Nervous new parents will want to check out some of the free help that's right at their fingertips as they settle into their roles as moms and dads. It's a time of excitement and wonder — and not a few questions, especially when it comes to what's normal and what to expect.
Here are five apps that offer new or inexperienced parents a little help.
— Milestone Tracker. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week released an app to help answer questions parents may have about whether babies and toddlers are developmentally on track. It looks at milestones from birth to age 5 and offers a detailed, illustrated checklist; photos; videos; tips, and suggestions on when it might be important to seek a professional's opinion or guidance. The app also keeps track of appointments and reminds parents when screenings are due. Free through iTunes or Google Play.
— White Noise Baby by TMSoft has ambient sounds to lull baby to sleep, a timer to turn it off and a feature to reactivate it should baby fuss. It also has a rattle mode "with touch and shake control to quiet a fussy baby." Available free from Google Play. (iTunes version has a small charge.)
— Sprout Baby is an iOS app that focuses on a baby's health by tracking everything from feedings to sleep patterns and even dirty diapers. Other features include "Growth Tracker"; a place to note special moments and memories, and a medical profile. Parents can also use the app to create a report that can be given to the doctor during sick or well visits. Data can be shared easily across devices. This one also offers some milestone tracking based on CDC recommendations. Free on iTunes.
— My Pregnancy and Baby Today by BabyCenter begins as a tool to help pregnant couples track prenatal development and offers tips to handle some of the challenges. It flips into a milestone tracker once baby's born, providing guidance through the baby's first birthday. Free from both Google Play and iTunes.
— WebMD Baby: Feeding, Diaper and Sleep Tracker. If you've ever had a question about a diagnosis or a batch of symptoms and searched online for answers, you probably already know WebMD. The app helps parents track development and provides physician-based advice using articles, videos and tips. The tracker allows parents to keep tabs on feedings, sleep, diaper use and the baby's growth. Parents can also use it to get reminders for screenings and other things. Free on iTunes and Google Play.