Keeping track of your preemie or full-term baby's daily routine can be challenging. It's hard to remember simple things, such as how much your baby eats or when you last changed a diaper, especially after a night of interrupted sleep.
To keep tabs on our preemie, we function like a mini-Neonatal Intensive Care
Unit (NICU) and chart everything. The information we chart is
not preemie-specific, and may also be helpful to a parent with a
Our tracking system allows us to record pee, the amount of formula
that our baby eats, medications, and poop. I like to call
it the Pee, Eat, and Poop Chart, or PEP Chart for short. It's a simple spreadsheet that can be
customized to fit your own personal needs.
Most importantly, the tracking system allows you to record the amount of
food your baby is eating. We convert the
volume of food consumed into calories to identify patterns, such as time-of-day
eating preferences, and to determine if and where improvements can be made. We record calories in the notes section of
the PEP Chart at the end of each day. I'm not a rocket scientist, so I
may create a calorie count cheat sheet so that I don't have to so much math in
my head. Stay tuned for a future blog post on feeding difficulties and
In addition to food-related information, the PEP Chart allows you to check a
box to record when your baby pees or poops. The chart also includes
helpful reminders (the letter "D" and the letter
"I") for the administration of vitamins, such as
Vitamin D and Polyvisol with Iron. We simply circle the appropriate
letters after the vitamins have been administered. That way, there's no
question as to when and if the appropriate vitamins have been
given. Additionally, we record throw-up, naps, doctor visits, and other
helpful information in the notes section of the PEP Chart.
Although there are smart phone applications and battery-operated gadgets
designed to keep track of daily baby activities, paper works best for my
family. That way, if I wake up for the 2:00 a.m. feeding, my husband can
figure out what happened during the middle of the night without waking me -- or
searching for my cell phone -- for the 6:00 a.m. feeding.