Baby Feeding Math

We have a new baby in the house and with her arrival came various logical riddles that appear very simple, yet the solutions are not trivial although can mean quiet, health and happiness of the whole household.

What time did I last feed her?
What breast did I last feed her from?
How much did she drink?

While I have been trying to remember the last feeding times, I have not always been able to keep track of the "last breast." In many cases you can feel the pressure of the milk, however not always - just recollect the sleepless zombie state new parents find themselves in. I mentioned this problem in my newsletter and many of you wrote suggesting placing a sticker on a bra, writing L or R on a notepad, moving a ring from one hand to another. Someone proposed this as a great idea for a startup.

Today another creative solution arrived by mail from the Similac baby formula company. A present or an advertising trick, depending on how you look at it.  An elegant hand bracelet:

Instructions advise to put the bracelet on the hand corresponding to the side of the last feeding (when breastfeeding) and slide the heart-shaped window to the mark corresponding to the time of the last feeding. Two riddles are solved with one bracelet! Very neat - I am already using it.

Another puzzling and usually annoying question that is frequently asked by nurses, doctors or grandmothers is: "How much milk does your baby consume in one feeding?" When baby is on a formula - it is easy to answer. When breastfeeding - the only way to answer this would be to pump, measure, then feed.  Too much work just to satisfy the curiosity. Feeding time may give a clue to the answer, but as experience shows milk sucking speed depends on the baby's age, temper and hunger state. What other optios are there? You may weigh the baby before and after the feeding or weigh the mom, but the 100-200mg consumed will likely get lost in the noise of the weighting scale or a burp.

Undoubtedly various creative solutions to these questions are in the works.  Have your own ideas - rush to patent it; use someone else's idea - share it with us.


  1. Here is another idea emailed by my friend:

    A thought on breastfeeding and knowing which side to start on. When my daughter was born, I had a spreadsheet hanging on the wall in her bedroom. I would check it off every time I fed her, and every time I changed her diaper, so I could keep track of which side I started feeding, and how many times in a 24 hour period she would pee and poop. You could make it just have one day per sheet, or 3 days per sheet, or 5, etc...

  2. "the only way to answer this would be to pump, measure, then feed" - believe it or not, I did that. However, it wasn't as much that I was nervous about how much she ate -- it was because for the first 3 months, my daughter couldn't latch on, so the only way to feed her was to pump and feed the pumped milk from a bottle. After the first 3 months, she was finally able to latch on, and by then, I wasn't as worried about how much she was eating, because I knew that she was eating enough...

    In Russia, when I was an infant, my mother had an infant scale, and they would weigh me before and after each feeding, to know how much I ate...

    - E.

  3. I've always had my eye on this gadget: but when I was breastfeeding I switched a bracelet from one side to the other and hoped for the best.

    When I went to the lactation consultant she had a special, very accurate scale. She stripped the baby down to diaper, weighed her, I fed her and then she weighed her again. You can buy these scales and a friend of mine has one.

  4. When my son was born I downloaded an App called Baby connect ( Where you can monitor all the baby activities. Feeding, diapers and sleeping, growth charts, and much more.
    I used it mainly for sleeping and feeding while I nursed. They have all these charts later that you can see sleeping patters and so forth. I half laugh at myself for suggesting this, this is such a sign of our time - mom needs an application to manage the baby... but for me it was a nice toy and because we are not very organized when it comes to schedule - in fact I prefer to be flexible and not have the baby's schedule rule the house - this helped me to see if overall he is sleeping enough etc.


  5. I checked out the gadget that Tricia recommended (available from Amazon for only $17 with great reviews) and found the following in the very first review:

    "You see, one of the skills that really suffers with sleep deprivation is math. If you can even mentally keep track of the times or write them down, doing the "hours" math on when our baby last fed, when she had her diaper changed, etc. is really not as easy as it sounds when you've had no more than about 45 minutes of continuous sleep for four days. So this does it for you - four timers with little icons and a left/right slider for breastfeeding (which is also a tough thing to remember, but something you really don't want to forget). It is exceedingly simple - press the icon button and it restarts the timer - perfect for the sleep-deprived mind"

  6. That is one useful bracelet! I wish I can see more innovative baby products that can help first time moms such as myself.


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