Becoming a new parent is not an event that comes with an instruction book, and as you parents out there know, it's HARD! The number of gadgets I've seen that are available to "help" us with the whole process is staggering, so I've sifted through the lot to find a few that make my job as mommy a tiny bit easier.
Voice-activated crib light
When Jack would get upset, sight and sound would help soothe him. This isn’t the case for every baby, but if it is for yours, then this is a pretty cool product. It’s a small device that attaches to the side of the crib, and once the baby starts to get vocal, the device activates. A heartbeat begins to sound and a soft glow rotates colors for the next 10 minutes. If it worked for me, it could work for you! At $13, it’s worth a shot. Munchkin Voice Activated Crib Light, $13, amazon.com
Hands-free diaper pail
I know this whole topic really stinks, but this is the best solution I’ve seen to keeping things as hands-off as possible. The diaper pail has a motion sensor on the top of the unit that will sense when you’re ready to make a deposit, then will quickly open up. I know what you’re thinking — what’s wrong with the foot pedal? Well, the way I see it is this: The pedal is fine, until they figure it out. Currently, Jack thinks it’s a great idea to show off how well he opens ours and how diligently he can clean his room by throwing things away. Sure, now that he’s older he will soon be able to activate this device as well, but not until he’s tall enough to get his cute little hand over the sensor. Hopefully by then he’ll be out of diapers! Graco Touch-Free Diaper Pail, $50, gracobaby.com
Super-efficient changing table
This is the type of invention only a real mom could make. Whenever it’s time to change Jack, he starts squirming and I never know what to do! I can’t quite figure out why. Is it because it’s painful for him? Is it that he feels like being changed is inconvenient to his important play schedule? Or is it that it’s simply boring? Whatever the reason, these moms obviously had the same issues I did, because they invented a changing table that makes the process faster than ever. The table actually has a diaper dispenser built right into the design! It holds around 10 diapers in place. So all you have to do is get the kid on the board and within seconds the process is over. Ubi Delux Changing Table, $119, ubi-baby.com
I still find it amazing how enamored Jack can become with lighting. Even as an adult I’m sure you find yourself responding to certain lighting situations positively or negatively, depending on your mood and location. The same goes for your kids. Once they stick their hand into the center of this device, the light will change and turn on and off, and it gives a really nice glow, Tuba Light, $196, moderntots.com
I miss nursing. I haven’t really thought too much about it until just now. I miss the little baby being so close to me, becoming content in just seconds. This pillow helped me enhance those really intimate moments with the baby by positioning him at just the right angle. The pillow has a light inside of it, hence the name, that allows for the little glow of light mommy needs to make sure everything is going fine. After a while you’ll get past the need for any light at all, but it’s always nice to have so you can watch their little lips do that sucking motion. Jack’s lips still do the motion when he’s sucking on his pacifier, and although it’s probably time for him to give the thing up, I’m letting him hold onto it so I can reminisce about the good old days. Nurse N Glow Pillow, $40, supermomz.com
The best high chair
I tried three different high chairs. I’m not going to mention which brands I tried, but they all had the same idea: A plastic seat with cushions made of vinyl and tons of places where food could get caught and then form mold. It really was surprising to me to see what poor design all of the chairs had. And they weren't cheap, either. I was one of those moms who though that if it cost more, then it must be better. Silly!
This chair from Tripp Trapp really is the best out there. First off, it puts your child at the table with the rest of the family during mealtimes, which, for most families, is bonding time. Why should Jack have to sit off to the side in some big old plastic thing? Next, it is BY FAR the cleanest solution I could find to the inevitable dripping, dropping, flicking and flinging of food that happens at every meal. I actually LOVE to see how messy things can get because it’s just such a cool part of the first steps of the baby's life. Because the chair is made of only a few pieces of wood, there are not many places for the food to hide.
Plus, because the chair is actually a chair, there is no tray, and the kid uses the same table mommy and daddy use. Lastly, the design of the Tripp Trapp is so smart that it can be turned into a toddler chair, then can transform into the desk chair that your little baby will one day sit in when she’s studying for the SATs! Tripp Trapp Chair, $229; Tripp Trapp Cushions, $40; stokkeusa.com
What will they think of next? This super-high-tech stroller and car seat combo is the latest in posh mobility for your little one. It really is a system that takes you through the first two to three years of your child’s life.
It has a bassinet feature that’s truly comfortable and lovely for the baby. As they grow, the system allows for adjustments, and you can keep your kid comfy in the toddler stroller seat. Once they’re Jack’s age (around 18 months), they can start using the toddler adapter seat, which puts their little faces at a more adult level, allowing them to feel more like they’re part of the action. This really comes in handy when you’re, well, anywhere. Jack really responds better to a long day in a stroller that sits him higher as opposed to the one that sits lower. Also, you can use this at a restaurant in lieu of a dirty high chair! Orbit Stroller, $900, orbitbaby.com
I'm not exactly a cook, and the freshest food I’ve ever whipped up was heating up a soup from Whole Foods market. I wish I had the ability to blend up a quick sweet potato once in a while, because this device is rad. The hand-held design and long battery life make blending of any kind easy and actually kind of fun! As a side note, I can only imagine how well-fed your little one is going to be. Cordless Hand Blender by Breville, $100, brevilleusa.com
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