There are a lot of baby gadgets out there, hoping to hinge the interest of to-be or new parents into buying them. The cold hard facts are that some of them are completely useless and utterly stupid, and will end up collecting more dust in the corner of your baby’s nursery than providing you or your baby with any type of ‘real service.’ On the other hand, there are some that are absolutely necessary and wonderful, and will make your job caring for a newborn much, much easier.
One of those things is a baby monitor.
Until you have children, you have no real idea how hard it is to get sleep at night, even if the baby is already sleeping. Why? Because every few minutes you will feel that ‘paralyzed with fear’ feeling that will have you up and running to the nursery, or touching your baby’s chest to make sure that they are still breathing okay. And, as they get older and you get more comfortable, you will find yourself waking up at odd times during the night thinking that just maybe you heard something coming from the nursery. Was it a burglar, a cough, sneeze, sniffle, or fart? Since you don’t know for sure – you will be up and checking the baby again, and again, and again. A baby monitor really can help. Plus, during the day – having a decent baby monitor ensures that you can get some laundry done, watch your favorite soap opera or even take a shower and know full well that if your baby wakes up, you will be able to hear them.
Baby monitors used to be a pretty simple choice for parents. In the golden days, a baby monitor was simply a glorified walkie-talkie. You put the base in the nursery and carried the handset with you wherever you went and would be privy to hearing every sound your baby made. As the years have become technologically advanced, so have baby monitors. So much so, that shopping for them can be almost as difficult as shopping for a new car.
In order to help you however, realize that you don’t need an HD 18 inch television screen baby monitor with stereo surround sound in order to hear your baby at night. And yes, they do have some very deluxe models available out there, that will have you shelling out a car payment or two just to own. So, now the question is, what do you need?
Must Have Qualities of a Baby Monitor:
- First, look for one that allows you to switch channels. Most newer ones do. This way, you can ensure that you don’t scramble your monitor with your neighbors or with all the other media components; you have in your house. It should say right on the packaging that it has a two way UHF switch.
- Another important thing to look at is the range of the monitor you are buying. Range makes a huge difference in price. However, if you have a large home, with two stories and may want to take the baby monitor to your mailbox with you, you want a long-range monitor. If you live in an apartment, chances are you can go with a less souped up model.
- Rechargeable batteries are definitely important! Otherwise, you will be constantly replacing batteries, which can be annoying and expensive as time goes on. Look for a model that has two handsets, so that when you are recharging one you will have another handy to use.
- If you have multiple children, or plan to – you might want to buy a home monitoring system that allows you to hook up to several rooms at once. This will keep you from carrying around an armory of monitors to keep up with all your children. Plus, baby monitors are great to have around even as your children get older and more independent, so you can keep tabs on what’s happening in their rooms.
- If you want a baby monitor with a TV screen, you are definitely jumping up in price range. Still, you don’t need a massive monitor, and you don’t necessarily have to get one that displays color either. It is nice to be able to see your child while they are sleeping, and to be able to ‘see’ what the noise you heard was. This lets you know ahead of time whether you need to make a trip inside the nursery (and risk waking the baby) or not. And, a monitor gives you easy access to making sure that your baby hasn’t pulled the covers up over their head while they are sleeping. Just stay within your budget and don’t be fooled into buying excessive fancy features.
- One very nice feature that is often under estimated is a two way monitoring. These come in handy especially as your baby gets older. A two-way baby monitor will allow you to talk to your child, which can be really nice when you are teaching them to go to sleep on their own. And if you have a child that wakes up during the night, having a way two sound capability can enable you to quickly reassure them without them having to crawl into your bed.
Additionally, if you have a premature infant or one born with some medical problems, you may want to invest in the type of infant monitor that not only reports sounds and pictures – but also can monitor breathing, body temperature and baby movement as well. This will help you to gain the peace of mind you want, so you can enjoy the rest you need to take care of a baby. These units are expensive, but well worth it if your infant has medical problems.
There are hundreds of models to choose from! Be aware that you can probably get a pretty good unit from a yard sale, on EBay, or even from friends or relatives. Many people get several for their baby showers and never return them, so be sure to check with friends.
A baby monitor is definitely something that will come in handy, save you trouble and prove useful through parenthood. Plus, the Infant Safety Commission, along with several other baby safety organizations recommend that parents use infant monitors in order to promote sleep safety. Remember of course, that a monitor never replaces parental supervision, and should not be used as a sole venue to protect your baby.