You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

When is a baby monitor too much?

baby monitor

The new Owl Monitor…is it too much?  (image from https://www.owletcare.com)

There are some baby products that I now see and think….”Wow, wish I had that when my kids were little!” I love the fact that the infant car seats pop right onto a stroller (yes, it has been a LONG time since I had an infant!) My trick of using a kitchen timer to “beat the clock” has now been replaced with a timer on a smart phone, there is now a potty training app, and I would have loved to catch some of those wonderful moments with a camera right on my phone! The baby monitor I had let me head to the back yard and still hear my little one when he or she woke up, but there was no video camera or two way communication (except when I could pick up the neighbor’s conversation from their monitor!).

Yes, there are many new modern conveniences for new parents. Some make life easier, some may not. The newest and most innovative baby monitor will soon be available for new parents. This monitor will monitor your baby’s temperature, heart rate and oxygen levels; will let you know if your baby rolls over and of course you can watch your baby breathe and sleep all via your smart phone. This monitor can do it all….including increase parental anxiety. Sometimes “peace of mind” does not come with “more monitoring”. Manufacturers often play on parental anxiety to convince parents to purchase something to “protect” their child when in actuality; there is no research which shows it is a protection. This hyper vigilance keeps parents from enjoying “what is” while they are worrying about the “what ifs”. Did you know that normal healthy babies actually have uneven breathing during REM sleep? Picking this up on a monitor may only cause more anxiety for a parent!

If something actually PREVENTS your child from an injury (think car seat, bike helmets, vaccines, back to sleep) then it is worth its weight in gold….but I am not sure this type of monitor actually prevents anything. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that these type of monitors actually don’t prevent SIDS. The best prevention against SIDS is a safe sleeping environment. In my opinion, these monitors only result in a parental need to have constant contact with a child. This results in anxiety in both the parent and the child. I often see parents who have a difficult time weaning off the monitor, even when it doesn’t make sense to use it any more. This type of constant parental vigilance will eventually send a message to your child that he is not safe making it difficult for him to step away and eventually develop confidence and independence.

There are many worries in parenting; believe me, I am a worrier and I am sure I have worried about most of them at one time or another. I also know that most of what I worry about never happens. Again, provide your child with a safe environment, do the things that actually are proven to prevent sickness and injury and then try to leave your worries behind. So, spend your dollars on car seats, swim lessons, bike helmets, well child visits and vaccines, safe cribs, and child proofing your home. Give your child good moral roots, your time, family traditions and unconditional love. These dollars and parenting strategies will actually protect your child, allow your child to explore their world, and to eventually make confident decisions in their life. This type of living allows you to revel in the “what is” not the “what ifs” of parenting.  What a great gift to give yourself and your child!  What are your thoughts?

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


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