As I have mentioned before, nursing was super-important to me. We had a whole bunch of trouble in the beginning (and our fair share of other problems throughout the two years), but I am ridiculously stubborn and was GOING TO MAKE IT WORK.
I'm also an over-planner - which sort of doesn't work that well with how laid-back nursing should be, but that's a different blog. I knew my weaknesses well enough to know ahead of time that I was going to need a system. (Everything needs a "system," as far as I am concerned. You should see how I kept track of kick counts - even my OB with OCD thought I was nuts.)
I did a bunch of research on ways to track when you'd last nursed/pumped, how old a bottle of milk was (which became important later, since we had to exclusively pump the first four months due to A's small mouth), etc. I first found the Itzbeen Pocket Timer (LINK):
It ran about $25. What it essentially does is tell you how long "itzbeen" since you did something last (i.e. - since you last fed baby, changed baby, since baby last slept, etc.). It also has an alarm feature.
In theory, this is genius. I mean, assuming you remember to click it. Now, I had a backup system where I had organized a tiny notebook into hand-drawn columns that looked something like this, except with some other columns I've forgotten, but I could totes look it up because I saved 6 months' worth of these things:
So, if you're keeping track at home, I would first hit the little button on the Itzbeen, then cross-reference it in my spreadsheet. This worked fine during the middle of the day - but I don't know if you knew this, babies eat and poop at night. They just do, all of them. It's a conspiracy. And while there is a backlight on the display, my eyes are TERRIBLE and I couldn't tell what all of the dang little buttons were (since they're grey drawings on a grey background). So, this became pretty worthless for about 12 hours of the day, since I wasn't going to wake A up even more to use this. She's always been a crappy enough sleeper as it is.
So, System A got thrown in the toilet. The Itzbeen was cute and all techy (which I had originally liked since we're both in IT), but it wasn't practical.
And then I discovered the genius of Eepples (LINK). They look like this (three for $15):
If you click on the image, you can get a better idea of what those are (if your eyesight is as bad as mine). They're genius!! You just turn the little flower dial to the time of day you pumped the bottle on the one side, the day on which you did it on the other, and then you either put the milk in the fridge or set it out or whatever you do with it. You don't have to guess if you're giving your precious baby some rancid milk that will leave him/her a pooping, screaming, uncomfortable mess. This was even more than enough information for my planning self, because I had the other information (nap/bowel movements) in my little Notebook of Crazy. It's a lot easier to handle a big, multicolored dial at 3 a.m. than it is a little electrical gadget (additionally, there are no batteries to fail you).
My normal summary thing doesn't work for this comparison, so I'd just say that I by FAR recommend the Eepples! Cheaper, works better, and is a better long-term solution, because the Itzbeen clears all previous data every time you reset it.