06 Mar A LaunchSquad Mom’s Guide to Tech
Being a new mom is hard work, y’all. For real. I knew it was going to be challenging, which is why my husband and I attended seven different prenatal and baby preparation classes, but the reality is that no class can prepare you for those sleepless nights and anxiety-filled days when you’re wondering if you’re doing things “right.”
Fourteen months into motherhood (to my daughter Lillee, the world’s sweetest little girl!), I can now look back with a sense of accomplishment, relief and even some laughter about what transpired last year. I learned along the way that not every swaddle has to be perfect. Breastfeeding is inconvenient, but also incredibly rewarding. And even those sleepless nights filled with crying, hour-long feeding sessions and too many diaper changes to count are part of the process that connects you to your child and to motherhood in general.
I’m fortunate in that I had a lot of great help. Help from my mom, who came and stayed with us for two months. Help from a husband who changed WAY more diapers than I did. And help from a bevy of new technology services and gadgets that helped me to stay sane during the process.
For me, the apps and gadgets that were most meaningful fell into one of three categories:
1. They helped me to stay organized,
2. They added an element of convenience to my life, or
3. They provided me with instant access to entertainment or information that helped me stay sane
Here are some examples of the apps I found most indispensable:
BabyMate (app) – There is only one item listed in this category, and that’s because it was so ridiculously helpful to staying organized. The BabyMate app enabled me to keep track of every feeding, diaper change and growth metric. When I was bleary-eyed at 3am and couldn’t remember which side the baby had last fed from, I could check the app and recall.
Dropcam – Going back to work was a difficult transition. I missed Lillee constantly and wondered if she was comfortable with our nanny. The Dropcam was a lifesaver in this situation. It allowed me to see Lillee and the nanny in real time whenever I wanted to from my laptop or my iPhone. It’s also incredibly easy to set up and never once dropped the connection. Well worth the $150.
Magisto – This app is like Pic Stitch or Instacollage, but for video. As a new parent, I took a ton of videos and photos from my iPhone and our Sony Cybershot. I’ve always aspired to create a video montage of those memories, but never found the time. Then I discovered Magisto. Through Magisto’s website or iPhone app, I could select the photos and videos I wanted to include, pick a pre-built editing theme, choose music and then BAM! I had a cool video that was emailed to me in a few hours. I don’t like that you can’t determine the sequence of photos and videos, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers. Here’s a video I created recently to mark Lillee’s first birthday.
Seamless – Real food, whenever I wanted it, with just a few touches. Enough said.
Entertainment & Information
Netflix – Some of those hours when you’re on maternity leave can feel lonely. I’m not a good a napper, so I had a hard time resting when Lillee did. I also didn’t want to make any noise for fear of waking her up. During those times, I turned to Netflix to watch TV shows, and it provided instant, mindless entertainment. Just had to plug in my headphones and open my laptop. Sometimes, I’d even use my foot to bounce Lillee to sleep in her bouncer while watching!
GroupMe – I was so lucky to know a group of women that were all becoming first-time moms around the same time. We connected via GroupMe, and it was fantastic because I could text with other moms in the wee hours of the morning when the baby needed to feed. We would send messages to each other to see how things were going, ask each other the “do you think this is normal?” type questions and just generally be there to keep each other company while our husbands were snoring beside us.
Parents and parents-to-be out there: any favorite apps or tech gadgets that have been particularly helpful for you? Tell us in the comments!