The risk for heart attack increases during the winter months and holidays. Arteries don't love the cold. Stress increases. Shovelling snow is hard. How can you prevent this? How do you know when you are having a heart attack? Let's discuss this!
I am a lover of documenting my baby girl's feeds and sleeps. Now that she is eating solids, I also like tracking her poops. I know it is not for everyone, but I absolutely love it. For her first 3 months I also tracked pees and poops. I tried a few apps and found one that worked. Recently, I switched after I found one with more features that was still free. So, I thought I would test a bunch of them out and give you the top 5. I was looking for features and functionality. I also provided a brief breakdown in how well they track the basics: feeds, sleeps and diaper changes.
I tried out the following apps:
- My Baby by Aleksei Neiman
- Ovia Parenting & Baby Tacker
- Baby Tracker: Breastfeeding by Fitness Labs
- Awesome Baby Tracker by Pavel Krivushenkov
- Huckleberry: Baby & Child by Huckleberry Labs Inc.
- Baby Tracker! by Amila
- Baby Tracker - Newborn Log by Nighp Software LLC
- Sprout Baby by Med ART Studios LLC
Who didn't make the cut
I eliminated Ovia Parenting, Baby Tracker Breastfeeding and Sprout Baby. Although they were pretty great, their free version doesn't offer as many features and functions for tracking as the other apps. Being that this article is about the top free tracking apps, they needed to be eliminated. I will say Ovia Parenting had some really neat tracking for milestones and it sends you an email everyday related to your baby's age. Ovia's tracking of daily activities was extremely basic. Baby Tracker: Breastfeeding had unique things as well including lullabies and a huge library of educational articles. It has good tracking abilities, but the free version does not let you look back very far in your history of tracking. Sprout was another app that came up in my research, but you had to pay for any tracking ability. I did not test the pro version of any of these apps. Let's move on to the official top 5 free baby tracking apps.
This app is the most basic of the five. The main page shows a great summary of the latest activities that are colour coordinated and easy to read. It also has short cuts to add the activities quickly. When you click each activity it has a summary of just that activity, which is also nice to look at it. Unfortunately, this app is very basic and it doesn't have the ability to add any notes. So, you can't even add the details on your own.
For breastfeeding, it is a bit annoying that each breast is separated when starting and stopping the timer. However, it is easy to stop and start and edit entries. However, it does track both the amount and time of a bottlefeed which is handy. With tracking solids it simply allows you to type in the solid type instead of having a library. Personally, I like the note feature though.
It uses a basic timer that starts and stops and has the ability to edit it.
Again, very basic, much like the other categories. That is why this app is in fifth. It is easy to just add a diaper change, but no ability to add any details about the diaper change.
In addition to tracking feeds, diaper changes and sleep, this app also has the ability to track activities(tummy time, play time, outdoors and baths), growth (height, weight and head circumference), pumping, health (medication, temperature and vaccination) and store photos from each month. Unfortunately, there are no educational benefits from this app.
I actually used this app for the first few months after having my baby girl. I do like how easy it is to use and the main page has the summary and button to initiate an activity. You can also choose which activities are on your main page, which is nice. When you initiate an activity it is also clearly displayed on the main screen. That is nice because as you multitask or reenter the app you can easily see what activity is still running.
I like how each type of feed is clearly separated. If you are combo feeding it would be really easy to see at a quick glance if they had a bottle OR breastfed OR solids, not just generalized as a feed.
This is easy to use and basic. You can start and stop and then it also has the ability to add notes. Not only that, but the notes are displayed on the summary. This is super handy if you are trying to pay attention to factors that influence sleep.
Like the other apps I have discussed so far, there is no ability to add notes or details related to the diaper change.
In addition to the basic tracking categories, the free version of this app can also track walks, baths, activities, mood, height and weight. I think the mood feature is pretty cool. However, you have to pay to be able to track other categories like medicine, temperature, milestones and more. I feel like medicine and temperature are pretty essential and should be in the free version.
The main page is a great summary that shows how long ago and the details of each last entries. It lets you add a photo of your baby at the top. Unfortunately, this function does not crop the photo accurately. Overall, the app is easy to use and read and has lots of options. You can also sync this app to Siri so you can tell it to start tracking. This is super cool if you like to be hands free.
It includes the ability to track breastfeeding, expressed breastmilk, formula and supplement options. You can also add notes. Unfortunately, you cannot add solid foods. Now, I thought this would make the app lose it's number three spot. However, because of the ability to add notes, it still is really more functional than the last two.
Much like the other apps, this uses a basic start and stop. The only difference is that it can be hooked up to Siri and you can set reminders.
It's getting a little repetitive, but this app still is really basic with this tracking. However, it does have the ability to add notes at least.
There are some extra tracking capabilities with this app. You can track growth, which shows a statistics and percentiles related to your baby's weight, length and head circumference. You can also track milestones, activities, temperature, medicine and vaccines. In addition to that, it is the only app so far that allows you to set reminders for all categories and syncs with Siri.
This app has a focus on optimizing baby's sleep. With saying that, it is actually great at tracking everything! It pretty much tracks everything. It is also really easy to use and navigate. The main page has all the activities listed to quickly start tracking and it shows when the last one was tracked. You do have to go to a summary page to see the summary of recent events though, unlike the other apps that also had this on the main page. All categories have the ability to add notes, which is super handy so you can add what factors effected the feed, sleep or diaper change.
From the feeding tab, you are able to track breast, bottle and solid feeds all from the same spot. This is nice; but, it can be misleading because it combines all of them so if it says they last ate an hour ago that could be solids or a bottle or breast. You have to click on the feeds tab to learn what it was. You also lose the ability to quickly see which side you breastfed on because of this. For me, that's important because I, literally, can never remember. However, unlike some of the other apps, under bottle feeds it has a lot of options. It is not just breastmilk or formula. It also has cows milk, goats milk and the ability to add your own under "other".
Obviously, this app is the best in this category. That's because it is supposed to be a sleep training or tracking app. It has easy stop, start and editing capabilities and it has a tab to add sleep details. Some examples include how they fell asleep and their condition when they fell asleep and woke up. This app is also known for it's SweetSpot reminders related to sleep. So, you can add the number of naps and your goal for nighttime sleep and it will tell you the SweetSpot time to get them down for naps and bedtime. If they are transitioning from 4 to 3 naps or 3 to 2 naps you can also select both options and it will give you both times for the SweetSpot. I have found this super helpful! However, it is important to still follow your baby's cues even if it is outside of the SweetSpot recommendations.
This is another thing this app does better than the rest mentioned so far. Not only can you track the type of diaper change, but you can also add amounts, types and colours. In addition, you can add notes.
So, the SweetSpot function is definitely one awesome feature about this app. The other cool feature is that it emails you content based on your baby's age. Most of the articles it emails you are about sleep patterns, sleep regressions and stages of development. Lastly, even with the free version you are able to track medicine and set reminders for medications. You can also track growth and temperature. There is a paid subscription you can add with this app. It does not change the tracking abilities. Instead, your tracking is assessed by a sleep consultant and you are sent a custom schedule. This costs $18.99 per month. Most sleep consultants that see you in person are upwards of $400. I think if I was really struggling with sleep the subscription could be worth it.
Alright, now we have the winner! This app wins because it is the best overall at tracking and offers the most features in the free version. I have to say though, it was a super tough decision between this app and Huckleberry. On the main page, you can choose your shortcuts for tracking and it shows a summary of your recent events. As you track something, it will also be displayed on the main page as the timer is running as will any notes you add to each entry. It also shows your baby's details like age, height and weight. When you go to the actual summary page you can filter by activity type or see them all, which is another handy feature that most apps didn't offer. This app definitely exceeds the other free versions in the amount of activities you can track. You can also add notes or a photo to everything you track. I don't know why I would take a photo of everything, but hey, you could if you wanted to with this app. For milestones, it would be nice though.
Each food related activity is separate, which paints a clear picture of your baby's intake. So, it tracks nursing, bottle, baby food and pumping separately. You are also able to add notes with each.
The sleep tracking is very basic. You can manually add when they slept or use a timer and you can add comments related to each entry.
Now, this tracking feature is more basic than Huckleberry. It goes back to only being able to track type and time. However, it does offer the ability to add notes. So, with that feature you can essentially add any detail you want and the notes are displayed on the main page.
This is essentially why this app wins top tracking app in my eyes. Although it doesn't offer any additional education, it has the most tracking features compared to all other free apps. It's crazy because you don't get bombarded by ads or emails and the app is completely free. In addition to being able to track growth factors (weight, length, head circumference) and health factors (temperature, medications, vaccinations) like the other apps, it also has the ability to track illness, doctors visits, moods, stroller walks and baths. Lastly, it adds milestones like first steps, sitting, first word, first tooth and custom events. Therefore, in the ability to track all things related to your baby, it wins!
So, that's it! Now, I know tracking isn't for everyone. But, I have found it decreased a lot of anxiety and frustration for me. It could be a nurse thing because I am used to having my day documented. However, here are some specific situations that tracking helped me as a new mom.
- Breastfeeding - I often thought a feed was taking forever and wondered why my baby was still eating SO much SO often. I started tracking and realized it was only breastfeeding for 2-3minutes. No wonder she wanted to eat every hour or two. I was able to try to work on making the feeds last longer and get more time in between feeds.
- Sleep - I felt like naps were so short and I had no time to myself. First, I started timing the apps. I felt like they were 15-20minutes max. I tracked them and learned they were 30-40minutes! Man, I am hard on my baby sometimes (haha). Eventually, I ended up using Huckleberry and found the SweetSpot feature helped. But, even just basically tracking was very helpful.
- Diaper changes/introducing solids - Once we started introducing solids, my girl struggled with constipation on a few occasions. I liked tracking what she ate and what her diaper changes were like during this time. I could play detective and try to solve what was causing the constipation or what was working to treat it.
- Doctors appointments - At each doctors appointment, they ask how often your baby eats, poops and pees. In the newborn period, it felt like she did each of those things like a million times a day. But, with my handy tracking, I was able to tell the doctor the exact amount.
- Newborn period - My baby girl needed to gain some weight in the beginning. So, I needed to make her eat every 2-3 hours. Tracking was super helpful because that time frame goes by pretty quickly. In some of the apps you could track and you could set reminders.
That's it! Hope this helps you navigate which app would work best for your tracking and helps you decide if tracking is worth it for you!