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Tracked Since Birth: The Rise Of Extreme Baby Monitoring

Tracked Since Birth The Rise Of Extreme Baby Monitoring Fast Company Business Innovation


Elle Lucero has been tracked since birth.

For the first 10 months of her life, her mother, Yasmin, kept detailed records of Elle’s sleep patterns, feedings, and diaper changes, noting the data points with a pencil and paper on a clipboard. A few months in, she digitized the logs, graphed the data, and became a more knowledgeable parent.

For the sake of her sanity (and sleep), Yasmin took problem solving into her own hands. She wanted answers: Did she put Elle to bed too early? Too late? Give her too many naps? Parsing data, she thought, would help her figure it out. "That was the kind of stuff we were looking for," she said.


Unfortunately for the Lucero family’s sleeping habits, Yasmin never found a definitive answer. Per the data, Elle was just fussy.

The results suggested Yasmin couldn’t engineer better naps, as she’d hoped. Just knowing that, however, made her feel better. "If you come to the conclusion that you have no control, then it’s okay to relax and just do whatever is convenient for you at the moment," she explained. (Of course, many parents come to this conclusion at the moment of birth, without all that tedious data tracking.) But for Lucero, a conclusion--any conclusion at all--was all she wanted.


But, as Yasmin discovered, sometimes babies fuss just because. Numbers don't always offer solutions, as technical theorist and staunch critic of the self-quantified movement Evgeny Morozov wrote in his book To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism. "Self-trackers gain too much respect for the numbers and forget that other ways of telling the story--and generating action out of it--are possible."

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