The market is flooded with apps–some useful, some total garbage–and I know that I rarely download a new app unless it comes highly recommended by someone else. The following apps are my personal favorites to help make parenting just a little bit easier and, the best part is, they’re all free. Almost all of them are available for both iPhones and Android phones, too.
I used this app throughout my pregnancy and I loved that it had new info for each day in addition to the typical weekly updates. It’s got all the usual info from a pregnancy tracker: size of the baby, what’s happening in your body, countdown to due date, etc. but I also liked that I could upload pictures of my baby bump to see the progression over time. It also offers some little tips for both moms and dads that were helpful as first time parents.
2. My Pregnancy Today by BabyCenter
This one is also a pretty standard pregnancy tracker, but slightly different from the BabyBump app. I used both during pregnancy, since I was tracking the hell outta that baby (and two daily reminders of how many weeks I had left to go was definitely not overkill.) This one shows more detailed pictures of the baby at each stage and includes some videos as well. There’s also a little checklist feature to remind you of what you should be doing each week ie; starting your registry, researching pediatricians, looking into childcare options, packing your hospital bag, etc.
3. Easy Contraction Timer
I was so happy to have this app during my labor, because it gets difficult to track the length and intervals between contractions when you’ve got other (more painful things) on your mind. I really liked that this one has a “Summary” feature that tells you all the pertinent details–length, time between, when the last contraction occurred–because it helped us a ton when we were deciding whether we should head to the hospital or not. I highly recommend this one.
I’ve mentioned the Lifecake app before on my Facebook page, but I love it so much, I’m going to tell ya about it again. This app is great for sharing pictures and videos privately with your family and friends, especially if you don’t use Facebook or you don’t want your child’s face shared publicly. It sends an invite to your family members and they can view the photos you upload via text, email or through the app, if they want to download it. Lifecake allows them to comment or “love” the pictures and it also sends you little reminders if you haven’t posted in awhile. I’ve loved it as a way to share my photos with family members and friends now that I no longer have a personal Facebook account.
A friend recently recommended this one to me as a way to keep track of all those billions of photos of your kids. It’s pretty basic: just a calendar to which you upload one or more photos of your child from that specific day. You can use the calendar for yourself as a journal to record important memories or share it with family members and friends. It looks like the Apple version includes the ability to track specific milestones as well, though my Android version doesn’t seem to have that feature.
6. Little List
I stumbled across this little gem after reading about it on A Mothership Down’s Friday Five post a couple weeks ago. The idea behind this one is to create digital wishlists for your child on the app and then share them with family and friends. You can add gifts from pretty much anywhere on the internet and it keeps track of which items have already been purchased. Obviously, it’s especially useful at this time of year to share with family members who are asking what to get your kids for the holidays.
This one is only available for iPhones currently (major bummer for us Android users), but you can still access it online without the app.
7. Feed Baby
When I first started breastfeeding, this app saved my life. My son wasn’t getting enough milk and it was imperative that I knew how long I was feeding on each side so I could report back to the lactation consultants. I also always forgot which side I’d fed him on last (cluster feeding and zero sleep will do that to you), so that was a really helpful feature of the app. Since I was a walking zombie for awhile there, I loved that I could set an alarm to let me know how long it had been since the last feeding and could track pumping sessions, solid foods and diapers as well, without having to keep all that information in my overloaded brain.
8. Google Keep
My sister just alerted me to this app the other day, which I already love. It’s just a basic note-keeper app, but it allows you to make lists and check items off (that excites me to no end) as well as share the lists with others. I find myself making the same freakin packing list for Chase’s millions of accessories everytime we go away for a weekend, so this allows me to have it all in one accessible place where it won’t get lost (or chewed on or shredded or thrown in the toilet… ) The sharing feature is key: I’m thinking, specifically, of the ability to send my husband a list of things to pick up at the store. The app is made even more awesome by the fact that any notes stored in it are always saved on the all powerful cloud, so you’ll never lose them, even if you switch phones.
This app is invaluable if you have little kids, especially ones who are potty training. Its only function is to allow you to scope out public bathrooms available near wherever you happen to be. Walking through downtown Boston and suddenly your kid has to pee right.this.minute? No problem. Type in your current whereabouts and it will alert you to the nearest public bathrooms. The facilities are either designated as “Sit” locations (bathrooms that won’t result in an emergency room trip if your kid licks the door handle…you know he’s gonna) or “Squat” locations (bathrooms in which your kids’ feet should never, ever touch the ground.) Simple but motherfreakin genius.
If you’re a new mom, Meetup.com is an awesome resource for meeting other moms in your area. Check off your interests and it’ll show you what kinds of groups are available in your area based on what you’re into. There are usually tons of playgroups (some that you might not know about otherwise) that meet up for activities, outings, in-home playdates, etc. It allows you to send messages to other users (like that mom you’ve been dying to ask on a playdate) and it has a calendar feature to show you all the upcoming activities in which you can participate.
What’s your favorite parenting app? How does it make your life easier? There are millions out there and I’d love to hear which ones you use regularly!