Which apps do I need?
The truth is that you don’t really need any baby apps but they are nice to have. Baby apps help to give parents reassurance that they and their baby are doing well and on track. They’re also popular and without using one or even a couple of apps, you may have the sense that you’re missing out.
Many women start using apps to track their ovulation cycle when they’re trying to conceive. Once pregnant, pregnancy week by week apps take over before switching automatically to birth and baby advice. Once you’re signed up it can be hard to break away.
Apps are not essential when it comes to baby care, but they are a bit of fun and can be useful.
Pros of baby apps
- Information about the baby’s feeding/sleep/playtime/development is not reliant on a parent’s memory. Once entered, information is there for all time.
- In the early days of parenthood, tiredness can be totally consuming. Keeping a track of baby’s feeds, wet and dirty nappies, waking and sleeping times can be very helpful.
- They’re good if there’s more than one care provider. Apps serve as a communication tool for shared care.
- Apps are great for record keeping.
- Apps can be reassuring for parents who could do with a confidence boost.
- They’re highly interactive and user friendly. For parents who are used to using their mobile phone for most things, baby apps are just an extension of how they relate to the world.
Cons of baby apps
- Apps can create worry if they’re followed too closely.
- Parents who are already prone to anxiety can find apps add to their concern.
- They take time away from the baby’s direct care. Although each entry doesn’t take long, cumulatively it can add up.
- They can be expensive. However, many baby apps are free and there's no cost. Bear in mind the saying “if the product is free then you are the product”. There’s always a cost somewhere along the line. Sometimes it’s not immediately obvious.
- Apps can be stressful when one parent is keen to enter information and the other is more relaxed.
Risks with baby apps
- Entering private information opens up the risk of hacking and sharing of personal information.
- Parents can follow the app information instead of looking for their baby’s cues.
- What starts with entering data into an app can easily spread into browsing on social media etc.
- What begins as a quick entry can become something much more time consuming.
- Comparison with other babies of the same age and stage. Every baby is an individual and has their own unique sleeping and feeding patterns.
- Most app developers make their money by product endorsement and advertising.
- Whilst you’re entering information about your baby, a profile is being developed of you both.
- Though app developers present their product as time saving and useful, you need to work out what’s right for you and your baby.
- It can be hard not to get caught up and signing on for more than just baby information.
When choosing a baby app
Look for one which:
- Has been written by experts. Check who owns and contributes to the information.
- Check when the information was last reviewed. Recommendations change frequently and it’s important to not follow outdated advice.
- Isn’t saturated with advertisements and product endorsements.
- Is interactive and easy to use. If the app is fiddly then you’re unlikely to use it.
- The information is easy to retrieve.
Finally, don’t be hesitant to delete an app if it’s more trouble than it’s worth. The point of apps is that they’re useful. Say goodbye if the investment of your time and energy isn’t justified.
10 Better baby apps
- Save The Date To Vaccinate - immunisation app
- Pregnancybirth & baby
- My Child’s eHealthReord
- The Wonder Weeks
- What to Expect series
- Apps for families
- Feed Safe
- Red nose Cot-to-Bed Safety
- Love Talk Sing Read Play App
Written for Nourish by Jane Barry Midwife and Child Health Nurse.
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