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Baby Nursery or High-Tech Hideaway?

My goodness, there really is a baby boom this summer! I have been seeing so many new babies and I am suddenly realizing that a new baby’s home nursery is...

My goodness, there really is a baby boom this summer! I have been seeing so many new babies and I am suddenly realizing that a new baby’s home nursery is “fancier” than an intensive care unit!  I can hardly keep up with all of the technology that new parents are talking about. They are asking me questions about setting up heart rate monitors, pulse oximeters and respiratory rate monitors - all for their precious new babies, none of whom have any underlying problems. These are just new parents with a lot of technology at their disposal.  

What did a parent do before all of this “uber” technology?  Ask your own parents- they just listened for the baby to cry. Incredible, huh?  No monitor or video monitor, just a crib in the nursery (which was typically close the parents room) and when the baby cried you went to check on them.  The market for newborn monitoring has gone through the roof and I am sure there is more to come. Of course every parent wants the very best for their baby, but is all of this really necessary?  Are you being overprotective?

In my opinion having the nursery as wired as an ICU is really causing parents even more anxiety as they are constantly looking to see what their baby is doing. They are technology addicts and cannot stop themselves.  Check the oxygen monitor, look at the video monitor, listen for breathing?   A newborn must feel some “invasion of privacy” as their every breath, movement and squeak is monitored,  I only wish some parents with misbehaving teens were this connected.

Every new parent is fearful of SIDS, that has been true for many years, and will always be a concern for parents.  Unfortunately, studies have shown that the best protection against SIDS is not a video monitor or a pad under your newborn to detect respiratory rate, if it was wouldn’t doctors be recommending this?  We would all be selling you a monitor. The best protection is simply back sleeping on a flat surface without blankets, pillows or toys in the crib.  

SIDS is typically a silent event and can occur even when the baby is in the room with you, or has a video monitor on them.  Being an anxious parent does not cause or prevent SIDS.  But, being able to enjoy your newborn is important. Not being able to leave the nursery to go to the kitchen, or even to leave the house without a video monitor streaming pictures of your baby just doesn’t seem healthy.  

So, I would save the money on the ICU nursery.  Buy a simple monitor so that you can hear your baby cry if you are in another area of the house, or in the yard with your other children, and put the money saved in the college fund!

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About Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award winning pediatrician and medical editor for www.kidsdr.com.  She is a native of Washington, D.C. who travelled south to attend the University of Texas at Austin and never left.Read More