My obsession with technology started when I was in elementary school, and I played around on a desktop computer for the first time. Fast forward a decade or two, and I’ve spent most of my adult life working in tech as a former Google employee, tech TV host, and Smart Home technology advocate. When I became a mom and experienced the late nights and inevitable delirium, I needed helpful gadgets and apps in my life more than ever. But it took me a while to sort through all of the options and find my favorites. If you’re looking for some technology to make life easier as a busy mom, look no further!
Essential Baby Gadgets
Hatch Baby Rest
Studies show that a noise machine is a super helpful tool you can use to help your baby (and, therefore, help you!) get better quality sleep. For this reason, I love the Hatch Baby Rest. My son has the base model in his room, which is available on Amazon. You plug it into the wall, connect it to your phone via Bluetooth, and boom — you’re ready to go. You can customize sounds and volume, and there’s a built-in night light with many different dimmable colors to choose from. For my son, who is currently 18-months-old, I use the dryer sound at about 40%, with no light. During the late-night nursing sessions when he was younger, though, the dim light was clutch.
It was very challenging for me to find a baby monitor that met my needs. I wanted to be able to see how long and when my son was restless and what time(s) he’d woken up throughout the night. After trying many “smart” options unsatisfied, including the Nanit, I moved our Nest indoor security camera to our son’s room as a test. This is now my permanent baby monitor, used only at home on a secure network.
With the Nest, I can see my son clearly, from anywhere. I can talk to him if I need to and get a nightly recap of when he was awake and for how long. It also works with Amazon’s Alexa. If you have an Alexa device, you can use a voice command to view the stream. You can also use it as an overnight monitor by keeping the Nest app open on your phone/tablet. And you can program it to send alerts when motion or sounds are detected.
Keep in mind that with any internet-connected device, there are extra precautions to protect against digital intruders. Always enable two-factor authentication. This requires anyone logging into your device to go through an added step to gain access to your camera (or any account) beyond just a username and password. For my Nest account, that means that anyone who tries to log in with my credentials will also need to enter a specific one-time use code that’s texted directly to my cell phone. This ensures that only trusted people have access to the stream.Buy Here
Doona Car Seat & Stroller
Because of my husband’s career, we are always on the go. Between flights, rental cars, and stadium seats, I needed something that would allow me to 1) safely transport my child and 2) never wake a sleeping baby!
After hearing about it for months, I caved and got the Doona car seat/stroller. It’s a car seat that can be used with or without a base, so it’s great for air travel as well as transporting your baby in cars other than your own. With the pull of a lever, it magically transforms into a stroller. When you’re ready to put it into just about any seat, pull the lever again and collapse the wheels. Nothing ever changes with your baby, who can stay safely strapped in through it all.
At $499, it’s pricey, which is why I didn’t initially buy it. After I did, though, I wished I’d had it sooner. It was hands down, one of the most helpful things I had when my son was an infant. No more lugging around a car seat or needing to clip it into a stroller.Buy Here
Some parents say that the Snoo is, hands down, the best thing they could have purchased for themselves and their baby. If your baby is soothed by movement, the Snoo can help them sleep better and sleep longer at an early age until approximately six months. It uses soft movements (and sounds, if you’d like) along with a swaddle to make the transition from the womb to the world easier, allowing babies to relax. There’s a corresponding app, which delivers info about your baby’s sleep habits. And the bassinet also has “smart” features like being able to sense when your baby is crying.
It’s expensive, at almost $1400, but there are a few things to consider. First, there is an option to rent one for a monthly payment. And they also run specials a few times a year for a hefty amount off. So wait until it goes on sale! Second, make sure you set the delivery date right around your due date and use the 30 day trial period! Not all babies like movement to sleep. So if it’s not right for your baby, you can send it back and get a full refund.Buy Here
If you live in areas with drier climates, it’s always good to have a humidifier. I looked at many of them, and I chose the Honeywell Germ-Free Cool Mist humidifier because I wanted something relatively low maintenance. It has a big tank and is intended to minimize germs, killing 99.9% of germs in the water with UV light.
There are a ton of humidifiers on the market that are good! Just double-check to see 1) if there’s a filter that needs to be changed and 2) that it’s appropriately rinsed and cleaned to avoid mold or bacteria.Buy Here
For formula feeding mamas, check out the Baby Brezza Formula Pro. It’s like a Keurig for formula. It mixes formula, sets it to the perfect temperature, and it can make anywhere from a 2 to a 10oz bottle. This option is especially great for middle-of-the-night feedings. Press one button, and you’re good to go.Buy Here
Spectra S1 Breast Pump
For breastfeeding mamas, the Spectra S1 is a great option. It’s battery-powered, so it’s not necessary to sit by a wall to pump. And many insurance plans cover most or all of the cost. I tried some other pumps, including the wireless, in bra pumps, and I got the best output in the quickest time with the S1. (Read about our other favorite breast pumps HERE)Buy Here
Medela Quick Clean Steam Bags
To disinfect your baby bottles, pump parts, or pacifiers, I found that for me, doing so in the microwave was the easiest. I used Medela’s steam bags. First, check to ensure that your parts can be sanitized (it will say on the box, or you can Google it). Second, rinse the product to be sterilized with soap and water and then place it into the bag and add 2oz of water. Zip the bag, and throw it in the microwave for 3 minutes. Each bag can be used 20 times, and the steam kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria. The best part? Twelve bags on Amazon are only $12.Buy Here
I got this little gadget as a gift, and I was so grossed out. You’re telling me that I should suck my baby’s snot out of his nose? I will NEVER do that!
But . . . I did do it many times. And the filter on this little thing made sure those little boogies never once even came close to my mouth. Babies can’t blow their noses, and they can get congested. This is an alternative to those little bulb sucker things! Just make sure, as with anything, to always check with your doctor when using things like this.Buy Here
Best Apps for Mom
The Baby Shusher
I don’t love paying for apps. I have to be convinced that it’s worth it. So, when I was told I needed The Baby Shusher for $4.99 that plays shushing noises, I was skeptical. Well . . . it works. It soothed my son when we weren’t around his white noise machine. It’s doctor tested and approved. It mimics both an adult softly saying “shhh” in a rhythmic fashion and sounds your baby may have heard in the womb (which, when you try to do yourself, is pretty exhausting after the first minute). Great for when you’re on the go or just need extra soothing power. You can also still use your phone for other things while it plays in the background.Download Here
I had no idea that this was a “thing” before I became a mom, but babies go through developmental “leaps” as they learn and grow. As they start to become more aware, they may be clingier, fussier, or just different than usual for a short period of time. It’s hard work learning so much! Wonder Weeks (another paid app, at $3.99) is a mom favorite. It has a 4.9/5 star rating and more than 70,000 reviews!
It’s so popular because it’s educational, descriptive, and it gives you an idea of why your baby may be a little harder to soothe than usual. It also describes the milestones they may be hitting and tips on how you can help them (and yourself!) through it. Of course, it’s always best to contact your pediatrician if you ever have questions or concerns, but this is a great resource.Download Here
So many thoughts can creep in when you’re a mom (especially now, during a pandemic). Wondering if you’re doing enough and when it will get easier. With life more chaotic than ever, this is a great tool to help stay centered.
One of my favorite things to advocate to moms is to take just a few minutes for themselves every day, even if it feels impossible. 5-10 minutes of guided meditation before bed or during nap time can help you re-focus. It’s a learned skill and takes some practice. But I’ve noticed that even a few minutes at night helps me unwind and sleep better. From managing anxiety to three-minute refreshers, there’s a meditation on Headspace for everyone.Download Here
Peanut is intended to bring moms together, both in the app and in person. You set up a profile that includes your geographical location, and then you’re able to chat with other moms in your area. It’s great to share stories or to plan local meetups and playdates if you choose. Because we’re always moving around, Peanut helped me chat with local moms about baby-friendly places, good coffee shops, and other hidden gems in a new city.Download Here
If you’re the type of person who loves a daily planner, this app is for you. SproutBaby allows you to track anything and everything related to your baby’s daily schedule — from feedings and diaper changes to doctor visits. There’s a developmental tracker, a health symptoms tracker, and much more.Download Here
Speaking of a daily planner, here’s a great digital one! The Cozi Family Organizer is an app that allows you to keep everyone’s appointments and activities in one place, create a shared grocery shopping list, and track events and class schedules. Life with kids can be chaotic — a little extra organization can go a long way!Download Here
Sometimes with kids in tow, a trip to the grocery store is no easy task! Every once in a while, having someone else do the shopping for you can be a lifesaver. Using Instacart, someone will make your grocery store run for you and then leave the groceries on your doorstep. You can chat with them, choose replacements if an item is out of stock, and track their delivery status on a map. This is one of the most useful apps to have!Download Here
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, check to see if Prime Now is available in your area. You can get tons of different items, from diapers to diaper ointment to groceries, with free two-hour delivery. For non-grocery specific orders, Prime Now can be extremely helpful — and more cost-effective than Instacart.View Here
Becoming a mom is one of the hardest and wildest, and the best and most rewarding things in the world. And I am all about using apps and gadgets in ways to make our lives (and our babies’ lives) easier!
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