We recently welcomed our third child, a healthy boy named Eli. He is our rainbow baby and likely our last. Post delivery I was experiencing a lot of anxiety constantly checking his breathing and not getting adequate sleep myself worrying about him. Just for background he is healthy, was full term and came naturally the day after his due date. He was also a big enough baby at 8 lbs 7 oz.
We bought the Miku baby monitor to try after researching many monitor options including the Owlet Dream Sock. Miku is the only one we found that tracks your baby’s breathing continuously. Though, we are veteran parents knowing that my baby’s breath was being monitored was comforting. I know this may sound like overkill to many of you but for me upgrading our baby monitor was such a simple and worthwhile decision.
Previously, we were using the same video monitor as with our first child who is now seven years old. Believe it or not, it was still semi-functional so no hate there. We were using it in our older kids’ room to communicate with and/or monitor them during the night if needed.
Our baby is still sleeping in our room so it is not like he is far away. The thing is I was finding myself getting up multiple times per night to check on his breathing. Even though he is in our room I couldn’t check his breathing from in bed. With the Miku I can tell at a glance that he is breathing normally as well as his breath rate.
Is it worth it?
The Miku Pro retails for $399 on their site. It is a bit more expensive than many monitor systems that can range as low as $60. In my opinion, the system is definitely not perfect but it’s overall worth it to me. Shipping was free and it came in a few short days from ordering. Unboxing and installation was simple, according to my husband. Below are some pros and cons to consider before buying the Miku.
- We can monitor from anywhere since it functions via an application on our phones
- The video quality is crystal clear. Even the zoom feature does not sacrifice crispness of the picture
- It gives you continuous breath readings both in numbers as well as visual waveforms, so at a glance you can see that your little one is breathing okay
- It tells you exactly how long your baby has been asleep
- It tracks your baby’s sleep quality with a sleep report
- It records your baby’s activity including movements, putting baby down in crib and taking baby out
- It has a microphone to talk to baby
- It has a built in camera that automatically adds pictures you take to your phone’s camera roll
The not so good…
- We can monitor from anywhere which is a pro and a con (more on this below)
- The cost is higher than many baby monitor systems
- There is no easy way to “test” the system’s breath alerts.
- Not easy to share access with other caregivers
- The Miku app must be open on your phone at all times (when monitor is in use) which can drain phone battery
- The app sometimes randomly closes
- The system randomly says “offline” and will have to re-connect like many other wireless devices
- “No movement detected” false alarms will happen
- Not as convenient as a physical stand alone system to carry around the house
- It relies on WIFI which is a con since we stay in places that have electricity but not always internet
- As an internet based system I imagine it has the possibility of getting hacked
“No Movement Detected” Alarms
If the monitor detects a baby in the crib then it will monitor movement, breath and sound. If there is no movement for some amount of time I believe 45 seconds then it will throw an alarm. This is a great feature and one that I hope we will never need.
One of the issues with this feature is there is not an easy way to verify that the system is working. We have tried to trick the system by taking our baby out quickly and replacing with a similar sized doll, blanket, etc. but it is not actually that easy to trick. We wanted to see if the alarm would still work if the app was closed completely and other scenarios, like silent mode, etc.
That being said we have had a few false alarms. The most typical is after we move our baby from the crib to his changing table that is right next to the crib. Sometimes the monitor will say “No movement detected” for up to 20 seconds or so until it realizes that the baby is “away”.
The biggest flaw with the Miku…
The few false alarms we have had are actually not a big deal. Normally, it is very obvious that the system is momentarily confused and throwing an alarm when the baby is not actually there. So if the alarm goes off and I have just taken him out of his crib then I immediately know that he is fine because I am holding him.
One thing that has bothered me from the start is the subtlety of their alarms. Think of your apple watch when your morning alarm goes off. It’s pretty low key and easy enough to just hit snooze or stop. Well, that is how unalarming the Miku alarms are. They are not persistent. They do not require you to re-set or confirm that everything is okay. If you were in the middle of a meeting or something and your phone was on silent then I’m not confident it would be more than a silent banner on your lock page…and there is no easy way to test it that I have found.
This is a major flaw for the system in my opinion.
A perfect example is when we went to my grandmother’s funeral. It was my first time leaving my baby with anyone but myself or my husband. He was only 2 months old. We were driving and the Miku alarm went off on my phone. My mother-in-law was watching him and did not have the Miku app on her phone. I started panicking waiting for the app to open and load which only took maybe 5 seconds but felt like forever. Things going through my head were what if she doesn’t answer her phone? or the house line? The app finally opened and my baby thankfully was not in the crib but imagine if he was! Seeing the lifeless body of your baby on a video monitor and being helpless to do anything about it because you can’t reach the caregiver is an unimaginable hell.
The Miku should have a built in alarm system on the monitor itself that does not rely on someone having their phone nearby at all times. What if someone inadvertently silences the alert without even looking at it? Or steps away from their phone? That day if my baby were in trouble my mother-in-law would have been sitting right outside of his room reading a book and not have any idea what was happening. This scenario would be avoided if there was an alarm on the monitor device itself.
Sharing access with other caregivers
There is a way to share access to your Miku with additional caregivers by adding them into your profile and sending a link that they have to accept. This was a one off for us as we usually don’t have people caring for him in our home. Keeping in mind that the monitor has a microphone on it and users can access the monitor not just in your house. Our caregiver deleted the app afterward and we removed access on our end but I would imagine there must be an easier way to ensure privacy is protected.
Obviously, there is no monitor or gadget out there that is going to guarantee 100% effectiveness in preventing sudden infant death syndrome or other catastrophic events. I did not have this monitor with my first two children and was even discouraged by pediatricians from buying this type of product as it can actually increase anxiety and fear in parents. For me, I’m glad I have it even with its shortcomings. If you have a few extra bucks to spend on a monitor then I would recommend it.
Thanks for reading,