Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Webcam baby video monitor: There's an app for that

Although I was planning to hold out a little longer before reviewing our webcam-turned-baby-video-monitor set up, I've gotten so many requests to share our experience that I figured I'd go ahead and do so.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I knew I wanted the AngelCare motion sensor monitor because I knew I'd be crazy enough to want to know if our baby was breathing throughout the night, but I didn't want to go with the AngelCare monitors that include video capabilities because I'd read enough reviews stating the video quality was crap. Fortunately Matt is tech savvy enough that he knew about the trend of parents taking webcams and turning them into baby video monitors.

We didn't buy a webcam immediately, but once Natalie started sleeping for longer and longer stretches at night I was curious to know if she was truly asleep or simply not making noise. It turns out that having the webcam video monitor now is especially great because now that Natalie is four months old she is old enough to go back to sleep on her own even after waking in the middle of the night, and through the monitor when can read her cues to see if she's going back to sleep or truly needs us. Plus, she now moves around a ton in her sleep, so the video monitor helps us understand what's happening in the nursery while we're elsewhere.

We bought the Foscam FI8918W Pan/Tilt with 8 meter night vision and 3.6 mm lens. When we purchased it via Amazon we paid about $85, though in my experience Amazon prices constantly fluctuate (and as of this writing the cost is at $80.99). We downloaded the uFoscam iPhone/iPad app for $4.99 to allow us to access the video monitor's feed. When we set up the system, the app was capable of taking still photos, but the newly released 1.7 version of the app allows for video recording.

Overall, the pros of this system outweigh the cons, but here's the breakdown of our experience:


  • Great image quality -- the camera operates in color, but almost all the time we're watching Natalie in black-and-white in her (mostly) dark nursery. The night vision quality is strong given the fact that almost all the time she's in complete darkness. 
  • Inexpensive -- compared to other baby video monitors producing images of similar quality, the Foscam system is significantly less expensive.
  • Fewer devices -- This is probably the aspect that makes us happiest. Because Matt and I live with our iPhones attached to us these days, being able to access our video monitor on our phones (or for Matt through his iPad) and not through an additional device has been great. It's just generally convenient to do almost everything electronic in our lives through our phones. We're all about reducing clutter, so this is just one small step in that direction.
  • Remote access -- not only can we view the app through our iPhones/iPad provided we're hooked up to wifi, but we can also log in to the camera anywhere we have internet access. So, Matt has been known to check in on a napping Natalie from his work computer.
  • Versatility -- when we've outgrown the baby monitor days this camera can serve as a security camera, regular old webcam, or -- perhaps more excitingly -- a dog cam so I can figure out whether it's Max or Doc that keeps eating all my throw pillows when we're gone. Other users have set up their Foscam as a nanny cam. The app allows for users to control 12 webcams, so if you're super into security you can go wild.
This next point is sort of a pro, sort of a con...
Dependability -- So far there have been two times when I've had to unplug the camera because the image got stuck or there was some other glitch. Considering I log in to the camera probably a couple dozen times a day, I think this is a pretty good track record. I expect technology to experience the occasional bugs, and while some other people might get annoyed that this system isn't perfect 100 percent of the time, I suppose to me that sort of perfection seems unrealistic, so I'll take what we've got here.


  • No zoom -- while the camera lens itself is stationary, the app allows you to zoom in on the image just as you would anytime you're using your iPhone/iPad. I wish, though, that the camera itself would zoom because that would increase our camera mounting options. Right now the webcam is on top of the crib, and this is no doubt some kind of child safety hazard that will get more dangerous as Natalie grows, so we're planning to mount the camera on the wall directly above her crib using a small extension cord and the mounting set that came with the camera.
  • Difficulty setting up remote access -- Matt took a couple hours setting up our system. He says that setting up the camera and the app is quite simple, but if you want to be able to access the camera feed remotely that's when set up becomes much more difficult.
  • Connectivity issues -- because the app only operates when wifi is on, and because I sometimes forget to turn it on after being out of the house and other times my phone can't get the wifi signal, there have been times when I couldn't access the camera on my phone. I wonder, though, how much of this is an issue with the app/camera and how much of it has to do with our wifi signal.

The best part of this set up is that we can watch our baby sleep without disturbing her. Yes, my paranoid side can rest more easily when I zoom in to see her chest rising and falling with her breaths, but perhaps more importantly I get to capture these images for posterity:

Yes, that's right, we officially have a roller on our hands. Every night at bedtime and for every nap this little lady is placed in the middle of the crib, on her back, facing the camera, yet clearly over the course of her rest she manages to wiggle into different positions. At her four-month appointment last week Natalie's doctor told us that we can start placing her to bed on her stomach now that she's capable of rolling over. I'm hesitant to do this because Natalie has woken up screaming a few times when she's gotten herself onto her stomach. She rarely screams, and she basically never wakes up screaming. So, even if she can get herself out of the predicament, she doesn't do so consistently, and for the sake of her sleep and ours I'd rather keep her on her back for the time being.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WHO cares about growth charts anyway?

For the past month I've been a little stressed out about something to the point that I haven't had the desire (or the time) to write about it until now. At Natalie's two-month check up, which actually happened when she was closer to turning three months old, our doctor expressed concern over Natalie's weight. Weighing in at 9 lbs., 13 oz., she was only 1 lb., 12 oz. up from her birth weight. But, she had grown 4 inches since birth. Four inches!!! Can you imagine growing so quickly in a matter of weeks? This meant she was now in the 85th percentile for length and 10th percentile for weight. At first I took issue with the growth chart itself, thinking that maybe our doctor was using the older growth charts that are no longer considered particularly accurate because they deal with a small population sample, but then I realized after going home and looking it up myself that our doctor is in fact using the World Health Organization's (WHO) growth charts that look at breastfed babies worldwide. (Fun resource: You can also enter your baby's stats into the BabyCenter Growth Chart Calculator.) In one breath the doctor said that Natalie's weight being in the 10th percentile is probably no big deal because Natalie is likely genetically predisposed to be thin, but in the next breath she said she wanted Natalie back in four weeks for a weight check. If she hadn't made sufficient weight gain the doctor said we would have to discuss alternatives, or something to that effect.
As a breastfeeding mom, I took this fairly personally. On my extended leave of absence from work I treat raising my baby, and particularly feeding my baby, as my full-time job. I devote many hours of my day to nourishing Natalie. The doctor's words, though they obviously come with good intentions/medical concern and no true judgement, still felt like she was saying I wasn't doing a good job at my new full-time job. 

So then I went through a range of thoughts and feelings:

1) Breastfeeding is going great for Natalie and me. Unlike what feels like the majority of moms I know I am not experiencing any problems with the process: I do not have a supply issue, I do not experience pain, Natalie has a good latch, and dare I say it we both enjoy breastfeeding (most of the time....even though it is hard work). Why should I have to supplement with formula, as the doctor seemed to imply might need to happen, when we are not having any issues? If the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and the free book on breastfeeding that the hospital gives all new moms says that 99 percent of women produce the right amount of milk for their babies, why mess with a good thing?

2) Natalie is probably going to be small. Matt is of average size for the American male. I am slightly below average in height and weight and have been all my life, but I've always been healthy. I come from a family of remarkably short people, and despite the odds I am only marginally petite.

3) Natalie produces plenty of diapers every day, sleeps well, and has a rather perfect disposition. If she was undernourished, wouldn't she display clear outward signs of distress, and wouldn't I, as her mother, pick up on those signs easily?

4) I just feel, in my gut, that Natalie is fine.

5) Still, I tackle challenges head on, and this is a new challenge, so bring it. I'll come up with a way to tip the scales, literally.

Then I got to thinking, perhaps Natalie enjoys breastfeeding too much. It almost always puts her to sleep, which is great, but maybe she's not always feeding long enough to get to the good stuff, the hind milk, which is what the baby drinks after the first third of the milk, or foremilk, is depleted. The hind milk is fatty and calorie-packed, so maybe I needed to help Natalie get that more often.

Determined to get Natalie to put some meat on her bones, I started pumping 3-4 times daily. I wasn't stockpiling the milk in the freezer; instead, I was doing half of Natalie's 7-8 daily feedings with a bottle. I was frequently giving her 4.5 to 6 oz. bottles, and I knew that she needed approximately 25 oz. of milk a day, so I figured those bottles plus whatever she was getting while nursing would meet her daily nutritional needs.

I started to also perform some weight checks of my own using the Medela infant scale available at the New Moms group I attend through a local hospital. From one week to the next Natalie gained about 8 ounces! But then the following week Natalie gained nothing. I went from moments of elation to moments of disappointment. When I would get disappointed, the nurses at the New Moms group reminded me that babies don't always gain weight every single week. As my gynecologist likes to say to expectant moms, babies don't read textbooks so they don't follow the rules whether in utero or out.
I tried performing my own breastfeeding weight experiment where I weighed Natalie before and after feeding her. I didn't know what I was doing, though, so I did it wrong. The scale showed that Natalie gained a couple ounces after the feeding, but: 1) I was supposed to weigh her in grams, not ounces, for the best results and 2) I was supposed to keep her clothed for this weigh-in so that if she went to the bathroom during the feeding it would be accounted for through her diaper. One of the nurses who volunteers to run our New Moms meetings very nicely emailed me a ton of resources after the fact so that in the future I can go back and do the weigh-in correctly.

Finally, on Monday morning, the day of reckoning had arrived. Natalie didn't have the best night Sunday night, but I was so tense that I could hardly sleep to begin with so her erratic sleep patterns Sunday night weren't a problem. Monday morning before we went to the doctor's office Natalie had a couple last bottles, but then of course she had a dirty diaper and I thought to myself, "Great, there go a few ounces." This is what you think when you're trying to do everything in your power to get your baby to gain weight.

As I placed my naked baby on the doctor's office scale, I was sufficiently freaked out to see where the numbers would land, but I was thrilled to see the scale read 12 lbs., 3 oz. In four weeks Natalie had gained 2 lbs., 6 oz. The nurse was shocked. She had me weigh Natalie again, this time only to see the scale read 12 lbs., 2 oz. She told me to dress that baby and take her home because she is completely healthy and there is nothing wrong with her.

I walked out of the office elated and with these thoughts in my head:
1) Growth charts are silly. Yes, they exist for a reason, particularly for majorly outlying babies, but basically no babies are 50th percentile in everything and most babies are fine. Some babies will be small. Some babies will be in the 10th percentile. Even after gaining so much weight in a matter of weeks, Natalie is still only somewhere between the 10th and 25th percentile, but she is a healthy weight for her size.

2) Babies grow at different rates. When we had gone in for Natalie's two-month appointment her length had just gone through a major growth spurt and her weight was waiting to catch up. She was clearly growing, but she was growing up rather than out, and that's part of the reason why the doctor was concerned.

3) I need to trust my instincts. I knew there was nothing wrong with Natalie. I see her for every waking minute of her day. I knew, moments after her birth, that there was something wrong with Natalie even though the doctors thought I was crazy and under the influence of whatever drugs they'd given me. I knew she was going to the NICU before any doctor or nurse acknowledged the possibility. Similarly, I knew Natalie's weight was fine but I let the doctor's slight concern weigh (ha!) on me too much when I needed to just be enjoying my time with Natalie.

Ironically, we haven't once called our pediatrician with any health concerns, and it wasn't until after going to the doctor that I had my first parental freak-out moment. I will continue to give Natalie a couple bottles a day just in case she is, in fact, a lazy eater who isn't always getting to the hind milk, but I won't stay so attached to the breast pump as I've felt this past month. It has been exhausting.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Baby products 2-3 month MVPs

Three months ago when Natalie was just a few weeks old I highlighted the products that were essential to our lives during those early weeks. Many of those products have remained essential, with a couple exceptions. The Pack N Play is now playing second fiddle to the crib, only coming out when Natalie is sleeping away from home. (A few people have asked: we went with the Sealy Soybean Foam-Core Mattress, feeling that it was an alternative to the completely organic crib mattresses that tend to be quite pricey.) We put the Soothies pacifiers away as of last week because our little lady much prefers her hand. I hope by writing this I am not jinxing it, but I am thrilled that Natalie does not seem interested in her pacifiers anymore because I was determined to stop using them by the time she turned four months (as suggested in a book I read about how to avoid forming a pacifier habit). Call it a form of baby-led weaning, but I will take it. She is still fitting into her swing, so I imagine she'll continue to use that for another couple months until she completely outgrows it. On that note....

D batteries!
I had heard that these swings go through batteries like it's their job, but man, I was not expecting this. The swing operates on four D batteries, so thankfully this is something we stocked up on pre-baby at Costco. Every time I change the batteries (and it's been about four times now) I sing that song "Stereo Hearts" about old-fashioned boom boxes and their mad D batteries.

Also from Costco...
Laundry detergent
We've switched from the more-expensive Tide Free and Clear to the Kirkland (aka Costco brand) Free and Clear detergent for both washing Natalie's diapers and clothes. It's super cheap at only $14.29 for 186 fl. oz. (or 1.45 gallons). Plus, with the frequent $2.75 discounts Costco offers on this product it's the cheapest detergent I've been able to find. I've always been skeptical of generic laundry detergent for inexplicable reasons, but I gave it a try after borrowing a cap full from my neighbor and I was converted. (Thanks, Mimi!)

Baby wipes
We finally had to buy our own baby wipes in early March after our stash from the hospital and friends ran out. We bought the Huggies Natural Care baby wipes from Costco in a pack of 1,120 (yes, you read that correctly) for $24.99 at the store. At 2.2 cents per wipe it is definitely way cheaper than any deal you could find on Amazon. I anticipate this package of wipes lasting us for several more months as we have used less than one third of the package in over two months.

Cloud b Sleep Sheep
When we transitioned Natalie to her crib we started a bedtime routine (which I'll write about more in the future) since we could finally distinguish nighttime sleeping from napping. We use the Sleep Sheep Velcroed to the outside of her crib as her white noise machine. Although it comes with four sounds, we are most likely to choose the ocean waves noise. We also keep it turned on to the 46-minute setting rather than the 23-minute setting. Plus, when I sit down to feed Natalie in her nursery I turn on the sound machine, and then after I'm done feeding her while I am putting her to bed I restart it so that it will play for the full 46-minutes while she sleeps.

The only con I see to this product is that it will not play indefinitely. Last weekend we had 8 friends over for an evening of dinner and board games after Natalie fell asleep at 7 p.m.  As a precautionary measure I took our iPod dock that normally stays in our bedroom and put it in Natalie's room. Rather than listening to her Sleep Sheep she listened to the soothing sounds of all of Jack Johnson's songs for however many hours they play. She stayed asleep through the noise of 10 adults being silly, and I don't know if she's just a champion sleeper or if we need to have a continuously playing white noise machine/iPod dock for her room for when we have guests.

Summer Infant SwaddleMe
The name of this product seems appropriate, given the fact that we've transitioned from the Halo Fleece Swaddle Sleep Sacks we used to use to these lighter weight swaddles now that the warm weather has arrived. We've never swaddled Natalie with her arms inside the swaddle, mostly because she was never swaddled during her week in the NICU and therefore quickly grew reliant on having access to her hands. Now that she's approaching four months old she's rolling back and forth in her sleep and using her hands to soothe herself in place of the pacifier. Still, we swaddle her with her arms out in this product because: 1) it serves as a type of blanket and 2) it stays tight around her torso to produce a swaddling effect that seems to help encourage her to fall asleep. So I'd recommend this product for its ease of use whether you choose to swaddle your baby arms in or out.

On the go
Ergo Baby Carrier
I am so glad we registered for this product. I've been using it most notably when taking Natalie for a walk to the grocery store. It is so easy to use, though at first I was afraid I would not be able to put her in it by myself. After wearing it one time I learned how to put it on with one hand, which seems to be a required parenting skill. I love having Natalie close to me, and she seems to like it too as it almost always puts her to sleep. A sleeping baby on an errand run is definitely desirable. I was using the Ergo with the Ergo Heart2Heart Infant Insert on loan from my friend Dawn, but now that Natalie is bigger and stronger (and incredibly long, FYI) she has officially outgrown it. Getting this product on loan was great because, true to form, Natalie only used it a few months. (Thanks for sharing, Dawn!)

Green Sprouts bibs
We registered for this pack of 10 bibs, and during Natalie's first two months we never used them and I thought, "Well, maybe that was a waste." Fear not, drool entered our lives in full effect just about the time Natalie turned two months old, and I've been putting these colorful bibs on her nearly every day. Some days she's more drooly than others, but it is definitely nice having these on hand these days.

Play time
Here's a category I did not include in the newborn product post because, frankly, there was so little time Natalie was actually awake back then that I worried we'd never use all the toys we received as gifts. Fear not, new parent, the time will come when you'll be looking for ways to keep your 2-3 month old baby entertained. Here are our favorite distractions.

Lamaze Symphony Motion Gym
This product wins the award for most-often-used baby product of the last couple of months. We fell in love with this gym over the summer when visiting our friends Dawn and Jon in Argentina and watching their adorable daughter stare in wonder at this masterpiece of baby entertainment. It has a monkey in a spacesuit! It plays non-annoying music! It MOVES! That last part really sealed the deal. When a couple of my mom friends were over at our house with their babies and they realized this thing moves they were impressed, as was I.

For the first couple months I kept thinking, "OK, I guess our baby is just going to always stare at this thing and never use it as a 'gym.'" Well, right around the time she turned three months old she started getting active, grabbing at all the objects with her hands, putting her feet in the air and capturing toys with her toes, even bracing herself with the toys to start practicing rolling back and forth. This is possibly the single best baby product we own, but here's one con: to replace the batteries you must break out a screwdriver, and while I realize it's safety feature, it took me a week to change the 3 AA batteries.

Bright Starts Start Your Senses Sensory Giraffe
Here's a perfectly designed toy for your 2-3 month old. My girlfriends from wine club attached this to the group gift they gave me at my baby shower, and I'm so glad they did because we take it everywhere. It's great because with high-contrasting colors and lots of hanging items to grab it's a wonderful stroller and infant gym toy. (Fun fact: Many people mistakenly believe that babies can only see in black and white, but the truth is that while they can see color they are naturally attracted to high-contrasting colors, such as white against black. This is also why newborns might look like they're looking past you when in fact they're fascinated by the outlines of your face where the contrast is greatest.)

Eric Carle Developmental Elephant
This toy is quite similar to the Sensory Giraffe above, except this one adds a greater variety of textures that help a baby explore.

Sassy Letter Links
OK, some person years ago said, "Let's take plastic rings and market them as a baby toy," and you know what, that person knew what was up. Keeping with the concept of simple toys being the best, these rings in the shapes of letters are a hit. Grab them. Put them in your mouth. Hours of fun. I wish I was joking. I also like the fact that the company that makes these is called Sassy.

Favorite board books:
Right now Natalie is perking up when I read anything that rhymes or has simple images of people or animals in bold colors. Although we've already read each of her dozens of books many times, the two that capture her attention the most are...

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle
This is a favorite of mine from kindergarten, so I was happy to find it at a used book sale at our local library. Apparently it's about to be re-released in board book format again, at least according to Amazon.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury
Someone from my English department at work included this padded board book in Natalie's basket of books, and I'm so glad we got it because I don't know if I would have picked it out on my own.

Not an MVP, but nice to have: The Bumbo
This last item is definitely not essential, but I was happy to receive it as a hand-me-down from my friend Jean and I am sure I'll be loaning it out to friends in the future. The Bumbo seat is helping Natalie learn to sit up, and it is one baby holder that keeps her off her back (unlike the swing, the bouncer seat, the car seat). Although I would not recommend going out and buying one of these because they really are non-essential (and I imagine you can probably borrow one/find one on Craigslist), it has led to some cute photo ops. For your viewing pleasure...

What did you find most helpful during these early months?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baby product review: Angel Care monitor

A few years ago when I first heard that motion-detecting baby monitors existed I instinctively said, "We will be getting one of those." I know myself too well, and I knew that checking to see whether or not a future baby was breathing would keep me up throughout the night. So when the time came I added the gadget to our registry, and when we transitioned Natalie from her Pack N Play bassinet to her crib when she was 7 weeks old we finally had a chance to put the monitor to work. Now that she's almost 16 weeks old and she's spent the majority of her life (!) sleeping in her crib, I thought it was time to write about our baby monitor experiences.

We opted for the Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor with Two Parent Units. Overall, I am really liking this product, though it has taken some trial and error in order to make it work in our home.

Monitor design
The entire monitor system comes in four parts: the blue sensor pad that goes in the crib; the nursery unit transmitter; and the two parent units that pick up signals from the nursery unit. I like that the parent units come with AC adapters so they can be plugged into an outlet, but they can also run on battery power. We tend to keep our parents units plugged in. One parent unit rests on my nightstand and really only gets unplugged if I need to take a shower while Natalie is in her crib (this is rare). The other parent unit is set up on our desk on the main level of our house. The only time this unit is unplugged is if I happen to be Just Dancing downstairs (less likely) or doing laundry downstairs (more likely). We have not yet replaced the 3 AAA batteries we installed in each unit, but we likely rely less on the battery feature than most families.

Part of the reason I like this monitor is the variety of options it provides. Parents can choose from three operational modes:

1) Sound and movement with "tic" feature on.
2) Sound and movement with "tic" feature off.
3) Sound only.

The nursery unit sits on the floor right below the crib.

Ever since we set up the monitor we've been using the Sound and Movement option with the "tic" feature turned off. Basically the "tic" feature causes the monitor to make a sound every time the baby moves. Movement includes breathing, hence the reason why this monitor is designed for parents like me who have a healthy fear of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). But, knowing that this monitor is designed to sound one alarm if it hasn't detected movement in 15 seconds or a continuous alarm if it hasn't detected movement in 20 seconds, we figured that the ticking was an unnecessary feature for our preferences.

Additionally, the monitor provides two different operational channels, A and B. There is a sensitivity dial so that you can make your monitor more or less sensitive to motion. There are volume controls on the parent units, and because the parent units also have lights that come on when they detect sound it is possible to operate the parent unit without sound. We've kept the volume on both parent units set at a medium level and let me assure you it is plenty loud, in case you have a fear of not hearing your baby via the monitor. (Well, if you're the mother you will be guaranteed to always hear your baby, but if you are the father you are biologically programmed to sleep through nearly all baby noises and likely your wife shaking you in the middle of the night.)

False alarms
The first week we used the monitor I thought it was amazing. Then during week two while Matt was at work the alarm sounded while I was on the middle level of our home, so, nearly having a heart attack, I bolted to Natalie's room only to discover her quietly sleeping away. Somehow she slept through the alarm -- she must have been extra tired that day -- but I was totally freaked out. The next day we got two false alarms, both of which woke Natalie from her sleep. The false alarm that happened in the middle of the night first freaked me out and then just pissed me off, especially after it meant taking about an hour to get Natalie back to sleep.

At this point I was ready to return the monitor to Buy Buy Baby, but in a stroke of genius I decided to turn to the product manual first to see if I could troubleshoot. Fortunately for the monitor's sake but unfortunately for Natalie's interrupted sleep I quickly discovered that in our haste to install the monitor we had done so incorrectly. Starting on page 1 and repeating on nearly every page of the product manual it is explicitly states that if you do not have a solid crib base (i.e. one made of a slab of wood) you'll need to create your own solid crib base on which to place the sensor pad. The manufacturer recommends Masonite board, but I just grabbed a piece of foam board, the kind you used for high school science project displays, and put it on top of the metal base of the crib mattress.

A peak underneath the crib mattress, complete with my foam board solution for the sensor pad. 

I worried that it would not be sturdy enough, given that it is not what the manufacturer recommends, but I am happy to report that since making that simple change we have only had one false alarm in nearly eight weeks. I wish we never got false alarms, but if the tradeoff for peace of mind is one false alarm every two months, I'll take it. I also figure that as Natalie gets older and the risk of SIDS decreases we might eventually use this monitor as a sound-only device.

Feedback interference
Besides false alarms, another common complaint about this monitor is that it has feedback problems. Yes, this has been our experience too, but I think it comes down to finding the right place to position the parent units in your home. The parent unit that is almost always located on our desk on the main level never produces that annoying static noise.

The parent unit in our bedroom, though, is another story. The static feedback is substantial, but the good news is that because Matt likes to sleep with the fan on, the white noise of the fan drowns out the white noise of the monitor. I think we get a lot of feedback on the bedroom parent unit just because our house isn't that big and our room is not that far away from the nursery.

I will take the false alarms and the feedback interference for the peace of mind this monitor offers. I have never once gone into Natalie's nursery to make sure she's still breathing, and that seems like a huge accomplishment for my inclined-toward-fear nature.  This monitor might be part of the reason I've been better at going with the flow of new parenting. This monitor is easy to use, provided it's installed properly, and it's easy to install properly, provided you actually read the directions. We did not buy the Angelcare Sound and Motion monitor that also has a video monitor component because we'd read plenty of negative reviews about the poor video quality. Instead, two weeks ago we set up a Foscam in the nursery, which is a webcam that we can control with a $5 app through our iPhones and iPad. I am in love with this new system that we have working side-by-side with our Angelcare monitor, and I'll write more about our experiences with this make-shift baby video monitor once we've tested it out a while longer.