For The (Lobotomized) New Parent Who Has Everything

Hi Folks and look! It’s the Itzbeen Baby Care Timer!

How long has it been since you changed your baby? Don’t go by smell or wailing — so old hat. Simply check your batttery operated,  pocket-size “Itzbeen.” It’ll tell you how long!

Speaking of which: How long since you fed the little bugger? Don’t listen for hunger cries. Don’t try to think back several whole hours. What are you, some kind of genius freak? Check a piece of technology instead! Surely you can find your  Iztbeen. It’s right…um…well, I thought it was right by the pacifier. Wait. Where’s the pacifier? Come to think of it, where’s Zoe?

Gee, this Itzbeen sure is helpful and to think, for just $24.99 we can now cede all parental instincts and obligations to a thingy! How did 200,000 years of homo sapiens struggle along without it?

Oh wait! I remember! We used our eyes, ears, hearts, brains and common sense!

How quaint. — Lenore

105 Responses

  1. I’m just surprised it doesn’t hook up to your computer via USB where you can download information into a detailed spreadsheet that you can then print out and take to your pediatrician. (Who would hopefully look at you like you had 10 heads but no brains.)

  2. i had a thingy that told me how long it had been since nursing- several thingies, really. one was (dah dah duuuummmmm) a clock. i was tired, but not stupid. i did not lose my ability to tell time. the other was (wait for it) my baby. he let me know if i was slacking off. the other two…well, let’s just say if nursing time was supposed to be a secret, there was always a leak!

  3. It’s a “gadget” for the “gadget generation.” I remember those first few days home from the hospital when I’d write down all the times when my baby nursed. I was so sleep deprived I couldn’t remember anything. My husband would bring our crying daugter to me saying, “I think she’s hungry” and I’d get upset claiming I’d just fed her. But my list said it had been two hours. Instead of counting down to feeding time, maybe the device should count UP – how long baby went between feedings.🙂

    Of course there is probably an “app for that”.

  4. $25? That’s just silly. I’m sure there are a dozen iPhone apps that do the exact same thing.

    When I have baby anxiety dreams (having not yet spawned any real ones) I usually realize I’ve forgotten about the baby for 10+ hours dream-time and freak out. So… there is a market to prey on. There definately is.

  5. In my experience the Itzbeen is actually pretty helpful with a newborn. It’s handy when you’re incredibly sleep deprived, especially if mom — after a difficult birth, maybe one involving surgery — needs to remember when to take pain meds, too, since you can use it to track that as well (and pain meds can add to the overall sleep-dep fuzziness). And “listening for hunger cries” isn’t necessarily failsafe, especially if the newborn is weak and has trouble feeding — remembering to feed an underweight newborn with eating issues every couple of hours is important, and if this thing helps keep track of that, what’s the harm?. There are legitimate medical reasons you might want to track how long your kid goes between bowel movements, too. Going without sleep, as one does with an infant, makes time rather elastic; something that helps you track multiple variables across time is potentially useful.

    Of course it’s not a necessity, not even close, but it can make life a little easier. And it has buttons and lights up, so it’s a nice toddler toy when the kid gets older.🙂

  6. A fool and his (or her) money are soon parted.

  7. I imagine it’s for parents using Ezzo’s methods.

  8. I have two kids and I’ve never written down when they nursed or any of that. Why would you? I’m sorry but I don’t see any reason for this. I would probably have used it the first day and then forgot about it. Those 5 little senses of ours work just fine.

  9. This is a little ridiculous for one infant at home, but I would kill for a bank of 10 of these at the daycare I work at. Keeping track of 10 infants at a time? That’s what these are for…

  10. This was on my cousin’s baby registry and I bought it thinking they’d registered for it as a joke. (There were other jokey things on their list.) Turns out? Not a joke.

  11. I had an itzbeen when my son was a baby, and I LOVED it. It saved my brain. Instead of writing down when he last ate or was changed, I just pushed a button. Before I got the itzbeen, I had a hard time remembering – did I feed him at 1pm today, or was that yesterday? I was so tired that I just could not remember. And I’d have to find today’s list, and turn on a light in the middle of the night just to see when he’d eaten last.

    And it DOES count up – it’s for knowing how long it’s been (thus the name) since the last change/feeding/nap, not necessarily for telling you when the next one must be.

    It was also very helpful for caregiver handoffs – instead of having to write down when everything happened last, I could just hand off the baby and the timer (which you can’t do with an iPhone). It was incredibly useful, especially because my son was not on any sort of schedule or routine.

    Is it necessary? Of course not. Is it convenient and helpful? Incredibly.

    No, having a baby did not make me stupid, but using the itzbeen meant that I could save room in my sleep-deprived brain for remembering the important things about my son’s infancy, instead of the mundane. It removed a lot of stress from those early months, and I would gladly pay twice the price for another one if I have another baby.

  12. I saw this yesterday for the first time on one of my parenting boards (a mom was asking if anyone had it, and how they liked it). I saw it, laughed my butt off and thought of you. I was going to email the site to you, but I guess someone else beat me to it. I refuse this time around (having my second in two months) to be a slave to a baby pee/poo/eating spreadsheet. I remember writing exactly how many minutes she had feed on which side, at what time, and what time of each diaper change and what the contents were of each were. I would stare for hours at the sheet “is she eating enough, is she “outputting” enough? All of which the hospital had told me to do. It made me panicked and parinoid, and I refuse to go through that again. I say to hell with spreadsheets and timers, and go by what parents have been doing for thousands of years – their own intuitions on what’s right or wrong for their child, not a spreadsheet, or a timer like this Itzbeen. Some children need to sleep more in the beginning and some may need to eat more . . . so listening to a “babies must eat every two hours” rule can be so traumatizing for a new parent whose baby will not wake up every two hours, and when forced to wake up to eat (because thats what the doctor and spreadsheet or timer says is right) when they are so tired they won’t eat but will cry instead is terrifying. If only doctors would say “listen to your babies cues” instead of “fill out this spreadsheet and make sure she/he eats every two hours on the dot. . .”

  13. There is an app for that.

    There’s also the way I’ll be doing it: pencil and paper.

    Yes, my husband will likely then put it all on the computer on a spreadsheet, but he’s a software engineer and that’s what they do. Also, I can’t imagine anything I write at two a.m. will be legible, but apparently for the first few weeks you’re supposed to keep track for reasons of weight gain and proper functioning.

    @Mim – YES. That’s exactly what those are for. They should come in different colors with labels for each child.

  14. I must confess, I love the ItzBeen-when you have a newborn, it’s nice to have to keep track of nursing sessions, wet dipes, and naps. Especially when you need a break, and need to get the shopping done before babe needs to nurse again!🙂 I think it’s a great tool for the first few weeks of life. I think everyone has a different method of parenting this isn’t something everyone will need, but I don’t think it’s one of those ridiculous baby items, like baby knee pads or a helmet.

  15. I could see it being marginally helpful for someone feeding formula. But not more helpful than a piece of paper and a pen. And completely useless to someone who is nursing. Feed the kid when they’re hungry. Duh.

    @Shakti — Yeah. Exactly. The Ezzo are a whole other disaster, aren’t they?

  16. It’s useful if you’ve got one of those babies that needs feeding every 3 hours. But then again, that’s what stopwatches were made for…

  17. Eyes, ears, hearts, brains and common sense? You’re radical, woman!

  18. Well…you know, breastfeeding is on the rise, thankfully. And so the negative nannies about bf will worry the HELL out of you. “OMG nipples and feedings and diapers and and and and” so you get SO STRESSED while nursing that you’re somehow NOT FEEDING BABY ENOUGH that your lactation consultant and your doctor ask you to keep track of how often baby is feeding.

    I suppose with this, you can do that easier. And allay those OMGBF? people fears….

  19. My wife used one of these with our newborn. There are 4 timers on it (and as a previous poster suggested, they do count UP), and we just leapfrogged them so we could tell at a glance how long it’s been since the last two pump sessions and last two feeding sessions. We had a kid who would not eat like she was supposed to and had severe reflux for the first six months of her life. So from the start my wife had to pump every couple of hours around the clock, and then we had to use a syringe to actually feed the baby. We started out trying to keep notes on the times of pump sessions, feed sessions, how much we fed, how much she puked back up, etc. But you’re sleepless and frustrated, you get lazy and miss a session or two, and then you start to get hazy about what-happened-when as everything starts to run together.

    This thing helped. Just hit a button and reset the timer, go back to bed. And now that the baby’s a toddler, she plays with it like it’s her cell phone. There’s a lot more crap that turned out to be more useless than that thing still sitting around the house.

  20. This is slightly off topic, but I was reading a parenting magazine in an office the other day, and there was an article with “7 Important Safety Tips You MUST Know!!!” (ok, it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but almost). One featured a mom who had left some change within reach of her three year old who ate a penny.

    The advice? Make sure all change is out of the reach of little hands!

    My three-in-days son has been playing with change for over a year. 10 minutes ago he came and asked me if he could have a penny to put in his piggy bank. I got to wondering, is my son just exceptional? Well, ok, dumb question. But, are other toddlers that dumb? Do kids almost-three actually eat pennies? Or do they not know that pennies aren’t edible because they’ve never touched anything bite size before that WASN’T edible?

  21. OMG, this would have been a godsend with my preemie twins! (And BTW, it DOES count up to help you remember how long it’s been, not necessarily to alert that “it’s time to”) Their doctor actually WANTED me to provide lists of how long between feeds, pees, poops etc and remembering that info for two infants while incredibly sleep-deprived and going through a difficult physical recovery myself was a real challenge.

    Actually, I’m really bothered by people on this site who rush to judge all parents who use devices like this as “morons” or “fools easily parted with their money”, when for many parents with high or special-needs infants, a device like this would totally make sense. Or even for parents who just like gadgets and would enjoy this more than the old paper-and-pencil list. Or for a detail-oriented new mom who simply finds knowing precise information a comfort in those early days when you feel like you know nothing and it’s all new and challenging.

    The problem isn’t parents who use devices like these, the problem is an industrial marketing complex that tries to turn EVERY parent into acting like their child is a high-needs or special-needs child, and that to behave any other way is to be a “bad” parent. There is a difference between a nervous new mom who has difficulty trusting her instincts, and a more secure mom who is actively being TOLD that she can’t trust her instincts. How about we give all the support we can — yes, even if that means not-totally-necessary electronic devices — to the former, while trying to stop Corporate America from creating the latter?

  22. @Mirriam: The problem isn’t parents who use devices like these, the problem is an industrial marketing complex that tries to turn EVERY parent into acting like their child is a high-needs or special-needs child, and that to behave any other way is to be a “bad” parent. There is a difference between a nervous new mom who has difficulty trusting her instincts, and a more secure mom who is actively being TOLD that she can’t trust her instincts. How about we give all the support we can — yes, even if that means not-totally-necessary electronic devices — to the former, while trying to stop Corporate America from creating the latter?

    BINGO.

    Instead of marketing it to parents who NEED it for real reasons, they create a need for it for EVERYONE because you’re not a good parent if you’re not fully and 100% cognizant of every single breath and move and poop your child makes.

  23. @Mirriam (and others)

    Point taken. Sorry.

  24. @Mirriam, great point. Something else to consider: it used to be that new mothers were part of a big extended family of more experienced grandmothers, aunts, sisters and cousins who could help take care of the baby and dispense practical advice. Nowadays new moms are often winging it on their own with no family or even friends with children nearby to help them. What we call common sense is in fact folk wisdom, but a lot of that folk wisdom has disappeared because families are so dispersed. This is what’s fueling a lot of the anxiety around parenting.

  25. But Lenore, don’t you remember feeling like you had been lobotomized when you had a newborn?

    Obviously this thing isn’t necessary but I can see situations where it would be helpful, even if only as a way for new parents to feel a little more relaxed and in control.

  26. “I have two kids and I’ve never written down when they nursed or any of that. Why would you?”

    Mae Mae, remember that not everyone is the same. Just because you didn’t need a way to keep track of things, it doesn’t mean that no one needs it.

    I’m a web developer and plan to work from home for a while after my son is born in May. It’s not uncommon for me to lose track of time as it is when I get caught up in my work, so I think it would be handy to have a timer to keep track of such things (especially while we’re learning cues), so it’s one less thing to have to remember (and others have also pointed out other good uses, such as caregiver handoffs and having multiple with labels to keep track of several kids). I think it would also help at night, especially if the baby can sleep through most of the night, instead of waking up every couple hours for feeding (like I did as a baby).

    Remember, too, that it doesn’t count DOWN, but rather counts UP. Hence the name “Itzbeen” (It’s been…). It’s basically a glorified stopwatch that can keep track of several different timers.

    Is it necessarily an essential thing to have? Maybe not, I’ve certainly done without other things, and could make do without this (and would probably come up with another way to keep track), and I probably wouldn’t buy it for myself, but it’s not something I’d necessarily return if someone bought it for me.

  27. My gigantic aching leaky breasts were a good reminder to feed my babies.

    I think something like this would be helpful for people who need to remember to take their BIRTH CONTROL PILLS.

  28. oooo! Another miriam…
    I too use the pencil and paper. It makes me happy to chart things (three guess as to what I do for a living… clue: it all started with Cushing).
    My baby doesn’t seem to mind her wet diapers (cloth, even). Charting wets made me feel better when she first started nursing (wet diapers= plenty of milk). Now, I suppose it makes me feel I’ve accomplished something a bit (there it is, in black and white). Not to mention that sometimes I realize it’s been 3 or 4 hours when I get distracted with the feeding and playing. It also helps me keep track of naps and such.

  29. I agree, Nancy, I would have loved something like that to remind me to take BC pills. And now I could use it to remember my prenatal vitamins!

    I do have to admit that I did rather obsessively write down everything I did with my newborn for the first few weeks, but I think that was from being an RN; charting is so ingrained in the profession that it didn’t seem right to be caring for someone and not write everything down. Eventually I figured out that the next “shift” was never coming, so there was no need to continue keeping track of everything on paper!

  30. As a new and clearly deeply insecure mom, I followed the advice of a new and also deeply insecure (or possibly just very, very anal) mom who recorded and timed the duration and detail of every nap, feed and bowel movement in a series of notebooks.

    I didn’t know… My breastfed son wasn’t putting on weight fast enough after he was born. God knows what the pediatrician thought when I showed up,worried, sleep deprived, and (probably a little stinky) clutching my son and brandishing my crazy notebook. ” See”, I remember saying, “he only pooped twice in the morning – but he didn’t nurse for more than 10 minutes on my left breast! What does it all mean???”

    Yet another reason my pediatrician is a saint. Anyway, if you could also use it as a stopwatch… well, just imagine the possibilities.

  31. @rich Re: coins….
    My younger kids are great with money. My 2 year old loves putting things in banks…and everywhere else. We have to watch that she doesn’t shove it in the cd player, but she would never eat it….BUT my 9 year old will put anything in his mouth and always has. We have to keep small objects away from him and have only recently allowed small lego! l
    The benefit is that his immune system is that of a junk yard dog.

  32. Hey, I could have used one of those with my triplets! EVERYTHING was scheduled, and yes I DID lose the ability to tell time, read a clock, etc., on certain days.

  33. An otherwise healthy newborn doesn’t need this. I can understand preemie or special needs if it works for you. It shouldn’t be on a registry, but if the conditions feel warranted then purchase if needed. I think that is the point, when they are selling to otherwise healthy newborn/babies which such a device would be better suited for care providers of those who are sick or with disability.

    From the site….

    “ITZBEEN™ Baby Care Timer was developed by a new mom and dad who found themselves sleep-deprived and needing help to remember baby care details, such as when their baby last ate or napped. They tried charts and journals, but thought there had to be a better way. So, they created the ITZBEEN™: a multi-purpose nursery tool that helps new parents remember the basic details of baby care.”

    Of course I don’t want to be uncharitable but if it takes a device to remember the basic details then it just it sounds your unaccountable in general. Sounds like something they would give to a teenage mother, not a stable married couple. This device to be utilized for non-basic care for a newborn, such as wounds from surgery or special medications that have specific instructions in timing of each dose it would make more sense.

  34. I also couldn’t understand why you would need to keep track of this stuff at all, on paper or otherwise. So I’m glad I read through the comments. It just never occurred to me to write it down. If you feed every 2 hours, then that’s evens or odds, right? Every 3 hours is 3, 6, 9, 12.

    When I got home from the hospital, I was SO tired and they had told me to feed my daughter every 2 hours or whatever, but I couldn’t get her to wake up. So I was crying hysterically because I was convinced she was going to starve to death, calling the lactation specialist who says I HAVE to wake her up, but I can’t! Finally my mom says, “Honey, she’ll wake up when she’s hungry. You NEVER wake up a sleeping baby.”

    This is also the woman who wouldn’t LET me nurse that frequently because the baby wasn’t hungry enough. If she started crying, my mom would take her from the room and make her use a pacifier until she was REALLY hungry, so when she nursed she’d actually work at it and not just play with my girls.

    So all in all I’d like to publicly thank my mom, who helped me figure this stuff out without a stop watch. I agree with Li, this isn’t necessarily something ingrained in us. It’s the whole nature vs nurture thing, and some things need to be nurtured. Like your nurturer skills…

  35. We found this useful when dosing tylenol “as needed but not more frequently than every 4 hours”. Click the button when you give tylenol and just make sure the # isn’t less than 4:00 before you do. No more waking her up just to as if she gave the baby some 2 hours ago at the 1am screaming wake-up.

  36. I heard of a $500 device that times how many hours a day you spend speaking to your child. The idea is that small children need to be spoken to, read to, etc. for “x” number of hours per day so they can develop language. This device was somehow voice activated so you could keep track of how much quality conversation you were having with your child.

  37. Lenore!!!

    Long time no type. Hope all is well?!

    I saw this post and just had to pipe in.

    This abdication of the far superior “parenting by gut” to “parenting by manual” is appalling.

    As a teacher I deal with this on a daily basis along with the other parenting blunder “Parenting by Nanny”

    If you can’t or won’t or don’t want to get your hands dirty and parent in the trenches, DON’T HAVE CHILDREN!!!!!

    There is NO simple clean infallible way to raise kids. Commit to the task or don’t have kids.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  38. Dragonwolf – I didn’t mean to offend anyone but I am so confused as to why so many people keep track of this stuff. I was never told to by my doctors. I remember that a teenage babysitter once called me all worried that Gabby hadn’t woken up to eat in four hours. She wanted to know if she should wake her to feed her. I said, “Are you crazy?! Never wake a sleeping baby! She’ll let you know when she’s hungry.” Sure enough, she woke up about half an hour later and ate. I never worried about feeding my kids on a schedule as I just took cues from them. However, I can see the benefits in the case of sick babies or multiples.

  39. awww. I used Ezzo… for the first child. He saved my life. But that’s another story…
    Itzbeen seems silly, but after baby number three (with a 2 and 4 year old), I had very little sleep. I love the advice of “sleep when your baby sleeps”…when you’ve got other children? Nope. My brain was fried. I could barely remember which side I nursed on. I even forgot I had a baby a few times. Weird. I’d be outside playing with the kids and I’d hear a cry…whoops, good thing you’ve got some lungs on ya or I’d have left you to your own devices….

  40. Hey now, Renee. I was a 19yo single mother with a sick baby. She had acid reflux disease and an undiagnosed dairy/wheat allergy and I managed just fine without gadgets like these. Stable homes are not exclusive to married couples. In fact, some married couples do not provide stable homes.

  41. Kate, I agree with you. I was indeed lobotomized when each of my boys were newborns. It is my observation that all moms are seriously lobotomized for the entire first year. I nursed my babies, but always liked to have them on a schedule. I was not one of those nurse whenever they seem hungry types (although I would feed them if they seemed hungry of course) I tried to keep them on a pretty predictable routine of eating at regular intervals. That is just what worked best for our family. But, yes, it was very hard to keep track sometimes because I was so exhausted from c-section recovery and sleep deprivation and post partum depression. I think that for me a device that helped me remember when the last time I fed my baby was useful. For me the device was a pencil, a scrap of paper and a clock. But at the time, I probably would have dropped $25 for a little machine that would help me out. Any help with anything at that time would have been very much appreciated.

  42. Mae Mae,

    My apologies. I understand what I said regarding young single mothers as being very uncharitable. Pregnant women of any age married or not need support, not judgment. Babies well being is detemined by a mother’s well being. Younger unmarried moms usually take the brunt of judgment.

    It’s hard on discussion board to show my dig wasn’t suppose to be at young mothers but rather parents-to-be and that ironic stereotype. How should I say this…. I’ve often heard older parents note that being older makes them more responsible parents, yet find themselves marketed (without need) such devices.

  43. No need to apologize, Renee. I realized from your post that you weren’t being mean but I wanted to show that not all teen moms are irresponsible or unstable.

  44. Mae Mae — We’re not talking about feeding on a schedule, though. We’re talking about a glorified stopwatch (with more uses than just keeping track of feedings, naps, etc). As I said, I, personally, would find it useful, because my household can’t afford for me to not be working for an extended period of time (main bread-winner), so I’d be working at home, and I have a tendency to lose track of time, especially when sleep-deprived.

    No, not everyone NEEDS it, but it’s also not as ridiculous as baby helmets and kneepads.

  45. I have to say that I’m pretty sure we’re going to use timers like CRAZY once our kid is born – though we’ll just use our iphones as opposed to buying a special thing. Watching how useful our friends find their iphones in remembering, say, when to offer the baby another chance to pee (they’re doing EC, successfully, and we’d like to try too) makes me think I’ll use it, too. Obviously of course you watch for cues and follow the child and all that, but at the same time, for the slightly addle-brained among us the ability to set stopwatches and timers and the like can be a very useful tool.

    (I also use my phone in the classroom a lot as a timer/stopwatch for all kinds of things – I’m a Montessori preschool teacher – and it’s amazingly useful there, as well!)

    All that being said, a particular gadget just to be a timer strikes me as unnecessary for most people, given what cellphones can do these days. YMMV, as always.

  46. I bought the Itzbeen when I was pregnant with my daughter (I think it was less than $25, though,) and I have to admit that it was helpful at first. Our doctor was always asking how long she slept at a stretch, and how long she went between feedings, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to give a reasonably accurate guess without it most of the time. But the feature I used the most was the night light…having it clipped to my pj’s when I got up to nurse saved me many a stubbed toe, but it wasn’t so bright that it disturbed her.

    In hindsight, I could have made do with paper, a pen and a small flashlight. But it was just so much more convenient to keep track of a single gadget–plus an infant, of course. When you’re a new mom, especially a first timer, anything that makes life easier can’t be all that bad, can it?

  47. I agree this device sounds useful for medical-needs and daycare use. But when it comes to normal babies, it concerns me that people are taught to keep track and schedule a newborn in this way. I’ve never met a healthy child that didn’t figure out how to get him/herself fed sufficiently often. My sister just had her first baby, and she’s read all these books and such. So when the baby, 18 hours old, started indicating hunger, Sis didn’t want to feed her because it hadn’t been 2 hours and the book said she “shouldn’t be an open kitchen.” Um . . . if your newborn says she is hungry NOW, it means feed her. Same concept if baby wants to sleep, etc. Why are the “experts” brainwashing women into ignoring basic instincts?

  48. I think this is an unfair critique, Lenore. I’m usually with you on most things, but in this case, you seem to presume that, because you didn’t need/use one, anyone who would use this is inept and stupid, and I certainly don’t believe that’s the case. I don’t have kids yet, and I’m not an over-worrier, but I can definitely see how useful this could be for new parents, in a number of circumstances.

  49. My son is almost 14 months now, and at first we’d right down just when he ate last so we wouldn’t forget. After about a week we wouldn’t write it down, but randomly guess based on what we had watched on TV when he ate.

    Husband: (over crying baby) It’s 6am, is it time to feed him already?
    Me: Well let’s see, we watched a rerun of Fresh Prince which was on at 3 last time, so yeah it must be.

  50. SKL: Because the experts make more money that way!

    The problem isn’t parents who use devices like these, the problem is an industrial marketing complex that tries to turn EVERY parent into acting like their child is a high-needs or special-needs child, and that to behave any other way is to be a “bad” parent.

    An EXCELLENT point and repeated for emphasis.

  51. How long until this is offered as an iPhone app?

    (And do I get a share of the profits for suggesting such, even in sarcasm?)

  52. Here, Here!

  53. Although i’m anti-gadget generally, I’m on-side with those who would have found this handy. Esp with my first, I did keep a paper and pen note of times, after advice from the midwife/nurse advisor that if he had had a good feed, and was fussing less than 2 hours later, it was probably something else (not hunger) eg need a nap, so try that first (helped us establish a good, but flexible, rhythm (not schedule) of feed, wake, sleep). And sometimes, with baby-brain, I did find it hard to know how long it had been (let alone which side first)! Nappies (diapers) ? – nah, THAT I could figure out by other means…

  54. Re: eating coins, when my much younger sister was three, she swallowed one of those decorative glass marbles you see at the bottom of flower vases. It wasn’t the worst thing she ever put in her mouth, though – a year or two earlier, she got hold of the contents of her diaper and ate some before my mother could stop her. Try recording *that* in an electronic device. LOL

  55. Wow…and 12 years ago my family thought we were foolish for having a baby monitor…

    It just keeps getting weirder and weirder, doesn’t it?

  56. this gadget came in very helpful for my mother who watched my son and two other kids. not only could she keep track of everyone, but she could also easily tell the parents when the last time they ate or slept was or how long they had been sleeping.

  57. Another reason I loved my midwives. Their advice was watch the baby, if she’s sleeping, let her sleep, and if you have a pile of diapers and a round baby, she’s getting enough milk. My MIL was horrified that I was nursing, and how in the world did I know if she was getting enough?! Ummmm…. she’s got roll of fat on her little thighs, and the chubbiest cheeks imaginable. Clearly she’s not starving. This was at 5 months.
    My daughter’s midwife told the new moms that the best thing they could have was a nice little basket packed with snacks, water bottle, a book, and the remote. They were going to be spending a lot of time hanging out with a baby attached to a breast, and didn’t want to be getting up to get themselves stuff they needed while nursing. Food, water, and something to let their sleepy brains sort of focus on.
    No notebook, no timer.

    I can certainly see the benefits of a thing like this with multiples. I would have totally lost the gadget myself.

    And with the coin eating thing… had one kid who put stuff in his mouth always and for a long time. Had another who, at 2, took a shine to a penny (sorry) and just carried the thing around with him. That’s another thing they always tell you… little kids put stuff in their mouths. Well, not ALL little kids do that, and not all three year olds (or 7 year olds) don’t. They can understand perfectly fine that they could swallow it, it could hurt them, etc etc, but some kids just like to suck on stuff, or chew on stuff. I hate to admit, but with my oldest one, who liked to chew on erasers and other squeaky, bouncy things, I got a bag of sturdy rubber bands, and would let him chew on one as long as he also kept his finger through the rubber band. Worked like a charm. He was about 5 then. He’d chew while reading, or riding in the car, or doing homework. And he never swallowed one, unlike the erasers and hunks of bouncy balls.

  58. So…. I was advised to keep track of my son’s diapers and feeding for the first couple of weeks of his life, just to make sure he was on track. I used an iPhone app for it (Diapertracker, and a breastfeeding app by the same people). It was incredibly helpful as I was exhausted and had no idea what time it was. I couldn’t believe that he was hungry again, and I’d check the app and see it had been 3 hours since he’d last eaten. It helped me learn to distinguish between “I want to be held” cries, and “I’m hungry” cries. After about 3 weeks, I stopped using the diaper app, and after week 6, I stopped using the nursing app.

    My mother never breastfed me. She’s convinced that her breasts never made milk at all. She spent the first weeks of his life constantly “warning” me “helpfully” that she couldn’t breastfeed me, so I had to be SURE he was getting enough food. This, of course, undermined my confidence. By tracking how much he ate, and how much he eliminated, I was able to assuage my own fears (and her fears) about keeping him healthy and fed.

    The apps just helped me be more confident, when I had little support. They were cheaper than this gadget – $2.99 per app, I think, but well worth the cost.

    My son is 6 months old now, and still exclusively breastfed (and just starting to occasionally eat solids). My apps helped me achieve that.

    There are things that we don’t need (wipe warmer, anyone?) and there are things that some of us need. For some of us, this sort of thing is what can get us over the hump. Does it mean that I NOW can’t distinguish a “I’m hungry” cry verses a “hold me” cry? No. I can. The app actually helped me learn how.

  59. Lenore

    Obviously it’s been far too long since you’ve had a newborn at home. You lose all sense of time, space, and have no idea when anything last happened because you are so sleep deprived that you can’t recall what you were saying 10 seconds ago to finish a conversation.

    Maybe for some kids who are allowed to do the eat whenever, etc it’s a total waste of money. But as the mom of a sick kid, I would have loved this. I actually bought one, but in my sleep deprived state of mind never remembered where I put it-obviously somewhere where it got thrown out as we have moved since then, I now have a one year old and I’ve never found the damn thing.

    To the person who made the crack about it uploading and creating spreadsheets—some of us have kids for whom that is important. Showing an ER doc how my daughter’s intake had dropped down to nothing over the course of a night along with her diaper patterns helped them figure out some information about the infection that almost killed her. Luckily she only needed a 3 week hospitalization; half in the ICU.

    When she went home from that hospitalization, she was on a strict feeding schedule. The itzbeen would have been a godsend, had i ever found it. Instead I set alarms on my phone.

  60. Again ROTFL!!!!!

  61. My husband wanted an Itzbeen before our little guy was born, but after getting some laughs from some moms of already-borns, I took it off the registry. THEN we ended up having all kinds of complications with the birth–what was supposed to be a nice homebirth ended up being a transporting to the hospital, epidural and pitocin, no sleep for 48 hours, in full-on labor for over 24 hours, staying in the hospital for baby to be on antibiotics for three days, then an ambulance ride for me to another hospital three days after we got home because of an eclamptic seizure, issues with nursing, ending up having to pump, not regaining birth weight after three weeks, etc. etc.
    So in retrospect, something like the Itzbeen would have been pretty helpful in those first weeks. As it turned out, I just used a google docs spreadsheet to keep track of breastmilk and formula fed, diaper changes, milk pumped, and time spent sleeping till he was a month and a half…then I dropped back to just keeping track of how much milk he drank, how much I pumped, and how much he slept until he fell into a good routine and I felt a little more confident about the whole mommy thing.

  62. That thing looks like it would be super useful in a daycare setting (at least, a daycare setting with really small babies — there aren’t many of those where I live). Not because you actually need that information — what you really need to do is feed ’em when they’re hungry, nap ’em when they start to look kind of bleary, and change ’em when they’re wet or poopy — but because the parents will want to know this stuff, and pressing a button is faster and easier than writing on a chart, which leaves you more time for actual baby care.

    I tried to do the same thing with a notebook and pencil when DD was a newborn. Around about her two-week paediatrician visit, the doctor looked at me and said, “She’s fine. Don’t make yourself crazy.” So I stopped trying to write down when she ate and for how long and when she slept and for how long and exactly how many wet and poopy diapers she produced, and our life together became much more relaxed.

    The question, I guess, is what do you need this information for? If the baby is rooting and wriggling and obviously hungry, does it matter how long it’s been since you last nursed her? If her diaper’s wet, does it matter how long it’s been since you last changed her? Yes, of course you lose track of time when you have a new baby. I certainly did — the whole first three months are kind of a blur. I just think that in most circumstances … it doesn’t really matter.

    If this thing has an alarm, though, it would be super useful for monitoring time-sensitive medications. I could’ve used one in my first trimester, when I was taking 4 mg of estrogen every 8 hours (or whatever it was) and intramuscular progesterone injections at the same time every night in order to stay pregnant.

  63. I think from some of the last several posts, the point has been lost.

    This is being marketed to EVERY MOTHER and parent, as if they are TOO STUPID AND INCAPABLE of taking care of a baby. You must spend money on tech gadgets to be considered a GOOD PARENT.

    Preemies? Multiples? Medical issues at birth for either mother or child? You bet. This tool could be handy.

    Does EVERY. SINGLE. BLESSED. PARENT need it? No.

    Yet it’s being marketed that way. One more way to undermine your own common sense and intuition for the sake of money.

  64. @LauraL — yes, exactly.

    Much like apnea monitors, double strollers, and predigested baby formula: wonderful if your situation is one of the few that require them, a pointless expense otherwise.

    (I put cribs, baby monitors, and strollers into that category, too. But I’m weird😉.)

  65. This gadget would be better off being marketed for special needs, multiples, and daycare situations. (If I were doing infant daycare, this would be near the top of my equipment list). If I had a baby with medical issues, this is definitely something that would help keep track of some things.

    With a “regular” newborn, I can’t see it, although yeah, with older children it might come in handy. The Academy of Pediatrics recommended changing newborns before and after feedings, so that’s what I did. It seemed to be the right schedule, the baby was always wet or poopy.

    And feeding schedules of newborns who nurse over an hour at a stretch aren’t much of a problem. They let you know when they’re ready. (And GEEZ, could someone have said something about engorgement???) Pain meds– again, I knew when I needed another dose.

    Now, an alarm to remind the new mom to actually eat? That would’ve come in handy.

  66. […] For The (Lobotomized) New Parent Who Has Everything Hi Folks and look! It’s the Itzbeen Baby Care Timer! How long has it been since you changed your baby? […] […]

  67. I used to have a hard time remembering which side to nurse first. Then I started switching a ring from one hand to the other. It’s amazing how hard mundane, repetitive things like that are sometimes to keep track of. I’d be the one always searching for my gadget, so it would most definitely not be helpful for me.

  68. I’d rank this right up there with the video baby monitors (what’s the point, if you are just gonna watch them non-stop you may as well be in the same room), bumpo breastfeeding pillow (really, a regular pillow is inadequate because…?), and those new bumbo seats that help a kid sit up before the kid can sit up.

    But, I must admit that my son’s eating habits were never a concern I had — never wrote down his feedings or anything. I may feel a bit differently if I had a baby that was “failure to thrive.”

  69. Telling me when they’re hungry is what my babies do BEST! I’d sell you mine if you needed an alarm but you couldn’t afford them. Oh. and they warm their own baby wipes–Take that, itzbeen!

    But then, I was lucky enough to have easy kids. I send all my love, and support (and gently used baby monitor) to those saintly parents who have it rough.

  70. I’m curious to know that if it doesn’t work properly and fit my lifestyle needs, can I return my baby as well as the Itzbeen to the stockist?

  71. OMG. I thought this was a spoof.

    Do they make one for parents, so they know when to go pee, poop or feed themselves?!

    Calgon, take me away!

  72. Can I get this as an App for my Iphone? (Checks….)
    Not exactly, but there is a $1.99 App called log4baby that does the same thing.
    No, I’m not buying it.

  73. And just to be contrary, I used to think wipes warmers were ridiculous until my toddler started complaining during changings that the wipes were cold. Heh. We didn’t buy a warmer but we do zap a few wipes in the microwave to avoid thrashing, shivering toddler.

  74. Just one more gadget that serves to undermine your instincts as a parent.

    one of many things could be useful, that also make you less effective in the long run.

  75. I decided, the third time around. that the only ESSENTIALS for my baby were diapers, onesies, wipes, and a few receiving blankets.

    Some other stuff was useful, but most of it was just stuff.

  76. Completely unnecessary for the average parent. It is a shame that so many parents think this gadget has a purpose for them. If parents would use their brain and memory more often, they would have one that is working… However, it seems like people forget that a brain needs exercising, too…Thus, they rely on gadgets and realize way to late that there brain is worthless. Most kids do not die or are not harmed if they are fed 15 or 30min later than originally scheduled. It is a shame to think that babies need to be kept on such a tight schedule…

  77. I think it depends on what kind of parent you are. Some parents are by the book schedule keepers. They put their babies on schedule from day one. Others are more relaxed and go simply by the babies cues and needs. For the first set this device would be helpful. For us Mommies who nurse on demand and are more laid back about it, this device seems very unecessary.

  78. […] For The (Lobotomized) New Parent Who Has Everything « FreeRangeKids […]

  79. I just think it is sick if parents with a normally developed child work in accordance to a schedule dictated by a device. It is the downfall of parenthood and motherhood and I cannot see one good thing about it. Nobody should and needs to be that worried about their kids eating, sleeping and changing pattern, that a device like this is necessary. Honestly, I think it is bad to use a device like this as it gives parents an excuse not to think for themselves and LEARN about their own child.

  80. […] For The (Lobotomized) New Parent Who Has Everything « FreeRangeKids […]

  81. Okay, I confess – I had a look at these when my twins were babies. With three older children thrown into the mix, sometimes in my very-sleep-deprived haze, I would forget who had last been fed. (The whole nappy change thing – the nose knows…) And they were both on medication for reflux, so we had more than the “who was fed last” issue to contend with!

    Of course, I got over it, I got a bit more sleep, and I don’t think I permanently harmed either of them with two feeds in a row, or by forgetting to feed one of them (hey, nothing like a baby’s hungry cry to remind you that you HAVE forgotten…!).

    >>>Slinks off, hanging head in shame for even entertaining the idea of an Itzbeen<<<

  82. […] Duh: A gadget for parents who have everything, but common sense. Read about it at FreeRangeKids. […]

  83. We used to joke about our house being the “home of the all day diaper.” The itzbeen would have none of that!

    Perhaps there’s some kind of electronic device that would tell you which boob you fed on last too so we wouldn’t have to do the lift test to see which one was heavier.

    I hope they sell none of them. That would restore my faith in humanity.

  84. itz missing a scale to weigh the ….ummm…output. Gotta make sure baby is not constipated or dehydrated or something.

  85. @Taking a Chance on Baby….

    Why on earth is it no longer sufficient for you to TELL a doctor crucial information? Did you actually need to present a spreadsheet to your doc rather than tell him/her what was happening or just write it down? You seemed to relay it coherently in your comment, after all.

    Lots of commenters also don’t appear to be considering that these are not being marketed specifically to parents of ill children or multiples but EVERY parent of NORMAL infants. This sends a message that parents are by nature utterly incompetent, and reliance on a clock and arbitrary “rules” is better than learning to read a child’s signals, using one’s senses (needing a diaper change is not exactly difficult to figure out with one’s nose) and establishing a rhythm as a family. To me, this is just messed up. It starts new parents off from the very first moments second-guessing their innate abilities and setting them up for an atmosphere of fear and paranoia, when parenting begins with being constantly afraid that something catastrophic will happen if they don’t time every single last poo – or at least that they are being less than optimal parents if they don’t. That’s not parenting support, that’s parental crippling. Maybe I should make a spreadsheet for that.

  86. Ya know we just used a clock for keeping track of time. Radical thought I know.

    This does remind me of when my Mom in Law watches the kids. Starting with our first she would always asks when they should be feed or when they should nap. Our response every time is, “they will let you know.” She asks this each time she watches them and our answer is always the same. Of course our babies are both healthy and have no problem communicating their needs to us.

    I do wonder about the Docs who need to see a detailed list of feeding/pooping times for healthy children. Our Doc would ask if the kids was eating/pooping OK and we’d answer with a yes. If there is no reason for concern why burden the parent with keeping such detail?

  87. Awwwwww crap. I haven’t spawned yet either, but my engineer husband WILL make a spreadsheet. With all kinds of fancy nonsense.

    Do you REALLY need to keep a log of when your kid goes? Excuse my ignorance…. but I have a hard time envisioning my MIL or mom doing either of those things.

  88. My husband has been trying to convince me that we need this for our upcoming second baby. In his defense, we were drilled by the pediatrician at each bi-weekly visit, because my first son was having trouble gaining weight. He also would sleep through feedings. He’s a year old now and thriving, despite the fact that we used a dry erase board to keep track of feedings

    Besides, I think they have an app for that, too. (if you have an iphone – which we don’t)

  89. As someone who had a preemie who refused to latch for a month, the Itzbeen was INCREDIBLY helpful for keeping track of pumping, nursing, bottle feeding, etc. I couldn’t just go on instinct when pumping (and the machine didn’t cry when it was “hungry”). And what precious braincells I had that month didn’t need to be wasted on trying to figure out how long it had been.

    And I confess I still use it overnight at 7 months. Not because I need to track his feeding/sleeping. Not because I won’t feed him when he wakes up unless it’s been “long enough”. (For a baby who only sleeps in 2 hour stretches it’s never quite long enough, but that doesnt’ stop us.) But because it helps me to know how much b*tching I can do under my breath about the sleep deprivation!

  90. @Amber – you’re the parent this is good for. For the vast majority who don’t have preemies or babies with otherwise compromised health, this is not a necessary tool and should not be marketed as such.

  91. Does it make more sense if you finish the “Itzbeen” sentence this way?

    “It’s been an hour and a half since she nursed – go pee now, she’ll be looking for more boob any minute!”

  92. I tell ya what, you take some newborn twins who weigh less than 6 lbs and try and keep track of how much they’re eating and sleeping. Then we’ll see who’s feeling lobotomized.

    Parental instincts and cues from the babies work, but sometimes it’s good to stay ahead of the baby and have some idea when it’s good to pick up the one before he cries and wakes up his sister.

  93. The first time I saw this was at a baby shower where the mother got it as a gift and was raving about all her friends who swore by it. This is the exact same woman who also planned on doing “elimination communication” which is basically not using diapers, but watching for communication signs from your baby so you can anticipate when the babe is going to pee/poop and be ready with a lot of pots around the house to catch the elimination. She didn’t get the irony that if one is really that in-tune with one’s baby, that you probanly don’t need some battery-operated scheduler telling you to go feed your baby! I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it!

    But overall, I do agree with most of the posters–this may have a small market where it’s actually handy, but generally, for a singleton with no health issues, totally NOT needed!!

    (I had twins who were preemies and I had to keep track of their pooping and eating for the first 3-4 weeks, but a pencil and paper worked just fine–great in fact, since we just taped one sheet above the changing table to keep track of BMs and one on the hallway to keep track of bottles/oz drank. That way, me, my DH and my mom could all easily access each…)

  94. It doesn’t matter at all when a child was last fed or changed. All that matters is when a child is hungry or wet.

  95. “N” has said exactly what I wanted to, only with fewer words. Several commenters have pointed out circumstances in which this gizmo could be helpful, and that’s fine. But the idea of everybody tracking this stuff instead of just PAYING ATTENTION, and responding, is creepy. Another step away from common sense.

  96. Wow, what an incredibly judgmental site! Everyone parents differently, and the majority of children turn out NORMAL. I won’t be back.

  97. @Erin – I hope you’ve read more than the comments on this single post before coming to that judgement.

  98. @Erin–First of all, I agree with you that there are some judgmental posts that make my skin crawl. But then, someone might think that THIS is a judgmental post. What to do, what to do? If you find an open forum out there that does not have judgmental postings, let me know. No, scratch that–I’ll take an open forum–warts and all…. Best of luck to ya!

  99. I had NO idea anyone ever wrote down when their baby nursed or pooped.

    I can see how it would matter with a chronically ill baby, or multiples. I wouldn’t like to make a judgment on a situation I haven’t experienced.

    But for a normal healthy baby, you just put them to the breast when they cry and if they want to nurse they will nurse and if there is some other reason, they won’t. You change them when they are wet or poopy. If you are eating and drinking minimally decent food and enough liquids yourself, and if you nurse the baby whenever he fusses, he will always get enough and will therefore wet and dirty exactly the right number of diapers what ever that might be.

    My pediatrician asked me a couple of times with the first baby “How often does he nurse?” and I looked at him blankly and shrugged. “When he wants to…” I said lamely, “you know, when he wakes up and cries…” “How often is that?” “I don’t know, is it important?” He looked at the baby and said, “No, not really. We are used to thinking that way, but he’s obviously healthy and he’s gone from a birth weight of 9’6” to 15 lbs now (six week check up) so I don’t think we need to worry. Not all my babies gained that fast, but they were all healthy and I never saw the least need to know how often anything was happening.

    Now I think I could use this for things like how long ago I put the hair dye on my hair, or for when I put the pie in the oven, or set the bread to rise, because I am always forgetting. But even then, you can look at the pie or the dough and have a good idea what stage they are at. But yes, for the hair dye…one of these would be nice.
    Susan Peterson

  100. […] was reading about the Itzbeen Baby Care Timer over at Free Range Kids and it got me thinking about how many gadgets parents are encouraged to buy for their new babies […]

  101. When my son was in the early stages of infancy, I was terrified that I was going to screw up and my fragile little sweetums would surely die or grow up a horribly dysfunctional person if I didn’t do everything by the book. I didn’t even trust my basic math skills or instincts, and tried to adhere to a strict written schedule. Thank god I got over it. Looking back, I am so disappointed by how insane I was. I had forgotten two very important things: 1. Babies may not be NASA candidates, but they’re not stupid – they know how to let you know when they need something (and they don’t even have it written down!) and 2. All the parenting books/articles/magazines/friends/family in the world are not raising your kid (or at least I hope not) – YOU are.

  102. I bought one of these with my second and it was a wonderful tool. no, did not need it with my first since he was alone — but unfortunately it helped me to know when it had been 2+ hours since a feeding – my baby was not thrilled by the boob and the timer really helped me make sure she ate enough during the day so that she slept thru the night – which she did at about 8 weeks (my son did at 9 months, but thats another story). If you tried it and it did not work for you – no prob. But don’t knock it if you have not tried it. Oh, and the bonus of it all: when I was nursing the baby the older child LOVED pushing buttons, making it beep, turning the lights on and off — priceless, as the ads say.

  103. @Jb– perhaps you’re the parent this is good for. But for the vast majority who don’t have preemies or babies with otherwise compromised health, or other valid reasons that this tool is a very big help, this is not a *necessary* tool and should not be marketed as such.

  104. I also found this product to belong to a long list of unnecessary products for newborns and their neurotic parents; along with baby wipes warmers. Maybe I’m just too easy going, but I have never worried about too much with my son and first child, who is now 4 months old, who I concede is an easy baby. When he’s hungry I feed him, when he’s wet I change his and when he wants to be held I hold him. However, my coworker who had premature triplets found it to be a total lifesaver, and honestly I can really see the usefulness in that situation

  105. Hi i found your blog on AOL and i found it interesting to read. I bookmarked it for further reading. Thank you for sharing. Hopefully this will help me quit smoking

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