My wife's pregnant, and December I am going to be a father for the first time. Apart of being happy and exited, I am asking myself:

1) Are there any hacks I could apply to this new life situation?

2) Are there any gadgets/apps that might help me with that?

I am not a gadget type of man. For example I don't even have a wrist watch, but I could imagine having a watch being helpful. I like having processes working in the background, so I don't have to remember everything. Have you heard of this guy who recorded every sound produced by his child, until he(or she) started talking? I don't want to be extreme like him, but I am thinking on a similar wave line.

I am going to extend my GTD to this new life chapter, and I am sure I will find plenty of websites about kids stuff like strollers or toys. This question is more about stuff regular parents don't know about. Home automations for monitoring the environment, eye masks (or blindfolds, I don't know how you call them) for taking a naps, apps on the smartphone... anything.

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    – going
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 10:56
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    GTD? I'm not familiar with that one.
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 13:36
  • GTD = Getting Things Done, a task- and time management methodology. Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 13:55

11 Answers 11


This is quite common, but a baby monitor definitely comes in handy.

This allows you to leave a baby in it's room without having to stress out by checking every minute. Children make lots of small noises when they are sleeping and the monitors are quite sensitive. You can starting cooking (or another noisy activity) and be assured the child is still sleeping and not trying to scream over your noise.

The monitor pictured even plays soothing music to keep your little one sleeping peacefully.

enter image description here

The next thing you should get is an electric thermometer.When a child has a fever it's good to (and very important to) know you have an accurate reading.

I also recommend a bottle warmer. Having one of these means you can quickly heat up milk hands free. Esp. if it's stored milk and your wife is out. You will need to be quick and also multi-task with a screaming baby so this definitely comes in handy.

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    We skipped the bottle warmer, but monitor and thermometer are both excellent choices.
    – user420
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 12:06
  • If you have a spare smartphone, consider the app Dormi - it's the very best I have ever seen, free plan is great for casual use, and paid is well worth it and cheaper than a good baby monitor. Alto: no range limit! Commented May 11, 2021 at 20:13

This is probably a given for many, but a good camera and camcorder can make this time even more exciting. We had an ok camera and a borrowed camcorder when our first was born, and bought a much nicer camera and our own camcorder before our second was born. One of our best investments, and I definitely got my gadget fix doing all the research! It doesn't necessarily have to be fancy, but it should something you would enjoy using frequently.

Not all of the pictures you take are going to be awesome, nor all the video. But you'll be surprised how much you appreciate even the mediocre pictures/video just a few years down the line. Our first loves watching videos of herself when she was younger, and it's a wonderful reminder to us as her parents how much she (and we) have grown in the mean time!

  • +1 for a video camera! There are so many memorable but fleeting moments! I bought my wife a watertight compact camera when she was pregnant, and it's awesome to go the beach or the pool and bringing that camera. It's easily worth the slight premium for watertightness! I think our camera cost only about €180. In hindsight, paying even more for a good watertight compact camera would have been wise. I can't stress this enough!! Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 12:29
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    Also, having a smartphone with a (video) camera is great because it's more often with you. The camera in the iPhone 4 is excellent and also has good HD video; in the iPhone 3G not quite good enough and no video. Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 12:30
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    @torbengb: Agreed! I have a DSLR camera and a decent (if SD) camcorder. However, my wife and I have more useful pictures and footage from our cellphones than those high-end devices. As the saying goes: "The camera you have with you is more useful than the one you don't." That said, our best pictures are from the DSLR, so it's very useful when we know we're going to want to take pictures. (We really don't use the camcorder enough.)
    – afrazier
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 20:45
  • Some method to record video, whether dedicated device or a smartphone is absolutely essential for capturing special moments. One key point I'd offer is to ensure you regularly archive or backup the data - if your toddler drops your smartphone down the drain and it was the only record of your newborn's first word... Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 10:17
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    Ten years later, this post...didn't age well. @TorbenGundtofte-Bruun's latest comment, however... Commented May 10, 2021 at 19:30

I really like the idea of the Itzbeen Timer. Basically it's a specialized timer that you can use to show how long it's been since feeding, diaper change, nap, medication, etc. Especially in the first few weeks when things are really hectic and you're both pitching in it can help you both keep track of things.

Itzbeen Product Image

My wife bought the Baby Timer app for her Android phone after having our latest child. It's a similar concept, but gives some extra statistics, letting you differentiate between wet & poopy diapers, track not just when feedings occur but how much (or how long, depending on bottle vs. breast feeding), etc. We were both pitching in and it helped keep track of things, especially overnight, without waking the other up. It also makes pediatric visits easier when they can look at the stats and history to see exactly what's been going on without you having to hope that you're reporting correctly.

Baby Timer screenshot

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    I think this is over the top - just work out babies' routine, print it out in large font and stick it to enough walls that you know what should be happening when. This has the added benefit of visitors seeing that the routine is too, so they understand why baby needs to go to sleep or why the room smells bad (and its' not grandpa this time..) Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 10:15
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    In a normal demographic, general concensus would indeed be that this is over the top. But stackexchange sites still tend to carry a lot of computer-enthousiasts and other more scientific/highly schooled people, who like gadgets and statistics...
    – Konerak
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 15:33
  • You can just use paper and pencil which is more flexible because you can quickly take notes, no recharging needed etc.
    – Jakob
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 21:14

I second the choices listed above (baby monitor, thermometer, camera/video camera).

The truth is you don't really need much in the way of gadgets. Most of your efforts will involve physically juggling lots of different things (bottles, baby, diapers, wipes, burp-cloths, etc.).

However, there are a few other things that may or may not be helpful, depending on some choices you and your wife make.

If you are using disposable diapers, a Diaper Genie may be a good investment. It helps a LOT with the odor. Trust me.

In addition, since you mentioned Smart Phone apps, there are two that I got for the iPhone: Baby Bump, which is good for during pregnancy (it has month-by-month info, kick counter, contraction timer, journal, baby name list, etc.), and Total Baby, which has tools for tracking diaper changes, as well as bath, feeding, and nap times, which can be helpful in working out the best schedule for your infant. Total Baby is really at its most useful when the parent who has the app is present for most, if not all, of the diaper changes, baths, feedings, and naps, though, so if you and your wife wind up swapping duties, it may be difficult to combine the data. There's nothing the app does that a pen and some paper can't do, either, but it is a convenient interface and much more portable.


If you are looking for a hack, I'm going to go against the grain here and recommend possibly skipping the baby monitor. If you still have a normal phone in the house, most cordless phones come with a built in "room monitor" feature. It works great. Moves from room to room easily. And it's not worthless when you are done with it.

  • +1 - Good idea! Considering that the higher end baby monitors can cost nearly as much as a decent cordless phone, that's a good idea. Unless, of course, your house has gone cell-phone only, like mine. :-P
    – afrazier
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 20:47
  • Yeah, that's the trend now. Then again, if you still have your cordless, that feature will work even if you don't have your phone line turned on
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 21:00

Video Baby Monitor

We got a video monitor for the baby room. It was great because I could easily see if I actually needed to go in the room or if it was just time to roll around and be noisy.

Amazon Mom and Subscribe and save programs

This has saved us a ton of money and headaches. I have it set up to have diapers, wipes, baby oatmeal, and other necessities mailed to the house once a month (or as often as needed). For the first year you get an extra 15% off and free shipping with the Mom program. I have only had to buy diapers in the store once in the last year.


A doorway bouncer is great fun and exercise

enter image description here ..once the baby is big enough to fit. They seem to love it. We've put both our kids in them and they just love going boing-boing-boing for (literally) up to an hour. You can't leave them unattended, but certainly it is entertaining for them while you do other things nearby (meaning tidy up, cuddle wife, prepare food, etc)


A sit-in Activity Centre is great fun

Look at how much fun this baby is having :-) we found that our children and all their friends absolutely love this type of sit-in activity centre. The particular one we got was based on different genres of music and would play Salso, Tango, Rumba and Disco tunes when the baby worked out what keys to press. Each child got a different tune based on the combination of keys, microphone and turntable they played with, so it was quite varied.

It's a dad hack because it keeps baby entertained and safe in one place while you do whatever you need to nearby them - e.g. it's a hands-free device :-)


Booster music:

This one's for yourself rather than for the baby. Some people benefit from playing sounds and music that trigger an effect in your brain-wave pattern. Pzizz is an example of that. If you need a 20-minute power nap, or need help falling deeply asleep, such music might work for you.

This music is something I actually use, and despite appearances it really, honestly works! It works best if you're familiar with it already, so some "training" (conditioning, really) helps. Must be used with headphones, and in-ear headphones are better than old-school ("walkman") on-ear headphones.


I found that trying to get baby to sleep was a problem - a soothing noise, at first you sush until you start hyper ventilating! Then you get an app for your smart phone that creates "white noise" - this mimics the sound in the womb, it's comforting to the baby. This was a god send - you just leave it on timer, say 15mins and leave the room and baby is asleep.


I have been using an iPad app "Baby Connect" for about a week now. It is useful for logging all the important things that need to be tracked with your new baby. Lots of useful features included such as web-based access and the ability to share your records with caretakers, relatives, etc.

It's $5 in the App store if you decide to use the iPad / iPhone version but I think it's worth it. The need it fills is similar to that of the Itzbeen timer that others suggested.

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