Whether you're pregnant for the first time or have just delivered a new baby, there's an app for that! Unlike your protruding tummy or the 10-pound bundle of joy now clinging to your shoulder, mobile apps are lightweight, inexpensive and can offer Chicago moms and pops abundant help during one of life's biggest transitions.
App-rehensive? No problem! We've got the lowdown on downloads that get high ratings, are budget-friendly and won't clutter your tech gadgets with unhelpful doodads.
Whether you're using an iPhone or an Android, an iPad or an Internet tablet, you'll find simple solutions to the biggest changes facing parents-to-be and new moms and dads in our faves list.
Looking for information? This app has it! Sprout provides color images of your baby's development, a weight tracker and a kick counter, along with "Doctor Says" tips for every stage of your pregnancy. $3.99, Apple.
From the well-known "What to Expect..." series comes-what else-a What to Expect Pregnancy Tracker app. This handy resource offers a due date calculator, detailed graphics and info on baby's development, plus a countdown to delivery, along with a connection to other moms-to-be on WhatToExpect.com's pregnancy forums. Free, Apple and Android.
Considering the name "Rahm" for your new baby boy? Find out how popular it is in Chicago and other places in the U.S. with Baby Names +. Browse 25,000 boy and girl names, search by name meaning, gender, popularity and create your own favorites list. Share your lists with friend and family via email. $1.99, Apple. Or find the perfect name by searching origin and meaning with Popular Baby Names. 99 cents, Android.
The Bump is a comprehensive pregnancy app providing logs for doctor visits, baby kicks and contractions, along with daily info for moms and dads. But the big benefit is the social networking abilities that allow you to create private groups, join public forums, post polls and share photos. $3.99, Apple.
Fun feature: Create a slideshow of your belly progress!
Contractions Counter helps you log labor contractions to gauge your labor progression. Easy start and stop timer, contractions log and charts help you avoid getting stuck in traffic too close to delivery time on the Edens or the Kennedy. 99 cents, Apple, $1, Android
Applause worthy: Easily email data to partner or doctor.
If Windy City weather doesn't lull your baby to sleep, try White Noise Lite Sounds include ocean waves, crickets and rain to name a few. Free, Android. Baby Soothe is a simple sound program providing womb-like ambience in the form of heartbeat sounds, waves, or waterfall. 99 cents, Apple.
Bonus: Parent Soothe-words of inspiration for tired parents.
Total Baby helps new moms track all aspects of a new baby's care. Log in feedings, sleep schedules, naps, vaccines and diaper changes. $4.99, Apple. Baby Connect serves up the same great menu of helpful care options, tracking feedings, activity and sleep habits. $4.99, Android.
We like: Individual accounts on Baby Connect that can be set up and synched for parents, grandparents, sitters and childcare providers.
Baby Monitor & Alarm does just that-it monitors baby sounds and provides an alarm when the baby is crying. This app will also record noises, pull songs from your iTunes lists to put your precious bundle to sleep or even call you on another phone to let you know your baby is awake. $2.99, Apple and Android.
Get your body back with Lose It. This calorie-counter social network helps moms (and dads) take off those extra pickles-and-ice cream pounds. Find friends to connect with, count calories, log eating habits and keep track of fitness. Free, Apple and Android.
Ready to get out of the house? Try the Chicago Family Guide app for easy access to restaurant, event and museum destinations at your fingertips. Find out if your favorite museum has family restrooms, strollers for rent or hours that coincide with your baby's naptime. The GPS map shows you how close you are to your destination. Free, Apple.
Not an app for that?
Facebook and Twitter apps can be downloaded on your Apple or Android device and allow you to get important information and access to your favorite groups and places. Most hospitals and many doctor's offices have a Facebook page, as does your favorite massage specialist or spa.
The following Chicago-area baby boutiques, maternity stores and moms groups all offer easy mobile access if you find them on Facebook through a mobile app.
Baby and Maternity Stores
Kustum Kribs Baby Boutique, Park Ridge
Bullfrogs and Butterflies, Chicago
Bellybum Boutique, Chicago
Beautiful Beginnings, Chicago and Western Springs
O Joy! Kids Consignment, Oak Park
The Land of Nod, Chicago and Naperville
Groups and classes for new moms and moms-to-be
Bump Club And Beyond, bumpclubandbeyond.com
The Chicago New Moms Group, chicagonewmomsgroup.com
Neighborhood Parents Network, npnparents.org
Mother Me Inc., mothermeinc.com
Mocha Moms Inc., mochamomsinc.org
Sharon Miller Cindrich is a mom and freelance writer specializing in technology and parenting
Sharon Cindrich is a mother of two tech-savvy kids from Virginia Beach. Learn more at sharoncindrich.com.
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