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A gadget guide for new parents

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?

14 replies on “A gadget guide for new parents”

That is quite possibly the greatest thing in the world, ever. Apart from red wine, obviously.

Heh. That and the babygro with integrated mop, so baby can keep the house clean while getting some exercise…

> Electronic sterilisers are brilliant things.

Certainly are. Especially if you mix the formula in the bottles and then put them in the steriliser, rather than just sterilising the empty bottles. You can make your whole day’s supply of bottles in one go every morning and they stay sterile for 24 hours. That was a major timesaver for us.

> Travel systems.

Second that. We have the Quinny, which has the added advantage of unfolding itself with hydraulics (as Gary has seen).

> Apple iPhone.

It’s even better than you think. When Sophie reaches the “I have better things to do than lie here while you eejits change my nappy” stage, you will find that giving her the iPhone to eat will persuade her to lie on her back for a precious extra couple of minutes.

In fact, in nine months or so, you may well find that that becomes your single biggest priority in baby-gadget needs: will this thing get her to stay still? Please? Most amazing gadgets ever in that respect (apart from the pillory, which I think may be illegal) are:

(a) Spoons. God knows why, but babies love spoons. The only problem is trying to get a spoon back from a baby. The best thing for achieving this is another spoon.

(b) The human mouth. Any object is a hundred times more interesting if it is being held in your parent’s mouth — fact! If your baby is refusing to stay still no matter what interesting toys you try to distract her with, try holding those same toys in your mouth. Then all you have to do is change her nappy while she tries to grab stuff out of your mouth. Easy.

Yes, I do change Daisy’s nappy while holding a spoon in my mouth and waving my head around.

Also brilliant: bibs with sleeves. Although Daisy has now figured out how to lift them up so she can smear food on her clothes.

Inflatable baths. They’re designed for when you’re travelling, but we actually found it far better than the usual rigid plastic one, for the simple reason that the baby can bounce her head on the side of it rather than bashing her head on the side of it. That added safety makes it much easier to handle her.

Travel cots that are like tents. Traditional travel cots weigh a ton and take up half your car. Ours takes a few minutes to assemble with tent poles and so on, and has been a boon. I see on Amazon that Samsonite are now doing collapsible unfold-in-a-second travel cots, which must be even better.

Bye for now.

We’ve got a little samsonite one that packs down smaller than a plate. And damn near takes your face off when you open it.

Not quite a gadget but useful when Sophie starts teething,
Ashton & Parsons Infants Powders, available form your local chemists,
better than bongela or calgel, and for shutting them up.

I do agree with the red wine thing, but its better if you drink it yourself

Oh, I just remembered, probably the most useful gadget of them all: non-spill teats. Nuk do them, though we’ve not seen them in Britain — came across them in Germany and bought lots. Daisy went very very quickly from figuring out how to hold the bottle for herself to refusing to let anyone else touch the bottle while she was trying to drink from it. Thing is, when she’s finished, she just leaves the bottle lying wherever, usually upside-down, thus creating huge puddles that start to smell of cheese. Cleaning the car seat was a nightmare. We discovered the non-spill teats just after this started, and they’ve been an absolute boon. You can hold the bottle upside-down and shake it and only a couple of drops will escape. We take them so much for granted now that I forget just how much trouble they must have saved us.

Haha, dummies are one of those “swore we’d never use ’em / can’t live without ’em” things :)

Our baby has the loudest cry known to mankind. He can easily drown out both his twin cousins when they’re kicking off at once. Luckily he doesn’t cry very much… but when he does… I’d give any “I’d never use a dummy” type of parent 2 minutes with him screaming before they were asking “where’s the dummy?” :)

Funnily enough, we were always the “Of course we’ll use a bloody dummy — what kind of fool wouldn’t?” kind of parents, but Daisy just never got into them. She used them a bit for a few weeks till she figured out how to turn them round and suck the wrong end, then, having achieved that goal, went off them.

Come to think of it, they must be the only thing she won’t put in her mouth.

we were always the “Of course we’ll use a bloody dummy — what kind of fool wouldn’t?” kind of parents

We’ve been very consistent in abandoning all the things we said we wouldn’t do. Much of what you hear from other people is nonsense, but you believe it until you’ve actually got a little bundle of joy.

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