Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thank God There's an App for That..

OK, so this time I am skipping the usual "introduction" of listing down lame excuses for not checking this space and jumping straight to the content. Yes, good news - I found a topic to write on ;-)

Baby D is 2 months old now and has already taught me that motherhood is no easy project. And you thought pregnancy was tough :-p It has been almost a year of free medical advices, free dietary tips, free criticisms and free This-is-all-for-your-baby's-well being stuffs. Amidst all that, I did my own share of research too. At any given point of time in the last 11 months if you didn't see me eating an apple, you'd find me scrolling on the computer. By the 3rd trimester I had become an obsessive info-fanatic.

Admittedly, smart phones never appealed to me. In fact I felt like being from Neanderthal era when I said Android phones are not great. Windows phones are ok-ish I thought. Such were my opinions that I feared voicing them in public. Enter anniversary gift by tech savvy Dear Husband - an iPhone this time (no, not 4S. Thanks to 4S, the price of 3GS dropped like pigeon poop!) and I fell in love with it instantly. I was more than relieved that FINALLY I liked a smart phone! Information addiction got worse from then on. I dug out pregnancy apps and installed them. And believe me, few of them are life-savers!

So I decided that I should share my opinion about these great apps for the new-age moms and soon-to-be moms. Here goes! (Did I say I was skipping intro and jumping straight to the topic? Well, half way through I changed my mind and decided to take you on a ride. I guess I didn't say that ;-) )

1. WhatToExpect's "What to expect when you are expecting" app:
What to Expect When you are Expecting is a famous book that would-be moms will hear about. Though the app is not as comprehensive as the book, it has interesting features like a pregnancy tracker with information on how much the baby might weigh right then, the gestational age (GA) etc. The app also provides detailed information on the growth of the foetus and the changes in the mama week by week. The daily tips is a store house of information for a first time mom and dad. The best part of the app is the WTE forum.
The app will help you join the appropriate due-date community where you can discuss topics with would-be mothers going through the same phase as you. Even little problems/queries you have would mostly be already answered there and so you don't have to wait for your next appointment at your OB/GYN's to ask them - silly ones too :-)

Pro: Lots and lots of information on the daily tracker and the forums
Con: The forum is mostly US based. So you won't find anything "Indian" in there. I think babycentre.in has an app that has forums with Indian moms. I did not try their forum though have read the pages.

2. Contraction Timer Lite:
This app lets you track "the much awaited contractions" and you can chart their frequencies. With this data, you can, to some extent, make out if they are the 'false contractions' or the real deal or how soon you need to reach the hospital! When a contraction starts you would start the timer and stop it when it ends. The length of each contraction is also measured this way. You can email this data though I don't know why it is needed. Probably you can email this to your OB/GYN if he/she has so much of time to check emails and read charts :-p
There was one more similar app called "Full Term".

Pro: Simple interface and easy to use - much needed when the pains from the contractions can blind you :)
Con: Well, I never actually used it(probably just 20 min) because though I was induced the contractions never came and so I was wheeled into the operation theater. So in such cases, you never get a chance to use it!

3. WhatToExpect's "What to expect in the baby's first year" app:
This was a natural transition from the WTE's pregnancy app. Once you reach 40 weeks of GA, the pregnancy tracker app will start suggesting you use the baby tracker now :-) And if you liked the pregnancy tracker, you will install the baby tracker as well. The baby tracker has features to track feedings, sleep times, diaper changes and vaccinations.You are advised to feed the baby on a strict schedule for the 1st 2 weeks - typically every 2 hours and I was writing the timing on a book initially. I was pleasantly surprised to see baby tracker's feed tracker in the same template I had created on paper! And since I was supplementing with formula also, I could keep track of when I formula-fed him and when I breast-fed him (yeah, including which side!! Hilarious to think of - but then highly useful I would add!). Baby tracker also provides interesting articles like how to soothe a baby, tips for colic babies etc. Yeah, it has the link to the forums as well.

Pro: You are going to be too busy to remember when you last nursed, how long you nursed and which side you nursed. Leave it to this app and look at the logs when you have time!
Con: There are 4 trackers in it - feeding, diaper changes, sleep, vaccinations. I think using all of them is quite impossible and you'll be constantly on your phone entering data with your little one feeling neglected :-p It is possible to use just one of them. I stopped using it after 2 weeks when the frequency of nursing stabilized.

4. Sleep Machine Lite :
This is my favourite of all and my life saver! Sleep machine provides a set of low-frequency repetitive sounds proven to induce sleep in human beings. Its proven that babies get soothed by white noise and other similar repetitive noises. This app has the classic rain, drizzle, train, breeze etc. The one that worked for Baby D was chimes. It is so calming that I play it every night before he is put to sleep. I can't claim its the app that puts him to sleep, but surely, the app does calm him.
I installed another similar app called Sleep Pillow which has fewer tunes. It didn't impress me.

Pro: When every tactic suggested by everybody around fails, use this - it not only calms a fussy baby but it calms the nervous mommy too :D
Con: What I mentioned as a pro can become the con too. A tired sleep-deprived mommy rocking a baby in her arms and a sleep inducing music is a deadly combination :-))


So that sums up my fave apps from available categories. There could be apps to track your doc visits etc, but I used the plain old calendar for it. I only wish they had an app to get the baby to burp as well :-p

Dear new mommas, bring it on for they say "There is an app for that" :-)


Note: All the apps mentioned are free. Android users, don't feel disheartened, am sure all these apps have a version for android phones as well.


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