Tracking your pumping schedule, output, and more


There are just a few things I’d like to mention before I get into my method for tracking everything EP. (My mom told me the other day that she doesn’t like using the word “thing”, but I love it, so I’m going to stick with it… sorry mom!)

Thing #1. First, I WISH I could use the Milk Maid App that is currently only available for the iPhone or iPad. If I could, I might never have bothered with tracking this way. That being said, it is quite possible that my method of tracking offers more than the app, I unfortunately don’t know either way since I can’t use it(!)

Thing #2. There is a LOT going on in this spreadsheet. Try not to get overwhelmed at first glance. I will do my best to walk you through it, and I will also do my best to help you set one up for yourself if you wish to do so.

Thing #3. I highly recommend that you follow the section on creating your own spreadsheet one step at a time. Don’t try to rush through it or skip around. This spreadsheet can get a tad bit complicated, but I promise, once set up, it’s super easy to use.

Thing #4. My biggest qualm with this spreadsheet is that I can’t use it on the go. (Sorry about that!) What I do when I’m out and about, is carry a tiny little notebook around with me and jot down information as I go. Then, when I’m back at home in front of the computer, I input the information. (An accountant friend of mine recently showed me how to access large spreadsheets using a smart phone; I just haven’t found the time to figure it out yet. I may follow up at a later date with information on how to do that.)

Thing #5. I am sleep deprived and do not have anyone proofreading my posts. For an entry like this, that combination is deadly. If I made any errors, please let me know. If something is just too darn confusing, please let me know. I will happily clarify anything that’s confusing.

Understanding the spreadsheet

Before setting up your own, I recommend taking a look at mine so you know what it is supposed to look like and how it is supposed to function.

Click Here to download a recent version of my tracking spreadsheet. Do not continue on until the spreadsheet is open. Place the spreadsheet and this window side-by-side so you can follow along (otherwise there is a good chance you will get very confused).

The spreadsheet is broken into three sections – Pumping, Freezing, and Milk Consumption. In each section, there are cells you will have to update manually and cells that will automatically update based on formulas I set up. The Totals and Averages columns are all automated. There is also special formatting set up that highlights the current date and elements associated with it.

As you can see, I began tracking my pumping schedule on December 26th and my frozen supply on December 28th (that’s the first day I actually had enough to freeze). I didn’t begin tracking Jimmy’s consumption until January 25th.

A closer look at the Pumping section.

Column A is a manual entry column. Each time I pump I enter the date. Column B is the start time of my pumping session and column C is the end time. I used to break my brain trying to figure out when my next pumping session would be, until I figured out how to add a formula that would automatically tell me. All I need to do is update the formula with the amount of time I want in between pumps. If you click on cell C177 you will see the formula in the formula bar up top. I will explain how the formula works later. Column C is also set up with a formula based on how long I want to pump. I pretty much always end up altering that formula (I rarely ever pump for the same amount of time). Column D displays the duration of the pumping session (automated) and column E displays the time in between (TIB) pumping sessions (also automated). Column F is also a manual entry column. Each time I pump I enter the number of ounces I pumped that session.

The Daily Totals section automatically updates each time I enter new information in the first section. Column G displays the date and columns H and I display the total number of ounces pumped and the total number of pumping sessions that day.

The Weekly Averages section also automatically updates as new information is entered. I began tracking when my son was about 5 weeks old. Column K displays the average number of ounces I pumped per day each week and Column L displays the average number of pumping sessions I had, per day, each week. If you’re looking to increase your supply, this will be the easiest way to see if your output is increasing and by how much. As you can see, I am now in the middle of my 19th week and as of last week I was still increasing my output.

A closer look at the Freezing section.

Columns O, P, and Q, are manual entry columns. Each time I add a bag to my freezer I enter the bag number, date, and number of ounces in the bag. Column R tracks the frozen bags as they get used. I only started rotating out older bags recently (I wish I started doing this a bit sooner). Column R is set up with a formula that I will discuss later. You will also notice special formatting that highlights the last cell in column R containing an amount. This signifies that that bag of frozen milk is now being defrosted in my refrigerator. This formatting also updates automatically, which I will discuss later as well.

As with the pumping section of this spreadsheet, the Daily Totals and Weekly Averages sections automatically update as new information is entered. The Total Frozen section displays the total number of ounces I currently have in my freezer (it adds up all the ounces I ever froze and subtracts the ounces I used based on what was entered into column R). Column AA displays an estimate of the number of days I can feed my little one, with the amount of milk I currently have frozen. If you click on cell AA4 you will see that the estimate assumes my son will be eating 28 ounces. I came up with that number based on his current average consumption (33 oz per day) and taking into consideration that once he starts solids he’ll likely consume a bit less (I took a guess that it would be 5 ounces less than now. I won’t know if I’m right until he actually starts eating solids towards the end of May).

A closer look at the Milk Consumption section.

Columns AC, AD, and AE are also manual entry columns. Each bottle Jimmy consumes gets marked down. At first I was marking down every time he ate and the number of ounces he consumed at that time. I quickly realized that not only was that a bit too much to keep track of, but it also didn’t provide me with enough useful information to make it worth all of that extra effort. I now simply track each bottle he consumes and the time he started the bottle. This way I can easily tell how many ounces Jimmy consumed on any given day.

If you scroll down to more recent dates in column AE, you will see little red tags next to certain cells. Hover over them and you will notice that those bottles were taken from my frozen stash. I have marked down the date I originally froze the milk.

Again, the Daily Totals and Weekly Average sections automatically update as new information is entered.

Creating your own spreadsheet using the template

Click Here to download a template of my pumping spreadsheet. Again, I do not recommend continuing until the spreadsheet is open. Place the spreadsheet and this window side-by-side so you can follow along (otherwise you will likely get lost).

Updating the Pumping section

To begin the spreadsheet at the correct date, replace the date in cell A4 with the date you are beginning to track your pumping schedule. Then update the time in cell B4 to the correct start time for your first pumping session. When you finish pumping, enter the number of ounces you pumped. It’s ok to leave cell E4 blank. Column E starting from cell E5 will automatically fill in when you complete the next steps.

Highlight cells B5, C5, D5, and E5, then click the bottom right corner of cell E5 and drag down as many cells as you like. (You might want to drag it down quite a bit so you don’t have to do this frequently). This will set up your upcoming pump times based on a duration of 20 minutes per session, and 2.5 hours in between sessions. You can alter the Duration and TIB (Time In Between) columns by clicking into the start or end cells and updating the TIME in the formula bar (e.g. =C4+TIME(2,30,0) can be changed to =C4+TIME(3,0,0) if you want the TIB pumps to be 3 hours instead of 2 and a half). Since pumping schedules are rarely exact, you will probably do this each time you pump in order to input the correct start and end times. Do NOT alter the Duration or TIB columns (columns D and E). If you do, the formula in those columns will no longer work properly.

Columns A and F are manual entry columns. You will have to enter the date and ounces pumped after each pumping session. It is important that you enter the correct date and number of ounces because this is what feeds into the Daily Totals section of the spreadsheet. Your Daily Totals will update automatically after you set up the section with the proper formulas. To do this, you must first replace the date in cell G4 with the correct date. Then, highlight cells G4, H4, and I4, click the bottom right corner of cell I4, and drag down as many cells as you like. I recommend dragging down to the approximate date you plan on pumping until.

Now, replace the number in cell J4 with the week number you are currently in (I chose to put the number of weeks since my son was born, I find it useful to know how many weeks old he is). Then highlight cells J4, K4, and L4, and click the bottom right corner of cell L4 to drag down. If you notice a formula error in columns K and L, that is because you dragged down too far. These columns are looking for information from the Daily Totals section. If you dragged down to week 14 but if the dates from week 14 have not yet been added to your Daily Totals section, a formula error will be returned in the cells beside week 14.

Updating the Freezing section.

Remember, columns O through Q are manual entry columns. Column R however is set up to match the number of ounces entered in column Q (you do not have to enter this number manually). As you move bags from your freezer to defrost in your refrigerator, click on the bottom right corner of the last cell in column R with an amount, and drag it down to the next cell. This will signify that you have moved a frozen bag from your freezer to your refrigerator (the blue highlighted cell represents the bag currently in your refrigerator).  If you have more than one bag in your refrigerator, only the last bag will be highlighted (there was no easy way to automate it so that all bags currently being defrosted are highlighted).

Again, your Daily Totals will update automatically after you set up the section with the proper formulas. To do this, you must first replace the date in cell S4 with the correct date. Then, highlight cells S4, T4, and U4, click the bottom right corner of cell U4, and drag down as many cells as you like. Again, I recommend dragging down to the approximate date you plan on pumping until.

Now, replace the number in cell V4 with the correct week number. Then highlight cells V4, W4, and X4, and click the bottom right corner of cell X4 to drag down. Again, if you notice a formula error in columns W and X, that is because you dragged down too far.

Updating the Milk Consumption section.

Almost done!

Remember, columns AC through AE are manual entry columns. If you are using frozen milk and you want to track it like I did, simply right-click on the correct cell in column AE and click “Insert Comment”. You may then add any information you wish, such as the date the milk was originally expressed.

Again, your Daily Totals will update automatically after you set up the section with the proper formulas. To do this, you must first replace the date in cell AF4 with the correct date. Then, highlight cells AF4, and AG4, click the bottom right corner of cell AG4, and drag down as many cells as you like. Again, I recommend dragging down to the approximate date you plan on pumping until.

Now, replace the number in cell AH4 with the correct week number. Then highlight cells AH4 and AI4, and click the bottom right corner of cell AI4 to drag down.

And voila, there you have it!

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8 thoughts on “Tracking your pumping schedule, output, and more

  1. I read something about not being able to use your excell while on the move, i have been using google docs spreedsheet and this is accessible from any laptop and you can share this document with anyone. My huband i share my baby’s milk consumption. I wish i had more information when i started, thanks for creating the blog

    • Of COURSE Google would have something for this! I’ve used Google Docs before but not in a long time and I know they’ve made recent changes. I’ll have to take a look. I know you can access Google Docs from any computer, but I’m not sure how this spreadsheet would work in Google Docs opening it on a smart phone. Definitely worth looking into though. Thanks for the suggestion!!

  2. Hey Nikki speaking of membranes not sure if you want to add this but I have a Medela freestyle so it’s a little different. It has three parts to it, one is like the big body part the flange connects to when fully assembled, another is the membrane and lastly a plastic casing goes on the back. (Maybe you have one or seen it) anyway I had suction issues and changed my membrane thinking that was the issue and it wasn’t. I also changed the chunky body part. I was going nuts for several minutes thinking wtf could it be, I had changed all the parts over…. but one….the clear plastic casing part! I couldn’t believe it. There looked to be nothing wrong with it at all but once I changed it I had section again. All I can think is that even though it looked fine it must have been worn out or something and not sealing 100% somewhere. I was amazed this was the issue as I wasn’t really bothering to change them as much as I was the membranes. Silly me lol

  3. There’s a great free app called ibabylog that looks very similar to Milk Maid and it’s free. Not sure if it’s available for android phones, but know it works for iphones.

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