Monday, May 11, 2009

Keep a Log in the Good Times

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I have talked about keeping a log while problem solving (see log ). I wanted to point out the value of keeping a log during the "good times" too.

Your baby is sleeping 1.5-2 hours and eating every 2.5-3 hours. She goes down for her nap on her own without so much as a fuss. Life is good! There are no worries! And therefore, no need to keep a log, right? Not so fast!

I find it very valuable to keep a log during the good times as well as the problem solving times, especially during the newborn period. There will be disruptions during your baby's life--even if it is only in the form of a growth spurt. When that disruption comes, you will likely start to keep a log in order to find out the problem. This will be much more difficult for you if you don't know the particulars during the "good time."

For example, your baby is waking early. You wonder if perhaps her waketime was too long, so you start to track the waketime length to see what happens. If you have been keeping a log all along, you will be able to see what waketime lengths have been good for her in the past and it will remove much of the guesswork.

Another example is that your memory is not going to be that great. For example, one day I started to question if McKenna's waking at night was habitual. She was waking at 1:15 every night--or so I thought. I decided to watch it for the next few nights, but looked at my tracking. Well, last night was 1:15, the night before was 1:15, but the night before was 12:15 (with no dreamfeed, though) and the night before was 3:00...hardly habitual. Having a log to look at helped bring be back to reality.

Keeping a log can be tedious, and you might be wondering how long this needs to go on for. I would say it is good sense to keep a log for the first three months at least. Since many moms find problems arise at four months old, I would extend that advice to four months. If you are feeling really good, you might want to take it to six months old. After that, you might only need to keep a log when you feel a big change coming on, like dropping a nap or introducing solids, etc.

Yes, it takes some effort now, but the effort you put in will pay off in the future as you are able to problem solve much faster. You can track whatever seems pertinent to your baby. I track feeding times, feeding summary (how long she ate, which sides, etc.), diaper summary, time down for nap, any nap notes, and other notes as well. You can track whatever is of importance to your baby.

Below is a screenshot of the log I use right now. If you click on it, you will see a larger image of it. For downloadable files of this log, you can join the Chronicles of a Babywise Mom Yahoo! Group:

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Emily said...

This is off-topic but I am in desperate need of help! I do everything by the babywise book...and it works beautifully. My son started STTN at week 8 and has his awake times down pat and we already get the comments about what a happy, content baby he is. The ONE thing I failed on with BW was nap-time. Before reading BW (i didn't know about it until he was almost 4 weeks) I introduced the pacifier. STUPID ME! Big mistake. He took great naps for awhile but starting at 6 weeks old it's been awful. For the first couple weeks he'd wake up at 45 min and never go back to sleep. Now he won't go to sleep to begin with and will literally MAYBE get a 30 min nap. If he does have a "good nap" they are few and far between (and of course when Daddy is home). He does not wake up at night and also sleeps wonderfully in public when we can't be home for his nap. The pacifier falls out of his mouth every 5 min and he's crying. I've tried the patting and shhing and he'll fall asleep only to cry a few min later. When I go to him he usually smiles at me and is happy, until I leave again. I feel like I have failed as a mother because he will not sleep during naps. I feel guilty not using CIO and I feel guilty thinking of using it since it's MY fault that he's like this! Oh if I'd only known of BW before he was born we would have CIO from the beginning and never done the dang pacifier! He'll be 10 weeks old this you think it's too late to do CIO? And if I do how should i begin it? Should I first take away paci and still come in to comfort then after a certain time period stop going in at all? My husband and I are both on board and feel we can handle bad will it be since he is so old? Is he too old? If he wakes up before his 7 am morning feeding should we let him CIO or comfort? Should I throw out the pacifier b/c wouldn't it be unfair to him to use it only sometimes? Is there a way for this to be semi-easy for my huband and I? Should we turn off baby monitors when doing CIO? Can you tell I'm a first time Mom haha? I totally trust you and all the other BW mom's out there! I need help so badly and reeeealllly will try anything! Thanks so much, sorry such a long comment!

Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias said...

Hey Emily, I figured I'd chime in since I did CIO late with my son too. We started at 9 weeks getting naps in order, though he slept through the night already at 8 weeks old because of Babywise. We allowed a pacifier at that time since he stayed asleep even when it fell out but your problem is not at all uncommon and CIO will be similar with or without the pacifier.

First, poke a hole in the pacifier with a pin, this breaks the suction so it's no longer as satisfying to suck on. Babywise II for 5-15 month olds suggests this. Then use the 4 S's that The Baby Whisperer suggests (Val has a post on this, just check out the index to the right). The 4 S's should help transition him to naptime and calm him. Then lay him down. With CIO there are so many different approaches and all have value. When I did CIO with my 9 week old I waited 15 minutes before going in the first time, then went in every 2-5 minutes until he fell asleep. Listen to the cries carefully to detect a pattern though. It would do more harm than good to go in and pat him when his cry is a settling down kind of cry but if it's an escalating cry you'll definitely want to go in and calm him down or he'll be too worked up to fall asleep.

With my son it took 2 days to get naps in order. I kept a log of his mood during waketime, length of waketime, what time I put him down for each nap, how long it took him to fall asleep, and how long he stayed asleep. This helped me achieve my 2nd goal that weekend, which was to pinpoint his ideal waketime. For Tobias it went something like this: 1 hour the first nap, 45 minutes the 2nd nap, 30 minutes, none, 15 minutes, and none.

Valerie, I can totally attest to the value of keeping a log! I do it every time I'm troubleshooting, making a new schedule, or adding anything to our routine (like Potty time). I also kept a vigilant log for the first 6 weeks, then had to drop it when we were traveling but it was invaluable when I used it! It's also great for when the caretaker changes, such as when mom goes to take a much-needed nap and dad takes over :) I also kept a log for a child I nannied for, which her mom really liked because she knew how she had eaten and slept that day without 30 minutes of me catching her up to speed. That way she could put her to bed early or understand why she wasn't as hungry for dinner. A log makes for seamless transitions.

DoodleBug81 said...

I went to the Yahoo Group, and checked out the log, and it looks great! Would you mind elaborating a bit on how you use the far left column? Where it says 'woke', 'naps', 'sleep', and 'bed', what do you write?

Thank you!

Plowmanators said...


It is definitely not too late to do CIO, even if you still haven't started. You will have to decide how best to go about it. I personally would just take the paci away and start CIO all at the same time. Be sure to look at the blog label "CIO" so you can get all the info I have on it. Some moms use the pacifier successfully; they give it at the start of nap, will reinsert once, and then they don't reinsert.

He definitely isn't too old. Many babies start much older. He will be really upset at first, but he will improve quickly. You should already know things about him, so that is a bonus. Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Thanks for your added thoughts Amanda! I also appreciate your thoughts on waketime length. Kaitlyn had the same length all day, but I am wondering if McKenna has different waketime needs throughout the day. If only she would display some cues :)

Plowmanators said...


Great question. I have gotten it several times :)

Woke=what time baby woke in the morning

Naps=number of hours sleeping in the daytime

Sleep=number of hours sleeping at night


I later changed it to take out naps and put in feedings. Then I put the number of feedings in 24 hours and for sleep put the total sleep in the 24 hours.

celeste said...

Thanks for this post! I started keeping a log and felt a little silly about it, but this makes me feel a lot better! :) for those of you who have iPhones the app Total Baby allows you to track all of these too! I love it! You can also email all of the info to yourself if you want a hardcopy! I love your blog Valerie! I read it multiple times a day and it brings me sanity!

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome Celeste!

lilWill said...

Hi Valerie! I am trying to access the spreadsheet you have on this page but I can't seem to view it. I'm a member on your google group but there's something said about a yahoo group? Can you help please?


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