Owlet Baby Monitor Review
It feels right that my first post back is baby related, since that’s what I’ve been up to! Those who follow on Instagram know that our baby girl came a month early! Needless to say, we’ve been busy (and tired)! I feel like everyone warns you about the change and exhaustion that comes with a new baby, but you still just have no idea. Unless you experience it first hand it’s incomprehensible. But, baby is healthy, and that’s really all that matters. Parts of our old life will come back in time. It’s been beyond amazing having Mr. ADOL home all the time, and we are going to miss him so much when he heads back to work.
I find myself really eager to travel again. Through all these changes I keep reminding myself it will pick back up again soon enough. There’s no way we’re ready yet. We’re learning how to be parents, and that’s going to take some time. However, in the meantime, I did want to pop in and say hello!
I also want to talk about the Owlet baby monitor. I swear this will NOT become a baby blog. This is a rare post. I don’t remember where I found out about this device, but it was one of the first things I purchased. Now I see it mentioned everywhere, especially across the blogosphere. Like the average consumer, I paid $250 for it, so you won’t see any #ad or #sponsor notes here in exchange for a glowing review. And you know me, even if it did say that, I’d still be as honest as ever.
As a total worry-wart, pre-baby I thought this was THE BEST invention ever. Post baby, and coming from someone whose baby actually spent time in the NICU, it’s giving me more anxiety than it’s probably worth.
Our daughter left the hospital at a tiny 4lb 14oz. I couldn’t believe they were letting me bring this tiny person home. At least without an instruction manual. Needless to say, I was glad I had the Owlet waiting for me at home. I put it on her, and the 0-1 month sock didn’t fit. It kept telling me she was wiggling when she clearly wasn’t, and I couldn’t get a reading. Then, when I got a reading, it was only for a second. Bottom line, she couldn’t use the sock. A bad sock fit will give anywhere from no-to-inaccurate readings. We were (what I though) the perfect candidate for the Owlet, and we couldn’t even use it! I was so upset!*
* I ended up contacting Owlet to troubleshoot, and when determining it was the sock’s poor fit they offered to send me a prototype sock for preemie babies in exchange for completing some surveys about it. The smaller sock (which does NOT come with the device yet), fit her.
So the sock itself connects to a rather large base via bluetooth (see picture above). It will flash a color and a loud alarm will sound based on what the problem is (they basically all relate to some sort of disconnect). FYI: Red is really your only concern. However, I should also mention that the base emits the brightest light you’ll ever see. When things are good it glows green, and it feels like you’re on the verge of an alien invasion. There’s also an app that provides real time monitoring. Personally, I don’t get the point of the base. The stats I’m interested in only appear on the app. Most annoyingly, the base won’t work from our room (it’s too far away, despite being right across the hall). We have to throw it under the dresser each night to darken the baby’s room (even when dimmed), and if one of the alarms sound it wakes her up. I’m looking at you, ridiculous disconnect alarm that constantly sounds for no good reason!
Heart Rate & Oxygen Monitoring
I’ll say this, and I know it’s hard…. don’t look at the numbers. For a first time mom who is terrified of everything, I started wondering why her oxygen level suddenly went from 100% down to 98% – or why her heart rate is jumpy, or if it’s too high, etc. I started NOT sleeping because I was too busy staring at my phone. There was even a point when I called my uncle, a pediatric cardiologist, because I thought her resting heart rate was too high. Dr. Google says high for a 1 month+ old is up to 160bpm. Owlet says from 1 month to 1 year up to 190bpm. I started obsessing over these numbers. Call me crazy. It’s okay. I feel like I am. I told my pediatrician, who is the best ever, that I had one of these monitors, and she in the nicest way possible eye-rolled me. That’s when I decided to leave the heart monitoring to the pros. While there are mom’s out there who’ll say this helped discover a heart issue (which is rare), there are also those who say it lead to misdiagnosis’s, overkill Dr./ER visits, and freaking out over nothing. So I ask, does something like this really belong in the hands of the untrained consumer? Honestly, after experiencing it firsthand I’m beginning to think it does not.
No one, and I mean NO ONE can pin point what causes it or how to prevent it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking devices like these can prevent something in which trained professionals are still trying to figure out.
Real Life Use
Upon adding up all of the above issues, I stopped using it. Because it was driving me off the wall.
Then, one day she choked on her own spit up (it was during the day, and the Owlet was not on her at the time). It was terrifying. So I started using the Owlet again at night, because what if she has a spit up episode and we’re sleeping? What if she can’t breathe and I don’t hear her? Surely the Owlet will notify me. (Turned out she has reflux). I became terrified of this nighttime unknown… until the doctor talked me back down from my ledge.
Knock on wood it hasn’t happened again. Yet I couldn’t stop putting the Owlet on her. I swear I did it just to torture myself. Although, to be honest, with the amount of “disconnects” I’ve been getting recently I’m about to part ways with it once again.
The latest alarm was last night. It always scares the crap out of me. It was a yellow alert, but the readings were WAY off (but not off enough to set off a red alert). It turned out that Mr. ADOL was rocking her, and THAT apparently threw everything off. I have such a problem with this! Newborns don’t sleep. We have to pick them up/rock them, which apparently interferes with readings. We could always shut it, but it’s a pain to turn the base on and off with the beep sound it makes. It’s like I FINALLY got the baby to lay down in her crib again without crying, and the LAST thing I want to do is make another sound!
Even though I mentioned this above, It needs to be said again, because the alarm goes off far more than it should. There are three alarms – blue, yellow, and red. No one wants to see red, but even then there’s a good chance it’s false. It seems all the alerts result from some sort of disconnect. You can read up on the book of explanations Owlet provides here. Basically, the best way to use this device without an alarm sounding is if the baby is laying still in her crib. I think I can count on one hand how many times that has happened.
Bottom line? CAUTION AHEAD. Use at your own risk (and sanity).