Disclaimer: I received a baby monitor from Angelcare for free to facilitate this post. The stories and opinions below are my own.
I can’t believe it, but we’re nine weeks into having Felix home! He’s getting so big and everyone has settled into a nice routine and we’re all starting to feel normal again. I’m always very anxious with a newborn in the house because I feel like you need to watch them all the time to make sure everything is OK, which is unfortunate since that’s the time of the least sleep you will ever get in your life. It’s really nice to be surfing away from those first weeks and on to the chubby baby months.
We made a poor decision this time around that didn’t help my anxiety in the beginning. When I was pregnant with Eva, we were gifted an Angelcare baby monitor that used a motion sensor to detect whether or not there was any movement (read: breathing) while the baby was in the crib. We used that monitor through both of the first two kids’ infancies before moving to a different monitor that had a video screen so we could see them after they were old enough to share a room (and pillow fight at 3AM). With baby Felix on the way, I decided we should get a new baby monitor and we ended up picking out a different brand we hadn’t used before.
Not a great idea.
It didn’t work or, rather, we couldn’t figure out how it was supposed to work and we didn’t know we couldn’t figure it out until we were ready to go to bed on the first night that he was home. We were bleary, worn out from staying in the hospital, desperate to try to get at least an hour’s worth of sleep, and we were fighting with this thing that was supposed to give us peace of mind. When we finally (sort of?) figured it out, I still couldn’t relax because I wanted to constantly get up to check if he was still breathing. What is that? I don’t know any parent who hasn’t done the are-you-breathing sleep check at least once and most of the moms I know still do it on a regular basis, even if their kids are old enough to be out of elementary school. There must be some sort of universal biological on switch for monitoring respiration.
We finally decided we were either going to need to get another Angelcare monitor or I was never going to sleep again, so I reached out to the company and they sent me the Angelcare AC1300 which is the fancier version of the one we used to have. We had installed in a few minutes and nine weeks later I think I’m finally catching up on my sleep, even with the night feedings!
The basic idea for this monitor is that an alarm sounds if no motion is detected for 20 seconds. The one trick is that you have to get used to turning the monitor off before you pick up the baby because it will start beeping loudly at you 20 seconds after you forget, but I’m always reassured that at least it is definitely working. It’s also a sound monitor (so you can hear baby cry if you’re in another room) and, unlike the older version we had, this one is a video monitor with a photo sensor so the video still works in the night. It also displays the temperature in baby’s room, has a built in night light option, and has an optional “tic” sound to tell you that it’s working when the alarm isn’t going off.
There are some other little features that we didn’t have before, like a parent unit locator (to find the video screen you carry around with you) and sound lights so you can see baby crying even if you’ve turned the monitor sound off. We’ve used that one because the baby sleeps with white noise and it can be annoying to walk around with that playing in my pocket. There’s also a digital zoom so you can get a better (non-grainy) look at baby. We haven’t used that last one too much because he’s pretty immobile still but I remember life with older babies and I’m sure we’ll be using that one all the time.
They’ve also made some changes to the cord, which I’m sure makes it safer but also made it a little harder to place in our nursery. I should mention that I was worried when I read the instructions because the camera unit is supposed to be at least three feet away from the crib but in our micro-nursery I wasn’t sure anything was three feet away from the crib. As it turned out, the best place for the unit to be was on the back of the door in the organizer we bought and that is just about three and a half feet away from the crib. Yay!
If anything, I’m glad we didn’t have more space to cover because I feel like the cord is a little short for a unit that needs to be three feet away, especially with all of the safety features that are now on it. Instead of being a regular cord, the cord now has these safety strips on it so you can keep it flat against the crib/ground. It’s probably much harder for little hands to grab at it now because of that so even though I had to fight with it a little to get it to be where I wanted it to be, it’s totally worth it. It’s also worth mentioning that Angelcare is coming out with a new wireless monitor this month that will render this hang up moot.
That blue rectangle on the end is a sticker that was supposed to be stuck to the bottom foot of the crib, by the way, but since we use a minicrib on wheels I didn’t bother with sticking it to anything. For some reason, I had concerns that the monitor wouldn’t work as well with a mini crib but if anything I feel even safer than I did before because the motion sensor takes up so much more real estate in this crib than it would have in the old one I used for the other two kids. I got it as close to center as I could while still reaching with all the cords and it’s worked perfectly so far.
As for the little prince, there was absolutely no notice that we had added anything to the crib even with the slightly thinner mini crib mattress. He’s just happy in there and when he falls asleep I’m happy because I can sleep or shower or cook or hang out with the other kids, etc., and not feel tethered to his side all the time. (Okay, not too tethered. I mean, look at those cheeks. You can’t escape those cheeks. Those cheeks need kisses 24 hours a day.)