Apnea Monitor

I was asked to elaborate on the apnea monitor that Collen is on. So, here goes....

My sister, Megan, works in the NICU at the hospital here in town - Pitt County Memorial Hospital. I'm proud to say it is one of the top hospitals on the east coast! Well, when we lost Ayden to SIDS and the talk of a future child started coming about, Megan suggested that we insist Collen go home on an apnea monitor. They send a lot of their preemies home on them, so she was knowledgeable about the process and how it would work.

Basically, the apnea monitor is a band with two leads attached to it. The band fits around the baby's chest and is secured with velcro so it can grow with the baby. Cords are hooked into the leads and are plugged into the base of the monitor. The leads monitor Collen's breathing and heart rate. If his breathing and/or heart rate go below or above a certain level, the alarm will sound....very loudly.

Unfortunately, you can't ask for monitor just to have peace of mind. You have to have a prior history that shows you have a need for it. In our case, Ayden stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating simultaneously. In theory, if he had been on a monitor, it MIGHT have caught it in time for CPR to have helped. I highly doubt it since the nature of SIDS is so sudden and it seems to affect the brain in addition to the heart and lungs, but I wouldn't rule it out. So, Collen automatically qualified to be brought home on a monitor. Insurance will cover part (or all depending on your insurance) of your use of the monitor. Each month, we have to have the monitor "downloaded." The company who issued it to us calls, I hook Collen up to the monitor, we push some buttons and wait for some beeps, they download that month's worth of activity, and then the results are sent to a pulmonologist. Then his/her results are sent to our pediatrician who then relays the info. to us. (hhmm...haven't heard from our pediatrician, yet....). The down side = if we have 3 months in a row of "normal" results, we have to return the monitor. Yeah...3 months. I freaked out when I heard that (because we lost Ayden at 4 months) and contacted someone who works with Megan (she has been my go-to person with all of this and she has yet to let me down!), and she got on it for me. We're working on trying to keep the monitor at least through Collen's 4th month. SIDS peaks between 2 and 4 months, so I would sleep better knowing he was on it through his 6th month.

In addition to the apnea monitor, we are also using the Angel Care monitor. It works great for us - probably because Collen isn't scooting around yet. Once he starts rolling and getting himself into a corner, I'm sure we'll get false alarms. I love the Angel Care monitor because it tells me the temperature in the room, which is also a risk factor for SIDS (but don't get started on "risk factors"), so we're able to adjust if we need to.

We were told that any alarms from the apnea monitor were either true alarms or an equipment issue. When we first brought Collen home on it, it would go off at least twice a night. I would check him, and he would be fine. I finally cut the band shorter so it would fit more snug and that has helped. We have only had 2 true alarms (I think)....and in both cases, I think he just took a longer than usual pause in breathing, and by the time I got to him he was breathing again and sleeping fine. You know how babies sleep....scares you enough that you never get any sleep yourself because you stay up watching them breathe.

Collen will likely sleep in our room for his first year of life. Some may find that extreme and a bit overly paranoid - my answer to that is always - you imagine losing your child. Your whole perspective changes, and you'll d0 anything to be able to say you've done everything possible to make sure your subsequent child is safe, healthy, and alive.

Hope I answered the question well. Any other questions for me? I enjoyed sharing some informative content for you. :)



  1. We used the Angle Care monitor for the 1st year. Even after my son was moving all around the crib, it worked like a charm, except for when he go completely into a corner. I hope you can keep the apnea monitor for 6 months...Good Luck!

  2. We use the Snuza monitor and will be using the AngelCare monitor as soon as my daughter moves to her crib. I have always had my kids sleep in our room for at least the first year. You are doing what you think is the best thing for your family...nothing wrong with that.

  3. My premature baby son was given an apnea monitor after he had several episodes of 'forgetting to breathe' during the daytime which were terrifying. It was an enormous relief to know his episodes were being monitored anytime he slept. It took a while to get used to the false alarms that would scare me witless but with infant CPR training I gained my confidence and my son is now almost 22 and in his final year at University. After 20 years the equipment looks exactly the same as it used to. We were 'loaned' the monitor until he was a little over 2 years of age and had been episode free for 6 months and I felt confident. Sending you love and prayers from across the pond xx

  4. I have looked into the Snuza. If the apnea monitor is taken away, I will definitely be investing in that!

  5. Does he only wear it when he's sleeping or do you have it on him all the time?

    Our twins went home on the same monitor- those things are LOUD!!!

  6. Jayme - we only use it when he sleeps at night. He could be on it all day, but gosh...I don't want to carry that thing around with us everywhere we go. Plus, if it's daytime and he's awake (or asleep for that matter) he isn't left alone; our eyes are on him at all times. But, we do have to sleep sometime...that's where the monitor comes in. :)

  7. I kept my babies next to my bed for the first year of their life also. I would wake up and reach over to make sure they were breathing more than once a night! Until my last one was over 10 I would sleep with all 3 bedroom doors open so I could wake up and hear everyone breathing. Keep doing what feels right for you and your family. There's a ton of us out here that are just as cautious about our babies ( and well even our " big" kids)!!!