Baby monitors can be a new mom's best friend. And for a good reason: new parents want to keep an ear (and an eye) on their little ones for every single possible waking and sleeping second. Especially once the newborn moves into the nursery, mom and dad want to continue to stay connected.
But there is a point at which baby monitors become a bad idea.
"With a constant growing fear of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), parents are listening to every twitch and sound," says Daniel Lewin, M.D., the associate director of pediatric sleep medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. "Baby monitors tend to increase a parent's awareness and they make parents into hyper-observers."
The problem with this?
New parents become so aware and anxious about leaving their baby alone in a room for hours at a time, that they don’t get the proper sleep themselves. Don't we know it?!
Dr. Lewin suggests removing the baby monitor -- even if it's just at night -- when your baby is at least 6 months old. "At this point, parents can start eliminating nighttime feeds, so an infant can have a consolidated overnight sleep and so can mom and dad," he explains.
Sometimes using a baby monitor during the day is just plain practical -- you can hear your baby when she wakes up from napping and you don't have to keep sneaking in to check on her. It's certainly okay to keep using a monitor at night if you really feel the need. But if you find yourself becoming over-the-top vigilant and not getting enough sleep (particularly if you've got a video monitor), consider puling the plug at 6 months. You deserve a good night's rest.
Did you use a baby monitor? When did you stop?