Wondering when to stop using a baby monitor? For some people, it’s around the 6-month mark when babies can sleep for longer periods. But the answer isn’t set in stone. Ultimately it’s up to what you decide as a couple. I’m here to help you arrive at your decision based on my experience — and much research. And, I’ll also hint on why it may be wise to hold on to it a little longer. Read on to get the answers you need.
Buyers Guide Section – Baby Monitor Dilemma
Parenting doesn’t come with a manual. You need to figure things out as you go. That’s why you may find yourself conflicted regarding making certain decisions — like when to stop using your baby monitor. Is there a specific cut-off age? Do you then donate or gift the monitor right away to a friend who’s just had a newborn? How do you manage your anxiety when you can no longer monitor your baby via the monitor? Does it make you a weird parent if you still use it for your 5-year-old? No need to panic. I’m here to answer all your burning questions and more.
How Long Should You Use a Baby Monitor?
As mentioned, how long you decide to use a monitor is up to you. But here’s a piece of advice: don’t discard your baby monitor just yet. Even if you subscribe to the “6 months timeframe” school of thought. And I’m not saying this because baby monitors are somewhat pricey investments. But trust me when I say that you WILL find it handy in the future as I’ll explain a little later. From my experience, it’s ideal to use a baby monitor in the following cases.
When Your Little One is Under 6 Months
Most babies under 6 months don’t sleep through the night. It doesn’t help that infants are at risk of SIDS during the first few years of their lives. It’s at this age that most parents are on extra high alert. They are always swooping into their baby’s room to investigate every cough, sneeze, and cry. And that’s perfectly understandable because I used to do that a lot. You just want to make sure your baby is safe. If your little one is under 6 months AND sleeping in her own room then you must use a baby monitor.
If Your Baby Sleeps in a Separate Room
With most parents, the baby monitor gets to work as soon as they bring their baby home from the hospital — especially if the little one is sleeping in their own room. My daughter never had the privilege of sleeping in our room from the onset. This is partly because my fianceé and I wanted to teach her some independence early on. But mainly because the process of changing rooms is usually a lot more difficult when your baby is a little older. With all the attachment issues from both baby AND mommy! Just make sure they sleep on a firm mattress, clear of stuffed toys, and thick blankets to reduce the dangers of SIDS. Setting up a baby monitor in the nursery gave us the reassurance we needed that our little one was sleeping safe and sound.
If Your Baby Has a Health Condition
Feel free to use a baby monitor for longer as especially if your child suffers from an underlying health condition like sleep apnea or asthma. This way you can respond to them as, when, and if you need to.
If Your Child is a Sleepwalker
Sleepwalking in toddlers is pretty common, not to mention dangerous. The situation is even worse if there are stairs in your home. Use a baby monitor for as long as you need so you can always keep an eye on your child.
If Your Child Has Nightmares
Unfortunately, some children have nightmares while others suffer from night terrors. You can imagine just how terrifying such an experience is. Even more so if your little one is crying out for help and mommy and daddy can’t hear him. Use a baby monitor so you’ll always hear when your child calls out for help.
At What Age Should You Stop Using a Baby Monitor?
There’s no set answer regarding the right age to stop using a baby monitor. During my research, different couples had different answers. Some parents ditched the monitor as soon as their little one started sleeping through the night. Others used it until their kids were two. While the final decision is yours, a baby monitor ceases to be mandatory in the following cases.
If Your Baby is Older Than 6 Months
Your child starts sleeping through the night around this age. If he or she does wake up crying, chances are you should be able to hear them clearly from across the hall. That’s of course provided that your little one’s room isn’t at the other end of the hallway. But don’t switch the baby unit off on your child’s 6 month birthday. Wait until you’re absolutely sure that your baby sleeps throughout the night without waking up. If you realize that a week or two has passed without using the baby monitor, you’re in the clear. You can go ahead and turn it off if you want. And no, that doesn’t make you a bad parent. In fact, it makes you an excellent parent for helping your baby to adapt to a healthy sleeping pattern, which by the way does wonders for your baby’s brain development. Not to mention a less cranky parent because you can also enjoy a full sleep-cycle. Improved sleeping patterns equals more rest which translates to a better mood! See where I’m going with this?
If Your Toddler Starts Sleeping in Their Grown-Up Bed
Babies grow fast. Before you know it, you’ll have a toddler on your hands sleeping on a regular bed. At this stage, your baby can do without a baby monitor If there’s anything your child needs, you can trust that they know exactly where to find you to voice their concerns!
Why It’s OK to Stop or Carry On Using a Baby Monitor
One thing you need to know is that it’s ok to stop using a baby monitor completely when you feel you don’t need it. You can do without one under the following scenarios.
When Your Bedrooms Are Close to Each Other
If your baby’s room is next to yours, chances are that you’ll hear every cough and every cry. This is particularly true when it’s night time. As you know, sound travels much faster during the night.
When You Share a Bedroom
You really don’t need a monitor if your baby is lying in a bed right next to you. It’s easy to pick up on any sounds your little one produces.
If Having the Unit Causes More Anxiety
I used to be blown away by the baby monitor during the first couple of days. This was until my intrigue bordered on obsession. You start to obsess over every sound that comes from your baby’s room. In some cases, you might find yourself waking up at least four or five times a night! Mind you 90% of these instances are based on false alarms. Some smart monitors feature very sophisticated designs that they even pick up on your baby’s regular breathing patterns. And don’t get me started on days when the monitor starts experiencing connectivity issues. I’d obsess about whether it’s still working and why there’s no sound coming from my baby’s room. You can imagine the anxiety. Switching it off in this instance seems like the better option, especially if your child sleeps through the night.
On the other hand, go ahead and carry on using a baby monitor in the following cases.
If You Live in Big House
While it’s easy to hear your child cry if she’s in the next room, the same can’t be said about parents with big houses. It’s difficult to hear your child crying if he is sleeping in a room that’s farther down the hallway or not on the same floor as yours. That’s why one buys a long-range baby monitor. The situation is even made worse if you’re a heavy sleeper. In such cases, you can continue to use your baby monitor until your child is loud enough to wake you up.
If You’re Using it as a Nanny Cam/ Home Security
Baby monitors — particularly those with night vision abilities — double as nanny cams. Some parents even use the gadget as a home security feature. It makes sense to continue using it even until your child is past toddlerhood. Just don’t let your child catch you spying on them! To them, it’s an invasion of privacy.
When Sleep Training Your Toddler
I mentioned how it’s ok to ditch the monitor when your toddler is now sleeping in his bed. But I’ll also point out that I found the gadget useful while I was sleep training my child. The monitor helped me check if my daughter was indeed sleeping or playing with her stuffed animals.
When Your Child Is Sick
Remember when I said you shouldn’t be too quick to throw out your monitor even when your child starts sleeping through the night? You’ll find just how useful it is when your little one falls sick. The monitor will help you keep an eye on your child so you can respond to them in time. I remember how my monitor always helped me intercept my child before she started vomiting each time she went to bed with a tummy bug.
Packing a baby monitor with when you’re traveling is a good idea. Whether you’re going camping or visiting a friend’s house, you can keep tabs on your child and enjoy your vacation more. Remember you seldom go to bed at the same time as your kids. So you want to know that they are sleeping soundly while you enjoy adult company.
Do you now have all the answers you need regarding when to stop using your monitor? The long and short of this article is that how long you use your monitor is entirely up to YOU. You’re the one who knows your lifestyle, how big your home is, your child’s sleeping pattern, and health status. This means you know if you should continue using it or when to stop. I just wrote this article to highlight both sides of the argument by explaining which instances you can continue using the monitor and when it’s ok to stop. The only thing I can advise you is to not discard it too early. Remember that your child can fall sick any time even when they are able to sleep through the night. It’ll come in handy then. That’s all from me, what decision are you going with?