Gear Review: Owlet Dream Duo
This system helps parents gain a greater understanding of baby’s sleep patterns with predictive sleep technology.
By Lauren Lisle
When it comes to making sense of your baby’s sleep patterns, do you ever wish someone—or something—would just tell you when to put your newbie down to rest? I’ve often wished for this very thing when trying to get my newborns on a better schedule. Even after my fourth baby was born, I still had moments where I thought to myself: Is now the best time to put him down to sleep? Am I doing the right thing?
While much of parenting is guided by intuition, some of it can certainly benefit from the latest and greatest in technology.
Enter the Owlet Cam 2, the newly released video monitoring camera that pairs with the Owlet Dream Sock (sold separately) and Owlet Dream App to create the Owlet Duo Bundle, a complete sleep monitoring system that uses predictive sleep technology to analyze baby’s sleep patterns and help parents foster better sleep habits for kiddos ages 0-18 months.
Each piece of the system plays a pivotal role in helping your household get some needed shuteye. The Dream Sock (a wearable device that attaches to baby’s foot during naps and at bedtime) tracks your tot’s heart rate, sleep quality, time slept during the previous sleep cycle, and time since your child’s last period of rest. Based on this information, as well as baby’s age and current developmental needs, it will calculate the next optimal sleep window and prompt parents to put their little one down to sleep. This helps to avoid your baby from becoming overtired and resist sleep (a concept that still baffles me today because after having four babies, I am also overtired and elated to go to bed).
The Cam 2 monitors your child’s activity, the temperature and humidity of baby’s room, the noise level, and anytime motion or sound are detected—specifically your child’s crying. The Cam 2 video baby monitor also allows parents to view video clips of their baby’s sleep disruptions to understand what triggered a disturbance and how to prevent future wakeups before they occur.
And lastly, the free Dream App organizes all the important features, stats, and readings from the Cam 2 and Dream sock, sends timely notifications to your phone, and provides live video footage of your snoozing sweetie.
Pro tip: Parents without the Dream Sock can still utilize the predictive sleep technology of the Cam 2 by manually adding sleep sessions into the Dream App for analysis.
Here’s my personal experience with using the Owlet Duo Bundle:
Getting started was surprisingly easy despite having multiple pieces that require pairing to operate in unison; after downloading the app, you follow a step-by-step process to sync your Wi-Fi and set up your devices. It took about 15 minutes from start to finish to complete the setup, not including mounting. (Note that the hardware to mount your Cam 2 is located in another smaller box within the main packaging, but it wasn’t labeled. It was easy to accidentally assume it was trash and almost throw it away.)
One thing to also note is Owlet makes it very clear that the monitoring bundle, specifically the smart sock, is not a replacement for safe sleep practices. Parents are to maintain the sleep safety guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics in conjunction with the Owlet features. Additionally, they offer a safety tutorial for positioning the monitor to avoid strangulation hazards during setup. You’ll also receive tips on sock placement for proper readings, plus how to avoid skin irritation.
Predictive sleep technology
Not all new parents catch on to their baby’s sleep cues right away. (Me!) Predictive sleep takes inputs, such as previous nap length and your child’s age, to help parents decipher when their baby has reached the point of needing to go down to sleep. By anticipating this sleep window, I found it easier to be more mindful of putting my son to bed within his window time without delay. This added accountability has been helpful, particularly since I am always trying to manage a hectic schedule with four children.
This feature is also beneficial if you happen to veer from your regular schedule and aren’t sure when to attempt a nap or bedtime again. For example, if your little one is resisting bedtime and too much time passes by, the app will give you the next sleep window to aim for on the next round. While sleep issues are difficult, this at least provides some strategy for parents amidst the confusion and sleep deprivation (and maybe a little added peace of mind).
The tailored sleep scheduling continues as your baby grows. Because it takes into account your child’s age, it can better predict what their sleep needs are at different stages. In the past, I used milestone apps to try to understand why my baby wasn’t sleeping and what I could do to help during the transition or leap. This feature of the Owlet Duo Bundle helps bridge the gap between development and sleep changes.
The Owlet Dream App is easy to navigate and presents the information clearly, including video clips, sleep indicators, room temperature, sleep quality rating, etc. I appreciate that the live video feed is located on the main homepage of the app, so I don’t have to toggle between tabs to watch my son while also checking his sleep status.
If anything needs attention, I receive prompt notifications to my phone, and the charging base will also sound depending on the issue, such as a disconnection from the Dream Sock monitor.
Checking the sleep quality indicators is something I oddly enjoy doing each night. Seeing his steady heart rate, still movements, and peaceful sleep readings makes me happy and thankful that he’s receiving the quality rest he needs. The app will even send affirming notifications when your baby falls fast asleep (coupled with an encouraging “Keep up the good work!” message), which I appreciate.
After a period of sleep, the app generates a report showing how long my baby slept, how long he was in different sleep cycles (awake, light, deep sleep), and it gives a rating of overall sleep quality. I feel like adults could benefit from this as well, though I’m not sure I want to know the current state of my (lack of) quality of sleep!
This cutie camera boasts stream secure, wide-angle view, zoom function, two-way talk, HD night vision capability, and more. Unlike the previous Cam 1 version, the Cam 2 comes in a few new colors, including Sleepy Sage, Dusty Rose, and Bedtime Blue. The colors are soft and pretty, and you can coordinate your Cam 2 and Sock monitor.
Areas for Improvement
Troubleshooting the fit
Owlet stresses the importance of the right fit when using the Dream Sock monitor because it can be ineffective if it’s too loose or not placed in the right spot. The first few times I tried to access readings while my son was sleeping at night, I realized his sock was knocked out of place, and therefore, nothing could be measured. Owlet gives customers a few size options to choose from that mainly go off of weight, but for my baby with big feet, I had a little trouble finding a fit that could produce the desired results.
On a positive note, the Dream Sock hasn’t seemed to bother him during sleep. I was worried it would prevent him from drifting off, or that he would play with it or try to pull it off once in his crib, but he appears to disregard it most of the time.
If there’s an issue, such as your monitor is no longer within range, the base will sound an alarm to notify you of the problem and will repeat every minute until it’s fixed. While I appreciate the persistence, I think three notifications in a row would suffice. The good news is you can silence the notifications in the app if preferred.
Who Would Enjoy This Product?
This bundle offers so much that I believe any and all parents and caregivers would benefit from using it, even if you live in a small space and can hear your baby’s cries quickly and easily.
This monitoring system is a great product because babies grow and their development evolves, meaning you will be able to use different functions of this product at different times: If your newborn is going through their first sleep regression, it can help with that; if your little one is waking up unexpectedly during the night, the video clips can provide insight as to why; if your toddler is turning into an escape artist … at least you have another way to check in on them from anywhere in the house—it does it all!