Owlet Baby Monitor Review
I only thought it right that my first post back is baby related, since that’s what I’ve been up to. Those who follow me on Instagram know that our baby girl came nearly 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 still, I had no idea. Unless you experience it first hand it’s really incomprehensible. It’s been beyond amazing having Josh 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. Our last trip to Hawaii end of June seems like forever ago. I keep reminding myself our traveling is going to pick back up again soon enough. In the meantime I wanted to pop in!
Needless to say my life has recently transformed from one baby product to another. I swear this is not (and will not) become a baby blog – we’ll resume our travel programing shortly!… but I did want to mention the Owlet baby monitor. 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 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. Needless to say, I was glad I had the Owlet waiting for me at home. Then we got home, 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. When I did, it was only for a second. We quickly learned we couldn’t use the sock. A bad sock fit will give anywhere from no-to-inaccurate readings. Being (what I though) the perfect candidate for the Owlet, and we couldn’t even use it!*
* 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), 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, to note, the base emits the brightest light you’ll ever see. When things are good it’s 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 in the app, and the app alerts you the same way the base does. Furthermore (and most annoyingly) the base won’t work from our room (it’s too far away, despite being across the hall). We have to throw it under the dresser each night to darken the baby’s room (even when dimmed), and God forbid one of the alarms sound – it wakes her up (I’m looking at you, ridiculous disconnect, why oh why do you always happen?!).
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, etc. I started NOT sleeping when I was supposed to be because I was too busy staring at my phone. There was even a point where 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, there are also those who say it lead to misdiagnosis, 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, I’m beginning to think otherwise.
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, I stopped using my Owlet. Because it was driving me off the wall.
Then, Baby choked on her own spit up (this was during the day and the Owlet was not on at the time). It was terrifying. So I started using the Owlet again, because what if she has a spit up episode at night? What if she can’t breathe and I don’t hear her? Surely the Owlet will notify me. It turned out she has reflux, and 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, but I do still put the Owlet on her just to torture myself, although with the amount of “disconnects” I’ve been getting recently I’m about to part ways with it once again. I ran into a problem the other night where the alarm went off yet again (talk about scaring the crap out of me!). It was a yellow alert, but the readings were WAY off (still, not off enough to set off a red alert). Turns out she was screaming her head off, so Josh went in to soothe her. He 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, and what a PITA it is to turn the base on and off – or really just remember to! Then, when turning it back on, it makes a little beep sound that makes me want to chuck it across the room. I FINALLY got the baby to lay down in her crib again without crying. The LAST thing I want to do is make another sound! And remember, the useless base station MUST be in her room, because for some reason it won’t connect in ours, being so far away at all the way across the hall. Eye roll. Major eye roll!
Even though I mentioned this above, I think it needs to be said again. 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 nicely, and still, in her crib, which 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).