The Internet of Things revolution is upon us. On behalf of all parents, I hope that this tide of connected, data-driven change will deliver the sort of devices that parents really, truly need during their babies’ first few months.
1. A diaper that anticipates poop catastrophes: Sends a “TAKE COVER and DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOUSE” message to parents’ smartphones at least 5 minutes before the blowout occurs. Bonus pun points for calling this device a ShitBit.
2. A baby cry translator: Can decipher and distinguish cries pertaining to hunger, diaper change, belly ache, illness and body temperature. Sends parents a complimentary bottle of wine when the cry means, “I don’t even know why I’m crying, but I’m going to keep it up for at least the next two hours.”
3. Sleep sensor pajamas: Predicts just how easy it will be to set your sleepy (or not-so-sleepy) baby in their crib. Sends messages like, “Yep, do it now, this one is golden” or “ALERT! ALERT! BABY WILL POP UP LIKE A GOPHER THE MOMENT YOU SET THEM DOWN IN THE CRIB, ROCK FOR THREE MORE MINUTES, I REPEAT, ROCK FOR THREE MORE MINUTES!”
Special overlay that attaches to laptop and smartphone screens. Detects the real behind the social media fake.
4. A bra with a breastmilk leakage sensor: Syncs with a parent’s digital calendar. Reminds them to pack extra breast pads for upcoming meetings or presentations. Also reminds them to insert breast pads at least 20 minutes before said meetings or presentations. Bra materializes into a waterproof shield if leak emergency happens. Wet spot crises averted.
5. Find my pacifier: Prevents even more crying than Find my iPhone.
6. Social media real-detector: Special overlay that attaches to laptop and smartphone screens. Detects the real behind the social media fake. “Totally Photoshopped the dog-poop stained carpet out of this photo.” “This cherubic-looking kid bit their brother on the arm and spilled cereal on the floor 10 minutes after this picture was taken.” “You can see this mom’s beaming smile in this snapshot. What you can’t see is that she has postpartum anxiety and depression.”
7. Glasses that help you identify unhelpful people: Like X-ray vision, but for the soul. Sends messages like, “This person is a charlatan. Their magic infant health remedy is bullshit. Leave immediately.” “This lactation consultant is a condescending asshole. Fire them.” “This person showed up at your doorstep without food or coffee and still wants to hold your baby and take up your entire afternoon with pointless conversation. Close the door on this monster.”
Tracks hormones and brain chemistry. Connects parents only to compassionate and knowledgeable care providers. Automatically hides all shaming or guilt-inducing posts and articles from social media feeds.
8. A cold coffee monitor: Mug tracks how many times its contents have gone cold throughout the day. Sends parents drone-delivered chocolate by 3 p.m. if the count is above one. Sends parents the really nice chocolate if they have microwaved their coffee, forgotten about it (or gotten distracted by a needy baby) and then had to microwave it again.
9. Self-doubt predictor: Can be inserted in bottles, breast pumps, strollers, baby carriers and car seats. Each time it senses a parent’s weary sigh or whimper, it sends a message to their smartphone. “You are doing an amazing job.” “You’re right, this sucks. This is hard. You’re not a bad mom/dad.” “You’ve got this.” “Cherishing every moment is impossible stop listening to those liars.”
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10. A postpartum mood disorder monitor. Tracks hormones and brain chemistry. Connects parents only to compassionate and knowledgeable care providers. Automatically hides all shaming or guilt-inducing posts and articles from social media feeds. Mutes the voices of people trying to give unsolicited advice. Sends messages of hope. Assembles a kickass village (both the virtual and real-life kind) of supporters who get it. Saves lives.