10 Ways Tech Makes Life Easier for New Parents

Photo: Blend Images - JGI/Jamie Grill/ Common Sense Media

By Erin Wilkey Oh, Common Sense Media

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 10 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? This all-in-one tracking 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. 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.

Find reliable breastfeeding advice and manage pumping, nursing, and mealtime.

  • KellyMom.com. If you have questions about breastfeeding (and what breastfeeding mom doesn’t?), this is the go-to resource for reliable information on nursing.

  • BabyFeed (iOS, $.99) or Milk Maid (iOS, $2.99). To log nursing sessions or pumping production, these apps are my favorites. You’ll find a number of alternative options on all platforms.

  • Weelicious.com. When baby is ready to transition to solid foods, Weelicious is a great destination for feeding tips and recipes.

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 personal shoppers working in 15 cities across the U.S., Instacart lets you shop your local grocery store online, and it delivers the same day.

  • Hello Fresh (nationwide) and Blue Apron (available in most of the U.S.) offer menu planning and deliver pre-prepped ingredients right to your door.

  • And there’s always GrubHub or Seamless (available in most U.S. cities) for a quick take-out order from your favorite restaurant.

Regain your sanity, get reassurance, have a laugh.  

  • Slate’s Mom and Dad Are Fighting. Hear diverse perspectives on hot topics in parenting, and get tips for common parenting hurdles. Hosts Allison Benedikt and Dan Kois are lighthearted and frank about their own challenges as parents.

  • The Longest Shortest Time podcast (a 3 a.m. companion for parents). 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 in between face-to-face visits.

Get that kid to go to sleep (so you can, too).

  • White Noise (iOS/Android, $1.99) or White Noise Baby (iOS/Android, $0.99). 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 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 Sharing. Do you text a zillion photos to your partner or mom? When you add a photo to a shared album in iCloud, everyone with access gets a notification on his or her iOS device. You get 5 GB free, and plans range from 20 GB for $0.99 a month to 1 4TB for $19.99 a month.

More resources for new parents at Common Sense Media
Babies and Toddlers: The Definitive Answers to Screen-Time Questions
A New Parent’s Guide to Social Media
Best Books for Babies and Toddlers

Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices.  Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org