Guidelines to newborn sleepRead More
Below is a jumping off point for families looking for baby monitors but not quite knowing where to begin!
The good—you can see your baby from anywhere, as long as you have a WiFi connection. There are so many additional features you can get with a WiFi monitor, like heat sensors, a microphone, and more.
The bad- Other people have been supposedly known to hack into networks. Does this actually happen? I don't know of anyone this has actually happened to, but it seems to be what the circulating chain email everyone got said.
This monitor is made by Kodak (remember those disposable cameras you brought to school dances, vacations, and Bar mitzvahs? I DO!). It was voted top monitor by Wired. It has all the bells and whistles!
Video Monitors, not connected to WiFi
The good- You can see baby when you need to and all the other great features, like monitoring room temp and a mic to talk to baby, are easy to come by. What’s even better?
The bad-If you are traveling on work, you cannot connect to the monitor via WiFi. (In some ways this is a blessing. You can trust your childcare to make sure your baby is safe, so you don’t have to.)
My spouse and I swear by this monitor. It gives us exactly what we need for peace of mind and the signal is strong enough to see our little girl from our back deck!
The good- Less is more here. These monitors are reasonably priced, and if you’re someone who lives an “out of sight, out of mind” mindset, this might be a good route. You can hear when baby is crying and if baby isn’t crying, he or she is ok.
The bad- For parents who need an extra piece of security to sleep at night, actually seeing baby can help relieve anxiety. It’s comforting to watch as your baby’s chest rises and falls. I get that.
This monitor is reasonably prices and still has some excellent features, like talk-back, a great range, and battery or plug-in choice.
But what about the Owlet?
Many times our fears dictate what we buy in the postpartum fog (ask any mom or dad that awakes to several Amazon packages but forgets why they bought what they did!). I always ask new parents, “why do you want the Owlet over other monitors?”
Typically what I uncover is that parents are worried that baby will stop breathing overnight. Is this irrational? Maybe a little. Have we all been there? YES. To be clear, an Owlet is not going to save a baby that stops breathing. It will simply alert you. Sometimes that alert does more harm than good because it’s set off by an overactive baby foot! (the Owlet is a monitor, if you didn’t know, that goes on the foot. It CAN be kicked loose). False alarms stoke the fear, and we don’t need that. For others, paying $299 gives us peace of mind when we need it. I was this person—only I was lucky to borrow my Owlet from a very kind cousin that understood my fear (thanks, Rachel!)
So overall, think about what you want from a monitor. The basics—to be able to hear your baby cry? A middle-of-the-road video monitor? A monitor that you can watch while you travel for work? Or the peace-of-mind knowing you can monitor baby’s heart rate and oxygen intake? If you’re still having trouble deciding, you are probably a libra. Just kidding. You’re a normal person. Schedule an hour consult with a postpartum doula you trust. We can help mitigate some of those fears and help you settle on a monitor you’ll be happy with.
The baby is out of your body.
You both survived—are thriving even—and your loved ones have stopped asking about you.
The question you get now is a version of “How is baby?” on repeat.
Maybe you get the “How are you” from a kind distant relative who isn’t sure what to ask, and you don’t believe they are looking for an honest answer.
The most common question you get directed to yourself, mom, is the kind of question that is designed to get information about your parenting style and not you— the “Are you breastfeeding baby?” “Are you staying home or going to send your baby to daycare?” “Are you letting the baby cry it out?” The kind of questions that incite very strong feelings of judgement. The kind of questions you don’t have to answer, not from family or coworkers.
These are questions very deeply engrained in our culture, but what if we shifted our mindset?
What if we trusted mothers?
We don’t need to mine moms about how they feed and put their children to sleep.
Trust that mothers know their babies best.
So what can you do, when you can’t change society or the people around you?
You can respond to these questions in a way that takes a stand.
“Mary, I appreciate your concern about how our baby sleeps. Our baby is sleeping biologically normal for her age.”
“Mary, you seem very concerned about how our baby is sleeping, but she’s in very good hands in this loving family.”
Honesty seems hard to come by in the digital era, where we mostly post happy pictures. It’s ok to answer someone’s question honestly when they seem to care about baby and not you—especially close family. In fact, I encourage you to do so. “Mary, the baby is just fine. Thank you for being concerned with her. I am having a kind of rough time, however. I know you didn’t ask, but it feels good to share that.”
Ask other moms how they are doing without judgement and without giving advice
This one is harder than it seems. Just ask another mom how she is doing and listen. You don’t have to offer any advice. In fact, you really shouldn’t unless someone asks you. Remember all the unsolicited advice you got when you were pregnant? Yeah, you remember now. You probably didn’t love it.
When people stop asking about mom, it sends the message that mom doesn’t matter.
Let’s change that.
Birth is not just a physical event. As our bodies heal in the following months from delivery, so do our minds.
There is much to process after baby is born. We continue to process our pregnancy, the stages of labor, delivery (and sometimes the complications that we associate), the journey to feed our baby-- all while our bodies heal, hormones shift, and sleep deprivation sets in (and we mentally process that too! We’re amazing).
The best way to evolve through this complex experience is through talking to someone who is equipped to listen and (when necessary, which is not all the time) provide insight.
Depending on the complexity, us doulas will sometimes refer families to a doctor. We do this when we recognize signs of anxiety, OCD, and depression. I most often see these when a mom has not had the opportunity to process her birth or there remains unresolved feelings of inadequacies, failure, isolation, and disappointment—anything outside of the normal baby blues.
To squash these feelings before they happen (and sometimes talking is enough prevention), It's important to schedule time with a postpartum doula.
The benefits to scheduling time to process your birth
Resolves feelings of inadequacies and failure
Let's you be heard and not judged
Allows you to gain valuable insight into ways/options you can heal (rebirth, skin to skin, etc)
Could potentially free you of negative feelings attached to delivery
What that time looks like varies from client to client. To learn more, give the Modern Doula a call.
I see you there. You read the title and started nodding vigorously. Anyone identifying as a parent has been shamed at some point in their quest for survival and joy.
Here is an exhausting list of things parents get shamed for. It's okay to laugh.
...then sigh. And remember, live and let live. We're all on the same team here.
Having an epidural
Having an emergency or elected C-section
Having a home birth
Having or acquiring a baby any kind of way
Not losing weight fast enough after birth
Losing weight too quickly
Dropping a bite of guac on the baby's head while you desperately try to eat your first meal in 12 hours.
Breastfeeding in public
Breastfeeding for over a year
Pumping at work
Breastfeeding at all
Bottle Feeding any liquid
Not picking your baby up fast up enough when they're crying
Not letting your baby cry for a minute before picking them up
Holding your baby as they fall asleep
Putting your baby down, swaddled, to sleep
Nursing your baby to sleep
Not dressing your baby warm enough in the winter or cool enough in the summer
Not putting a towel on your baby fast enough after a bath.
Bringing your baby out in public too soon because you needed groceries
Not having a partner
Having a partner, but they're not standing right next to you at the moment
Having a child whose gender is too hard to guess
Having a child whose name is too “weird”
Not having breasts
Having a body with limbs and moving blood.
Did I miss anything? Of course I did!