Technology Is Ruining the Best Parts of New Parenthood

Parents of new babies born into our world of technology are given the opportunity to have their baby's every waking breath and thought recorded, reported and assessed in every way. For neurotic parents who used to just keep a written log, this is a great thing, something we might consider progress. But for most parents, by the time the "new" has worn off and your baby is four months old or so, you ought to be able to venture out of the house without carrying an iPhone link to your baby's crib.

The problem with technology is the more we use it, the more dependent we become and the more neurotic we become as a result. Take a product like the one from Withings that is a baby scale that links to your iPhone. It seems ingenious, right? For parents like me, who had underweight babies, this would have been a godsend five years ago.


The problem (and it's a big one) is the obsession. I was obsessed enough without a graph and chart to watch every single day. And this is not the worst of it.

There are machines that monitor whether your baby stops breathing in the night, which seems like it would eliminate the obsessive standing over the baby's crib watching his chest rise and fall that all us crazy new moms have done. But the problem is, it is super sensitive and my friends who have used them say they were alarmed many times for no reason. Moreover, it can become an obsession and it takes something away from being in the moment. If you trust a monitor, you don't get that sweet, gooey love that comes from checking on your baby 10 times in the night because you can.

Admittedly, being a new parent is an obsessive enterprise and always has been. We bring these new creatures into our home and are charged with keeping them safe and protected, but it feels impossible.

We are easy sells for products that feed our neuroses. Like video baby monitors. In theory they are very cool, but in practice, they are insane. I know people who have spent every evening for months drooling in front of their video monitor, watching their baby sleep. OK, so that is an exaggeration, but in all seriousness, most parents will spend hours in front of the monitor watching their baby sleep if there is no risk of waking him or her. It is a slippery slope. One minute you have a life, the next you are eating Cheetos for dinner and your milk is leaking all over your blouse because you don't want to miss your baby's next REM cycle.

Then there are video cameras and YouTube and Facebook and the iPhone, all tempting us to record every waking second of our baby's life and share it rather than just experience it. Sometimes I worry I will have spent so much time sharing my kid's life and watching him that I won't even remember anything REAL because I missed it trying to record it.

Technology is a great thing, but I am not sure it is the best thing. New parents worry enough on their own without technology.

Do you think these products hurt or help new parents?




Image via Amazon

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