Bringing my son home was one of the most nerve wracking experiences I’ve had. I was a labour and delivery nurse and had this (ridiculous) notion that it wouldn’t be a problem since I work with babies all the time.
Boy, was I wrong.
I realised I had the same fears and insecurities as every other mom. I remember setting him down in his bassinet the first night and thinking “how do I leave him?”. I sent my husband out to buy an apnea monitor. Something that never crossed my mind till I wondered how I would ever sleep and not worry about him. Griffen was a healthy, term baby- the chances of him having a problem were so small. Yet, my mind would not shut off and trust that he would be fine.
I remember this when I am helping clients of newborns. I empathise with the moms who feel anxious and overwhelmed about not watching their baby sleep. The transition to motherhood is overwhelming and it is hard to just trust that things will be fine. I believe that with time comes knowledge and confidence which makes trusting the process a little easier; but apnea monitors can be beneficial to a mom who is concerned about their babe and sleep.
The monitor we purchased used motion to detect breathing. It relied on a pad that was placed under the mattress and when it was turned on it sensed Griffen’s movements (breathing). The problem with this was that we had MANY false alarms. If he shifted or sometimes even if he didn’t, it would alarm and we would bolt out of bed and shake him awake. This left us with our hearts racing and a wide awake baby to deal with. Another issue we had was portability. The pad had cords and needed to be placed on a flat board to be most effective. I wanted to bring the security of a breathing monitor with me wherever we went, but it was difficult to pack the board, the pad, the cords and the monitor.
The monitor we purchased was far from perfect, but it did give me the ability to close my eyes when Griffen did (which wasn’t often). I used it until the six month mark when he was rolling around and setting the monitor off frequently and we were having many false alarms.
But WOW has technology changed. Owlet has designed a “smart sock” that uses hospital technology to monitor your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels right from your phone.
It is similar to a monitor you’d find in a hospital. The sock stays secure on the baby’s foot, minimising false alarms. It can go under your baby’s sleeper and travels with you without the fuss of pads and cords. It is compatible with Apple products and will work with Androids in June 2016. It alarms both the base station and your phone, eliminating the worry of your phone dying or your Wi-Fi signal faltering. The socks come in different sizes so the monitor will grow with your baby.
The Owlet is perfect for a family bringing a preemie baby home. It’s an incredible shock to have your baby monitored day and night in the hospital and have them take it away and send you home. It is like losing your security blanket. The Owlet is a parent’s security blanket and their baby’s potential safeguard.
As an Infant and Child Sleep Specialist, I understand the different circumstances of families and their anxieties towards their baby’s safety. If you are going to use an apnea monitor, the Owlet is worth the investment. Worth every penny if it helps parents feel secure enough to sleep when their little one sleeps.
Do you have questions about your newborn’s sleep? I would love to answer them – comment below.
Carrie Bruno RN, IBCLC