The path to parenthood is an exciting one, but there's so much to learn, and it can be overwhelming. These days, for just about every stage of having a baby - from conception and pregnancy, to birth and beyond – there's also an app. They won't provide all the answers, but they can be handy tools to help you along the way.
There are far too many apps for us to list here, and new ones appear all the time - try searching the apps on the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android) for key words such as pregnancy, conception, or baby safety. (Don't just search for "baby" – you'll mostly just find games which, while fun, probably aren't what you're looking for!)
We've listed just a few examples of informative and fun tools that might be worth checking out. All these are free, but some have premium (paid) versions with extra features. Let us know if you've found one not mentioned here that was invaluable!
This app allows you to track your monthly cycle and plot the best time to conceive using an ovulation calculator and period tracker.
Period Tracker (iOS and Android)
After you enter start and end dates for your period, this handy app then logs and calculates the average period start date over the course of three months to predict the start date for future periods, ovulation days, and fertile days -- all of which appear on a month-by-month calendar.
Sprout Lite (iOS)
Using Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) guidelines, the free version of this app guides you through all the way through pregnancy with detailed graphics depicting foetal development, as well as a facility to book your doctor's appointments and a to-do list.
The premium version features a 'kick counter', 'contraction timer' and 3D images of your baby's development.
BabyBump (iOS and Android)
BabyBump allows you to start the countdown to your due date and track your baby's development week by week. The premium version of the app allows you to search baby names and monitor kicks, and has a contraction timer.
Eat Sleep is the simplest way to track your baby's eating, sleeping, and nappy changes. With continued use you can track your baby's habits from week to week, or even month to month.
Feed Baby Lite (Android)
Tracks and monitors all aspects of baby's growth and development, as well as feeds and nappy changes.
Baby Tracker (iOS)
This app helps sleep-deprived parents keep track of breast or bottle feeds, nappy changes and sleep times.
My Baby Today (iOS and Android)
From BabyCenter, this app has a range of features including baby development calendar, feeding advice, forums, and advice when you find yourself wondering "is that normal?"
ACCC Keeping Baby Safe (iOS)
The ACCC's Keeping Baby Safe app features over 30 different infant and nursery products, with information on:
- hazards related to the product,
- what to look for when purchasing, and
- safety habits.
The app also includes information on warnings and dangers related to specific products, which may be of interest to parents and carers.
SIDS and Kids Sleep Safe (iOS)
SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping application provides new and expectant mothers, carers, and health care professionals with vital information on how to sleep baby safely and reduce the risk of SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents. It also includes valuable information on 'tummy time' and 'safe wrapping', and links to FAQs.
Don't get caught short! Finding the nearest public toilet can suddenly become extra-urgent when you're pregnant, before pelvic muscles have been trained back into shape, or when baby needs a nappy change.
This free app shows the location of over 14,000 public and private toilet facilities all over Australia, with details about opening hours, accessibility, and baby change facilities.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.