How to Build a Smart Baby Nursery
How to Build a Smart Baby Nursery
August 5, 2022

How to Build a Smart Baby Nursery

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How to Build a Smart Baby Nursery.
How to Build a Smart Baby Nursery

If the idea of a baby monitor that analyzes your little one’s sleep and a bassinet that automatically responds to their cries sounds good to you, then a smart baby nursery may be something you want to explore as you build your baby registry. But what exactly is a smart baby nursery? What types of smart baby products are best? And how do you even start if you’re interested in registering for all the latest and greatest in smart baby tech?

Here’s everything you need to know about building a smart baby nursery for your new arrival.

What Is a Smart Baby Nursery?

A smart baby nursery is a nursery space that incorporates data-driven, technology-forward products to help you better understand and care for your baby. Smart nursery products can include connected products—baby gear that’s connected to the internet and can transmit data and be controlled remotely—and truly smart products, gear that uses that data to anticipate and react to change.

Smart baby products use technology like sensors, cameras, built-in WiFi capability, apps and more. Examples of connected, smart baby products include things like a monitor that analyzes your baby’s sleep and generates tips and insights based on those habits, a bassinet that learns your baby’s wake patterns and auto-responds with soothing motion and a changing pad that weighs your little one at every diaper change and sends that information to an app on your phone.

Do I Need a Smart Baby Nursery?

No, you definitely don’t need a smart baby nursery. A traditional nursery with products like a crib or other safe place for your baby to sleep, a dresser or changing table, a glider, and an audio or video monitor (or even no monitor at all!) is just as safe and comfortable for your baby as a nursery decked out in high-tech gear. Deciding whether or not a smart nursery is right for you is more about personal preferences and budget.

If you’re debating if a smart baby nursery is something you want, consider some pros and cons as you think through your decision.

Pros of a smart baby nursery:

  • All data all the time. Want to know everything there is to know about your baby? A smart baby nursery filled with baby tech is where it’s at. Smart nursery products can tell you everything from the temperature and humidity in your baby’s room to exactly how many minutes your baby slept in their crib that day. For lots of people, having this type of information at their fingertips is empowering and can help them feel a bit more confident as new parents.
  • Easier tracking. And speaking of data…there’s a lot to keep track of when you’re dealing with a baby, especially during those newborn months. How many wet and dirty diapers did your baby have? How many ounces did they drink, and when was the last time they ate? Did you nurse on your right side or your left at the last feeding? Trying to keep track of all these stats in your head—or even in a notebook—feels tedious for lots of new parents. Smart baby products can help. They make tracking things like sleep, feeding and diapers a lot easier. And you’ll never have to write anything down or worry about losing any information since it’s all recorded (and easily accessible) in apps. The information is also easy to share with your pediatrician or a caregiver.
  • Insights, analysis and action. So you have all the data—but now what? Babies are a bit of a mystery, especially if you’re a new parent, and figuring out why they do what they do—like take a three-hour nap one day and a 20-minute one the next—can be a major head-scratcher. Smart baby nursery products can help you take away this mystery. They can also help you solve it—one of the major benefits of having a smart nursery. Your smart bassinet, for example, may help your baby get better and longer sleep. A monitor that tracks your baby’s total nap time may reveal that your little one isn’t getting enough daytime rest and it’s time to make a schedule change. A smart baby nursery helps you gather data, recognize patterns and take action to make your life as a parent a little bit easier.
  • It’s fun. Simple, yes, but also true, especially if you’re the type of parent who loves technology. Researching smart baby products and building out a smart baby nursery can be really fun, as can figuring out how a smart nursery can help make your parenting life a little bit easier.

Cons of a smart baby nursery:

  • Cost. There’s no way around it: a smart baby nursery is going to cost you more than a traditional nursery. How much more depends on the type and quantity of smart products you choose. If you do want to explore creating a smart baby nursery, be sure your budget allows for it.
  • Information overload. Can too much information ever be a bad thing? Absolutely, especially if you’re the type of person who gets overwhelmed by knowing too much. Data like exactly how many minutes your baby is sleeping, how many ounces of breast milk they consumed in a week or what your baby’s heart rate is while they’re napping can be helpful for some parents but detrimental for others. It can also cause unnecessary anxiety, especially if you’re a first-time parent. Before diving headfirst into designing a smart baby nursery, spend a little time thinking through how you process data and information and how much you really want to know about your newest family member.
  • You’re always connected. Another con of a smart baby nursery, and of smart baby products in general, is the dependence it creates on technology, namely on your phone. Need to know how long your baby’s nap is? Look at your phone. Wondering when the last feed was? Check your app. (You get the idea.) If you’re trying to be a little more present, a smart nursery may not be for you. Another thing to consider: smart gear requires a power source and often a Wifi connection to function, so if there’s an outage or a crash, you’re out of luck (temporarily, of course!). You may want to consider having a backup to certain things, like an audio monitor, for example, for peace of mind in the event that this happens.

How Do I Build a Smart Baby Nursery?

There’s no right or wrong way to build a smart baby nursery. Here are a few tips to guide you along the way.

  • Do your research. Spend some time thinking through which smart baby products you’ll want to add to your nursery and then researching your options. (Our category breakdowns and product reviews below will help you with this!) Read reviews, compare products and ask other parents what they love (and what they don’t).
  • Set a budget. Smart nursery gear is going to cost you more than traditional baby gear. Think through how much you want to spend and which gear categories are the most important to you. For example, if you’re set on a smart baby monitor, prioritize that and skip something like a Bluetooth swing.
  • It’s not all or nothing. Every single baby product you register for or purchase doesn’t have to be tech-forward. You can absolutely register for an audio monitor and a smart changing table, or purchase a smart bassinet but opt for a bouncer that doesn’t even need to be plugged in. It’s not all or nothing, so do what works for you.
  • Check your tech. Before deciding on what products you’ll want in your smart nursery, you’ll need to be sure your home’s wireless network is set up to support everything properly. Do you have a strong, reliable internet connection in your home? Do you have any reception issues in your baby’s nursery? You may want to consider setting up a mesh network (a team of routers you can spread around your home that often works better than one stationary router) or purchasing a smart home device like Amazon Alexa or Echo. You may also want to look into buying a smart plug, like this one that allows you to independently control multiple devices.

What is the Best Smart Baby Gear?

We divided our smart baby gear picks into categories to make research and shopping easier: monitors, bassinets, furniture and accessories, and gear, feeding, health and safety. We used our own expert research and insight to choose the best gear for your smart baby nursery.

Smart Baby Monitors

If you only decide on one smart nursery product, make it a monitor. A smart baby monitor is at the hub of any smart nursery. It offers 24/7 access to your baby plus a whole host of other super cool features like movement and breath tracking, sleep stats, temperature and humidity sensors and lots more, all accessible anytime, anywhere right from your phone.

Smart baby monitor pro tips:

  • Smart baby monitors offer lots of sleep analytics and information. For some parents, this is a dream; for others, it’s anxiety-producing. Think through what works for you.
  • WiFi-based monitors let you view your baby 24/7 from anywhere—but you’ll need your phone. You’ll also need a good WiFi connection. Just like sleep analytics, some parents see this as a pro, while others a con.
  • Want to give multiple users access to your monitor? (Think grandma, babysitter etc.) You can with smart baby monitors.
  • You’ll definitely pay more for a smart baby monitor than you will for an audio or video monitor.

The Nanit monitor is about as smart as they come. It tracks everything you’d ever want to know about your baby—and then some—reliably and accurately, all streamed right to your phone via the monitor’s WiFi-enabled app. There are some standard high-tech baby monitor features like a 1080p HD camera, two-way audio, temperature and humidity sensors and clear night vision. Then there’s a host of smart features, including things like breath and movement tracking, sleep analytics, growth tracking, timelapse highlight reels, sharing options and so much more. This exclusive bundle contains everything you need for home and on the go.

Miku sets itself apart from other smart baby monitors because of what it doesn’t have: no bands, socks or other wearables required to monitor your baby’s breathing and sleep patterns. Completely contact-free, this smart monitor uses proprietary sensor technology to track your little one’s vitals and notify you in real-time if something seems off. Like the Nanit, there’s also a 1080p camera with outstanding night vision, two-way talk, temperature and humidity sensors along with sleep analytics like day and night summaries, sleep trend data and sleep quality info. Everything is streamed right to your phone so you can view it whether you’re binging Netflix on your couch or out to dinner with friends.

Smart Bassinets

Next up, a smart spot for your baby to snooze. Smart bassinets, sometimes also called smart cribs, use technology to help with one of the most challenging aspects of new parenting: your baby’s sleep. Smart bassinets include things like motion, sound and other soothing features designed to help your baby sleep better and longer. The most tech-forward of the bunch even learn your baby’s wake patterns and auto-respond with motion in an effort to lull them back to sleep when they startle.

Smart bassinet pro tips:

  • May help extend baby’s sleep, but some babies have trouble weaning off the motion.
  • If you’re interested in a smart crib that auto-responds to baby’s cries, make sure you look for that specific feature—it’s not included in all smart cribs.
  • Be prepared to spend more for a smart bassinet than you would for a traditional one.
  • Remember you’ll need a place to plug in your smart bassinet.

Snoo, the smart bassinet that started it all, is the brainchild of pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, the man behind the five S’s and bestselling The Happiest Baby on the Block sleep guide for new parents. The biggest selling point of this ultra-modern (and ultra-expensive) smart bassinet is its auto-response feature. It learns your baby’s sleeping and waking patterns and responds accordingly with gradual motion and sound to help your little one fall back to sleep. It also features a built-in swaddle and sleep analytics.

This smart bassinet from mamaRoo doesn’t feature auto-response (you need to control it manually via either the touchpad on the bassinet or an app on your phone), but it does feature five unique motions that mimic how babies like to be soothed. There’s also built-in white noise, breathable mesh sides and adjustable legs for a custom height. And while still expensive, the price point is much more accessible than SNOO.

The most budget-friendly smart bassinet on our list is a very good value considering its features. The Sense2Snooze is a motion-activated bassinet that uses a built-in microphone to listen for your baby’s cries and respond with front-to-back motion, soothing sounds and varying speed and vibration levels. You can customize the settings based on what your baby prefers, a nice perk. Parents also love the reverse canopy (perfect for blocking out bright sunlight during naptime) and the wheels for easy portability.

Smart Furniture + Accessories

Yup, even nursery furniture and accessories are in on the smart nursery game. These picks take some of the products you’d find in a standard nursery—items like a glider, a diaper pail, a changing pad and more—and add a little bit of tech magic to make them, well…smarter. Add one, a few or all of them to your smart nursery depending on your preference (and your budget).

Smart nursery furniture pro tips:

  • Smart baby furniture and accessories will cost you more, but the cost may be incremental considering you’ll likely be buying most of these items for your nursery anyway.
  • Many of these smart nursery furniture picks can be used long beyond the baby days.

The Rest+ is a multi-function product that will have a place in your child’s room long after the baby days are over. This smart multi-tasker is a night light, sound machine, time-to-rise clock and audio monitor all rolled into one and all controlled through an easy-to-use app on your phone. Sleek and simple on the outside and smart on the inside, it takes the place of four different products (minimalism FTW) and is a Babylist parent registry favorite year after year.

We’re on board with anything that helps take the yuck out of diaper changes. This smart diaper pail is like nothing else on the market, using the power of hospital-grade UV light to eliminate odor-causing bacteria and germs in dirty diapers. (There’s also a self-sealing lid to minimize smells, another plus.) The four LED lights automatically sterilize the diapers as you drop them in, and the lights turn off when not in use. Here’s to a smarter, less smelly nursery.

While maybe not the smartest of smart products on our list, this comfy glider does feature two tech-forward features that are helpful additions to any smart nursery space. In addition to its beautiful design and Greenguard Gold Certification, the Harbour glider is electronic; just push the button on the hidden control panel and it smoothly and quietly reclines backward. There’s also a built-in USB charging port, because let’s be honest—you’re going to need a fully charged phone to operate all the gadgets you’ve got going on in your super cool smart nursery!

One of the best things about some smart baby products is the peace of mind they can provide for new parents. This Bluetooth baby scale makes it easy to measure and track your baby’s growth—especially helpful during those first few months when weight gain can feel like a major stressor for lots of new parents. There are four built-in sensors, special functions to make sure you’re getting an accurate measurement for extra wiggly babies and a large, easy-to-read LED screen.

If they’re in your budget, smart shades can be a helpful addition to any smart nursery space, as you’ll be putting them up and down quite a bit for naptimes and nightime over the years. These budget-friendly roller blinds from Ikea are a good place to start if you don’t want to shell out a ton of money. They come in eight sizes (no customization available, unfortunately) and are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Home with the addition of a special device that attaches to your router.

Smart Gear, Feeding, Health and Safety

You’ve got your smart nursery all ready to go, and now it’s time to shop for the rest. Smart baby products are available across lots of other baby-centric categories including gear, feeding, health and safety. Choose the ones you think will work best for you and fit well into your family’s lifestyle.

Smart baby gear pro tips:

  • Are you the type of person who would revel in a baby swing you can customize with different motions and control from your phone or do you just want to push one button and not think about the rest? Smart baby gear has a steeper learning curve than most other traditional gear, so keep that in mind while you’re shopping.
  • Like most of the smart baby products on our list, smart baby gear is going to cost you more than traditional baby gear.
  • Curious about a smart nursery but not completely sold? Registering for a few smart baby gear products is a good way to dip your toe into a more tech-forward space to test the waters. If you love it, you can always buy more later on.

This smart baby swing was the first of its kind over a decade ago and continues to be a Babylist parent favorite. With five fluid motions based on how parents move when soothing babies (think movements like bouncing, swaying and even the sensation of riding in a car), the mamaRoo is ideal for even the youngest babies who are accustomed to motion in the womb. You can mix and match the settings for the perfect ride and control everything from your phone.

For a more affordable smart swing option, check out Munchkin’s Bluetooth Enabled Baby Swing. This lower profile, foldable option is just right for smaller spaces. It rocks gently back and forth to recreate the swaying motion of a parent’s arms. It even connects to your phone so you can stream your own music.

The Talli tracker may not be for everyone, but if you’re the type of parent who thrives on information and schedules, this smart baby product may make a useful addition to your nursery. The tiny wireless tracker logs eight different events with the touch of a button (think things like bottle feeds, wet and dirty diapers, sleep, pumping or nursing sessions and more) then sends the data to the Talli Baby app where you can see and share it. It’s really simple to use and inconspicuous enough to mount right on your nursery wall or store on a changing table. And it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa. Another pro: it’s great for helping sitters, nannies, grandparents or whoever else is helping out with baby track what they’re up to while you’re away.

Even if you’re a chill parent, it’s hard not to worry when your baby gets sick—especially when they have a fever. The smart features of this high-tech thermometer can help. All you do is stick the soft silicone patch on your baby’s armpit and the thermometer monitors your baby’s temperature in real-time instantly and continuously. (You’ll get notified when it rises over a preset number.) There’s a 24-hour battery life and a 1.5-hour charge time for each patch.

If you’re planning on using a humidifier in your nursery space, this smart option from Safety 1st is an excellent choice. It’s controlled via the brand’s Connected App, an app that allows parents and caregivers to control their baby’s nursery environment right from their phones, anytime and anywhere. (The humidifier is part of a suite of other Connected Nursery products.) The top-fill tank holds a gallon of water and can run for 24 hours without needing to be refilled, and you can monitor and adjust the humidity and temperature levels either from the touchscreen or from your phone. There’s also an integrated dimmable night light and optional voice activation control with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The humidifier works best in rooms up to about 500 square feet.

While you likely won’t be storing this formula maker in your smart nursery (but hey, you do you), we wanted to include it on our list since you’ll likely be feeding your baby a bottle or two (or two hundred) there. The Formula Pro automatically mixes, heats and dispenses formula or water all with just a touch of a button on your phone, meaning you can perfectly time that nighttime bottle to be ready as soon as bathtime is over without ever leaving your bathroom. It’s the kind of product that you may have rolled your eyes at before you become a parent, then praise its benefits the second you try it. There are tons of bottle customization options including three temperature settings, nine different bottle size choices and more, and it works with virtually all formula brands. (Just be sure to read and follow the specific directions for your particular brand.)

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and the Babylist Health Advisory Board.