Essential apps for mums
The best apps for mums introduce them to new friends, find after-school babysitters and help them organise their lives. Here are the must-have apps all mums need to have.
Thankfully, there are apps to capture baby's early milestones, to introduce us to other parents who live nearby and to find us childcare in an emergency. And then some. Here are the apps all mums need to know about.
Best app for babysitting: Bubble (Free, available on iOS and Google Play)
Parents swear by Bubble, the babysitting app that lets you choose afternoon childcare or ad-hoc sitters. It's also a must for parents who need last-min work-related childcare. Each sitter is ensured, reviewed and verified, and you pay a £3.50 booking fee and then through the app at the end of the evening. To all newbie parents, getting childcare is about regaining sanity, not abandoning your child. It often takes years to realise this, but the sooner you have a date night, the better for all involved, including baby. Cocktails, anyone?
Best app for making mum friends: Mush (Free, available on iOS and Google Play)
Motherhood is tricky enough without the stress of having to find a friendship circle you can talk to about explosive nappy disasters. If you haven't coordinated having a baby at the same time as your besties, it can get isolating, and the loneliness in those early days can feel crippling. You can try the old-fashioned way of meeting new-mum friends - picking them up at the local playground or soft play zone - or you can download Mush, which connects you to thousands of local mums who have kids who are the same age, so you can organise meet-ups and message one another. It's also a forum where you can ask all of those agonising questions about motherhood - like whether to do purees or baby-led weaning, which local places are kid-friendly and how to get your baby to ditch the dummy.
Best app for health checks: Maven Clinic (Free, available on iOS and Google Play)
We think the Maven Clinic app is absolutely genius: designed for women and families, it offers pay-as-you-go access to healthcare via video chat and messaging, so you can get postpartum support, as well as getting all of your paediatrics queries answered. You can even get sleep coaching advice from the providers on the app.
Best app for post-natal rehab: Squeezy (£2.99, available on iOS and Google Play)
Just because we don't like to talk about the toll giving birth takes on our pelvic floor, doesn't mean that women aren't suffering (one in five experience pelvic floor issues after the birth of a first child; this becomes even more likely after a woman has had a second or third baby). Enter Squeezy: the multi-award winning app created by physiotherapists to help find, strengthen and maintain those pelvic floor muscles.
Best app for organising your life: Cozi (Free, available on iOS and Google Play)
When your family expands, so do your organisational needs - and don't even get us started on how much life admin you'll be dealing with once the kids are in school. Sync your calendar with your partner's, keep chore and grocery lists to hand and enjoy the perks of not double-booking on the night you've finally sorted a babysitter with Cozi. Just think about how smug you'll feel when your child has an awesome World Book Day costume, because you remembered (for once!).
Best app for boosting your social life: Peanut (Free, available on iOS and Google Play)
This "Tinder for mums" style app is a must for meeting local mamas - your new mum-BFF could be living across the road from you. You can self-identify by different personality types, like "neighbourhood newbie," "single mama" or "fitness fiend." It also has a forum where you can discuss and ask away for advice regarding everything from negotiating a flexible working package to the best sunscreens for baby.
Best app for when you need to leave your baby: Baby Monitor 3G (£3.99, available on iOS and £4.49, Google Play)
The Baby Monitor 3G app turns any phone or tablet into a video baby monitor so you can see your little one whether you're at work or on a trip to Washington - and it's also a must-have when travelling. Not only does it allow for multiple parents and carers to connect with baby, there's a night light feature so you can watch baby sleeping in the dark and you can chat or sing them to sleep if they're having a bit of wobble and need to hear their favourite voice.
Best app for parents of special-needs children: Wolf + Friends (Free, available on iOS)
This app isn't available in the UK - yet - but we had to include it as one to look out for: it helps connect parents raising children with special needs ranging from autism to anxiety to down syndrome. It also includes helpful tips and practical advice from experts, plus a directory of specialists nearby.
Best app for feeding: Baby Feed Timer (Free, available on iOS and Google Play)
When you're breastfeeding, it's so tricky to remember which side baby fed on last, or for how often, in those sleep-deprived early days. This handy app, recommended by NHS midwives, will help, plus it lets you log sleep, feeds, nappy changes and more, so you can rest easy knowing you've collected tons of data on your six-week-old (that you can analyse later to replicate - or not - for the next kid). It has a night mode so it works just as well at 3am.
Best app for tracking: Baby Tracker Newborn Log (Free, available on iOS)
This app tracks baby's feeds, sleeps, wet and dirty nappies, growth and weight and also has a memory album function so you can keep a log of all of your favourite pictorial moments and milestones from day one. The favourite app has just been updated so expect an even more user-friendly experience, with a scheduled night mode, more timer options and lots of areas to customise.