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Top gadgets for dads

The baby gadgets making parenting easier, from Dadnatal’s PJ Douglas

Author PJ Douglas
Categories   Product Guides

The Edit

Ever since man realised he could sharpen the end of a stick to make it pointy to hunt with and save himself the headache of trying to club a T-Rex to death with an unsharpened stick we have always loved gadgets and things that make our life easier.

The world of parenthood is no different! Visit any baby show or event in the lead up to your child being born and you’ll be blindsided by a million and one offerings all of which make it sound like getting your child past six months without them would be a statistical impossibility.

But fear not! I went down that rabbit hole and found what I think are the absolute essentials, the maybes and the one thing I will never forgive myself for buying for my child and wasting my hard-earned money on.

(Before we begin it’s worth pointing out that these opinions are my own and do not represent those of DadAF, DadNatal, Silver Cross or anyone else. Everything is unique to each person’s parenthood journey so take this advice with a pinch of salt and good humour as that is how it is intended!).

The Essentials

  • Steriliser – You do not realise the genius and use of a steriliser until you have to try and work without one. On a holiday to Malta (sadly a steriliser doesn’t count as hand luggage!) we were having to use sterilisation tablets with boiling water and all sorts of chaos, all of which can be replaced by flicking a switch to kill 99.9% of bacteria that can upset little tummies. Even better, some now use UV light to do this so you won’t burn your fingers by accident on the steam used in older ones.
  • Travel Cot – As a couple with family all over the UK as well as a love for travel, purchasing a good travel cot was always going to be high up on our list! A great travel cot should fold up small for easy transportation, have various height settings so you can use it as your child grows, and finally have a good storage shelf for all the wipes, clothing, wipes, nappies, wipes, lotions and wipes you’ll need during those early years!

The Maybes

  • Baby Shusher – We have been very lucky with my son and much like both of us if he has had an engaging enough day he is out like a light, barring a bad tummy or the occasional odd night. When he is up however you realise the stress of a good soothing, and this is where friends of mine swear by these small gadgets which have a built-in timer and volume to calibrate and help settle your little one down. Far easier than draining your phone battery on a 12-hour YouTube video of white noise and having it interrupted midway through with a loud advert for a car (I speak from experience!).
  • Squirt Spoon – We were again very lucky that my son took to eating with my appetite – meaning if it wasn’t bolted down, he’d give it a chomp! However for those with fussier food fixations this little gem allows you to load up whatever puree you may need into one end and squeeze it out onto the spoon for baby to enjoy, minimum fuss and mess!

The Waste of Money

I feel like I should stress that before I mention this, this is specific to me only, I can see why this product exists and it does work… But a baby room thermometer in the form of an egg was easily the biggest waste of money we spent. In my mother’s words when she saw it “We used this brilliant invention when you were little it was called… Common sense!” Of course, some people will struggle with telling temperatures (my mother was a nurse so was possibly more attuned!) but I take her point. You can also get these to check the temperature when running a bath (or go old school and use your elbow!) which makes more sense as we all know the hot tap is a fickle beast and this is never something you should take a risk on.

The Bonus

While writing this article I spoke to some other dads about what they considered their essentials and non-essentials, most were similar to mine but one dad said his biggest waste of money was a ‘baby cry analyser’ which is a real thing he spent an obscene amount of money on which promised a 60% success rate?! I cannot stress how quickly you will learn to recognise your own child’s cries and what they relate to so please do not be this dad and save your hard-earned money here!

Author PJ Douglas

PJ Douglas is the head of content at Dadnatal – online platforms providing support, advice and help for dads and expectant dads. Having travelled and lived across the world himself, PJ considers becoming a dad his biggest adventure yet!

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