Want to feel more confident and less stressed about parenting your baby? I’ve got two words for you: baby journal.
Keeping a baby journal is one of the biggest littlest things you can do to improve your baby’s sleep, your sanity, and everything in between. In fact, it’s one of the very first things we teach our sleep coaching clients. (We have the only money-back sleeping guarantee in the biz, did I mention that? :-))
Why Should You Keep a Baby Journal?
- A baby journal will save your sanity. (You’re too tired to remember diddly.)
- Journaling will protect your pride at the doctor’s office. (No more feeling foolish when answering questions.)
- It will help you predict the future. (I predict better sleep…)
- Journalling preserves memories that are likely to slip away. (Trust me, you won’t remember that funny story if you don’t write it down.)
Ready to zoom out and see how baby journaling does all these things? Read on, my friend…
Baby Journal Reason #1:
It Will Save Your Sanity
You are tired. Trying to remember when your baby last ate, or what time he woke up is just too much to expect. That’s information you need to know…but won’t remember.
Using a baby journal takes that information right out of your head and puts it on the page, removing the stress that goes with not being sure what really happened.
By the way, I do recommend setting up a daily rhythm to your baby’s eating and sleeping. This rhythm is incredibly important in helping your baby’s brain find the sleeping patterns that will help him develop positive sleep skills.
I’ve written a series of articles to help with how to find that daily rhythm at various ages. All of these include free printables to use at home.
Baby Journal Reason #2:
You Won’t Remember (Trust Me.)
I realize that many of you friendly readers are thinking why should I get a physical book instead of using an app? Let me propose six reasons a physical baby journal is better than an app:
- Studies have shown that writing things down (instead of tapping a screen) helps commit things to memory and helps categorize concepts and facts. This is really important as you try to troubleshoot why your baby is doing things. Especially since he can’t tell you.
- Your baby’s health isn’t the only thing you want to track. Are you trying to lose baby weight? Keep your food and exercise journal in the same spot as your baby’s.
- An app can be deleted or buried in a new phone upgrade. This will be around forever as a testimony to that first year of your child’s life (and as a reference for future kids!)
- Face it, you’re not going to subject yourself to the blinding glare of your phone screen at 3am to jot down a note or time (unless you don’t mind being awake until 5). Using a booklet lets you capture the information you need without disrupting your brain’s “sleepy mode”.
- There’s something wonderful about a book. It’s reassuring and present in the diaper bag, on the bedside table, or on the kitchen table.
- Do you really want another reminder set on your phone? One that will, Murphy’s Law says, probably go off in the middle of a movie on a Saturday afternoon? #LivedThat
I know it seems strange, in this digital world, but jotting a quick note on a physical tracker is the way to go.
Baby Journal Reason #3:
It Will Protect Your Pride
One of my least favorite memories as a parent was walking into the doctor’s office with my newborn, being peppered with dozens of questions about feedings, sleeping, pooping, and having to make things up because I was so tired and naive I didn’t realize I was supposed to be keeping an eye on those things.
I felt so dumb.
Like the worst parent on the planet. I went home expecting a call from Child Protective Services, demanding I sit down to be interviewed. “What do you mean you haven’t counted her wet diapers this week?!!”
Keeping a baby journal boosts your mom-confidence because you won’t have to scramble at every well-child visit. You’ll know because you wrote it down.
Will you always have to count diapers and measure breastfeeding sessions? No. (Thank God.) But tracking these things, especially at the beginning, will give you confidence to walk in and OUT of the doctor’s office with your head held high. #NailedIt
Baby Journal Reason #4:
It Helps You Predict the Future
As you get better at tracking your baby’s natural rhythms throughout the day, you’ll be able to start spotting patterns you can use to avoid major whoopsies later on.
For example, looking over your baby journal, you notice every evening at around 5:30 pm she hits “Complete Meltdown Mode”. You also notice that she consistently wakes up from a nap at around 2:00.
That means she’s awake for 3.5 hours, which is too long for a 4 month old. All you need to do is insert a little mini-nap in there between 4-5 and voila! Meltdown averted. This kind of problem-solving is only possible with a reliable baby journal.
By the way, if you’re not sure what your child’s current “Waketime Window” should be, this free printable can help!
Baby Journal Reason #5:
It’s a Valuable Memory Keepsake
I know it’s hard to believe, but at some point your little baby isn’t going to be a baby anymore. Having a paper-version tracker is something you can put in your baby’s memory box for the future.
The Secret to Being a Brilliant Mom
The secret to being a brilliant mom really has nothing to do with brilliance at all. It’s knowing your limits, and then creating systems to make up the difference.
For example, your ability to manage every aspect of your life is going to be severely hampered because of one thing: sleep. Things that felt easy to you before are suddenly going to feel astronomically huge. (Case in point: showering)
Let me encourage you to be brilliant. Take some pressure off yourself by taking a few seconds (because that’s all it takes) to jot down, in your worst Mommy handwriting, a few small notes in your baby journal about the day, or to capture that giggle-worthy memory before it slides into oblivion.
Years from now, when you’re snuggling on the couch, reading through the memories your child has forgotten, you’ll be so glad you did!
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Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at MightyMoms.club and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She’s a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, has been a featured parenting expert writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, Cafe Mom, and others. If it’s 2am and you’re desperate to read SOMETHING, check out her deepest darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn’t be allowed to blog.