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Like most parents, you’ve installed a baby monitor and slowly grown to rely upon it. But for how long should you use it?
Your fifteen-year-old son is unlikely to want to be a 24-hour reality TV star, after all.
These devices, invented in America in 1937, have revolutionized parenting, bringing reassurance and relaxation to millions of families.
Whether your baby has a potentially problematic condition, such as acid reflux. Or you simply want to know when she’s ready for a feed, a baby monitor provides immediate data… without you constantly running to another room.
However, what starts as a source of reassurance, can become an addictive alternative to learning to trust mother nature.
How Long to Use a Baby Monitor (Survey)
A survey of Mumsnet reveals a huge range of usage, from mothers who stop using the monitor after a few weeks, to those who are still monitoring their three-year-olds.
The first thing to consider is whether you are using the monitor during periods when you would normally be awake. Or whether you leave it on after you go to bed.
In the former case, it may prove helpful, allowing you to relax and easily tell the difference between a false alarm and a real “cry for help”.
However, if you are a light sleeper, the sound of a baby’s every gurgle and murmur may ruin your own sleep.
Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence that baby monitors prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) with any real efficacy, despite manufacturers’ claims.
One statistic may reassure – 90% of sudden infant deaths (which occur to 0.1% of infants) happen during the child’s first six months*.
After that point, the risk drops significantly.
Over-reliance on the monitor can make for an anxious, sleep-deprived mum or dad.
As a parent, you know whether using these devices has made your life easier, or more challenging. The honest answer might simply be to unplug the monitor when you feel confident to do so.
*source: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/safesleepbasics/SIDS/fastfacts