Why use + How to Choose a Baby Video Monitor?

Author Name: Heidi Holvoet, PhD

Can a baby video monitor really be useful to supervise, or even to help baby sleep? (Yes! But ...) Let me share some expert thoughts and reviews to help you decide.

Why use?

Motorola Camera Monitor with cute baby

A baby video monitor is the modern version of the classical audio monitor. You do not only hear your baby, but can actually see her: how she's lying, playing, trying to settle ...

This is not only fun and sometimes amusing to watch but it's actually a great sleep help tool .

It helps you observe your child in a way not possible otherwise. You witness her (trying to) settle to sleep. That can teach you so much about what she can or cannot do, which is so valuable at any stage in learning to sleep well (staying asleep, learning to self soothe, ...).

Imagine putting your little one down and leaving the room. What does she do? Look around to discover her room? Rub her eyes? Is she happily babbling ... or is that a cry? And why is she crying?

Did she loose the pacifier? Or the cuddly toy? Maybe she's really upset or bumped her head and needs your help ... Or maybe she's just fussing while trying to find a good position, so you can leave her at it for a while. That's the real value of a baby video monitor: you know more, and can use that information to guide your child to more independent sleep, in a gentle way that fits her abilities and needs.

A video monitor is also great to keep an eye on a toddler who can get out of bed. It helps if you can monitor from a distance and don't need to stand at the door.

And you can use it during play time at any age, while you have to be in another room.

Are there no drawbacks at all then? Yes there are.

Apart from the cost which may make you hesitate, the main drawback is that for some parents the video images give too much information. You may get accustomed to seeing every little move your baby makes and it may stress you unnecessarily. But if you use it wisely, you'll  have nothing but benefits from it.

So generally, I don't recommend it as an absolute must-have (especially if the cost is way above your budget) but if you can get a good one one, it is absolutely great value.

How to choose: My Top 3 Baby Video Monitors

Starting at around $120 at Amazon, a good video monitor is more expensive than a typical audio monitor. Each of the monitors below has secure digital signals, night-vision and gives you the option to plug it in or use (rechargeable) batteries. They each have a specific extra that I like and can be quite useful. Pick the one that appeals to you most!

Motorola New Video Monitor

With temperature sensor

The Motorola Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor has good sound and video quality (infrared camera).

A good feature is the temperature sensor, displaying the baby room temperature on your receiver.

Not many other video monitors have this but I find it important because a healthy (SIDS risk reduction) room temperature is critical for young babies.

Great digital quality

Avent Digital Video Monitor

The Philips AVENT Digital Video Baby Monitor has brilliant image and sound quality.

Very nice features are the built-in night light and the lullabies you can play for your baby, but there's no two-way speaking option and no temperature sensor.

Most importantly this is the most reasonably priced of my preferred camera monitors and it does offer a good price/quality balance.

A drawback is that sound switches on automatically and that that's not very sensitive. Some parents have reported it only to switch on when baby starts crying loudly.

And it won't really allow you to hear baby's breathing if you just want to check on that (I highly recommend their basic Philips Avent Basic Audio Monitor if this is your main need).

Hello Baby video Monitor

Good with Talk-Back

If you can get it at a good price, the Hello Baby Baby Video Monitor , is a really good option.

Image and sound are simply good. It has a decent talk-back function.

A baby video monitor can work both ways: it can give you too much information, and make you stress out: what on earth is she doing? And you may end up going in more than necessary.

But, it can be a superb help to learn about your baby's sleep and actually help you teach her to sleep independently.

It's a very personal choice and it's best to think about it well before buying.

Once you have a good camera monitor, you can also put it to good use in later years, whether to monitor bigger kids when sleeping or playing or even at your front door as a anti-burglary camera.

Article Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD - Founder, senior sleep consultant

Heidi Holvoet, PhD

Heidi Holvoet, PhD, is the founder of the Baby Sleep Advice website and movement, an award-winning author, baby & toddler sleep consultant with 15+ years experience as well as a certified lactation counselor.

Over the years, Heidi has received several awards inluding a Mom's Choice Award (MCA) and National Parenting Awards (NAPPA) for her Baby Sleep Advice website, programs and books. Also, Baby Sleep Advice was awarded "Most Trusted Infant's Sleep Solutions Company 2023" in the Benelux Enterprise Awards 2023.

Heidi continually conducts personal research and participates in continued education and in that way stays up to date with current scientific and pyschosocial infant care.

Association of Professional Sleep Consultants

She is also a member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants of which she was one of the earliest contributors. She obtained her PhD degree in physics at the University of Ghent in Belgium.

Heidi is passionate about helping babies and their parents sleep more and better, with her trademark approach that has been proven and praised time and again by parents worldwide to be effective and truly no-tears. Respect for you as a parent and your baby, is at the heart of Heidi's warm and kind support. Her approach always keeps in mind a baby's needs and abilities at any given age, is based on pediatric science and the most up to date knowledge in infant care and sleep science.

As well as the award-winning baby sleep programs, Heidi offers popular 1:1 consults and easy-access 30-minute SOS Sleep sessions.