New Baby Tech Checklist
It's not just diapers and onesies that you and your new baby will need. There are also all of those tech products designed to make baby food, keep babies entertained and let you revisit all the everyday and milestone moments, especially those that occur during those first sleep-deprived weeks. So based on my years of experience reviewing tech products and raising three kids, I’ve compiled a list of those tech products that will make life for you and your baby easier and more fun.
1. Baby monitor
Being able to check on your baby without actually entering the nursery is essential to establishing good sleep habits. I highly recommend going with a video monitor, so you can see if those cries are the normal fussing that happens before baby goes back to sleep or if your intervention is needed. The Summer Infant Day & Night Handheld Color Video Monitor ($157 on Amazon.com) offers excellent video quality — both day and night — on its 1.8-inch color screen, along with great sound reception. And the rechargeable battery lasts up to 10 hours, making it a good choice for travel. The downside is that it doesn't offer an encrypted video signal, so your transmission could be picked up by nearby neighbors with similar devices, and vice versa. If that’s a concern, opt for the Philips Avent DECT SCD530 ($159.95 on Amazon.com). It’s audio only, but also measure environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.
2. Digital camera
You’ll treasure the memories of your baby forever, so don’t skimp on the camera. You’ll want a high-quality camera capable of taking great photos and videos. In particular, look for a model that does well in low light like the Canon PowerShot S95 ($379.99 on Amazon.com). This sophisticated little camera has a 3.75x zoom lens (28-105mm equivalent) with a maximum aperture of f/2, meaning it can capture shots quickly and easily in low light. Plus, Canon stuck with a reasonable 10-megapixel resolution to keep image noise to a minimum. The camera’s high-res LCD is beautiful, the manual controls are nicely designed, and image quality for both stills and 720p video are exceptional.
3. Breast pump
As a working mother of three, I highly recommend getting a real, breast pump if you’re going to be away from your baby for more than a few hours at a time. It’s essential to maintaining your milk supply and making you more comfortable. I used a few over the years, and the best is the Medela Pump in Style Advanced ($259.99 on Amazon.com). It most closely mimics baby with its two modes: a let-down mode to establish flow and an expression mode for efficient evacuation. And the backpack design makes transportation a breeze.
4. Bottle Warmer
Using a bottle warmer is the safest way to heat up your baby’s milk or formula. Microwaves can create dangerous hot spots and it’s easy to overheat the milk. Using a pot of boiling water is slow and just a pain. Try the Philips Avent Express Food and Bottle Warmer ($35.28 on Amazon.com). It works with a wide range of bottles.
Unfortunately, babies get sick — a lot. And the best way of measuring an infant’s temperature — unpleasant as it is — is with a rectal thermometer. The 3M Nexcare Basal Digital Accu-Beep Thermometer ($12.95 on Amazon.com) has been highly rated for accuracy by reviewers and consumers alike. It can be used orally or rectally, beeps when done and stores the last temperature in memory. However, it may take up to a full minute to read.
Babies sleep better in a well-humidified room. The Crane Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier ($44.99 on Amazon.com) has a modern, simplistic design that is a tasteful addition to any room. The Crane provides up to 24 hours of moisture and is suitable for rooms up to 250 square feet.
7. Noise Machine
Many babies sleep better if there is white noise to block out distracting sounds, such as voices, or anything that may startle them. Trying to get a baby back to sleep after being startled awake is not fun — trust me. My favorite is the Original Sleep Sound Generator ($54.95 on Hammacher.com)
8. Dimmer Switch
You will be doing many, many midnight changings with your new baby. Finding diapers and wipes in the dark when you’re going on two hours of sleep is impossible. You could get a nightlight, but using a lamp with a dimmer gives you more flexibility with light output. The Lutron CL Dimmer ($12.92 on Amazon.com) will work with any fixture, even if you use compact fluorescent or LED bulbs.
9. Baby Bouncer
A baby bouncer lets you entertain your child while you’re cooking dinner, taking a shower and getting on with all the other tasks in your life. Most play music, but hearing the same saccharine tunes playing over and over again can drive a mother nuts! The Mamas & Papas Astro baby bouncer ($200 on ToysRUs.com) lets you provide your own music by plugging in any audio player, such as your iPod or phone, which stores conveniently in a special pouch.
10. Baby Food Maker
As baby starts moving on to solid foods around four months, making your own baby food saves money and gives you control over what goes in baby’s mouth (at least while in the highchair). The Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker ($99.99 on Amazon.com) makes the process dead simple. Just add your ingredients, set the timer and the Baby Brezza steams your ingredients and then automatically blends them when cooking is done.