New Parents On the Block: This is the first in a series of articles looking at Millennial parents behavior, growing influence, and marketing preferences.
As Millennials take on the title of mom and dad, they’re making smartphones their parenthood lifelines. A slew of apps are helping them from the moment they choose to have a baby to daycare and every step in between.
Fourteen percent of Millennials 18-32-years-old are currently parents, with nearly 8,000 more taking on the title of mom and dad each day. This generation has proven they have their own unique approach to life’s major milestones, so it’s not surprise that they are approaching parenting differently. One distinctive influencer of their parenting behavior is their mobile device: they’re integrating their smart tech into their childcare in a myriad of ways, relying on phones to help them feel like more connected, organized, capable caregivers.
The average Millennial mom spends a reported average of 2.8 hours a day on a smartphone or tablet, and for parents of this generation mobile devices are a lifeline and assistant all in one. A study from Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter found that 81% of 18-to-32-year-old moms in the U.S. use a smartphone when shopping for things like accessing coupons, comparing prices, or finding recipes. To cater to this digital-solution hungry wave of new families, a slew of apps and online platforms have been launched to help monitor baby, address issues in real time, and provide them advice and support. When we surveyed New Parents on the Block in our 2014 Quarterly report, we found that 42% turn to parenting websites/blogs for advice, while 20% rely on online forums. While it might seem impersonal to some, their reliance on tech for parenting support makes sense. They’re still turning to those that they know for advice first, but with so many Millennials pushing back the milestone of having kids, many new parents in the generation might not have the community of peers around them going through the same things and offering advice or understanding. Mobile solutions and communities provide the reassurance they might be craving, and making the scary first stages of being a parent feel more manageable.
Now, they’re using apps to help them manage parenthood from the moment they begin thinking about starting a family to the day they send them off to school, and every step in between. Here are some examples of the tools that modern, mobile Millennial parents are turning to now:
Millennials have been hearing “there’s an app for that” for the past six years, and they’ve taken the slogan to heart, using apps for things that previous generations might be surprised by—like helping them to have babies. Fertility app Glow says they have helped 20,000 couples to conceive naturally by providing moms-to-be with the tools to get in sync with their own bodies and monitor the “trying” process. In the wake of their success, the Glow is branching out to help guide users through the next phase, those exciting but daunting nine months of pregnancy. Glow Nurture uses the conception date to pre-populate a calendar with doctor’s appointments and tests, and gives daily stat snapshots of baby’s size and development stage, pregnancy articles, and helpful tips. Users can log health information like weight, mood, and exercise, and receive notices on whether the recommended amount of everything they need. It’s pregnancy, quantified. Mom is not alone in her Glow Nurture use—partners can connect their Glow apps “because it’s a shared journey,” and daily photos can be uploaded for Glow Nurture to stitch into a time lapse clip of a growing belly to share with family and friends. The app also provides access to a community of other expecting parents so that peer opinions and commiseration are only a finger swipe away.
Once they’ve made it through pregnancy and have a little one to watch over, their smartphones become a way to keep track of baby’s behavior, their window into the world of grownups, and a constant reference to answer their many, many questions, reassure them they’re doing ok, connect them to other new parents going through the same thing, and share picture (after picture) of their little one. New company Parent Co. sees the opportunity, and is preparing to launch “a line of digital products designed to meet the needs of modern parents.” Their first product is an app called Notabli, which is all about capturing and archiving all those photographed moments. Yes, there is a lot of social media for them to post on, but Notabli is like a digital photo album, keeping all of those shots high-quality and in one sleekly-designed place, while allowing invited viewers to comment on posts and soon print photos and photo books. The app says they are designed for the “first generation of kids raised in the social media era,” and allow parents to take control of their kids’ digital footprint and privacy.
If you think that Boomers kept a close eye on their Millennial kids, you haven’t seen anything yet. Millennials are becoming at a time when technology allows for hyper-monitored childhoods, and technology from heart monitoring onesies to video camera monitors allow them to always have one eye on what baby is doing. But what do they do once it’s time to go back to work and daily childcare passes on to a nanny or daycare? It’s their reality. A reported 11 million children under five attend daycare in the U.S. each week, and new tools are giving working parents ways to stay constantly in the loop and witness their children’s first moments and behaviors. HiMama is an online platform that makes it easy for working parents to stay “informed, included, and reassured,” in real time. Child caretakers can upload updates on food, behavior, mood, sleep, videos, and photos via smartphone or tablet, which can be sent instantly to parents and are also aggregated into a report emailed out at the end of each day. The app also simplifies paperwork by enabling parents to upload and access children’s information efficiently, giving them more post-work time to spend with their kids.