If our tūpuna with their positive child rearing ideas were here today, they would use the modern tools available to raise their kids, we’re sure. This pregnancy/parenting gig is hard work so we’ve put together helpful list of apps to make it a little easier for you! Time to update your app list for this parenting mahi (work). There’s an app for everything, right?

We’ve brought together 15 FREE apps for Kiwi parents and parents-to-be that will help you prepare and care for your baby. Four of these apps are te reo Māori ones too – 4 of the best available, we think!

Do let us know if any of these apps are not working or are out of date. Or if there’s some we’ve missed! We’ll keep this list up to date as we can in future too.

Our Favourite App

1. My Pregnancy & Baby Today by BabyCenter

Our #1 app in this list is one of the most popular week-by-week pregnancy/parenting apps in the iTunes and Play stores. Yes, it’s American, but it’s super useful. Part of its popularity is because it’s for pregnancies *and* pēpi (babies)!! It has something new to tell you everyday about your pregnancy, and tips/advice for parents and about your pepi’s growth after they’re born. It also has a busy ‘Community’ that you can ask for help with your problems. The baby names section does have *some* Maori names in it, so they do know Aotearoa exists!

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes. More information at https://www.babycenter.com.

Apps for the Hapū (Pregnant)

2. Baby Names – Boy and Girl

There are *stacks* of baby names apps available but most have the same database of names. This one is a very tidy app that has the American ‘Top Names’ lists for different years, but it also has Māori names filter. Ok, the list of Māori names isn’t very comprehensive, but you can add names to the ‘My Names’ section too. I loved building up a *looong* list of favourite names before choosing one after my pēpi were born. 

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes.

3. myPFF by TENA

I totally didn’t know these kinds of apps existed when I was pregnant, but really wish I had! Pregnant wāhine (women) need to have a strong pelvic floor so you have a strong bladder (no one wants to wet themselves!) and have an easier birth. Despite how important doing pelvic floor exercises are, not everyone’s sure how to do them, or remembers to do then regularly! That’s where this app comes in. After reviewing over a dozen different apps, we picked this one because it has tutorials about how to do the exercises, gives you a discreet timer to do your exercises, and can send you reminders during the day to do them. So so useful!!

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes. More information at TENA’s website.

Apps for Parents of Pēpi (Babies) and Toddlers (Nohinohi)

4. Raising Children

A high quality and invaluable app for parents developed by NZ’s own Jude Dobson, TV presenter and producer. This app is really well put together and has useful videos throughout helping parents give their kids the best start in life! Jude used to be a registered nurse and was training to being a midwife before having 3 kids of her own. Using all of that experience, she developed this app! I’ve been using it for my toddler – Our favourite tip right now is “Keep offering your child food they dislike. A food may need to be offered up to 15 times before it’s deemed edible!” 

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes. More information at https://www.raisingchildren.org.nz.

5. Vroom

Vroom is excellent, and one of the only entirely FREE brain development apps available for download. Designed for 0 – 5 year olds, the app gives you a daily activity to do with your pepi or child. The daily notification is super handy so you can click through to today’s activity. Pepi brain development involves doing really simple things, like talking to pepi about their fingers while playing with them, but they have a huge impact on their growth. Really though, it gives you something to do with your pepi or child! Backed up by research and with over 1,000 activities to choose, this app is a winner.

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes. More information at https://www.vroom.org/.

6. BabyTime (Parenting, Track & Analysis)

In those early days and weeks with pepi, you can feel totally lost. You’re tired, you’re trying keep up with the feeds, the naps etc. It’s a tough time. For some parents, a baby tracking app helps because you can start to see a pattern to your days. It certainly did for us! You record when bub feeds, naps and has nappy changes. After a few days, you’ll start to see a rhythm to the days and nights, and it helps you get a handle on what your pepi is doing. There are *heaps* of baby tracking apps out there. BabyTime is great because it’s free, has all features of some of the paid ones, and is pretty darn easy to use. Ignore all the features you don’t want to use – I mostly use my baby tracking app for breastfeeding times and nap lengths.

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes. More information at https://www.babytimeapp.com/.

7. SKIP Tips

SKIP have built a super handy app for all the tricky bits of parenting. In their words, “it features simple, age-appropriate ideas for handling behaviour most of us find hard – everything from tantrums to toileting to car-seat struggles.” So cool! Aside from the wide variety of tips and advice, being able to save important ones in the app is great, as is being able to set yourself reminders for regularly stressful situations, like bedtime or supermarket trips. “You can also create mini-challenges each week to keep your relationship with your child on track. For example reading a book to your child every night or saying ‘I love you’ more often.” How awesome is all that?!? This app will be a lifesaver for so many parents I’m sure.

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes. More information at https://www.skip.org.nz.

8. BreastFedNZ

I know, I know, lots of people harp on about breastfeeding and its benefits. But even knowing all that, breastfeeding can be hard and complicated for some mums. This app can help! This is a Kiwi app produced by a collective of Midland DHBs providing you breastfeeding advice from pregnancy all the way through to breastfeeding bigger babies. This app is so so handy and well organised with photos, quotes and stories from other breastfeeding mummas. A great resource!

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes. More information at http://www.breastfednz.co.nz.

9. White Noise Baby

Some people might not realise, but the womb is a really noisy place! Your pepi is underwater and can hear everything going on inside Mum’s body (her heart beat, food digesting etc) as well as sounds outside (people talking, music, etc). Once pepi is born, recreating the sounds of the womb can help them get to sleep. We used this app and found the conch shell good in those early weeks, along with gentle pats on the bottom or back. Try it and see if it helps.

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes. More information at https://www.tmsoft.com/white-noise-baby/.

10. Well Child

This app has come a long way in it’s usefulness in the past couple of years. It has a tonne of useful information, tips and advice on a wide range of topics, but… it’s a lot to scroll through. The best way to use this app? Install it and allow notifications – They send you one every week to read something important. And you should read them – they’re kiwi and relevant to our pepi. 

Available from Google Play and iTunes. More information at https://www.wellchild.org.nz/.

11. Baby Monitor by Faebir (Android only)

Maybe baby’s room is too far from kitchen for you to hear them, or maybe you’re at a friend’s place. Whatever the reason, sometimes you need a baby monitor so you can hear pepi even if they’re at a distance. Unless you want to buy a dedicated device, an app is all you need. For an app baby monitor to work, you do need a spare device or to put someone’s phone near baby’s cot, which is inconvenient, but manageable for those occasional situations. This app we’re recommending is Android only, but there are plenty of alternatives, and articles to help you choose like this one. Even though this app is audio only, we used it because it lets you adjust the microphone sensitivity and it works by calling or texting a specified number – no wifi required. There are others that stream video as well as audio, do use wifi, and can send txts, emails, skype calls and other options. It all depends on what you need.

Available for free on Google Play only. More information at https://faebir.weebly.com.

Apps to Learn Te Reo Māori

12. Tipu Te Reo Māori

Learn Te Reo with just a few minutes a day! Koi, your app tutor,will quiz you on different words and explain different pieces of grammar as you go. Of the interactive apps to teach Te Reo, this is the only one that teaches grammar too. Koi is pretty clever because she’ll remember words you get right and not ask you them again in later tutorials. I think it’s a really well thought out learning app that’s very easy to use. Tino pai!

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes. More information at https://plink.co.nz/?tipu.

13. Kupu

This year during Māori Language Week, everyone was talking about the Kupu app. It’s wonderful in its simplicity – point the app at an object, take a photo and it’ll tell you what it thinks it is in Māori. And it’s really very good! It also gives alternatives in case it’s first guess isn’t right. All pretty clever really. And if none of the options are right? You can add your own. Nice!

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes. More information at https://kupu.co.nz.

14. Learn Māori (Android only)

Want to play a game that teaches you Māori as well? Then this is the app for you! It’s kind of like hangman where you are shown a Māori word and a picture, and you have to fill out the English using the letters provided. It starts off with really basic vocab to test you on then slowly gets harder and harder. The downside of the app? There isn’t actually a teaching component, just the quiz, so when you start getting to words you don’t know, you need to have enough coin to buy a letter etc to give you some help. You can get stuck. But maybe you’ll appreciate the challenge.

Available for free on Google Play only.

15. Aki

Another game learning app, and the game is simple – you are shown a Māori word and choose the right English one from a choice of 4 to row your waka around NZ. You have 4 lives, so you can only 4 translations wrong before the taniwha will eat you! The game itself isn’t very immersive, so it’s hard to stay interested just for the game, but it’s a reasonable way to learn Te Reo.

Available for free on Google Play and iTunes.

Special Mentions

Te Reo Māori ($5.29 on Google Play and $5.99 on iTunes)

This app didn’t make the list because you have to pay for it, but you pay for it because it’s a staple for anyone learning Māori. It’s the dictionary. The Māori dictionary. Sure, the website version is free, but this is quicker and has a tidier interface. I paid for it, and I think it’s worth it, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Available from Google Play for $5.29 and iTunes for $5.99. More information at http://maoridictionary.co.nz/.

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