In this post, I have provided a detailed guide on when to stop using a baby monitor – what age and the reasons why you should get it.
The first time you learn of a gadget called a baby monitor, you’ll probably start asking yourself whether you really need one. My parents didn’t use a baby monitor when we were young and we turned out fine. If you are on the fence whether there is any benefit of getting a baby monitor, you are not alone.
When I first got a baby monitor for my firstborn, he was already approaching 12 months. For the two babies I’ve had since then, I have used a baby monitor right away when I delivered them. In fact, baby monitors are perfect for newborns and preemies as this is the time you’ll most likely want to closely check on them. First-time parents also feel the need to get closer to your baby and a baby monitor can come in handy.
Is a baby monitor an absolute necessity?
Baby monitors are not a must-have baby item as Minimalist Mum would tell you but it’s a lifesaver for those who have gotten used to it. If you delivered your baby prematurely, it is very important if you get a monitor that will track your baby’s vital signs such as breathing and heartbeat. For regular-term babies, your baby monitor will give you peace of mind by enabling you to check on them – see and hear them whenever you want to.
To summarize your need for a baby monitor will depend on the health condition and sleeping patterns of your baby. In addition, the size of your room and the distance of your room to your baby’s nursery may be too far and you wouldn’t be able to hear your baby when he/she cries. In that case, getting a baby monitor will enable you to hear your baby when he/she needs you.
When to stop using baby monitors /why parents should stop using it
A time will come that you will find it unnecessary to use the baby monitor watch over your little one whether because your baby is now big, or you find that unhealthy for your parenting skills. The truth is, there is the right time to stop using the baby monitor: some parents ditch the devices while others use them for babies of up to five years.
But, here are top reasons why parents stop using the baby monitor:
- You live in a small apartment, so the baby monitor becomes unnecessary.
Some parents who live in small apartments/flats stop using the baby monitor because they realize that the device becomes nagging. The baby monitor alerts even when it picks up white noises, making it ineffective for watching the baby. This is mostly the case if you are using a non-WiFi monitor that has a parent unit with settings that cannot be easily adjusted.
- The use of the baby monitor becomes a health hazard
Some parents stop using the baby monitor when it leads to anxiety and sleep deprivation. New parents soon realize that they cannot sleep well with fear that they will miss alerts on the baby needing their attention, despite most noise being unnecessary.
Other parents become obsessed with monitoring the baby even when away at work, which makes them anxious.
As such, parents ditch the baby monitors to implement healthy parenting approaches without obsessing over monitoring the baby.
- When your baby sleeps throughout the night
Some parents stop using the baby monitor at night when the little one sleeps the entire night without needing a feed or a diaper change. As such, a baby monitor becomes unnecessary.
- When the baby grows old enough to use a regular bed
You can stop using the baby monitor when your baby is old enough to use a regular bed because it means it can sleep through the night and call out when in need of help.
- When they become harmful to the baby
You should stop using a baby monitor when they are harmful to the baby. For example, you should stop using a baby monitor when a baby develops foot blisters from using an Owlet monitor. Also, you should stop using a baby monitor that has the risk of strangling your baby, especially baby monitors that have a movement sensor pad that is placed under the mattress.
Baby Monitor for Babies under 6 months
For babies under 6 months, the baby monitor is very handy. I have been using mine right away from when the baby is barely a week old but for parents that choose to sleep in separate rooms with the baby, the baby monitor will make the transition easy. Below is a review by a parent indicating how the Owlet Smart Sock reduced her worry when she had her baby wear it on the third night after delivery:
Baby Monitor for Babies of age 6 to 18 months
After 6 months, you will have trained your baby to sleep and can hopefully sleep the whole night without waking up. As they approach one year, you should be able to hear the cries or they can at least alert you without needing the monitor. As soon as your baby develops better sleeping habits, you can stop using the baby monitor at any time.
After 18 months, you can keep using the baby monitor as you see fit. After 2 years most toddlers would not need a baby monitor but I’ve met parents who are still using it with their babies aged 3 to 5.
Baby Monitor for Different House Types (Apartments, Small Houses, Large Houses, Rental/Flats, Airbnb)
Baby monitors can be used in different house settings. Here is an overview of what parents have had to say about using a baby monitor in different house categories:
Apartments/flats: You can use a baby monitor in an apartment or rental flats are given that you and your baby are not in the same room. In an apartment or any small house, it will be easier to hear your baby when he/she cries or needs your attention. In that regard, the baby monitor may not be as important but in several situations, parents living in apartments have founds monitors to be helpful in other ways. For example, when checking on a baby at night, you can watch the baby using night vision without having to go to their room and turn on the light – which usually ends up backfiring anyway since your baby will wake up when you turn on the nursery lights. For this reason, baby monitors are still very important for a small house.
In addition a WiFi baby monitor will allow you to the videos, images and sounds of your baby whenever you are in the world using the smartphone app provided by the baby monitor manufacturer.
Airbnb/Rentals: If you are traveling and feel like carrying your baby monitor along, you should note that Airbnb does not forbid the use of a baby monitor. However, you should purchase a portable baby monitor that can easily be mounted on a flat surface since it would be better mounting it on a surface that would not need screws or permanent placement.
The next section goes through the 6 main reasons why you should get a baby monitor
6 Reasons Why You Should Get a Baby Monitor
- Your baby sleeps in a room away from yours
You need a baby monitor to monitor the sounds and movements of your baby. If you live in a big house and your baby’s nursery is not close to your bedroom, a baby monitor will keep you closer to your baby by notifying you every time your baby cries or moves around in the crib.
- Your baby sleepwalks
A baby monitor is necessary if your baby sleepwalks to ensure that it is safe or you put it back to bed when it gets out of bed. This is often key when your baby has already learned how to walk – from age 2.
- When you need to monitor your baby when completing when doing other jobs
A baby monitor is necessary when you need to watch over your baby, but you are busy with other house chores such as vacuuming, which can block the sounds and cries of a baby
- When your baby has nightmares
A baby monitor is necessary when your baby has nightmares that interrupt its sleep and wake terrified because it will alert you that the baby needs your reassurance of their safety.
- When your baby is sick
A baby monitor is a necessity when your baby is sick because it alerts you immediately it makes a fuss or cries, which ensures that they fall asleep fast enough.
- One of the parents travels away and needs to keep up with the baby
A baby monitor becomes a necessity when one of the parents or grandparents live away and need to see the baby; they just log into the app and view the baby on the monitor anytime they want.
Other Benefits of using a baby monitor
Sleep training: When you are sleep training your toddler, you will often realize that they may not go to sleep immediately after you wish them a good night of peaceful sleep. I have used the baby monitor severally to keep an eye on my babies to make sure that they actually go to bed. Without the monitor, I often had to go and tell them to go to bed.
I am Ashley Davis, a mom of three kids and the editor here at MotherhoodHQ (formerly 10BabyGear). I have been a parent since 2011 and have been doing full-time consulting as a baby sleep expert since 2019. When I am not researching or testing the next baby gear hitting the market, you’ll find me teaching my toddlers a trick or two – especially over the last few months with the lockdown. I hope you’ll find my guides and reviews helpful as you make your next purchase decision. If you have any questions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.