When you’re a new parent, balancing looking after them with running a household can feel like a tall order. But with a little help from the right tech, things can be a little easier. As part of the Real Homes Show, our online TV show, we asked tech expert Verity Burns to choose the five essential gadgets that every new parent needs…
Find more fabulous smart home tech on The Hub, our jargon-free guide.
* Possibly; babies are funny creatures and we can only apologise if they take a dislike to any of our suggestions. They will sleep through eventually, that we can promise!
1. Keep an eye on them with an Arlo baby camera
First up, you need an Arlo Baby Monitor in your life, which retails at about £135. Not only does it look adorable and much less techy than most, with its bunny ears attachment, it’s a full HD smart baby monitor with lots of tricks up its sleeve.
For a start, as its based on Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth, you can check in on your baby’s slumber wherever you are. It also has advanced night vision, for a really clear picture even in the pitch black, while two-way communication means you can softly shush your baby back to sleep if they wake up.
Additional features include a built-in music player to play soothing lullabies, a night light in your choice of colour and brightness, and air sensors to record things like temperature and humidity, with notifications if anything doesn’t seem right. It fits right in with a wider Arlo smart camera set up, so you can control and monitor everything from one app, and is also compatible with Alexa so you can view your monitor’s video stream on an Echo Show or Fire TV by simply asking.
Find more of the best baby monitors in our buying guide.
2. Invest in a Snoo smart crib
The Snoo Smart Sleeper is the world’s first smart baby bassinet, which responds to your baby crying by automatically activating gentle rocking and soothing white noise, and adjusting it to suit your baby’s needs. It even has a built-in swaddling system to keep your baby feeling safe and snug, which is recommended by the majority of sleep experts.
While its price is a little eye watering at just under £1,000, it promises one to two more hours of sleep a night, and any new parent will know that every single minute of shut eye is precious! The accompanying app also creates a sleep log so it’s easier to spot sleep schedules and patterns emerging. It can be used until baby is 6 months, or until they can get up on their hands and knees.
This award-winning baby cot quickly aids sleep. SNOO comforts babies with soothing womb rhythms (gentle rocking + calming white noise). Plus, our easy 5-second swaddle snugly wraps babies and keeps babies from rolling to an unsafe position...all naps and nights. View Deal
3. Choose MyHummy teddy that comforts
If the Snoo is a little out of your budget, the MyHummy shouldn't be. It’s a cute teddy bear, available in a number of different sizes and designs, with a heart module inside that plays five types of white noise. Opt for the Bluetooth version and you can control playback from your phone, plus there’s a cry sensor for automatically starting up again if it detects the baby crying.
4. Keep in touch with Amazon's Echo Show 8
Invest in a smart display, such as the Amazon Echo Show 8, which has a 10-inch screen and costs around £200. With its 5MP camera, the Echo Show is great for making and receiving video calls with family and friends who don’t live close by, and who will all be wanting a look at your new bundle of joy. It’s also great for late-workers or shift-working parents, who can call in from work and see the baby when they can’t be there. Of course, it offers all the benefits of an Echo smart speaker too, which basically means you have a baby Encyclopedia on hand to answer all of your questions. Like, will this baby ever sleep? We can’t promise Alexa has an answer for that one though...
5. Make life easier with a robot vacuum cleaner
Finally, you absolutely need a robot vacuum in your life. Having the time to run the vacuum is hard enough at the best of times, but when you have a baby, it’s near-on impossible. While it isn’t going to replace the need for a proper clean, a robot vacuum just keeps on top of everything, which means you won’t have a mammoth job to tackle when you get round to it. With robot vacuums, the more you spend, the more extensive it’s going to be in terms of functionality and performance, but something like the iRobot Roomba 695 (which retails for about £400) is a good middle ground between the entry-level cheapies and the really expensive stuff.
The iRobot Roomba 695 makes floor-cleaning a joy. It is a robot hoover perfectly suited to clean hard floors and carpets up to 80 m2, with its powerful suction and modern sensors.