I am the mother of a 5-year old and a 5-month old. I am sleep deprived; have been for the past 5 years, 6 if you count pregnancy! I am always looking for ways to make life as a parent easier. I also have a Masters in Educational Technology, so I tend to look to technology for help! Over the years, I’ve come across a number of apps that I have found useful during pregnancy and motherhood. Anything that makes things quick and simple is considered a win in my books!
Here are my favourites! I’d love to hear if you have any other apps that make motherhood easier for you. As with any app, I recommend checking out the regulations and privacy concerns before you commit. My recommendations are based solely on usefulness to a busy Mom, not on the legal/privacy aspect!
Apps for Pregnancy
Baby name: This app provides a fun way to settle on a baby name with your partner. Each of you installs the app on your phone, and sorts through suggested baby names – swiping right if you like a name, and left if you don’t. Names that both you and your partner swipe right for are favourited as a match. With over 30,000 names in the app (complete with origin and meaning) hopefully you’ll be able to find at least one that you both agree on!
What to Expect: I used this app during both of my pregnancies, and it was one of my favourites. Enter your due date and receive daily tips and health info, as well as weekly info (and a video!) on baby’s development. This includes my favourite bit of info: comparing baby’s current size to a fruit (baby avocado anyone?!). Don’t delete this app after baby’s born – the tips and info continue!
Apps for Parenting
Baby Tracker: Shortly after you give birth to your baby, the hospital gives you a paper record to fill out every time your baby poops, pees, or eats. It might seem a bit tedious, but with both our babies it helped with feeding issues we encountered in the first few weeks. I found that I was so tired that I couldn’t remember a thing unless I wrote it down! Once we got home, packing that paper record around with me wasn’t as convenient – but I usually have my phone with me! This app allows you to record it all, including vitamins and medication (because honestly some days I was so tired that I couldn’t remember whether I’d given baby her Vitamin D!).
What to Expect: As noted in the Pregnancy section, this app continues to deliver helpful info even after baby is born!
A Beautiful Mess: Once your little one arrives, the amount of photos you take drastically increases! I just took a quick peek on my phone and I current have a shocking 3,769 photos/videos! Yikes! We often share photos with family and friends, and I find collage apps (such as ABM) are a great way to do this. After a day at the beach, I can create a quick collage of the 4 best photos, add a quick “Beach Day” title, and send it off to the family. For some reason the family doesn’t always want to see all 40 photos I took during the 2-hour excursion to the beach?!
Sleep Genius (SG) Baby: This app provides beautiful music for baby to listen to as she’s falling asleep. According to their website “Over a decade of research by some of the world’s leading experts in neurodevelopment, child development, sound and music therapy has produced a sleep program for babies that not only helps them fall asleep, but actually enhances their brain development.” Plus the music is really beautiful.
Pampers Rewards & Huggies Rewards: Somehow, I had never heard of these reward apps until recently. Even though it mentions it right on the diaper package … again, sleep deprivation! These apps allow you to collect points when you purchase diapers, and put those points towards rewards. I am just starting out, and haven’t actually redeemed any points yet, but so far I’ve found the Pampers app easier to use because you simply scan the coupon code on the diaper package (vs Huggies which asks you to scan in your whole receipt).
WhatsApp: We started using this app when I was pregnant with our first baby. Our family outside of Canada was anxious to find out the moment we headed to the hospital! We all got set up on the app, and created a family chat. Now we use this app all the time to send photos, videos and updates of our little ones.
Playground Buddy: This is a neat app that makes it easy to find new playgrounds to explore in your area. You can find out what equipment each playground has, see photos … and it’s all free!
The Wonder Weeks: This award winning app helps you track your baby’s mental growth and development, and know when he/she is going though a “leap” (which may cause changes in behaviour and sleep). Based on over 35 years of research, this app can be used from newborn up to 20 months.
PBS Parents: This app has games for kids, along with parent tips for things to explore and questions to ask your child about the game. But the part I like best is the Activities. Choose a topic (Bath Time, Kitchen, Grocery Store, etc) and discover a list of fun activities (not related to technology) to try with your child! The app is even available in Spanish!
Medimap: This is a website not an app, but I have it saved on the home screen of my phone nonetheless! Ever since having children, we seem to spend much more time at the clinic. It’s always a Saturday morning or the day before Christmas that we need to see a doctor for one of the girls – and Medimap makes it so much easier. You can search for nearby clinics that are open, and even see an approximate wait time.
Commonsense Media: Another website, and this one doesn’t start to come in handy until your little one is a bit older – and it’s relevance depends on your family’s stance on TV and technology use. Along with some great articles about media and children, this website gives a great breakdown of movies – giving a recommended age range, ratings for aspects such as violence & scariness, language, and educational value, a summary of various things that parents should know about the movie, and even possible things to talk with your kids about. It’s an excellent resource.
Apps I’d Like to Try …
Qeepsake: I haven’t tried this app, but am considering it for baby #2 (who is unlikely to get the detailed baby book that baby #1 did!). The app sends you questions about your new baby and you text back an answer, effortlessly building a memory book for baby!
Chatbooks: I have to admit, great advertising got me interested in this app! The commercial with the Mom in the bath, talking about easily making albums from your iPhone photos – she really spoke to me. I will be trying out this app ASAP!
General Adulting Apps
Then there are those apps that aren’t exactly baby related, but have made my life as a parent so much easier…
Stocard: I just found this app recently, and I love it. I’m not sure about you, but my wallet is absolutely packed full – it used to be so full that I could barely close it (I may have even broken the zipper recently!). Most of this is due to loyalty cards – Save On card for grocery discounts and points, Airmiles card to collect miles (one painstaking mile at a time!) at gas stations, Scene Card (for those increasingly rare movie dates!), and so on. With Stocard you can enter all of your cards, and remove them from your wallet! Just show the card on your phone to redeem points. This has changed my life!
Last Pass: I honestly can’t remember anything after kids!! Passwords are the most difficult – especially now that every website seems to require one. My husband signed me up for this service (for a small annual fee), and I love it. It saves all of my passwords, including links and security questions … and I just have to remember one master password! I can access the “vault” from my phone or laptop.
Netflix: The Netflix app on my iPad definitely saw increased use when our babies were born! When you’re up feeding your baby multiple times a night, trying desperately to stay awake, watching shows can definitely help. I feel like I’ve watched everything on Netflix after 2 babies!! I’ve recently turned to shows I’d previously never heard of, such as: Quantico, The Crown, Suits, Limitless, and more.
Do you have any other favourite apps that make your life as a parent easier? If so, I’d love to hear them. This sleep deprived Mom can use all the help she can get!