Spending the last eight weeks at home on maternity leave has given me lots of downtime. It’s not free time, not like you’d think. I can’t organize my closets, clean out the basement or even do laundry most daysâ€” even though he sleeps a lot, baby needs constant attention and my “free” time comes in small amounts that aren’t enough to accomplish much. I’m lucky if I get to take a shower.
Most of my time is spent nursing the child or holding the child, and the only other thing I can manage to wrangle with a baby in my arms is my phone. That makes it easy to check Facebook or email, but once I’m caught up on social networksâ€” or, gasp, bored by them, especially at 3 a.m. when all of you are asleep instead of entertaining meâ€” I need something else to do. Enter the App Store.
My first new favorite app is one I downloaded in the hospital. (Funny story: I packed my iPad to take along to the hospital. Dave thought I was crazy; I said I’d be bored; several people laughed and said no way would I be bored. Sure enough, I used it a lot. Newborn babies sleep a lot in the hospital. And then you go home and they wake up.)
Baby Connect is a fantastic app. It should be, for $4.99. That’s the most I’ve ever paid for an app, but it’s worth it. When I was in the hospital with baby, I quickly discovered I needed an easy way to keep track of when he nursed, when he slept and when we changed his diapers. (You might think it sounds silly to track diaper changes, I certainly did, but doctors want to know this stuff.) Through the haze of pain medication and the shell-shocked feeling of “oh my God, I’m responsible for another human being now,” I couldn’t remember anything for more than a minute. I tried writing information down, but inevitably the pen or notebook wasn’t anywhere near me, and if it was, the scrap of paper I wrote my notes on got lost anyway.Â A quick search of the app store turned up lots of options for tracking all things baby. I looked at several and settled on Baby Connect.
The app lets me track all things baby-related. It has timers to track when he nurses and when he sleeps; we can log how many ounces he drinks from a bottle and when. I can record his weight, length and medical records; track developmental milestones, baby’s moods and activities; and add photos. The latest update also includes a diary section to make notes. The app creates charts and summaries and even lets you email information to yourself or someone else, or export it into a spreadsheet. Honestly, the app does so much more than I need; right now I’m mostly using it to track feeding information and nap times.
One of the coolest things about this app? It syncs between devices and also to a website: Dave has it installed on his phone, too, so if I’m not around he can easily make a note of a bottle or a nap. Other people like grandma or babysitters can add information on the website even if they don’t have the app on their phone. This might come in handy when baby goes to daycare.
My friends thought I used my phone a lot before baby arrived; they have no idea what it’s like now. It’s practically an extension of my hand. If you’re a new or soon-to-be parent, I highly recommend this app