There’s a lot to keep track of as a new mom. All of a sudden, you’re scrambling to learn how to care for a tiny person, without sleep and with a lot of new responsibilities. It’s a rough adjustment that takes time, patience and probably at least a few crying jags to get the hang of. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a new mother, give her time to sleep. If you’re looking for the next best thing, try these helpful gadgets that are designed to make the job at least a little easier.
Hatch Rest (2nd gen)
Consider this my partner’s favorite thing on our baby registry – he likes Hatch’s sound machine-slash-nightlight so much that he started using it before our little one arrived. The sleek-looking device offers a dozen different kinds of white noise (rainfall is my personal favorite) and an adjustable-brightness light with 10 present hues as well as a custom-color option. Being able to dial up even a subtle amount of light is helpful in those first few months when you’re nursing at all hours of the night and need just a little extra visibility. Best of all, the whole setup is controllable from a smartphone, because we all know the new mom in your life isn’t going to want to stumble across the room at 3am in the dark to futz with physical buttons. If you need a more budget-friendly option, I also recommend the $40 Hatch Rest Mini, which we purchased as a travel noise machine (and, you know, because my spouse doesn’t want to give up “his” Hatch once the baby moves to her own room). — Dana Wollman, Editor-in-Chief
$70 at Walmart$70 at Amazon$70 at Nordstrom
AMACOOL Battery Operated Stroller Fan
The only thing harder than having a baby in the winter: having a baby in the summer. If it wasn’t challenging enough that babies can’t wear sunscreen before six months, it’s stressful to take them out in high temps and wonder if they’re overheating. A stroller fan is an inexpensive accessory that could buy some peace of mind. (I also recommend a low-tech solution: bringing a spray bottle.) I won’t recommend the clip-on model I bought because it left scratches on the frame of my new stroller, but if I could do it all over again I would buy something like the AMACOOL Battery Operated Fan, which mounts using flexible legs. This particular model has three speeds and a USB-rechargeable battery that promises a minimum of 2.5 hours of runtime per charge. Because the mounting design is so flexible, your giftee can also use it on a car seat or, when the baby outgrows it, a bike or treadmill. — D.W.
$30 at Amazon
If there is only one piece of tech that makes it into the nursery, it should be a baby monitor. Being able to check on your sleeping infant without waking them is an invaluable gift, and you’ll want one that’s reliable, clear and adds thoughtful features (not just tech for tech’s sake).
Owlet makes a Cam that streams 1080p HD video to an app on your phone. The camera itself can sit on a base or get mounted to a wall. It has a 130-degree wide-angle lens to cover the room, but has to be manually tilted or adjusted so you can’t pan remotely. The video feed has night vision and displays in color during the day. The camera has two-way audio, so you can both hear your little one and speak to them through the device. There’s also background audio so sound from the camera will play over other apps if you have it up and running as well. In addition, it can send you notifications if it senses movement or sound coming from your baby’s crib. The Cam uses AES 128-bit encryption and a TSL connection to WiFi for security, though the feed can be shared with up to five people at a time (assuming you’ve shared your log-in credentials with them).
Lastly, it can be paired with Owlet’s wearable sensor, the Smart Sock, which measures an infant’s heart rate and pulse ox. If the baby’s stats take a dive or shoot into irregular levels, you’ll get a very unsubtle alert on your phone — and on the sock’s base station. Because it’s intended to be worn at night and during naps, the Owlet Sock also tracks babies’ sleep habits. All this data is viewable in the app, making it a fairly complete monitoring system. — A.B.
$119 at Owlet
LIFX smart lights
New moms don’t have enough hands to do everything they need to, when it needs to be done. Automating even the smallest task, like turning on and off a light, can be a big help. LIFX’s smart lights make great gifts because they come in all-white or color options, they’re dimmable and they require no connecting bridge or hub. That means your giftee can just screw them into their existing lamps, connect them to WiFi via the mobile app and start using them. They may want to automatically dim the lights in their baby’s room at a certain time, or shift to warmer or cooler light depending on the time of day. They can customize it as much or as little as they want — and if they just can’t be bothered, they can always use Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant voice commands to control these smart lights, too. — Valentina Palladino, Senior Commerce Editor
$34 at Amazon
Kobo Clara 2E
Whether she’s bottle or breast feeding, a new mom has a lot of sitting-around time when the baby’s first born. She could spend time scrolling social media, but “flipping” through a book on an e-reader might be more rewarding. Kobo’s Clara 2E earned the top spot in our guide to e-readers thanks to its eye-friendly warm light, sharp display, intuitive interface and speedy but accurate touch responses. It’s compact and lightweight enough to hold in one hand, which is particularly important for busy new moms, and it can handle getting accidentally drenched. She can buy books through the Kobo store, borrow them from the library or subscribe to Kobo Plus for $10 per month to get unlimited access to a big selection of audio- and e-books. – Amy Skorheim, Commerce Writer
$140 at Walmart$140 at Amazon
Many babies, mine included, will only take naps in a moving stroller. This means sometimes your options are to just keep walking, or to push the stroller in place with one hand, even if that’s inside your living room on a cold, dreary day. The Rockit is a rechargeable doo-dad that clips onto your stroller and does the rocking for you, allowing you to reclaim use of both hands while you get other things done – because when else will you be able to tidy up, have a bite to eat or dash off an email if the kid unless the kid is asleep? — D.W.
$70 at Amazon
UPPAbaby Carry-All Parent Organizer
You’re probably not buying someone a stroller unless it was on their registry (and even then that would be almost too generous of a gift), but you might want to consider a stroller organizer. I didn’t even have one on my registry because it didn’t occur to me I’d need one, but it became obvious soon enough that I was missing an easy place to store my phone while pushing the stroller. (My jean pockets are too tight; pushing while wearing a purse can feel unwieldy; and having to fish a bag out of the under-stroller basket gets annoying.) Uppababy’s organizer is made of easy-to-clean neoprene, and its three pockets can fit a variety of things, including a to-go drink, keys, a burp rag and, of course, your smartphone of choice. — D.W.
$40 at Amazon$40 at Nordstrom$40 at Bloomingdale’s
Skip Hop Light-Up Diaper Caddy
Skip Hop’s diaper caddy has been an MVP in our changing setup, with room for several days’ worth of diapers and two pockets for items like rash cream and hand sanitizer. I especially like the built-in night light, which presents an alternative to turning on the overhead light during middle-of-the-night diaper changes. Once our little one is potty trained, I plan to reuse the soft basket to store toys instead. — D.W.
$45 at Target
Theragun Mini 2.0
If the new baby has mom feeling knots, a personal massage “gun” like the Theragun Mini 2.0 can provide some temporary relief by gently pummeling away her muscle aches. While not the most forceful device of its kind, this triangular massager is effective enough to ease soreness yet small enough to carry around and outside of the house. We’ve recommended the original Mini in past gift guides; that one has slightly longer battery life and remains a good buy if you’re on a tighter budget, but this model is 20 percent smaller and supports a couple more attachments for targeting different parts of the body. Just be warned neither is exactly quiet. No massage gun is a substitute for proper sleep and nutrition habits, but since those will be in shorter supply for any new mom, it can be a useful tool to have on hand. — Jeff Dunn, Senior Commerce Writer
$105 at Amazon $199 at DICK’S Sporting Goods
Twelve South HoverBar Duo
A tablet might be a new mom’s saving grace when she’s constantly shuffling around the house tending to the needs of a baby. A good stand like the HoverBar Duo can make it easier for her to safely and securely prop up her device without fear of it accidentally being knocked over by a rogue, tiny fist. One of our favorite iPad accessories, the HoverBar Duo has a weighted base, and while it could be knocked over, it would require more force than most infants could muster. It also comes with a clamp attachment so they could hook it to a table or desk if that’s more convenient. Whether they need to use their tablet to read work documents, show off the little bundle of joy to friends and family in a video call, or just binge-watch a show while the kid naps, the HoverBar Duo can give them a stable way to keep their table in view. — V.P.
$60 at Amazon$60 at Staples
Baby Brezza Safe + Smart bottle warmer
I’m not sure exactly how many steps I’m earning walking up and downstairs to check on the bottle warmer, but it’s probably a fair percentage of my daily exercise. Baby Brezza makes a Safe + Smart Baby Bottle Warmer that uses Bluetooth to connect the device to your phone. Using the Baby Brezza app you can operate the warmer remotely and get alerts when the bottle is ready. Though the app is pretty minimal, that’s not always a bad thing when you’re bleary-eyed and trying to feed an infant in the early morning hours. Plus, having controls on your phone allows you to turn off the warmer and avoid overheating a bottle. The downside is that the Safe + Smart warmer only holds a single bottle at a time. — A.B.
$80 at Amazon
Smart breast pump
If your giftee is breastfeeding or pumping, a smart breast pump from Elvie or Willow is going to be a huge time saver. These wearable pumps let Mom keep on schedule while keeping her hands free to do any of the 40 other things she’s got on her plate. The pump, power supply and container are all contained in the egg-shaped device, which pairs to an app using Bluetooth. They’re a bit cumbersome to wear, but comfortable to use, and it beats being tethered to a wall unit, though the results are not always as consistent.
Though both products are similar in design and functionality, there are some differences between them. The Willow pump can be used with reusable containers or disposable bags, while the Elvie only has the container option. The Elvie pump is quieter and more discreet, while the Willow pump offers a spill-proof system that can be used even while upside down. (I tested this myself and it works.) They can be purchased in a set or two, or as an individual pump. — A.B.
$279 at Amazon $300 at Target
Wabi Baby sanitizer
While my children are very cute, they also like to chew on my house slippers, eat post-its and lick the touch-and-feel books. So I spend a lot of time cleaning the things that do belong in their mouths like pacifiers and teethers and plastic toys, which invariably end up on the car floor. While most of these things are easy to throw into boiling water, it can be worth the time saved to let a sanitizer do the job. The Wabi Baby sanitizer is something that I received as a gift, and it’s served me well. It takes up a fair amount of counter space but it’s relatively quiet; it fits a wide variety of bottles, dinnerware and accessories; and it can run a drying cycle after the steam sanitation session.
The display shows how much longer the process will run, it’s fairly simple to operate and it automatically remembers your last session so you can select it again easily. However, you can only use distilled water which can admittedly be a pain. Also, you have to be careful about where you put the Wabi; it requires a drainage mat for excess water. — A.B.
$110 at Wabi Baby
The only book I read cover to cover during my pregnancy was Expecting Better. The conceit of this book, written by economist and mother Emily Oster, is that the author uses her skills as a social scientist to make sense of all the conflicting research around what people should eat, drink and do while expecting. I found the book comforting and not-at-all judgey, and so I was pleased to learn that Oster had also written a follow-up book, Cribsheet. This volume tackles all sorts of hot-button issues from birth to nursery school, including sleep training, solid foods, screen time and disciplining toddlers (good luck with that). If your giftee is still pregnant, I might consider springing for both books, but if they’ve already given birth Cribsheet is a resource they’ll be able to turn to for years to come. — D.W.
$16 at Amazon$28 at Books-A-Million (BAM!)$8 at Better World Books
The new mom in your life will probably appreciate some TV time on your dime when she finally gets the little one to go to sleep – and when the baby inevitably wakes up and needs to be held soon after. Hulu’s app isn’t the cleanest, but the service remains one of the better streaming services for keeping up with recent episodes from primetime TV shows. It has its share of kid-friendly content as well, though you can expand that catalog by pairing the service with Disney+ (and ESPN+) through a Disney Bundle subscription. — J.D.
$100 at Amazon