This won’t be of the slightest interest to the majority of you, hip young things that you are, but I know that a few of you are new parents or shortly will be. So here’s some tried and tested gadgetry that really will make your life easier. Sadly it doesn’t include a robot babysitter.
* The Tomy Walkabout Platinum baby monitor is superb. Crystal clear sound, works in the bits of my house where Wi-Fi doesn’t, and doesn’t suffer from interference from the stuff and nonsense in your house (cordless phones, mobile phones, wireless networks et al). It’s teeth-rattlingly loud when your precious little darling decides to make a noise, and sensitive enough that you can hear the neighbours talk about what bad parents you are. You can turn the sound off altogether or use the talk function to shout “SHUT UP” from the comfort of your armchair too.
* Electronic sterilisers are brilliant things. Wash your bottles, dummies and other bits and bobs, stick ’em in the steriliser with a blob of water, hit the button and you’re done. Much easier than a microwave steriliser and considerably less faff than boiling, arsing around with tablets or other alternative methods.
* Nappy stackers. Probably insanely bad for the environment but a real boon if you’re using disposables. Chuck the nappy in, twist the handle and it’s tucked out of sight. That means it’s odour-free and there’s no danger of the dog deciding it’s found an exciting new chew toy. Plus, when you empty it it’s like a string of sausages, but full of nappies. Which amuses me immensely for no good reason.
* Travel systems. A pram that’s also a cot that also gives you a car seat dramatically reduces the amount of kit you have lying about the place, and the one we’ve got – a Silver Cross Freeway – has a spare stand you can keep in the bedroom, so you get a moses basket, a cot, a pram and a buggy in one system. The additional car seat fits on both the pram chassis and the stand, which makes life easier when you’re going somewhere.
* Apple iPhone. In your right arm, a baby that won’t settle. In your left, an iPhone so you can catch up on RSS feeds, emails and other things in a vain attempt to persuade the outside world that you’re still functioning normally.
* Red wine, and lots of it. Not a gadget, I know, but by God it helps.
Any other suggestions – positive or “whatever you do, don’t buy one of these” – from those of you who’ve been there, done that and have the bags under their eyes to prove it?