If you’ve ever rushed into your baby’s room in the middle of the night to make sure they were still breathing (uhhh...who hasn’t?) then it may be time to upgrade your baby monitor. The new generation of baby tech is a far cry from the days of clunky, Walkie Talkie-esque options, and there are now baby monitors to track breathing, movement, heart rate, sleep position, and temperature. These days, most, if not all, even come with night vision so you can feel like the parent version of James Bond.
When you transition your baby into their own room, or for those moments when they baby is sleeping soundly and you’re trying to do all the things you need to do (laundry, meal prep, eat a full meal, nap, watch TV, exercise, call your mom, and scroll Instagram... all at the same time) having a breath-tracking monitor can be especially comforting. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing until 6 months old to minimize the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related injuries (though they also recognize that more research is needed on the topic). While a baby monitor won't prevent SIDS, they are designed to at least alert the parents if baby's breathing becomes irregular or if they stop breathing all together. For some folks, a breath-tracking monitor has the potential to cause even more stress on a new parent, especially if it signals a false alarm, but for others, they offer peace of mind. It's up to you, the parent, to decide if this type of high-tech gadget is appropriate for your nursery. If it is, here are some options that check all the boxes.
1. Nanit Complete Monitoring System
Named one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2018, the Nanit Smart Baby Monitor delivers a crystal clear picture (seriously you’ll wish you could stream Big Little Lies on this thing) of your baby from the bird’s eye view of an overhead mounted camera. A data-lover’s dream, this baby monitor tracks and graphs everything from sleep habits to parent visits during the night. Nanit’s Breathing Wear (which can be purchased individually or with the camera and only works with the Nanit brand camera) looks just like a swaddle with a graphic pattern on it. The subtle rise and fall of the pattern caused by inhales and exhales is all is takes for the camera to detect breathing. No bluetooth, wires, or breathing monitors needed. So. Cool.
2. Owlet Smart Sock & Cam
I always knew baby socks were cute, but I didn’t know they could be so gloriously techie. The Owlet Smart Sock + Cam (which can be bought separately or a packaged deal) tracks your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels while streaming live video to your phone. The lightweight, velcro sock, available in three colors, straps to your baby’s foot and sends this information to a bluetooth “base” (which is about the size and shape of your average coaster). The base glows a soft green color when the breathing rate is within a healthy, predetermined range but will notify you with a red flashing light and a sound if “heart rate or oxygen levels leave preset zones.” By using the Owlet app (named New Owlet in the app store) you can also receive notifications, and stream your baby's heart rate and oxygen levels to your device in real time. Keep in mind, you will need WiFi for this setup to work.
3. Miku Smart Baby Monitor
The Miku Smart Baby Monitor tracks your baby’s breathing and sleep habits without the use of wearables or wires. Their SensorFusion technology is proprietary, so I can’t tell you exactly how it works, only that it does. The camera streams live HD video and sound to your phone, and the two-way microphone gives you an option to lull your baby without getting out of your bed, which may be better for you both. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that even if the power goes out or your WiFi goes down, according to their website, "Miku’s core functions process locally and will continue to collect data for a short time. That data will be accessible when WiFi connection is re-established," however alerts and notifications will be paused until your internet connection returns.
4. Angelcare AC327 Baby Breathing Monitor
The Angelcare Baby Breathing Monitor comes with a sensor pad that you place under the baby’s crib mattress. The sensor has no contact with your baby, but it’s able to sense tiny movements including the rise and fall of the chest. Because the folks behind Angelcare believe “parents should be able to relax without distraction from too much information,” you are alerted by an alarm only if your baby doesn’t move for 20 seconds; this is designed to reduces false alarms (and adrenaline spikes that can feel like a shot of caffeine in the middle of the night). It’s worth noting that the sensor won’t work with a memory foam of hollow frame mattress.
5. Cocoon Cam Baby Monitor
Another great option for tracking your baby’s breathing without any wires or external devices is the Cocoon Cam. The cutting edge technology is able to detect exactly where the baby is in the crib (as opposed to say, a stuffed animal). The camera then focuses on what the company calls the baby’s “respiratory areas.” The device is sensitive and sophisticated enough (I sound like I'm describing a 19th century gentleman and not a baby monitor, but hey) to spot breathing even through a swaddle, blanket, or any sleep position your baby has wiggled into. You will receive real-time graphs on your smartphone with your baby’s breathing rate measured in BPMs (breaths per minute) and immediate alerts if anything seems off.