Depending on your needs and your baby’s, a baby monitor may provide some reassurance. There are different kinds of monitors: Some allow you to listen to the sounds in your baby’s room, some monitor movements and set off an alarm if your baby’s breathing is interrupted, and some are simple video cameras.
Monitors have not been shown to prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), but if your baby has had an apparent life threatening event (ALTE), such as a prolonged lack of breathing longer than about 15 to 20 seconds, a monitor can be a practical aid. Doctors also sometimes recommend breathing monitors for babies who have chronic breathing problems from conditions such as severe asthma, cystic fibrosis, or sleep apnea.
Some movement monitors are too sensitive, sounding the alarm and waking everyone unnecessarily. Even less sensitive monitors that simply allow you to listen to your baby can be troublesome if you find yourself responding to every little sigh or movement that your healthy baby makes throughout the night. Not only will this disturb your sleep, it can also disrupt your baby’s normal sleep cycles. On the other hand, if you find the sound of your sleeping infant comforting, a monitor may reassure you that all is well in your baby’s room.