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The next time you go shopping for Junior, you might want to buy diapers and onesies that are “smarter” than the regular fare. Manufacturers have come up with a mind-boggling array of gadgets, sensors, chips, and whatnots that can be fitted on your baby—inside the diaper or clipped to it, strapped to his chest, or painted on his pajamas—that will keep parents informed about their baby’s vitals. But wait, that’s not all. These app-connected sensors will tweet Mommy when the baby needs to be changed and read to him at bedtime! With the pace at which technology is evolving, these may not sound like jaw-dropping stuff, but baby tech certainly raises some questions. Will all these apps and sensors take the stress out of parenting? Or will they also take away the magic of “bonding” with the baby?

Before we delve into these weighty (read: touchy) issues, let’s first sample what’s on offer in the baby tech segment.

There are “smart” onesies, such as Mimo’s smart baby monitor, fitted with sensors that track the baby’s breathing, temperature, movements, and sleep patterns and send you the data on your iOS or Android device. Then there is a sensor in the shape of a toy frog (well, what else did you expect?) that is connected to a milk warmer. As soon as the baby cries, the warmer goes into action.

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The Smart PJs claim to be the world’s first interactive pajamas and have QR codes printed on them. Scan the codes with your device, and it will then read a story, sing a rhyme, or show pictures. The screen also shows information about the pictures, so parents can choose to mute the device and let the kid learn by reading himself.

TweetPee is a sensor that can be clipped to the front of the diaper. When the baby wets itself, the sensor tweets an alert. Unsurprisingly, the sensor is shaped like a little blue bird.

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And here’s one that on the pipeline; it is still raising funds on Indiegogo. The Smart Diaper tracks information about the baby’s urine. Parents can scan the QR code on the back of the diaper to generate information like if the baby is dehydrated or there are signs of urinary tract infection or risk of kidney ailments.

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Whoa! That was indeed a fascinating read, but would you want to hook your baby to some digital device even if it is painted with a kid-safe paint and is too big to be swallowed?

Well, baby tech definitely takes the stress out of parenting in some cases. If your little one is at risk of developing certain diseases—respiratory ailments or kidney problems—or has had an episode in the past, then you will probably want to remain in the know, always, about what is happening inside the tiny body. After all, we know that responding promptly to early warning signs can prevent a health issue from blowing up.

Baby tech definitely makes sense if you are a parent who is perpetually fretting over your baby’s health. You spend sleepless nights listening to your baby’s breathing or read up every baby book in store just to assure yourself that you will spot any symptom as soon your little one sprouts it. You will have more rest and less doctor visits if you let these sensors take over the monitoring and number-crunching work.

Baby tech has definitely redefined parenting. But these gadgets are not for those Moms and Dads who still believe in the old school of “intuitive” parenting. They are probably cringing at the mere thought of letting an app tell them when it is time to change diapers or feed the baby; they would rather let the baby’s cries or growling tummies guide them. And is it naive to think that most parents will want to read bedtime stories to their kids themselves rather than have them stare at a digital device?

On the flip side, baby tech may also add to the stress levels of some parents. If you are a tech- and app-happy enthusiast who has brought a Smart Diaper or the Smart PJs just for the joy of owning the latest cool toy, then you will probably freak out if you are bombarded with data about your kid 24×7. How would you like to be jolted awake at three in the morning by a blip and have to figure out what a heart rate number means. If your kid is perfectly healthy, do you really want to saddle yourself with more data? It seems this could lead to parents being hypercritical of every little alert and number change.

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