Apps or Devices to Make Baby Care Easier?
October 22, 2017 3:38 PM   Subscribe

Are there smartphone apps or devices (e.g. Amazon Echo, Siri, Google Home) particularly useful for newborn or baby care? I'm wondering if it's helpful to track diapers changed, feeding sessions, weight gain/loss, temperature, sleep patterns, reminders to administer medication (to yourself or baby when needed), etc. I think with sleep deprivation and exhaustion we won't remember stuff. I already have days where I can't remember if I took my prenatal vitamin.

I have Siri on my iPhone (and never use it) but no device like Echo yet. The hands-free aspect of the devices is very appealing, but I have no idea what functions they have related to baby care. I really want to know if there's any app or device where you can say to it, "I took this vitamin/medicine today at X time." And then later you can ask it, "Did I take my vitamin/medicine today?" And the app or device will tell you. If there isn't an app or device that does this, I can Wilma Flintstone it and use a paper journal I guess.
posted by KatNips to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There are roughly 8 million apps that do this :). BabyConnect is a very popular one (and one I like), though it doesn't have an Alexa app. I'm not sure what the easiest way to enter things is on an iPhone since it doesn't have widgets like Android does (does it have widgets now? Or something similar? I bet you can do it with the force-press thing). And there are many, many other players in the space.

It looks like Baby Stats is the main player in the Alexa baby stats space, along with the Hatch baby app.

Even without that, I find Alexa very useful for turning lights on and off or dimming them to certain levels (obviously you need to get smart bulbs for this) without having to physically go to a switch which is sometimes hard with sleeping babies, and not with a toddler I am only somewhat embarrassed to admit that while she doesn't listen to me when I tell her to brush her teeth, if Alexa tells her (using "simon says" you can get Alexa to repeat anything you say), she tends to listen. Toddlers, amirite?

(I do want to put in a plug for enrolling in the Baby Sleep Study if you decide to use BabyConnect. I have no connection with them other than I enrolled with my first and will with my second, but they seem to be good people trying to do good science in a difficult space).
posted by brainmouse at 3:45 PM on October 22, 2017

BabyConnect is an incredibly useful app that you can share with other caregivers. It is really, really nice to be able to track sleep and bottles and diapers. You can see trends in chart form, so it is easy to figure out if there are problems. Love it! So great for everything.
posted by studioaudience at 3:46 PM on October 22, 2017

And you can write notes and export them! So handy when we transitioned our twins to a crib. And the temperatures tracking let us figure out how long our kids were sick. Seriously, do it, spend the $5 (?). No regrets.
posted by studioaudience at 3:49 PM on October 22, 2017

I'll nth BabyConnect! We do have Amazon Echoes, but have not used them for anything baby related (smart lighting would be useful though). We also use the Wonder Weeks app to see timing on developmental leaps (may be pseudoscience, but still interesting), and BabySparks for ideas of developmentally appropriate activities to do. We have friends who really like Tinybeans for sharing photos and notes with family.
posted by wsquared at 6:16 PM on October 22, 2017

As people have said, there are some great apps out there, but I just want to share a story about New Baby Brainfog.:

Thing 2 was born in December and I was staying home with her and Thing 1 who was around 21 months old. It was a long, cold, New England winter which meant getting them really bundled up for a freezing and icy stroll was my highlight of the day.

The sun began staying out a bit longer and the ice melting around March, and we were finally able to get out for long walks. Thing 2 could run around the playground and we would stop for snacks in our little town center.

One day in early April, I noticed a consignment shop that had a new line of baby and toddler clothes, so I took the kids in and grabbed a bag full of clothes for about five dollars. Walking home, my brain percolated with a stupendous idea; I was going to finally dress the kids up and take pictures to use on holiday cards.

After naps, I got the girls all dressed up in matching red leggings and sweaters, and I was SO EXCITED to finally get some decent pictures of them.

"Yay!" I thought to myself, "They're all in red and it'll be perfect for holiday cards!"

So I took the pictures, had them developed and was SO PROUD of myself when I got them in the mail.

About a week later, I got a call from my father-in-law, who was in California: "yes I said yes, we LOVE the pictures of the babies, but why are they both dressed up in red?"

I explained my recent shopping excursion and dressing the girls up for a holiday card photo shoot and since I had not yet ordered the cards, I wanted to just share the pictures with him.

He replied, "You know Christmas was four months ago, right? We were there with you."

So yes, new parent brain is A THING.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:39 AM on October 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Can't remember the specific app I had, but on this part of your question:

I'm wondering if it's helpful to track diapers changed, feeding sessions, weight gain/loss, temperature, sleep patterns, reminders to administer medication (to yourself or baby when needed), etc.

It can be. Especially handy with medication, or if you need to update another carer about what's happened when. However, it can also be (and was in my experience) a cause of stress and anxiety that serves little purpose other than giving you another thing to remember to do and to worry about the results of, especially if your baby is not doing what your friend's baby is doing or what the books suggest babies of your baby's age 'should' do.

I timed feeds with mine (down to the second! a very accurate timer app) and also sleep/wakes for a while. I got semi-obsessive over it and worried like crazy. If I had another baby I would actively avoid doing any of this again past the first few newborn days, unless I was looking at medication timings or had other specific medical concerns.
posted by Catseye at 2:52 AM on October 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

We started off logging diaper changes but then stopped. Not really helpful. We logged all feeds and naps and that was very useful when our second baby arrived and we could look back at what age the first had started sleeping longer etc. also logging medicine was helpful so nobody doubles doses. We didn't use any apps though, just a hard copy spreadsheet.
posted by catspajammies at 5:05 AM on October 23, 2017

When my daughter's twins were newborns, she used a device making a heart-beat like sound at night. She has also used a white noise generator in their bedroom. I think they still use a baby monitor even though the kids are 3 1/2.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:04 AM on October 23, 2017

While apps are handy, I'll suggest a basic checklist on paper, which is helpful because it's always there, and always on. We had columns for feeding, peeing and pooping, which my wife and I updated with times and amounts of milk consumed when our boys were drinking from bottles. Also helpful because you can have someone help you do these things and they can glance at the paper to see how things have been going, when you're running out the door or unable to remember what happened in the last hour or day of life.

Other things we have: wireless video monitor, old style without internet connectivity, and little night lights, which we still use now that our older one is 6 years old and the younger one is almost 3. We're decidedly low-tech about kid stuff (see my question about manual night lights), but video monitors are great, particularly ones that can swivel (which may be most of them, it's been a while since we were in the market for this stuff).

We played an instrumental lullaby CD on a cheap CD player until the CD playing mechanism failed, and by that time, our first boy was fighting sleep anyway. In retrospect, fewer "tricks" to get your baby to sleep seem to be better, because every trick can become a crutch, so when they wake up in the night and that thing isn't there or the music or white noise isn't there, they have trouble getting back to sleep. It sucks a lot for a while, but having your baby able to get themselves back to sleep on their own is wonderful.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:41 AM on October 23, 2017

« Older Automate my life   |   Please recommend tense investigative movies like... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.