together, it's impossible to keep track of what you're finding in your baby's diaper when you're relying on memory alone.
Onto the second problem: keeping track of what side you should start nursing on. In the good old days, mothers would put a pin on the side of the bra that they led off with at each feeding. For a new age approach (and $24.99) you can buy an "Itzbeen" (http://www.itzbeen.com/). This is kind of like a timer / reminder for when you last fed the baby, what side you started with, when you last changed them, etc. I have friends who swear by it (especially the ones with multiple children). I never used it because I found I wanted permanent records of the information, and the Itzbeen is only good from one feeding/changing to the next. Also, the Itzbeen doesn't keep track of the number of BMs / Wet Diapers.
SO what's the answer that combines all of these features into one place? Download my chart. The price is right: FREE.
Print out A LOT of copies. Put them in a binder if that suits you. Use one chart per day, marking what time you fed, how long the feeding lasted, what side you started on, and if you change them, what you found in the baby's diaper. (Feedings and diaper changes tend to go hand in hand with newborns. A diaper change mid-feed is helpful for keeping the baby awake long enough to take in a full feeding). The chart also allows you to keep track of whether or not you pumped and how many ounces of milk it produced.
Start the chart at the first feeding after midnight. Mark the time the feeding begins and the time it ends. Circle L (Left) or R (right) to indicate what side you lead off on. Put a check mark under the BM and Wet columns, depending on what you find during the diaper change. And if you use the breast pump in addition, you can mark what side you pump and how many ounces you produce.
It's such a simple solution, but it works.
Keep in mind that you will still need to do your due diligence and know what the growth indicators are, how many poops/pees a day you should have, what consistency the poop should be, etc. But when it comes to keeping track of each feeding and diaper change, just fill in the chart and you will be covered!
Take the sheets with you to your first couple of "well baby" visits. That way if there are any weight gain issues, you will have concrete answers as to how often you're feeding, how long the feedings are lasting, and how much your baby is putting out into his/her diaper.