Itzbeen baby-timer remembers four important childcare facts

I like the look of the ITZBEEN: a four-way baby-care timer that helps sleep-depped parents remember exactly when the little pisher last had a little pish:
ITZBEEN Baby Care Timer was invented by a new mom and dad who found themselves sleep-deprived and needing help to remember baby care details like when their baby last ate or napped. They tried charts and journals but thought there had to be a better way, so they invented one. And alas, ITZBEEN was born. The ITZBEEN Baby Care Timer is a multi-purpose tool that helps you remember the basic details of baby care. It has four timers for changing, feeding, napping and more that count up with the touch of a button! The ITZBEEN has several other helpful features including a nursing reminder switch that easily reminds mom which side baby nursed from last, a soft-glow nightlight to help parents find their way in the dark without waking the baby and a backlit display so parents can read the times and the clock in the dark.
Itzbeen Baby Care Timer (Thanks, William!)

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  1. Great product, we use it all the time for our 7 week old.

    Unfortunately you probably still need to chart/graph, since you want to look for trends, be able to tell the pediatrician how many wet diapers the kid has had in the past 24 hours, etc.

    In practice we use it mostly just as a stopwatch so we can manually chart how long the kid eats on each side.

    This product would be a lot better if it had a method to sync the data to a computer – either USB or (ideally) wireless so it could constantly keep a chart up to date. Of couse, that would probably make it more expensive. A geek can dream, though.

  2. After having used sheets of notebook paper (soggy from milk and spit-up) and a tiny message board (always smeary), this looks bloody brilliant.

    Not many fancy baby products are really necessary (diaper wipe warmer? please) but I would have loved to have had this when dealing with sleep deprivation and cranky infants.

  3. “They tried charts and journals but thought there had to be a better way, so they invented one. And alas, ITZBEEN was born.”
    huh
    do these people know what alas means

  4. I think they know what alas means. I mean, there are people who enjoy charting everything and making sure they know the last time anything happened, but I’m not one of them.

    When I was a new Daddy I kept this stuff in my head, and when I screwed up the kid cried. I figured something was wrong, checked through the five or six possibilities and fixed the problem.

    It’s just overkill, plain and simple.

    Alas.

  5. My wife bought one anticipating the arrival of our third child next month.

    My first thought when she told me about it was that there must be a similar iPhone app for this by now.

  6. First, it should be ITZBIN. I don’t cotton to this kind of half-assed ‘creative’ misspelling. It’s not Krispy Cream or Crispy Kreme for a reason, people.

    Second, it’s been almost twelve hours since the baby did some unspecified thing. WHAT HAS IT BEEN ALMOST TWELVE HOURS SINCE IT DID? IT?

  7. Nice product. They should probably make an iphone version before someone else does. Oh and, sadly, even as a new parent (6 mos) it took me a minute to figure out what the L/R switch on the bottom was for.

  8. Can’t have a baby without a bunch of plastic trash.

    Here’s the thing: most babies are surprisingly robust and come equipped with basic communication tools sufficient to suit their needs. Remarkably, human parents can quickly decode messages from their infant.

    Kick this crap to the curb, and hold your kid.

  9. This looks really handy for when your baby is on the clock.

    If your baby is natural and normal, it’ll probably not want to eat, pee and sleep at timed intervals.

    At least, our three weeks old doesn’t!

    (Yeah yeah, I’m just posting in here so I could say that)

  10. I like the L/R switch for the boob, but I wonder if you mark what side you just did or what side you need to to do next? Hmmm. Maybe the gizmo makes it more confusing…

  11. I’m guessing that the “*” stands for a splat of used pablum in the drawers.

    I’m sure someone over at MAKE: will figure out a way to hack this to produce charts using a plotter made from a motorized grill spit, a window shade roller and a Teddy Ruxpin doll.

  12. My wife and I just had a child on April 1 and so I bought this thinking that it would be really hard to track events, especially at night. The product itself is a great idea and well implemented but for us it just wasn’t necessary. From the start we got into a routine of keeping our notebook in the kitchen and writing down each event as it happened. We’re still doing the same thing eight weeks later and have not had any issues.

    I would recommend (as with most baby things) to take a little bit of time to see if you really need it before making the purchase. If you find yourself forgetting to write down the last time you fed or changed your baby then the Itzbeen might be perfect for you.

  13. I don’t get the neg vibes some of you guys are giving off. Then again, I see it more as a useful device for tracking a babies needs vs a schedule keeper (ie. it’s been 3 hours – feed he/she/it now!!1!). But hey, that’s the beauty of it – you can use it for whatever you want.

    As for the “it’s a waste of plastic/resources” people, have you seen the mountains of stuff that’s out there in terms of toys/clothes/oddments geared specifically for babies?

  14. I’ve been pondering creating a web-based version of the same concept, with an eye toward mobile device usability — that way the missus can log stuff from her Blackberry.

    Advantages:
    Always available, as long as you have web access. Practically infinite data-storage. Ability to set up nifty visualizations, etc.

  15. Holy crap! I had no idea that there were so many rigidly regimented parents out there! Chill out! After 2 kids I never once thought about keeping track of any of this data. Ok my wife did kinda keep track of which boob the baby used last but after a while you just go with which ever is heaviest. What is the purpose of knowing all this stuff with such precise detail? Am I a bad parent for not wanting to know precisly how many diapers the kid burned in the last day? Or exactly the last time the kid fed and for how many seconds? I don’t think so … It’s a baby, not a machine.

  16. @aagblog:

    Not many fancy baby products are really necessary (diaper wipe warmer? please) but I would have loved to have had this when dealing with sleep deprivation and cranky infants.

    This serves pretty much the same purpose as that wipe warmer, or any number of other pieces of baby support tech — reassurance for first-time parents.

    Standard disclaimers apply, of course, but as ekppp says above:

    most babies are surprisingly robust and come equipped with basic communication tools sufficient to suit their needs

    When they’re hungry, tired, or ready for a new diaper, they’ll be glad to tell you. Huntsu, They’re not crying because you “screwed up”, they’re trying to talk to you.

  17. Many are missing the point here. Our baby needed regular doses of a bunch of different medicines at different intervals (4 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours). It gets hard to keep track of all the different ones, and it’s not something you want to forget, so this was a handy device. It’s not necessarily about keeping your child on a regimented schedule.

    Although the same thing could have been accomplished with a cheap lab timer, when I saw the device for sale I realized that it was a clever idea and wanted to reward the person who came up with it, so I purchased it instead. Now, a few years later my kid enjoys playing with it, pushing the buttons so the lights come on and pretending it’s a cel phone.

  18. Completely agree on the idea that this is not necessary for 99% of children. If your kid is on medication, sure, but otherwise I see no need whatsoever to chart your child’s sleep, excretion etc. All about the reassurance for new parents and the tracking-obsessed I assume. Unless doctors in the US have started requiring this kind of tracking for healthy babies?

  19. @#17 BIll Streeter: Holy crap! I had no idea that there were so many rigidly regimented parents out there! Chill out!

    It’s called “first-time parent syndrome”, and it creates a fantastic market to sell into. You’ve had more than one child, so it’s easier for you to say “chill out”.

    You’re right though. Babies are really robust things, and good at communicating their needs. They are scary though for first time parents, so things like this help calm the parent down and make them feel more in control.

  20. To remember which breast last fed off of: my wife used a 10 cent clip on her nursing bra which she switched after feeding.

    The device is pretty cheap but it would be best to incorporate it into some other device, like the iPhone or the baby monitor. So many devices!

    I think if you have a tracking fetish – I’ll admit I kind of do – you can really benefit from some simple system. I used to draw pictographs of feeding / changing / napping when I was alone with the baby, but it was more for fun than anything.

  21. Mrs. Inkstain and I are absolutely committed to simple living. We try to live on less than half our income each month (which itself is below the national median income). We have almost no furniture, no TV, we only eat home-cooked meals.

    But nothing has *ever* tested our resolve more than the impending arrival of MiniStain in late August. I want to buy him every last stupid gadget or video I see in the store. “First-time parent” syndrome is a powerful force.

  22. certainly by now technology must have advanced to a point where a baby-helmet with simple neural implant electrodes is available! Are we living in the Dark Ages?!

  23. man, what’s with all the hating? I mean, the most amazing part of that first month is how completely exhausted and brain-dead you are — what always amazed me was that I felt like we barely finished feeding the baby before she needed it again, and this quickly let us recognize that if it had been 2 hours since her last feed (already??), then that’s what the crying almost certainly meant. or, if your baby doesn’t cry when wet, then “hey, it’s been 4 hours already! go change ‘er!” or “should I attempt A Task? nope, baby’s going to wake up in 10 minutes, so might as well put feet up!” of course, our kid has always been pretty regular about such things, so it just helped us realize how much time had or hadn’t passed — nontrivial feat for those living in a timless space!

    (and can I just say that those suggesting web or iPhone apps haven’t been victims of mommy brain. in our house, even turning on the computer for email or a diverting game was Too Challenging for more than once every week or two for a while. apps like this? HAH!)

    even with a lot of logging to watch for sleep patterns emerging (also valuable, but different), this little gizmo saved our butts, and acted as an “external brain” when the usual one appeared to be off-line. may or may not be your cup of tea, but don’t bash it for anybody else!

    -acm

  24. Wow. We have three kids and we’ve never made spreadsheets or lab reports for our kids schedules. Our kids were all breastfed so there would be no way to chart how much they drank even if we wanted to, which we wouldn’t have ever thought of.

    When the baby cries, something is up.
    If the diaper is wet or pooped, change it.
    If the baby is hungry, he will drink. If he is not hungry, he won’t drink.
    If the baby has gas, burp him. If it wasn’t gas, he won’t burp.
    If he just wants attention, play with him.

    It’s not hard if you think of your baby as a little person who can’t speak instead of a kitchen appliance that needs a service contract.

  25. We had this for our baby (now 18 months old) and it was actually very useful for deducing why he was crying… “Oh, it’s been X long since he ate, that must be it.” But the main thing I used it for was to keep track of my pain meds after the c-section. VERY helpful to have one timer for all meds.

    Now it is a baby toy that lights up but DOESN’T make any noise. Genius!

  26. I’m not sure how you lose track of which breast to offer your child.

    It will be the one that is swollen, heavy, and beginning to leak, especially as soon as your little one makes the first cry of hunger.

    I sure as hell didn’t need some electronic box to help me figure it out.

    Mine was jaundiced, so for the first week I did have to write down dirty diapers, feedings, etc…but by 6 weeks mine had their own schedule. And yeah — sleep deprivation makes this difficult, so we kept a log in the kitchen as above. We had to give the nurse a copy of the log when she came to collect a blood sample, as they were closely monitoring bilirubin levels, and needed the data to make sure everything was going well.

  27. With the certain exception of babies on medication, I’d exhort any parent *not* to use one of these and to look at/hold/listen to their baby instead.

    Babies don’t need feeding, changing or anything else to a schedule. Learning to recognise the signs and listen to what your baby is telling you quite clearly is part of earning to be a parent. Yes, it’s scary that babies don’t have an indicator on their foreheads to tell you when they’re full or have a wet nappy, but I think anything that distracts your attention away from your baby is A Bad Thing.

    I see these as on a par with those dreadful monitoring machines which push out data on contractions and heart rate and distract everyone in the room away from looking and paying attention to the woman in labour. They don’t make things safer, in many cases they have the opposite effect.

    I’m an inveterate note taker, but it would never occur to me to write this stuff down… and I have three children. It didn’t occur to me with the first *either*.

    Babies are all different. The *only* thing you can be sure with when you start out on the journey together is that you need to get to know this person… taking statistics seems to me to be an obsessive-compulsive way of trying to gain control, not starting what ought to be a conversation.

  28. If you pay attention to your child, they will tell you what they need, often before they really start crying. My daughter made different sounds when she was hungry or gassy or needed a diaper. I could tell which breast to feed from, because it the one I used for the previous feeding would not be as full. Also, my breasts would ache when she made her hungry sound, but not when she needed to burp.

    Some humans did survive to adulthood before anyone thought to track how often a baby poops.

  29. I had no idea that people actually recorded data on their baby. When I look at all these new-fangled baby things I remember that when my mother was pregnant with me there were no ultrasounds, no-one knew the sex of their child before birth, and some doctors encouraged women to have a drink or two at night to “relax” (luckily my mother doesn’t drink). That was 27 years ago. That’s not that long. I can’t imagine that parenting has become so much more difficult since then. I think I’d want to keep it simple – but then again I have no kids so what do I know?

  30. Wow, as a recent new mom, I’m amazed at the critiques of log-keeping.

    We were given a chart by our physician and asked to track basic things –particularly the number of wet or poopy diapers– for a few weeks. Since I was breast-feeding, we were not able to measure the amount of milk the little guy was getting, so the number of feedings and diapers were our best proxy to assure that he was getting enough to thrive. In our sleep deprived state, it wasn’t always easy to remember whether there had been 5 or 10 or 20 wet diapers during any particular day.

    Perhaps this gadget would help, perhaps not, but it certainly wouldn’t serve as a substitute for mothering.

    –ML

  31. @31 – Fee

    My sentiments exactly. As a first-time dad to a 7-month old girl, tracking this type of stuff never crossed my mind. My wife and I became pretty adept at figuring out what the cause of the crying was pretty quickly through a process of elimination that was summarized in one of the other posts here.

    There are some valid points about using this device as an aid to supplying medication, but I can’t see using it for it’s intended purpose.

    As if knowing that it’s been 3:47 since her diaper was last changed actually *means* anything. If it’s wet, change it. If it isn’t then it’s all good.

  32. They need to hook up with Barenaked Ladies to do a commercial.

    Its been two hours since you looked at me
    Cocked your head to the side and said I’m hungry.

  33. This is absolutely pathetic. Who needs a DEVICE to tell you how to parent?

    Learn to read your child’s signals. If you pay attention to your child, they will tell you what they need, when they need it.

    Like what #35 said – you learn the different sounds and gestures they make, and adapt.

    Teach your kid sign language, and it becomes even easier.

  34. Big Daddy (#40) we taught our kids some simple sign language (bottle, poop, tummy/gas, play) and around 7 months they started using the signs and STOPPED CRYING! It was amazing! We felt self-conscious about doing the signs all the time because secretly we didn’t think the baby was noticing, but when the baby started making the signs and we started responding with what the baby was asking for much of the “oh lord what does he want how can I stop him from crying” went away. That is when we realized they are really little people who have no way to communicate. For those of you without kids, babies typically don’t start saying any real words until some time after they are a year old. The signing started months before that!

  35. This is a comment for all of the people who are saying “just listen to your baby, you can tell what he/she needs.”

    The one thing I have learned about raising (two) small children and talking to other parents doing the same is that EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. Why do you think that there are so many thousands of books with titles like “The Perfect Sleep Solution” and “The Only Way to Raise Flawless Children”? What worked for your children may or may not work for other people’s children. If there were one right way, there would be only one book.

    My first child cried all of the time, so it was not usually possible to figure out from his cries whether he was hungry, tired, wet, or disappointed with being outside of his nice cozy womb. He barely slept, night or day. As first-time parents who were horrendously sleep-deprived and had other responsibilities besides raising a baby (we live in the U.S., which is still in the Pleistocene when it comes to parental leave laws), we had to know when he last fed, slept, or was changed so that we could estimate when he would need the next one.

    My second child was a revelation, and quite a contrast. She is happy most of the time. When she cries, something is wrong, and it’s usually something that is fixable with a boob, a dry diaper, some food, or a nap. I’m guessing that all of you people who are saying “your child is crying because she needs something, and you should be able to figure out what it is” had only children like my second one. Even with this kind, it’s useful to know how long it’s been since the last change/feeding/etc.

    All of that said, I can see any sort of tracking system (paper or gizmo) as useful for parents who often have to “give-and-go”, with one parent arriving home from somewhere while the other one runs out the door. It’s useful for the parent who has been away all day to know what to expect in the next hour or two while he/she gets into the child(ren)’s routine.

  36. Can I get one with a breast instead of a bottle for “feeding”? I understand that there are some parents who have good reasons for choosing to bottle-feed, but it irritates me that the bottle has become the norm and the breast has become the exception. WE ARE MAMMALS! WE FEED OUR YOUNG WITH OUR BREASTS!

  37. For the “omg you feed your baby on a schedule?” crowd:

    Yes, yes we do. Our 5 week old daughter is still under her birthweight (a milestone the average baby hits within a few weeks of birth), and as a result, the pediatrician has ordered feedings every 2 hours (when possible).

    With the level of sleep deprivation my wife and I are experiencing, it’s hard to remember if we last feed her 30 minutes ago, or 4 hours ago, so we’ve taken to logging in a journal.

    Keeping a rough count of wet diapers has also been helpful to reassure us that she’s not dehydrated, even though we seem to be having nutritional issues.

  38. We have a third kid on the way this summer and I thought like others, hey this would make a good iPhone/Android/mobile web based app. But then I thought about my wife waking up in the middle of the night for a feeding, getting out my G1 and logging a feeding/changing. Then I thought about how said G1 would fly across the room as she would fumble with it in the stupor of sleep deprivation.

  39. I figured out a way to use my Timex to do the same thing.

    Feedings: Every time I started a feeding, I reset the stopwatch. If I couldn’t remember how long it’d been since said feeding, I’d check the stopwatch. If I needed to remember which side I was feeding DD off of (critical when she was having weight gain issues), I switched my watch to the hand on the side I’d just fed on.

    Diapers: My watch has a countdown timer. Every time we changed a diaper, I’d add one minute to it. I never actually ran the countdown, just used the ability to set it as a tally-marker. On the 5th diaper of the day, I’d change the amount of time in the countdown to five minutes, but I’d never actually start the countdown.

    Worked great, quite portable for me. OTOH, not as easy to pass off to another caregiver, but since it was just me and DH, that wasn’t really an issue.

  40. Stuff like this makes me despair. Babies aren’t programmable gizmos. They don’t poop to schedule, they don’t pee to schedule, and they don’t have any behaviors that are so complicated or unpredictable that they need to be charted, graphed, or otherwise recorded.
    I’m hoping that doohickeys like this are only for the incredibly anal, or Asperger’s sufferers.
    Or maybe parents on planet Vulcan.

  41. @44

    Your post demonstrates why systems and methods aren’t going to work with real babies… each one is different, and the difficulty of being a parent is not being able to predict what your offspring will be like.

    I have a friend whose first baby was a dream: fed well, slept through the night at three weeks, cried never, content, beautiful, organised. She took the credit for being a fantastic, naturally gifted parent with all the skills necessary to have babies who sleep and eat and grow contentedly.

    It went sooo well she had another baby… and that baby could not have been more different. He didn’t feed, was still waking up multiple times a night at one year, was constantly grumpy and demanding. She stopped feeling she knew what to do (and looking down on people who didn’t get heir babies sleeping and eating to a schedule by three weeks) and took the only option possible: got to know her son well enough to fulfill his unique needs… which seemed to include a lot more cuddling and reassurance.

    Pediatricians, no matter how experienced and knowledgeable, will never know your baby as well as you do. What most first-time parents lack is the confidence to know that. If you spend time and really get to know your baby, you will know whether they are in trouble, or not.

    The growth charts and target weights are only a guide… they can become an oppressive burden on parents. Out of a group of six women in my National childbirth trust neighbourhood group in the UK, two were subjected to continued monitoring and advice due to “underweight” babies, despite the fact that both babies were thriving and developing well. In neither case was anything wrong, it just stressed out the families in both cases needlessly. That’s not to say that failing to thrive is something that should be ignored, but you need to look holistically at the baby and not just the weight on a growth chart.

    Do they have glowing skin, bright eyes, move normally, do the developmental things expected of a baby of their age (like following a toy, or reaching out for it), seem content and happy? It’s a picture of the whole child that is far more important to understanding whether there is a problem or not, rather than simply looking at the plot of weight gain on a chart.

    I fail to see how keeping a chart prevents dehydration, as a wet nappy may have a wide range of wetness… and if you are tuned into your baby’s natural and normal rhythm, you wll know if things are awry. I can see the point if you are paying pass the baby among a retinue of carers… but I think babies under one year old should be with one main carer anyway to be healthy.

  42. This is just like an iPhone app I bought the beginning of this month called Baby Activity Logger …it has worked out really great for me since my phone is always at hand and I can log all this info…the doctors want everyone to do this for newborns and it is a pain to do it with pen and paper and then to add up all the data manually.
    I also got an iPhone app called Whitenoise that has a list of sounds that makes babies fall asleep like hair dryers and air conditioners and heartbests..etc…

  43. There seem to be some misconceptions here…

    The device isn’t a scheduler. It’s a timer. It tells you how long it has been since you last pushed the button. Yes, you can set an alarm to go off once a certain amount of time has passed since the button was pressed, but that’s not compulsory.

    It’s not a data logger either. It only displays the current timers, it doesn’t keep logs or calculate statistics or anything. You could write down that information, but you could do that without the Itzbeen.

    I used it to time how long my daughter fed for, because the doctor asked me to when she lost weight two weeks in a row. I wasn’t always within eyeshot of a clock and I don’t wear a watch so it was handy to have.

    My daughter usually wanted to be fed every four hours. I set the food alarm for 3.5 hours so I had a reminder roughly half an hour before that she would want a feed soon. Very handy when I was out shopping or something and had lost track of time. I didn’t use it to schedule her, but to anticipate her schedule and get things ready for her.

    I’ve always been bad at time management and keeping track of things; this little device made it so much easier for me to make sure I was keeping on top of everything.

  44. We got one when we first had our little one… and as handy as the “timer” functions are, the best thing about the Itzbeen is the light! That was a *godsend* on more than one occasion.

  45. My husband and I are parents of “two under two,” and we just launched an iPhone app that does this (and a lot more.)

    The app is called Baby Brain:

    http://www.babybrainapp.com/

    We’re getting great press (including Forbes) and reviews, as well as support from pediatricians, nurses, and sleep consultants.

    I’d love to hear what you think, or answer any questions you might have.

    Jackie Ashton
    jackie@maternia.us
    @babybrainapp

  46. 58:I’d love to hear what you think

    I think… people who like to control babies, will love it. Pediatricians, nurses, sleep consultants, expecially those scary-ass Nannies who put newborns on a strict schedule… yes those would all be on my list of people who think babies can or ought even, to be controlled, who would love your app.

    Parents don’t need gadgets and gizmos to parent, they need to love and listen to their children. I see apps, gadgets, anything that distracts attention away from listening to the baby, learning directly about the baby and noticing how the baby is feeing, as A Bad Thing, your app included.

    The main obstacle to discovery is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge. I see these gizmos as an illusion of knowledge, and worse than the real thing, which is observing the baby directly and learning how to interpret that information yourself.

  47. Thanks for the feedback. We are parents too, and we strongly believe that there are no better parenting tools than your own instincts coupled with lots of love and attention. Baby Brain is not designed to deliver a particular parenting style. Only you know what is best for your baby. Only you can tell what your baby needs, and when.

    Baby Brain is simply a very convenient way to record, tally or share information about your child.

    Regardless of parenting style, we’ve found that most parents do jot things down (and are also quite forgetful in those early weeks!) We’ve also heard from parents that they like to share this information (with babysitters, doctors, or spouses.) Or quickly view what the baby did in previous days, weeks, or months. Parents are also currently using Baby Brain to record important information like: temperatures, medicines given, reactions to new foods, etc.

    For us, Baby Brain was extremely helpful as a convenient recording and sharing tool.

  48. i use babybix.com for tracking my kid’s sleep and poop schedule. i love it, and it’s free! they also have printable forms you can take to your doctor, and you can see cool graphs over time.

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