I recently had the opportunity to speak to Kate Ward, the Online Director for The Bump.com. If you have not yet been to the site – go now. From the creators of The Knot and The Nest, The Bump gives first-time parents expert advice on fertility, pregnancy, birth, and babies. The site has fresh content, local resources, and a ton of interactive tools such as up-to-date community features, baby blogs, checklists, photo galleries, topic-based message boards, and more.
Responsible for driving all content and tools on The Bump and caring for her own 14 month old girl, Kate Ward has got her finger on the pulse of all things pregnancy and parenting. I was thrilled to be able to pick her brain on the best technology available for the various stages of motherhood.
Let’s start with conception and pregnancy. Although it is often a very private issue, Kate informed me that many women who are trying to conceive are using online tools to help them monitor their bodies and share their experiences and suggestions with others.
“Fertilityfriend.com is very popular,” said Kate. “Women are using it primarily to keep track of their own ovulation to determine their schedule. If you are having trouble conceiving, this is the same thing a fertility doctor would do, so this technology allows you to do it on your own.”
Fertility Friend pioneered the concept of online fertility charting in 1998 and has helped hundreds of thousands of women to achieve pregnancy. While it is the leading internet destination for women trying to conceive, there are others that are popping up as well.
One such site, Go28days.com, “is a little bit cleaner then Fertility Friend,” said Kate. “And, it has a lot more sharing capabilities.” Both sites bring together a group of women to help one another figure out what is going on with their bodies and share advice that they get from their doctors. “So, instead of one fertility doctor you can have the advice of hundreds,” said Kate.
Once you conceive, The Bump offers a number of great resources for pregnancy including tips by trimester, real birth stories, baby naming help, and message boards covering every topic you can imagine. One of the most useful tools on the site is their interactivity pregnancy check list – which is similar to The Knot’s wedding check list that we all know and love. It updates you on what you should be thinking about and sends reminders for important to-dos. “It’s great for type A personalities and those that can’t be bothered to keep track,” said Kate.
After the baby arrives your bump will shrink but the need for support continues to grow. “The Bump’s online communities have very high engagement for parents of babies under 6 months,” said Kate. “It's a place where you can get an answer in less than 2 minutes. Even at 3:00 in the morning, there is someone there to talk to. Not only to answer questions but to offer support and let you know that you’re not crazy and your feelings are completely normal.” Kate says that the communities do have a few dads that post but it is mostly women. “I think moms like it like that way because they share a lot of personal information and it is kind of like a little cocoon for them.”
Kate also recommends a couple of gadgets that are very useful for new parents. For those of you that have the Iphone there is a nursing application called Baby Tracker: Nursing that records the time of your nursing session and which side you nursed on last. You can then download the information to a CSV file. “At your first doctor visit they ask you a ton of questions about the babies feeding patterns,” says Kate. The iPhone application or the printable Input/Output sheets available on The Bump will help you to be prepared. “Whether you prefer online or paper, they help you keep your peace of mind and answer your doctor’s questions to be sure your baby is getting enough food.” The application is available for purchase for $7.99.
Another tool that new parents like is the Why Cry Baby Crying Analyzer, said Kate. “It measures frequency and pops out a reason as to why your child might be crying.” While it might sound crazy, the Why Cry has been clinically certified with a 90% accuracy rate from leading research facilities. The sound sensitive device recognizes different pitches, analyzes them and then identifies the baby’s cry into one of five expressions - hungry, bored, annoyed, sleepy or stressed. The Why Cry can be purchased at many baby sites for approximately $100.
Just when you think they’ve got everything a new parent could ever need, they invent something new. If you’re interested in more of the latest gadgets and tools, visit The Bump’s Top 10: Best Pregnancy and Baby Trackers list. And be sure to visit The Bump regularly. Kate and her team have got a few more tools in the works that will continue to help make the lives of new parents easier!