Are parents tracking too much?

Parents log millions of activities in Smallnest. Soon, some things will track themselves: Smartling, Owlet and Mimo can be worn by baby and will update parents automatically (and who knows, may also update Smallnest?) with additional information (temperature, ambient light, etc.). And that’s awesome.

Rebecca Greenfield recently argued in FastCompany that we might be going too far with this whole baby tracking thing. Or maybe we haven’t. We say: it depends.

Every parent (us included) have freaked out at some point when they thought their baby might not be breathing. When an infant sleeps through the night the first time, 35% of moms freaked out because they thought their baby wasn’t breathing (according to our recent survey). Now will you check your app for a heart rate or will you just run into the nursery? I’m guessing you’ll run to the nursery no matter what.

And that’s the thing: when done right, parents can be much more confident because they’re using Smallnest – or a device, presumably – but it’s not an either/or thing. It’s “And”. You track breastfeeding in Smallnest, but if you’re having trouble – you still get a lactation consultant to help you with real world wisdom. If your toddler still isn’t sleeping through the night, sure, use Smallnest to help understand what patterns there might be – but if you can’t figure it out yourself, an expert can help you figure out what to do (especially when it’s something you don’t want to do, which in this case it will be).

We do agree: it’s easy to go overboard. Things like bath time, where baby slept – they don’t actually matter. If you’re tracking them, without a clinical reason to (hint: there are no clinical reasons to) you might want to stop and just enjoy your time with baby. This is why Smallnest only tracks the critically important (eating, sleeping, diapers). Your baby is actually a person, and just as you wouldn’t get to know someone by obsessing over their Strava or Fitbit profile, don’t let any tracking app or device take away from your relationship with the person who happens to be very small right now, and poop a lot – at the most inconvenient times.