Our CTO Tim recently had his second kid. He took the opportunity to reflect on the apps that helped him as a new dad.
We recently had our 2nd son, Tommy. 🎉 Our oldest, Charlie, is almost 2 and a half now, and while I’m not an expert on being a dad (yet), there have been a few apps that have been extremely helpful throughout the whole parenting process. I tried a number of apps with tips, data entry, tools, and other functions, but these are the ones that stuck. As always, my iPhone is constantly by my side and I couldn’t imagine going through pregnancy, labor, or fatherhood without them.
Apps for the Pregnancy
As soon as you find out you are pregnant, download this app and put in the tentative due date of the baby. The app will then start giving you daily tips. These range from the practical:
- Make sure your life insurance is appropriate for a family
- Pick a date for your baby shower
- Pack the hospital bag (later on)
to things for you:
- Go out for one last romp with the boys
- Is your paternity leave sorted?
- You have one responsibility now: Be there for her
to things for her: (These are the true gems!)
- Bring home her favorite snacks tonight
- Tell her she looks beautiful today
- Kiss her long and hard when you get home tonight
- Schedule a date at your favorite place tonight
- Hit the movies one last time
These daily notifications were HUGE: They let me know when I should be doing things, and gave suggestions on how to do them.
The app also has a list of tools including a hospital bag list, baby name tracking, and a contraction counter. We ended up not using the contraction counter. I didn’t trust it after the app crashed in the middle of one and it forgot that we had a timer going. We then switched over to the standard Full Term, which is mentioned below.
This app was on my home screen for the duration of pregnancy.
Nurture was great both as a visual log of my wife during her pregnancy and as an information resource about what was going on with baby Charlie. Every week, the app prompted Laura to take a photo of herself. It was really cool to see how she changed from week to week, and the app even strings these images together into a nice little animation at the end.
The feature I liked most about Nurture was the description of how big Charlie actually was. It lists a fruit or a piece of candy that’s about his size, which really lets you correlate it to something real. From a Skittle to a mango to a melon, we looked forward to seeing the update every week.
Every week I would scroll through the relevant medical and parenting articles that the app suggested. Most were very good and worth reading. I also read a few books, which I’ll cover in a future post.
This was our (and the internet’s) contraction counter of choice. Starting and stopping the counter was super easy, especially at a time where you can’t really do more than glance at your phone. The app also presents the last contraction, an average of the last hour, and an average of the last 6 hours in an easy-to-read format.
We ended up going through all of the labor at the hospital, where my wife was hooked up to a machine. But had we done it at home, this app would have been perfect to figure out when we should head in.
My one wish would have been having an Apple Watch app alongside this, to make start/stop even easier.
Apps for Newborns
Data entry! This app looks a little old-school, but it is very, very functional. It can track:
- Daycare dropoff & pickup
- Messages to baby for the future
We’ve only been using the Feed, Diaper, and Milestone functions so far. For photos, we’re using Kidfund which is shared with immediate family and very close friends. Mood and Activity are on the short list to start using.
The app can aggregate any of these data points into graphs which give you quick info when you need it. “How many times per day are we feeding him?” This is handy when we went to the pediatrician early on and he wanted to know how many wet diapers Charlie had per day. (This is the only measure of if he’s getting enough food when breastfeeding.)
The killer feature of Baby Connect is its sync. We have it set up where both my wife and I are the parents of Charlie and Tommy, and either of us can enter information from any device and it immediately syncs. Just in case we forgot to grab our phone for a night feeding, we also have an iPod touch sitting in the nursery with this app installed so we can track what goes on at night. I also have notifications turned on (for now anyway).
Great quick tips and how-to’s for new dads. I find myself browsing these while I’m trying to get Charlie to calm down at night. It’s got everything: How to deal with crying or feeding; tutorials on holding, diaper changes, and bath time; and way more.
Apps for Any Time (But Great for New Dads)
I won’t go into journaling as a whole in this article, but Day One is a great app to get frustrations or despair out of your head. Baby will pick up on these emotions, and journaling is a good mechanism to get back in the moment. It’s especially good when you’re alone or you can’t discuss with your spouse right then.
My to-do list of choice. Used for things like:
- Set up will
- Order stroller
- Confirm insurance
- The Nightlight – If you like The Wirecutter, check this site out. It’s from the same team and they have great reviews on everything from bottles to monitors to strollers.
- Lucie’s List – This is technically a mommy blog, but sign up for their weekly newsletter. The info is great and it’s another source that will remind you to do things: Decide on circumcision, pick a godparent, and more.