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11 Parenting Hacks We Wish Existed

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On September 20 and 21, MIT will be hosting a hackathon to build a better breast pump. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with a breast pump knows that they suck, literally and figuratively. They are complicated, inefficient, hard to clean, noisy and make women feel like cows. So, there is a lot to improve here and I wish those well-meaning nerds well.

But it did occur to me that there is a lot of parent technology that could use an update. I mean, it’s 2014 and forceps for delivery are still glorified salad tongs. So, here is a list of things I would liked hacked next.

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1. The Automated Pacifier

Why has no one ever implanted a locating chip in this? Something I can use my phone to activate? How hard could that be? Also, it would be nice if there were some sort of remote way I could insert them into my baby’s mouth in the middle night?

2. Baby Translator

A device that decodes my baby’s screams. But actually, on second thought. I don’t want that. I’m sure it would just be “Cookie” over and over and over.

3. More Sophisticated Delivery Implements

When I was pregnant with my first child, I did one of those classes the hospital offers. When I was shown the implements often used for delivery — forceps, vacuum, etc — I was really shocked at how primitive they were. The vacuum was just a tiny hand held pump. The thing that I use to pick cheerios up of my rug is more sophisticated. I mean sure, not using implements is preferred. But after four hours of pushing, I was glad to have the vacuum. But I do wish it was a little less, Hoovery. Can delivery implements advance beyond the giant metal shoehorn stage?

4. Baby Sock Locator

There has got to be a way to not lose 50 million socks every year. At this point, I don’t even think Seal Team 6 could locate the four years of baby socks somewhere stashed around my house. Which reminds me, I need to buy more. Winter’s coming.

5. Better Baby Bumper

Anyone who has a baby can tell you about the pain and agony of their baby getting limbs stuck between the bars.

So baby bumpers are not recommended because of the risk of SIDS. And yet, anyone who has a baby can tell you about the pain and agony of their baby getting limbs stuck between the bars. The mesh baby bumpers slide down too easily and both my kids just stuck their limbs over them. I mean, we have watches that are phones? Can’t a mom get a little nighttime help?

6. Beautiful, Practical Nursing Bras

No offense to all the companies out there doing the hard work of making bras for nursing ladies, but I’ve tried a lot of bras and they are mostly terrible. They are either really comfortable and look awful. Or look great but are completely impractical. Nursing boobs grow and shrink faster than, well, a male body part. Buying a nursing bra in one size is completely ridiculous. If nursing bras were for men, you can bet the marriage of form and function wouldn’t be so rare.

7. Improved Hands-Free Pumping Devices

Whoever invented these was just like, “Let’s take whatever works for a dairy cow and change it a little for women. We’ll be rich.” This might shock everyone, but what works for Bessie the cow doesn’t work for, Bessie the human. Let’s try to get this one nailed down, folks.

8. Easily Wearable Baby Onesies

Some onesies practically require a Ph.D. in snaps to figure out.

Honestly, snapping these things is so freaking hard. Some onesies practically require a Ph.D. in snaps to figure out. I know you could be figuring out something more worthwhile, like a cure for cancer or robots that won’t kill us, but if you could do me this one little favor of inventing a way to secure a baby’s clothing without a million tiny snaps or zippers that will catch chubby baby flesh, that would be great.

9. Kid Mouth Guard

Short of actually putting duct tape over my kid’s mouth (which I wouldn’t actually do, calm down) how do I get my baby to stop eating dirt? I don’t actually want to suggest a baby shock collar (okay, yes I do, but no one call CPS), but can we get something like that, without all the shocking, of course. *Nervously laughs and runs away*

10. Drink Force Field

I need some way to protect my drinks from my kids. Sure, I put them up high. But riddle me this: How do I get a drink and hold my baby at the same time? This is the Gordian knot of parenthood.

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11. Sibling Separator

So, if you have a baby and a toddler, you know the pain of trying to keep them from constantly attacking one another. Or as my daughter calls it, “Giving bubby some loves.” Or as the baby calls it, “AUGGH!” I need a way for them to stop touching each other without putting them in separate rooms, where I can’t see them. Also, the pack n’ play? Please. Putting the baby in the pack n’ play is like stuffing some fish in a barrel. In this metaphor, the toddler is the one with the gun.

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