Before buying, I always ask my self if I really need it. I did this exercise and research why do I need a baby monitor. What I found was not black or white.
- FIRST, UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BABY MONITORS
- WHEN ARE BABY MONITORS USED?
- WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER A BABY MONITOR?
- THE DOWNSIDES OF BUYING A BABY MONITOR
The baby market is very clever, and they know new parents are vulnerable. I know because I was an easy target when I had my first child. I didn’t really know what I needed, and I surely wanted to part of the best parents club. Everything in the baby department with attractive infomercials had me hooked. Case in point: baby monitors.
Frankly speaking, I didn’t know much about these little devices. In fact, the only time I had seen such communication equipment was in a horror movie. Where a ghost communicates to the parents that had just moved into a haunted house through a baby monitor. So my relationship with baby monitors began a little… rocky.
All jokes aside, I began to do my own research, past the convincing advertisements and the horror movie cameos. That’s when I realized there are two types of parents in the world: the baby monitors advocate and those that vehemently oppose it.
Both sides had valuable arguments, and you are probably wondering too, why do I need a baby monitor?
Let me guide you through this decision.
FIRST, UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BABY MONITORS
Technology is excelling by the second, which means new and improved baby monitors are hitting the market every year.
Audio baby monitor
There was a time when the only available monitoring device included a microphone that picked up every little sound the baby made and alerted parents a few rooms away. As you can imagine, this meant that even a small harmless grunt made the parent rushing in only to disturb an already resting baby. Surprisingly enough, these audio-only baby monitors are still high in demand, probably because of their low cost.
Video baby monitor
Video monitors are a significant jump from the standard audio baby monitors. Many video monitors now connect via the home WiFi to your phones so parents can watch their child even if they are away from home. In fact, grandparents and other family members can also check in on their new family member with ease.
Video monitors with a two-way talk feature are especially helpful. Sometimes all your baby needs is a little comforting, and you can do that through the monitor without having to get out of the bed at night.
Smart baby monitor
Then there is the high-end kind of baby monitors. These smart monitors can sense your baby’s movement, breathing, and heartbeat with sensors installed in them. Such monitors can be placed under your baby’s mattress to detect if there hasn’t been any movement for a while.
These particular types of baby monitors are definitely a leap in innovation, but the question is – are they necessary?
WHEN ARE BABY MONITORS USED?
Most parents are using a baby monitor when their baby is sleeping, especially at night. Newborns and babies under the age of 6 months are generally sharing a room with their parents. This is the tender age where keep a direct eye on your baby and should not rely on devices to do it for you. Typically, parents will keep their baby in a bassinet next to their bed or a crib in their room if there’s enough space.
After 6 months, babies can be moved to a separate room, and that’s when a monitor feels like a necessity. If your baby’s room is at a reasonable distance from your own bedroom, a monitor can help you supervise your child with ease.
For many parents, there’s really no point of getting a baby monitor from day one because their baby will be sleeping next to them. So it’s best to postpone buying one until later.
On the other hand, even if you share a room with your baby, a monitor can be useful for naps or during the evening.
WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER A BABY MONITOR?
The debate about using a baby monitor is ongoing, but here are some ways a baby monitor can actually benefit you.
When you’re moving your baby’s crib to his/her own room, a monitor can help you keep tabs on them at all times. A video monitor is always a better option so that you can actually see what your baby is doing.
It’s a great way to have more control over your baby in many ways, including making sure your baby gets a good sleep. With a video monitor, you can know if you really need to go in and risk waking your baby up or if he/she will be just fine without you needing to intrude in the room.
Also, if you are using a video monitor connected to the internet, grandma and grandpa can keep in touch and see your baby whenever they want. If you’re away on work and need to know how the new nanny you hired is taking care of your baby, you might find such video baby monitor helpful.
As for the smart monitor, their sensors to monitor breathing and heartbeat can give you a better insight into your baby’s activities and health. Wich is particularly helpful with a premmie or any other child requiring extra supervision.
THE DOWNSIDES OF BUYING A BABY MONITOR
I wondered why anyone would hate baby monitors so much. I now understand their point of view, and here’s what I found out wasn’t so great about baby monitors.
Like all devices, baby monitors don’t come exactly cheap. Sure, you can always go for a more affordable version, but when it comes to your baby, chances are you’ll want the best.
If your baby is still too young to be separated from your bedside bassinet, there might be no point in getting a baby monitor just yet. Maybe you should postpone that plan for later.
If you have reliable house help or a nanny, a monitor defeats the purpose of hiring them. Nothing beats real-life human supervision. If you have one, there’s no need to rely on a baby camera.
Sometimes a baby monitor will pick up sounds like grunts and cries that are completely normal but still alarm you. This will disturb both your sleep and your baby’s sleep when you intrude into their room to check-in.
Do you use a baby monitor at night?
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to baby monitors, although many parents believe a baby monitor is more useful at night. I say that’s debatable because a baby monitor will pick up every little sound or grunt your baby will make. This could potentially ruin your sleep at night.
My two cents: if your baby’s room is close enough to your room, you’ll be able to hear a proper cry or hungry wail even without a monitor. So it’s best to keep the monitor off and let yourself and your baby get some sound sleep in that case.
If your house is big and your baby’s room is a couple of floor space away from your bedroom, a baby monitor will help. Again, a video monitor is always the best choice to make sure your baby actually needs you to come in or if he’s fine by his own.
What about breathing and heartbeat monitors? Are they useful?
Specialized sensors in baby monitors sound like an attractive pick but are they reliable? These devices market themselves as picking up the slightest of disturbances in your baby’s breathing, heartbeat, or movement but like the grunts and cries, that’s not always a problem.
If you’re a cautious new parent, you might gravitate towards these smart monitors. I say go for it if you really want to. In my experience, video monitors still trump all other types.
What do I do with the baby monitor in the future?
You can also use the monitor for a new baby in your family. There’s always the option of donating or handing it down to a family member.
I chose to use the baby monitor in a slightly different way. My old baby monitor changed into a toddler monitor. I can use it to watch over the activities of my little child as he plays in his room. No, it’s not breaching privacy (do toddlers even need that?) but I do intend to give the baby monitor away once my kid turns 10 or so.
Also, I use it on vacation and holidays. If we go camping or visiting family for a holiday, I begin the monitors in case the kids are sleeping far from our room.
I’ve outlined my experience and all the pros/cons of a baby monitor; it’s up to you to decide which group of people you want to join.
Whatever you decide, remember that there is simply no bypassing actual parental supervision. Even if you have your baby monitor on 24/7, you still need to check in on your baby frequently to make sure they are doing well.