The road to parenthood is paved with endless anxiety and preparation. You have countless choices to make, and in the heat of the moment, they all seem like life-and-death decisions. That makes would-be parents an easy target for the baby-gear industry, which is expected to surpass $100 billion by 2025. If you thought buying a new phone or laptop was hard, just wait until you’re confronted with countless “smart” baby gadgets that promise to prevent SIDs, track every bowel movement and make sure your child isn’t screwed up for life.

That’s basically the life I’ve been living for the past year. But now that my daughter Sophia is nearly six months old, I have a better sense of the gear she actually wants to use and what’s a waste of money.

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