High-tech baby monitoring too much

April 1, 2012

The joy and happiness a new baby brings into the world is staggering. But all those smiles and cuddles come with a cost to parents – the end to peace of mind. Every fever, every rash, every colicky night scares parents, yet makes them stronger. Anxiety management is a huge part of learning to let your children go, as they surely will, into the world.

Exmobaby garment

Now, I’m all for using electrical-outlet covers in your home, installing rear-facing carseats in your cars, and putting babies into their cribs with sleepsuits instead of blankets, but recently I heard about a product that I think goes too far: Exmobaby.

Exmobaby (tagline: “knows how your baby feels”) is “the first-ever baby garment developed for remote monitoring of heart rate, emotional state and behavior.” The website goes on to explain how sensors integrated into the clothing wirelessly transmit data to a home computer where software can then analyze it: “The software means that parents can record previous physical states and attach a motivation, such as hunger or tiredness, which allows the system to predict likely causes of future events. With parent and caregiver input, the technology can learn over time and help predict baby’s future emotional and behavior states.” [bold Exmobaby’s]

Of course if a baby has been diagnosed with a medical risk, then by all means use appropriate monitoring. But to me, Exmobaby feels like a company preying on every parents’ deepest fear: losing a child.

I’m also troubled by the idea of monitoring the baby to predict future emotions and needs. If the monitoring data tells a mother that her child is on the verge of being hungry, and the mother goes to the baby and feeds him, how will the baby ever learn to communicate his needs? And who can be surprised when these uber-monitored babies turn into children who expect their every wish to be granted before they can even think of it?

Medical technology has brought wonderful things to the world, but monitoring babies’ emotional states is a little too big brother and a lot too hands-free parenting for me.

Oh, and did I mention that one baby suit with equipment costs $1,000? My baby went through six onesies a day, easily, between diaper mishaps and spit-up. How is one of these going to be useful?

Here are a few other quotes from the Exmobaby site, all of which make me think it goes too far:

“Exmobaby is intended ultimately for first time parents.” I presume because second-time parents are not as vulnerable to scare tactics.

“Exmobaby parents will be able to see icons representing their baby’s heartbeat, emotional state and activity level on their cell phones. This is especially important for first-time mothers re-entering the work force, parents concerned about the vigilance of their babysitter, and childcare centers juggling the needs of multiple children.” Really? A new mother is supposed to work and watch for a text from the baby monitor that the baby isn’t breathing? She would get no work done! And if I could afford a $1,000 baby monitor suit, I think I could afford a better child care facility than one that remotely monitors my baby.

“The idea is to demonstrate the link between changes in vital sign data and mental states. It is also to create a deeper level of communication between babies and their parents at the beginning of such a critical relationship.” A deeper level of communication is looking at your baby, listening to your baby, holding your baby and with your baby figuring out how to make him content.

“No extra or constant monitoring by parents, caregivers or relatives is needed. The Exmobaby product line does all the work.” The message here is: Check on your baby less. I don’t like that message at all.

Now, to lighten the mood before you move on, here’s a baby garment I would be on board with if I didn’t find it so absurdly funny: The Baby Mop.

Which would you put your baby in – Exmobaby or Baby Mop? Please share in comments!

2 Responses to “High-tech baby monitoring too much”

  1. Wow! Where do you FIND these things?
    A definite sign that we are becoming too lazy and dependent upon technology.
    Parents must learn to read their child’s signs using their own intelligence, not one that is computer generated! I completely agree with your “review” of this product. When the baby outgrows the outfit… Then what?? Bonding between baby and parent is going to be drastically decreased with use of this product, at a crucial time when that parent/child bond is forming. Good grief.

  2. Thanks so much for agreeing! I know I need to keep up with technology and be open, but we may tech ourselves our of a society one day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: