Baby monitor suggestions — The Bump
May 2017 Moms

Baby monitor suggestions

First time mom here, what baby monitor(s) worked well for you or did not work well? Is yours smart phone compatible? Did you find that a video monitor was necessary? What's your favorite feature of your baby monitor? Anything to watch out for or specifically look for in a monitor?

Re: Baby monitor suggestions

  • I'm a deaf mama so my needs are a little different but I absolutely love having a video monitor. DH is hearing and likes it too because anytime he would hear a noise, he could check on her without bothering her. At our last place, we had the camera mounted on the wall above DDs crib so we could check on her whenever we wanted, especially the early months to make sure she was still breathing. Now that shes two,  I can see that she fell asleep okay, and when shes actually ready to get out instead of talking in her sleep.

    I picked one (vtech brand) that didn't have wifi ability because I had kept hearing stories about creepers that were able to hack and watch the kids. That alone bugged me and I didn't need wifi to begin with. Other features we like: zoom in option, temperature stat, we can get another cam for #2 and continue to use the same monitor, talk button option although we don't really use it but I know some of my fellow s14ers did.

  • I looked online at safe video monitors. I won't use a monitor that connects to a Smartphone, due to the possibility of a hacker getting through. I've researched the safest monitors, and will buy a digital.

    Here's one of the sites I looked at, but I've checked many others too.

  • We have a Motorola set with two cameras and one parent unit. We keep one camera mounted in his room and then we have the other free to grab and take on trips without messing with the one in his room. It was not too expensive and it works well 

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  • Hi, and congrats! We have a Motorola baby monitor that we purchased before our LO was born. We had really hemmed and hawed about whether we'd really need it but have since found it to be a necessity!

    I've only ever had/used this one (with a video screen) but I wouldn't ever choose an audio-only one, and here's why. The noises that came out of his room, when he was younger, like rolling into the rails, or kicking the wall, or making a little cough or talking to himself, were the weirdest sounding noises over the monitor, and only by using the video screen could we get used to exactly what was what. If it were audio-only, I think it would've been more of a challenge to suss that out. (Our living room is right below his bedroom and we live in an old house, and the floors are echo-y and weird. So even him rolling over in the crib or dropping his paci sounded like a huge thunk, so I'm glad to have had the video screen to get used to what those sounds were.) Plus, I loved to see exactly what was going on. He always ended up sleeping the short-ways across the crib, not the long-ways, and it was super adorable, and sometimes he'd sleep with his head fully into one corner and then aim his snuggle-sacked body diagonally out (too funny!) and I would've missed out on those little quirks.

    99% of the time it's dark in the room so the night-vision feature needs to be highly recommended on the model you choose. I think they're all fairly decent but that'd be a feature I'd look for in people's reviews if I were to buy another one.

    A note about longevity: Our little guy is 3.5 years old and we still have the monitor-camera up on the little shelf, turned on, and we grab the parent-monitor every night after he's put to bed. (Sometimes I wonder if he's too old to still have it in his room... and I'm probably right about that... but our house is such that unless he's stomping around we can't hear him talking, chatting, crying, coughing, yelling, so I prefer to have the monitor at hand to keep an ear out.) Once during its lifetime, maybe after a year of heavy use, the parent part ended up not holding a charge. It kept getting worse and worse, like, it'd be plugged in all night and all morning charging and I'd unplug it have it turned on during a nap but then it'd quit like a half-hour into his nap and I'd have to run and get the charger and it became a hassle to have it plugged in without the portability. We looked online and people's suggestions were to change the rechargeable-battery inside the unit, so we ordered the battery online, changed it out, and it's been fine ever since. Holds a charge just like new. At first we were like "a $300 monitor and it only lasted a year!?" and we were peeved but with the battery swapped out it's a non-issue.

    Travelling: When we travel to visit with family, we always stay at their houses. And it's not until you have a little travelling companion do you realize exactly how someone's house is set up in terms of layout and acoustics. Some people's walls are super well insulated and you can't hear a thing! Having the monitor for audio/video was a huge help and gave peace of mind. Also, when he was in the "climbing out of the pack-n-play" stage, having the little speaker was helpful in giving a quick "get back in there! go lay down!" without having to traipse all the way to the room he was in (and arrive there after the deed was done; easier to catch him in the act and say something fast). *We didn't use that talking feature that often but for those few times, it was handy to have. *The lullabyes and music sounds, too, we personally never used, but I know some people do like having them to broadcast in the room to re-settle their little ones.

    Ours isn't smartphone compatible but I don't know that having it be on wifi would be a necessity for me nowadays. I'd have to think about that, if we were to buy a new one. The creepy stranger-looking-at-your-child-through-the-camera thing was a big deal when we bought ours but it specifically said it was paired to just the parent hand-set and secure and we never had an issue.

    One more thing: If you buy a monitor, I suggest to unpackage it, get it set up, and try it out, because your walls/floors/stories/wifi might have weird interference or blockage and it's best to test that out before you actually would be using it. You may need to try a different brand before you find one that works for your setup/situation. Do all of that ahead of time in case you have to make a return to the store. (And for setup in general, we had to put a little shelf up to get the right angle into the crib; thought the dresser top would work but we were sooo off the mark. Glad we did it before the little one was around.)

    So, video screen? Definitely. Decent night vision? Yes. Wifi? Not a must. Speaker/microphone/music features? Take 'em or leave 'em. You'll discover what works best for you. Good luck and happy shopping!
  • We had a sound monitor for all of two nights.  I kept hearing a bell ringing on it, but when I went to where DS was- no bell.  It freaked me out so I turned it off and quickly realized I didn't need a baby monitor.  I was never far enough away from my kids that I couldn't hear them when they were crying.

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  • Motorola anything I have an avent video monitor and it stinks
  • We also have the Motorola video monitor and really love it. It was relatively cheap, has a temperature gauge and the talk capability which we use a lot now that he's almost three. (To tell him to get back in bed. Haha)  We actually didn't have a video monitor when he was a baby, but now that we do, I would never go back. It's nice to be able to check if they actually need something or if they are just making noises in their sleep.
  • My experience with the Motorola is vastly different than PPs. I honestly loved it. It has awesome features and I love that you can add several cameras. BUT, it died 4 separate times in the year we had it. Each issue was slightly different. Motorola will replace it for free up to a year after original purchase. One of the Motorola reps I spoke to said it was a "known" issue, even though all my issues were different. Anyway, the 5th they sent us lost audio right after our one year expired. So for the last 2 years, we've used it for video but have a separate audio monitor. It's very annoying. 

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  • I'm kind of surprised how many people talk back through monitors! My 2 year old is TERRIFIED if we ever do it. He curls up in the fetal position with an eye on the camera and cries until I come get him and he tells me how scary it is. 

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  • Levana is a good brand!
  • @WombThereItIs : I've heard that from other people too. Understandable. A faceless dislocated voice busting out in the dark would probably be quite scary to me too! One reason my little guy might be okay with it: My hubbs and I sometimes would talk to each other through it, if one of us was with the parent-hand-held (in some other part of the house) and the other was in the room with him. One of us might say "where's the [whatever]!" and the other would answer the question... or one would go "this diaper is horrible! why didn't you come upstairs to deal with this?!" and the other would laugh back. I think those few instances were how he got used to it.  ;)  

    Have you ever told your son he can reply back to you through it? Or is it just beyond trying at this point?
  • @SKZW I've tried explaining how it's just mommy and I use the camera to see him but he's still pretty little for the concept I guess. He will be 2 in about 2 weeks.

     For now I'm okay with him not knowing how well I can hear him because he will play and jabber by himself in his crib for 30-45 minutes after he wakes up on the weekends! I hear him so I'm not asleep but hey, I'm still in bed. If he understood his mom summoning skills my mornings in bed might be over. 

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  • @WombThereItIs : LOL @ "summoning skills" because lord knows we can all use another 20 minutes!

    (My son, too, happily chats to himself and tells stories... I love it... Related topic: I think our sleep training style, as in "not running in every 2 minutes at every cry" helped him become this independent type. Did you have a similar style? IMO, I attribute it to that.)
  • @SKZW I totally credit sleep training. We tried doing timed check ins for bedtime and then I still nursed on demand at night and I was getting up 3-4 times a night when he was a year old. One night once my husband was deployed (he's the softy and also never got up at night!) I told him I loved him and I would see him in the morning. It took 3 nights and he's been a brilliant sleeper ever since. I should have done it wayyyyy earlier. He even does solid 2-2.5 hour naps, it rules.

     This time I know better! I definitely think I created a problem getting him up after every peep and this time after the intitial newborn haze I'm going to step back some and relax. 

    May '17 labor memes
  • We had a Motorola one and had a lot of problems with it after about 6 months. We had it replaced but also had issues with the replacement. After I did some googling it seemed to be a common problem with them.  This time I'm not sure what we will use. Our house isn't big so we can always hear fine it was just nice being able to peek at her on the video screen and know she was okay. 
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  • We have the Motorola MP36S.  I like it because you can pan around the camera from the screen.  However, I will warn you Motorola's are notorious for battery issues.  If I unplug mine I get like 10 min before the battery is dead. Have had to change it like 3 times already. 
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  • We have a Lorex video monitor and love it. I don't know if it's the fact that they are a security system manufacturer and don't charge the baby premium but their monitors seem cheaper than baby brands while being as good or better. 
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  • Didn't even think about the wifi thing and hackers!! So scary.  Glad I read this thread so I will be wary on what we decide on!
  • We have the Infant Options and it's amazing!! We have 2 cameras set up on both sides of the room so I can see DD at all times. I love being able to watch her on the monitor then change the view and see her closer up with the other camera. Is that weird? Maybe, but my kid makes a lot of noise when she sleeps and I'm a worrier so I like to know what she's doing.

    We thought about the Motorola but I have a friend who had one and wasn't impressed so we skipped and tried this one. I'll never buy  Motorola now that I've had this one

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  • Jbananas4Jbananas4
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    edited October 2016
    I'm a few days late to the party, but since no one has mentioned it, I do want to add that I love our dropcam. It's worked great for our almost 2 year old and whenever we go out of town, we just plug it into our living room so that if I ever freak out, I can check that no ones broken into the house lol

    ETA I also love the zoom quality.  I may or may not still sometimes zoom in just to make sure he's breathing haha
  • I know there are the Hacker concerns etc for the wifi ones... For mine and my husbands situation I would like a Wifi based one. He is gone 24 hrs at a time and I think he wants to see the baby also when at work. 

    Anyone have suggestions with WIFI ones?
  • @Jbananas4 Which drop can do you use?
  • Jbananas4Jbananas4
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    edited November 2016
    @Cubslove12 The Dropcam Pro. I can't recommend it enough and my techie husband is pretty confident in its security. 

    ETA there's a new version now since Dropcam was bought out by Nest, but mine has used the same app as the new version since the buyout so I'm assuming the camera is much the same, if not better
  • I'm so glad we decided to get a video monitor.  Our bedroom is next to the baby's room, so the audio is actually the part that I don't use.  But when I hear her making noise, I can look on the video and see if she is up and needs something or if she is just fussing and will go back to sleep (she's 20 months now).  When she was younger, I could also check on her with the monitor instead of risk waking her up by going in her room to look. 

    And I was used the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor and I think it is the best baby monitor for any kind of parents
  • My son sleeps in a different so we mostly needed the video, we have it on our phones though, since we use the arlo, it has a mobile app. I find it expensive, but i realized we can still use it as a surveillance cam if my son can already put himself back to sleep at night, that's just what we're very much worried about. 
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