Tech gadgets, hacks and tips to make parenting that tiny bit easier
So it might be true that our parents raised us without all the bells and whistles that we have today (and we turned out mostly ok…) But with all that we have learned in that time, and how far science has come, why not make life a little easier for ourselves where we can.
Parenting is hard, there are no surprises there, and while nothing will ever replace being 100% on hand and present when caring for little ones, we’ve rounded up some tech gadgets and seriously clever tools to help lighten the load ever so slightly or help put your mind at ease somewhat.
1. Baby monitors
So baby monitors have been around for some time now but they have come a LONG way from the walkie-talkie style sound-only versions to video and motion sensor monitors – to now ones that let you live stream your cherub sleeping on your phone while you’re at work or anywhere in the world. While not essential especially for small houses or apartment living, they add the benefit of being able to see if you’re child is actually sleeping without disturbing them to check – because sometimes even if they’ve been quiet in there for half an hour they haven’t actually slept which might help explain why they are grumpy and tired later. It also helps when they’re learning to self settle, as you can see their routine, and if they’re lying down and close to sleep or standing up then you can know when to go into them and know when to give them a minute.
According to a recent Canstar [link: https://www.canstarblue.com.au/family-gifts/baby-monitors/] survey, the average price spent on a baby monitor these days is $175, with 74% of parents now opting for video ones – and 36% opting for wi-fi capability.
Topping their list of monitors for 2018 was the Uniden range, with the Uniden Baby watch BW3101R, $199.99 also taking out second place at the Australian Mother & Baby [link: https://www.nowtolove.com.au/parenting/expert-advice/best-monitor-2018-51333] awards.
Tip: A word of warning on ones that are wi-fi enabled, ensure you buy from a reputable brand with adequate security on them to ensure your footage can’t be hacked.
2. High-tech cribs
These days you can get your crib or bassinet working for you and your baby and one of the most-talked about in the market is the SNOO Smart Basinet [LINK:https://happiestbaby.com.au/products/snoo-smart-bassinet] which claims to help reduce crying, improve sleep (your baby’s and yours), and provides a safe sleeping environment for your newborn – but all that work doesn’t come cheap at around $1600 – but what is the cost of a good night’s sleep? Ask any new parents and they’ll probably say priceless… While its design is certainly aesthetically appealing, it also has some serious tech under the hood. Designed on the principles of Dr. Harvey Karp’s book Happiest Baby on the Block in which he writes about the 5 S’s of calming a baby – the SNOO focuses on the swaddling, shushing, and swinging of the five. In a nutshell it’s aiming to recreate the environment the baby was used to inside your womb but then takes it to the next level by also trying to anticipate your baby’s needs, working to resettle bubs itself with soothing and rocking. Failing that it will then alert you to take over. This “night nurse” as some have dubbed it, has received mixed reviews as all babies are different and respond to different cues, but those who love it swear by it.
3. Smart dummies
If you’ve got a baby who loves their dummy then this little invention allows you to take bubs temperature with the dummy which means you don’t have to wake them up to check it. Probably best to wait until you know they’re going to take a dummy before forking out the $105 on it, but if so, it kills two birds with one stone. The app also lets you track their temperature and log any medication you give them – because we all know it can be hard to keep track of and especially in the middle of the night. It also lets you track the dummy so you don’t have to worry about losing it and going through them like you do with regular dummies (which that in itself is kind of genius).
No we’re not talking storage in the home (although that’s another constant issue amiright?) we’re talking on your smart phone or laptop here. These days with camera phones we’re taking hundreds if not thousands of photos of our children and loved ones – but with that comes the issue of storage. Is anyone else constantly ignoring that little pop up that tells you your photos haven’t been backed up because you’re out of space because its just in the CBF dealing with it basket? Well if you’ll be #devo if you lose your photos then it might be worth taking a little time and/or money to back your photos up. If you’re an Apple user you can look at an iCloud option which will just automatically store your data (for a fee of course) and that’s probably the lazy-person’s best bet or there are other online solutions like Google Photos which will give you 15gb free. But if you’d rather keep your precious memories where you can see them (so to speak) or you need more storage, then it might be worth investing in an external hardrive, which can start from around $49 and goes up depending on the size you need.
5. Breast of the bunch
Anyone who has used a breast pump will tell you it’s tedious, time consuming and just kind of weird. But probably the most annoying thing is that you’re stuck in a weird position making sure its at the perfect angle to get optimal milk flow. And while there are some bras on the market that help hold the teats in place, and some battery operated ones available (although I always found mine didn’t pump as much milk when I used batteries over power plug). So then when we saw the Willow Hands-Free Smart Breast Pump we were intrigued. There’s no cords, no bottles hanging off it – it sits inside your top and lets you go about your business while you go about yours – also great for pumping in the office or on the go. The app will track your flow and if you’re lucky enough to be making lots of milk it will alert you when you’re almost full.
6. Bottle savvy
While once your toughest decision when picking out baby bottles was what size teat to get, now there’s a whole new world of choice when it comes to baby bottles. Think plastic, silicone, glass, bottles for colicky babies, bottles for reflux or nipple confusion, bottles specifically for breastfed babies – and now there are also smart bottles. Yep, think bottles that will track your bubs guzzling habits, help limit air-intake (thus preventing gas or tummy troubles and colic) and will send all the data to a nifty app. Oh and did we mention there are also ones now that will heat themselves too.
7. Sleep solutions
Ask any parent what their number one gripe is and it’s usually got something to do with sleep – and not getting enough of it. If your toddler is an early riser, or suddenly becomes one it can be soul crushing hearing that little voice cry out before the garbos have even done their rounds. The GroClock [link: https://www.gro-store.com.au/groclock.html] seeks to teach your little one about night and day with a cute little picture of a sun and the stars and is meant to teach them that they can’t get up until the sun does (a.k.a. the time you set it to switch over). Reviews for this are mixed online but those who love it swear by it.
Tip: the better reviews seem to be the ones who started with the clock around 18 months -2 years when they are old enough to make sense of it but not too far gone to outsmart it!
While all the gadgets, tricks and hacks in the world might help on one day, the one thing we know in this whole parenting caper is no two days and no two children are the same. So as with anything to do with kids, there is never a one-size-fits-all approach and so make sure you always do your own research and anything you purchase should be according to your lifestyle, family and budget. And like we said earlier, we survived without all the bells and whistles so if you choose to use none of these things – that’s fine too!
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