Here are a few things that have helped me (related to technology) from my first week of being a new parent:
- Google Voice mass text updates
- Dropbox for instant baby photo sharing
- Flip camcorder for quick video recording
- Amazon “Prime” for speedy deliveries
Google Voice mass text updates
Before my wife went into labor, I prepared a couple SMS email drafts that I would send to family and friends alerting them of important happenings during the labor process (basically just “Going to hospital!” and “Our daughter is here!”). This was very simple to do using Google Voice, which lets you send and receive text messages from your email client.
So all I had to do was prepare an email draft in Gmail (on my desktop PC), and populate the “To” field with each recipient (using their SMS-to-email address). Then I synced both drafts to my iPod Touch (via IMAP) so when the time came to send it, it was already appearing in the iOS email client.
Dropbox for instant baby photo sharing
I needed a super-quick way to share baby photos with everyone who could not be in the hospital when the baby was born. I chose Dropbox because of the extremely simple way of uploading photos from iOS or Android (as soon as you open the Dropbox app, it automatically uploads new photos). In only a couple steps, new photos are instantly added to the public Dropbox folder in an easy-to-view fashion.
I also shared the folder with my wife, who can easily add her own baby photos from her phone, making it completely painless to have a shared folder with multiple people adding photos.
I even took it a step further and created a nice short link which just redirects to the Dropbox site:
This short link is especially useful for text messages, but some people did say they had problems when loading it on a mobile device.
Finally, what I liked most about the Dropbox approach is that the raw photo files are easily accessible via my desktop PC (Windows Explorer or Mac Finder), so it not only acts as a quick sharing site, it also lets us quickly grab the high-resolution photo files to use for prints.
Flip camcorder for quick video recording
I am not sure if the Flip camcorder is very popular anymore, but I still use my original (that requires two AA batteries). It lets me (in the fewest steps possible) capture video in a very portable fashion.
I could also use the camcorder app on my mobile device but that requires too many steps:
- Unlock device from home screen.
- Find app.
- Launch app.
- Wait for app to fully load.
- Start recording.
With the Flip, I perform two steps (without a lag or delay from the OS):
- Turn on device.
- Hit Record button.
It may not seem like a big deal, but those precious seconds add up each time. Sometimes you completely miss the moment you wanted to capture.
Amazon “Prime” for speedy deliveries
The first week with a newborn is rough. Sleep (for the parents) is minimal and the baby needs near constant attention (diaper changes, feedings, and general fussiness). The things you could normally do at a leisurely pace (IE: prepare dinner, take out the garbage, take a shower, etc) become rushed activities. That includes running to the store for something.
There’s just no time, and if you decide to take the baby with you to the store – you open up a whole new set of problems. For example, the baby can’t be left in the car alone, so running “in and out” of the store is not possible.
An easier way is to receive speedy deliveries to your front door. Amazon “Prime” is ideal for this. They deliver things very fast (next day or two days), so you can easily order refills on baby-related items (diapers, formula, etc), or just anything you need around the house (like laundry/dish washer detergent, snacks, etc).
It allows you to remain home and keep the baby comfortable, and reduce any added stress that going out to the store could cause. You want to minimize stress early on – you are already sleep-deprived, so don’t add more to your plate.