(Apple's Photo Booth takes a mirror image picture apparently. There you have it, my child is not a vampire.)
Have I mentioned lately how thankful I am to have had a baby with the aid of the internet? Granted, while I sometimes feel that there is too much information (and misinformation) provided by a quick Google search which can sometimes over complicate every simple decision; there is also a definite advantage to raising a baby in a more technologically savvy era. I can't tell you how many times my mother and mother-in-law have commented on how limited the available information was in the 70s and I'm very thankful how much that has changed in the last 30 years.
But let me cut to the chase. My purpose is to compile some helpful websites and applications that I have found useful. Most of them are free and available to anyone unless indicted otherwise. I may have mentioned several of these in previous posts, but I'd like to get them all in one location to make it easier for anyone looking for them:
Trying to Conceive Sites
Fertilityfriend is a great tool to educate yourself on charting your menstrual cycles so that you can figure out your most likely time to conceive. Sign up for the free charting class which will be emailed to you in 20 daily lessons (so much easier than reading a book). Once you start taking your temps each morning, enter the information into your Fertilityfriend chart and start obsessing!
A cost calculator can help you get a better idea of how much you'll need to budget for the baby's first year. (I also wrote about how to save money here and here too in case the cost calculator figure scares the ever-loving hell out of you.)
3dPregnancy.parentsconnect.com and Babycenter.com makes it easy to sign up for a weekly email that will provide information on how your baby is developing week to week. Both also have a wealth of information on trying to conceive, pregnancy and raising your child. These two sites along with Thebump.com also have forums where moms and moms-to-be can chat and get advice.
Babygenderprediction.com is a fun site to visit if you're too impatient to wait for the doctors to determine the gender of your child around 18 weeks. For the record, the Chinese Gender Chart told me I was having a girl, so take it with a grain of salt as they will only be right about 50% of the time.
Babynamewizard.com can help you find a name for your little bean. The Namefinder can help you locate a name based on gender, starting letter, number of syllables, etc. and the Namipediatool can help you locate name origins and popularity of the name.
Babysteals.com is a similar idea to woot.com. Each day, they offer a different product at a reduced rate to anyone that wants to purchase it. The product is only available for a 24 hour period though. Shipping is not free, but it is fast in my experience.
Contractionmaster.com is a easy-to-use free online contraction timing assistant. One tip I would recommend is putting a temporary sticker on the "S" key so it's easy to find if you have to time your contractions through the night like I did. (Also available through the iTunes Application Store for $0.99)
Birth Plan Generator is a free application that will help you quickly create a birth plan to take with you to the hospital. Looks like this is sponsored by Huggies, so that will probably sign you up for some coupons as well.
For any masochists out there, Birthingnaturally.net can help you prepare yourself for giving birth without the aid of pain medication (I joke, I joke). And Bradleybirth.com can help you find a class on the Bradley Method of childbirth
Kellymom.com is a valuable resource for breastfeeding from basic information to latching videos to a lactation consultant directory. Breastfeedingonline.com also is a good source for videos on countless breastfeeding topics. Of course Le Leche League is always going to be a great resource as well and can help you locate your local chapter for support from other mothers.
Wholesomebabyfood.com has a wealth of free information on making your own homemade baby foods, recipes and frequently asked questions about introducing solids to your child. There's even a section on food allergies.
Here is the most comprehensive guide on cloth diapering I've found online for all the basics. Diaperswappers.com is a good place to find other mothers selling used diapers at a nice price (much less gross than it sounds, trust me). I've also had luck finding secondhand diapers using Craigslist. And I've heard good things about buying from stay-at-home moms on Etsy as well. I also found some simple videos showing different methods for folding prefold cloth diapers on Youtube.
SimplyNoise.com is a website that allows you to download free white noise loop-able tracks, which you can then save to your iTunes. Free is good.
White Noise by TMSOFT is another white noise application available for $1.99 purchase through iTunes App Store. You can add this application to your iPhone or iTouch for use on the go. (Or you can just old-school it and tune into a static radio station in your car)
Sittercity.com can help you locate a baby sitter in your area. They offer a free 7 day trial, but an ongoing membership is a paid service.
Childcareaware.org and Naccrra.org can help you decide on the best day care center for you and your baby. They can show you where to start, the questions to ask and how to locate the perfect center in your area.
Fisher-Price has some great ideas on easy activities for you and your baby. These are organized by age of your child and there are some cute and free games you can play with your baby.
Rookie Moms has activities for baby and mom listed by each age. I find myself going back to this site for great ideas time and again.
Todays Parent offers lots of information on feeding and sleep methods. They also have a weekly development guide.
My Baby Can Talk has free videos available for some simple sign language you can start teaching your baby around 5 months old. I may even start on this sooner because what can it hurt?
Here are some easy recipes for making some all natural baby products.
I will be adding more sites to this list as time permits (and as I discover new resources!) As always, if anyone would like to share any helpful sites they know of, I'm always happy to hear them in the comments!