On the hunt for the best baby tracking app? Read this before downloading a baby tracking app (that you'll delete next week anyway)
You're in the right place if you're a new parent—or mama-to-be—and recently got the memo that baby tracking is essential. Let me bring you up to speed if you don't find yourself in one of those categories. Baby tracking is notating critical details of a newborn or young infant, including but not limited to feedings, diapers, and naps/sleep (within 24 hours).
With an explosion of baby tracking apps over the last 20 years, parents are clearly tracking their babies more than ever. But, is this abundance of baby data producing better, happier parents or more neurotic, data-focused caregivers less able to adapt to the stressors and demands of childrearing?
I'd argue that it's not the baby tracking that's the heart of the issue, but rather the format in which baby tracking is done. Many millennial moms opt for digital apps to track feeds and diapers, only to lose hours scrolling on TikTok. Perhaps the constant need for mothers to always be "connected" to digital devices increases the likelihood of googling to oblivion—only to be convinced baby has: insert 'terrible-skin-condition momfluencers-are-talking-about-this-hour. Just a thought.
As archaic as it may sound, "old school" pen and paper baby tracking have more advantages than it may appear. (And calling your pediatrician/provider before—or instead of—googling yourself to tears is always the better way to go). I'm not suggesting that baby tracking is unnecessary—quite the contrary! I'd venture to say baby tracking can be one of (if not the best) tools you can use to discover your baby's patterns and build YOUR confidence, too.
But, before you download a baby tracking app, check out the 7 reasons paper tracking could be the better choice for you and your baby.
Digital baby tracking apps are unreliable.
Scrolling and tapping and freezing, oh my! With so many windows to tap and scroll through to get to the actual tracking location. In a fraction of a second, with paper baby tracking, you can jot down a quick breastfeeding session/bottle, diaper, AND nap without a robust wifi connection or fears of an inevitable crash or a frozen screen. Because let's be honest, if you're holding something frozen, it should be a tasty treat (frozen marg anyone?), not your phone!
Your time awake is precious! Don't spend it scrolling, tapping, waiting on—or heaven forbid—forgetting your password and jumping through all the reset emails just to input information about a poopy diaper.
Not to mention, downloading a clunky app (with constant updates) takes up ever-evaporating space on your phone. Why not save room for more meaningful videos and pictures? Chances are, your extra storage space is rapidly evaporating before your eyes, with pixels of every smile, bath, and milestone more irresistible than the last. And you know what they say: "The days are long, but the years are short,"—so add the priceless pictures and videos, not the data-sucking, battery-draining baby tracking apps that add no value down the road.
Most baby tracking apps are not great with multiple users!
Like when grandma (aunt, relative, or friend) comes over to watch baby. She won't sign in and log the information; she wants to snuggle. She's also likely to not know her app store password to even download said app (still love you, mom)!
Leaving the house doesn't get any easier with a paper baby tracker. Because everything is written down, your spouse/partner can quickly jump in when you need to run a quick errand or nap without missing a beat or listening to a 15-minute morning summary.
Victoria ditched her baby tracking app and switched to a TinyTracker after a frustrating first 8 weeks postpartum juggling the app between her husband and mom. She noticed upload discrepancies when her husband logged the feeds, and grandma made it abundantly clear she wanted nothing to do with the digital app. She explained it like this:
"The TinyTracker has been a total game changer! My husband and I were originally using an app to track everything, but I was frustrated with it not updating between users, and Grandmas were also having trouble navigating the app. But TinyTracker solved all of the issues that we were having! I absolutely love that it is organized enough to track all the important things but also provides flexibility and space to track other things as well; I have been exclusively pumping, and the TinyTracker has allowed me to track our freezer stash with ease. I wish I had ordered this week before birth to read through all the amazing tips, especially as a first-time mom. The book is absolutely adorable, and I love that it doubles as a keepsake. I can't recommend TinyTracker enough!" -Victoria D.
Baby tracking apps are not twin friendly.
Good luck finding an intuitive, simple baby tracking app if you're a twin mom. Five years ago, there was nothing on the market, digitally or physically, to track twins. So I created the first TinyTracker (which is still one of my most prized possessions. See #4 below). In the TinyTracker Twin Edition, both babies' data are on the same page, side by side, so you can easily see the rundown of the day for both babies in one glance. (Not multiple taps or screens).
"The TinyTracker is a necessary tool for "mom brain" and a "can't live without" for multiples." - Elizabeth C.
Data and graphs are dandy, but memories matter in the long run.
With space to jot down milestones and notes on who came to visit, medications, or questions that come up throughout the day for your pediatrician, paper seems far more valuable than a single fancy pants graph that, at the moment, is cool but later is meaningless. It's incredibly easier to see the day-to-day changes, and notice patterns emerge as you flip through the pages—which, in my opinion, can be your parenting superpower—giving you a firm grasp on the day-to-day events can help you anticipate baby's needs, decode baby's cries and ultimately boost your confidence.
Also, when you're finished tracking your baby, you'll have nothing to show if you've only used an app. A memory book doesn't magically appear. A paper tracker, on the other hand, like the TinyTracker, is a memory book and tracker all in one (it's also a milestone and development guide, doctor appointment tracker, planner, and essential baby care guide). A paper tracker becomes more like a day-to-day diary with your little one.
In fact, the TinyTracker actually features a dedicated memory book section. It's simple enough not to overwhelm (perfect handwriting definitely NOT required) and thorough enough to cover all the bases. With dedicated space to add a baby's hospital band, a fill-in family tree, and a transparent back envelope, making a baby book has never been more straightforward.
Here's what Miranda H. had to say about using her TinyTracker:
"The TinyTracker is something I can save and share with my daughter when she is older and something my husband and I could write in together. We really appreciated having a physical journal, not just an app!" -Miranda H.
And as an added bonus, if or when additional littles join the fold, you can open up your paper baby tracker to refresh your memory about the early newborn days. #momnesia is definitely a thing. Yes, you will forget how often and how much an infant eats during the first few days and months of life.
Baby tracking apps are not customizable.
What if you want to add notes like medications, reminders to babysitters, notes on how the day went, and recording your pumping times or outputs? Without paper, it's not really possible. And the other thing, babies are predictably unpredictable. You'll want to write down some of the fun moments and milestones in the margins of the pages.
In fact, actually took my TinyTracker to the hospital with my third, Annie, and the nurses added her footprints inside- can an app do that? Absolutely not.
"Beautiful quality! I love all the little details and the embroidered personalization. Very practical as well and great for everyday tracking/unique events. Can't wait to fill the pages with everything special about our little guy. Thank you so much!" -Kate S.
You don't always have your phone nearby (or fully charged).
Am I the only one that can never find my phone? When juggling a newborn and all its duties, the simplest activities become exponentially more difficult. Things like: remembering when you last ate or where you put your phone down (and praying it's charged so you can find it).
With a postpartum planner like the TinyTracker, you're less likely to be forced to fish it from the couch cushions. Most moms feed their babies in the same spot and can keep a paper planner where they're most likely to use it: on the nightstand, a table in the nursery, a coffee table, or a portable nursing cart. Another bonus? Paper baby trackers don't rely on your wifi connection, data plan, or battery life.
Baby tracking apps are glorified spreadsheets.
...and a dime a dozen. The primary value of a tracking app for your newborn relies on YOU inputting information, with no inherent value other than a glorified spreadsheet on your phone wrapped up as a shiny app.
With a paper tracker, not only does it allow you to keep everything in one spot, but the extra content within the pages is unmatched by any app. When I couldn't find one that met my needs (read: it needed to be beautiful AND functional), I created my own—and the TinyTracker was born.
The mother of all paper trackers.
The TinyTracker is a must-have baby book for new moms seeking sanity. It's a 3-in-one planner, baby feeding and sleep tracker, and development guide. With sections to keep important phone numbers, doctor appointment notes, and a dedicated memory book section complete with space to tape in the baby's hospital band, the TinyTracker is a sleep-deprived mom's dream.
One section, penned by pediatric occupational and physical therapists, features a quick rundown of 0-3 and 4-6 month motor development and infant milestones. Then, the TinyTracker takes it one step further and incorporates 180 simple sensory activities at the top of each daily tracking page to boost baby's brain development. Can you feel the overwhelm lifting?
Lastly, with a TinyTips section with baby care tips from pediatricians and experienced moms alike and a 6-month blank calendar, it's practically a type-A mama's dream.
The TinyTracker does the job of 5 apps combined (calendar, tracker, infant development, parenting tips, and memory book) with no data usage or digital distractions.
Then when you add a clear envelope in the back (for storing away little treasures), a pen holder, gold foil, and linen details throughout, it's a postpartum planner, grand millennial style. So whether you track your baby's feeds, sleep, and diapers for 6 days, 6 weeks, or 6 months, the TinyTracker's got you covered.
New mom Ashley is obsessed with the versatility of the TinyTracker:
"Absolutely love this. It is so well made and perfectly put together for the everyday new mom. I love that it has areas for calendars, doctor visits (because there are so many in the first few months), feeding, changing, and anything else I need to keep track of while having a new little one. I will be buying for new mom friends because I think it will help keep them organized when you feel like everything is a little crazy. Thank you!" -Ashley M.
And Loren, a first-time mom (and a labor and delivery nurse), sums up her TinyTracker experience like this:
"The TinyTracker is essentially the Bible of babyhood! It helps guide you and gives you tips when you didn't even know you needed them." -Loren E.
On the surface, baby tracking on paper seems archaic, so last century. Yet the sanity-saving and keepsake-worthy simplicity of the TinyTracker is worth a look before you download the baby app you'll most likely delete next week anyway.