There’s nothing better than having your baby nestled in your arms, looking up at you as he or she nurses, knowing that you are the one providing the nourishment your child needs.
It’s a pretty empowering feeling, right?
But, eventually, the time comes to return to work and no matter how much you love your career, returning to work after maternity leave is one of the toughest transitions we face as working moms – physically, emotionally and logistically.
It’s difficult to get back into the swing of things no matter what, and figuring out how your baby will continue to get the breast milk that you’ve been blessed to provide, may now be stress-inducing.
It doesn’t have to be, though.
With a little planning, you can make that transition back to work a smooth one – even when you plan to maintain your breastfeeding relationship.
This is when a breastfeeding journal can be helpful.
As a busy mama with a full life, the idea of keeping a journal right now may sound exhausting – like another thing to manage – but the journal is all about saving you stress—not creating more of it.
A breastfeeding journal, also known as a feeding log, is simply a record of your breastfeeding activity. And, when it comes time for you to return to work, it is a great tool for you, your baby and your baby’s caregiver during the workday.
Better Than a Regular Diary
Forget the diaries of your past. This isn’t a place to lament life’s daily dramas like crushes, breakups or getting grounded by your unfair parents (just think: in the not-so-distant future, you’re totally going to be the unfair parent in your kid’s diary!).
Instead, a breastfeeding journal is a place to jot down the quick details: feeding times, wet and dirty diapers, dates of transitions (from solely nursing, to pumping and nursing, to the weaning process, etc.).
Babies have a way of sucking our brain power right out of our heads. So the journal helps you retain all the details you simply won’t be able to store in your head. It is also a helpful tool to your partner and/or your baby’s caregiver, ensuring that information is being shared about the baby’s routine, habits and any changes that might come up – like dropping a nap, or not pooping for a couple days. Once you are back at work, the journal will let you know how your baby’s day has been every day when you return home.
How a Breastfeeding Journal Works
How you track the details is really up to you. For the mamas who like to write things down, grab yourself a real journal and go for it! There are also tons of apps to choose from—even your phone’s note-taking app can do the trick.
At the most basic level, a breastfeeding journal can be used to track these things:
- Day and time of your baby’s feedings
- How long your baby feeds from each breast
- Which breast you started with at each feeding (quick tip: you can also keep track of this by using a hair tie on your wrist)
- How much breast milk you pump in each session
- Number of wet diapers and poops
It can also be valuable for recording other notable factors, like:
- Weight gain or loss (for you and for the baby)
- Breastfeeding problems or concerns, and solutions
- Pumping schedule
- How food choices impact your milk supply
- Feelings, fears about returning to work
- Thoughts and feelings on the weaning process
- Little moments of happiness or frustration for you or your baby while nursing
A Breastfeeding Journal Helps to Identify Changes and Concerns Before They Become a Problem
We hope the entire process of nursing your baby is as smooth as can be. Keeping a journal is an easy and effective way to notice trends and changes during your breastfeeding journey. Perhaps your baby isn’t getting enough milk, or not producing enough wet diapers, or maybe your baby’s appetite is low because of a cold. Being able to share details from your breastfeeding journal with your child’s pediatrician during these times can be crucial to resolving issues when and if they come up.
Let’s Not Forget
There’s one other, potentially selfish (but only slightly), reason for keeping a breastfeeding journal: We moms are sentimental as hell and this is a memento of a special time that may fade from memory as the years go by.
Plus, just think: When the other moms are embarrassing their kids by pulling out baby photos to show their prom dates, you can share a journal that documents their early breastfeeding and pooping habits instead.
Breastfeeding journal for the win!