A growing number of baby tech products have been developed in recent years to help new parents deal with the stress, anxiety, and sheer struggle of having a baby. Reliable and effective baby monitors continue to be the most essential pieces of kit for new moms and dads: In addition to video and audio monitoring, the ability to track other data points like movement, temperature, and heart rate is becoming increasingly common in the category. Wearable breast pumps, sleep lights, and connected gadgets of all stripes have become common tools in the parenting toolshed. Having a baby brings with it an inevitable degree of chaos. These days, technology can help mitigate some of this chaos — or, at least, make it more predictable.
Baby monitors are the most crucial piece of modern parenting tech. There are quite a few on the market now, with a number of different features. The Nanit ($300) is one of the best: It can be wall-mounted or set up on its stand, and records a 1080p video stream that’s clear in the light or the dark, which can be shared with multiple caretakers. Everything happens via the smartphone app, which means there’s no need to worry about a dedicated display. It offers noise and sound alerts, takes snippets of the baby’s nighttime activity, and tracks its sleep data. The included Breathing Band even lets parents track their baby’s breaths per minute with no electronics or batteries involved: The camera tracks the unique pattern on the band to detect the baby’s breathing motion from any position in real time, and can send you alerts if something is off.
The Owlet Dream Duo ($400) pairs its 1080p video stream with its patented wearable Dream Sock, which tracks key Sleep Quality Indicators like heart rate, oxygen level, wakings, humidity, room temperature, and noise level. In addition to peace of mind, this data stream is designed to help provide parents with a better understanding of their baby’s sleep habits and sleep quality, which are all managed via the Owlet Dream App (where you also monitor the video stream).
Lastly, a number of baby monitors use radio signals to transmit the video signal from the camera to the included display. The Eufy Spaceview Pro Baby Monitor ($170) is one of them: Using wireless FHSS transmission provides a secure, private stream that’s not susceptible to someone hacking the Wi-Fi, and is impervious to the Internet going out. The camera pans 330 degrees to see the room from corner to corner, and tilts 110 degrees to see floor-to-ceiling, and the wireless range coverage is up to 1,000 feet. The best part? It works straight out of the box with no app, pairing, or software tweaking required.
There are a number of sleep machines out there, but few are as well-executed as the Hatch Rest+ ($90). In addition to 11 soothing sound themes and a customizable, full-color night light, Hatch’s Rest+ also includes a two-way audio monitor, a backup battery (for storms or short naps), and Amazon Alexa integration. This whole suite of functionality is controlled via its dedicated iOS/Android app, which allows the user to set up one-touch programs for bedtime, nap time, and wake-up time. Babies love routines, and Rest+ is a great way to help instill them.
A high-tech bassinet, the Snoo ($1,595) is full of tricks. To get your baby to sleep (and keep them there), it has three microphones, a speaker, and two motors that create different rocking motions. Swaddle the baby in one of the Snoo’s sleep sacks and clip the sack into the sides of the bassinet, and then start the Snoo, with either the push of a button or via the Snoo iOS/Android app. The bassinet begins its gentle rocking motion and plays white noise; if the baby starts to fuss, the mics will pick up the baby’s crying and trigger the motors to increase the movement, and change the frequency of the white noise. Once the baby is comforted, the Snoo will slowly decrease to the initial level. If the screaming reaches a certain intensity, the Snoo shuts down and sends you a notification that your baby needs you.
Something of a mechanical bull for soothing your baby, the 4moms MamaRoo Multi-Motion Baby Swing ($240) bounces and sways with five different motion styles and an equal number of speed options. This movement is combined with four built-in sounds (or with any connected audio device with a 1/8-inch headphone output); your baby can be positioned anywhere from a sitting position to a full recline. It’s available in three fabric options, all of which are removable and, thankfully, machine washable.
For those looking for a more affordable way to rock their baby to sleep than either the SNOO or the MamaRoo, the under-the-radar Sleepytroll ($170) is a rechargeable mechanical baby rocker that can be attached snugly to essentially any stroller or bassinet. It has built-in motion and sound sensors to trigger itself to turn on when your baby is restless, and can be set to a number of different intensity settings that work for your baby.
Keeping a baby fed is a lot for any mom, so a tool that can help make breastfeeding more convenient is worth its weight in gold. Willow ($500) is very much part of the wearable tech trend: Instead of being tethered to a typical breast pump, this spill-proof, egg-shaped device slips into a bra, and can even be worn under the shirt. This allows mom to pump while working, doing stuff around the house, or soothing the baby. It lets the user control the intensity of the pump (either on the pump itself or via the smartphone app), and automatically tracks and logs the pumping sessions, to boot.
Eventually, babies graduate to eating solid foods, and having an easy way to cook those foods without firing up the stovetop can be a lifesaver. Essentially, the BEABA Babycook Neo Homemade Baby Food Maker ($250) allows parents to quickly steam-cook and blend raw ingredients into freshly cooked baby food. The fact that it uses steam cooking means you can avoid using oil, while also retaining the nutrients that are lost even when boiling. Designed and made in France, it’s a surprisingly good looker on any countertop.