Do You Really Need a Baby Monitor?

As most of you know, I’m currently pregnant with my first baby (just a couple weeks shy of my third trimester!). I know there’s still plenty of time to get my ducks in a row before the baby comes (I’m not due until late February), but of course I’m buzzing with questions now and, as a first-time mom, have been doing a fair amount of research to get ready. Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out what things I want to make sure to get in preparation for the baby.
As most of you know, I’m currently pregnant with my first baby (just a couple weeks shy of my third trimester!). I know there’s still plenty of time to get my ducks in a row before the baby comes (I’m not due until late February), but of course I’m buzzing with questions now and, as a first-time mom, have been doing a fair amount of research to get ready.

But of course, I know that you all are a treasure-trove of information, whether you either have kids of your own, have helped raise siblings or are master babysitters, so I wanted to start posing some of my questions (from big to small) for you to chime in on. (If you missed it, a previous question I posed to readers was whether you really need a diaper bag or not. Click here to read what everyone had to say!)

Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out what things I want to make sure to get in preparation for the baby. As a minimalist, I've been trying to streamline these things and not fall into that total consumerist trap of "I have to buy everything for the baby!" However, on the flip side, I realize that there are some things that can really make your life easier.

So today I'm wondering about...



Do you really need a baby monitor? Our house is pretty small, about 1,500 square feet, and a ranch level. The baby’s room will be catty-corner from our bedroom. Thanks to no television, our house stays pretty quiet. So I just wonder whether a baby monitor is necessary and will keeping the door cracked do the job, or is the peace of mind worth the expense?

If you have any insights to share, please let me know in the comments. And thanks in advance!

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15 comments:

  1. We've decided it's not necessary for us. We'll be starting out with the baby in our room, and if we end up moving him to the second bedroom he'll be catty corner from us. If we move next year (we just rent), we'll reevaluate.

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  2. love love love our video monitor (find on costco.com) - it is so handy for our newborn and our 4 year old! you can talk back to them through it too. however, it is not necessary - I just will not do without it. I would give up other things!

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    1. Oh, good tip about looking at the warehouse clubs. I'll have to remember to check them out for good baby deals!

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  3. I live in a tiny house but love my monitor because it isn't the crying I worry about but the other sounds... like if they get sick and choke on snot or like my daughter would get where she couldn't catch a breath when her sinus would swell. So I could hear any worrisome sounds. God knows you will hear the crying....lol

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  4. I think that it's a personal choice. We had a baby monitor at first, but found it caused more stress. It seemed to pick up every little thing and someone was always running in to check on the baby. We also lived in a smaller ranch and even from the living room, you could hear upset baby noises over the television.

    I was careful to keep extra items out of the crib so there wouldn't be entanglement, choking or other problems. And when my son was sick as an infant, he usually didn't sleep in the crib much anyway. I found a really good swing that had an option to recline a bit was more valuable, because when he had any sort of cold or respiratory issue, he slept better in the swing near our bed or in the living area during the day.

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    1. I wondered about the extra stress it might actually cause. I was reading the Super Nanny book and she recommended sticking with just a sound one rather than a video one for that very reason. And we definitely won't have any extras in the crib, either.

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  5. I'm usually on the simplistic side of the monitor systems. But, as friends keep having kids (and my nanny experience) the video monitors are great. Sometimes we'll have friends over for dinner and they will put their baby upstairs to sleep. We can be in the backyard and they feel at ease because they can see on the monitor the baby. Also, can be helpful if your baby stirs. You don't have to run in but watch if you need to or not.

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  6. I find that a simple baby monitor, though maybe not a "necessity" in your situation can be a great tool. It can allow you that little extra peace of mind as you run to the mailbox (especially when that chatty neighbor corners you) or do a tiny spat of gardening while the baby naps. I know that the "cry it out" method isn't very popular these days, but I've yet to meet a parent that didn't resort to it at one time or another. Having a baby monitor allows you to turn the volume down for that short period of time so that the screaming (though still audible) doesn't drive you completely mad while you wait for your baby to settle or fall asleep.

    I do find the new iPhone video systems a tad overboard - but that's just me personally
    . I could usually tell by the way my baby was crying/moving/grunting if I was goingto need to go in there or not. Personally we never had anything other than a good old fashioned one-way walkie talkie type.

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    1. Good point about little things like running to the mailbox or doing something in the garage / yard. I will definitely want a little freedom to do some of that without having to always take the baby with me!

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  7. I'm pregnant with our first one, too, and I am wanting one more for peace of mind than anything - but I'm also tend to worry by nature! Even if they are quiet, I know I'll want to visually check on them from my bed without having to creep in there in the middle of the night. It might be worth the peace of mind!

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  8. We didn't use our monitor past the first few nights until we were traveling or I wanted to be outside for awhile during nap time, at which point it proved invaluable.

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  9. You could always put it inside a cabinet if you're not liking the plastic appearance of it!

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  10. We didn't need one for the first 6 months because Archer was in our room the whole time! His room is not adjacent to ours and we use a fan in our room for white noise, but like you we have a small space and could hear him with the door open (~1000 sq feet feels huge in Boston, though). I registered for the Sony Baby Call Monitor just in case. Very simple, no bells or whistles. You can turn it on "voice activated" mode where it's only running when the baby makes a noise.
    Although, the one night I forgot to turn it on he slept through the night. Probably because I didn't hear all the little murmurs, whines, cries. :)

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  11. We had a regular monitor for our first in a ranch. We didn't use it that much but I have super hearing and the house was just a "l" shaped ranch. Then they are big enough that you can hear them yelling "mama" and there is really no need for it. If you are a sound sleeper you may want it. We just left the two doors open (they were right across the hall like it sounds like you are). Then we had another in a new house 2 story and I was sick of running up and down when he was just making noise but not actually up. What I noticed is we used the monitors more at this point for us to be able to go outside and get yard work done while all the kids were napping. Our monitor worked for a large portion of our yard. I loved that I could go outside and if I heard a noise I could then look at see if the baby was really up or not.

    If you like time outside - buy one. If you plan on more kids - buy the video one right away they are not that much more money.

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  12. When I was with my ex-boyfriend I noticed there are two nice things about a baby monitor: 1) you can step outside while the baby naps if you want to garden or even check the mail, and 2) I was always imagining noises. Then I'd go in the baby's room and disrupt her nap because I thought I heard a cry and I didn't.

    My ex boyfriend didn't think we needed one. His house was about 2,100 square feet, but baby's room was right by the living room where we spent the most time. I really wanted one. We went every other weekend for nearly two years without one, so it's possible, but the peace of mind would have been worth it to me.

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