What’s APP-ertaining- the best apps for new mums

Picture credit: Hello Magazine

Being a new mum is absolutely exhausting – from the lack of sleep to the attempting to keep your little one alive, let alone entertained, it’s easy to see why many mums will download any app going to help out!

As a brand new (clueless) mummy myself, I have put together the apps I have found most useful in the first three months of my baby’s life:

Hoop – The one for keeping your sanity by getting you out of the house

Despite how difficult it is some days to get out of the house, (the sheer organisation and logistics behind ensuring the change bag has everything you need, the travel system folding in and out of your car, and praying that the traffic lights won’t turn to red as you HAVE to keep moving so that your baby won’t scream) going out even once each day definitely kept me sane during those first whirlwind weeks.

Hoop helps you to find drop in sessions and bookable classes for you and your baby. You can easily select your location, how far away you’d be prepared to travel, and then it displays all the classes on each day of the week in your area. You can also search by category, day of the week and age range of your children! This really helped me to try out new activities with my baby and therefore to have more of a structure to my day, and meet other mums, as well as stimulate and interest Baby R.

Hoop is a free app, downloadable from all app stores.

The Wonder Weeks – The one that explains why your baby is being a nightmare

What I didn’t realise before I gave birth is that there are key age-related developmental leaps in the first few months that every baby goes through. What I also didn’t realise is that babies become DEMONS during this time as they process new skills and sensations.

The Wonder Weeks is an app based on a best selling book and audio book, and the app includes free links to the pertinent chapters. It highlights the particular leap your child is going through, helps you visualise through informative videos, and gives you hints for games to play to further develop key skills. Despite the sometimes slightly archaic language, this app is great for knowing what your baby is going through, and even syncs with your calendar to give you fair warning of when your baby will need some extra love (and patience – I’d recommend getting the wine in.)

The Wonder Weeks is £2.99 from app stores.

Baby Sensory Signbook – The one to help you communicate with your baby

Baby Sensory is my favourite baby class of the week. Singing songs, flashing lights, fun themes, different textures and new games – all so helpful for those of us new to the baby business to inspire playtime. Babies love singing, and by signing as you sing, you are developing their language and communication skills.

This app contains the signs for the key words to the opening song ‘Say Hello To The Sun’ (sung worldwide to tens of thousands of babies each week in the Baby Sensory classes!) and hundreds of other signs to help you and your baby learn to communicate with each other. You can search for key words on the home page. Each sign has a clear video showing you how to do the sign, and you can select your favourites to keep handy.

Baby Sensory Signbook is £3.99 from app stores.

Mush – The one that’s like a dating app

So the thing I wasn’t anticipating as a new mum was having to make new friends as an adult. It can be excruciating if (like me) you are at all socially awkward, however new friends will help you make plans to get out of the house, and also give you adult conversation and a sounding board for all the ‘is it normal for my baby to….’ questions you will have.

Mush allows you to create a profile, and then browse profiles of other parents in your local area. There are also scheduled meet ups, and message boards for questions and recommendations. It feels a bit like a low pressure dating app when you try and connect with other mums, but is great to broaden your friendship group when on maternity leave.

Mush is free from app stores.

Apps I did not find useful

I really loved the idea of apps such as Kinedu and Baby Sparks – who doesn’t want tailored games and activities to play with your child each day? In reality however, I was extremely disappointed.

The free trial I had with Kinedu was brilliant – I was given four new games to play each day with my baby that suited her age and upcoming developmental milestone, with instructional videos, and lists of equipment I would need in upcoming days. In order to continue with this, I would need to pay a large subscription fee, which on my statutory maternity pay was not feasible, so sadly I deleted this initially free app.

Baby Sparks worked on a similar premise, where you were shown activities to play with your baby, however only a couple of these (the most basic) were free – the rest (which looked far more exciting) were locked until you paid a fee to release these. Boo.

Which apps have you found useful to use with your new born baby?

Clever stuff – happy babies

One of the most expensive purchases we made as new parents to be was the travel system. I had to google ‘buggies for dummies’ during my pregnancy as I didn’t know my pushchairs from my prams – I certainly didn’t know what a travel system was. To my naive pre-baby self, you got some sort of contraption to push them around in and that was it!

To anyone as clueless as I was – don’t despair. A travel system combines everything you need – a car seat, a pram and a pushchair, all of which click into the same chassis. This proves really useful as you can transport baby easily from birth til a few years old.

We knew a travel system was the way to go for us. What we didn’t realise was how saturated the market was! We walked into Mothercare and stood dumbfounded at the enormous display of travel systems at every price point imaginable. Surely we didn’t need to spend thousands of pounds to take our baby out?!

I was instantly drawn to the Cosatto range. Bright, colourful and unique – it stood out instantly in the sea of grey and black.

Their motto ‘Clever stuff happy babies’ inspired me. I had no idea that Cosatto worked so closely with top researchers to help our little ones develop and learn just by looking at the unique patterns on their pushchair!

We were amazed at how light the Cosatto range was. Even heavily pregnant and increasingly weak me could pick up, fold and manoeuvre each one. My special awareness is the absolute worst – even supermarket trolleys can defeat me – so having a tiny turning circle, and quick, simple folding mechanism that I could work out without assistance was amazing!

We decided on the Wow, chose the gorgeous rainbow bright ‘Spectroluxe’ and rejoiced in having made the choice so easy.

Baby R was born, and a couple of days later I finally felt ready to venture out. A short (ouchy) walk close to home was all I could manage, but my smile couldn’t have been bigger on that cold January day as I proudly showed off our bright pram!

The Wow is INCREDIBLE. Every detail of being a new mum has been thought of and attended to. There is loads of room in the bottom for all those necessities you can’t possibly leave the house without (my change bag is stuffed full). The sturdy chassis travels well even over quite rough ground such as parks. You can remove the wheels to wash them if they get caked in mud (a regular occurrence in this cold wet winter!). The mattress inside is comfortable, and babies can sleep in it safely for the duration of any outing. We have even used it overnight when staying with family. Baby R loves looking at the high contrast patterns in the hood, and I can’t wait to use it to teach her colours. The motivational messages such as ‘dream big’ inside the hood reassure me that Cosatto cares as much about my baby’s future as I do.

Once Baby R is big enough, we can replace the lie flat pram with the pushchair. We foolishly didn’t purchase the footmuff at the same time as everything else, and as a result it sold out. I rang the Cosatto helpline in desperation, and the attentive customer service helped me out – within minutes we had a suitable alternative shipping out. Like the rest of the travel system, it arrived the very next day!

The travel seat is also absolutely brilliant. Safe and sturdy, with a newborn insert and easily adjustable straps, I know that Baby R is snug and comfortable in it. It is light weight so can be carried on its own, or clips quickly into the chassis or isofix base.

The only thing I would say is that the car seat buckle can sometimes be slightly tricky with a wriggling baby – but it is soon mastered!

In conclusion, the Cosatto Wow really does live up to ‘clever stuff happy babies’, and I couldn’t recommend it strongly enough to any parents to be!

What travel system did you choose to buy? Were you happy with your choice?

Disclaimer: I researched and paid for my Cosatto Wow myself, so all views are completely my own.