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Are you plugged in? Baby apps every new parent should have

The kid is here! Freak out!

The first months of having a baby are rough, regardless of whether you are a repeat parent, like me, or a rookie just entering the exhilarating and exhausting fray.

In those newborn months, and even through the first year, most bleary-eyed parents go into survival mode, yet miraculously adapt to all of the challenges that come with the transition.

While there isn’t any technology to get your baby to start sleeping through the night at eight weeks (yet!), plenty of great apps can help you in one way or another during that foggy and fantastic first year.- Jeana Lee Tahnk, Mashable

Ready, Set, Baby!

Leave that tattered baby book on your nightstand and instead turn to this all-encompassing app/e-book, which is a great resource for every parent to have during the first year. With a mix of helpful text, photos, interactive tours and videos (how do you install a car seat?), Ready, Set, Baby! provides new and veteran parents with expert advice on feeding, sleeping, bathing, swaddling, infant development and much more. $9.99 for iOS

Eat Sleep: Simple Baby Tracking

Exactly how many diapers do babies go through when they’re newborns? It might seem mundane to be tracking diapers, but what you’re really tracking is output (and intake). Weight gain is crucial, and for nursing moms, especially, dirty and wet diapers are the only indication that babies are eating enough. Eat Sleep Tracker not only keeps tabs on diaper changes, but feeding times and sleep patterns, too. Free for iOS; Feed Baby is a similar Android option

Baby Soother

Speaking of sleep, any magical tips to actually get a baby to fall asleep are always welcomed by parents. People assume that the house has to be museum quiet when baby is sleeping, but in reality, the womb was quite noisy. Sound Sleeper is a great app to fill the silence with options such as ocean waves, white noise, hair dryer, vacuum and more. Free for Android


Babies go through so many firsts, each more exciting than the last. BabyBook is a terrific app that lets you document all these milestones and preserve memories from your baby’s everyday life. With easy-to-use templates, you can seamlessly fill up a book of moments from your mobile device that you can share with family and friends, and even print into a hardcover book. Free for iOS (in-app purchases for additional designs and milestones; Peekaboo Moments is a similar app for Android.


Mama Drama: Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome

Dear Mama Drama:

I am pregnant with my first child and due in a few weeks. I am very anxious about being a good mother and especially how to help my baby when she is crying.

I will only be able to take six weeks off of work, so I am also worried about finding a caregiver I can trust. I have heard of situations where a frustrated babysitter has shaken a baby and caused a lot of harm.

~Scared of Shaking

(photo credit)

Dear Scared:

Most new moms are anxious about how they will handle being a parent as well as the care their baby will receive when they are not with them. Planning ahead for providing the best care possible for your baby is a great start to alleviating some of those worries.

Crying is the way babies communicate. They cry to tell us they are tired, hungry, wet, agitated, and more. A baby can cry for up to five hours a day.  As parents and caregivers we need to expect crying to occur, do our best to figure out what they are trying to communicate, and meet their needs. As we get to know a baby better, it becomes easier to read their cries and even notice other cues to their needs before they start crying. However, at some point a baby may cry inconsolably and as caregivers we need to be prepared for handling that situation.

Having a good parenting resource to help you problem solve what your baby may need is the first step. Two excellent options are The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears and The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.

If the baby cannot be consoled and you are becoming frustrated, put the baby down in a safe place, i.e., the bassinet, crib, infant seat, etc. As long as the baby is safe, it is okay to shut the door or go into another room for a few minutes.  Take some deep, slow breaths to calm down and regain your self-control.

If you are still feeling too frustrated to safely support your baby, call a friend or relative who can help you calm down further or who may be able to care for the baby for a short while. Plan ahead who you will call and have their phone numbers easily accessible.

When interviewing prospective caregivers for your child there are many important topics to discuss. One of the most critical, and potentially difficult, is how that caregiver will care for him/herself and your baby when it is a difficult day with lots of crying. The caregiver’s plan should be similar to the one described above. Be sure he or she knows you are available for support if they are having a hard time.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and The Children’s Hospital, Kohls, and The Kempe Center are sponsoring a campaign to raise awareness of and prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome.  You can visit The Children’s Hospital website for more information as well as

Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to [email protected], and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! All emails and identifying information will remain confidential.

Mama Drama: The New Baby

Dear Mama Drama:

I have a two-year-old daughter and am due with my second child very soon. My daughter and I are very close and spend lots of time together. I am concerned about how she will adjust to having a new sibling and having to share my attention.

What tips do you have that can help us through this transition?

~About to be a mom of two

(photo credit)

Dear About:

A new baby is both exciting and stressful for all family members. Planning ahead for meeting your daughter’s changing needs is a great idea.

A meaningful step in the transition from only child to big sister can be the choosing of a gift for her new sibling. A book or stuffed animal is a good choice. This will help her to feel that she is a part of what is happening.  A lovely idea to compliment that is to have a gift for her from the new baby. I Love You the Purplest by Barbara M. Joose is a wonderful choice that helps children feel loved for who they are.

As you know you’ll be spending a good deal of time feeding and holding the baby.  Using a secure sling or front carrier can help you bond with the baby and leave your hands free to engage with big sister. She can hold a book and turn pages while you read and feed/nurse or she can play next to you with quiet toys from a special box or basket that is only available at that time.

Two-year-olds love to be helpers. Enlist her in simple tasks such as getting a diaper or blanket, turning on soft music, or choosing a book to read to both of them.

Some children observe how much attention their new baby sibling is getting and all of the gadgets they use and want to have that themselves. They may want to drink from a bottle, use a pacifer, or want to be carried everywhere. It is okay to baby them a bit to help them through the transition. However, it is also important to encourage age appropriate behaviors by providing opportunities for them to engage in activities with same age peers in playgroups and classes.

It is not unusual for older siblings to be initially enamored with the new baby and then get tired of the crying and fussing and want the baby to go away. It will take time to adjust. A couple of books you can read with your daughter are Arthur’s Baby by Marc Brown and Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes. Their humorous yet understanding perspective on having a new sibling can be supportive and fun for older siblings.

Plan each day to spend some one on one time with your daughter without the baby. Perhaps trading off time with Dad, so that each child gets one to one time with both of you. Most of all remember to talk with her about the upcoming changes and continue to check in with her as the baby arrives and you all adjust to each new stage you encounter.

Congratulations and best wishes to your family!

Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to [email protected], and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! All emails and identifying information will remain confidential.