The rise of technology comes with a range of pros and cons. For new parents, the abundance of smart gadgets and apps takes a lot of questions out of the equation. In fact, 7 of every 10 surveyed millennial parents thought that technology made them better parents.
As more tech-savvy people have children, it’s no surprise that the market for technology catering to young parents is growing. In fact, as of 2018, there were more than 17 million millennial moms in the U.S. and 93% of this generation uses a smartphone regularly. Clearly, parenting and technology go hand in hand for today’s mothers and fathers.
Keep in mind that some of the coolest tech and gadgets on the market use a WiFi connection, so it doesn't hurt to check your internet requirements to see if you need an upgrade.
How Tech Can Be Beneficial For New Parents
Technology can benefit people during all stages of parenting. Even before getting pregnant, women can use apps to track ovulation to better understand fertility cycles.
Jessica Clarke, a new mom in Southern California, used the Flo app when she and her husband began trying for a baby. “It ended up being a great tool to log fertility medication and procedures,” she said. “It was so handy to have at my one million doctors appointments.” Rather than manually writing down dates on a calendar, apps like Flo track menstruation cycles and predict ovulation days and due dates based on a range of scenarios.
New parents can also track their newborn baby’s behavior and easily share with caregivers and doctors. Baby Tracker, for instance, is a popular app through which you can log sleep, feeding times, diaper changes and more. It’s shareable so that a caregiver can also access the baby’s profile and add information while the parents are away.
No matter how healthy your baby is at birth, technology is available to track his or her heart rate and oxygen levels while they are sleeping. The Owlet Smart Sock wraps gently around the baby’s foot to track these data points so that both the child and new parents can sleep peacefully.
Similarly, sound machines can also help everyone in the home get better sleep. Amy Talley, a mother of four and owner of All Fired Up pottery studio in Richmond, Va., upgraded to the Dohm Natural Sound Machine when her youngest child was born. “This was a life saver,” Talley said. “With the other kids, we used a fan to make white noise, but it was inconsistent and really cold. With Sam, we bought this noise machine and we liked it so much that we put it in all the kids’ rooms and ours.”
New parents can easily incorporate different types of technology to better track different stages and improve their quality of sleep.
What to be Mindful of When Using Technology as a New Parent
As convenient as technology can be for the modern family, it does come with a few pitfalls. When Clarke used the Owlet Smart Sock, for instance, a malfunction caused her to think there was something wrong with the baby. After the first unit stopped working, the company sent her a replacement “But the replacement unit gave us false alarms which … (signify) a heart attack,” she recalled.
And just about every app or product comes with warnings not to rely too heavily upon them. If a server goes down on a product like Owlet, you may end up getting scary warnings that something is wrong with your child. You also shouldn’t assume that any extra technology will prevent fatalities from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It’s crucial to still follow the most recent guidance from your child’s healthcare professionals.
Other issues can occur from WiFi-enabled technology like baby monitors. There have been reports in recent years of monitors being hacked. It’s important to create strong passwords and not to repeat log-in information across accounts, which could let hackers access other pieces of personal or private information.
Tech to Check Out
As a whole, technology has the potential to immensely help new parents, especially when they’re overwhelmed with change and lacking sleep. Here’s a list of helpful apps and gadget for both new and expecting parents
SNOO Smart Sleeper
- This bassinet responds to your baby’s sleep patterns and can add up to two hours of sleep per night with calming womb rhythms. It detects crying and fussing and changes both the motion and sound. An app helps you monitor your baby’s sleep habits. Check it out.
- This baby monitor connects to your smartphone. It features two-way audio, background audio and night vision so you can keep a constant eye (and ear) on your newborn. Check it out.
VAVA Smart Baby Thermometer
- Monitor your baby’s temperature with a silicone patch thermometer that notifies you when a fever of 100 degrees or higher occurs in your baby. The charge lasts up to 24 hours so you get constant coverage day or night. Check it out.
- A daily tracking app, you can track activities like feedings, sleep and development milestones. It’s easy to print a summary to take to doctors appointments and track growth charts and other data. Check it out.
Hatch Baby Grow Smart Changing Table
- This double-duty changing table keeps your baby in place during diaper changes while also tracking weight. The data automatically syncs to the Hatch Baby app, in which you can also record nursing sessions, pumping schedules and more. Check it out.
Both new and expecting parents can benefit from continually evolving baby technology. From getting pregnant to monitoring your newborn once she or he arrives, both products and apps offer insight and support, not to mention a lot of automation while you get used to “baby brain.” As long as you exercise common sense and good judgment, smart tech may help you get better sleep while stressing over your baby’s health and development. Start off with these recommendations and remember to tap into the knowledge of other recent parents to find out which items are worth your time and money.