What do a newborn's feeding habits look like?

This is the final presentation of all breast feeding data that was collected before we realized it was no longer helpful in monitoring Trixie’s milk intake. In the end we had collected about two weeks worth of data, and I compiled it into a graphic representation of Trixie’s feeding habits.

Feeding Chart Overview

This is what it looks like when it’s all pulled together [see above] — a snapshot of Trixie’s nursing habits for a 24 hour period. Each individual feeding is plotted on the blue area, along with the duration and her mood at that feeding. The pink bar indicates the total minutes nursed that day and the green graph depicts how those minutes were obtained.

Explanation of Chart Elements
The green graph is the “Daily Feeding Density” [see below]. A quick glance at this graph reveals how efficient Trixie was at feeding on that particular day. Did she focus and nurse for 10-20 minutes at a time or fruit around and waste the whole day with 5 minute sessions?

Feeding Density Overview

For example, compare the density graphs from August 17th and August 20th [see below]. She fed for almost the exact same time on both days (see the pink numbers), but she did it much more efficiently on the 20th obtaining her daily requirement with half as many nursing sessions.

Feeding Density Comparison

Tracking Trixie’s Nursing Habits
The blue chart depicts Trixie’s “Feeding Cycle” [see below]. Each individual feeding is plotted across the 24 hour spectrum with the night and day cycle represented as a gradient. Scanning the chart quickly reveals feeding clusters, isolated meals and the occasional spit-up. The length of the feeding determines the size of the bubble. Her mood at any particular feeding is reflected on the y-axis on a scale of “fussy” to “good”.

Daily Feeding Cycle Comparison

These two charts from August 19th and 26th illustrate two patterns. First, the 19th was just one day during a long week when Trixie’s feeding mood plummeted in the evening setting the stage for a long and exhausting nightly ordeal. Second, by the 26th Trixie discovered the concept of comfort feeding. Her mood at every single feeding was rated “good”. She loved nursing and would have done it for 250 minutes a day if we would let her. Incidentally this is the last chart in the series because we realized that the data no longer reflected her food intake.

The Final Product
That’s how the charts work. For more fun, check out the whole two weeks animated over time or stacked in a series. Why display the data in different formats? The animated series is entertaining, but the stacked series makes it easier to compare values across different days.

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2 Responses to What do a newborn's feeding habits look like?

  1. schaff says:

    Just a note to assure you that, while most of your recent comments have come from the “cute” faction, there still remain those of us who turn to the Trixie Update for cold, hard pseudoscience. Let’s hear it for Fantz (1961)!

  2. Dean's mom says:

    Hello clicked on your site b/c of the infant visual stimulation kit.
    My son is almost two 1/2 months and he listens to classical music but I was looking into how well he can see when I stumbled upon your site.

    He was crying when I showed hm the pattern with the five circles he looked at it and stopped crying…Hmm interesting TY and yes I will use caution!