Ten Ways an Amazon Echo Can Help with Babies

posted in: Alexa, Amazon, Echo | 0

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from my wife, who I dragged into the world of home automation, and now that we have a baby running around fully embraces her voice activated smart home.

When my daughter was born, I went through a period of trying to find the perfect Bluetooth speaker for her nursery. It needed to provide the simple service of playing lullabies while she napped. I started with an iHome device that ultimately ended up back in a closet somewhere. I couldn’t be bothered to hook up the iPod, untangle the cords, set the playlists and manually set everything up. I had a precious few minutes to transition my peacefully sleeping infant from mommy’s warm arms to her crib. Taking five minutes to set up her music just wasn’t going to happen.

Then, I bought a Bluetooth wireless speaker to connect with my phone so I could control the music easily. Other than hijack my phone battery and Bluetooth, this device didn’t do me much good either. Struggling with connections and which app was playing music was plain confusing for a woman running on two hours sleep and caffeine.

Something I learned very quickly was that my hands are almost always full. I can’t carry my phone and a water glass and the baby. I have to choose my items carefully. While playing, I also have limited items at my disposal because I’d rather my child not spill or break anything. With an Echo, I only need one thing- my voice. Parenting win!

I bought an Echo Dot after this experience. It came in the mail (2 day Prime!!!) and I simply plugged it in. My husband set up the device and it changed our lives. It provides me the simple service of playing lullabies and so much more. Other than my daughters crib and changing table, it’s probably the most used item in her room. Here’s a list of suggested uses for an Echo Dot for babies.

  1. Music – “Alexa, play Disney music.“ I love music. Kids love music. My day revolves around playlists and various genres of music because it makes us happy and helps us get through the day with a smile. While sitting in her room and playing, I simply say “Alexa, play kids music”. BAM – Raffi. “Alexa, play Beauty and the Beast soundtrack.” BAM- Tale as old as time. Sick of hearing the same kids songs over and over? Alexa can play virtually anything if you have Prime. Best part, you don’t even have to reach for a phone or get up to change the music.
  2. Lullabies– “Alexa, play instrumental lullabies.” DONE. Everyday at 10am1pm and 4pm I say those words and my ever helpful robot friend plays melodic instrumental lullabies while my sweet little baby drifts off to dreamland.
  3. Sound machine – “Alexa, play white noise” This is HUGE.  Recently, companies have begun marketing sound machines to parents of new babies. The white noise is supposed to be soothing and help the babies sleep more soundly. That white noise machine comes with a hefty price tag. No thanks- my Alexa can do anything with Prime– including a colorful spectrum of white noise. While teaching our child to self soothe, I gave in and tried the white noise. It sounded grating to me but actually worked for my daughter. When we transitioned her to her crib, I found she slept well after I spoke the words, “Alexa, play pink noise.”  Simply magic. Try out all the different color noises to find one that suits you (green noise, white noise, gray noise) she’s got them all!  Best part, Alexa plays that track (included with Prime) for two hours then stops itself. If we have a lot of people over or she is having a fussy night I just hit repeat on my app and it’ll play all night. Take that $100 noise machine!
  4. Time check – “Alexa, what time is it?” Babies run on schedules. They are mini time bombs that go off if they are not fed, napped or changed at any given time. A simple “Alexa, what time is it?” Helps keep me on track without having to stop whatever I’m doing to check my phone.
  5. Calling grandma– “Alexa, call grandma.”  Simple. No phone to fuss with. No sticky fingers all over my screen, or accidental hang ups because my child’s only options at that time are to touch the phone or scream and ruin the call.  (You may want to take a look at our How to Set Up Alexa Calling and Messaging article)
  6. Intercom – “Alexa, drop in on the office.” My family has the incredible blessing of a work from home Daddy.  This means I can drop in on his Echo Dot to ask for help, a minute to change the laundry, pee, catch my breath or even shower.  Fantastic feature when you need a quick question answered without having to cart yourself and the baby upstairs or yell through six rooms.
  7. Weather check – “Alexa, what’s the weather?”  Again, simple, but incredibly useful.  Does baby girl need a hat or her mittens for our walk? Do I need to start the car 15 minutes early?  Is it going to pour on us once we get around the block?  Alexa has the answer.
  8. Reminders – “Alexa, remind me to…” give the baby her vitamin, put the roast in the oven, it’s our anniversary, call the library, blah blah. Since giving birth, my brain has been a little mushy and a lot forgetful.  Reminders are a must in this house.
  9. Baby monitor – “Alexa, drop in on the nursery.”  Although I don’t use this often because I have a video monitor, it’s helpful when I’m in a pinch and need something to just let me know when my daughter is stirring or awake. (Check out our How to Use Amazon Echo as a Baby Monitor article for more on this!)
  10. Timers – “Alexa, set a timer for four hours.”  Baby has to eat A LOT during the first year. It’s in everyone’s best Interest not to forget or delay feeding. My day is measured in four hour increments and bottles. A timer going off is fantastic when you get distracted and realize that she “just ate” was already four hours ago.