Should I Use a Baby Monitor?
Sleep training isn’t always a walk in the park. You may be thinking that if you use a baby monitor, it’ll be a dream instead. But is it a good idea?
Today we discuss the pros and cons of using a baby monitoring device while teaching your baby to sleep through the night.
What is a Baby Monitor?
I’m guessing that most people reading this blog know what a baby monitor is. But did you know what monitors can actually do?
At their most basic, baby monitors allow parents to hear when their little one wakes up. They help us feel better about letting Baby sleep, since we will hear if they are shifting around or in distress.
Parents have relied on monitors for decades. But now there is so much more to them. Which brings me to…
What Today’s Baby Monitors Can Do
Baby monitors have come a long way since the crackling little contraptions of the 1990s. You can find these features in many new monitors:
- Viewing screen
- Two-way audio
- Smartphone connectivity
- Herz (Hz)/sound level monitoring
- Pan/tilt feature
- Zoom feature
- Lullabies or white noise
Pretty great stuff…but is it worth it? Here are the pros and cons of using a baby monitor.
Is a Baby Sleep Monitor the Same Thing?
The simple answer: no. Baby sleep monitors are medical devices that keep track of your child’s heart rate, respiration and other data. Baby monitors are not considered medical devices.
In addition, baby monitors aren’t just for sleep. Parents rely on them at daycare or when someone else is watching their child in the home.
People often use the terms interchangeably, but if you’re looking for a medical device, please contact your child’s pediatrician. Yes, these can be found on Amazon, and the doctor may recommend one, but make sure you get her advice first.
How Much Does a Baby Monitor Cost?
You can find baby monitors for as little as $20, all the way up to $200 or more. I find the most reliable and cost-effective monitors fall in the $40-75 range.
Make sure you purchase your monitor from a reliable seller who offers exchanges in case you receive a defective product, or you find you don’t need all the features.
Pros When You Use a Baby Monitor
It Can Make You Feel Safer
Raise your hand if you have had the experience of hopping up to check on your new baby every half-hour to make sure they’re “fine.” (Guilty as charged, right here. So go ahead, admit it — we all do it!)
With a monitor, you can check up on your baby at any time and you don’t have to be on your feet constantly.
It’s Easier to See If Baby Really Needs You
Babies wake periodically through the night and may wake once or twice during a nap. By about 8 weeks of age, a sleep-trained baby should be able to soothe themselves back to sleep without needing you.
Because you can see as well as hear your baby, you don’t feel as if you have to run into the nursery at every sound and wake them up, instead of letting your baby soothe themselves back to sleep.
You’ll Be More Comfortable Leaving the Area
Now don’t get me wrong — I’m not suggesting you skip town or anything! But what if your baby’s room is upstairs and you want to be in the living room? Or how about when you’re setting up your barbecue party outside and Baby is sleeping inside? You may be afraid you won’t hear your little one waking up at these times.
Monitors allow you to wander around the house, especially if they have smartphone connectivity.
Cons When You Use a Baby Monitor
It Might Wake You Up
Babies have a sleep-wake cycle where they come almost to full wakefulness, then fall back asleep again alone. (If yours doesn’t, see “Still Worried?” at the end of this article.)
One problem parents face with monitors is that they run in to get the baby at the first sign of fussiness. This can actually delay sleep training.
“Checking Up” Can Be Addictive
You need your rest, too. But it’s hard to get that if you’re constantly checking a monitor screen, your phone, or both.
If you decide to use a monitor, make sure you let it do its job. Unless your baby has a health issue, and if the pediatrician has given you the go-ahead, it’s likely you’re already being as safe as possible with your baby.
It Might Not Work Well Enough
On the opposite end of the spectrum is not checking often enough. And I mean checking on the device itself.
Like any electronic device, a monitor can fail. Make sure you test it about once a week to be sure it’s in working order.
I know it can be hard not to worry about your little one while they’re sleeping.
On the other hand, know what keeps most parents up nights? Their baby!
If you can’t seem to get your baby to self-soothe or if they seem restless all night long, it may be time for baby sleep training.
Parents who use a baby monitor while sleep training their baby can have even better success, because they know when it’s time to pick Baby up and when they should be self-soothing.
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