I like to think of myself as a cautious mom. (My husband likes to think of me as paranoid.) For the past couple of years since I’ve had kids, I have run up and down the stairs about a dozen times a day to check on my children while they’re napping … just in case. Just in case they’re not breathing. Just in case my 2-year-old is sleeping in some weird contorted position and his spine needs saving. Just in case my 7-month-old has suddenly started walking and learned how to open windows and decided to jump. Just in case. In the world of mamahood, you never know what crazy thing might happen while the kids are away from your watchful eye. Or, rather, I should say in the world of mamahood without an ubercool Mimo Baby Monitor, you never know what crazy thing might be happening while the kids are away from your watchful eye. Lately, the Mimo, which tags itself as “the smarter infant monitor,” has kept my mind from running to all of these crazy scenarios and saved me from running up and down the stairs all day. (Great for my brain, not so great for my hips.)
The on-trend, techy cousin to the traditional audio and video monitors, the Mimo is a device that actually tracks your baby’s body position, activity level, respiration, skin temperature and sleep patterns and sends the information to your smartphone. You are even supposed to be able to hear your baby through your phone. I’m tellin’ ya, this is high-tech stuff.
To make all of this happen, the system comes with a set of organic cotton kimonos (read: bodysuits) onto which you attach the Mimo turtle (literally, a plastic turtle) with built-in sensors. The “turtle” then transmits information via baby-safe Bluetooth Low Energy to a nearby “lilypad base infant station,” which then sends the information along to your router and then to your phone. It’s a complicated system meant to make life easier and more restful for parents.
And, I can say that it does for me—at least most of the time. To begin using the Mimo, there is no manual to read or confusing technical jargon to wade through. You simply begin by downloading the App—easy enough—then linking your router to the lilypad via your smartphone by plugging in a unique code. Sounds simple, right? I imagine it is when all goes as planned, but my device seemed to have some hiccups.
Expecting an easy, breezy set-up, I was a little disappointed when I ran into some trouble right off the bat. Both my husband and I tried dozens (really) of times to link the device to our router but to no avail. We played phone tag with user support for a few days (our fault, not theirs, more on that later). Then one day, I decided to try it one more time, and magically everything was up and running. I’m still not sure when or how it happened. I’m just glad it finally did.
Being brand-new and super cutting-edge, the Mimo does have its quirks. Besides my hangups with the initial set-up, I’ve run into a couple of other snags since using the system. For example, my iPhone doesn’t send me audible notifications—only visual ones. For that reason, I’ve found the Mimo has helped soothe my mind during the day, when I can keep a watchful eye on my phone for any changes to my baby, but it hasn’t helped me much in the sleep department. Because I don’t get audible notifications about changes in my baby’s movements or breathing unless I look at my phone, I am still waking up three or four times a night “just in case.” (I’m currently in the process of trouble-shooting this issue with their support team.)
Too, there seems to be some widespread issues with the audio on the lilypad transmitting to a phone. Whenever I turn the audio on, I only hear silence, while apparently others have heard crackles and pops. (The Mimo reps say they are expecting to roll out updates to this aspect of the device soon.)
Still, for the most part, my Mimo has done what it was supposed to do. Shows me my baby’s respirations in real time, tells me her position (on her back, on her side, etc.) and let’s me know the temperature of the room. And, since it hasn’t cooperated 100 percent of the time, I have had the chance to be wowed by their user support response. The Mimo web site has a thorough FAQ section that is helpful for troubleshooting, along with videos. And, though the online support system didn’t answer my particular question, their Web site includes a phone number that linked me to a real live person.
When I had trouble with my set-up, I gave them a call—at 8 p.m., mind you—and although no one answered immediately, I received a call back within half an hour. I missed their call, which led to a game of phone tag, but when I eventually spoke to one of their reps, again, at 8 o’ clock at night (what can I say, it’s the only time my house is quiet enough to make a phone call), they were helpful, professional and friendly. Also, and most importantly, their support reps are real people. There is no form to fill out online, and you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in an endless loop of automatic voice prompts. You can even check out the Mimo site to see their bios and the faces behind the voice you hear on the support line.
Though the system still has a few kinks, the overall design is a win. It was clearly created with by parents with the input of parents. You never have to worry about batteries. The turtle charges enough to hold it a couple of days when placed onto the lilypad for a few hours. Plus, the system can go with you wherever you go. The lilypad itself is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, making it easy to grab and go. Thanks to the tiny footprint, the monitor sits unobtrusively on my dresser, just a few feet from the baby’s crib. (The only drawback to the small design, my son thinks that the “turtle” is one of his toys, and it has to be carefully guarded. Fortunately, the site says that it is sturdy enough to withstand a run through the washer, so I’m not too worried.) The three kimonos, which come in 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12 months sizes, that came with my system are also holding up to less-than-gentle use. My baby is always on the go, and she army crawls across the floor in them on a daily basis. I do wish that Mimo offered a wider range of kimonos in fun, poop-camouflaging prints. The first time I put the bodysuit on my little girl, she had an epic blow-out that left one of our kimonos a bit stained. And, the beige-y color isn’t that flattering against her cool pinky skin tones.
Still, that’s a small price to pay for not having to scale what amounts to about 100 flights of stairs every week. Now, if only Mimo can work out all the kinks and making the Mimo for Toddlers, I’d be set.
To buy: babiesrus.com