Parenting is tough, especially when you’ve got a newborn baby that needs near-constant attention to keep it safe, well-fed, and happy. You can’t do it alone, and need your family, friends and whoever else you can rope in to get through those rough first months. There are also some handy pieces of gear that can make any new parent’s life easier. Here are our best picks.
Eufy SpaceView or Project Nursery Baby Monitor
You want to keep an eye on your kid when you’re elsewhere, so a video baby monitor is essential. But you also don’t want to risk broadcasting that feed to the world. We’ve written a lot about the risks of cheap, internet-connected gadgets that allow nefarious types to access video feeds. That’s why we normally recommend video monitors that only broadcast footage to a local wireless receiver, not over WiFi.
Eufy’s SpaceView is one of the best. The SpaceView camera shoots 720p video and has an articulating base that can pan up to 330 degrees, essential since kids rarely, if ever, stay still. The five-inch display unit will last for seven hours with the display always on. You also get an optional wall-mount and even a swappable wide-angle lens for when you need a broader view of the room.
Another option is Project Nursery’s 4.3-inch Baby Monitor System, which comes with two cameras instead of one. The display has a quoted battery life of up to eight hours, and has a transmission range of up to 800 feet. In addition, there’s two-way communication, night vision, and the ability to play lullabies from the camera’s speaker.
QuietOn Sleep Earbuds
If you’re dividing the parenting work, then one of you might be tending to your newborn while the other catches some much-needed shut-eye. That can mean you’re trying to get rest in the day, when everyone else in the house (and the neighborhood) is awake and being noisy. In those situations, you may need some extra help to ensure that those six precious hours you might get are used for sleeping.
QuietOn’s wireless earbuds are a pair of snug true wireless earbuds without the ability to push tunes into your head. Instead, it uses active noise cancellation and acoustic noise attenuation to cancel out a wide variety of sounds, including noisy kids and traffic. They’re especially good at the sort of low hums that foam earplugs struggle with, like snoring. Did we mention they might be a good defense against snoring?
Tommee Tippee GroClock
When your kid starts to sleep in a bed, rather than a crib, they’ll soon realize they can roam wherever, and whenever, they wish. Sadly, when they’re three years old, they don’t understand what “sweetie, it’s four-thirty in the morning” actually means. That’s where the GroClock comes in, offering a sweet, easily-to-understand way of telling your kids when they should be in bed.
When you set it, the GroClock will shine a gentle blue light from its face, with a countdown timer of stars that gently wink out over the course of the night. When it reaches the set “morning” time, the face will change to a happy sun, and glow bright yellow to signify the day. There is no greater joy in life, my friends, when your kid tells you they waited until the clock turned yellow to get out of bed, rather than calling for you in the hours beforehand.
One thing you might be wary of is cluttering up your nursery with too many gadgets. If you’re of the Marie Kondo bent, then you may prefer to only have one unit that does a number of jobs. That’s what the Hatch Rest+ does, since it’s a night light, white noise machine, smart home controller and audio baby monitor, all in one.
You can remotely set the light and color options to suit your needs and the nursery’s decor and because it’s internet-connected, you can use it as a two-way audio monitor (via a mobile app) and even use it to control Alexa with your voice. There’s also the ability to set a “time to rise” cue, so that the Rest+’s light gets warmer and stronger, and plays music, when it’s time to wake up.
Moredig Baby Projector
Who doesn’t like looking up at the stars before bedtime and watching the universe unfold around you? There are a lot of these night-sky projectors on the market, but the one we like the most was this surprisingly cheap model that does exactly what you need. The Moredig Baby Projector comes with swappable covers that either shine the stars or an animal scene across your nursery ceiling.
You can set the stars static or moving, although some might find that staring at moving stars gives them motion sickness. The only other thing it does is play a selection of twinkly lullabies which is certainly nice to have if you’re trying to soothe a rugrat. Fundamentally, we like this device because it’s cheap, unpretentious and offers a lovely soft light that’s just enough to dispel under-bed monsters without burning your retinas out.
Amazon Echo Dot (Kids) or Google Home Mini
Picture the scene: You’re watching TV, or listening to a podcast, and suddenly you need to change a diaper. You can’t grab the remote because you can’t -- don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to -- but you still need to pause whatever’s on. This where voice control comes in, because it leaves your hands free to concentrate on messy tasks.
If you haven’t bought a smart speaker yet, getting one for the living room can be a godsend for new parents. If your home has Alexa integrations, then you can use your Echo Dot to control the lights, lock the door and even call other rooms in your house. If, on the other hand, you’d prefer Google’s take on the smart speaker, you could grab a Nest Mini and do the same job that way.
It was shortly before the birth of my second child that I really tried to embrace 16:8 intermittent fasting. That’s the sort of fasting that, rather than spending whole days eating barely anything, you cut your eating window down to eight hours. Eat your dinner early and your breakfast late, and you can spend 16 hours a day fasting, with all the benefits that offers, like a stable weight, and more energy. When you’re spending back-to-back weeks, up all night with a newborn baby, it’s easy to pile on the pounds and spend too much time flopped on the couch.
Zero was invaluable, helping me get through the first couple of months of being the parent of two kids. It’s essentially a stopwatch, reminding you when to begin and end your fast each day and giving you tips on how to get healthier. But when you’re not able to think straight and in dire need of hand-holding, that’s all you need.