Fun fact: Baby Y has nursed for about 430 hours and gone through roughly 1350 diapers since birth.*

Obviously, I don’t know that off the top of my head. My iPhone has become my second brain when it comes to baby care, thanks to an app called Baby Connect. The concept is pretty simple – it lets you keep track of anything and everything related to your child, whether it’s feedings, sleep, diapers, or just about anything else.

Right before I gave birth, I researched baby-care apps and found out that there were many – but almost all of them were lacking the one thing I wanted most: the ability to sync data with another user. I knew Papa Y and I would be taking turns on baby duty, and we wanted something that would save us the trouble of having to rattle off when Baby Y had last napped, eaten, or pooped. Enter Baby Connect.

Baby Connect screenshots

It’s hard to overstate how great this app was in the early weeks. Baby Y dropped a lot of weight initially, so we were extremely anal about tracking every input and output. Papa Y was (and still is) a little obsessed with the diaper tracker. Not only can you track the fact that you changed the diaper, but also what kind (poopy, wet, both) and the “state of the goods” if you will: quantity (small, medium, large) consistency (11 to choose from!) color (9 to choose from!) and whether there was a leak and/or open-air accident.

The feeding section lets you track bottles, nursing sessions, and solids. I most often use the nursing tracker, which lets me note how long Baby Y eats on each side, and which side he left off on. Quite simple, as are the bottle/solids trackers, though those allow a bit more detail – type of food consumed, amount, whether baby refused to eat, etc.

At almost eight months, though, I’m less concerned with inputs and outputs – clearly everything is in working order! – and more concerned with sleep. Every time Baby Y shuts his eyes, I turn on the app’s sleep timer. It helped me identify pretty early on that he had a roughly 40-45 minute sleep cycle, and remains helpful as new trends emerge with naps (getting longer – yay!) and night wakings.

Baby Connect screenshots

There are a ton of other features/trackers, including:

• Baby’s mood (happy, fussing, crying, etc.)
• Baby’s activities (bathtime, reading, playing alone, going on a walk, etc.)
• Medical stuff (temperature, medicines, vaccines, weight/height – the growth charts are very helpful)
• Milestones (rolls over, sits up, etc.)
• Pumping
• Potty sessions (I’m sure this one is in our future)
• Drop offs/pick-ups (This would be handy for parents who have others take their LOs to daycare or a babysitter)

Whew! That’s a lot of data. There are also several ways you can view it – most days I just look at the list that tracks entries chronologically, but there’s also a summary view, bar graphs, and timelines, which are really interesting when you’re looking at long-term trends and patterns. You can customize the app’s homepage to include the features you use most, and you can also export the data in HTML or a spreadsheet-friendly format.

I realize there are other ways to track baby care: namely 1) a pad of paper or 2) a gadget like the Itzbeen. The paper is free, certainly, and you can definitely go low-tech if you don’t want to track much beyond feedings and diapers for the first couple of weeks. The Itzbeen could work, too, but it’s essentially a glorified timer, is more expensive than an app, and is yet another thing to carry around.

Criticisms? Well, I’ve rarely had to enter data online, but the web interface isn’t nearly as slick or detailed. And sometimes I’m afraid I’ve become too reliant on this – remembering which side I last nursed on when I didn’t put in the last feeding session is almost impossible. But aside from the app actually singing my child to sleep, I can’t ask for a whole more for $4.99!

Do you track baby data? What method will you use?

* Actually, probably more – sometimes we miss stuff!