I didn't expect parenthood would rekindle my relationship with — of all things — my phone. But there I was, with a tiny human attached to me for countless hours a day, my mind swirling with tasks to be done and questions about how to ensure my baby's safety and health.
I needed to talk to my mom, I needed to chat with my friends, I needed advice from an expert, I needed to buy more diapers! My phone allowed me to do all these things (mostly) in silence, one-handed, at all hours of the day and night. Before you say anything, yes, I spent tons of time tech-free, just breathing in that baby smell. But I also embraced the wealth of sanity-saving, stress-reducing resources that make parenting a little bit easier. Hopefully they'll help you, too.
Keep track of all the details
- Sprout Baby + ($4.99). Are you a baby-data geek (or just a typically sleep-deprived new parent who needs lots of help remembering things)? This app lets you log diaper changes, naps, feedings, doctor appointments, milestones, and more. A sharing function allows multiple users to see information on the same kid.
- WorkFlowy. There's so much to think about and remember when caring for an infant, it's common for new parents to become a little forgetful. This tool lets you make and manage lists that sync across all your devices. Jot notes about baby's firsts, make grocery lists, and check off your to-dos.
- BabyStats. If you have a Google Home or Amazon Alexa home assistant, you can log everything by voice command while leaving your hands free to take care of baby. You can play back the day's activities, which is especially helpful when you're tracking medicine dosages or other times when you need precise information.
Find reliable breastfeeding advice and manage pumping, nursing and mealtimes
- KellyMom. If you have questions about breastfeeding (and what breastfeeding mom doesn't?), this is the go-to resource for reliable information on nursing.
- Baby Nursing — Breastfeeding Tracker (iOS, free) or Milk Maid (iOS, $2.99). To log nursing sessions or keep track of how much you've pumped, these apps are my favorites. Google Play also has a lot of options for Android phones as well.
- Weelicious.com. When baby is ready to transition to solid foods, Weelicious is a great destination for feeding tips and recipes like quinoa banana mash.
Get the low-down on what you do and don't want to find in baby's diaper
- The BabyCenter Poop Guide. This full-color guide isn't for the squeamish. But if you're fretting about baby's ever-changing output, you'll find that the Poop Guide is a reassuring reference tool.
Buy groceries and eat well when you have no time or energy
- Instacart. Partner/spouse out of town? Fridge empty? With a growing team of personal shoppers working in 27 states across the U.S., Instacart lets you shop your local grocery store online, and it delivers the same day.
- Hello Fresh and Blue Apron (nationwide) offer menu planning and deliver pre-prepped ingredients right to your door.
- And there's always Eat24, GrubHub, or Seamless (available in most U.S. cities) for food delivery from your favorite restaurant.
Regain your sanity, get reassurance, have a laugh
- Mom and Dad Are Fighting, Slate's parenting podcast. Hear different views on hot topics in parenting, and get tips for common parenting hurdles. Hosts Rebecca Lavoie, Gabriel Roth, and Carvell Wallace are lighthearted and frank about their own challenges as parents.
- The Longest Shortest Time: The Parenting Show for Everyone. From childbirth recovery to talking "birds and bees" with an 8-year-old, topics span a variety of parenting issues. Host Hillary Frank offers a compassionate, thoughtful perspective.
Find out what's going on with baby while you're at work
- Baby Connect (iOS, Android, $4.99). Leaving baby with a caregiver is never easy. Thankfully, an app such as Baby Connect can ease the transition back to work. Caregivers log information about feedings, naps, diapers, and more, and parents receive push notifications on their phones.
Connect with other parents for advice, recipes, and face-to-face meet-ups
- Facebook mom groups and Google Groups for parents. The support of family and friends is huge when you're a new parent. But sometimes you just need to hang with other parents who can relate to what you're going through. Maybe you're a parent of twins or have an adopted kid; online groups can remind you you're not alone.
Talk to family members who live across the country
- FaceTime and Skype. With families living far apart, it can be a challenge for grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles to feel like they're involved in the new baby's life. Video calls help sustain those important relationships between face-to-face visits. And videochatting even has the American Academy of Pediatrics stamp of approval.
Get that kid to go to sleep (so you can, too)
- White Noise (iOS, Android, $1.99) or White Noise Free (iOS/Android). Pretty much since his birth, we've relied on the White Noise app's "shower" setting to lull our son to sleep. Great for traveling or for sleepovers at Grandma's.
- Soundscapes Relaxation Sleep Mix. Check out the Soundscapes audio tracks on YouTube for ambient music that will put both you and baby in a sleepy mood. And since the tracks are 10 hours long, there's no worry about a sudden silence waking up your little one.
Share kids' photos privately
- Flickr. With 1 TB (that's 1,000 GB!) of free storage on Flickr, you'll never have to worry about running out of space. You can create albums and set viewing permissions to friends and family only, so there's little worry about oversharing or your kids' bathtub pics going public.
- iCloud Photo Library. Do you text a zillion photos to your partner or mom? When you add a photo to a shared album in the iCloud, everyone with access gets a notification on his or her iOS device. You get 5 GB free, and plans range from 50 GB for $0.99 a month to 1 TB for $9.99 a month.