Gifts for baby
Babies are easily pleased at Christmas, or any time, although curiously ungrateful in our experience. But it's their mum and dad that you're really buying for and there's plenty of parenting tech to choose from. Be it toys that teach, gadgets that track a child's health, or buggies and accessories that make child-rearing that bit more bearable, we've rounded up the best buys for baby.
And don't worry, if you're budget doesn't reach the same hi-tech Bugaboo model as Kate Middleton, we've included some more affordable, low-tech toys, too. Like the one pictured above, for instance.
TheWooden Teether Phone from 3PrincessesStore at Etsy • £8.10is hand-madefrom a single block of Canadian maple and finished in natural beeswax.When babies are teething, anything and everything in the house becomes a potential gob stopper with your smartphone being the primary target, so this tasty wooden toy is the perfect diversion. It's tactile, tasty, chemical free and comes in Blackberry, iPhone and Android 'flavours' with animals and shapes carved in place of the app icons and the child's name etched on the back. Unlike your own smartphone, this one is virtually indestructible and won't need upgrading.
Kiddy Evo-Lunafix Egg car seat • £320
This more-or-less egg-shaped car seat comes with unique lie-back interior to ensure that baby has a first class experience whenever they travel. It's a safer and more ergonomic position for sleeping as it keeps the airways open, which means you can travel further before making a pit stop. This seat comes with an ISOFIX base, so the bracket can remain inISOFIX-compatiblecars, while the cot clips conveniently in and out. And with the collapsible canopy to protect from direct sunlight, the egg also makes a fine carrycot that's actually compatible with certain pushchair brands, such as Joolz and Baby Jogger, when you want to turn it into a pushchair.
D-Link EyeOn Baby • £90
Like an extra eyeball, you can place this baby monitor beside junior's cot and watch in unblinking 720p high definition as they sleep. It works over Wi-Fi, so that could be from the next room, or the next country. Or down the pub if you like. It's a free country.If you take this device on holiday and there's no internet, you can just set up a local network between the camera and your phone.
You can record snaps and video clips to your device too and if baby does wake, you can trigger one of five lullabies to play through the two-way speaker and perhaps send them right back to sleep. Perhaps.
Philips Avent Fast Bottle Warmer • £32
There's nothing like the sound of screaming to add urgency to the task of warming baby milk, but that doesn't make the hob heat up any faster, or stop the microwave melting your bottles. This device, however, can heat a 150ml bottle in three minutes flat and constantly stirs the milk as it does so to ensure it's the right temperature all the way through. It's the perfect fit for the Avant bottle range from Philips - well, of course it is - and you can also use it to warm bottles of baby food. Or hot toddies.
VTech Baby Tiny Touch Tablet • £15
Babies love to copy their parents, but rather than letting them thrash your smartphone the way you seem to, VTech has designed a similar, but rather more robust portable device. Just like an iPhone, the Tiny Touch Tablet has colourful icons to press, only these plastic buttons trigger songs and phrases and activities that teach your child as they play. It's more education and more fun than an iPhone and crucially, it doesn't smash when hurled from a high chair.
LeapFrog AlphaPup • £17
Once you've learned to walk, you might as well learn the alphabet too and that's exactly what AlphaPub aims to help you do. It can also help babies, too. Known for its fun and educational toys, Leapfrog designed this talkative pull-along dog to speak letters and words and songs as it is dragged around on its wheel paws. Press the letters on AlphaDog's back to hear the sounds of the alphabet, or the musical note on his tail for an educational song. Three AAA batteries are included, avoiding Christmas day Duracell panic.
Maclaren BMW Buggy • £345
Not to be confused with the McLaren of Formula One fame, this brand collaboration is a stroller, rather than a racer, but BMW certainly brings some slick styling to this boy-racing buggy.
From the reclining bucket seat and four-wheel suspension to the washable hood with integrated sunroof, this machine takes lots of tips from the automotive industry. Our favourite design flourish is the quick-release seatbelt mechanism bearing the BMW logo for when baby needs to bail out fast.
Hexbug AquaBot Jellyfish • £15
Frustratingly, in the first years of their lives, the toys that we'd really like our children to play with, like Hexbug robots, tend to be too sophisticated. However, the autonomous AquaBot Jellyfish is perfect for distracting and amusing cot-bound babies with its 18 graceful tentacles that keep it swimming around its own jar. A powerful ducted impeller and 15 pre-programmed swimming routines ensure this AquaBot will keep its audience entertained as it explores its environment. Just remember to keep the jar out of reach of children under three.
Withings Smart Kid Scale • £149
Babies grow quickly and these scales, designed specially for 0-8 year olds, can accurately track and monitor their weight via a dedicated app. Because the companion app can take into account other data, such as height and the number of bottle or breast feeds, it can also reveal trends in the baby's growth and nutrition.
The measurements are reliable and accurate to the nearest 10g and that dish on top can be removed once your child is old enough to stand on them. The maximum load is 25kg, which is plenty for an 8-year-old, but maybe don't try to weigh yourself.
HoMedics Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier • £70
Designed for the nursery, this humidifier promises to aid dry skin, eczema and respiratory health, by improving the ambient air quality. Sleep-starved parents will realise that means junior is less likely to wake up screaming.
It works by spraying an adjustable micro-fine mist into the room, while oscillating almost silently. Anti-microbial technology prevents the possibility of moulds or mildews being introduced and one more feature that will please new parents is the calming blue LED nightlight. The integrated lamp gently illuminates the room without waking the little fella.
Bugaboo Bee3 • £530
Babies aren't born with brand-awareness, but if they were, they'd probably want to pushed around in a Bugaboo stroller. Popular with celebrities and city-dwellers, the Bee3 is a particularly compact and flexible design that morphs into a variety of configurations and comes in no fewer than 64 possible colour combinations.
Like a benign Autobot, it will transform from a push chair into a pram (if you buy the separate carrycot) in just a few clicks, thanks to some clever Dutch design, and at 8.7kg, it's light enough to fold flat and carry under one arm.