From the very start of my pregnancy, I was on the lookout for the best baby app. Even before then, really, if you count fertility apps! I am a data geek to my core, and I knew that keeping track of my baby’s eating and sleeping schedule would be important to me. As a first-time mother, I felt really uncertain about my parenting decisions and my daughter’s development. Having numbers and graphs at my fingertips helped soothe some of those anxieties.
And the Best Baby App Winner is …
I researched quite a few iPhone baby apps, and finally landed on Sprout (this post is not sponsored or affiliated in any way – I am simply providing my honest review). It had all the features I needed, plus the ability to have my husband or other caregivers log in and enter data as well. In fact, I still use it 4 years later, just to keep track of immunizations and have her height and weight on hand in case of emergencies.
I briefly considered switching to Android this year, and was crushed to find that there is no Android version of Sprout. Sorry, Android-ers! But this review may help you decide which features are important to you when choosing a baby app.
Breastfeeding is tricky in so many ways, and having something to easily manage it was the most important feature I was looking for. Sprout’s button timer made it easy to mark the start and stop of breastfeeding sessions with one hand, and even switch from left to right breast. There was a pumping tracker included, as well as ways to track bottle feedings and later solid foods. I could even set a timer to remind me when the next feeding was due (sometimes 20 minutes after we finally finished, but that wasn’t Sprout’s fault!).
Did I Really Track Dirty Diapers? Yup.
Hey, dirty diapers are very important to first-time parents. Especially as a breastfeeding mom, I wanted to make sure my baby was eating enough, and wet/dirty diapers are on excellent marker! Sprout even lets you track color and consistency of those bad boys, although I never really used that feature after the first week of meconium was behind us.
Keeping track of my baby’s sleep cycle was another huge must-have for me in a baby app. Newborns aren’t big on patterns, so I needed the high-level view of her cycles to start making sense of things eventually. Again, I used the built-in timer to simply push a button when she fell asleep and when she woke. Everything was summed up and displayed in a convenient overview page.
Not Very Active in my Activity Tracker
There is an activity tracker in Sprout that I never made much use of. It would be great for tracking tummy time or baths, though, if that’s a concern you have.
While I did record some milestones, like “First Smile” and “Rolled Over”, it wasn’t a focus for me. I sure didn’t have many entries after the first couple months! I was much more likely to note those achievements on Facebook. But Sprout makes a pretty little “book” for you with these events, and lets you add photos. You can export these pages into a PDF for printing or safekeeping.
A planner for medical visits wasn’t on my radar when picking apps, but it was a huge help. Whenever a question sprang to mind, I noted it in the app and tried to clear that space in my brain. Then at the actual appointments, I wasn’t wracking my brain trying to remember questions from 1am a week before. I could methodically go down my list of questions, and enter in the answers as we went.
This is another tool I didn’t use much, but I believe it may have been released in the last couple years. I love the concept – you can go down a list of typical development for each age, and check off where your child is (“Can hold head up” or “Turns head toward sounds”).
This is one of the few tools I still use now that she is 4 years old. I have the written documentation from her doctors, but it’s nice to have everything at my fingertips on the go.
A growth tracker was SUPER important to me with my first child. She flirted with Failure to Thrive throughout her first year, despite my best efforts and constant feeding. We struggled our way out of the single digit percentiles for months, and being able to chart her progress was comforting. She is at the top of the charts now, but that was a rough time, and having the data helped.
Here is the other important feature for me, even years later. I have been blessed with very healthy children, but they still get mild illnesses from time to time. Sprout helps me track symptoms, temperatures, and most importantly – medications given. When it’s midnight and you’re dealing with a feverish and miserable child, you don’t want to be doing math in your head to see if she can have more Tylenol yet.
Everyone has their own needs in a baby app, but I hope that this review helps you figure out your priorities and maybe Sprout will work for you! If you’re expecting and live in the Twin Cities area, you might consider checking out my Pregnancy Resources directory! And, of course, think about scheduling some newborn portraits 🙂