Nov 14, 2012

Buying all the Things: Baby Monitors

Along with these two new wonderful additions that will be joining our family in 2013 (we hope!) come a lot of things! It's amazing just how much stuff such tiny little people will need. In this series, I am going to walk you through our decisions as we are making them. We will talk cars, cribs, DSLR cameras, strollers, and other registry items.
We quickly made the decision that we wanted to use video monitors not just sound monitors. For the first months sound only is plenty, but when we are worried about little flying squirrels going crib to crib we will appreciate the video! We considered the AngelCare motion monitors that sound an alarm if baby stops breathing and are supposed to be a comfort against SIDS to use for the first months, but it didn't take much looking to see that they don't make a difference in SIDS rates and give off a lot of false alarms causing parents to panic and waking the babies. They are also not advised for twins in the same crib, which we plan to do for the first few months (which is also when SIDS risk is highest).
Once we made that decision our next choice seemed easy. Rather than deal with yet another gadget, we wanted the video screens and alerts to appear on our iPhones and iPads, devices we already keep up with. It seemed much easier than having to keep track of another small little monitor and carry it around.
With those decisions made we had three main options: (1) install IP security cameras and purchase a monitoring app, (2) use iBaby monitors which come with an app, or (3) use the Smart Baby Monitor by Withings which comes with an app.
Casey was in charge of researching all three and since we plan to hardwire the cameras in (as an added precaution so they don't lose wifi signal) all three options seemed like they would work and get pretty good reviews. All three were also really expensive. Especially to buy two cameras!
The Withings cameras have all sorts of bells and whistles (temperature and humidity, a light show, etc) and price at $299 per camera. Ouch!
The iBabies have less bells but would be sufficient and get good reliability reviews when hardwired and price a bit lower at $199 per camera.
The cheapest option seemed to be using security cameras and setting up our own home network. So Casey got to work researching how to do that and which cameras were best. This option would run us about $100 per camera plus we would need server access if Casey wanted to access the video feed while he is traveling for work and we would need to purchase an app from the App Store to use for viewing.
Before Casey got too far into the research process, we went to a consignment sale hosted for and by twin parents. We found a set of two iBaby monitors for $100! The price couldn't have been better! It was one of the three we considered! It was meant to be!
So we bought our monitors and went on our merry way. See, y'all thought we put TONS and TONS of thought into every decision. (And we do -- but sometimes we make impulse buys after that!) In this case, we just got lucky.
A few weeks back, we used one of the baby monitors to spy on our dog, Rory, when we went to Oklahoma for a 24hr trip for a baby shower (I really need to write a post about this shower - I have some great photos!). She wasn't very interesting! She slept on her pillow pretty much the entire time we were gone. So the still images we captured from the video monitors are pretty repetitive, but here are a few:
Photos during the day, at dawn, and during the middle of the night.
Decent view in all three lighting conditions.
We learned cameras need placed closer to the subject though.
Across the sunroom was too far to get a clear view of her.

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