7 Apps and Services to Make Your Baby’s First Year A Little Easier
Living in our demanding digital world can become a bit of a drag when you’re a new parent, as precious bonding (and sleeping) time gets sapped in favor of answering work emails, setting up endless Skype sessions with Grandma and Grandpa, and trying to keep track of a spiraling pile of expenses and medical bills. The good news: you can also make the electronic age work for you. Here are seven of our favorite apps and services that have recently debuted on the parenting scene, all of them designed to help you and your baby thrive in that tough first year.
1. MealTrain: Everyone has good intentions about making and freezing a bunch of advance meals for themselves before the big birth, but sometimes the best-laid plans go awry. The good news: you’ll never have a larger group of eager-to-help people in your life than when you have a new baby, and this free site allows you to organize them into an ad-hoc food army, complete with customized delivery times, dietary preferences, and other important info. Let yourself be taken care of for the time being, and make it up to them once your baby is sleeping through the night.
2. Baby Connect: This app serves as a full-on baby command center, perfect for working parents who are entrusting their little one to daycare or a sitter. In the app, you can track feedings, diaper changes, sleep, mood, nursing sessions, and other key activities, not to mention send private messages between everyone in a baby’s circle of care. It works on nearly every platform, and the mobile version only runs $5.
3. Sit or Squat: You may be able to hold it, but you now come with a little person who needs a diaper change or a feeding, like, yesterday. Save yourself from stress when you leave the house with this free app that maps public bathrooms, with tens of thousands listed across the country (and rated on cleanliness, to boot).
4. Citrus Lane: Like a Birchbox for new parents, this service sends a monthly compilation of fun goods tailored to the age of your baby. The assortment might include soft books, tub toys, diaper creams, puzzles, infant toothpaste, and other items designed to make the baby’s life more fun, and yours easier. Subscriptions run $29/month, which gets knocked down to $24 when you buy six months’ worth in advance.
5. Lalaalu: If you’d rather not leave your box delivery to chance, Lalaalu allows you to purchase customized boxes ($50-60 each) where you know exactly what you’re getting. They’re curated by fellow parents, who have the intel on matters both practical (like this pack of parent-approved sippy cups, feeders, and bibs) and fun (like this combo of art supplies, complete with a smock and clean-up products).
6. Baby Sign and Learn: Ever admired those crazy parents who’ve taught their babies how to communicate their needs with sign language? You, too, can make a communication connection before your little one learns to speak, thanks to this animated app that will teach you all of the most important signs (like “eat,” “sleep,” “more,” and “milk”), and give you advice on how to teach them to your baby.
7. Diaper Dabbler: There’s nothing worse than stocking up on packs and packs of diapers in anticipation of a baby’s arrival, only to find out that they don’t fit, or worse, leak. This $75 service allows you to sample the full gamut of what’s out there, with 18 different brands in both newborn and size 1 sizes to help you make your decision. It even comes with a chart to help you track which diapers are working and which aren’t.
And don’t forget, thredUP now buys and sells infant clothing. Whether you need more onesies or a special occasion outfit, we’ve got you covered.