PCM Rating: 5 out of 5
I wish I’d had an iPhone or iPod Touch when I first had Pop Culture Toddler, and if I’d had one, I wish I would have had this app.
The Total Baby app is one part Itz Been™ timer, one part baby book, one part photo album, and one part calendar. It is all parts AWESOME.
For parents of multiple children (including multiples), you can record entries for more than one child. There’s even a side-by-side record option for twins. You can modify the settings to use a different colored background for each child, if you choose. All entries are adaptable by measurement system, so of you’re like everyone in the world outside of the U.S., you can use metric measurements instead of the customary system.
Baby Timers: The Itz Been™-like Component
The baby timers will probably be the most useful feature for new parents. You know you’re supposed to keep track of feeding times, wet and dirty diapers, how long your baby nursed, etc.; but you’re sleep deprived. And where did that notepad go? Okay, now that you’ve found the tablet of notes, why can’t you decipher any of them? Oh. That’s right. You’re sleep deprived.
There are five timers: sleep, feeding, diapers, bathing and wild card. Unlike the Itz Been™ timer, which basically acts like a stop watch and alarm clock, the Total Baby app can be used as either a stop watch or a journal after the fact. Also, every entry is logged for later review; nothing disappears unless you want it to. Every option has sub-options, which makes the information that much more valuable.
The Sleep Timer
The sleep timer allows you to specify where your child slept and take notes.
The Feeding Timer
The feeding timer allows you to specify what type of feeding and gives you additional descriptive options based on the type of feeding selected. If you choose formula feeding, you can say how much was given. If you choose breastfeeding, you can specify whether it was a right or left feeding and run a timer while nursing, so that you know exactly how long. If you choose solid feedings, you can specify the types of solids given – there is a customizable list already available – whether your child liked it, how much s/he ate, and whether there was an allergic reaction.
Certain foods are hidden if your child is below the recommended age for them. You can, however, unhide them at any time.
The Diaper Timer
The diaper timer allows you to specify whether it was wet, solid, both or dry. If solid, you can describe the appearance. You can even add a description, as I did, to specify that your child went in the toilet rather than in his or her diaper.
The Bath Timer
You can use this to keep track of your child’s baths and even where they occurred.
The Wild Card
You can use this for anything really. I used it to record medication [There are even commonly used meds, like Tylenol, Benadryl and Motrin already available for selection.
The Journal — Baby Book/Photo Album Component
The pictures above are pretty self-explanatory. You can use the Diary and Milestones tabs to record your child’s milestones or any other neat day-to-day events. Each entry allows one photo. The most recent photo added is the one that will appear on your child’s homepage.
Doctor Tab — The Calendar Part
The Doctor tab allows you to record past and future doctor appointments, contact information for the doctors, your child’s growth (length/height, weight, and head circumference — including charts with the percentiles and an option to see changes from the last record), vaccines, and allergies. The vaccine tab even includes a brief summary of what each vaccine does — very useful for someone like me who can’t remember why exactly a Hib shot is important.
You might be worried that with all this data, one bad iTunes sync could wipe out your child’s history. No fears! There’s a sync option to prevent this.
I first got this app a little before my daughter’s first birthday. At that point, it wasn’t as important to use the timers on when she last ate or used the restroom, but I used them anyway. It was actually kind of fun.
I found the timers most useful, however, for nursing and sleep. I was able to tell by looking at previous days if my daughter was getting the recommended amount of sleep for her age. It was also useful to remember if our last nursing session was on the left or the right side.
I have also thoroughly enjoyed using the journal and doctor features. Instead of going back through my Outlook calendar to determine when we last saw the allergist, I can go here and see every single time we saw him. I can also keep track of things I would never put on Outlook, like the type of medicine he prescribed.
Being able to add pictures has made recording milestones more memorable. Not to mention, unlike that baby book, which disappeared a year ago, I know where my phone is at all times.
Overall, I can’t think of any cons to the Total Baby app. When I first got this app, there were a couple of functions on my wishlist that weren’t there. I emailed the developer, and POOF, there they were. I’m not saying I added them because of me alone (that’s silly), but I will say the developer is responsive. I got a “thank you for your feedback” e-mail within an hour or two of my suggestion email, and the new features (which I’m guessing were heavily requested) were in the next release.
UPDATE: Total Baby has some very cool new features that have been added since this review was written. You can read my review of the latest updates (as of August 2012) here.