Oftentimes parents who are struggling to teach their children self-soothing techniques will have a baby monitor. They admit that they can “hear them anyway” but they insist that the monitor helps reduce overnight anxiety. The monitor sabotages parents who are sleep training in three ways:
1. The monitor has an LED power light that provides artificial light in the nursery that can disrupt sleep.
2. If there is a video feed, one or both the parents stays up at night watching the their child on a backlit screen (furthering their own exhaustion)
3. Most importantly, the monitor lowers the threshold for which one of the parents thinks that their child needs them. Little sounds, movements, squeaks, noises are misinterpreted as the child being more hungry or more in pain than they actually are. This misinterpretation causes the parents to rush in too early before the child can soothe themselves. Or it can make the parents think that their child is ready to start the day before that truly is the case.
Except for certain specific medical cases, there is no indication that monitors prevent SIDS in otherwise healthy term infants. The AAP wrote a policy statement in 2011 that outlines a safe sleep environment and the fallacy that commercial monitors provide extra safety.
If you live in Chicago, come by our office and we will put your monitor in the thresher (below) by our coffee maker. Call first: we only use the thresher on tuesdays and thursdays 🙂 Have a great weekend Chicago and enjoy Lollapalooza!
-Dan Weissbluth Weissbluth Pediatrics