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Do You Need a Baby Monitor?

Posted on 9/05/2012 in Motherhood & Well-Being

When preparing for the arrival of a new baby, expectant parents tend to focus on the pregnancy and everything that comes with it -- ultrasounds, the need for
maternity clothes and maternity dresses, medical appointments, reading up on the baby’s development and changes for the mother, as well as arranging finances and preparing for maternity leave.

As the time to welcome your new baby draws closer, much preparation is required and so many pieces of equipment, furniture and clothing need to be obtained. The immediately obvious items -- such as prams, cots and car travel systems -- come to mind quickly, but other things are commonly considered later down the track. A baby monitor is a good example of this.

Naturally, many parents want to ensure their precious little one is as safe, secure and comfortable as possible and, to this end, parents devote attention to the necessary tangible items, as well as settling techniques and sleeping aids. Some parents see a baby monitor as a standard piece of equipment, important in the homes of all babies, whereas as others view them as a non-essential item -- it really depends on your personal situation and living arrangement.

Why have a baby monitor?

Monitor your child:  A number of parents choose to have a baby monitor so that it may serve as an extra ‘set of eyes’ on their child, for when they are not in the room. Ultimately, for parents who are concerned, a baby monitor offers peace of mind and helps them to feel their child really is safe.

Large homes:  For people that reside in large homes, baby monitors can be particularly useful and important. In large homes, including those with multiple storeys, it can be difficult to hear your child when you are far from the room that they are in. In the first few months of life, a child cries because it needs something, and crying is the only means they have to express that something is wrong. Given this, numerous parents find great peace of mind in knowing that they can always hear when their child needs them.

Medical issues:  For babies that are unwell or have a medical problem, a baby monitor is not just useful, but essential. Many different monitors, utilising different technologies and capabilities, exist today with some specifically developed to monitor a baby and quickly alert the parents or carers in the event of a problem.

Freedom:  A number of parents enjoy the freedom that baby monitors afford them. With the comfort of a baby monitor, parents feel more able and more confident to enjoy their own time away from (but near enough to) the baby, knowing that they will be able to hear if the baby needs assistance.

Why not to have a baby monitor?   

Attuned hearing and instincts:  Some mothers testify that, following the birth of their baby, they develop a ‘third ear’ or especially sensitive hearing, which allows them to hear even the mildest murmurings and stirrings of their baby. Often, these mothers are able to identify their baby’s cries even when many other babies are nearby.

Breastfeeding:  Although some mothers love to hear every sound their baby makes and/or watch what their child is doing in a different room via video, others are aware that constantly hearing their child can over-stimulate their milk production and lead to problems such as leakage and pain. In this instance, some mothers choose a baby monitor that features the option of lights as a signal, rather than noise.

Let your baby learn to self-soothe:  While newborn babies definitely cry because they need something, older babies generally benefit developmentally from learning to soothe themselves and play alone in their cot or crib. With use of a baby monitor, some parents will immediately rush in to see what their child needs when it may be perfectly reasonable to leave them on their own for a while.

Small homes:  Particularly in units, flats and apartments, rooms are close together and/or quite small. In such living situations, it is not difficult to hear a baby crying.

Expense:  Some baby monitors are expensive and, unless one can be borrowed or otherwise acquired cheaply, a number of parents opt not to have one or to wait and see if one is really necessary for them.

The decision of whether or not a baby monitor is needed is a very personal one that largely depends on your living situation and needs. For some people, a baby monitor is an essential item, while for others it is not so vital. 


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