Parenting looks different than it did 10 years ago. Here are five great apps for modern parents with newborns.
By Jayme Jo Ebert, PCD(DONA), IBCLC, CLC
As postpartum doulas, we love to make things easier for new parents. Sometimes what helps is a tool, sometimes a resource, sometimes a trick learned from lots of experience, but it’s almost always a combination of all the things we gather along the way. Most of us live our day-to-day in close proximity to a phone, and the postpartum time is no different. We’ve found that having some good apps at hand can be very helpful for new parents. From our own wealth of experience and education in parenting, and from all the awesome feedback of the clients we serve, here are our top five favorite apps for the postpartum time. Enjoy! And feel free to comment below if you’ve got more to add to the mix.
Upon leaving wherever you’ve birthed (unless you birthed at home) you will undoubtedly receive a bunch of paper, most of which you will never look at, and one or two pages that will pretty much take over your life for the next two weeks. These pages are your baby’s poo and pee logs. Tracking your infant(s) output, especially in the first two weeks, is quite important as it gives you and your baby’s care team the necessary information to indicate whether or not feeding is going well and if baby is thriving. However, trying to find a pen at 3:00 AM when your baby has just blown his diaper from tail to tip is not a thing one should have to think about. We’ve got apps for that.
While there are many apps to help you track everything from poop and pee to sleep, mood, and more, we’ve found Baby Connect to be one of the best. On Baby Connect, one can track as little or as much as they want. If you would like to track feeding for instance, you can select breast or bottle, even down to the detail of which breast and what was in the bottle. You can also log any solids eaten, which is quite handy for later on. Another key feature of Baby Connect is that you can give access to this log to anyone that might need to see it. Parents feel comforted when their childcare provider can put things into this log for them to see. Baby Connect, with its easy to read graphs and charts, can also help you identify patterns in your child’s sleep or eating so that you can help him or her adjust to his/her growing body.
You can find Baby Connect at the App Store for $4.99
Wonder Weeks was born from over 30 years of research on mothers and babies from Frans X. Plooij, Jane Goodall, Hetty van de Rijt, Robert Hinde and more. Frans wanted to answer the question of why babies seem to go through fussy periods at around the same time throughout the first 20 months of their lives. These fussy periods turned out to be major periods of mental development, which Frans called “leaps”. This turned up a very accurate prediction of when babies will go through these “fussy times” based on their gestational age.
What does this mean for you? For many parents, knowing when these fussy periods are going to happen gives great peace of mind. There is not a parent out there that has never had a baby that seemed fussy from time to time without good reason. In these times, when you are holding a baby who has been fed, burped, bounced, shushed, sung to, changed, carried, fed again, slept, and yet is STILL CRYING, you want to know WHY. The information in this wonderful book and app can really help you understand the in’s and out’s of each leap: what’s happening, what abilities your child is learning, what signs show that this is a leap, and how you can help your child get through this tricky time. It’s one tool that has proven to make life a little easier for many parents. The app is especially helpful in the postpartum time because it’s well organized, accessible, and explains the leaps in just the right amount of text.
You can find Wonder Weeks at the App Store for $2.99
Pretty much every parent finds it helpful to use something to keep them awake during those middle of the night feeding sessions. Instead of scrolling through endless social media threads, sometimes it’s a better (or more fulfilling) option to delve into something a little more hearty, such as books.
*If you are worried about screen time affecting your ability to fall back to sleep, give these glasses a whirl.
You can find the Kindle app at the App Store for FREE
White noise is such a gift in the newborn stage. As Harvey Karp (author of Happiest Baby on the Block) said, “For new babies, loud shhhhing is the ‘sound of silence’, the anti-cry.” Why is this? Well contrary to popular belief, the womb is quite a noisy place. The sound of the blood rushing through the mother’s veins is a loud and constant whooshing, like a gale wind blowing through the trees or a large wave coming into shore (louder than a vacuum cleaner!). These rhythms are ingrained in us, which is why, even as adults, we tend to be calmed by these very same sounds. Imagine that this is all you have heard your entire existence, and then like a switch has been flipped, you are in silence. Newborns are completely unnerved by this silence, especially when something as catastrophic happens as your mom dropping a spoon in the kitchen! We find that newborns are most happy when there is constant loud sound, which is why many newborns are happy as clams to conk out at a busy restaurant. It sounds like home.
While there are tons of options out there for white noise machines, not all of them are portable (especially vacuum cleaners and dryers). Even the small white noise appliances can be clunky and cumbersome on the go. This is why we find white noise apps like Sleep Pillow especially handy. The free version (which suffices for most) has several options including rain, waves, thunderstorm, fire and whale sounds. Our family just opted to designate an old phone as the white noise phone and our daughter still finds it helpful for sleep at two years old.
You can find the Sleep Pillow app at the App Store for FREE
Podcasts can be a great way to stay awake during those middle of the night baby wakings. They can also be helpful during the marathon feeding sessions or the frequency days when you basically go from one feeding right to the next with hardly a break. We’ve listed some of our favorites below. Not all of them are baby related because let’s be honest, your life is likely already consumed by 24/7 baby. So, if you are in need of something different, there’s something here for you too.
Unruffled (Respectful Parenting: Janet Lansbury)
One Bad Mother
On Being with Krista Tippet
Call Your Girlfriend
Longest Shortest Time with Hillary Frank, produced by WNYC *Trigger warning: some of the stories shared in this podcast have been known to cause anxiety.
You can find the Podcasts app at the App Store for FREE
What apps have you found to be particularly helpful in the early weeks and months with baby?