DISCLAIMER: If having a baby and raising a child was the easiest and most natural thing you’ve ever done, don’t bother reading this post. And, also, check yourself in as an exhibit in the Smithsonian.
Ok, real talk here. Being pregnant ain’t easy… especially the first time. If you’re lucky, you just feel a little “off.” If you’re normal, you puke for like a quarter of a year, then you outgrow your pants. Then you’re always hot. Then you’re cold. Then you think you have to pee but you’re really not sure. Then you go out to dinner and someone is like “can you eat that” and you seriously have no freaking clue. Eventually, you are basically immobile and you know that you’ll get through it as long as there are chips and salsa in the kitchen and someone is around to drive you to the hospital at go time.
Then you have a baby. Like you birth a tiny human. You knew he was growing inside you. You knew he was going to be here eventually but now it’s ACTUALLY happening. And now you feel even more clueless. It’s true – there’s a maternal instinct that just shows up. Somehow you aren’t nervous holding him the way you’ve always been with your friends’ babies. And when he cries, somehow you know it’s because he’s hungry. And then he cries again and you know, this time, it’s because he needs a diaper change. I have no idea where that instinct comes from. God, I guess.
But for every instinct you have, there are about a million things you don’t know. How much should he eat? How long should he be awake? How long should he sleep? Is this red spot normal? Should his poop be this color or that color? How the HELL am I supposed to cut his fingernails? Or know when it’s time to feed him solid foods?
Don’t get me wrong. For every panic-stricken or stressful moment, there are a million sweet snuggles, smiles and giggles. You’ll look at your baby and see your partner in his face. He’ll do some funny thing with this hands that you used to do as a baby. And you will melt. A million times, you’ll melt.
But, seriously, you’ll have a lot questions.
Good news. It’s 2016. And technology is here to save us all.
Having a baby? There’s an app for that. Actually, there are hundreds, maybe thousands.
Here are the ones that saved me.
- Glow Nurture – Having suffered a miscarriage, this time around I knew I wanted to pay a little more attention to my body. This app has a cycle and symptoms tracker, forums, and great insights into what’s happening to your body and your baby, week by week. Half the time, this app answered my questions before I even knew I had them.
2. Contraction Timer – This app is pretty self explanatory. When you start having contractions, you start the timer. When it stops, you stop the timer. Once they are a certain length and time apart, the app will let you know it’s time to get your bags and head to the hospital. I ended up being induced on my due date but I had a few bouts of contractions in the weeks leading up to then and this app was helpful to keep me calm.
3. Glow Baby – I can’t say enough about the family of Glow apps. It’s like your best friend who is just like you had a baby and then dumped all of her knowledge into an app so you wouldn’t have to figure it all out on you own. When you first come home from the hospital (or birthing center, or super organic natural sulfur springs birthing spa, or wherever you’ve been for the past hopefully 3-4 days… in my case ELEVEN… but more on that later), you’re going to have to keep track of a lot of sh*t. Literally. You’ll need to log your baby’s freaking poops… and pees… and food intake… maybe even sleep. To say the least, it can be overwhelming to keep up with all of this. But the Glow Baby app makes it so simple. You can even just set the timer when you baby goes down for a nap and stop it when they wake so you don’t have to remember what time it was when they fell asleep. It will tally up baby’s formula intake (if you bottle feed) so you can see when you baby is starting to eat more and you should, in turn, offer more. Like, how would someone who’s never had a baby know these things?! Where is the freaking manual for this thing!?! My favorite part about this app is the forums. You can post questions, polls, comments with moms who had babies the same month as you. There are so many of us thinking “is this normal?” and now we are all in one place… assuring each other that yes, sometimes poop is yellow. It just is. And, no, we don’t know why.
4. Sound Sleeper – WHITE NOISE is essential during infancy. It’s soothing to a baby when they are tiny and it helps block out noise around them when they are older. I would say it is without a doubt my number ONE sleep tip (but we are just now going on week 2 of sleeping through the night so I’m no sleep expert). III had a white noise machine in his nursery but this app was great when we were napping in the living room when he was itty bitty or on the go, in the car running errands, or on long trips. My husband and I tried a few white noise apps but this was one of the only ones that offered multiple sound options and didn’t turn off automatically when you needed to open another app and it was running. So go ahead and juice up that battery… you’re gonna need it!
5. Wonder Weeks – After we’d been home a few weeks, I had this exact conversation with my friend Caroline.
“How is III?”
“Oh, he’s great… so precious and sweet…. Actually, he’s so pissed off lately and just yells at me all the time.”
“Growth spurt. Download the Wonder Weeks app.”
Then I downloaded it, and parenting was like the easiest thing in the world. Ok, not really BUT it did get a lot easier because I had a week by week guide that explained III’s ever-changing temperament. Why is my baby clingy this week when last week he didn’t want to be held at all. Why is he screaming in the mornings when he is usually at his happiest? It’s because he’s… wait for it…. developing. Not the answer you were looking for? Turns out babies are learning new things (whether it’s obvious or not) on the reg. And sometimes, these cognitive and physical developments are taxing on them…. particularly their mood. This app prepares you for weeks or spans of weeks (seriously some of them are 5 weeks long… PASS ME THE WINE!) when your child is learning, developing and may be demonstrating a different demeanor than his norm. Ok, great, there’s science behind his fussiness, but WHAT DO I DOOOOOOO? Well, it has that covered too. Tips like “your baby may want to feed more often than usual this week” or “your baby may be more independent (i.e. too cool to snuggle with you) this week.” It all goes back to the question I ask myself on a daily basis… is this normal? And thanks to Wonder Weeks, we can all be assured that, yes, yes it is.
6. Cozi Family Planner App – Shout out to my best friend Magen at Mayfair on the Square Children’s Clothier for introducing me to this app. This isn’t necessarily a baby-related app but having a baby is what led me to need it. Before III, G and I kept a relatively clean (but not always tidy) house, ate at home a couple nights a week but kept a pretty busy and flexible calendar… with most of our engagements of the voluntary and social nature. It was easy to play almost every day by ear – discussing what we were doing that night as we both headed out the door for work. Now that we had
aced survived the newborn phase, I went back to work and III started daycare, and life suddenly needed a lot more planning. I’ve become the person who plans what I’m wearing the next day before I go to bed. I shower at night to make my mornings as efficient as possible. I plan our meals before the week begins or things just SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL. And I don’t “do” out of control very well. Poor G can attest to that. So as a mom with a full time career with a husband who owns his own (very quickly growing) business, I needed to GET. IT. TOGETHER. G and I needed to understand and agree on who handles what and when. The Cozi app is perfect for this. You can share a family calendar but assign events to certain individuals (event the pets!). You can build to do lists and assign them to each other, set reminders for things like trash day, schedule things like who is picking the baby up so the other one can hit the gym or happy hour or work late. You can even load in your recipes, make grocery lists out of the ingredients and assign them to days of the week so everyone in the family can see what we’re having for dinner tonight. Time stops for a little while when you have a baby. Cozi is for when it starts back again. And it’s a lifesaver.