Up until 6 months ago, this was me. Melanie the baby app addict. But I am happy to report that I have set myself free! I still use my iPhone on a daily basis, it keeps me organised, connected and most importantly it's the easiest way to get quick snaps and video of Bowie on the go.
So what exactly was I addicted to? Tracking. It all started when I was pregnant, I just had to have one of those super cool apps that showed me what my baby looked like each week as she grew. Every week I excitedly opened the app to see what new features and characteristics my baby had developed. Did she have ears now? Could she hear me when I spoke to her? This wasn't a bad thing, after all having a baby is momentous and for 9 months it is pretty much all you live and breathe. The problem was that my love of apps began to spiral out of control.
By the time Bowie was 7 months old I had apps for white noise, physical development, mental development (The Wonder Weeks), a baby-led weaning food log and a nursing/sleeping log. The last one wore me down. It wore me down so much I went cold turkey and deleted them all. The white noise and The Wonder Weeks apps have both since been reinstated as they did not contribute to my meltdown, but I will NEVER use a baby log app again and I recommend avoiding them.
Here is why. The reason I began to use a logging app in the first place was because I had started to doubt my abilities as a mother and my daughter's natural instincts. All because I listened to other people. Now I'm not saying it's a bad thing to listen to other peoples advice or experience as this is part of how we evolve as a parent. I'm saying that if you stop listening to your baby’s cues and your own instincts then we have a problem.
Bowie has always been a cat-napper. She mostly slept for 27 minutes at nap times with a long 3 hour nap once a week and woke every 1-2 hours through the night. I had people from the left, right and centre telling me this was not normal, and despite having read numerous reports saying otherwise I let this little speck of doubt in and it grew and grew and grew. I started logging every single minute of sleep trying to work out if Bowie was getting enough. She was. Of course she was. A baby knows how much sleep they need, and unless they are in pain they will sleep when they need it. She was reaching all her milestones, she was healthy and she was growing at an extraordinary rate. But once I was in this vortex of logging her naps the thought of stopping had me shaking in my boots. I could not let go.
Now it was the same with nursing. Bowie would rarely feed for more than 15 minutes at a time. Most were 3-4 minutes and again I was told that there was something wrong. So I began logging all her feeds and continued for 3 months before I found the courage to stand up and say “Hey, you are wrong. She is feeding perfectly fine and efficiently”. I think most people didn’t believe me but by now I was beyond caring. I had got myself into this state of anxiety and I needed to turn it around.
So I hit delete and haven’t looked back. I no longer let an app (or another's opinion) control me and instead follow my instincts and allow Bowie to follow hers. It is so easy to let these apps consume you and I found that I was wasting so much precious time inputting data when I could be snuggling my baby.
If this scenario sounds all too familiar then I encourage you to delete that app. Save your sanity!! The only way you will ever feel comfortable is if you “watch your baby, listen to your baby, use your intuition”.