I realized the other day that I’ve used a baby monitor daily for three and a half years! And I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. Read on to learn how essential I find these little gadgets, even as a minimalistic AP mom.

This post is a partnership with Nakturnal.

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I normally don’t like to admit that I need a lot of “stuff” to take care of my baby; when it comes to baby gear, I’m a proud minimalist. I politely turned down most offers for baby swings, bouncers, and other things which would hold or watch my baby for me. I love babywearing, and we cosleep. My baby has very basic needs: a way to eat, a way to sleep, and a way to diaper. That’s pretty much it.

However, unless you want to go to bed with your kids every night at 8pm, they’re technically going to sleep alone… at least for a little while. And that’s how I realized that I needed a baby monitor.

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We’ve gone through a few video monitors in our day: first we had one which had a separate viewing screen, and now we just have one which works on our devices (so essentially my phone or iPad is now what I use to see my kids). My oldest is almost three and a half, and I still check on him every night.

So why do I feel so strongly about having a baby monitor, but not all of that other junk? Once I thought about it simply, it was quite clear: a baby monitor is about safety, while so many of the other baby items out there are just about convenience.

Here is a great example of where you can find a wide variety of baby monitors. Notice that there are audio-only monitors, video monitors, ones which work over wifi, and even prenatal monitors which you can use on your pregnant belly at home!

With my older kid, I want a baby monitor so that I can ensure that he’s asleep; the only real reason I need to check on him is to make sure he’s not suffering from a night terror, or that he’s not sick. (That’s happened a few times and if I don’t catch him quick enough, it’s no fun for anyone).

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With my baby, I feel that the need for a monitor is much more fundamental. Newborn babies can stop breathing on their own randomly, and are at higher risk for SIDS when sleeping alone. That’s literally a life-or-death reason right there.

Newborn babies also shouldn’t be left to cry alone: they are probably hungry if they’re breastfed, or they could be too cold or have a wet diaper. I know that my son would get livid as soon as he peed!

Even once you’re doing some kind of sleep training, if that is what you choose to do with your baby (and not until they’re at least three months old), you shouldn’t just close the door and have your kid fend for themselves until morning. A monitor ensures that your baby is safe where they should be.

I love to do everything I can to ensure that all my readers get informed, and can make the best educated choice for their family. And I’m begging you, seriously: please don’t just think “if I leave my kid’s door open, I’ll be able to hear anything.” There are tragic stories of babies and toddlers crawling out of their cribs, pulling their dresser down on themselves, and passing away from SIDS (or a condition that the parents didn’t even know about). A baby monitor is truly one of the must-haves for any family of young children, or for anyone who will be caring for your baby. This includes grandparents, babysitters, nannies, and vacation homes.

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sleeping beauty

And I’ll say this, too: we cosleep. Both of our kids are in our room; my three year old has his own bed, and our one year old sleeps in bed with us. (It makes night nursing sooo much easier for both baby and I). But after the three year old goes to sleep, my husband comes back out into the living room so that we can watch something that’s not animated. And in those few hours, having that monitor gives me peace of mind. Honestly, if we didn’t have a monitor, I’d just stay in our room when the kids went to sleep. I can’t risk something happening to them just because I want a break.

I personally prefer to have the wifi monitors which can potentially do audio and video, and work off of your wifi internet connection. You pair them to your own devices, like a smartphone or an iPad. They’re quite customizable and can also have features like speakers, a microphone, and white noise/music. You may have seen reports of people “breaking in” to someone’s baby monitor; my husband and I have both done research on this, and we found a few solutions: you definitely need to have a unique password set for your wifi (which you should do anyway), and don’t choose a monitor which has you log in to a website. Choose one which uses an app and has a login/password. Ours, for example, has to be physically “paired” with our cell phones so it’s not open to anyone, even if they were able to get past our wifi password.

Another tip: do your research, and read reviews. What type of product are you looking for? Do you want it to have alerts, or be able to tell you the temperature of Baby’s room, or have a color video option? Think about what you really want your baby monitor to do.

I can also recommend that you register for more than one baby monitor, to ensure that you get at least one. Then you also have options when you try them out. Wasn’t what you thought it was? Keep the receipts, and return it.

I hope that I’ve helped convince you to get a baby monitor for your child. It’s one of the few baby items I really do agree is a MUST!

I appreciate you sharing this out to help spread awareness for all parents and caretakers.

I’d love to hear your experiences with baby monitors: what type of device did you want for your home, and what are your thoughts?