Not all parents have bought into the idea of having a video baby monitor in their room while their child is sleeping, and for some parents that sleep in the same room as their baby, it is understandable why they don't need one - but for many, it is hard to live without one.
Just like with any device, there are pros and cons of having them, and with all the other items parents need to buy like a baby cot, diapers, bathtub, clothes, toys, bottles, the list goes on and on - a baby monitor may seem like an unnecessary item.
Here we take a deep dive into the ins and outs of having a baby monitor, who they are designed for, the advantages and disadvantages, as well as some frequently asked questions so that you can decide for yourself if it's worth the money.
Who Are Baby Monitors Designed For?
Baby monitors are designed for parents with newborn babies up until the age of 3 years old.
They help parents sleep easier at night knowing that if their baby wakes up, they will be able to hear them through the baby monitor, and also they can see their child while they are in a different room.
Although depending on if you're planning to sleep with your baby or at least have the cot next to your bed, you may not even need a baby monitor as you will hear the baby's cry immediately. For those parents that plan to sleep in separate rooms and that are deep sleepers - a baby monitor is a wise investment.
Advantages Of Using A Baby Monitor
According to many baby experts, the pros seem to outweigh the cons of purchasing a baby monitor.
There are two types of monitors available - one is an audio baby breathing monitor that allows you to monitor your baby's movement while asleep - and the other is a video baby monitor that lets you see their movements and hear the baby's noises.
Easily check in on your baby
One of the greatest advantages is that anxious parents can easily check on their baby without moving, giving you peace of mind knowing they're safe and sound.
A video monitor saves any new parent a trip to the baby nursery every time they get worried about their sleeping baby and potentially waking them up.
Reduce your own anxiety
It's normal for new parents to get worried about their newborn baby while they're sleeping, so being able to check on them with video or audio monitors takes away that stress and anxiety. Parents can easily see or hear them while working, cleaning, or cooking in a different room, which keeps anxiety away.
Make sure they're really sleeping
For toddlers that become escape artists around 2 to 3 years old, a video baby monitor is extremely helpful. Once you put your child to sleep at night, you will be able to see and hear all your baby's noises and movements before they even try to escape from their crib.
It's a little game toddlers love to play with their parents, and it's an annoying one, as parents constantly have to run after them to put them back to sleep. If you can prevent this from happening with the help of a baby monitor, it's a huge win.
Monitor without risk of waking
Babies sleep light! They're not deep sleepers at all, although they can sleep with loud music, thunder, and TV playing in the background - as soon as you enter their room to check on them, they wake up. It happens so often, even with the slightest of footsteps, with you trying to be a ninja without making any noise, your baby will sense you.
So if you don't want to run the risk of waking up your baby during nap time, investing in a baby monitor is a wise decision!
A great sleep training tool
When parents start making their baby sleep in a separate room, the video baby monitor will come to your aid!
A baby monitor is a great tool for sleep training because your baby will no doubt kick up a fuss at first when left alone in their own crib and start wailing like a siren for attention - and with a video monitor at your disposal, you can check on them without entering the room to see if they actually need your attention. You can even soothe them with the two-way talk function.
Keep tabs even when you're not at home
Parents need some alone time! And when they pass on the caring duties to a family member or a trusted babysitter to go out for a meal they can easily keep tabs on them with a video monitor.
The newer video monitors connect through Wi-Fi, allowing mothers and fathers to watch their children through a video feed anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. So parents and their children can feel close even though they're not in the same room.
Another advantage of the Wi-Fi monitor is that mothers and fathers can use them with older children to check if they're actually doing their homework instead of playing games.
Save amazing moments
Unlike the old baby monitor that allowed parents to hear their child sleep without any other features, the modern versions come with an array of features. One of these is a recording feature that allows parents to record precious moments.
You can then download and share them with other family members so everyone can see those one-off baby moments, like funny laughs and first steps.
Great for vacations
Travelling is never easy with small children, especially when the home you end up at is new to your baby.
It can be both stressful for your baby and yourself in new surroundings, and that's why baby monitors are a must-have item for holidays, as they provide the additional eyes and ears needed while your child sleeps peacefully. With the modern video baby monitors, you can watch your baby sleep on your smartphone through the app, giving you complete surveillance on your vacation.
Potential Drawbacks Of Using A Baby Monitor
As you can see from the positives above, a baby monitor does offer a lot for new parents, especially when they plan to sleep in separate rooms and need to work away from home constantly. That being said, they do come with a few minuses!
Can be hard not to stay glued to the screen
Just like a mobile phone is now most people's go-to device for entertaining, where you can spend hours scrolling and watching any random things - a baby monitor can also do the same to anxious parents.
Watching the video monitor constantly can cause parents to feel even more anxious than not having one at all - because they can see them and watch them closely for any slight movement.
The same applies to an audio monitor, as parents listen carefully for breathing patterns and try not to make any noise so that they can hear their baby should they make any slight noise.
Some video monitors are hackable
A huge downside to some video baby monitors was that they were susceptible to hackers. Many parents have gone online to share horrifying stories of their baby waking up in the middle of the night with strange sounds coming from the device.
However, most video monitors come with a default security password, which parents usually forget to change and therefore leave the door open for a potential hacker. Although, modern video baby monitors come with a security feature that prevents this from happening once the feature is enabled.
Introduces an extra cable to the room
Wires are always a hazard for trips and falls, but in a baby room, the extra wire from the baby monitor has the potential to cause strangulation if the cable is close enough to the baby crib. The baby monitor cable can also be dangerous if it is left along the floor, as it can cause parents to trip over it in the middle of the night with the baby in their arms.
One way to prevent any of these unforeseen events from happening is to make sure that the cable is securely fastened to the wall and out of arms' reach from your baby.
Can be expensive
Preparing for life as a parent is never easy on your wallet with the huge list of things parents need for when the baby arrives into the world, and a video baby monitor may be the last thing on your list of expenses.
They can cost a few hundred bucks depending on the model and extra features you want to be included with your monitor.
Signal can drop
With video baby monitors, your device is reliant on the speed and signal of your internet, which can drop at any given moment, leaving you without a connection.
An audio monitor relies on the distance from one device to the other, and depending on how thick the walls are in your house - you may find that the signal comes and goes, which can be quite annoying. Not to mention, it can also be dangerous if the connection drops in the night and you don't realize.
How To Decide If You Need A Baby Monitor
Not every parent will need a baby monitor! It depends on their work and home circumstances. If you are considering buying one, however, here are a few things to take into consideration before making the decision.
How old is your child?
Audio and video baby monitors are great for young children and especially babies during the first year to keep parents at ease knowing they can watch and listen to movements and sounds.
Your child's age will ultimately give you a strong indication of whether to warrant buying one of these handy devices. Although baby monitors have many uses until your child turns into a teenager, their main purpose is to help mothers and fathers feel as close as possible to their baby without being in the same room during the first few years after birth.
Are they already in a good sleeping routine?
As stated previously, one of the advantages of a video monitor is that they help parents get their baby into a good sleeping routine, so if your baby already sleeps through the night without waking up, it's probably not worth buying one.
Is there a safe place to set a monitor up?
Yes, when setting up your baby monitor, make sure the cable is securely fixed to the wall with tape or wall ties and as high as possible so your child can't reach it. Baby monitors come with a volume setting, so make sure the device is as close as possible and set at the right volume so that you can hear your baby sleep.
Will you end up using the tool too much?
Baby monitors have many uses, and the more you plan on using them, the better the investment will be. Make a list of all the situations you feel you will need a baby monitor, and then come to your own conclusion.
If you plan to sleep with your newborn baby or be close enough to the baby while sleeping and live in a small house, your usage for a monitor will be less.
Baby monitors are a good investment for any parent wanting to keep an eye on their precious baby at all times for peace of mind - and if you invest in the video baby monitor, its features are good enough to use until they turn into teenagers.
At the end of the day, every parent is different and has different needs.
Some work at home and sleep with their new baby until they can walk and talk, so never purchase a baby monitor. Others are always working away and live in a big house where the baby sleeps in a separate room, so swear by using baby monitors as a means of always feeling connected.
Are baby monitors really necessary?
Baby monitors are a great tool to use in your baby's room for having complete visibility and hearing your baby sleep. Although not every parent needs one, depending on their personal circumstances, they are a handy device to have around the house and during holidays.
What age do you need a baby monitor?
In most cases, it is best to buy a baby monitor after you move them into their own room to monitor their sleep patterns. Although some families only start using video baby monitors once their baby can climb out of the cot and are more at risk of injury during the night.
Is a video monitor safe for my baby's room?
Yes, as long as the cable is safely secured and out of reach from your baby. A video monitor allows you to watch and hear your little one while sleeping without needing to check on them every 10 minutes or every time you hear a noise.
How can a baby monitor help with sleep training?
The sleep training method is an effective way to use your baby monitor to check on your baby when they wake up in the middle of the night at the initial stages of sleeping in their own room.
This reduces the need to go into your baby's room every time you hear a sound. With a smart baby monitor, you will be able to see if they are distressed and need your help or whether you can leave them in order to help them learn to self-settle.