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  • Why You Need to Track Your Baby's Eating and Sleeping Patterns

    There are some benefits to knowing how many times and how long your baby feeds or sleeps.
    by Rachel Perez .
  • Having a new baby in the house will literally turn your life upside down. Don't expect them to have a schedule like yours who eats three to five meals a day and sleeps at nighttime. 

    New mom Saab Magalona recently shared that she's been keeping track of her son Pancho's eating and sleeping patterns. Pancho had been a preemie and stayed for about two months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Saab and husband Jim Bacarro have been taking turns attending to their son's needs since his homecoming from the NICU. 

    Saab said she downloaded and tried many smartphone tracking apps. "But I’m an analog girl at heart," Saab wrote as a caption for a photo of the handwritten templates she and Jim use to track Pancho's eating and sleeping patterns.

    They keep the templates above the little boy's crib for easy access. "Still trying to understand Pancho’s pattern," she adds.  

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    The comments to her posts show Saab is not alone. Many moms still write things down with pen and paper to track a baby's eat-sleep pattern. Some parents had even suggested keeping track on a whiteboard or laminated template so as not to waste paper.

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    Writing down everything down sound tasking especially when you're already exhausted. But parents could learn a lot from it and it can tell you about your baby. 

    Feedings
    Log the time you start and finish breastfeeding, whether you switched to the other breast and how long you nursed on each breast. Do the same if you're bottle feeding or mixed feeding. 

    Babies feed on demand after about every one to two hours, or ever four hours if your baby is cluster breastfeeding. You may offer your breast or bottle if you feel it's time for another feeding session, but don't force your baby to feed if he doesn't want to yet. (Read more about baby's hunger cues here.)

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    You'll end up with a feeding chart, and you can use the chart as a guide when creating a routine that suits your baby's needs. It can also help mom balance feeding sessions between breasts to prevent having engorged breasts. If your baby is not gaining weight, the feeding chart can help your baby's pediatrician to figure out why. 

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    Nappy changes
    Track how many nappy changes your baby has in a day and how many of those are wet with pee and dirty with poop. Also, take note of the color and consistency of your baby's bowels. 

    A one-day-old newborn would produce only one wet or soiled diaper, according to L.A.T.C.H. Philippines. The number of wet and spoiled nappies a little one produces should increase as he consumes more milk as days pass by. After a week, he should produce at least six wet diapers and two soiled ones. 

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    The number of soiled diapers your baby churn out can tell you if your baby is getting enough milk. It can also clue you in about your baby's health, whether he's dehydrated, constipated, or what not. (Click here to know what baby poop can tell you.)

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    Sleep and nap times
    Note the times your baby takes a nap, the time you put your baby down to sleep, and the time he wakes up. You can also add why your baby woke up, such as he's hungry, needs a nappy change, or startled by a loud noise. 

    Newborns or babies age zero to three months eat and sleep 24/7, up to 20 hours in a day but not in one long stretch. They wake up several times a night because they need to feed. Their sleep cycle is also not yet set because they don't have an idea of night and day, so you may not notice any sleeping pattern. There's nothing you can do but and track it (and try to sleep when your baby is asleep).

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    Tracking your baby's sleep and naptime, however, can tell you if your little one is meeting the sleep requirements for his age. It can also help you identify your baby's sleep cues, and work a routine schedule around his nap times. You can also use the information to start sleep training your baby as early as three months.

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