What an age in which we live! So much of what we take for granted as parents these days would not have been imaginable even 15 years ago. It’s a brilliant time to be alive, and a brilliant time to bring a tiny little life into this world.
Before I get stuck in, I’ll address my use of that word essential. I’ll do this because I know that as soon as technology is involved, someone is going to challenge my use of that word. After all, humans have lived for thousands of years without smart speakers and baby monitors, how can these things possibly be essential?
Well, in my experience they are essential in the same way that a bassinet and a sleep bag are essential – they make looking after a newborn easier or safer. A baby monitor has allowed us to easily observe and respond to Hannah’s needs for the past three years. Not only was it vital for our peace of mind when she moved into her own room at six months old, it has allowed us to efficiently manage events like transitioning from nappies effectively. When that tiny voice comes over the monitor with the words “I need to wee”, I can respond to it… before it’s too late. You might not call that essential. I do.
If you must disagree with my use of the word essential, feel free to replace it in your mind with bloody-good-for-a-parent-to-have.
Uniden, JBL and The Gro Company provided Blog of Dad with their excellent products free of charge, to make the arrival of our newborn a little bit easier. The comments within this post are entirely my own reflections, based on my observations the products. For more information, visit my disclosure statement.
Technology Essentials – Baby Monitor
Newborns, naturally, spend A LOT of time with one or both parents. They feed every few hours for starters, and holding the baby helps to establish bonding and familiarity. But even in the early days there is value in having a baby monitor ready to go. For example, in those glorious moments of peace when the bub finally drops off to sleep, the last thing you want to do is carry the bassinet downstairs while you madly catch up on some neglected chore. You risk waking the baby by carrying the bassinet, and you also risk waking the baby by bringing them closer to your noisy activities.
We are using the Uniden BW3002 with baby number two, and we are doing so for several very good reasons. Firstly, while being able to monitor the newborn is a necessity, we still haven’t quite grown out of monitoring our three year old. Like I said above, being able to catch that tiny little voice at 3am when she whispers “I need to wee” is a godsend. We have narrowly averted more than one accident in this way.
The Uniden BW3002 comes with two cameras and a display receiver. The display receiver packs a colour 2.3″ display, which isn’t as big as some, but is large enough to see what is happening. At night time, that vision takes advantage of Uniden’s wealth of security camera knowledge, with infrared-enhanced night vision providing a remarkably clear picture, even in extremely dark rooms.
The two included cameras is where the BW3002 really stands out for versatility of use. Both cameras have rechargeable batteries, which means that they can be repositioned throughout the house quickly and easily as needed. The built in clip and included suction fastener make positioning the camera extremely easy. That is a huge advantage, especially in our situation with a toddler and a newborn. It means that we can place them wherever needed, whether that be in the bedrooms or living spaces.
The wireless range of the Uniden BW3002 is excellent. I’m yet to find a dead spot in my townhouse, even with its concrete floor between levels. That is better than previous monitors that I have used, which struggled to transmit from Hannah’s room to my living room. As far as baby monitors go, the Uniden BW3002 is an excellent option.
Technology Essentials – Smart Speaker
When Spotify first arrived (not so long ago), I was blown away. It changed the game forever by allowing access to almost any song I wanted… for free! Suddenly it was all there, right at my fingertips! I assumed the future had arrived, and it was incredible.
Little did I know that just a few years later, the game would change again. This time the world of music no longer required logging on to a computer or even a phone. Suddenly, it was all just a voice command away! I’ve been blown away by smart speakers such the JBL Link View since they entered my house midway through last year. I am already at the point that I can’t quite remember what life was like before the ultra-convenience of the devices arrived. But the best thing is that their usefulness just keeps developing as the systems mature. With the newborn on the way I can already see how a smart speaker in my bedroom will be of huge benefit. And my smart speaker of choice? The awesome JBL Link 300, with integrated Google Assistant.
The JBL Link 300 looks fantastic, but it’s subtle enough to blend into the décor of just about any room. It’s reasonably compact, but it packs a mighty punch. This thing has generations of JBL audio know-how behind it, and you can hear the quality.
Why a Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker? Firstly, I’m going to have my hands full. There were times when Hannah wanted to be held and she wouldn’t let me put her down (in fact, she wouldn’t even let me stand still). With the JBL Link 300 I can access news, podcasts, weather updates, music and information. Asking a question like “how do I settle a newborn baby?” returns information straight from the Tresillian Australia website – an extremely trustworthy source.
Secondly, the JBL Link 300 sounds great! Sure, I can play music off my phone, but it sounds harsh. The amazing thing about a high quality speaker like the Link 300 is that you can play calming, classical music like Mozart or Bach at a low volume and it still sounds great. It just sits there in the background, filling yours and baby’s brain with gentle, relaxing sound. Of course, it also sounds great blasting Bombs Over Baghdad LOUD. Just wait until the baby is out of the room.
The final ace up the JBL Link 300‘s sleeve is ambient noise. It is absolutely brilliant! The thing about babies is that they are not actually used to perfect silence. It’s loud inside the womb, what with the mother’s heart beat and digestive system, not to mention all the muffled external noise that filters in. Some babies actually find background noise, or white noise, comforting. With the simple command of “hey Google, help me relax,” gentle white noise fills the room. You can even choose specific sounds, like “babbling brook sounds” or “fireplace sounds”. Two of my favourites already are “ocean sounds” and “thunderstorm sounds”. Even if they don’t help the baby, they will do my sleep a world of good!
Technology Essentials – Room Temperature Monitoring
Yes, I know that in my Sleep Essentials post I said that the Groegg2 wasn’t exactly an essential. BUT, I stand by what I said about it being a very useful piece of equipment to have. Monitoring room temperature and adjusting clothing or bedding accordingly is important, not only for baby comfort, but also baby health.
From a technology perspective, I find the Groegg2 to be a great choice. The digital thermometer appears to be accurate, in that it is reasonably consistent with the reading on my scientific thermometer. The Groegg2 returns valuable information with the quickest of glances, making night-time, sleep-deprived decisions that much easier. Finally, the brightness of the egg is adjustable to the point of being able to completely turn it off. I’d call it worthwhile, at the very least.
So… Have I convinced you of the essential nature of these technological wonders? Maybe, maybe not. One thing I know for sure is that I’m extremely pleased to have them in my house. They make the (not so easy) task of parenting a newborn (…and toddler…) that much easier. To me, that’s definitely worthwhile.