I have to admit that I was never going to get a smart phone (well at least not for a while). I remember several years ago now my husband pleading his case for us to purchase a pair of smart phones – iPhones, to be exact. It’s wasteful, I said. We don’t need them. Our phones right now make calls – that’s all we need. Don’t we have enough with our work Blackberries?? Why do we need more??
But he pushed and pushed and pushed. He wouldn’t drop it. He negotiated. He bargained. Ultimately, I just got tired of arguing. We got the damn phones.
And you know what? I’m hooked. I don’t think I could live without that damn phone now. Everything’s in there. I’m torn as to which product to pick at the store? Look up reviews on the phone. We’re traveling and don’t know where to eat? Yelp local restaurants. Lost? Map directions. What did we ever do before smart phones??
And now I find during pregnancy and new motherhood, that they’re even MORE useful. I’ve tried a lot of apps. Loved some, hated others. Following are my top picks for pregnancy and beyond:
- IP Free (Free, as the title implies): First things first. If you’re trying to get pregnant, or trying to figure out if you may already be pregnant, you need to have a good idea as to your monthly cycle. If you’re anything like me, you really have no good idea as to when your cycle will start until it’s upon you (not a matter of regularity so much as not-paying-attention-ness). Cue IP Free. It’s a simple and easy app that allows you to track your cycles so that you know when you’re next cycle is scheduled to begin, or when you’re scheduled to ovulate (if you’re tracking). This app was my first clue that I might be preggers – the blinking :”7 DAYS LATE” message triggered the first pregnancy test.
- BabyBump ($3.99): My go-to pregnancy app which I still use now for motherhood. Every day of your pregnancy, it shows a picture depicting what your fetus or baby looks like, and provides information on what may be of interest to you during that day (e.g. morning sickness, prenatal testing, upcoming delivery, etc). It includes a “Journal” tab that allows you to record weight, waist size, mood, appetite, cravings, and doctor appointment information. It has an included mini-app for Baby Names, as well as separate Kick and Contraction Counters. It has a place where you can store photos. But the best part is their Community. There are forums for anything you can imagine – Trying to Conceive, Trimester, Exercise During Pregnancy, Due Dates (mothers with same due dates group together), 35+ Pregnancy, High Risk Pregnancy, Teen Moms, Delivery, etc, etc, etc. And then once you have the baby, there are forums for SAHMs, Working Moms, New Moms, Feeding, Preemies, etc, etc, etc. I downloaded a total of 4 pregnancy apps (including “What to Expect – Pregnancy” and “Baby Bump – My Pregnancy”) and this one BY FAR has the best and most utilized forums. I met women on the app who I’m still in contact with today, and all of the November 2011 mommies in my Due Date group have since formed a smaller Facebook group. Long story short – you won’t be disappointed in this app.
- Full Term – Labor Contraction Counter (Free): Even though Baby Bump includes a mini-Contraction Counter within its app, I much preferred this one. It’s simpler to use and more intuitive. I used it for both Braxton Hicks and the “real thing” to help determine when it was time to go to the hospital. You simply push the huge button at the start of the contraction, push it again at the end, and the app does the rest. It even tells you when to go in. I love that you can chart the contractions, email a list to yourself or doctor, and save the information.
- Baby Connect ($4.99): The single best $4.99 I have ever spent on an app. Purchase a copy for you, your baby’s father, and any other caregivers. Helps you track everything from feedings (time, type, amount, and set reminder alarms), to diaper changes (type, consistency, color, and even a setting for “open air incidents”), to sleep patterns, to mood, to activities, to medical information (vaccination, history, height, weight, head size, and auto-charting on WHO percentile charts for easy reference). The best part is the saved information synchs amongst all caregivers in REAL-TIME! This may not sound like a big deal, but when you are an exhausted parent who is sharing caregiver responsibilities, it keeps you straight as to when the baby was last fed, changed, etc. You can email yourself or your doctor updates. You can set up text messages to be immediately alerted when an update is made. The alarms ensure that the baby is fed on time. Since most people typically carry their phones with them, it’s easy to update on the run. If you don’t happen to have your phone with you, there is a free web app you can log into that also provides the information real-time. Finally, the Customer Service is GREAT! I recently had an issue wherein we were attempting to set our nanny up and I couldn’t get everyone to synch up (it turned out to be the fact that we had inadvertently created too many profiles for the baby). Anyway, I emailed the address included under Help, never really expecting to hear back. Not only did I hear back within the hour, the gentleman continued to email back and forth over the next several hours until the issue was resolved. Very impressive! If there is one app you purchase upon birth of the baby, make it this one.
- Pandora (Free): Before baby, I used Pandora to set up my favorite music stations. Now, I use Pandora to set up “Lullabye” and “Baby Einstein” music stations. Free, always accessible (since on your phone), and helps make Tummy Time more interesting. Also sometimes helps calm baby in a pinch.
- Gifts to Grow (Free): So, who knew that there are diaper rewards programs?? I certainly didn’t. But there are. Like most things, loyalty pays. Rack up enough points and you’ll receive diaper discounts or other rewards (somewhat similar to credit card reward programs). I happen to prefer Pampers diapers, so I use the Gifts to Grow app. You simply type the code from each package of diapers into the app – which is great because the codes are typically long and convoluted so much easier to type into your phone then have to drag the diapers over to a computer. Another tip – search online for additional free codes as well.
- myDlink Lite (Free): I’ll cover the topic of nannies/sitters in another post, but if you go that route and decide to use nanny cams (specifically one of the dLink nanny cams such as the DCS-932L), you MUST download this app. Allows you to view the cams on your phone from anywhere. ‘Nuff said.
There are so many more apps out there, but these are the ones I use consistently. Any other favorites out there?