Ah, motherhood. We’re anxious when our babies aren’t sleeping, and even more anxious when they are. With all the sleep monitors on the market, it’s hard to figure out what they do and which one you need. So we’ve broken down 7 of the top monitors to help you decide. While none of them are a substitute for a parent’s watchful eye, read on to find the right device that could help your baby and you sleep more soundly.
What It Does: This camera tracks your baby’s sleep patterns and movement. You can use it as a real-time HD monitor, and it will also capture time-lapse videos and track your baby’s sleep behavior, including how long it took them to fall asleep and total hours of snoozing. It also tracks temperature and humidity and features a nightlight and the ability to play lullabies.
Why You Need It: Tracking sleep behavior means all caregivers can find out when, and how well, your baby has slept that day. Because Nanit uses an app, you (and doting grandparents) can monitor your baby from anywhere, not just within your home. And it streams over wifi, so it works even when your internet is down, unlike other app-based monitors.
What to Keep in Mind: You’ll need to pay an annual subscription fee to access Nanit Insights, the sleep tracking, time-lapse videos, video history and expert sleep advice.
Learn more at nanit.com, $349 for the camera; Nanit Insights is an additional annual fee.
Angelcare movement monitors
What It Does: These monitors use a sensor pad placed under the crib mattress to track your little one’s movements and sounds. You’ll receive an alert if 20 seconds go by without any motion detected.
Why You Need It: They come with extra features including a temperature gauge, adjustable camera with wide-angle lens, night vision, two-way talk, and adjustable movement-sensitivity levels.
What to Keep in Mind: There are a few different models to choose from. The top of the line is the AC517 (pictured above), which comes with a 5″ touchscreen display.
Learn more at angelcarebaby.com; price varies by model.
Owlet Smart Sock 2
What It Does: When your infant wears the tiny cotton sock monitor, it tracks heart rate and oxygen levels. You can see the levels and get push notifications on your smartphone.
Why You Need It: It has a range of up to 100 feet and fits under your baby’s regular pajamas or socks, likely up to 18 months.
What to Keep in Mind: Owlet uses the same technology that’s used in hospitals, and the rechargeable sock has a battery life of up to 18 hours.
Learn more at owletcare.com; $299.
What It Does: After placing your baby on the mat, a fiber optics sensor communicates with a smartphone app to monitor your baby’s breathing. It emits an alert when there are breathing irregularities. There are two models: The STS100 features a firmer mat and was designed for preemies and newborns, and the STS200 (pictured above) includes comprehensive charts and data, such as sleep averages, on the mobile app.
Why You Need It: The technology is as sensitive and accurate as the equipment found in hospitals. And the mat is wireless and battery-powered, so it’s easy to bring with you when you travel.
What to Keep in Mind: The device connects to only one smartphone at a time. And you can wrap a swaddle or fitted sheet between the sensor mat and your baby, but the material should be less than 1cm thick.
Learn more at safetosleep.com; starts at $299.
Snuza movement and breathing monitors
What It Does: These wearable monitors can detect your baby’s breathing or movements throughout the night. The Hero MD is a breathing monitor that alerts you if your child’s breath is weak or slows to less than 8 breaths per minute. Similarly, the Hero SE monitors abdominal movement and alerts you if that movement is weak or slows down to less than 8 movements per minute. The Pico is smaller than the Hero and also measures skin temperature and your baby’s body position in the crib. The Go emits an alarm if there’s 20 seconds without movement, although you can reduce that to 15 or 18 seconds.
Why You Need It: These monitors attach to your baby’s diapers, and if they detect a lack of movement, they’ll first vibrate to try to rouse your baby and then alert you by alarm. They can be used with disposable, reusable or cloth diapers.
What to Keep in Mind: The monitors pick up external movements, so they’re not suitable for co-sleeping. Back sleeping is recommended when using the Snuza (and for babies in general). Tummy sleeping can cause false alarms.
Learn more at snuza.com; starts at $95.99.
Babysense infant movement monitors
What It Does: The 5s (pictured above) uses two sensor pads placed under the crib mattress to detect your baby’s micro-movements. Both an auditory alarm and red flashing light will go off if movement slows. The company’s Petite Clip attaches to the baby’s diaper and will vibrate and sound an alarm if it doesn’t detect movement.
Why You Need It: Both devices are portable (they run on batteries) and less expensive than comparable monitors on the market.
What to Keep in Mind: The Petite Clip should remain in contact with your baby’s tummy while in use. To avoid false alarms, fold down the top of your baby’s diaper. And when an alarm is triggered, the 5s monitor must be switched off; it will not reset. This ensures that parents are aware of each instance of non-movement.
Learn more at babysensellc.com; starts at $89.99.
What It Does: The activity tracker is built into a washable crib sheet that monitors baby’s movement and sleep activity and will send an alert to your smartphone if it detects a lack of movement. The sleep tracker is built into an all-cotton kimono or bodysuit and monitors baby’s activity, temperature, body position, and whether they’re awake or asleep.
Why You Need It: The activity tracker generates a timeline each morning summarizing how well your baby slept so you know whether they need an extra nap or an earlier bedtime that day. The sleep tracker sends live audio and baby’s sleep data to your smartphone; this information can be shared with other caregivers.
Keep in Mind: The crib sheet fits standard mattresses and is machine-washable. If you use a Nest video camera, you can view that footage within the Mimo app.
Learn more at mimobaby.com; the activity tracker is $179, and the sleep tracker is $199.
Which sleep monitor is your favorite? Tell us in the comments.
— Whitney C. Harris
featured photo: Joko_Narimo via pixabay