There is a growing trend amongst parents to utilise technology to help monitor their babies and toddlers. In particular, installing a camera monitor in a baby's room to make it easier to check on what the little one is up to.
While these parenting aids can be handy in certain ways, are they impacting on our natural ability to tap into our maternal intuition? So, the question has to be asked, are camera monitors that enable us to watch our babies 24/7 a help or a hindrance?
Let’s examine the pros and cons of these technological devices.
Caring for a sick baby can be stressful and downright scary. If your baby is unwell, a camera monitor can help to provide peace of mind. It also allows you to monitor their condition at all times without disturbing them.
When Trouble Strikes
Although it is uncommon, infants can get themselves into trouble from time to time. More often than not, they will cry out and let you know about it, but there may be instances when they can't. That can include if they have gotten themselves into the wrong position during sleep, or have managed to get themselves “stuck”. A glance at your monitor will give you an early heads up of any problem.
A Degree Of Freedom
For busy mums and dads - and let’s face it, that’s everyone - a camera monitoring system can give you the freedom to do what you need around the house. Rather than hovering around in earshot of your baby’s room, you can take the system with you throughout the house and garden, confident that you will know when your baby needs you.
Panic About Nothing
Some monitors are designed to pick up and amplify every tiny murmur or mumble from your baby. It can be easy to be alarmed by the intensity of the sound coming out of your monitor when in reality, there is nothing to be concerned about.
Before monitors, you had no idea what your baby was up to until he or she cried out for you. It is completely normal for babies to wake in the night, stir, play, sit up and look around before going back to sleep. In some instances babies can be awake for up to 30 minutes or longer, perhaps practicing a new learnt skill (rolling, crawling or vocalising) or simply navigating a sleep cycle. Many parents are incorrectly interpreting these normal behaviours and head in too quickly to soothe the baby as soon as their eyes open.
If you go into their room when your baby is not distressed, it ends up blocking their chances to self-settle.
Your monitoring system may actually disrupt your baby’s normal sleep pattern. Some monitors light up every time the baby stirs, unnecessarily illuminating the room.
Don’t forget about mum and dad’s sleep too, which is already grossly in short supply in the first few years. It is all too easy to become obsessed with the screen. You may find yourself constantly checking it during the night or being roused every time it needlessly triggers, causing you to lose even more sleep!
The Round Up
Before you invest in an expensive and potentially unnecessary piece of equipment, remind yourself that humans have been successfully raising babies since before electricity existed.
Your natural maternal instincts are designed to be in sync with your baby. Over time, you will learn the meaning and urgency of the sounds your baby makes and intuitively know when you need to pop in to check or leave them be.
If you do decide to use a camera monitoring system, let it be a supportive tool to your natural parenting skills, rather than the sole method on which you base your decisions.