Technophile and now, a Mom – A Guide

Samantha Barnes for NewOrleansTech.net

Originally featured on NewOrleansTech.net, before the rebrand.

I create for a living, and that’s why I love technology. It is an integral part of my everyday, including my personal life. Without it, I might not love creating as much as I do. Recently, creating things has taken me on a less technological route; this June, I’ll be a new mom. Therefore, I present to you, some tech recommendations that are mom-approved (well, by this mom, in any case.)

TOOLS AND GADGETS

Talking with my mother the other day, I learned that the technology we take for granted today, such as ultrasounds, was new or used very infrequently not that long ago and still is, in some cases today. So far, I’ve spied on my kid every 4 weeks, in contrast to my mom, who only saw me a couple times before my grand entrance. As a technophile, I’m sure many of you agree with me when I say I am glad for technology to be so accessible today. Below are some items that I particularly enjoy or look forward to owning that  are musts to consider for any type of technology nerd who is expecting. You could always surprise your favorite geek parent with one of these at the next baby shower.

RITMO Pregnancy Sound System : This innovative item is both a sound system and all-to helpful back/belly brace. The sound system can plug into the headphone jack of any MP3 player of choice, playing tunes for the baby to enjoy (and maybe enrich their mind), while mom can enjoy some much savored relief from the back brace supporting the growing weight of her womb. It weighs in at a hefty price, but I think this is a great investment for anyone with back issues or looking to have more kids in the future.

Itzbeen Baby Care Timer: This beautiful gadget does something few parents figure out they’ll need to do before its too late: put the baby on a schedule. This helps! It keeps a record of every time you feed, change, bath, or put your little one down for a nap. Most parents come up with a way to keep track that involves some personal solution like a weird bracelet for feedings or a dry erase board. Ditch those fallible methods for something that you and your partner can both use with ease.

4moms Goodnight Sleep Trainer : Now, contrary to the product’s manufacturer, this product is for everyone in the company of a 4 month on up. Use this device’s built in training system to try and train your baby to sleep more peacefully through naps and at night. The system offers comforting steps that inform users when it is appropriate to soothe a crying child or how long they have left to wait it out before it is time to intervene. I recommend reading the manual well, and advise readers to understand that every parent’s methods are different. This is simply a tool, not a guaranteed solution. Nevertheless, I’m not taking any chances on having to read Go the F**k to Sleep to my kid, so I’ll be trying this one out by the next Saints season.

In addition, other normal items have gotten tech upgrades. Strollers now offer built-in sound systems that play music for both baby and parent. Baby monitors now come with unlimited range, as well as text, voice, or email alerts when the baby sets the monitor off. They have wipe warmers, special waste baskets for the biohazard kind of waste, bottle warmerstracking devices, personal little people MP3 players (for the more frugal parents not so keen on the iPod Touch), digital bath thermometers, and even digital-readout ear thermometers for the little sick one so you don’t have to visit the vestiges of ancient technology upon their rectum. (For our younger generation readers, a baby’s temperature used to be taken from their rear end with a glass thermometer. Not a pleasant experience for anyone involved.)

 

APPLICATIONS

One could on forever about apps and their seamless integration into our lives. Search for “children” on the App Store and the list is long. In the meantime, while your touch screen devices are devoid of peanut butter smears and sticky, sugar spots, here are some apps I’ve found for you to enjoy while your phone is still your own. (My niece could use an iPhone by two years old; enjoy it while you can.)

BabyCenter’s My Pregnancy Today : This was the first app I downloaded that related to my pregnancy. If anyone has done any reading up on what’s happening in the mysterious womb, BabyCenter is a definitive resource of knowledge. Well, now all of that is packaged in their neat little app. This app is available on iOS and Android devices.

Sprout Pregnancy Essentials: I love this app. Not only does it provide information on what’s going on, it gives you a great image of what your baby looks like right now. It is very interactive, using points you touch on the image of the fetus to display information about development, growth, and the baby’s capabilities such as sight or hearing. Different milestone weeks give a 3D view of the fetus, as well as playing an example of a fetal heartbeat. Other useful features include a weight tracker, a kick counter, contraction timer, timeline, and a delivery checklist for your hospital visit. The app also smartly uses Facebook integration so you can share your pregnancy developments with your social circle. No Twitter or other share features so far, but a small negative in a giant list of positives. This app is available on iOS and Android devices.

WebMD Baby App: Hot off the Apple Approval Committee presses yesterday comes WebMd Baby. Hypochrondriacs rejoice! We can now match our babies’ symptoms to a myriad of diseases at the swipe of a finger! All joking aside, when your child is up at 2am with a raging fever of 102°F and your pediatrician has turned their phone off, anything that will give you an answer on whether you need to rush to the nearest emergency room or not is helpful. Moreover, the app also comes packing some great features, aside from the wealth of diagnosis information and how-to’s. The Journal tab gives you the ability to chart your kids’ growth, monitor feedings and keep your baby on schedule, as well as journal about them in the BabyBook feature. You can also add multiple kids, but unfortunately, you can’t add a child before they are born. I postulate that this minor inconvenience might change once the app gets some user feedback. This is certainly an app I am looking forward to using. This app is not available on the Android market yet.

SERVICES

Registering for items for you and your new baby is like a rite of passage for new, or old, parents. Many stores now offer an online registry service, and typically, there is a better selection online. Babies ‘R UsTargetPottery BarnWalmart, and Burlington Coat Factory are examples of stores that offer an online registry for users to access and purchase items to send to their favorite new parents.

However, my favorite options are services provided by sites that collect items into your registry from all over the web, such as Amazon. On the upside, Amazon offers a program called Amazon Mom, which allows registrants to discounts, shipping waivers, and notifies them of deals from partners. If you’d like to see an example of the Amazon Universal Registry in use with their Baby Registry option, you are welcome to view my registry.

No matter how much we do, nothing can prepare us for the arrival of our life-changing moment. When push comes to shove (pun intended), most important thing in your world, and mine, will arrive and technology won’t be there to put a bandaid on their knee or hold them when they cry. In the end, technology is just a tool, and thankfully we can use it to make us better, more sane, parents. Are there any technologies you have found yourself using or looking forward to?

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