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You’re likely already using your smartphone to track any number of aspects of your life: schedule, food, the number of steps you take, your bank account. New parents can also add breastfeeding to the list of things technology helps us organize.
Being aware of your child’s feedings (not to mention diaper changes and sleep schedules) allows you to set a routine to provide some stability and make the whole family’s life easier. Noting their growth and development gives clues to help you ensure they’re getting what they need.
A breastfeeding mother’s main option for tracking this info used to be putting pen to paper. But now these 11 will apps organize the details so you have more energy to focus on your family (or catch up on some sleep). If you’re not sure whether using an app to track breastfeeding is right for you, download one of the free ones and play around with it for a week or two to help you decide before you spring for one of the paid apps.
One last thing: smartphone apps can do a lot, but when it comes to emergencies and serious health issues, there is no substitute for an in-person visit with your doctor or pediatrician.
Free Breastfeeding Apps
This app works like a personal assistant to help sleep-deprived new moms. Users can track nursing progress using a timer and generate graphs, reports on daily averages, and locations where moms have fed their baby. Aside from being able to input information like the baby’s height, weight, and head size, moms can also add photos, sound recordings, and videos to document development. Data can be synced with other people taking care of your baby to help ensure that feeding is as consistent as possible.
This popular pregnancy app also offers resources like articles, daily health tips, and a breastfeeding log to help moms navigate the postpartum period. Users can also connect with a community of new moms for when they need some “next level girl talk.”
New parents often have questions about the safety of vitamins, supplements, and medications during lactation. The LactMed app is part of the National Library of Medicine’s Toxicology Data Network and offers information on maternal and infant drug levels, possible interactions and other considerations for breastfeeding—with suggestions for safer alternatives when needed.
The latchME app offers an array of tips, videos, and other resources to help new moms get the scoop on topics like weight gain, digestive issues, and how to deal with fun stuff like cracked nipples. Aside from being able to instantly connect with an expert via chat to address questions, moms can also ask questions to the community and get answers and support from other parents who’ve been there, done that. Another nice feature: latchME has a breastfeeding spot locator where users can search for a comfortable, nursing-friendly area nearby and share their favorite locations.
The makers of the Medela breast pump have a free app where moms can create personalized dashboards to organize their data in one place. They can also look up breastfeeding tips and get information on topics like storage guidelines and nursing-friendly locations. It also offers a breastfeeding schedule tracker for up to six babies.
This app lets moms track pump times and duration and even set alerts to remind them when to pump again. They can also get insight into foods and supplements that may boost or hinder milk production.
This keep-it-simple app was created by board-certified lactation consultant Beverly Rae, a mom of five. It features information and resources to guide mothers through all phases of breastfeeding, from preparation during pregnancy to baby’s first months and navigating the challenges of going back to work. The app also helps connect users with certified professionals in their area when additional support is needed.
Price: The app itself is free but sessions with a doctor cost $40 for 25 minutes or $70 for 50 minutes.
This app, created by Dr. Phil, offers video session with board-certified lactation consultants to help new moms navigate the trials and challenges of breastfeeding. The platform is similar to Skype and allows the healthcare expert you work with to watch you nurse, inspect you or your baby if needed, and provide insight and solutions to address your breastfeeding issues.
Popular website MommyMeds now offers a mobile app so new moms can get the scoop on medications even when they’re away from their computer. Developed by doctors at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, this app provides safety ratings on over 20,000 drugs and over-the-counter medications. Users can search by product name or category or by scanning a product’s barcode. The app also features handy lists of breastfeeding-friendly drugs for common ailments such as headaches and seasonal allergies.
Speedy Tot helps users quickly find locations where they can breastfeed and pump, as well as places with changing stations, high chairs, and other must-haves.
Total Baby is a comprehensive app that offers a wide range of tools to organize information for up to six babies with a nifty color-coded background for each. Users will get a feeding timer to track when baby last ate (and from which breast); data on how much milk you pumped and when to toss it; a diaper log; an appointment schedule; and immunization records. The app can also track things like sleep, bath time, and temperature.
Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and writer in NYC.
Image via Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)