Friday, July 6, 2018

Hatch Baby Grow review + my new favorite baby app

We've been having some issues with weight gain over here and I wasn't really prepared for the emotions that go along with that. Adrian was in the 80th percentile for weight at birth, but dropped to the 60th at her one month check and then down to the 30th at her two month (she's been steadily 95th for both height and head since birth). After we got the news at her two month appointment our ped suggested that if she was still falling lower on the chart in another month we would want to discuss formula supplementation. While I'm open to doing whatever we need to do to make sure she's getting what she needs, I immediately started feeling guilty and stressed about her eating. The thing about breastfeeding is that it's a total black box. All I could do was time how long she was eating but that doesn't really tell me how much she's eating. When we'd visited our lactation consultant back in the very beginning she would weigh Adrian before and after eating so we could calculate how much milk she got. It was so cool that when we were at the baby store and saw the Hatch Baby Grow we definitely considered purchasing it, but we convinced ourselves that it was ridiculous and over the top and obsessive.

Hi there, week one us! This is two month us, and we are ridiculous and over the top and obsessive and we have zero regrets. Nice to meet you.

So yeah, we purchased a changing pad that is also a baby scale, so that we can weigh our kid obsessively and know how much she eats at each feeding. And I love it. We've only been using it for two and a half weeks (I will update this review if we have any issues down the line) but it's been amazing. And as it turns out I love the app that goes with it so much more than the previous one we were using (and you can use the app even if you aren't using the scale, so I'll give a little detail on it below in case you're just interested in that).

FYI - this is 100% not sponsored, I purchased it myself and the company has no idea I exist.

Hatch Baby Grow

Thoughts about the Hatch Baby Grow -

They made an attempt to make it look modern, but honestly, I liked our regular old changing pad better because I could put cute covers on it and it was brighter. I feel like the grey is a little dark in our space. I can understand why they didn't go with white, but I kind of wish it was white or a super light grey.

The material is a soft-ish plastic foam. It isn't hard or slick but it definitely isn't cushy at all. Again, I prefer our conventional changing pad because with this one I have to be super careful to set her down gently or I risk bonking her head (which wouldn't injure her, this isn't a brick surface, but it does startle her). On the other hand, you can just wipe this surface clean with a wipe, which is kind of amazing.

The functionality of the scale outweighs these cons, though. I love the scale. There's no digital display, so you have to connect it to your phone via Bluetooth and use the Hatch Baby app. But it's super easy to use and I've only had issues connecting with it once. Basically, you open up the scale in the app, lie your baby down, and then tell the app if you want to record a weight or do a feeding. If you record a weight, it just saves the info for you. If you are starting a feeding, it takes a pre-feeding weight and then you come back after the feeding and weigh the baby again and it will automatically calculate the feeding amount and then save it for you. Being able to track her feeding amounts has given me so much peace of mind. I can see that she's a pretty consistent eater, taking in pretty much the same volume every day, and I can also see that all my efforts to get her to eat more often aren't really making a difference. I realize that sounds discouraging, but it's actually great info to have! Adrian naturally seems to want to wait and only eat every 3 - 4 hours during the day, sometimes even stretching it out to 5 hours if she's having an epic nap. If I go by her schedule and let her do that, she'll eat 3 - 5 oz per feed. If I try to encourage her to eat more and wake her up every two hours to feed her, she eats 1 - 2 oz per feed, and my daily total comes out the same, even if her total eating time is much higher. She also doesn't sleep any longer at night. Knowing this makes me feel so much more comfortable about letting her set her own schedule. (Standard disclaimer here - every baby is different, this is definitely not medical advice, and I'm consulting both my LC and my pediatrician as I figure out what works for us - we might still need to supplement with formula).

Technical stuff - it's accurate to 0.25 oz, which is good enough for our purposes, and it seems to be pretty consistent with our doctor's scale. Baby weight obviously fluctuates day to day, based on how many fluids they have on board, etc. I do daily weigh ins for her but don't stress about her being up and down on the day to day. If day to day fluctuations are going to stress you out, then weighing once per week is probably better. The weights you get for feedings throughout the day aren't meant to be weight checks, because you don't bother to undress or undiaper them for those. Just keep them consistent by not doing outfit or diaper changes. I weigh her in whatever she's in (with paci, if she's using it), feed her, and then immediately weigh her again before changing her diaper or anything. That gets you the most accurate weight.

Adrian is super wiggly and this scale still works well. If she's moving like crazy it won't get a reading, but I've found the leaning over her and talking to her gets her to smile and hold still long enough for the scale to capture the weight.

Max weight is 44 lbs, at which point I'm pretty sure Adrian will be way too big for this scale anyways.

The app calculates the weight percentile automatically. They use the WHO growth charts, FYI, which may or may not be what your doctor uses.

Hatch Baby app -

Hatch Baby app

Even without the scale, I think I would still love this app. We aren't at the point where we're making any attempt to put Adrian on a schedule, other than trying to set bedtime for approximately 8pm, and trying not to let her stay awake much longer than 1.5 - 2 hours at a time during the day. But my favorite thing about the app is that it gives you a chart that lets you line up the last several days and see the eating and sleeping patterns. This has been awesome for me, because I can kind of see how she's developing her own schedule and it gives me an idea of when to expect her to be awake or asleep or hungry. The visual just helps my sleep deprived brain so much.

Other things I love about the app (we were previously using Baby Manager, for reference):
You can easily navigate through it even while you have a feeding running. With our other app, if you were in a feeding you couldn't do anything else until the feeding was finished. This sucks because I like to be able to enter diaper changes, check sleep times, etc, while I'm sitting there feeding.

The feeding interface is nice because it times the overall feeding and also the time spent on each breast. You can just tap to switch sides, and the app will save which side was last and show you that info when you go to start a new feeding. My previous app showed each side as a separate feeding, which made it really complicated to add up how many feedings she'd had that day, since she sometimes eats from both sides but sometimes only eats from one.

Cute little detail - you're prompted to upload a photo for each day and it's just way cuter to scroll through your data this way.

Things I don't love - no place to enter head circumference, which we had previously been tracking as well. Sometimes the app is a little glitchy about letting me delete entries and they reappear (this only seems to happen with the auto entries from the scale, so it might be an issue specific to that). I also wish the visual distinguished between wet and dirty diapers. You can see that info if you are looking at the list of diapers, but it would be nice to see it in the daily summary visual. At some point we'll stop tracking wet diapers and then it will be more clear, but since we're still worried about her weight gain I'm trying to make sure we're tracking everything.

Random thing that only a parent would ever request - I wish there was an app that let you attach photos of your diapers to the diaper entries. I realize this is disgusting and before I was a parent I would never have imagined that I'd want to request a visual, timed record of shit. Now, I want a shit slideshow, with dated entries, so that I can figure out what is normal and what is weird and pull it up later without having to scroll through my entire camera roll. I can't be alone here, right?

8 comments:

  1. Ha, not alone - and it looks like there are apps out there for folks with GI issues! Not one specifically with babies though, that I could see.

    Fingers crossed Adrian improves!

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  2. I admire you for finding the time to do such detailed blog posts! Thank you. And all the best for the weight gain!

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  3. I had to supplement from early on. I tried everything to increase my supply but it didn't get to where it had to be. I was so upset about supplementing and was incredibly emotional about nursing but once we started, I didn't look back. It meant that my husband could do a middle of the night/early morning feed and I could get a stretch. I know its an incredibly personal decision but many say that getting some milk can be almost/just as beneficial as being EBF.

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  4. Hi. I LOVED being able to know exactly how much my baby had eaten- wish boobs came with measuring gauges! My lactation consultant lent us her scales one weekend and I created a modified one with a postal scale, cardboard box, and foam bath.
    It was very stressful to find I wasn't giving my third child enough milk- and he was starving- ughh- still feel mom guilt 6 healthy years later.
    So, all that to say- as always with kids- whatever keeps them healthy is the best thing- even if it isn't the idea thing. yes, we tend to think breastfeeding is the ideal- but formula is wonderful. You are a good mom- you are doing it right- however you do it!

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  5. I totally related to everything, and then you had me LAUGHING with the last paragraph! AT WORK. Try to explain anything like that to mostly babyless colleagues.

    For the record: I've never taken pictures of my kid's diaper, unless it was EXTREMELY over the top (literally). ;-)

    Fingers crossed for Adrian's feeding, breast feeding is so wonderfully strange and stressful!!!

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  6. very cool, i'm pretty sure this wasn't available when i had our twins 18m ago. We had a notebook where we tracked every single weight at every nursing session for the first three months. It was crazy! Do you know if there's a way to keep track of multiple babies with this? Honestly, I stressed so much about nursing til I realized that your body and baby eventually often figure it out. I wish I had enjoyed the baby snuggles more!

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  7. I understand the stress. I was told at my first baby checkup, 4 days postpartum, that I needed to start supplementing 1/2 of the feedings because our little guy had dropped more than 10% of his body weight. While I don't think the Dr. was wrong, I absolutely think that stress contributed to my postpartum depression. I became obsessive the next six weeks, stuck in a cycle of breastfeeding, supplementing, then pumping, every two hours. I would cry when I would only produce 1 oz of milk when i should've been producing 2 or 3. At my six week postpartum appointment, my OBGYN said she has seen an uptick in mothers overly anxious and stressed about breastfeeding since there has been more emphasis on "breast is best" and that it's actually doing a lot of harm to mother's mental health. At one point I even considered taking a prescription drug that was not at all intended for breastfeeding just because I heard it could help my supply. I decided at my six week appointment to go on an antidepressant and then stopped pumping completely and just accepted that I had to give my formula, and within a couple weeks I felt normal and happy and for the first time enjoying motherhood.

    Obviously, this comment has more to do with me than you, but I guess my point is that I was completely overwhelmed with how feeding my child could be so hard, so stressful, and make me feel so much like a failure. I'm 14 months out now, and my child is healthy and happy and I wish I could tell every new mother that ends up supplementing that it's okay -- really, really OK.

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    1. My heart breaks for TC, but I am so glad she made it through those first grueling months. No matter how "easy" your first few months with baby are or aren't, they are the most difficult,challenging,exhausting and deep work you will ever do. So every mother needs as much support as she can get and then some...Unfortunately, new moms are more often isolated from their normal support network (work, friends, busy family, etc.) and rarely get the reassurance they need. It's all so new and strange and freighted with unrealistic soft-focus expectations. But mothering is the grittiest work in the world. And it is never easy. It is heroic and, sometimes, exhilarating. You don't so much put your heart into it as it takes your heart and never gives it back.
      When I was a young mother, I cried my way through the first 6 weeks with each one of my three children. I've since learned a thing or two I wish I could have whispered in my new-mother's ear. I'm still learning long years after my own children have become parents.
      Bottom line: Listen to your child, listen to your intuition/heart, accept help whenever it is really helpful, and do not take advice or criticism to heart until you've scrutinized the source. And NEVER listen to anyone who doesn't listen to you.

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