Becoming a new father brings with it many new adventures — most of them diaper related. Whether they’re your friend, husband, brother, son, or yourself, a new dad can always use a little help, and there are some great gadgets available that can make the first few months with baby a little easier.
(For reference, I am a new dad going on almost 9 months now, and couldn’t be happier. My baby is crawling, babbling, and downright adorable. I find that these gadgets have helped me out in times of need.)
1. A Smart Speaker
Having a smart speaker in the house, especially in the nursery and main play area, is a wonderful addition to help with all sorts of situations. For us, our favorite devices are from the Echo family (also known as Alexa): in our house, we have an Echo Dot in the nursery, an Amazon Echo (1st Generation) in our living room, and an Amazon Echo (2nd Generation) in our Great Room.
Regardless of whether it’s an Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod, a Sonos One or similar product, having a handy digital assistant around is extremely useful.
My wife and I use Alexa to play nursery rhymes, tell funny jokes, play random songs for giggling or crawling time, read stories or Audible books, store reminders (“make sure you change the laundry for her night time sleep sack at 4pm!”), … basically, anything that you’d ask your spouse to do or possibly use your phone for (“Why do cats meow?”), but hands-free.
Baby bumps her head hard? “Alexa, play `Apples and Bananas` by Raffi”.
2. A Smart Vacuum
- Have furry pets like cats or dogs (🐈 🐕)
- Have hardwood floors or tile
- Open your windows or screens for air flow
- Prefer not to constantly clean lint/fur from your infant’s hands, toes, armpits and neck
You’ll likely need to get a smart vacuum. Some efficient ones can be found in the low-to-mid $200 range - no need to go big on one of these just yet. We have a DEEBOT from ECOVACS.
This purchase can probably be delayed until the baby is 5–6 months old. Once they hit that age they will spend more time on their bellies and rolling around. As soon as crawling begins around 7–8 months, it’s a matter of days or weeks before the baby is free-roaming across the floor on their hands and knees.
We have a normal vacuum and steam mop, but the smart vacuum is a tremendous addition because we can run it every morning during early play time for 30 minutes to pick up the rolling “pet fur tumbleweeds”.
Plus, the amount of time you save will allow you to spend more time with the baby or take a power nap!
3. A Video Monitor
I honestly can’t imagine life without a video baby monitor. You can see your baby sleeping from the couch, the road, the movies, or at work.
For me, it’s awesome to see the little one taking an afternoon nap while I’m away at work in the office. I can see her little face snoozing and take a break from the worry about the Big O complexity of a sleep-deprived, caffeine-infused algorithm I’m writing for one of my web apps.
At night, if I wake up thinking she’s stirring, I can take a peek via my phone and confirm or deny whether I need to rush out of bed to soothe her back to sleep or if I can enjoy my slumber a little longer.
I’d recommend getting one with a smartphone app for both Android and iOS, for you, your partner, and your babysitter or nanny’s sake.
Another tip is if you have an extra tablet or iPad laying about, you can use it for an auxiliary baby monitor, freeing up your phone for more useful activities.
4. A Massage Pillow
Earlier this year, my wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday. After a short internal debate, I couldn’t decide. My back was sore, and my neck was stiff. I needed a massage. She said the same. We were both super achy.
I decided to get a gift for both of us.
I eventually settled on a versatile neck, shoulder, and back massaging heat pillow, and I think it is one of the top best birthday gifts I’ve ever gotten (this is the one we bought, only $34.95!)
Imagine taking a 10lb dumbbell weight and rocking it back and forth in your arms for 15 minutes to 45 minutes while it wiggles. Not to mention that every month or so you slap on another two lbs. After a while your arms are going to be super toned!
Having a mini masseuse ready to go on the couch is a quick fix for all the aches and pains you might get.
The best thing about this item? It can be easily shared with the wife, and works wonders on sore joints and muscles.
As a matter-of-fact, it works too well - sometimes when using it we sit on the couch in a sort-of massage trance.
5. A Pacifier Clip
Whoever invented these is a millionaire, a genius, a parent, and a real pal. (Note: it looks like pacifier clips were invented by Joanne Shefflin. Thank you Joanne!)
As baby grows, they learn that throwing things or dropping things is fun and also gets a response from the parents. Responses from parents are super exciting for an infant, so they look to repeat this behavior. What’s a busy parent to do?
A pacifier clip can be attached to pacifiers, teethers, toys, and even tiny stuffed animals.
Let me count the ways this gadget has made life easier:
- Traveling in the car, no need to look under the seats for the pacifier
- Flying on an airplane, no toys landing on gross floors or lost while hustling
- While taking strolls at the park or mall we can focus on the scenery
- At home in the high chair you can focus on feeding and not falling toys
- At the beach, no more sandy Sophie!
The clip attaches onto many things easily: a seat belt, a harness strap, your shirt, the baby’s clothes. I’d recommend picking up about 2–3 of them, as you can attach two different toys for maximum joy or swap one out for the other.
Seriously, thanks Joanne.
Bonus: An Alarm Clock
Alarm clocks? Where we’re going we won’t need alarm clocks.
- My wife (paraphrased)
My alarm clock has been set to 530am for about three or four years. Whether or not I always woke up for that alarm is another topic, but I generally departed from the sleep train around that time every day.
Since having a baby, I’ve yet to sleep until that time, though once I remember sleeping as late as 5:25. One morning, my wife had said, “we probably won’t need alarms for a while”. She was right!
Using an alarm clock is pure fantasy when you have a young baby, as they drive the schedule for the most part.
The good news: if you are consistent with their schedule, they will be a natural alarm clock. We’ve been waking up at a pretty standard time of 4:45, which works for us, as we both go to the gym in the morning (cool story).