Back in July 2013, when lots of Wpromoters were getting married, I wrote a blog post about the future of weddings and highlighted some of the best digital tools to help navigate nuptials. Well it’s almost two years later, and times have changed…now we’re onto babies!
Yes, the Wpromote family is growing in more ways than one, with the pitter-patter of tiny feet trotting alongside a stampede of fantastic new employees. As a new mummy myself (not in the embalmed Egyptian sense you understand – I’m English), I’ve been investigating, and making use of, lots of apps for new parents. Here are my recommendations as tested by me and my little peanut, Hadley!
Newborns need to feed at least every 2-3 hours. No, that isn’t a typo. They eat 8-12 times per 24 hours at a minimum. This brings with it a number of challenges – lack of sleep being an obvious one, but also keeping track of it all. In my sleep-deprived blur, I couldn’t tell what day of the week it was, let alone accurately remember when my bundle of joy started her most recent meal.
I used the American Baby Nursing App to log each time Hadley ate and for how long. It’s available for free on both Apple and Android devices (or there’s a premium version for about $5). I particularly liked the little timer buttons to start and stop on each side, plus you can keep note of bottle-feeds as well.
And that’s not all. This app offers a wide range of built-in functionality, making it a great tool for monitoring most elements of your baby’s life, such as:
- Keeping track of your child’s measurements like weight, height, and head size
- Timers for pumping sessions and a record of the volume you pumped
- Charting dirty diapers (I know this sounds bizarre, but this is a good way to ensure that your little one is healthy and getting enough food without constantly weighing them)
- Timing sleeping sessions – useful for when you are trying for a more regular sleep schedule
Plus there are more sections for recording bath time, doctor’s visits, giving medication and vaccinations, and introducing solids.
One Word Of Caution – I am a data-driven person and can get a little obsessed with facts and figures. If that sounds familiar, I would recommend using this app to get started, but then scaling back a bit once you’re in the swing of things. Being a new parent is an anxious time and sometimes, going with the flow can be far more conducive to a happy home than stressing over every tiny fluctuation.
There are some days with your newborn when you think you’ve finally cracked it! She is napping well, eating like a champ and giving you lots of smiles. Without fail, as soon as you get this comfortable feeling, everything changes. Babies go through growth spurts and developmental leaps that make them go a bit crazy. For example, at the time of writing, my little nugget is currently experiencing her third leap and has lost the ability to fall asleep. Fun times!
The Wonder Weeks book identifies and explains the common and predictable developmental changes that every baby experiences and charts the typical behavior parents can expect. It gives signs to look out for and advice for parents to help baby make the most of their newfound skills. You don’t have to buy the book to get the idea though. There is a Wonder Weeks app, which gives a quick snapshot of each “leap” where you plug in you baby’s due date and get a custom calendar to show the “stormy” periods.
Don’t get me wrong, you still have to endure the disruption in your baby’s temperament of course, but this app is a helpful way of reassuring you that you aren’t going mad, that this is all totally normal and, most importantly, that you’ll get to the sunny bit soon!
When babies are first born, they have days and nights backwards. Frustrating as that is, it makes sense, as in the womb they are most active at night when mama is resting, and tend to snooze during the day, when her movement rocks them to sleep. After a few weeks though, newborns catch on and start to gradually become more alert during the daytime. That means two things: 1) you get more sleep at night – woo hoo! – and 2) you have to find activities to do with them when they are awake.
It can be tricky to entertain a baby all day every day. As a parent, you’ll want to have a variety of activities to help them develop and explore their senses, but it can get really repetitive after a while if you don’t mix it up a bit.
Enter the Baby Sparks app, available for Apple devices. You get a taster for free, but can unlock all 350+ activities for $7.99 (which covers 0-12 months) or there are 6-month programs for $4.99. Each day has a list of activities for you to do with your baby, plus videos showing you how to do them. The app charts your progress and there is also information on how each activity contributes to your child’s development. I use it more as a resource to dip in to rather than following it religiously, and I definitely put time aside for Hadley’s other favorite hobbies, which include babbling to her octopus, vigorously wiggling and grinning at her daddy.
For The Grandparents
Hadley is the first grandchild for my extremely excitable parents. They cannot get enough updates, videos and photos, and are visibly disappointed if they call me for a video chat when she is having a nap. Rather than sending endless emails to your friends and family, or posting your whole life to Facebook, apps like TinyBeans (free on Android and Apple) help you record your baby’s moments and milestones and share them privately. TinyBeans can email your loved ones for you each time you add an update and you can even transform your collection into a photobook for the Christmas present every grandparent wants!
There are obviously many more apps and websites that new parents use, particularly those that log your progress and have chat forums like What To Expect and Baby Center. I did find these helpful when I was pregnant, and it was fun to see their updates on what size fruit my baby was at any given stage.
Since Hadley arrived, I do dip into these apps from time to time, but sometimes the discussions just serve to make you feel even more overwhelmed. It’s hard to read some of the blatant bragging that goes on, especially if you’re struggling with helping your baby sleep or put on weight. There is also the real risk of too much information being a bad thing here. Just read a few posts and you’ll find ten more things to worry about!
While all these apps are helpful in their own way, moderation is the key. Seriously, you don’t want to be stuck to your screen all the time. Put the phone down and enjoy staring at your little munchkin. I mean just look at that little face!!!!!