Best gadgets for babies and new parents
Babies: little bundles of joy that have a tendency to completely and utterly take over lives with their eating and screaming and nappy fouling.
Having a child is one of the most life-altering things that can happen to us human beings and to make matters worse, they don't come with instruction manuals or handy cheat books to make it easier.
One consolation for true Tech Dads and Gadget Mums is that junior is also a great excuse to splash out on a bunch of cool new tech. There are numerous great products out there designed to ease the burden on new mommas and papas: saving you time, freeing up hands to do other things or simply offering peace of mind to paranoid and sleep-deprived brains.
We've collated and tested some ace kit that we think deserves a place in the nursery.
Oh, and check out these pregnancy apps if you haven't actually had your baby yet.
Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine
Costa revolutionised coffee on the go by placing those irritatingly convenient machines in almost every petrol station in the UK. Now, Tommee Tippee attacks the art of baby bottle-making from a similar angle.
This handsome machine first sterilises a bottle using a shot of steam, filters any impurities from the water and then creates the perfect bottle at the right temperature in less than two minutes.
You simply load it up with formula and water, programme in the correct information and then hit the button in the wee hours of the morning when the sweet baby child is screaming blue murder.
From £65 | Amazon
Motorola MBP853 Video Monitor
Paranoia comes as part and parcel of parenthood, andthis state-of-the-art monitor from Motorola eases new dads' fears by streaming HD footage from a neat camera, which can be mounted to a wall or any flat surface, to a wireless monitor.
It packs a night vision mode, sound detection with visual alerts and a microphone, so you can sing lullabies into the device. Because that's not weird at all.
£170 | John Lewis
Nuna Leaf Curv
It may not be the most high-tech entry in this list but the beautiful Leaf Curv serves as a perfectly stylish antidote to the eye-popping, cartoon-strewn baby bouncers on offer.
Designed to fit into even the most contemporary of rooms, the Leaf Curv can be paired with a Wind accessory that gently sways the chair from side to side, typically resulting in a very sleepy baby.
It comes in a number of understated but achingly cool colours and can be fitted with a standard steel base or a special sculpted number in the Curv models for added style points.
Baby Bjorn Doona Car Seat
After the Nuna, how about a Doona?
Transporting a small child in an automobile can be tricky business: they squirm, they scream and they definitely don't like being ported from car seat to pushchair if they're in the middle of a nap.
The Doona Car Seat does away with the need to wake child from slumber, as it cleverly transforms from fully legal car seat to pushchair at the press of a few buttons. Simply strap the seat into any car using the existing seatbelts (or purchase an additional ISO-fix base for greater ease) and then flip the wheels and base out when it's time to roll.
The pushchair element isn't as comfortable for sleeping little ones as standard strollers, mainly due to the fact that it lacks any sort of suspension, but it's perfect for popping to the shops or visiting relatives without the faff.
£327 | Amazon
BabyBjörn One Outdoor Carrier
Having a baby soon? Expect to give up - or at least ease back on - your favourite outdoor activities. Prams, bottles and nappy bags aren't exactly the easiest thing to transport up a mountain but for those who simply can't let the great outdoors go, there's the ace One Outdoor Carrier from BabyBjörn.
Ergonomically designed for maximum comfort for both wearer and child, this features an in-built infant insert, meaning it fits newborns perfectly. The unit can be worn on the front, for tiny tots, and then transferred to the back for hauling around larger fleshy cargo.
The fabric is water and dirt repellent, plus there are handy little pockets for storing mobile phones, keys, bottles and more.
£125 | John Lewis
Like ambient electronica fans, babies love a bit of white noise. It reminds them of their time spent in the womb when they didn't have to deal with the stresses and strains of modern life. This portable white noise speaker gently pipes relaxing sounds directly into their tiny earholes via a soft speaker.
Simply hold the spongy mitt to the small one's head, select the soundtrack (white noise, heart beat, ocean waves or rain falling onto a tin roof) and marvel as they are lulled into a relaxed state. Better still, the noise is directional so it doesn't disturb anyone else.
£18 | Amazon
PacaPod Portland Bag
It's the nappy bag of choice for the celeb set and it has been designed to make dads look cool when lugging around rancid parcels of poop - which is, let's face it, not an easy look to pull off.
Trimmed in a wipe-clean microfibre and leather, this handy man-satchel features a very cool 3-in-1 'pod' system that separates essentials.
For example, one pocket is designed for bottles and feeding, so boasts special insulating jackets and sections for dirty spoons, while a separate area is geared up for changing. These little 'pods' can be removed and worn as mini-backpacks, so the main bag can keep out of the way in the bottom of the pram.
From £130 | Amazon
Yoomi 240ml Self-Warming Bottle
There's no need to hunt for a microwave or kettle when out and about with these clever bottles. Simply press a button and the unique system self-heats and warms milk to the natural temperature of breast milk.
It works in a similar fashion to self-heating gloves Arctic explorers like to don, while the portable heating element can be rapidly recharged in the microwave and re-used as many times as you want.
£17 | Amazon
This burgeoning crowd-funder is already drumming up plenty of interest from active parents looking to free up hands and cut ties with bulky strollers. The Omnio Stroller features clever 'Omni-wheels' at the front, which roll backwards and forwards, as well as side-to-side, making tight manoeuvres a doddle and doing away with the need to constantly tip the stroller backwards to get traditional swivel wheels moving.
Better still, the funky design folds down into a compact package, the child straps become a backpack and the whole thing can be carted around on your shoulders to free up hands to do other things. It's great for public transport, it fits in most airline overhead bins and is lightweight enough to wear on bike rides and other hikes that might benefit from a stroller later in the day.
Production models are due to land at the end of August but early adopters can head to Born.com to bag a bargain or head to the website for more information.
£389 |Omnio World
Thule Urban Glide 2
Having a child doesn't necessarily mean you have to give up your fitness routine, as the Thule Ultra Glide range is designed to gift new mums and dads the ability to go for a run, hike or jog with baby in tow.
The all-terrain buggy boasts an integrated twist handle brake, all terrain wheels with suspension, a locking swivel front wheel for safer jogging and a very clever folding mechanism that allows it to be stowed for transportation.
Of course, parents can also splash out out on all manner of accessories, which range from newborn bassinets, car seat adaptors and even bottle cages for quaffing isotonic sports drinks on the go.
From £625 | Thule