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My wife told me a funny ‘baby monitor’ related story a couple of months ago.
Her friend was talking with her sister in the baby’s room, while a couple of workmen were downstairs. The baby monitor was on downstairs and it was picking up the faint sound of the conversation.
Apparently the workmen didn’t realize the two women were upstairs and they were getting a bit freaked out about what these sounds were.
They even thought the house might be haunted! 🙂
One of the biggest decisions you will make as a new parent is whether or not to get a baby monitor.
Is your house big enough to warrant using one?
Will you co-sleep or will baby have their own room?
This article will help you make your decision about baby monitors and provide details on which one will work for you and your family, focusing on those which can work over large distances whether you live in a large house, or have a flat with separate floors.
We’ll look at some initial considerations you should think about with a baby monitor. Then we’ll look at the pros and cons of baby monitors, before looking at some of the best baby monitors on the market.
Do you really need a baby monitor?
Do baby monitors give parents peace of mind, or enable worrisome moms and dads to become helicopter parents?
The jury is probably still out on that one, but they do help to alleviate fears that your little one is actually ok and those noises you’re hearing are just normal sleepy gurgles and giggles.
If you are choosing to co-sleep, or if you live in a small flat, then you can probably get away without one, or just use a cheap baby monitor.
Maybe try an app on your phone, so you can watch your little one take their naps each afternoon.
All you need is an iPad or another phone and you can be up and running for much less cost.
Speaking of phones, some baby monitors these days can be connected to your smart phone.
You can choose to get a notification if your baby is crying more than a certain number of minutes.
Some monitors will even let you peak in on your little one even if you are out on a date night and the little one is home with a babysitter.
Pros of baby monitors
Peace of mind
What was that sound? Did they just roll over and go back to sleep? Or were they trying to get out and are now stuck?
Having a baby monitor helps alleviate any fears of the unknown you might have as a parent of an infant.
No more second guessing or peaking in.
Fewer check ins
Speaking of peaking in, it can be so frustrating when you spend an hour trying to get your little one to sleep only to have some weird sound come from their room five minutes later.
Do you wait and hope they are ok? Do you check in and risk waking them up?
A monitor can limit the amount of times you need to peak in on your newborn.
Assist with sleep training
Once your precious bundle of joy gets a little older, you might start to think about sleep training.
Depending on the method you choose to use, this can help immensely.
Nicole Johnson, from the Baby Sleep Site, suggests the baby monitor as a helpful tool to assist with sleep training.
As with any tool, however, their usefulness depends more on how you use them more than the tool itself.
Disadvantages of baby monitors
Apparently, since 2002 seven babies have gotten hold of the cord coming from their baby monitor and unfortunately strangled themselves with it.
Reading this in my research made it very clear just how important it is to read all the installation instructions, and be sure to mount your monitor safely and properly.
Pediatric nurse, Rachel Blackburn, recommends placing your monitor at least 3 feet away to ensure your child won’t be tempted or able to get hold of the cord.
Enables helicopter parenting
Nicole Johnson, from the Baby Sleep Site, warns that monitoring your baby too closely leads to becoming overly involved and doesn’t allow your baby to self soothe.
The ability for your child to soothe themselves back to sleep is crucial to you ever getting a full night of sleep. (See the next point!)
When it wakes mum and dad!
Sometimes, you just need your sleep too. If you are being woken up by every single sound coming from your baby’s room, then it might be time to just turn it off and save the monitor for naps.
What should you consider when buying a baby monitor?
Video vs Audio
The biggest question to consider when choosing a baby monitor is whether or not to go video or simple audio.
In my opinion the video monitor really helps put your mind at ease, in that you can see what is going on in your baby’s room.
Listening to a monitor seems similar to standing next to their door with your ear pressed against it wondering if that cry is a simple sleeping whimper or a true need.
The next thing to consider is whether or not you want WiFi capability.
Some monitors will connect to your smart phone so you don’t have to carry a monitor around.
Plus you can check in on your sleeping baby even if you are away from home.
This could tie up your phone unnecessarily though so you might want to consider a monitor with its own video screen.
Where will you place it?
Lastly, you will want to consider where the best placement will be for your monitor.
Will you mount it to the wall? Place it on a shelf? Do you have a location at least 3 feet away you can install it?
Will you want to be able to move it from room to room, or take it with you to the grandparent’s house?
These are all important questions to ask before spending your hard earned money.
Best Baby Monitors For Distance
Angelcare AC701 Touchscreen Movement and Sound Monitor
The best parts about this monitor are the breathing and movement sensors. These can give you peace of mind that your baby is sleeping just fine, and the sensors are so invaluable for a new mom.
This product will put all your fears to rest, especially on those nights they actually sleep longer than normal, you can rest assured they are just fine – without having to peak in on them and risk waking them up.
- Range: 820 ft
- Under the mattress movement sensor
- Two way talk feature to soothe baby back to sleep
- Monitors baby breathing, movement, as well as room temperature
VTech VM321 Video Baby Monitor
The best feature in this monitor is the fact you can take it with you around the house.
Being able to unplug this and have it with you during naptime really gives you the ability to actually get something done. You can switch from black and white to color as you prefer, and you can also zoom in on your sleeping baby which is great!
Unfortunately, you can’t turn on the lullabies from the parent side of the monitor, but other than that this is a great option.
- Range: Up to 1000 ft
- Night vision monitor
- High resolution color wireless baby monitor
- Two way talk
- 5 preset lullabies
Philips AventDect Audio Baby Monitor SCD560/10
The price on this monitor can’t be beaten, and if you only need audio monitoring, this is a great option.
The rechargeable battery will last through the night, which most of the video monitors don’t, so this is nice.
The temperature sensor is a great option, especially during those cold winter nights; you can rest easy knowing your baby isn’t cold.
- Range: 1082 ft
- Audio monitor
- Parent side can be wireless or corded to save battery
- Baby side has night light and lullaby features
Babysense Video Baby Monitor
The best part about this monitor is the option for the video monitor to be switched to audio at night. This helps save the battery life, and the video turns back on automatically with sound so you can quickly and easily check on your little one in the middle of the night.
There are sensitivity levels, so if you have a loud sleeper you can easily adjust this to keep it from turning on the video at every little noise coming from your baby’s room.
- Range: 900 ft
- Night vision camera
- Two way talk and lullabies to soothe baby back to sleep
- Room temperature monitoring
Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor
The best part about this monitor is that you have WiFi capability, without being required to use it on your phone.
The battery life will last through the night if you don’t have access to a plug-in, but only if it is in power saving mode – meaning the video will turn off after 5 minutes and then will turn on with sound from baby’s room.
Another great option with this monitor is that you can buy additional add-on cameras as your family grows and keep using the same monitor.
- Range: 700 ft
- WiFi without using your phone
- Mobile, handheld video screen monitor
- Alternate to sound monitor to save battery life
HelloBaby 3.2 Inch Video Baby Monitor
This is a great option if you are on a budget and don’t need all the bells and whistles, without sacrificing video capability.
You still have the night vision mode to easily see your sleeping baby.
This also has the temperature sensor which I think is a great plus if you have a winter baby and are worried about the nursery getting too cold.
- Range: 960 ft
- Night vision
- Temperature Sensor
- Two-way talk feature
I hope this article has been a valuable resource for you in your decision about baby monitors. This is not a choice to be taken lightly, and it can be a big financial decision depending on how many features you want.
Features can be the fun part of your decision, but it isn’t the only part. Think about the set-up of your home.
Will you have a place to install your monitor safely? Are you chasing after older siblings?
If so, you might want a hand-held monitor so you can quickly move about the house.
The peace of mind that a monitor can bring you in the early days of learning your newborn’s sleep cycle and night-time sounds can be invaluable.
As you child gets older and you start sleep training, a monitor can also help you transition to their room – especially if you have been used to them always being very near to you when sleeping.
There are so many choices in baby monitors on the market and this article is meant to be a resource for you in picking out the best option for your family.
I have given you some options with varying levels of monitoring, which work over larger distances, from movement sensors to temperature sensors, and of course video options.
I hope this information helps you in making this very important, and sometimes daunting, decision for your newborn.
What baby monitor did you choose? Or did you decide not to buy one?
Please leave any comments below
Graham runs the place around here. He likes making a “little noise” about all things to do with tennis and parenting. Check out his about page to learn more.