No matter if you’re a first time mama or a seasoned parent, leaving your baby asleep in their room while you get sh*t done (or binge watch TV) can be stressful. Are they breathing? Are they crying? Have they rolled onto their tummy – or attempted an escape?
This is where a baby monitor comes in handy. It allows you to keep track of your little one without needing to check in on them every five minutes and risk disturbing them. Let’s just say they’re pretty damn useful.
As with most baby products, there are so many monitors on the market. Here’s a guide to the types available, what features to look for, plus five monitors we love at different price points.
Types of baby monitors
Baby monitors fall into three main categories:
Audio baby monitors
These allow you to hear what your baby is doing (namely, crying). They’re like a walkie-talkie in that they have a base that sits in your baby’s room and a receiver that you take with you wherever you are in the house. They are the O.G. baby monitor, and while they’ve been overtaken in popularity by video baby monitors in recent years, you might prefer just to hear what your baby is doing rather than see it too.
Video baby monitors
This is a camera setup that shows a video and audio feed of what your babe is up to. There are two types of video monitors:
- Smartphone monitors – where the camera sends video and audio to an app on your phone. What’s fun about this is you can check in on your babe from anywhere in the world – if you’re in London on business, out to dinner at your favorite Italian spot, or kicking back on the couch. However, it’s essential to consider that you need to keep your phone charged to use this type of monitor. Plus, connecting to it while off WiFi can drain your data.
- Handheld monitors – where the camera sends the footage to a tablet-like device that comes with the baby monitor system. This type of baby monitor is helpful if you’ll have a babysitter or grandparent minding your baby on the reg; they don’t need to download an app to see what your little one is up to.
Intelligent baby monitors
These are a type of monitor that sits either under the mattress in the crib or attaches to your baby’s heel and can track their movements and breathing. They can be helpful during your baby’s first few months of life when the risk of SIDS is most prevalent. However, it’s important to note that they can be costly for something that’s potentially only used for a short period, and there are none on the market that are approved to prevent SIDS.
Features to look for
As with any tech product, it’s all about the features, baby. And, because it’s the 21st century, baby monitors are packed with ‘em. Key specs you might look for include:
- A secure connection – so you can control who can log in to your baby monitor.
- Movement and baby positioning alerts – which let you know if your baby’s face is covered, if they’ve moved, or if they haven’t moved in a while.
- Audio alerts – which let you know if your baby cries or makes noise.
- Temperature and humidity monitoring – which tracks the temperature and humidity of your baby’s room. This is important, considering temperature can help keep your babe comfy while sleeping and is key to a safe sleeping environment.
- Two-way audio – allows you to listen in on your baby and talk to them through the monitor. (“Go the f*ck to sleep, William!”).
- Night vision – so you can see what your little monster is up to in the wee hours.
- A high-resolution camera – some baby monitor cameras are so high-resolution that you can even see your baby breathing. Now that’s what we call comfort.
- Camera pan and tilt abilities – so you can adjust the view remotely to see everything your babe is doing.
- Sound options – some monitors offer inbuilt white noise and lullaby music. Cute!
- Easy installation and setup – because you don’t have time to dick around with tricky products, mama.
These are, of course, just some of the features on offer. Baby monitors can be an investment, so make sure to read the product specs before buying.
Five monitors we love
We know you’re busy as hell, girl, so we’ve started the research for you. Here are five monitors we love, at different price points and with a variety of features.
This audio monitor has it all – vibrating audio alerts, two monitors, a night light on the in-room base, and belt clips.
This video handheld monitor is affordable, durable, and features a tilting-and-panning camera, in-built lullabies, and excellent video quality.
This is an intelligent baby monitor that connects to your phone via an app. It’s a little sock that sits on your baby’s foot as they sleep and tracks their oxygen levels, heart rate, and total hours slept.
This fabulous budget-friendly option includes a handheld monitor, night vision, night light, lullabies, and temperature sensor.
This video monitor is a cute little bird-shaped thing that connects to your phone through an app. It offers features out the wazoo, including sleep analytics, crisp night vision, movement and baby positioning alerts, and white noise.
Ultimately, your choice of baby monitor will likely come down to budget and the features that matter most to you. Of course, you can always start with one type and upgrade to another later – don’t pressure yourself to choose the perfect baby monitor now. You could also shop for a baby monitor secondhand or on Facebook Marketplace – just check for any product recalls and that it’s in good working condition before buying.