The arrival of a newborn baby is an amazing thing; not just with the miracle of birth, the cuteness and the mountains of presents from relatives and friends, but in the fact that it's a great excuse to try out and play with all manner of new gadgets, gizmos and electronic toys.
There are baby monitors with sensor mats and video cameras, teddy bears that emulate the sounds of the womb, and, of course, all manner of devices you can strap your baby into in order to keep them amused and quiet - at least long enough to give you a wee break.
So, with a new addition to the Pocket-lint family arriving recently, it gave us an ideal excuse to try out one of the latter, the Bright Starts Snuggle Duckling Rocker (aka Comfort & Harmony Cradling Rocker), which is currently available at Babies R Us.
Coming dismantled, you should put aside 15 minutes or so just to construct the rocker. It's simple enough though, and gives you a good understanding on how to collapse it again in order to take it with you on visits and trips. You will need a Phillips screwdriver to hand, but there's only two small screws to fasten - everything else snaps or straps into place - and, once built, it all feels very solid and secure (essential if you want to ensure that your new bundle of joy is safe).
The eponymous duckling is actually a booster seat and head support for smaller/newborn babies (yep, it is suitable from birth - up to a massive 40-pounds) and there are three slots for the safety harness to adjust as your child grows taller.
The seat itself is also adjustable (to three different positions), as is the toy-laden canopy, although that's mainly to allow you to get baby in and out with the minimum of fuss.
You can also swivel the rear-supporting feet on the frame, turning it from a static chair into the rocker of the title.
But the gadgety part of the whole shebang comes in the guise of a battery-operated audio box that also vibrates. It attaches to the bottom front of the seat, providing easy access to its switches, which are also mercifully simple in operation:
Vibrate - which makes the whole seat buzz, giving your baby a strange but pleasant (for them) sensation, without making a sound - can be switched on or off. And the audio - which features 13 different kiddie tunes that loop - has two volume settings. Admittedly, we would've liked the ability to select the tunes ourselves, and they can sound a bit basic - like a musical birthday card - but our new addition probably preferred the simpler approach. There's plenty of time for her to appreciate a bit of Beady Eye and the Happy Mondays.
One word of warning though, the music box requires batteries that aren't supplied - three C-type large round ones to be precise, the like of which we hadn't had to use since the 1970s, probably - so you should stock up on them. But the first batch we bought are still going strong, so clearly the rocker doesn't need too much juice to operate.
Perhaps, though, the best feature of the Bright Starts Snuggle Duckling Rocker is in its overall aesthetic. Many of the rivals on the market are hideously garish, and while that might be good for baby's new eyes, they stick out like a sore thumb in a nursery. The pastel shades of this specific rocker are much more in keeping with much of the bed linen and overall nursery themes out on the market, and that's a massive selling point for more style concious parents.
Available from Babies R Us and Toys R Us for £54.99 (currently £44.99, online at least) the Bright Starts Snuggle Duckling Rocker is out now.
Do you have any favourite baby gadgets to recommend? Let us know in the comments below...
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