If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you know that I am very Type A. I am organized and research obsessively and write everything down and thrive on routine, schedules, being in control. From the minute Owen was born three years ago he challenged these tendencies (as babies tend to do), and since then my personality has shifted significantly to be much more in-the-moment and flexible. Still, though, my structured ways remain in tact in many ways, and thankfully as Owen grew up, it turned out he, too, thrived on regular nap and bedtimes and the repetition and predictability of a structured day.
In an effort to understand my newborn in the best way I knew how, I made lists and charts and kept notes on just about everything Owen did and when he did it. Even in the hospital mere hours after he was born I was filling out charts of how many dirty diapers he’d had, how often he nursed, how many minutes on each side. As his feeding issues escalated I had spiral notebooks filled with notes about each feeding, what I ate, how it went, how he cried, how much weight he gained. Same with sleep — I charted and highlighted and looked for trends and counted hours. As a new parent, this helped me make sense of the world of unknowns I was facing.
Fast forward 3 years to Emmett’s arrival and it’s like I am a different person.
I don’t know if it is the clear-headed perspective of the 2nd time mom or the fact that I researched and documented my brains out on Owen, but I have a completely different philosophy this time around. On day 1 of Emmett’s life the nurse encouraged me to feed him every two hours and to look into using an app on my phone to document feedings and diapers until things normalized. While I stuck to the feedings every two hours and checked out a few apps, I quickly realized that I had no interest in/need for documenting every breath and twitch and drop of pee.
I wanted to enjoy my baby, work on breastfeeding and maybe get a little sleep instead of spending my hours filling up spiral notebooks. I kept mental notes of when the last time I fed him was, and what side we ended nursing on. That was it. I didn’t stress over times or minutes or number of diapers. If he seemed hungry before the 2 hour time frame, I fed him again. If his eyelids drooped, I helped him sleep. If he wanted to be awake, I gazed into his eyes and enjoyed those brief moments instead of trying to make him sleep (a futile effort, anyway). We’re 3 weeks in and I’m still following the same guidelines, with very few expectations about what “should” be happening at a given moment.
It’s incredibly, incredibly freeing.
And, even though I don’t have any written proof, I can assure you so far Emmett is just about as structured as his older brother (eats every 2 hours during the day and averages every 3 at night, poops/pees regularly/constantly). Just because I’m not always analyzing his habits doesn’t mean they are any less “regular”, it just means I have a lot more free time.
That said, I don’t think it would have worked to be quite so carefree with my 1st baby. I just didn’t know enough. I needed the information in my spiral notebooks so I could make sure we were doing what we were supposed to be doing. It was my ammo at doctor’s appointments or when Googling the many, many questions I had as a new parent.
There are many apps available to help document this type of information without weighing a new parent down with notebooks or requiring them to create homemade excel spreadsheets. I had the opportunity recently to give one of them, NuuNest, a test-drive when Emmett was born.
- GREAT information. One of the things that sets this app apart from other baby trackers is that it is loaded with tips and tricks (about everything from car seats to safe sleep to poop) from the creators, Cindy and Jana, who are nurses and lactation consultants. On almost every screen there are tidbits of information that are important for parents of newborns, especially first-timers.
- Tracking. You can track breastfeeding, diapers, and even things like giving your baby Vitamin D, which can be so easy to forget to do. They have easy-to-set-up push notifications and alerts that you can use as reminders if you want to as well.
- Baby profiles. NuuNest allows you to set up profiles for your baby/babies with their birth information so you can track weight gain and other details as well. This would be extremely helpful for parents of multiples, as many apps that I’ve seen assume that you have only one child.
- Design. I like the clean lines and simple design of the app. No cutesy pictures or silly icons… nice for a designophile like myself.
- Entering past/missed feeding information or deleting incorrect information. In the hospital when I started using the app, I wanted to input past breastfeeding sessions so I could have the “complete” picture, rather than starting from Day 2 or whenever it was that I actually had the time to pick up my phone. I found the inputting kind of tricky if it wasn’t a “current” session and couldn’t easily figure out how to delete/change information if I put it in wrong. Note: This is probably user error, but it was frustrating enough for me to check out other apps when I couldn’t figure out how to get my info entered quickly and correctly.
- Automatic push notifications/reminders. I looked at the app a few weeks before Emmett was born, just to check it out. Once I opened it and started poking around, some notifications/reminders were already set up and every time I opened my phone it said things like “You haven’t recorded giving your baby vitamin D yet today” or “You haven’t recorded any diapers”. Umm, right. I don’t have a baby yet. It took me too long to figure out how to turn them off and they were annoying. That said, if I had been a normal person only opening the app once my baby was born, these reminders could have been considered helpful and not annoying!
Aside from the two dislikes above (which were really more MY issues than the app’s), I think NuuNest is an excellent resource for parents. It tracks only the vital information and acts as a great resource at a time when there are so many new things to learn.
What apps do you use for your new baby?
*I was not compensated for this review. Cindy (one of the NuuNest creators) reached out and offered to let me poke around the app for free and I offered to test it out and review it. All opinions are my own!