Baby monitors are one of those products we have all grown to love and rely on to keep a beady eye on our babies, but when should you stop using a baby monitor to watch them sleep at night?
The answer, like most of parenting is that it depends. There’s no official rule about when you should stop using a baby monitor but there are a few benefits and disadvantages to using them as your child gets older.
What is a baby monitor for?
A baby monitor allows you to watch or listen to your baby while they sleep when you are in another room.
It’s one of those newborn essentials many parents find they can’t live without when their babies are young.
For the first six months the NHS recommends that babies should sleep in the same room as their parents to reduce the risk of cot death, however when a baby is sleeping during the day or night in a separate room a baby monitor can allow you to listen out for them waking.
This is useful if you have a large house or might struggle to hear your baby when the door is closed.
Do baby monitors help prevent SIDS?
There is no evidence to suggest that use of a baby monitor will prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
The guidance is to let your baby sleep on their back in a suitable bed free of any obstacles and have them sleep in the same room as you for the first six months.
Although there are baby monitors out there on the market that are more advanced than just providing video or audio such as the nanit or owlet, there is no guarantee that these help to prevent SIDS.
In fact, a study of new parents found that these monitors make them more anxious about their babies!
How long should you use a baby monitor for?
There’s no official guidance on how long you should use a baby monitor for, but as with everything in parenting, you should use it for as long as you find it useful however after they turn one, you are much less likely to use it as much.
If the baby monitor re-assures you that your child is OK whilst sleeping, then you can continue to use it for as long as you need, but there does come a point when you may not worry so much about your baby at night times, which is around the age of 2 years old.
Monitoring a healthy baby past the age of 2 is unnecessary, below are some of the main reasons why parents have ditched their monitors at the age of 2.
Not all noises need your attention
It’s normal for babies to make noises when they sleep, hiccupping, sneezing, coughing, farting and more, but after the age of 2 the only noise that really needs your attention is crying, and even crying can be normal.
Many babies make noises that sound like crying when they’re in fact asleep and making general baby noises.
Your bedrooms are next door to each other
If your child is crying during the night and your rooms are next door to each other, it’s likely you can hear them through the wall anyway, so if your child is loud enough to hear through the wall you can get rid of the baby monitor.
Using a baby monitor can cause anxiety
As parents we can become obsessed with every unusual noise or movement our baby makes and often, we can become obsessed with checking the baby monitor that it can cause light sleep and anxiety in ourselves.
Most parents find that by ditching the baby monitor, it helped them to sleep better and become less anxious about their little one during the night.
Your baby is old enough to signal you If something is wrong
Another reason many parents opt to ditch the baby monitor is because their child is sleeping regularly throughout the night and when something is an issue they can walk into your room to let you know something is up.
How to ditch the baby monitor
Letting go of the baby monitor can be difficult at first but you don’t have to throw it away immediately.
Start off by moving it further away from you, so you don’t check it all the time. That way you are comforted that it’s there if you want to check on your child but it’s not readily available next to you all the time.
Over a few days, you may find that you think about checking the monitor less and less until one day you’re not checking it anymore.
There’s no right or wrong way of ditching the baby monitor, and what works for one set of parents may not work for another but the gradual approach is usually the best one.