I got my first mobile phone at age 9. Back in the day (1998, of you were wondering), that was relatively young. But my dad worked in telecomms and so to him, it was a no brainer for me to have a phone.
I too went on to work in telecomms after University and also ended up with a total Apple Fan Boy for an Other Half, meaning that even now I’ve left the industry, I still have to sit and watch the Apple Key Note speeches every few months…
As is the same for everyone, pregnancy and new parenthood was an assault to all my senses. While I loved my daughter, and actually surprised myself (and I think quite a few others) how naturally I took to motherhood, the sheer lack of understanding what the hell was going on or what was coming next most of the time was a little distressing.
Being basically surgically attached to my iPhone, my first instinct (after I had peed on two sticks and slightly recovered from the somewhat shocking news) was to start searching the App Store.
“There’s got to be an app for that…”
Turns out there was. Quite a few in fact. So here’s my list of apps you need to know about to see you through your pregnancy and first year as a new parent.
My Pregnancy Today
iOS: FREE Android: FREE
Brought to you by BabyCentre, this app is every mum-to-be’s bible right at her fingertips. Walking you through pregnancy, one day at a time, complete with weekly updates on your bump’s development, “award-winning videos” about your baby’s progress, pregnancy power food recipes, weekly giggles to keep you going and more.
What makes this app my number one for pregnancy is you can access the BabyCentre message boards and your Birth Club (a message board specially for women due in the same month) directly from the app. So at 3am, when you’re lying there wondering if that sip of wine at dinner is the end as you know it, or if it’s normal for your feet to swell this much, there’s a whole gang going through exactly what you’re going through ready and waiting to offer support.
Contraction Timer Deluxe
Exactly what it says on the tin; we used this throughout our 18 hours at home before heading to hospital as my contractions fluctuated from 20 minutes to two minutes apart. It produced a bar chart – red for contractions, green for gaps between the screams surges – so you can monitor the trends and changes in your contractions over time. (Every business woman in labour’s dream!)
The Wonder Weeks
iOS: £1.49 Android: £1.25
I cannot recommend this app enough. I’ve written a review previously on the blog (here), it was my complete parenting Bible for the first 14 months of Little Miss’ life. Based on thirty years of research and a book by the same name, it’s a calendar explaining your baby’s mental development leaps, what skills and emotions they’re mastering each time and how this may affect their mood. Every parent I know says their baby followed The Wonder Weeks leaps to the letter. In short, if you take away nothing else from this blog post: Get. This. App.
Baby Monitor 3G
iOS and Apple TV: £2.99 Android: £2.99 Mac Store: £4.49
A video and audio baby monitor that works across 3G, 4G or wifi between two devices (both need to have the app downloaded, but they don’t need to be on the same operating system). This app has never let us down and at the fraction of the cost of a ‘proper’ baby monitor, we couldn’t be happier with it. (Read my full review.)
1 Second Everyday
Simply take videos as you usually would of your pride and joy doing something insanely cute/funny/unbelievable/gross/[insert adjective here] using your iPhone (or Android phone if you’re that way inclined). Upload your video to the app, which allows you to choose just one second from said video (which is actually longer that it sounds). The app then mashes them together in chronological order to create a single ‘movie’. The app is really easy to use but be warned, as your videos get longer they do take up memory space on your device.
One for London parents, this app tells you accessibility at each station – every platform, every ticket hall, whether there’s elevators or escalators or how many stairs you’ll need to climb and what facilities are available at each station, right down to how many ticket gates and what types of ticket machines they have. This app was particularly helpful in the early days when I was still getting to grips with the buggy on public transport. And despite the fact it appears to be unaffiliated with TFL, the information included has never been wrong.
Spot Goes to the Farm
We were quite strict about iPad and iPhone usage in the early days. We figured Little Miss had her whole life to play on a device, so her first few years could be as screen free as possible. But sometimes when you just need a quick fix that will keep them distracted and quiet. For example, on a plane. Or when you have flu.
Enter Spot. Penguin have done a really lovely job with this app, rejuvenating a childhood classic for a modern audience. Rather than ‘lift the flap’ you tap the screen to find and reveal baby animals behind bushes, under straw or in a wheelbarrow. There’s the option to read the story yourself or the app can also read the story to them. And there’s three puzzles (drag the pieces into place) of varying difficulty. Little Miss loves this app and so far, doesn’t seem to have tired of it. A really top quality app, worth every penny.
Baby and Child First Aid App, British Red Cross
iOS: FREE Android: FREE
Thankfully, I’ve never actually had to use this app. But I’ve had it installed on my phone since early on in Little Miss’ life. The home screen is a shopping list of potential illnesses from asthma attacks and fever to meningitis and poisoning/harmful substances. Click on any one of these and you’re presented with a tick list of symptoms and next steps for babies and children.
There’s also a ‘Prepare’ section giving you preventative advice, e.g., learning about choking when weaning your baby or a checklist of what to pack for Saturday’s rugby match (drinking water, instant ice pack, painkillers, sun block…).
There’s also an ‘Emergency’ button taking you to a list of emergency situations with advice of what to do in case of an emergency such as burns, broken bones or epileptic seizures, with a ‘Dial 999,’ button which dials straight through to 999 from the app.
I’m really impressed with this app. The developers and British Red Cross seem to have really though through what a parent would not only need to know, but how best to present the information clearly, concisely and in a digestible fashion given they may be reading it at a time of heightened stress. Hopefully you’ll never have to you it, but as it’s free, what’s the harm in downloading it?