What tech is out there for babies and their geek parents?
August 27, 2012 9:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm a gadget geek about to have my first baby. What tech do I now have an excuse to get that might help make things easier or even more fun?

I've been eyeing the WiThings baby monitor since before the pregnancy, but lately it seems to get so-so reviews compared to the Motorola MBP36. I'm tempted by the MamaRoo baby mover thingamajig. Anything else?
posted by davebug to Technology (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Upgrade your router if you have one that the baby monitor interferes with.
Microphone to record white noise.
Roomba to vacuum for you and as entertainment for baby.
A gadget or app that records baby's rouinte (when they last ate, slept, diaper changed). It really helped us for the first few weeks as we struggled to figure out our baby's cues for what he needed while being totally sleep deprived.
posted by HMSSM at 9:58 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

A small camera with no shutter lag that turns on instantly.

(note if you find a model that fits this description please let me know what it is tyvm; signed, owner of one zillion photos of five seconds after the cute thing happened)
posted by ook at 10:37 PM on August 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

The MamaRoo isn't that great (geek friends have it and never use it, they say the swing is just too slow). Somehow babies seem to prefer the cheap crappy ugly swings...
If mom is breastfeeding and doesn't have a smartphone yet, get her one . I got mine when my daughter was one week old and it kept me sane during the first weeks where you sometimes spend 6hrs/day nursing.
Can't help you with the baby monitor - we go the low tech route of having baby in bed with us ;-)
posted by The Toad at 3:38 AM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

A pair of Ubi computers?

They do mention using it as a baby monitor.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:42 AM on August 28, 2012

(Also: before you invest heavily in monitoring setups, wait to find out how you actually end up sleeping. Some babies just can't stand being alone, especially in the first 6-12 months. They wake up as soon as you leave the room...I'm only just now beginning to look into baby monitors for naptimes and my daughter is 13 months already!)
posted by The Toad at 3:43 AM on August 28, 2012

I recommend that you take up finding interesting extremely quiet toys that make no sound but still do remarkable things (like plush toys shaped like trains that vibrate when a string is pulled)
posted by parmanparman at 5:14 AM on August 28, 2012

My wife and I recently got the Withings Smart Baby Monitor as a baby shower gift and I love it.

Probably more than I should.
posted by purephase at 5:42 AM on August 28, 2012

Mozart Cube is a favorite electronic toy of mine. 4.5 month old baby has not really noticed it yet.

We tried using Baby Connect, an Android app to keep track of feeding, sleeping, pooping, etc., but didn't keep up with it. Also, I think that spending time on your phone in the middle of the night is not good for falling back asleep. The Itzbeen timer does the same thing, but is not quite as high tech.

Thinkgeek has an infant section that you may have already looked at.

You asked for tech and gadgets, so the following may not be what you're looking for, but someone techie minded might be interested in the varieties of swaddling methods. It's like origami! I don't have a great link, but there are lots of YouTube videos. Also, high contrast images, e.g. Black & White, Art for Baby, and the Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim-Mobile.
posted by Sock Ray Blue at 6:04 AM on August 28, 2012

Allow me to suggest the Total Baby iPhone app. I gift it to every pregnant friend I have. It has totally saved my sanity. Baby is crying and you can't seem to figure out what the problem is? Consult the app (it has timers across the top) and see which timer (feeding, diaper, sleep) has the longest amount of time. Start there.

Also if you are breastfeeding it helps you keep track of which side you fed on last. And in the early days it is really helpful to know how many wet diapers your baby is going through (wet diapers = not dehydrated.)
posted by saucy at 6:59 AM on August 28, 2012

This is a bit of a self-link in that I do quite a bit of editing work for this site, and am a very occasional contributor, but it's so super relevant to your question that I hope the mods will excuse: Check out Cool Mom Tech. You can browse the archives by category for easier finding of Geeky Parent Things.
posted by BlueJae at 7:02 AM on August 28, 2012

I really, really recommend the Total Baby app. It records diaper changes, feedings, all sorts of things the first few weeks of life. When I was having trouble breastfeeding, I sent the data to myself and created a spreadsheet to show my lactation consultant. It was so great for recognizing patterns and for adjusting schedules.

I also still use it to record doctor visits, growth and vaccinations. It has come in handy repeatedly for that, especially when my new doctors seemed confused about what she had and had not been vaccinated for. There's also a general journalling part which I should use more but I'm so, so happy that I used it at little in those spare moments during the day to keep track of some cute baby firsts.

The other super-cool tech you need – a yoga ball. Heh. What's more techy than a big, bouncy ball? Seriously, though. Holding the baby and gently bouncing on the ball seems to be one of the universal baby calming devices. My husband also wore a simple sling, put the peanut in there and played video games while lightly bouncing on the ball. Gave me a solid hour of alone time.
posted by amanda at 7:51 AM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, yoga ball for sure. There was a while there that the only way to give Baby Sock a bottle was to do it while bouncing.
posted by Sock Ray Blue at 9:20 AM on August 28, 2012

I'm a huge gadget geek too, honestly we didn't have a lot of use for gadgets until miniMelee got old enough to appreciate things like Elmo. (My nexus 7 is basically a toddler paradise now for a 20 month old...between toddler lock, toddler piano, MX player with sesame street, etc.) We made good use of the contraction timer apps and of white-noise generator apps when he was sub-3 months old, but that's about it.

What I PERSONALLY recommend you do is bust our your inner geek to MAKE things to make your life easier.

Examples from when our tyke was due:
I built a pseudo-bookcase for his stuff so that it could all exist in the same place. (Diapers/wipes/warmer/bottle warmer/lamp/toys/etc etc.) I've since built 3 more.

Turn some old cellphone wall-warts into dedicated DC power supplies for things like his swing! (Never buy batteries! Batteries are for SUCKERS!)

Add more outlets/plugs/etc to his room

Turn that old Xbox into an XBMC powerhouse so he/she can watch dvd's, cartoons, my baby can read/etc. when they're just a bit older.

TL;DR--more DIY less buy buy buy.
posted by TomMelee at 9:43 AM on August 28, 2012

My friends who are gadget nerds love their Itzbeen, even though it's low tech.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:52 AM on August 28, 2012

Forget expensive baby monitors, get a cheap wireless cam from Amazon. It support IR (night vision!) has a built in microphone and it's own webserver so you can look at your baby from any computer. You can also grab Live cams pro for your iphone which lets you pan/tilt the cam.

Good luck!
posted by aeighty at 12:01 PM on August 28, 2012

Reading material for mama during nursing time (kindle or other portable device you can read with one hand). If you like to read about 'tech' (of a sort), stroller reviews can be fun. I've heard the wonder weeks app recommended.
posted by ejaned8 at 5:58 PM on August 28, 2012

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