Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Owlet: A twin mom's helping hand

Once in a while you come across a product that is truly life-changing. This product is (hands down!) my favorite purchase since the twins were born prematurely at 30 weeks gestation. We couldn't live without it now!

Owlet baby monitor and twins

When my oldest child, Lily Kate, was born, I lost SO much precious sleep in the beginning weeks and months. After arriving home from the hospital, I slept in a dimly lit room with her by my bedside and I'd basically check on her every 30 minutes -- I'd softly lay my hand on her belly and wait for a rise and fall to conclude that she was still breathing. (Can anyone else relate?!) What if I told you there was a product that stayed up all night, continuously checking the vitals of your baby for you? A product that is designed to alert you if heart rate or oxygen fall outside of range?

What if I told you there was a product that stayed up all night, continuously checking the vitals of your baby for you?
Folks, this product is my secret to peaceful sleep and has truly changed our lives.

Owlet baby care monitor

Owlet is not just your average baby monitor. It's a monitor that uses pulse oximetry technology designed into an adorable little wireless sock to monitor your baby's heart rate and oxygen levels, and alert you when they're out of normal range. Pretty cool, huh? Even cooler, the Owlet app allows you to view live vitals of your baby!

(For more info on individual pieces and what's included in the box [Hint: there's four socks!], see this post on Owlet's blog.)

Our twins, Brooks and Lola, were born just a few hours shy of 30 weeks. They spent 75 and 85 days in the NICU, respectively. We had many ups and downs during their hospital stay but Lola had the most issues with apnea and bradycardia episodes. Many times while I was visiting in the NICU, her alarms would sound and nurses would rush over to her and pat her back to make her start breathing again. I was told over and over that "it's a preemie thing", however, it is still something a mother should never have to witness! Before Lola was discharged I decided to purchase the Owlet for her. I had read about it on a few parenting blog sites and I knew it was exactly what we needed for our preemie babe (and our sanity's sake).

Owlet monitor on marble table

Lola's apnea and brady episodes continued until her discharge date and was sent home on a hospital-issued apnea monitor. She wore it continuously for three months. (Please note that the Owlet is not to be used in place of a medical device.) In the meantime, we used our Owlet on Brooks. While he didn't have the severity of episodes that Lola did, he was still a preemie and it gave us comfort and peace of mind to have both babies monitored while we slept. After about three months Lola outgrew her episodes and was discharged from her hospital monitor. We couldn't imagine not having both babies monitored at night and we received our second Owlet shortly thereafter.

The Owlet monitor on twin feet

 I worried at first about the functionality of two monitors with two babies. Yes, you do have to purchase two separate units (two socks and two base stations), but they have worked flawlessly so far! You just set up the first Owlet as per the included set-up instructions, unplug from it's power source, and  then set up the second monitor the exact same way. I marked the bottom of each base station with pink/blue washi tape to easily spot which baby it belonged to. Additionally, I put a small pink mark on the inside of Lola's sock to tell the socks apart. I'd LOVE to see Owlet offer various-colored socks in the future!

The Owlet app screenshot and monitor on foot

I love how I can see the real-time vital stats of my babies on the Owlet app! By just opening the app on your iPhone (Android app available June 6th!) you can see the baby's heart rate and oxygen levels right on the screen. If either falls below the threshold an alarm is designed to sound.

Yes, the Owlet app is also functional with two or more babies! You'll just need to use a separate account for each baby. I signed Brooks up under my email address and Lola under my husband's email address. If you want to view both babies' stats on one device, you'll just need to sign out of one account and into another. Luckily, my husband loves having the app on his phone so he stays signed in for one baby, as do I. I also use our iPad to sign in to the second account when my husband isn't home. In the beginning, I would just stare at their live stats at night on the app, but now that the babies are older, I do not obsess as much about "their numbers". We do not use the app as much now as we did when they were younger, but it's still an awesome feature to have available!

The Owlet monitor on sleeping twins

I thought at first that the monitor was purely driven by wireless internet, but that was my own misconception! You do not need wi-fi to use the monitor! The sock relays information to the base station through Bluetooth. (So you'll always need to have the two within range of each other, if not, you'll get a "blue alert".) The base station relays information to the app via wi-fi, so if you want to use the app and view the live stats, you will need wi-fi. About a month ago, our family went on a camping trip. No wireless internet was available but we were still able to use our monitors in the camper. They worked flawlessly! Remember, even if you lose your phone or do not have internet access, your base station is designed to alert you!

Owlet alarm colors

Owlet has a great technology to communicate the different "alerts" the monitor might have.  Lights around the perimeter of the base station easily let us know the status of the monitor:

 Blinking Green: Getting the first heart rate and oxygen readings.
Slow Pulsing Green: This means everything is A-okay! All levels look good.
Blue Alert: Think "Bluetooth". Your sock is out of range from the base station.
Yellow Alert: Sock fell off or is poorly placed. Check sock placement on baby.
Red Alert: Levels are out of the threshold. Check baby immediately.

The night after their four-month vaccinations, Brooks' Owlet sounded in the middle of the night with a Red Alert. I immediately scooped him up to see that he was breathing but was sweating profusely with a fever. I checked my app to see that his heart rate was over the 220 bpm threshold. Thankfully because of the Owlet I was able to properly care for him instead of just sleeping through his fever.

Owlet has truly changed our lives and we are forever thankful to have this incredible technology during such a hectic time in our lives (a.k.a., infant twins!). We are able to sleep peacefully when the babies sleep and I love being able to quickly glance at the dancing green light in the middle of the night, knowing that all is okay.

Owlet is offering God Bless Our Nest readers a $20 off promo for an Owlet of your own! Simply visit >> this link << and the promotion will automatically be applied at checkout.

https://store.owletcare.com/10043036/checkouts/e3b17f11ba047f9bd18c6c6525ccee1f?discount=god_bless_our_nest_20&n=God+Bless+{Our}+Nest
(Promotion automatically applied at checkout)

Owlet monitor and infant twins

We received our second Owlet in exchange for this review. The first was purchased at full price with our own money! All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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