Wearable devices for tracking baby
Benji is only four years old, but the wearable baby trackers I discovered this evening make his infancy look like the stone age in comparison. Sure, I used TrixieTracker to track Jessie’s napping six years ago, but I had to enter all that data myself. Now, you simply dress your baby in a custom-made onesie or snap a band around her ankle and you can let your smart phone alert you if her breathing, body temperature or heart rate are not OK. The Sproutling ankle band, which isn’t actually available yet but plans to go to market later this year, will even let you know when your baby is going to wake up from her nap. To the minute, they hope.
And what about a Withings baby scale? Weigh your baby every day, every hour if you want, and hey, you can sync it with your Babynes capsule based baby formula machine (like Nespresso but for baby formula and even more expensive) which will graph how much milk your baby drinks. Or at least how much milk your Babynes makes. And you can edit it.
I remember when my eldest baby was about eight weeks I realized one of the other mums was going to the well baby centre a couple of times a week to weigh her baby, not just according to the set schedule – 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks or whatever it was. I started going more often too, thinking that was what a good mother was supposed to do, until the nurse asked me why. There’s really no point in weighing a baby that often, she told me, unless you have a particular reason to be concerned. Weight fluctuates from day to day. Frequent weighing is more likely to make you nervous than not, which probably isn’t that great for your baby. I relaxed, and stopped worrying about it.
I’m honestly rather glad I don’t have babies anymore. I know I would be torn between desiring all those gadgets, all that data and thinking the whole thing was insane.
And look, the apps generate endless data, data like diaries. With predictive abilities. Maybe.
3 thoughts on “Wearable devices for tracking baby”
Thomas Røst Stenerud
Wow. I’m thinking about two things here:
The other one is the ongoing “debate” about changing the “expired”-marking on food and the argument that the marking makes people forget to smell and taste their food before they decide wether it is edible or not. These corporations will make tons of money. I’m not sure they improve parenthood.
The gadget-enthusiast in me loves the ide of thise things, just for fun, but the practical parent is thinking “are the onzie washable, and how many onzies would one need, and then the baby grows so…”.
We had a book with plenty of space to write down, sleep pattern, eating pattern, pooping pattern and so on. But on some point lazyness, or sense kicked in and we stoped with the graphs. For whats the purpose of the graph? It tells possible patterns important for hospitals and intensive care, but healthy at home babies are not that complicated to understand. Newborns can pretty much be imitated by simple code. Remember the tamagotchies?
Feed, change, sleep, play. -Repeat. Beside parents are not complety lost without the monitors eigther. Babies have different cries depending on the problem. Hungry does not sound like tierd. Anoyed is not the same as cold. So instead of checking with the gadget, -listen to the baby. Much more informative and relevant.
And there is the trust in thise things. I had a conversation with some parets who had a child that had stoped breathing early on. So they had a breathingmonitor in the childs bed. They were exhausted, the child was much bigger now (1,5 years) so the child moved around, and that triggered false alarms. But they struggled with the idea of not having the monitor in case the child had a real stop.
Last but not least: The gadgets may make you an even more boring adult. “today my baby…” “look! the graph…” “i sendt you the graph of little baby A, look at it compared with babby B on the same time”
Do we want that?
Kathi Inman Berens
Fascinating post, Jill. Like you, I crave the data & the cognitive, emotional transformations of self that such consciousness would occasion. But I’m inhibited by my conviction that the data profile such info would build will be personally identifiable. My mind bogles ar the myriad ways such data is already being “monetized.” It’s primitive now and ppl laugh over how wrong the predictive alogoritms can be. But the financial incentives to suck less are so powerful — and to us, largely invisible — that I can’t jump in to the data pool, beyomd getting my feet wet in social media as a cost of using the platforms.