It's happened to every new parent. You're tired, confused and living in a sort of haze, hardly aware of day or night, when your pediatrician asks you, "So, how many times has he peed in the last 24 hours?" Oh no! Were you supposed to be counting? You may not even know what day of the week it is, let alone how many ounces of milk your baby is consuming at each feeding. That's why a newborn care log (on paper, on the computer, or in an app) can be a wonderful tool. It's especially good when baby has multiple caregivers – that way everyone knows what's happening and when, and any unusual changes get spotted right away.
Care logs can help you note when your baby eats and how much, whether or not he seems gassy or distressed, when his diaper needs to be changed, how long he sleeps, and any other parts of his routine. It's also a great way to see patterns emerging in your newborn's behavior – for example, does he sleep better when he has a bath before bed? Is he more likely to wake up early if he eats less at night? Over time, this type of information will help you get to know your baby and help transition him to more regular patterns of eating and sleeping, if you chose to.
A sample log page might look something like this:
5:30am, Nursing, starting on the right side, 12 mins. Then pumping, both breasts, 4oz.
5:30-7:30am. Napping lightly, woke up fussy.
7:30am, Bottle of pumped milk, 3 oz.
7:45am, Diaper change. Wet.
7:45-8:15am, Alert and playful.
8:15-9am, Gassy, seemed uncomfortable.
9am, Diaper change. Meconium.
9:15am, Nursing, left side, 8 mins.
And so on.
And if pen and paper is too low-tech, you'll find many phone and tablet apps that handle the logging for you.
If you plan on returning to work, these logs can also be a great tool to pass on to other caregivers to let them know what to expect from your little one's routine. Just be sure to treat the log as a tool and not one more thing to stress about!