Top 5 reasons every nursery should be a smart nursery!
- Ability to monitor your baby without necessarily being there reducing the frequent trips to the nursery
- Ensure that your baby is comfortable and safe
- Help your baby get better sleep
- Ability to keep track of your baby’s feeding and health parameters
Do you need gadgets to raise your children? The definitive answer is no. Parents and probably yours too have been raising children for centuries without having to rely on tech gadgets.
However, back then, they did not have much choice as most of the modern devices were not there, and the few that were there were cost-prohibitive. Today, smart nursery technology can improve safety, comfort and help provide peace of mind.
The evolution of technology in all aspects of human life caught up with raising babies and like everywhere else, many of the devices became essential. For new parents, in particular, smart devices offer much-needed reliability, peace of mind, and convenience.
Smart gadgets come with computing power giving them the ability to work interactively. In some cases, they also work autonomously. A number of them can be linked to other devices, especially your smartphone allowing you to access them remotely.
What devices should you consider for a smart nursery?
If you have gotten around the idea of using technology to increase your convenience and efficiency, where to start is the next challenge. In under five years, the baby-gear industry will have surpassed $100 billion. That means there are tons of products out there from which you have to choose.
To streamline the selection, you can split the smart nursery gadgets into categories based on their general function. These are the categories we recommend when trying to find the right mix of smart home tech for your nursery:
- Baby Monitors, Cameras and Screens
- Health sensors
- Thermometers and other measurement tools
- Smart home lighting
- Sleeping aids and soothers
- Feeding systems
Here are the items under each category to consider when building your nursery. Some devices are multi-functional meaning they may replace the need for others, which is excellent in case you, are working on a budget. Other items may apply only for babies of a certain age. However, their durability and long shelf life mean you can always gift them to a relative or friend.
Smart Home Nursery
Owlet Duo Smart Baby Monitor with HD Video, Oxygen, and Heart Rate$349.99 Learn More
What features should you look for in a baby monitor?
With the right baby monitor, you can watch, talk to, and soothe your little one even if they are far in another room. Today you can get monitors with audio and video capabilities, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, and even temperature sensing functionalities. How do you choose a monitor for the best connection to your baby?
A baby monitor is a necessary expense. It puts your mind at rest, whether working in the yard or trying to catch some sleep. No two baby monitors are built the same—you will come across different diverse features and functions. Today’s high-tech baby monitors let you remotely monitor the temperature in the baby’s room or turn soothing lullabies. These are all attractive features to have, but your primary considerations should be:
- Clear sound/video transmission between monitor and handset
- Wireless handsets that you can move with anywhere in the house
- Night vision capabilities
- Sleep tracking
Choose a monitor with both audio and video.
You will need both audio and video in your baby monitor if they sleep in a different room. If they sleep in the same room with you, perhaps audio is all you need.
Audio is the basic functionality of all baby monitors. You get to hear when the baby cries or fusses so you can attend to her. Even so, getting a baby monitor with video capabilities changes the game.
Sometimes the little one is just making noises in her sleep. Without video, there is no way of telling that. You will get out of bed and go into her room only to find her fast asleep. If it were a monitor with video, you wouldn’t have to make the trip.
Choose the highest resolution.
A high-resolution camera capable of 1080p video is recommendable. You want to be able to see when the child has wet themselves and need a diaper change, or whether they’ve thrown up in their sleep. If the camera picture quality is not clear enough, you miss that—and then the child would sleep in the vomit all night.
Speaking about resolution, remember night vision. If you choose a video baby monitor without night vision capabilities, it would be useless at night. Choose a camera with infrared capabilities. These can see in the dark.
Two-way talking can make nannying a stress-free job.
Baby sleep cycles can be intricate. If she doesn’t sleep enough during the day, she may never sleep a wink at night. But you have meals to prepare, things to clean, and gardens to tend. If your baby monitor has two-way talking functionality, you can quickly soothe them back to sleep remotely if they wake up prematurely.
With a two way talking baby monitor, you get to speak to your child as well as hear her. It assures them that you are near. It keeps them calm and saves you from the piercing scream that is, in most cases, just a sign of worry—”where is mommy? Where is she? I don’t see her.”
Smartphone vs. handheld baby monitors.
Traditional baby monitors connect to a handheld device called the receiver for the audio or audio-video signals from the monitor. Modern monitors send the audio and picture straight to your phone via an app.
Handheld monitors are easy to use for nannies, while smartphone monitors can help you keep an eye on the baby even when you are on the go.
Cabled baby monitors are quickly getting phased out. Installing these can be costly, and you may not monitor a child from outside the home. Safety is another concern due to the cords. In 2013, Angelcare recalled 600,000 baby monitors following 2 strangulation deaths.
Today most models use either Bluetooth or WiFi. Bluetooth gives you assured connectivity without the need for internet. However, the range is limited. WIFI monitors work via your home’s internet connection and a dedicated app. You can keep an eye on your child even when you are far away.
Does the monitor have temperature sensors?
In 2018, 58 children died from hyperthermia when left in a hot car. Doctors confirm that this risk is not limited to vehicles. It can happen even at home when a HVAC malfunctions. Choosing a baby monitor that alerts you of temperature fluctuations can save your child’s life and may qualify you for home insurance discounts. The alternative would be buying a baby monitor plus a wireless thermometer.
The best monitors record sleep patterns.
A few babies monitor in the market have sleep tracking capabilities. They watch the number of times the baby wakes up, stirs, or cries in her sleep. They send these trends to your smartphone app to help you in sleep planning and sleep training. Jolly good.
Will the monitor alert you if there is a problem?
Depending on the child’s medical history, you may need a monitor that also tracks their vitals, including breathing efficiency and heart rate. Talk to your pediatrician to determine whether you need this.
After considering all these critical factors, choose a baby monitor that serve you reliably. Being a parent is stressful, and a baby monitor should make it a little easier. Choose a feature-packed device that doesn’t malfunction now and then.
What is the best smart baby monitor?
While there are many to choose from our two picks are feature rich and reliable. We have a hard time deciding between the Nanit Plus and The Owlet Duo!
The Nanit Plus video monitor offers a lot, and that explains its price. It provides HD video, night vision, and one-way audio so you can hear your baby but not talk to him or her. It is connected directly to your smartphone using Wi-Fi or mobile internet. It can also take the temperature and humidity of the room.
Another feature is the computer vision which records your baby’s sleeping pattern. Data recorded includes the number of time he or she wakes up, cries, stirs, and when you get in the room. It can then add up the numbers and give you a report in the morning. It can also save sleeping history. The most significant setback is the cost.
There are a couple of wearable monitors in the market, and the Owlet Smart Sock is easily the best of them. It adds a different dimension to the monitoring of your child. You fit it as you would dress a sock on the baby’s foot, and it measures the baby’s heartbeat and oxygen levels. It can do this through pulse oximetry.
With this app, you can monitor your child’s heartbeat and breathing. If anything happens to the normal levels and rates drop or rise, you will be alerted in your phone. It helps guard against situations like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. You do not have to wait on the notifications. You can check on the stats in real-time from anywhere. A few users have complained about the readings saying they are not always accurate.
You also have the option of re-purposing a security camera Nest Cam and using it for monitoring your baby. The advantage here is having a camera that is made by a reputable manufacturer and one you can always use at home after the kids have grown.
Another advantage is that you can set boundaries so that whenever the baby goes past them, you are notified on your phone. This last feature is great when your baby is crawling or walking and may want to leave the room.
The main shortcoming is that relying on a security camera denies you the option of constant monitoring from your phone. You cannot leave the app running all the time as you have other tasks to do or you want to save the battery. Therefore, you can only get occasional video and audio feeds whenever you check the app.
Every nursery should have a collection of smart sensors.
Sensors complement the video monitors by enabling you to keep track of things like breathing and body movement. Infants become toddlers and bring a whole new set of problems to tackle. Once they are big enough to move around, you can get contact sensors that alert you when doors or drawers have been opened. You can also get baby proofing for the doors and drawers so that they can’t be opened by a toddler, but you won’t get alerts without the sensors. Many of the camera’s don’t alert you, if you have one of the less expensive cameras than getting a few sensors could be a huge help.
The Decco Toddler sensor ensures you keep track of the baby’s movement from safe spaces. As you work around the house, you want to know the baby will not leave the nursery and run or crawl off to areas full of hazards. The device is simple to use. You hang it on the door and pair it to your smartphone using Bluetooth.
When the designated door is opened, you are alerted through a text. You can set the alerts to either ring or vibrate as well as adjust the volume. The sensor comes with a USB cable for charging and once charged; it can last seven days without recharging.
The app can also support up to three devices. You can fit two other doors with the Decco Sensor if the kid is not enclosed in one room. The only downside is that, should the kid get interested in it they could remove as it has an appealing toy-like look and it is easy to remove.
The Sense-U device is another multi-functional sensor that goes further with its monitoring. While you will not get video feedback, it will alert you to the breathing and sleeping patterns of the baby.
More importantly, it will let you know when the baby is stomach sleeping so that you can change him or her. Given the risk of SIDS, it is crucial to monitor your child’s rollover movement until he or she comes of age.
Thermometers and other health trackers.
As a parent of a young baby, there is plenty you have to track. These include the baby’s temperature, feeding, and excretion, to weight. A regular and accurate record of all these parameters allows you to detect early enough if anything is wrong and take appropriate action. These gadgets add convenience and accuracy to the whole process.
The Smart Thermometer is an excellent and affordable way to be taking the temperature for your children. Several models are using either ear or mouth to get the temperature. It comes with an app that makes it easy to synchronize the thermometer with a smartphone.
Beyond recording the data in an organized way on the app, it reminds you when to offer the next medication and rest. It also provides recommendations like when to see the doctor and helps you track the progress of your child’s health.
Another advantage of the thermometer and its app is the opportunity to create profiles for each family member. Thus, you only use one device and can keep a reliable medical history of different people on the same platform.
The only challenge is to get the children comfortable with the device in their mouth. Some people have also been frustrated by accuracy.
Baby smart changing pad.
This product from a leading manufacturer of baby gear will change how you view diaper-changing duties. For the basics, it provides a large enough, soft, and comfortable pad for the baby to rest. Secondly, it is easy to clean and maintain.
What makes it stand out though is the inbuilt Wi-Fi scale and the accompanying app that enables you to measure the weight of the child and track his growth. It can also help you keep track of things like the baby’s feeding cycles, amount of food eaten, sleep cycles, and diaper changes. All these metrics help you measure the growth of your child and understand how they relate and affect each other.
The only disappointment here is the fact that babies quickly outgrow it, and you will need to find an external scale. There have been complaints too about glitches in the app in a few cases.
If you need a less inexpensive gadget to measure weight, then pick the Health O Meter Grow with Me. Unlike the Hatch Baby changing pad, this scale can weigh your kid until he or she gets to 60 pounds. With an infant, you can use the provided cradle to rest the infant in, and when they grow older, you remove it and convert it into a standing scale.
Another feature is the Zero Out mode that allows you to weigh the kid with a blanket underneath for warmth. The scale discounts the weight of these items.
You can get measurements in ounces or kilograms, and you can also use it to record feeding information. It comes with a five-year warranty demonstrating its durability and quality. It, however, could be bulky and you may not use it much if you go for regular checkups.
Lighting and sound machines.
Babies are sensitive to light and sound. The nursery should be a place that allows them to have long uninterrupted sleep. Achieving this also gives you the much-needed rest and peace you need for the following day.
Hatch Baby Rest
Hatch Baby Rest offers the dual function of a sound machine and a nightlight device. It provides sounds and lullabies which sooth the bay while also acting as white noise to prevent outside noise from disturbing the baby. The color pallet given offers you the option of customizing the color of the lighting you want.
You can control the light and the sounds using buttons attached on the device as well as an app synced to the device. There are eleven sounds to soothe the baby ranging from the rain to 3 lullabies.
It may take some time for you to find the right blend of light and sound that keep your baby asleep.
Hatch Baby Rest+ comes with voice control and a cord free battery pack.
Getting baby to sleep and stay asleep is another thankless task that can keep you awake for long hours or distract you from other activities during the day. Fortunately, there are devices from swings to soothers, which help lull your loved one to sleep, and you can control them from a distance.
4moms MamaRoo Swing with Bluetooth
For just above $200, you can invest in the 4moms MamaRoo baby rocker. It supports a maximum weight of 25 pounds and comes with five different motions that can be experienced at five speeds.
Control of the rocker can be remotely done using Bluetooth, and it uses classic seat fabrics for the material. Other features include an interactive overhead toy, ability to be connected to an MP3 player, four inbuilt sounds, and multiple reclining positions.
You get to do other things while the rocker soothes your baby to sleep or keeps him or her engaged when awake. The main downside is that your baby soon outgrows this fantastic device.
Lulla-Vibe Vibrating Mattress Pad from Munchkin
Should you not be able to afford the Snoo Smart Sleeper, you can go for the second-best thing at least as far as mimicking womb movements go. The Lulla-Vibe vibrating pad is that choice. It is battery powered and lips under the crib mattress with the smaller end sticking out for easier access.
It has two speeds and an on and off button. Once on it instantly produces calming and soothing vibrations and the inbuilt 30-minute timer ensures the movement goes on long enough to get the baby to sleep.
The apparent setbacks are the lack of remote control and limited speeds and motions. It is, however, durable and can serve much older children.
Waking up at night sleepy and still having to prepare your baby’s formula fast while they are screaming out can be torturous. If you are in a hurry, making the formula, waiting for it to heat and then cool down can seem like ages.
The devices below help you cut that time while also maintaining top hygiene for the bottles.
Here is a device that takes away all the work you do when preparing a formula for your baby. It measures, mixes and dispenses water and formula to the right temperature and consistency as your baby prefers. All you do is load up the ingredients. Because the formula is prepared in the preferred temperature, there is no need to wait for it to cool down. Think of it as getting an instant cup of coffee.
It works well with all brands of formula and bottles, has airtight storage, and offers fully customizable mixing settings. The price at the brand’s store is lower, and even though it is still closer to $200, it is a worthy investment.
#Pro Tip – Of all the devices I used for my newborn, this one was by far the most useful. My first born ended up starting formula earlier than most due to a NICU stay and this Baby Breeza was a huge benefit for us.
If making meals for babies takes time, cleaning the bottles is even more hectic. You have to take care not to harm the bottles and also get rid of the bacteria that pile inside them.
With the Electric Steam Sterilizer, that time is shortened to five minutes excluding the time for warming and cooling. It can wash five bottles at a go, and all the work you do is fill it up with water and push a button.
Tommee Tippee Steri-Dry Advanced Electric Sterilizer & Dryer, White$44.99 Learn More
Building a smart nursery is all about adding convenience, accuracy, and quality to the care of your young ones. Your budget will determine the gadgets you get, and the items you deem to be most necessary.
A number of them can be obtained over time, and preparation can begin long before the baby is due. Nursing a baby does not need to be tiresome nor challenging any more thanks to technology.