While my son fortunately didn’t have to spend anytime in the NICU when he was born, 10-15 percent of babies aren’t so lucky. Chandler Regional Hospital recently released an incredible app to help parents of pre-mature babies. Seriously, it’s pretty cool. I started out including this in my recent post about apps for parents, but I felt like it needed a better review.
Guide for New Parents was developed mainly for NICU parents, but any parent can find use in it. Portions of it are aimed specifically at people who have children in the NICU at Chandler Regional Hospital. This portion has tours of the NICU and other educational videos.
There are five other main sections, which can be used by any new parent. Here’s a little bit of information on each of them.
Track My Baby
There are a lot of apps and websites out there to help track development, but this one is unique in the sense that you can follow development according to an infant’s gestational age. Premature infants reach milestones according to an adjusted age, not necessarily their actual age. Weight, length, and head circumference can be tracked, and they are plotted on a graph next to percentiles. It also provides ideas for parents on a variety of topics, such as bonding.
I like that you can plot growth information and see it compared to percentiles. This could be really helpful in tracking an infant’s growth from home and identifying any abnormalities, because sometime a doctor may overlook something, or if another doctor needs to see information. My son had rapid head growth early in life, and recently we were referred to a pediatric neurologist. Because this doctor and my son’s pediatrician didn’t have the same system, he was unable to pull up any information, even though he said it would have been nice to be able to see the graphs. Having something like this would have been helpful at that time.
Feeding My Baby
One concern I hear over and over again from new parent is, is my baby eating enough? And honestly, it can be hard to know, if you don’t know what signs to look for. This section contains tons of information on feeding, focusing mostly on breastfeeding, and providing links to information about it. It talks about common challenges that arise, but also has information on formula feeding, for parents who choose that route.
There is a neat log to help track feedings. It includes a timer that a parent can start when a feeding begins, and end at the conclusion. The information automatically gets added in to the log. I remember at the first few doctor’s appointments of my son’s life, I was always being asked “how much has he eaten, how often, and for how long,” and in my sleep deprived state…I never could tell them. It also would have been helpful when I had to keep careful track of how long and often my son was eating when he was in the hospital. It would have been way easier than having to look at the clock and then write on a white board the numbers (which was so hard in the middle of the night!)
Now, I know not everyone is religious, so this may not be relevant for some. I’ve really never seen a feature like this before, and being a religious person myself, I appreciated it being included. However, as I’ve read reviews about it, it wasn’t the most helpful place. It mainly just included quotes and inspirational thoughts, that aren’t necessarily tailored toward a parent’s situation. I think this could be improved by having different sections of quotes, letting parents select what type of belief system they come from, and have thoughts tailored toward that, and even having the option for just uplifting, not necessarily religious messages.
Follow-up Care and Find my Hospital
These last two sections will really just be helpful for people being treated at Chandler Regional. The follow-up care lets parents search for doctors in the area who may be of use to them, and the find my hospital section just gives basic information about the hospital.
Overall, I think this is a really cool app, especially for those who had a premature infant. There are a lot of features that I really like, but also room for improvement. Some of the complaints I”ve seen is that there really aren’t a lot of videos, and it doesn’t have a section about problem that might arise with a child, and how to resolve them. I think that would be a particularly important thing, especially for parent’s of premature infants, where health problems are probably more likely to arise.
This app is free, and available for iOS devices.