According to a Wired story, the latest trend in parenting is tracking (and graphing) with computer software every poop, babble, cry and minute of sleep your baby experiences.
With the help of Web sites such as Trixie Tracker and of course your iPhone (because there’s an app for that) parents can record in mere seconds the most mundane statistics to help them know that their child is developing “normally” and on par with his peers.
Wired interviewed Allen Fawcett and his wife about their tracking of their baby’s diaper changing, feeding and naps – for three years!
“With the help of the Trixie Tracker website, they know they’ve changed exactly 7,367 diapers for their three-year-old son and 969 for their three-month-old daughter. They also have a graph of precisely how many minutes each of their children slept on nearly every day since birth. During their daughter’s first month, the data shows she averaged 15 hours of sleep a day, which is two hours more than her brother at the same age and well above average for other Trixie Tracker babies ….”
The Fawcetts are both economists according to the story so I think their interest in numbers and tracking trends comes honestly to them, but it’s not just them!
“Fifteen years ago, tracking your baby’s development meant going to the pediatrician every few months and recording his growth on a simple height and weight chart. Today, baby tracking is a booming business. In addition to websites that let you track your infant’s schedule, there are iPhone apps that translate and record your baby’s cries, wearable devices that keep track of how much you talk to your child, and even electronic toys that record how your child plays with them, so you can compare his progress to developmental norms….”
In the past parents have been encouraged by pediatricians and lactation consultant to write down during the first week or two of life, the baby’s intake of breastmilk/formula, the number of wet diapers and the hours that they sleep. Your doctor just mainly wants to know if they are getting enough to eat.
I did keep a hand-written chart for each child for the first week or so until we knew they were getting enough breastmillk and weren’t dehydrated. Most of friends kept charts too – for the first week!!
I know you all think I’m a crazy helicopter parent, but even to me this trend seems obsessive and to some extent harmful. Here’s the downside according to Wired:
“According to pediatricians and child development experts, however, this new obsession with quantifying our kids has a potential downside, especially when parents cross the line from merely tracking an infant’s schedule to obsessing over developmental milestones and worrying about how baby measures up to her peers.”
The story continues to talk about a bunch of different software programs that you let you also track how your kids play and learn.
What do you think of the Techno Parent Tracking trend (I just named it that!)? Are you tracking stats on your baby? If so what? Why? And for how long do you intend to track?
What tracking is useful and what is crazy competitive? How will this manifest itself when these kids hit elementary school? Will the kids be focused also on how they compare with their peers?
At what age, should you stop writing down when your kid poops?