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WHAT ITZBEEN DOES: Itzbeen Baby Care Timer is a multi-purpose timer that helps you remember all those basic (yet essential) baby-care things. Like when baby was last changed, last fed, time since baby's last sleep (or how long your baby slept for). So, basically, you always know how long itzbeen!
PRICE: £24.99 on Amazon
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE: Itzbeen is a satisfyingly chunky little gadget (although still small enough to slip into a handbag and certainly a nice fit for a pocket on a baby bag). It even comes with a clip on the back, so dads could even wear it clipped to their jeans. However, I'm not entirely sure this would create a George Clooney in ER look, more just a 'what the hell's that???' look.
The device comes in a choice of three colours - baby pink, baby blue and a light green, which frames a long LED screen.
At the top is the Itzbeen logo and, directly below that, is a soft-glow nightlight. Perfect for casting a bit of light (but not too much!) in the middle of the night. It's great for stopping you bumping into chairs, as you search for your sanity in the wee small hours. It's also just right for spying on a slumbering baby without waking them up with the full-beam of a torch!
On the right, are four buttons with little icons of a nappy, a bottle, Zzzzs and one with an asterisk. Obviously, these correspond to changing, feeding and sleeping. The last one is a 'freestyle' button to use however you want. Perhaps to time when medication was last administered. Or when your other half last changed a nappy.
To activate the timer, simply press the relevant button and it will start counting up. Alternatively, you can input a period of time and set Itzbeen to sound an alarm once the timer has counted down. Excellent if you need to give medication at set periods.
You can also lock Itzbeen so nothing gets pressed accidentally in a bag.
Finally, there's an LED backlight button and a little nursing reminder button which you can position on and L or an R, to remind you which breast you need to feed from next.
MY VIEW: Many people will read what Itzbeen does and cry, 'Duh! Can't you remember all this woman?' Well, as a first time mum (with quite severe PND at one point), no I couldn't. I could barely remember my own name at times. Lots of parents will admit that one of the first things to go, in the wake of a newborn's entry into the house, is their memory. Some parents are more efficient and on top of things than others - some babies are easier than others. However, for those who feel they need a little help remembering things, or keeping track of things, Itzbeen is a lifesaver.
In all honesty, I never used it to remind me about nappies - I was very much on top of that. However, I had a baby who didn't cry for food. I breast fed her every three hours and, because she didn't ask, I needed to know how long it had been since the last feed. Also, because the baby wasn't a robot and woke at different times, I wasn't on a strict 7am, 10am, 1pm regimen.
At first (and, again, many will scoff), I kept notes of how long she fed and from which breast. I know, in hindsight, this wasn't healthy. It was a comfort blanket for me which gave me some semblance of 'control' over a situation that was entirely new to me. It became something of an obsession and was very much tied in with the PND. Once I got Itzbeen (when my daughter was about 5 months old), it freed me from this and actually allowed me to take a far more relaxed approach. I didn't need to consult the notebook to know when my baby had last fed.
I also had a baby who was a very bad sleeper and Itzbeen enabled me to know exactly how long she had slept for and whether I needed to try and re-settle her. It was also invaluable because, eventually, we went for some sleep guidance and it allowed the midwife to see what was going on with her sleep patterns.
Even if you use Itzbeen for just one aspect of babycare (whether it's when to feed or how long your baby's slept for), it's worth the money. If it sets your mind at rest and makes parenting easier, again, I'd say it's worth every penny. It would be ideal for those with premature babies who have to make sure they feed at regular intervals. Personally, Itzbeen allowed me to free my mind and relax into things more. If I was in a shopping centre and had lost track of time, I could just look at my Itzbeen and know I had 40 mins until the next feed.
Additionally, although I never went for the Gina Ford method of doing things (in my view, that route leads to insanity!), if you do happen to want to try a more routine-based approach, Itzbeen would be great for tracking that.
CONCLUSION: Whilst I would never condone relying totally on a gadget when it comes to babycare, and nothing can take the place of instinct, intuition and listening to your baby, there are times when most parents will have a forgetful moment. This device is a great reassurance for those parents who need a bit of a helping hand remembering where they're at.