Baby monitors: The next best thing to being there.

Those first days, you’ll never want to put the baby down, let alone leave the room without her. But eventually you’ll realize that it makes sense to make the most of baby’s naptime, whether that means catching up on a favorite magazine, knocking some items off your very neglected to-do list, or getting forty winks yourself.

A monitor is the best possible way to keep your baby close—even when she’s not actually close. But with so many kinds with so many features to choose from, which one is right for you? Here’s some info to help you understand your basic options.

Basic Monitors: A basic system consists of a base that you set up in the baby’s room, and a receiver that you keep with you. Sort of like a one-way walkie-talkie. If you live in a small apartment or home or will only use it for trips to grandma’s, this may be all you need.

Digital Monitors: If there are other families nearby who are apt to have their own monitors, make sure you get a digital monitor (not analog) with multiple channels and a higher signal frequency. No need to hear every baby on the block crying in your living room if you can prevent it.

Portable monitors: These monitors have a lightweight receiver you carry around on a belt clip or a lanyard.Great for parents who aren’t apt to sleep themselves during baby’s naptime.

Video Monitors: If you feel more comfortable being able to see the baby too, this is the monitor for you. A video monitor is especially useful for parents in larger homes who may not be so close to the baby and will feel better knowing they can see her sleep without tiptoeing across six rooms to get a peek inside.

Movement Monitors:If you want to monitor a baby’s movement and breathing and not just sound, a movement monitor puts a lot of parents at ease. They come with two parts – the main unit, plus a sensor pad that goes under the mattress to detect the teeniest movements. Even breathing. If the baby has been still for a particular length of time an alarm will let you know. These kinds of systems are especially reassuring to parents of multiples, or preemies who may need extra attention.

Three-way Monitors:You can share the responsibility with your spouse or another caregiver with a three-way system that provides two receivers and walkie-talkie functions. Or, just pretend you’re on an episode of Cops. New parents on no sleep do tend to get punchy.

When your heart says “don’t leave the baby” but real life dictates that you break away for a bit, the right monitor can be every parent’s saving grace. Make sure you find the right one for you and cross one more new parent anxiety off your list.


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