From the Snoo to the Boogie Wipe, These Are the 12 Most Amazing Parenting Innovations from the Last 10 Years
They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and in 2020, said village better have Wi-Fi. Welcome to modern parenting, where gadgets, appliances and apps help make parenting easier and more efficient (and that was before Covid-19 upended all our lives).
In honor of PureWow’s 10th anniversary, we’re highlighting 12 parenting products from the past decade that we simply can’t live without. Note: Some of our favorite items didn’t make the cut because they weren’t invented in the last ten years (Velcro shoes! Magna-Tiles! the Roomba!), but we’re pretty obsessed with the ones that did. Presenting 12 family-friendly innovations from the past decade that are total game-changers.
1. Smart Home Assistants
Amazon released Alexa in 2014 and Google quickly followed suit with Google Home in 2016, and our family lives have never been the same. These clever devices can get your kids out of bed, make them brush their teeth, settle arguments, set screen time limits (“Alexa, set timer for 15 minutes) and even read bedtime stories. Need some downtime? Queue up Animal Workout. Have a kid that needs cheering up? Let them talk to Elmo. No energy to cook dinner? Let your device order pizza with the Domino’s or the Pizza Hut skill. It’s basically like having another member of the family (except this one always does what you ask).
2. The NoseFrida
OK, truth be told this one was actually invented more than ten years ago by our Swedish friends but it wasn’t until 2014, when mom-of-two Chelsea Hirschhorn took over the company that this niche product made its way onto every Target/Walmart/CVS shelf in the country (not to mention, the top of every baby registry list). This ingenious snot-sucker allows parents to safely and efficiently suck mucous from their kids noses thereby relieving stuffiness so that baby—and parents—can actually get a good night’s sleep whenever their kid has a cold (which is approximately every other week during the first year).
3. Willow Breast Pump
Moms are busy people and being hooked up to a breast pump like a milk cow is highly time-consuming (and boring). Enter this genius pump that is 100 percent cordless and bottle-less, too. In other words, you can pump on-the-go—and disguise the fact that you’re milking your boobs while picking up groceries. Genius.
4. AirPods Pro
Sure, we made fun of these strange looking earphones when they first hit the market in 2016, but AirPods are totally worth it. With noise cancellation, 24-hour battery life and a customized fit, it’s ridiculously easy to listen to podcasts while running errands, call your mom while holding your toddler or drown out the sound of your teen’s latest TikTok obsession.
5. Food Pouches
These packs of pureed fruits and vegetables are convenient, shelf-stable and nutritious...and the only thing keeping your 2-year-old from a complete meltdown at the park. Pouches, how did we ever live without you?
6. Instant Pot
But your kids can’t survive on purees forever. Which is why we’re so grateful for the instant pot. First released on Amazon in 2010, this handy kitchen helper is basically seven appliances in one—a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan and stockpot warmer. But the best part is that it’s seriously speedy. It can whip up breakfasts, lunches and dinners (not to mention dessert) in mere minutes, meaning less time slaving over the stove and more time spent hanging out with the fam.
7. Boogie Wipes
Fact: Kids are germ factories. And until they know how to wipe their own noses (and even after that, TBH), all that gunk gets everywhere. What’s the fix? This $4 pack of saline-soaked wipes that tiny tots don’t mind having near their face. (And as an extra bonus, parents love using them too.)
Remember when Apple first launched this device and we couldn’t understand what we were ever going to do with this giant iPhone? Fast forward ten years, and every member of the family uses it—whether for educational games, browsing the web, streaming video or reading. We’re sorry we ever doubted you, iPad.
9. Hatch Baby Rest
As far as we’re concerned, anything that gives parents more sleep deserves the damn Nobel prize. And this sleep training device is designed to do exactly that. The Bluetooth-enabled Hatch is a nightlight, sound machine, and time-to-rise device all-in-one that is controlled by your smartphone. Simply choose from nine colors to let your kid know when it’s OK to get up (“stay in bed until the light turns green”). Now if only there was an invention that would teach your kid how to pick up all his Legos.
10. The Miracle 360 Cup
Introducing a kid-friendly mug that is 100 percent spill-proof and helps babies transition out of bottles and sippies. This BPA-free kid-size travel cup hit the market in 2013 and has been saving sofas, clothing and car sears ever since. How? It automatically seals shut when not in use and is a cinch to clean (i.e, no yucky mold residue). That means even when your kid is busy twirling to Frozen 2, jumping off the ottoman and accidentally (or not) tosses this cup across a room, *zero* liquid emerges. It's also also a great way to train little mouths to drink like a big kid, rather than through a spout or straw.
11. The Snoo Basinet
In the parenting world, Harvey Karp, M.D., author of the Happiest Baby (and Toddler) book series, is a baby whispering genius. Which is why the launch of his smart bassinet in 2014 (dubbed “the safest baby bed ever made”) caused quite the stir—not least because of the cost. But parents swear that this high-tech sleeper that rocks and shushes a baby to sleep is worth the price tag (you can also rent it by-the-month if you so choose). Featuring a built-in sleep sack that offers a secure, swaddle-like hold, SNOO also keeps babies on their backs all night. It connects to an app where you can adjust settings for more or less movement, or make the bed more or less sensitive to fussing. It also has a “wean” setting that helps you transfer your baby to an old-school crib. Yes, it’s expensive, but can you really put a price on having a three-month-old that sleeps through the night?
Parenting in times of Covid-19 is...challenging. And truth be told, we’ve thrown our hands up in the air and cursed the Zoom gods more times than we can count. But we have to be appreciative that the technology exists to at least give our kids some contact with their teachers, peers and grandparents right now. (But please, let’s go back to normal soon.)