8 Must-have Apps for New Parents

Technology has made the job of new parents so much easier with information and tools right at their fingertips. From health information to white noise, mobile baby monitors to growth monitoring, and even apps to help vacationing with babies go a little smoother, these apps can help new parents with one of the hardest but most rewarding jobs in the world.

Cloud Baby Monitor

For only $3.99 you can use the phones you already have as a baby monitor. Simply download the app on both phones and set one of the up in the baby’s room. You can see and hear them from your room without having to buy expensive baby monitors you’ll only use for a season.

Precorder

This app is pure genius. You’ll never be too late to catch a cute sound, face, or moment because this app is designed to start recording a few seconds before you can even press play. Because babies don’t seem to perform on command and only display their tricks at unexpected times, this app will make it so you’ll never miss those moments again.

Chatbooks

Instead of letting photos take up all of your phone storage, download Chatbooks so that they’re automatically and instantly organized into small books and sent right to your doorstep. No organizing or laying out skills on your part. Simply download the app for free and sync it with your photo album or even social media account. The photos automatically fill up the pages and can even include captions if you want. Proof it before it’s sent, and for only a few bucks the books are printed and shipped to you.

BabyCenter’s Pregnancy Tracker and Baby Development

Get expert advice and information on milestones, development, and medical questions you may have at any time. With this app, you can get answers on the go without having to lug books around or call your mom or doctor. It’s free and great to have when your little one gets a rash or displays some symptoms when you’re out and about.

Baby Shusher

Baby Shusher is a sound machine right on your phone that makes a “shushing” white noise sound that emulates the sounds from the womb. Sounds can play for up to 8 continuous hours and you can choose the duration of the sound.

Eat Sleep

This app is specifically designed to track eating and sleeping patters and give you daily and weekly summaries so you can learn your baby’s habits and keep tabs on their growth and development. Knowing how long your baby naps for and at what times, how much they eat and for how long can help you get into a routine and have accurate information for caretakers.

Owlet

The Owlet app connects with the Owlet Smart Sock and shows you your baby’s heart rate and oxygen level right on your smart phone. With wireless communication, you don’t have to worry about heavy duty machines or cords to wrap around your baby. The Smart Sock uses pulse oximetry to send information to a small base station set up in your baby’s room, and that information is sent via Wi-Fi to your phone no matter where you are.

Baby Pack + Go

Babies can make trips complicated, but this app will be your best friend as you prepare for your vacation. You can load lists and create itineraries centered on your baby. Never forget the sunscreen again, and use the app’s soothing sounds to pacify your baby during flights or long road trips.

*Post edited to update BabyCenter app name from “My Baby Today,” to “Pregnancy tracker and baby development.”

 

What apps have you found to be useful for new parents? Share below!

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6 Labor and Delivery Tips for Dads

While you may think mom does all of the work during delivery, dad plays a vital role in ensuring a smooth, stress-free delivery and can make all of the difference in how it goes. Here are 6 labor and delivery tips for dads to help make the big day run smoothly.

1.      Educate yourself about the delivery

Don’t be caught off guard by the medical lingo you hear the doctors and nurses discuss regarding your wife and baby. Take the time during pregnancy to read books, watch videos, listen to podcasts, etc. that are educational and helpful about the process of labor. Understand the various procedures that will or could happen, and as much terminology as you can. Look up things about your doctor or the doctors who could be on call, what their experience is and what they believe. Some doctors will list articles they’ve published about natural labor, or the importance of skin-to-skin, or the avoidance of the use of forceps. Knowing what’s important to your doctor and what they’re areas of expertise are can help you in your interactions with them and the decision-making process.

2.      Pack yourself a bag

Of course make sure your wife has a hospital bag packed with everything she and the baby will need, but you’re going to be spending a lot of time there, too. Don’t get stuck greeting visitors with stinky breath from not having a toothbrush, or worrying about your BO rubbing off on the baby when you hold him/her. Have your own bag packed ahead of time with all of the essentials you’ll need for at least 2 days in the hospital. Hopefully you’ll be able to get out of there on time and with no complications, but 2 days should get you through until you can leave or can ask someone else to pick up anything else you’d need.

3.      Take charge of communications

On that note, you’ll want to announce the baby’s birth when he/she is born, but probably want to avoid your phone’s ringing off the hook during that precious time. Allow mom the chance to bond and recover peacefully by taking charge of all communications. Set up a phone tree where you’ll call 1 or 2 people, and then they will make calls or announcements according to your wishes. Make sure your wife is feeling up to visitors before people are allowed in the room, and basically be a buffer between the rest of the world, your wife and new baby. There is no feeling like holding your brand new baby in your arms for the first time. Savor that feeling and moment as much as you can before letting the rest of the world in.

4.      Learn relaxation techniques for yourself and mom

Labor can take a while, and result in long stretches of discomfort and uneasiness. Waiting for test results or progress in the labor can be stressful, but it’s extremely important that you handle this stress constructively. Learn breathing techniques, learn how to relax your muscles, learn how to slow your heart rate, and learn how to coach your wife to relax. There are recordings you can find that can help you relax, and don’t hesitate to use them. Clear minds make rational decisions, and this a time when you need a clear mind.

5.      Be strong

You may have to make some tough decisions. Sometimes emergency C-sections happen. Sometimes when the baby is born, he/she needs immediate care and is taken away right after delivery. Doctors will still be focusing on your wife and ensuring her body is taken care of, so that leaves a lot of wondering what you should do. In these situations, it’s important for you to keep your composure. Difficult decisions may need to be made, and they will likely fall on your shoulders. Keep perspective and a level head to make decisions in the best interest of your family, keeping in mind your wife’s wishes if she is unable to be a part of the decision-making process.

6.      Love her unconditionally

This may seem obvious, but hear me out. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery cause huge changes in the body not only physically, but emotionally as well. Hormones necessary to help her and the baby’s body grow and develop normally can take a while to go back to normal, and can result in actions and emotions from your wife that you don’t recognize. Realize that her words and behavior are largely influenced by hormones and body chemistry, and while she may even get easily frustrated or take out her stress on you, remember to love her, “through sickness and health,” and that this is the time she needs you the most. Be strong for her. Talk calmly; don’t let yourself get caught up in the emotions. When one of you is weak, the other must be strong. Continue being kind, continue serving her, and try to meet her needs. This time will pass and things will change, but your life for each other should not.

 

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How You Can Help a New Mom

Adapting to life with a new baby can be difficult for parents, especially for new mothers as they also deal with recovery from childbirth. With all of the changes and added responsibility, it’s important that their “village” step up and help out wherever they can. Whether you’re a grandparent, sibling, cousin, neighbor, fellow church member, co-worker, or longtime friend of a new mom, any act of service or kindness you can show her will be much appreciated and strengthen your relationship.

Here are some ways you can help a new mom.

Help them sleep

Unfortunately there is an ironic paradigm that occurs after childbirth: babies don’t often sleep through the night or have good sleep habits at all, but new moms need extra rest to recover from delivery.  The term “mombie” has been coined to describe new moms dealing with this paradigm. But this is where her tribe can save the day. Offer to come over for an afternoon and take care of the baby while she sleeps. Change the baby for her, put the baby down for tummy time, if possible feed the baby a bottle, etc. so mom can get rest. This might be the most helpful thing you can do for a new mom.

Get the groceries

This is something you can help with before the baby is born, too. Getting to the grocery store is going to be tricky for a few weeks at least, so offer to pick up at least the essentials for mom in the week after the baby arrives. With several grocery stores offering pick-up service, you can even have mom do her grocery shopping online and then go pick it up for her to make sure she gets everything she wants. She needs to keep her energy and health up, so make sure her fridge and cupboards are stocked for when she needs a snack.

Clean the house

Again, recovery and sleep deprivation will make it hard for mom to take care of her usual responsibilities. Especially more intensive chores like vacuuming and scrubbing floors will be difficult while her body heals. Offer to come over once or twice a week for a month or so to help with basic housekeeping. Offering to do the dishes, laundry, clean the floors (especially), and scrub the tubs and showers will be so appreciated.

Clean the car

If it’s hard for mom to clean her house, you can bet the car isn’t a priority. And with another family member to add clutter, mom’s car could probably benefit from a good clean-out. Offer to clear it out, vacuum it up, and make it shine so she can travel in comfort (at least for a little while).

Walk/play with the dog

Fur babies don’t often make the top of the priority list, either, when a new baby comes home. But it’s important that they don’t develop jealousy issues and behavioral problems from a sudden lack of attention replaced by the baby. Offer to come over to walk or play with the dog to keep him/her content. Bathing and grooming the dog would also be very helpful to help keep the home clean and prevent the new baby from being exposed to unnecessary dirt or allergens.

Carpool for her other kids

For a while, the other kids in the family will also have to cater and adapt to the new baby, and this can be difficult for them. Having to miss practices, recitals, play dates, or other social events can be hard on a kid, and helping them out helps mom out a lot. Offer to have them over to play, to drop them off or pick them up from school or another activity.

We all need our support system to get through hard or changing times of our lives, and having a baby is a major life event that can be made easier by the support of a good tribe. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any new mom you know and offer help. Even if she’s reluctant, she will later thank you endlessly for being there in her time of need.

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National Siblings Day – How to Help an Older Sibling Adjust to New Baby

In honor of National Siblings Day, we’re sharing five ways to help an older sibling adjust to a new baby.

1. Read a fun book about the joy of having a sibling.
Reading to your child is already a great time to bond, so why not incorporate a new read to help prep your firstborn to have another sibling? It’s also a time that you can talk to your child and let her express any anxieties, questions or concerns that she may have. The “New Baby” series by Rachel Fuller is a great option, because it takes you from waiting for the baby to arrive to playing with the new baby in four colorful board books.

2. Pick out some older sibling/younger sibling clothing.
Whether it’s big sister/little sister (or big brother/little brother, or any other combination of the two) coordinating tops or maybe some cute matching pajamas, take your child to select something for themselves and the baby that coordinate with each other. That way your older child can be involved in the activity, and choose something he or she likes.

3. Plan one-on-one time with your older child.
Even if it’s just to run an errand or go grocery shopping, making the effort to spend one-on-one time with your older child is a great way to show her that she still matters. Kids can feel upended when their schedules change, and so validating their emotions is really important.

4. Give her special jobs to help with the baby.
Don’t be afraid to let your firstborn help out… you may be surprised at what she can do. Whether it’s helping with the bath by washing your baby’s feet, or helping grab things like diapers and wipes. Help her hold the baby and have her help soothe baby with gentle pats on the back or by talking softly to the baby. Depending on her age, she can also help by reading or telling the baby a story, or making silly faces.

5. Have baby give her older sibling a gift. 
When your older child comes to visit your baby in the hospital for the first time, have a little wrapped gift waiting at the hospital. Explain that the gift is from their new little baby sister or brother because they’re excited to have them as a sibling. This will probably work better if your children are closer in age, but it can be a sweet gesture that could brighten your firstborn’s day.

What are some ways you helped your child adjust to having a new sibling?

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