What did we do before technology?! In the age of the smartphone, there's an app for everything, and that includes helping us navigate the exciting journey of pregnancy and motherhood. Here's the lowdown on the most useful apps to get downloading...
The BabyCentre app became something I'd check daily during my pregnancy and it continues to be useful in the first year of my son's life.
It gives you daily updates on the progress of your pregnancy and how baby is developing inside you which is just fascinating. The best thing about it though, is that it puts you in a 'Birth Club', which is essentially a forum of other pregnant ladies across the country that are due in the same month as you. People share stories about what they're going through, how they're feeling, questions they have and chances are, it's exactly what you're thinking too. It's such a great support network and helps you to see that what you're experiencing is completely normal. It can be especially helpful if you're a first time mum as there will be mums who are on their second or third pregnancies, who have been through it before and can share their advice and experiences.
Now that my son is here, I check it every week because it tells me what developments he's likely to be going through, what changes to look out for, and suggestions of games to play that are relevant to his age and help stimulate that development.
I loved checking Pregnancy+ every week while I was expecting, just to see the beautiful pictures of what my baby looked like at each stage of pregnancy. Week-by-week it summarises how you can expect to be feeling and how baby is changing.
Another feature I liked was the baby names section, where it lists hundreds of names and you can 'favourite' names that you like and it saves them in a nice neat list to refer back to.
It was also really useful in the lead up to labour as it has a kick counter which I used daily to monitor baby's movements to give me peace of mind, and it has a timer to record surges, so I used that in labour to see how frequently they were coming and how long they were lasting.
BabyBuddy is another one which gives you daily updates during pregnancy and your baby's first 6 months of life with tips and advice to help you.
My favourite feature is the 'Baby Booth' where you can upload a photo of your baby each week and it automatically generates a video montage for you. It's so lovely to look back on and see how your baby is changing.
4. Baby Pics
Ever wondered how people create those cute photos on Instagram with beautiful captions and illustrations over the images?
This app lets you do just that, so it's great to use for pregnancy announcements, bump pictures, and to record baby milestones.
5. The Wonder Weeks
You do have to pay for The Wonder Weeks app, but in my opinion, it's worth every penny once baby arrives.
When you input your baby's due date, it somehow miraculously knows when he/she is going to be a grumpy, grouchy nightmare (marked on the calendar as a thunderstorm), or a delightful, content bundle of joy (symbolised with a sunshine). It's all based on some clever research around when babies make significant 'leaps' in their mental development, which can be tiring and overwhelming for them, resulting in a difficult few days/weeks. It really helps to look at this when you're going through one of those phases and understand why they are being like that. It also explains what those developments are and what skills you should start to be able to spot when they emerge the other side. I find it to be spot-on with Ted and we even used it to plan when we would go away on holiday!
6. Baby and Child First Aid by British Red Cross
A medical emergency is every parent's worst nightmare, and while I hope that none of you ever find yourself in such a situation, it doesn't hurt to be prepared.
I attended a training course for Baby and Child First Aid so that I felt confident in knowing what to do in an emergency, but the app is brilliant whether or not you've been on a course. It has all the information on there about what to do in key situations, with videos, pictures and clear instructions that you can access quickly and absorb at a glance. Knowing that I have all this knowledge in my pocket at all times gives me so much confidence, especially when it comes to weaning, and worrying about Ted choking on foods. I'd highly recommend you to download it and have a look at all the videos, and get your partner, parents, and anyone else who will be caring for your baby, to download it too. If you're interested in learning more about baby and child first aid, check out Mini First Aid who run classes locally.
7. Awesome Baby Tracker
Last but not least, the Awesome Baby Tracker app was a lifesaver for me in the early days of breastfeeding, and I still use it now, 9 months on.
You can use it to track almost anything, but I found it most useful for breastfeeds and sleep. It times each feed and nap so you know how much milk / sleep they've had and when, and it even reminds you which boob you last fed with! Even handier than that, it records it all on a graph, where you can see line-by-line what happened each day, so you can start to spot patterns of when your baby typically feeds / sleeps which all helps you to develop a routine.
I hope some of these apps help you as much as they've helped me. Where would we be without our phones?!