Perhaps the most common reason why parents or caregivers purchase a baby monitor is so that they can get more sleep, and better sleep, knowing that they will be awakened by the monitor if their child needs attention.
The Importance of Audio Baby Monitors
We’ve discussed in our article on the types of baby monitors, the option between a simple audio monitor and an audio/video baby monitor. Which type is better? Which type is better for you? First of all, let’s discuss sound monitoring, and what makes it so very important. For one thing, you’ll quickly come to the conclusion that it’s the audio capabilities of the baby monitor that you’ll tend to rely on most. With a newborn, you can expect a schedule of about every 2 to 3 hours. They will cry out to you with their need to nurse or be fed, and/or have their diaper changed. Through the night, that provides you with a fairly brief window of opportunity to get some sleep. Thankfully, this schedule doesn’t last forever. At about six months of age, you’ll find that the period between needing to be fed and changed will typically increase to about every 4 to 6 hours. So your down time is doubled.
Here is where baby monitor quickly pays off. If you’re completely confident in the ability of your monitor to wake you if your child needs attention, you’ll be able to sleep better — more deeply. First time parents are typically much more anxious, and will likely lose a lot more sleep than parents who’ve been through this process before. So for these newbies, a baby monitor is almost a must. So when choosing a monitor, make sure you put the primary focus on the audio capabilities of your monitor. We’re not saying that the video feature is redundant, simply that it’s not as important as the audio features.
So to recap, in terms of helping you get more sleep, the video feature has no impact. This is totally reliant on the audio capabilities of the monitor.
Where Video Baby Monitors Pay Off
Seeing that the audio component of the monitor is the most important, all video monitors include audio, and in some cases, two way audio.
If you’ve been reading along from the beginning of this article, you might be coming to the conclusion that there’s no point in purchasing a baby monitor that has a video capability as well. Maybe you’re asking yourself why not just stick with the basic audio model. Well, there are some valid reasons for selecting a model with an added video feature, and we will discuss some of those here.
Let’s pose a scenario. Assume you’re going about your day, and busy in another room while your infant sleeps. You hear them cry, but you’re not sure if it’s necessary to immediately check on them or not. Are they whimpering and crying in their sleep just momentarily and likely to settle back down again in a in a few seconds? With video capability, you can determine that from your hand set, or parental unit. And this is especially true if you have a monitor that has features that allow you to tilt, pan and zoom via controls on your handset. Instead of perhaps disturbing the baby and waking them up even further, you can check in on them from a distance, and determine whether or not they need immediate attention.
As time goes on and your child becomes a little bit more independent, having video is again quite useful. It’s also useful if you have multiple children, and would like to keep an eye on two different spots of the home at the same time.
So while we’ve established that an audio monitor is more beneficial in certain cases than video is, we’ve also established that there is value in having the added video feature as well.
In a few spots above, we’ve talked about the handset, or parental unit. Let’s talk about the advantages of having a baby monitor that is either expandable, or comes with multiple parental units. Even if there is only one parent or caregiver that’s typically act home with the child, having multiple handsets is an advantage. Hopefully, you’re going to be spending a good part of your night in your bedroom, so you’re going to need a receiver there, and more than likely it’s got some sort of charger or base station as well that needs to be plugged in. If you only have one parental unit, this means that when you get up in the morning you need to take at least the handset, and depending on the life of your battery, perhaps the base as well, and move that to another room. Having multiple handsets eliminates the need to do this.
Unfortunately, having this second unit isn’t always an option, even with some of the high end monitors. Many of the video monitors will come with the option to have a second camera to either place in another spot in the baby’s room, or in another room altogether, but do not have the option for a second handset. In this case, you’re stuck with having to schlep the parental unit around with you. So be aware, if having multiple handsets is an important feature to you, this will to some extent limit the choices available to you.