When preparing for your baby’s arrival, it’s a good idea to research all about baby monitors. There are so many different kinds, and brands of baby monitors these days that you might wonder, “do I need a baby monitor?”
If you wonder if you need a baby monitor, you’ve found yourself in the right spot. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about choosing the right baby monitor for your home if you find you need one.
We’ll cover everything from things to consider, pros and cons, safety tips, and even suggestions on different baby monitor brands.
Let’s get started!
This post contains affiliate links to products I have used and enjoyed. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. To find out more, you can read my disclaimer here.
Pros of Using a Baby Monitor:
Peace of Mind
It doesn’t matter whether you have an audio-only or video baby monitor. Using either option can give you peace of mind.
While I have always thought our baby monitor was a great purchase (especially for nap times), there are two instances where the monitor has been so helpful. The first is when we transitioned our son to his own room. And the second is when we transitioned him from a crib to a toddler bed.
Both scenarios can be stressful for everyone involved, and having the monitor made us feel much more at ease.
Easy Checkups During Nighttime
If you choose to get a video baby monitor, it will allow you to quickly check on your baby anytime without disturbing them.
If you need to know if your baby is still sleeping or if you want to know what position they are sleeping in, you can look at the monitor’s screen.
Makes Crib Transition Easier
As mentioned above, using a baby monitor made things much less stressful when transitioning our son to the crib in his own room. Being able to easily hear if he needed me was essential not only for nighttime but during naps too.
Allows You To Get Chores Done
The last pro for using a baby monitor is that it allows you to get things done during nap time. While accomplishing things with peace of mind is essential for all parents, it’s beneficial if you’re a stay-at-home parent.
Having a baby monitor allows you to do things farther away from your baby’s room because you’ll be able to hear them when they wake up.
Cons of Using a Baby Monitor:
Concerns About Cyber Safety
When using a wifi video baby monitor, many parents worry about the security that the monitor has to offer. With stories of privacy concerns from parents who have had their video monitor hacked, choosing the safest monitor can be stressful.
While audio-only baby monitors are tried and true, know that there are many ways to ensure your video monitor is as safe as can be. We will touch more on that later in the article!
You Might Hear Every Little Sound
One of the cons of using a baby monitor, especially for new, first-time parents, is that you can hear every little sound many times.
Being able to hear every little grunt or shift can be challenging for new parents who have yet to learn the signs that their baby is fully awake. This can lead to getting their baby out of the crib before the baby is ready.
Also, if you are a light sleeper, hearing every noise might lessen your sleep quality until you get used to the noises your baby makes.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Baby Monitor:
Like with any significant purchase, no matter the price, you want to make sure you’re considering all of the critical points before committing. Here are all the top things to consider before buying a baby monitor:
Where will your baby sleep once they come home?
One of the most important things to consider when wondering if you need a baby monitor is where your baby will be sleeping from the minute you bring them home.
The room your baby will be sleeping in is crucial in deciding if you need a baby monitor straight away or if you can wait a few more months.
If your baby is room-sharing with you once they are born, you can hold off on investing in a baby monitor. This is because your baby will likely be right next to you, and you can hear them when they wake at night.
Or, if you plan on using a nursery room right next to your room and you know you’ll be able to hear your baby wake, then you can probably hold off on buying a monitor.
But, if you plan on using a nursery room farther away from your bedroom, you’ll want to have a baby monitor hooked up. When your baby is in another room, you’ll need to be able to hear them when they wake for a night feeding.
Your Baby’s Age
Your baby’s age will factor into what kind of baby monitor would be best for you. If you think you’ll want to hear your baby at night after they’re in toddlerhood, you will get your money’s worth out of the monitor.
Also, if this is your first child and you know you’ll want at least one more, you can keep the monitor to use with future children. Therefore, choosing a top-of-the-line monitor will be an excellent investment.
As with any purchase, your budget is a crucial point that you’ll need to consider before buying a baby monitor. There are baby monitors ranging from $30-$300 and higher. So, you should find one that works for your family and your bank account.
Are you a deep sleeper?
Even if your baby’s nursery is close to your bedroom, that might not matter if you’re a deep sleeper. Having a monitor close to your bed is beneficial if you need that extra nudge to wake you up.
Will you use a monitor for daytime naps?
A baby monitor is crucial for nap time, especially if you are a stay-at-home parent. Using a monitor during naps will allow you the freedom to do things elsewhere in the home while still being able to hear your baby when they wake.
Do you want to be able only to hear your baby or see them too?
The last point to consider before purchasing a baby monitor is whether you want only to hear your baby or to be able to check on them visually, too.
While audio-only baby monitors are much cheaper than video monitors, you’ll want to think about which feature you really need. If you know you would have more peace of mind by seeing your baby in their crib, then you wouldn’t be happy with buying an audio monitor.
Types of Baby Monitors
Because there are so many baby monitors to choose from, it can be overwhelming to start searching for the best one for your family. Here are the top four most common types of baby monitors:
1. Audio Monitor
An audio-only baby monitor is the most traditional and has been used the longest. An audio monitor is similar to a walkie-talkie. You can hear your baby when they make noises, and most models allow you to talk back to your child.
If you’re looking for a baby monitor that will do its job, is budget-friendly, and doesn’t have many bells and whistles, an audio monitor is for you.
Our Favorite Pick: VTech Audio Monitor
I have used a VTech audio monitor for years, which has always worked excellently. If you are interested in an audio monitor, you’ll want to look for one like this one.
These audio monitors have two-parent units, which is excellent if you have a two-story home. It also has up to 1000 feet of range, a visual sound indicator to see the noise level in the baby’s room, and a built-in intercom. You can also choose the sound sensitivity level, which is a great feature!
2. Video Monitor
Video monitors have been another prevalent option for parents in recent years. A video monitor is exactly as it sounds; a monitor with a camera to put in your baby’s room and a parent unit (or mobile app) with a screen that allows you to see your baby.
When looking at standard video monitors, remember that these monitors don’t require wifi. That means that most times, you can use the monitor right out of the box with minimal setup and connections.
The biggest downside to video monitors is the price tag. Most higher-quality video monitors are much more expensive than audio monitors, so you’ll want to ensure you know what kind of monitor is in your budget.
Our Favorite Pick: SpaceView Pro Video Baby Monitor
When choosing a video baby monitor, you can’t go wrong with the SpaceView Pro from Eufy. This monitor has a 30-hour battery charge, and a 5″ screen to see your little one on. It also has an intercom to talk to your baby through, and it can even play lullabies to soothe your baby to sleep.
Also, these monitors come with a wall mount, so you can place the monitor in the best spot to always see your baby.
3. Wifi Video Monitor
When researching video monitors, you’ll find that some monitors are used through wifi. These monitors are different from the standard video monitors because you’ll have to have internet access and a smartphone to use them.
One great thing about a wifi baby monitor is that you can see the video streaming from anywhere. So if you work from outside the house, you can open the app and check on your baby.
On the other hand, many parents worry about the security of a wifi monitor since there can be holes in the connection that hackers can get through, leading to a lack of privacy. But, if you follow the monitor’s instructions, there’s a small chance of privacy invasion.
Our Favorite Pick: Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor
If you’re looking for a wifi baby monitor, the Nanit Pro monitor is one of the best choices out there. These monitors come with all of the features of the above monitors. But, it also has an adjustable nightlight and white noise machine.
Most notably, the Nanit Pro monitor has humidity and temperature alerts and real-time sleep tracking and alerts. These alerts allow you to ensure your baby is sleeping well, and they even offer tips to help your baby sleep better.
Plus, this monitor has a portable stand, a wall mount, and a floor stand to ensure you can set the monitor up however you need to.
4. Movement Monitor
Movement monitors are the last type of popular baby monitor out there. These monitors are often the least like a traditional monitor, as you typically can’t hear your baby through them. Movement monitors usually only track your baby’s sleep stats.
Our Favorite Pick: Owlet Dream Sock
Regarding movement monitors, the Owlet Dream Sock is one of the best ones out there. These movement monitors are highly-rated and measure crucial things like sleep habits, blood oxygen level, and heart rate.
Features to Look For:
When researching baby monitors, you’ll notice that most monitors have many features for you. While some features are essential, others can be mostly fluff to make you think you’ll need that monitor. Here are the best features to look for:
One of the essential features of a baby monitor is its range. If you choose a baby monitor with a very short range, you might not be able to pick up the monitor’s signal if you’re across the house.
Plug-In or Battery Powered
The next feature you’ll want to look for is if the monitor is battery-powered or has to plug into an outlet. If possible, a monitor that does both is wonderful! But it may come down to your preference.
If you want a video monitor, you’ll have to decide if you want smartphone capabilities. To use your smartphone with a baby monitor, the monitor will have to have wifi capabilities, so be sure to choose one that does.
Especially when choosing an audio-only baby monitor, you’ll want one with multiple channels. Having numerous channels will ensure that you won’t have any interference from other electronics in the house.
Sound Level Indicator
Another great feature to have on a baby monitor is a sound level indicator. A sound level indicator is usually a light on the parent unit that changes from red to green or vice versa.
Having a visual sound indicator can help you decide if your baby is stirring or if they are completely awake. The indicator also allows you to have the monitor’s volume turned down pretty low, which is beneficial if your baby has a white noise machine in their room.
The last feature to look for in a baby monitor is two-way communication. Two-way communication means you can press a button on the monitor’s parent unit, and you can speak to your child, like using a walkie-talkie.
Once my son was around two years old, I found it helpful to use two-way communication to tell him I was coming to get him from his crib when he woke up from naps. He would stop crying or fussing for me when he knew I was on my way to him.
Safety Tips for Using Baby Monitors
Never Attach Monitors to the Crib
When setting up your baby monitor, never attach it to the crib. Not only are the monitor’s power cords a massive safety concern. But as your baby starts to pull themselves to standing, they could pull on the monitor and break it, making it even more unsafe.
Ensure Cords Are Out of Reach
Now that you know never to attach a baby monitor to the crib, you’ll also want to be conscious of where the power cords are wherever you choose to mount the monitor.
How and where you decide to place the baby monitor, ensure that the power cords are at least three feet away from the crib.
Always Check on Baby Frequently
When using a baby monitor, always remember that the monitor is no substitute for you. Check on your child frequently, and always respond to them when they cry for you.
Read the Instruction Manual and Warnings
The last safety tip to remember is to read your baby monitor’s instruction manual and warnings. It doesn’t matter how self-explanatory the monitor seems; you want to take advantage of some crucial tips about setting it up.
So, do I need a baby monitor?
After reading through these pros, cons, and things to consider, you should have a good idea of whether or not you need a baby monitor. But, if you’re still stuck and wondering what to do, know that most people will need a baby monitor in their home.
You’ll need a baby monitor if:
- Your baby sleeps in a different room
- You want more freedom during nap time to get things done around the house
- You’re starting sleep training
- You’re a deep sleeper
- You want peace of mind that your baby is OK
You don’t need a baby monitor if:
- Your baby is sleeping in the same room as you
- Your home is small enough to where you can hear your baby in the next room
And there you have it; everything you need to know to answer the question ‘do I need a baby monitor.’ I hope these pros and cons helped you choose the best option for your family.
Before you go, check out these related articles:
- What NOT To Put On Your Baby Registry
- The Ultimate Guide for Baby Proofing Your Home
- How To Make The Best Bedtime Routine for Your Child
- How To Have a Baby on a (Tight) Budget
- The Best Nursery Must-Haves You’ll Want for Your Baby
How did you know you needed a baby monitor in your home? I’d love to know in the comments below!