Monday, September 23, 2013

Tracking Your Baby's Daily Activities: Try Our Pee, Eat, and Poop Chart

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 full-term baby.

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 calorie counts.

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.

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