Tracking baby’s diaper changes, feedings and sleep patterns is a key part of caring for an infant in those first few months at home. Before you establish a routine and ensure that baby is hitting her development milestones, you’ll want to keep careful tabs on how frequently she is eating, sleeping and passing stool and urine. This will help you report back to your pediatrician in order to investigate issues such as low birth weight, fussiness and other issues with baby’s health. In the old days, doctors asked mothers to keep track of these things in a diary or journal. But now, there’s an app for that.
In fact, there are a whole slew of apps for that. Many software developers have preyed upon the willingness of parents to shell out money for anything that will help their wee ones. But the best apps you can find in the iPhone App Store are actually free.
Two of the best free baby journal apps for the iPhone come from two of the most recognized names in baby care—Similac, the makers of baby formula and What to Expect, the book series by Heidi Murkoff that graces practically every parent’s bookshelf. They are called Similac Baby Journal and What to Expect Baby Tracker app, respectively.
Both of these apps cover the basics very well. They both have disparate sections for you to create new entries for feedings, sleeping and diaper changes. As a pleasant surprise, Similac also provides entries for breastfeeding without shamelessly plugging its own alternative to breastfeeding. In terms of adding entries on the fly, they are both intuitive enough to do in a hurry. If anything, the Similac app may be a little bit better—but both get the job done well. Both give you pre-filled out templates that you can fill in as you see fit, but if you only want to record entries, times and other basics, then that’s fine, too.
You can also go back and review and/or edit entries. This is a little bit easier in the What to Expect App, which is useful, for example, if you can’t remember when the last feeding was. But for reasons that we’ll go into later, the Similac one is best for analyzing your baby’s behavior and trends.
What to Expect App Advantages
The What to Expect App is actually a continuation of a series of What to Expect apps. If you’ve been using the What to Expect fertility app and the What to Expect pregnancy app, then you’ll feel right at home with the Baby Tracker app. The app is basic and straightforward—you can choose from one of four entries: sleeping, feeding, diapers and vaccinations. You can also view the log from the main screen. The What to Expect Baby Tracker app also lets you track multiple children.
Similac Baby Journal Advantages
Similac’s Baby Journal app has everything that the What to Expect app does, except much more. In terms of the level of detail for each entry, there is already many more options. For example, rather than recording the type of diaper change (e.g. urine or stool), you can also choose the consistency and color of the stool as well as whether or not the diaper leaked. Most useful is the trends tab, that gives you an analysis of baby’s feeding, sleeping and diaper changes over a period of time. This is handy to see how you’re doing day-to-day, and it’s a bit surprising that the What to Expect app missed this opportunity.
The Similac Baby Journal app also has a built-in email feature that lets you send your log to yourself, a pediatrician or anyone else who might find the information useful. You can also connect to a Similac feeding expert to speak with someone about your troubles getting baby to eat (this is perhaps where Similac begins pushing their products). But other than the branding and the hotline, the Similac app is refreshingly free of overt advertisements.