I have recently received several emails from patients which included attachments. The attachments were videos of a baby in their crib with questions from parents about whether the baby was “breathing okay”, was “crying enough to be picked up”, or whether I thought “the baby was dreaming”. I had to laugh, as the first thing I thought of while watching all of these videos was: we are really just “too smart for our own britches”, which was a line often used by my dear deceased grandmother who died at the ripe age of 104! In this case, she would be right as we have so much technology available to us but I’m not sure if it is really that helpful when we are talking about caring for a baby.
Every parent wants to make sure that they are “watching” their newborn, infant or toddler as closely as possible. That is good parenting. But, even a newborn does not need to have constant video monitoring with rewind and playback ability. Just having your baby in the bassinet by your bed or in the nursery next door to your room is really sufficient.
The idea is that you can hear your baby if they are crying. You do not need to hear hiccups, and know that they latest for 18 minutes. If your baby is stretching and making normal “new baby” grunting and groaning sounds, you do not need to hear every noise. You do need to hear your baby crying because they are hungry, wet or uncomfortable. That is when a parent is supposed to get up and go to their baby’s bed. Watching them just making a few noises to get settled is not a call for intervention.
I am the first doctor/mom to totally believe that a new baby needs to be held when fussy or irritable. I am not the “cry it out” doctor (let them cry for the first 5-6 months of life). But, a baby can ooch and scooch and not need to be picked up and if you do not have a video monitor, you probably would not know they were ooching and scooching. With video monitors on day and night a baby cannot even burp without the parent watching and wondering and “worrying” if that burp was significant.
While we talk about our teens being “too connected”, maybe we parents need to think about that too. Are “we” parents (and grandparents) being too connected to the baby? Are we part of the problem of “instant” intervention, when many a baby might calm themselves if given the chance (and the parent never knew).
Many generations of newborns and young babies were raised, successfully, without a video camera. Parents ears are a pretty good monitor too , for both babies and even teens. Eavesdropping is still allowed!