10 Must-Have Gadgets For First-Time Parents
Taking care of a baby is hard work! But there are things that can make it just a bit easier.
When a new baby arrives there are many tasks that come along with them. Suddenly you need to feed, change and clean up after your precious little one. Especially if it’s your first, there are many things you need to buy if you can’t get hand-me-downs from siblings or friends. Through trial and error, I have selected 10 of the most useful gadgets my wife and I use when raising our own son, Max, in his first year.
#1 Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Anti-Colic Glass Baby Bottles My number one recommendation for baby bottles is Dr. Brown’s glass bottles. Glass is the superior choice in bottle material as it doesn’t leech any chemicals into the milk even when heated. As your baby grows, every three months you can upgrade to a faster flowing nipple while still using the same bottles. Bonus, these bottles also have a unique venting system that helps reduce colic, which can be taken out if needed. We also tried Comotomo Baby Bottles but the flow of milk was either too slow or too fast for Max.
Price: $30.98 for a four pack (two 4oz and two 8oz) but many other varieties exist.
#2 EVLA’s Baby Food Maker As your baby gets older and is ready to start eating solid foods, the best thing you can do is prepare them fresh each time and the EVLA’s baby food maker makes it simple to do. It is a steamer and food processor in one. Most foods take 15 minutes to steam and then you just dump it in the blending bowl and hit the Auto blend button for quick and easy baby food. First time baby is eat solids? Try Auto blending two or more times to make it a purée. As baby gets older you can leave a bit of chunks for some texture.
#3 Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair With the baby food ready to go it's time to find a place for your baby to sit. We settled on the Stokke Tripp Trap high chair. It’s kinda pricey but it also lasts forever, as in the chair can be adjusted as your baby grows all the way to adulthood (the weight limit is 242.5 pounds!). Before this chair, we first tried the Inglesina Fast Table Chair. It is a neat concept as it can attach to any flat surface, dinner table, kitchen countertop etc, but it is too hard to clean. It wasn’t long before all of the foods Max spilled into the tiniest cracks of the chair started to smell, and even soaking it in our bathtub did not remove the odor.
#4 Philips UV Light Sanitizer Box Speaking of cleaning, this UV light sanitizing box is my favorite gadget we bought. It can fit a ton of stuff at once, six bottles with room for lids, nipples, toys etc. I mostly use the Disinfect + Dry mode after rinsing out Max’s bottles but if something doesn’t need to be dried just hit the Disinfect button. This saves a TON of time because I don’t need to boil anything to sanitize it. Plus, you can put just about anything in there, brushes, cell phones, car keys, stuffed animals, your only limit is the 11x11x11 size.
#5 Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Purifying Fan Max was born in February when it was still really cold out in Minnesota. He really didn’t like it when we changed his diaper when he was still a newborn partly because he was chilly. Luckily we had this heating fan that we used as a space heater for our basement. It helped him stay a bit warmer, plus he loved to watch it oscillate (distractions are great when trying to change a baby). I also used it to speed up drying of delicate things that couldn’t be tumble dried (for example the Tula carrier mentioned below and some of Max’s clothes).
Price: $499.99 - $519.99 depending on style.
#6 Ikea - FROST Drying Rack Everything else that can't be put into a dryer and doesn't need to be used quickly is hung on this great drying rack. It has two expandable wings which give tons of places to hang wet clothes and towels. We keep the TORKIS laundry basket underneath so when a used towel or washrag becomes dry it could be tossed right in.
Out And About
#7 Tula Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier Max is a silly baby that only sleeps if we carry him. The carrier that works the best for us is the Tula Free-To-Grow. It is easy enough to put on and take off and is comfortable to wear. I like that it comes with a hood attachment that I use to support his head while he sleeps. While max was still a newborn we used the BabyBjörn Baby Carrier Mini. This carrier is the easiest to use and is really light, the problem we had with it was that his legs were not spread out into a M shape which is ideal for healthy hip development. The final carrier we tried was the BabyBjörn Baby Carrier Harmony, which is their top-of-the-line model. We found it to be the hardest to put on and take off and since it is much more expensive than the Tula, we returned it.
Price: $99.00 - $179.00 depending on style.
#8 Inglesina Quid Stroller This stroller is great because it easily folds down to save space. We keep it in the trunk of our car so it is ready whenever we need it. The back of the seat can be up so it forms a seated position for your baby or lowered down to a laying position if they get tired. The hood can be extended far enough where it covers nearly the whole seat for shade and privacy. There is also a built-in flap on the hood you can lift up to take a peak at your baby and give some ventilation. My only complaint is that there is velcro to keep the flap closed but nothing to keep it open, so we use a binder clip to force it open when needed.
Price: $299.00 - $349.00 depending on style.
#9 Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym This piano is Max’s favorite toy! It has four different modes of playing: look and listen which automatically plays songs, animal and music sounds, colors, shapes, numbers and finally piano mode. Not only that but it comes with four teething toys, Max loves the purple monkey and the lion rattle. It can be set up to be played while your baby lays on their back for newborns or upright for when they get older.
#10 Infant Optics DXR-8 PRO Baby Monitor This is a nice, no fuss baby monitor that really works. Excellent night vision and sound pickup, large screen and good range make it hard to beat. It’s no wonder this monitor is #3 on Amazon’s best selling baby monitor list. What I like about it is that it doesn’t use wifi to work, so when our home internet was down for two days straight (thanks CenturyLink) we could still monitor Max at night. If you are willing you can also leave a review of the monitor and submit it to Infant Optics and they will send you a free second camera.
That wraps up my top ten recommendations for gadgets that make raising a baby just a little bit easier. What have you found indispensable when raising your baby? Share your suggestions in the comments below.
Columnist | Gaming & Tech Whiz of Moody Melon Magazine
I am a game developer, technical engineer, an animator and entrepreneur with a forward-thinking mindset to bring cool ideas into existence. In my free time I read lots of news articles. I enjoy using my knowledge of the IT world to give my opinions on various tech-related topics.