The world we live in is not always helpful or friendly toward breastfeeding moms. Most new parents have a lactation consultant they can call on when they need help, and moms usually know where they can pump or feed in privacy in places they're familiar with. However, when you can't call on your personal lactation consultant or figure out where to feed your baby when you're out and about, technology can come to the rescue. In other words: there's an app for that.
iBreastfeed (iOS, Free)
Helps you find the nearest “friendly” pumping or breastfeeding locations. This free iOS app by Medela, the leading breast pump manufacturer, uses your current location to pinpoint Medela-reviewed and approved "breastaurant" hot spots. (Bed Bath & Beyond, BuyBuy Baby, Babies R Us, a local hospital and a family lounge at a nearby mall score in my area.) The app also helps track breastfeeding, pumping, sleeping and diaper changes for up to six babies. You can then send the log(s) to your baby’s doctor. It’s also packed with how-to's on getting started, such as how often to breastfeed and how to tell if your baby is getting milk, as well as pumping, cleaning and milk storage and collection tips.
Helps you manage common breastfeeding issues. This app gives you tips for dealing with a baby that won’t latch on or uncertainty about whether your baby is getting enough milk. It was developed by the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition, a nonprofit organization with the mission of making breastfeeding the norm through education, advocacy and collaboration, and is designed for health care providers too, so the evidence-based information takes a more medical approach, compared to other mobile platforms. When the going gets tough, moms who appreciate data more than handholding will relate to this app’s reference-like approach to troubleshooting.
Express Yourself Pumping Assistant (iOS, $1.99, mini free version also available)
Helps facilitate "let-down" reflex when pumping. This app is designed to facilitate easier breast pumping and better production when you’re sans baby. You can set up a slideshow of photos of your baby and record audio clips of baby sounds such as slurping, crying and laughing that can trick your mind into thinking your baby is nearby. Bring your baby’s onesie with you, too. Besides sight and sound, what really helps promote let-down for pumping is the smell of your baby, says Miriam Labbok, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Pump@work (iOS, $1.99)
Helps you track important breastfeeding information. Designed by a certified lactation consultant for moms heading back to work, this app promises to save time, reduce breastmilk waste and ease the transition by helping you digitally track daily pumping and milk-storage totals. Its amount recommendations, which are based on your baby’s age and the number of daily feedings, help take away the guesswork about how much milk you’ll need for your baby’s next day or for one or two babies when you’re away. You’ll get a visual graph of your pumping history to track fluctuations in your milk supply, as well as daily breastfeeding news and blog support.
iBabyLog (iOS, free)
Helps track your pumping and breastfeeding history. It also tracks sleeping routine, diaper changes (including stool type and color), activities, mood, baths, pediatrician visits, temperature, milestones, bottle feeding, solids, your to-do list, vaccinations, growth and medication. You can set up reminders for when to pump or breastfeed next, too. The app’s sharing feature allows others, such as your husband or caregiver, to log changes so you can track your baby’s day. For some parents, there’s no such thing as TMI. If you’re in that camp, this app’s for you.