Do you find yourself checking on your baby every few minutes? A newborn can have you tiptoeing into the nursery frequently just to ease your mind, but rest assured it’s completely normal if you do.
Anxieties within those first few months can take their toll. When it comes to breathing, especially if your baby has respiratory or cardiac problems or was born premature, it can be a cause for concern.
Baby monitors have stepped up the game and now offer a variety that allows you to track your baby’s breathing, and sound an alarm if they detect a lack of abdominal movement.
We’ve rounded up the best baby breathing monitors to help ease your anxiety.
- Clips directly to the diaper
- Stimulation feature
- 1 year warranty
- Monitors heart rate & oxygen levels
- Can access stats from smartphone
- Four times zoom
- HD camera and night vision
- Reliable alert system
- HSA and FSA approved
- Monitors breathing, rolling, & room temperature
- Easy to connect via bluetooth
- Free tracking app
- Helps monitor for SIDS
- High accuracy reports
- Small and lightweight
- Quick charge
- Straightforward design
- No subscription fee for baby analytics
- Night vision
What Does a Baby Breathing Monitor Do?
While you usually breathe at a steady rate, your newborn may not. Periodic breathing refers to when young babies show pauses in their breathing patterns. While it is usually normal, especially for preemies, or when a baby is in a deep sleep, it can be distressing for a parent (1).
You might hear your newborn take a few shallow breaths, then pause before starting to breathe again. If this is the case, a breathing monitor can help differentiate between normal sleep and breathing patterns and those that are dangerous.
It closely monitors your baby and alerts you when irregularities surface. This usually entails pauses in breathing, and/or lack of motion, lasting longer than 15 to 20 seconds.
Periodic breathing usually fades away on its own with time. But this special alarm system can provide parents with a bit of extra relief and support in these early days.
Should I Use a Breathing Monitor?
If your baby is full-term, normal weight, and healthy, your doctor probably won’t recommend getting a breathing monitor.
Any “apparent life-threatening event” (or ALTE) or “brief, resolved, unexplained event” (BRUE) may be grounds for keeping a better watch with a breathing monitor (2).
Premature babies with a history of breathing troubles and slow heart rate may need this device. Sleep apnea or chronic lung disease would also probably require it.
Other rare medical conditions may prompt your baby’s doctor to advise monitoring of their breathing. These conditions include respiratory distress syndrome, transient tachypnea, and persistent pulmonary hypertension as well as those infants with a cardiac history (3).
Make sure you discuss your breathing monitor with your pediatrician. There may be a particular one they recommend, which will best suit your needs and the needs of your baby.
How to Choose a Baby Breathing Monitor
While picking out a breathing monitor can be a particularly complicated task, there are a few factors to help break it down. These should be your main considerations when narrowing down your choices.
Obviously, if you are shopping for a breathing monitor, it needs to do an excellent job at monitoring the breath. Yet, there are other vital signs that units can monitor. Some will also keep track of your baby’s heart rate or their movements in general.
There are related activities it can monitor as well. Some units will let you know what the temperature is in the nursery. Others can even track your baby’s sleep data.
Depending on the vitals most important to check, you can choose your monitor accordingly.
Style and Function
There are also video/audio versions, similar to other baby monitors. These are the three main types:
- The clip-on version: This is a popular style because it’s easily portable, though false alarms can be a common occurrence. It’s simpler to use than other varieties.
- Under-the-mattress sensor pads: You may view these as “high tech.” But for those with premature little ones who are on guard against SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and other fears, being able to track each movement might be necessary.
- Video/audio monitors: These are more similar to other baby monitors, with the addition of breath detection. If it’s important to keep an actual eye and ear to sounds and movement coming from the crib, you may want to stick with what’s familiar and choose one of these.
Also, consider the portability of the receiver. Some receivers can be clipped to your belt, to keep your hands free. Consider what you need or want to do while the baby is sleeping, to narrow down your monitor choices.
All of these considerations will help you choose a good quality breathing monitor. However, remember to check with your pediatrician before making a purchase.
The Best Baby Breathing Monitors of 2022
Here are 7 great baby breathing monitors to consider.
1. Snuza Hero SE Baby Movement Monitor
Best All-Round Baby Breathing Monitor
The Hero is a great little monitor, and popular for a few reasons. One of these being that it can be clipped over the baby’s diaper. This makes it easy to use, even on hot summer days when your baby isn’t wearing a sleep sack or pajamas.
The size makes it easy to travel with because it isn’t bulky and you’ll be able to monitor your baby’s breathing, no matter where your travels take you. This would have been useful for me since my family is spread across the country!
One unique feature is that the device will vibrate to stimulate your baby if there is no abdominal movement for 15 seconds. At the 20-second mark, the device will sound an alarm.
There are no wires or cords to create a safety hazard. Plus, the device is made of medical grade plastics to prevent any skin reaction. This would be a good option for babies with extremely sensitive skin or allergies.
A rechargeable battery is included.
- Clips directly to the diaper.
- Small size is perfect for travel.
- Stimulation feature.
- Made from quality materials.
- One-year warranty comes with the machine.
- Some parents reported false alarms.
2. Owlet Camera Video Baby Monitor
Best in Design Baby Breathing Monitor
The Owlet Smart Baby Monitor can track heart rate and oxygen levels. Using motion, sounds, and app notifications, you’ll be informed about your baby’s breathing status throughout the night or during naptime.
The monitor comes with separate washable socks, though extras are available for purchase. These socks wrap around the baby’s feet and then connect to the base station via Bluetooth.
Real-time readings are sent to your phone, while heart rate and oxygen levels can be accessed on multiple phones at the same time. This means you, your partner, and other family members can keep an eye on your precious bundle.
- Monitors heart rate and oxygen levels.
- 130-degree wide-angle view.
- Can access stats from a smartphone.
- Four times zoom.
- Room temperature sensor.
- HD night vision.
- Camera speed takes a few seconds behind to display real-time view.
3. Nanit Pro Complete Infant Sleeping and Breathing Monitoring System
Best Night Vision/Video Baby Breathing Monitor
Nanit Pro Complete infant monitoring system offers breath monitoring with HD video and night vision. It connects to a free app for your smartphone. You will be notified via the app of any changes that occur in your baby’s movement and breathing.
You will be alerted when a certain sound threshold is reached giving you an idea that your precious one is crying. These features can all be customized in their built-in app. Even if you’re resting whenever your baby does, you can rely on the app to alert you of issues.
This system uses a minute breathing band to monitor the baby. The secure HD video camera does all the heavy lifting. Through the camera, you can see and hear your baby.
Plus, you can use the system to measure your child’s growth progress without using any sensors, just the included smart sheet.
The monitor needs the “bird’s eye view” to work properly and must be mounted over the crib. This would have been a problem for me, living in rental housing. Yet, if you are free to drill holes in the wall, it could be an option for you.
- One year warranty.
- Great customer support.
- HD camera and night vision.
- Reliable alert system.
- Height tracking.
- Must be mounted to the wall.
- Paid subscription.
4. Sense-U Breathing & Rollover Monitor
Best Clip-On Baby Breathing Monitor
This monitor works in conjunction with your smartphone to monitor your baby’s breathing while sleeping. It includes an alarm for both lack of breath and rapid breathing. It will also notify you if/when your baby rolls onto his or her stomach.
In addition to breathing and rolling, it will also monitor the temperature of the room and the humidity levels. This bonus feature will help you make sure your baby isn’t getting too cold or too hot.
The easy clip-on unit can be attached to sleepwear, onesies, or even the sleep bag. The signal is picked up on your smartphone via Bluetooth. The corresponding app you need for tracking is free for Android and iOS.
You can get your baby’s statistics right from the cloud. This makes it easy to review with your doctor or pediatrician.
Plus, you can also share the data with friends and family easily. I know my family loves getting any kind of updates where the babies are concerned!
- Monitors breathing, rolling, and room temperature.
- Easy to connect via Bluetooth.
- Free tracking app.
- Easy to clip-on and use.
- The range of 50 feet may not be suitable for those in large living spaces.
- Some parents reported false alarms.
5. Babysense 7 Video & Baby Movement Monitor
Best for Preemies Baby Breathing Monitor
This straightforward, highly-sensitive monitor is designed for parents who are simply interested in making sure their baby is moving regularly, without all the special features.
It uses two ultra skinny pads under the mattress which supply an adequate amount of coverage. These pads can detect even subtle movements, abdominal and otherwise, from the baby.
If the baby is still for 20 seconds, you will get a warning alarm sent to the control unit. This is a particularly helpful monitor for anyone worried about SIDS, like parents of preemie babies.
There are no loose wires in the crib to worry about, plus, the sensors do not emit any radiation that could harm the baby.
- Helps monitor for SIDS.
- No dangerous wires in the crib.
- High accuracy reports due to two, full-coverage sensor pads.
- Highly sensitive.
- Not as many special functions as other monitors.
- Some parents say it works much better with a thin bassinet mattress than a standard crib mattress which is thicker.
6. Snuza Pico 2 Baby Monitor
Best on the Go Baby Breathing Monitor
The Snuza Pico 2 is the baby brother of the Snuza Hero. The biggest difference between the two is that the “Hero” doesn’t have the skin temperature reading, body position, and sleep patterns feature that the Pico 2 has.
It clips to the diaper, just like the Hero, and will send out an alarm when the baby has not been breathing for 15 or 20 seconds (parent’s choice of setting). A green light indicates all is well, while an orange light communicates that your baby’s movements are weak or infrequent.
Remember, to avoid false alarms, you should clip with care. It is handy to travel with due to the size as it can be slipped into most bags with ease.
- Quick charge.
- Small and lightweight.
- Long battery life.
- Straightforward design.
- May encounter false alarms.
7. iBaby Baby Breathing Monitor
Best Affordable Baby Breathing Monitor
This sensitive baby breathing monitor won’t break your bank. Unlike the other breathing monitors that require wearing bracelet or band, this device uses artificial intelligence to detect your precious one’s face, movement, breathing, and sleeping patterns. It has alarms for the baby’s movement, room temperature and humidity.
Cloud storage of 300 alert pictures and 100 video clips are also included upon purchase, free of charge. So you could also save a few more bucks.
- No subscription fee for baby analytics.
- Night vision.
- Non-wearable alarm system.
- Two-way audio.
- Mounting area is needed.
- No pan or tilt function.
When to Seek Help for Irregular Breathing
Whenever you have a question that deals with the health of your baby, you should address it with your pediatrician. Health issues can progress fairly rapidly in a newborn, which is why it is crucial to seek help quickly if you are worried.
While these symptoms are not all-inclusive, they are some of the more prominent signs:
- Breathing pauses that happen more and more often.
- Your baby has a blue tinge around the lips and mouth.
- Your baby’s skin is blue in tint, even while breathing at a normal rate.
- You notice lethargy or baby not responding as usual.
- Rapid breathing as a common occurrence.
- Or any other symptom you as the parent deem abnormal.
All of these symptoms can be frightening if your baby is experiencing them. Furthermore, they could be a sign of a more serious issue, such as sleep apnea. Try to keep calm and contact your doctor or 911 center immediately (4).