I was a bit iffy about baby monitors for the first few weeks after BabyBoy and BabyGirl were born. In fact, for around 6-8 weeks I didn’t use one at all. At night they slept in our room, during the ‘day’ (ie until we went to bed, often after 10pm due to feeds) they slept in moses baskets in the living room.
The trouble was, in my hyper-aware-control-freak state every snuffle was a cause for peeking into the baskets to see what was happening.
Meals were eaten within view of the baskets. TV was watched with volume low or muted. Conversations were held in lowered voices. There was no way those babes were being left unattended.
It all added greatly to my stress levels. Once the babes outgrew the ‘sleep anywhere and everywhere’ stage, it probably didn’t help them get decent rest with all the noise of a household around them, lights on, curtains open etc etc, especially in the evenings.
So finally I broke out the monitor. First for the evenings – after bath and feed, at the start of ‘nighttime’ BabyBoy and BabyGirl were put in their baskets in our room, and the monitor went on. It was weird how much difference it made seeing the living room cleared of the baskets – it felt that for a couple of hours the old life was back. I could eat and talk without worrying that I was disturbing the babies. BabyBoy and BabyGirl got used to dark rooms and quiet after their official ‘bedtime’ (although they would still be up to feed a few hours later).
The next step was naps. As naps lengthened the lunchtime nap was the first to happen in a quiet room with a monitor. Ta-da! More time to do things around the house at a normal volume. No need to tip-toe around. It was actually liberating.
Eventually all naps were using the monitor, and then came the challenge of using the monitor overnight.
The current advice is keep baby in your room for 6 months, so I didn’t even consider it until then. Even so, I was reluctant to use the monitor overnight. It took until they were seven months to convince myself to try it.
And the amazing thing was, I slept better. Oh I had it on full volume and all the doors were open, but those sniffles and squeaks and shuffling around that used to wake me up when babies were only a few inches away? Suddenly I could sleep through them. And it was only then that I realised how much these tiny noises (which don’t need any sort of attention) were affecting my sleep.
So my conclusion – get a monitor, and use it as soon as you feel able to. It does wonders for everyone.