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6 Great Apps for the Modern Parent

6 Great Apps for the Modern Parent

Most of us read George Orwell’s 1984 in high school – a time when technology had reached the height that the government had access to its citizens’ every movement and conversation – at home, at work, and on the street. As adults, of course, we find that reprehensible and have genuine fears today about surveillance and over-reach. Not so with our kids, however. It is a dangerous world, emergencies happen, and our ability to protect ourselves and our kids is important. So is ease of finding great stuff to do as a family and providing educational experiences for our kids. Technology brings that to us through some great apps for the modern parent. Here are eight that provide both security and fun.

1. Baby Monitor 3G

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    This is the first HD quality baby monitor from any device on video. It is receiving rave reviews around the world and was named one of the 5 top lifestyle apps in over 100 countries, and currently has over 1/2 million parent users. Here are its most important features:

    • Works with all devices – easy set up
    • Provides live HD video anywhere
    • Baby activity log entries
    • Great reach over WiFi, LTE and 3G
    • Clear sound and picture
    • Adjustable night light
    • Parents can talk to their babies in real time with their own voice
    • Available in 13 different languages for true global reach

    2. Red Rover

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      This app is relatively new, but is a great resource for parents who are traveling with kids or just looking for local attractions and events that are family-oriented. Each event or attraction is accompanied by a photo. Tap on the photo and you will get detailed information about hours, event details, pricing, etc. Users can also buy tickets and locate close-by restaurants, shopping etc. Events and attractions are updated on a daily basis – a huge plus.

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      Users can sign up for the app at Red Rover and then download the app to their iPhones. (Note: also available for Android)

      Currently, the cities are limited to New York, Boston, Atlanta, Hamptons/North Fork, and San Francisco; however, many more are coming soon – Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, and others.

      Best advice? Download the free app and keep it updated as you plan your family trips. This will be a great resource.

      3. Mom Maps

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        Whether you are in your own home town or traveling with your kids, this app will tap you into anything and everything available for your kids by categories. Imagine traveling by car long distances and finding a need to get your kids out of the car for some “runaround” time. Now you can locate parks, indoor playgrounds. Or suppose you are on vacation and it rains all day – finding an indoor play place or activity is the perfect solution.

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        The premium version lets you get reviews and recommendations from other moms and give your own feedback after a visit to a spot. Other features include:

        • Ability to bookmark and save favorites
        • Users can view and upload video
        • GPS with directions
        • Ability to share with friends on social media
        • 28,000 locations in 28 different metro areas with more being added regularly, both in the U.S. and major cities abroad

        It’s free and available for iOS and Android – premium version will give you reviews and feedback.

        4. SurfBalance

        SurfBalance

          Here’s the perfect parental control for helping kids develop smarter web use. This tool will let a parent limit, guide, and verify where their kids go online, through iOS or Android. Here is all that a parent can do:

          • The app provides over 1,000 safe links for kids. Parents can modify as they wish.
          • Surf Balance then tracks kids’ usage and provide reports so they can see how long they have spent on each site and in total during a time period or a day. Parents can set time limits, so kids learn how to “budget” their online time.
          • Parents can block certain sites, and kids will have to ask permission for access. This gives parents time to review those sites and approve of them before giving permission
          • Parents can also request daily or weekly email reports regarding their kids’ usage.
          • Reasonable price – $4.99

          There are certainly many other good apps for web controls, but this one has the added feature of time budgeting – a good skill for kids to learn.

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          5. White Noise Baby

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            Adults use “white noise” machines all of the time to enhance their sleep. Why not for baby too? For both IOS and Android ($0.99), the White Noise Baby app will provide your baby’s favorite white noise for both soothing sounds when s/he is cranky or for when it’s time to sleep.

            Features include the following:

            • Looped sounds – car ride, music, hair dryer, fan, conch shell, train, heartbeat, Doppler ultrasound of the womb and much more.
            • Parents can choose a single sound or a combination to be played sequentially
            • A shut-off timer that gradually fades the sound
            • Timer that can be re-activated if it detects crying, to repeat the soothing sounds again
            • Report log so parents can determine which sounds are the most effective

            6. Smart Ice4 Family

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              This may be one of the most important apps a family can have, especially if there are family members with medical conditions that should be relayed to EMS and hospital personnel when the patient is unable to speak for themselves.

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              Data such as name, age, medical conditions/alerts, insurance, emergency contact information, medical history and more. All messages can be recorded in advance by the user, and they can be accessed by a simple tap.

              Information can be stored for up to 8 family members. Important features include:

              • EMS alert buttons that automatically dial EMS that include location
              • Automated message plays once phone is opened giving EMS personnel instructions on the use of the app
              • A built-in HIPAA statement with email capability – no filling out long forms at the hospital.
              • Insurance information
              • Listing of all medical conditions and current medications
              • Preferred hospital statement
              • More

              Lots of peace-of-mind for $3.99!

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              Published on November 30, 2018

              Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

              Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

              Postpartum depression (PPD) strikes about 15% of women around childbirth.[1] Moreover, this mood disorder is estimated to affect 1% to 26% of new fathers.[2] The causes of which are thought to be linked to hormonal changes, genetics, previous mental illness and the obvious change in circumstance.

              The stigma of mental health – with or without support from family members and health professionals – often deters women from seeking help for their PPD. In this article, I will show you 10 ways to begin overcoming PPD.

              Symptoms of Postnatal Depression

              Postnatal depression is defined as depressive disorder, beginning anytime within pregnancy up to the first year of the child’s life. The symptoms of post natal depression are the same as those of depression. In order to receive a diagnosis from the doctor, 5 symptoms must be shown over a two week period. The symptoms and criteria are:

              • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, nearly every day, for most of the day or the observation of a depressed mood made by others
              • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
              • Weight loss or decreased appetite
              • Changes in sleep patterns
              • Feelings of restlessness
              • Loss of energy
              • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
              • Loss of concentration or increased indecisiveness
              • Recurrent thoughts of death, with or without plans of suicide
              • Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
              • Low libido
              • Fatigue, decreased energy and motivation
              • Poor self-care
              • Social withdrawal
              • Insomnia or excessive sleep
              • Diminished ability to make decisions and think clearly
              • Lack of concentration and poor memory
              • Fear that you can not care for the baby or fear of the baby
              • Worry about harming self, baby, or partner

              Should you, a friend or your partner be showing any of these signs, I recommend you to seek medical advice.

              Causes of Post Natal Depression

              It is worth noting here that there is a difference between what is commonly known as ‘The Baby Blues’ and post natal depression.

              Postpartum blues, commonly known as “baby blues,” is a transient postpartum mood disorder characterized by milder depressive symptoms than postpartum depression. This type of depression can occur in up to 80% of all mothers following delivery. The Baby Blues should clear within 14 days, if not it is likely an indicator of something more in depth.

              It is not known exactly what causes post natal depression, however there are some correlating factors. These factors have a close correlation and haven’t been shown to cause PPD:

              • Prenatal depression or anxiety
              • A personal or family history of depression
              • Moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms
              • Stressful life events experienced during pregnancy
              • Maternity blues
              • Birth-related psychological trauma
              • Birth-related physical trauma
              • Previous stillbirth or miscarriage
              • Formula-feeding rather than breast-feeding
              • Cigarette smoking
              • Low self-esteem
              • Childcare or life stress
              • Low social support
              • Poor marital relationship or single marital status
              • Low socioeconomic status
              • Infant temperament problems/colic
              • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
              • Elevated prolactin levels
              • Oxytocin depletion

              One of the strongest predictors of paternal PPD is having a partner who has PPD, with fathers developing PPD 50% of the time when their female partner has PPD. [3]

              Ways to Overcome Post Natal Depression

              1. Seek Medical Help

              As knowledge of PPD grows, more and more physicians are becoming aware of the indicators and risk factors. This means that health care providers are looking for signs as early as their first prenatal care visit.

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              If you are at risk, letting your provider know early in your pregnancy means that you’ll be given extra support and care throughout the process. It is best to seek treatment as soon as possible.

              If it’s detected late or not at all, the condition may worsen. Experts have also found that children can be affected by a parent’s untreated PPD. Such children may be more prone to sleep disturbances, impaired cognitive development, insecurity, and frequent temper tantrums.

              2. Therapy

              This is the first line of defence against post natal depression and will commonly be prescribed alongside medication. Around 90% of post natal depression cases in women are treated with a combination of the two treatments.

              You don’t need to do anything special to prepare. Your counselor will ask questions about your life, and it’s important you answer honestly. You won’t be judged for what you tell, and whatever you talk about will be just between the two of you. Your counselor will teach you how to look at some things differently, and how to change certain habits to help yourself feel better.

              Therapy is personalized for everyone, but women in counselling for postpartum depression often discuss topics including; who you’re feeling, your behaviour, your actions and your life. (If you need immediate support please call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. The toll-free call is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)

              3. Medication

              There have been a few studies of medications for treating PPD, however, the sample sizes were small, thus evidence is generally weak.

              Some evidence suggests that mothers with PPD will respond similarly to people with major depressive disorder. There is evidence which suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective treatment for PPD.

              However, a recent study has found that adding sertraline, an SSRI, to psychotherapy does not appear to confer any additional benefit. Therefore, it is not completely clear which antidepressants are most effective for treatment of PPD.

              There are currently no antidepressants that are FDA approved for use during lactation. Most antidepressants are excreted in breast milk. However, there are limited studies showing the effects and safety of these antidepressants on breastfed babies.

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              4. Communication with Partner

              Don’t blame yourself, your partner, close friends or relatives. Life is tough at this time, and tiredness and irritability can lead to quarrels.

              ‘Having a go’ at your partner can weaken your relationship when it needs to be at its strongest. It can be a huge relief to talk to someone understanding.

              By spending time with your partner doing activities that you both enjoy, like going for a walk, can really help. This change of state, from moving location, can significantly elevate mood whilst providing ‘neutral ground’ in which to open up communication.

              Be honest with your partner and show ways in which they can support you best through this time, even if it’s just talking or letting you have time to go take a shower.

              5. Self Care and Rest

              Don’t try to be ‘superwoman’. Try to do less and make sure that you don’t get over-tired. It’s common that women are the experts at ‘being busy’ and ‘doing it all’.

              Rest whilst the baby is sleeping, and really take time to prioritise yourself. Throughout life, if you’re constantly giving out energy, you will be left feeling unbalanced. It’s important to become aware of one’s energy and making sure to give yourself energy first, before giving out is imperative.

              Your body has just been through the trauma of the birth, which is very stressful. It therefore needs time to recover so taking time to yourself is important. Things as simple as a cup of tea, or shower or listening to music will really help.

              6. Supplementation (especially DHA)

              St John’s Wort is a herbal remedy available from chemists. There is evidence that it is effective in mild to moderate depression. It seems to work in much the same way as some antidepressants, but some people find that it has fewer side-effects.

              One problem is that St John’s Wort can interfere with the way other medications work. If you are taking other medication, you should discuss it with your doctor. This is very important if you are taking the oral contraceptive pill. St John’s Wort might stop your pill working. This can lead to an unplanned pregnancy.

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              It is also worth noting that fish oil (containing DHA) is being shown to correlate with lower instances of PPD. DHA consumption during pregnancy — at levels that are reasonably attained from foods — has the potential to decrease symptoms of postpartum depression,” conclude study researchers led by Michelle Price Judge, PhD, RD, a faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing.

              7. Movement

              Before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your doctor and find a fully qualified pre and post natal specialist. That being said, there is plenty of movement that can be done prior to ‘hitting the gym’, such as walking.

              Not only does being outside positively benefit you by getting some fresh air and vitamin D. The same is said for your baby, who will likely sleep better once they’ve been outside. Exercise gets your endorphins going, which helps alleviate depression symptoms, It can also get you focused on something for yourself. In an analysis of data from 1996 to 2016, researchers discovered that moms who stayed physically active after birth experienced fewer depressive symptoms.[4] In contrast, one study found women who led a more sedentary lifestyle were, in general, more likely to experience postpartum depression in the first place. [5]

              The type of workout doesn’t matter much. Yoga for pregnant women, stretching, and cardio are essentially equal in terms of making you feel better.

              8. Socializing and Support Groups

              Do go to local groups for new mothers or postnatal support groups. Your health visitor can tell you about groups in your area. You may not feel like going to these groups if your are depressed.

              See if someone can go with you. You may find the support of other new mothers helpful. You may find some women who feel the same way as you do.

              9. Accept Help

              Some cultures believe that the symptoms of postpartum depression or similar illnesses can be avoided through protective rituals in the period after birth. Chinese women participate in a ritual that is known as “doing the month” (confinement) in which they spend the first 30 days after giving birth resting in bed, while the mother or mother-in-law takes care of domestic duties and childcare.

              Whilst this may seem extreme, it’s worth noting that being able to accept help from your friends, partner and family can be extremely beneficial.

              10. Avoid Smoking, Drink and Drugs

              Which may seem common sense, however you may be tempted by the short term ‘fix’.

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              Don’t use alcohol or drugs. They may make you feel better for a short time, but it doesn’t last. Alcohol and drugs can make depression worse. They are also bad for your physical health.

              Final Thoughts

              Most women will get better without any treatment within 3 to 6 months. One in four mothers with PND are still depressed when their child is one-year-old. However, this can mean a lot of suffering.

              PND can spoil the experience of new motherhood. It can strain your relationship with your baby and partner. You may not look after your baby, or yourself, as well as you would when you are well.

              PND can affect your child’s development and behaviour even after the depression has ended. So the shorter it lasts, the better.

              Sometimes there is an obvious reason for PND, but not always. You may feel distressed, or guilty for feeling like this, as you expected to be happy about having a baby. However, PND can happen to anyone and it is not your fault.

              It’s never too late to seek help. Even if you have been depressed for a while, you can get better. The help you need depends on how severe your illness is. Mild PND can be helped by increased support from family and friends.

              Featured photo credit: Derek Thomson via unsplash.com

              Reference

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