No parent should lose sleep worrying about SIDS.
Yet, a recent study indicated that new parents lose as much as 44 days of sleep during the first year of their baby’s life. I don’t know about you, but that insomnia definitely wasn’t just because of a crying baby. The thought that I could be saying goodnight to my baby for the last time kept me up many nights.
I desperately wanted to buy a baby breathing monitor, but the device that everyone ranted and raved about was well out of my budget. So, I just watched the rise and fall of her chest and prayed for the best.
How about you? Have you lost sleep worrying about your baby’s health? Is your budget keeping you from finding peace of mind?
If you’re reading about baby breathing monitors, I’m willing to bet that you’re a concerned parent looking for a safe solution for your little one. In this post, we’re going to talk about the Levana Oma Sense Baby Movement Monitor. Parents are turning to this device as an affordable alternative to popular baby breathing monitors like the Owlet Sock or the Snuza Hero.
If you’re totally new to this device, don’t worry. In this Oma Sense review, I’m going to go over exactly what it is, how it works, how well it works, and most importantly, how it compares to other breathing monitors like the Owlet Sock and the Snuza Hero.
From one concerned parent to another, my ultimate goal is to help you decide which monitor is best for your little one. Let’s get started!
Levana Oma Sense Review: At-a-Glance
This post is sponsored by Levana. It may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or give out any professional advice for any medical conditions.
- No WiFi or bluetooth frequencies – Self-Contained
- Thin, Comfortable Design
- Reliable readings if placed properly
- Easy installation and use
- Durable, hospital-grade material
- Excellent customer service and warranty
- No App
- Basic functionality
- Baby must sleep on back
Use Code SAFETYMONTH to Save $40 on the Oma Sense.
What is the Oma Sense by Levana
Just in case you’re new to Blunders in Babyland, you should know that one of my passions is writing thorough reviews for baby gear. As a first-time mom, I understand how challenging it can be to find baby gear that you actually trust. So, whenever I come across a product or company that I think is top-notch, I love giving them a review.
When Levana approached me about their new Oma Sense Baby Movement Monitor, I was delighted. I’ve tried out baby breathing monitors before, but those devices were dependent on WiFi and, therefore, not always reliable.
Levana’s Oma Sense is a self-contained device that clips on to the front of your baby’s diaper, pants, or button-up footies. Its primary function is to monitor your baby’s breathing movement, or simply the rise and fall of his diaphragm. If the Oma Sense can’t detect your baby’s breathing movements after 15 seconds, it’ll set off an alarm and produce gentle vibrations. 5 seconds later, if the device still doesn’t detect movement, it will produce a very loud alarm to alert you of the situation.
Before we dive into the functionality and features of the device, I think you should at least become familiar with Levana.
Founded by Raj Jain, Levana is a Canadian-based company that has been producing baby monitors since 2001. They were actually the first company to manufacture a color-screen baby monitor in North America.
Talk about innovation!
The company also has unique qualities that should provide some peace of mind for you, including a minimum 12-month manufacturer’s warranty, lifetime monitor support, and a solid 30-day refund policy. Also, keep in mind that if you purchase the Oma Sense from Levana’s website, your warranty actually extends to 2 years. Talk about peace of mind!
How It Works
I love the premise of the Oma Sense. It’s new parent budget-friendly, doesn’t depend on sketchy internet for functionality, and it has the patented Wake-Up Technology (more on that in a minute).
But, the real question is, does it actually work?
Since Lil’ C is now a spunky toddler, I joined forces with my mommy friend who conveniently just gave birth. We’ve tested the device for 7 days and nights at the time I’m writing this review. We’re very excited to share our findings.
Installation and Ease-of-Use
To set up the Oma Sense, you simply place one of the two batteries it comes with (plus side up!) into the proper spot.
The button on the left is “on”, the button on the right is “off”. Once you turn the device on, the blue indicator light will flash once and give a little vibration. Once you hook the device onto your baby, this blue indicator light will flash every 30 seconds so you’ll know that it is detecting your baby’s movement.
Proper placement of the device is essential. During our entire testing period, we had zero false alarms. I believe that’s because my mama carefully placed the device correctly with every use.
The Oma Sense must clip on either a diaper, pants, or button-up pajamas (basically anything that allows the device to stay just under your baby’s belly button). For the purpose of this Oma Sense review, I must tell you that the device is only meant to accurately read your baby’s movements when he is lying flat on his back.
Having said that, my tester did clip the device onto her son’s little bum when he laid on his stomach and it accurately detected his movement. So, that’s some food for thought, but once again, the device is only guaranteed to work when properly placed on a baby in the back position.
Design and Comfort
Design and Materials
I was a little apprehensive when viewing pictures of the Oma Sense on Levana’s website. The device looked a little bulky and I wondered how comfortable it would actually be for babies.
If you’re wondering the same, let me reassure you: it’s actually compact!
The Oma Sense is very thin and very, very lightweight. My fingers are kind of stumpy, but hopefully the picture above gives you a good idea of exactly how small the device is.
The Oma Sense also feels extremely durable. It’s made of hospital-grade materials, so this isn’t necessarily surprising.
When I asked my tester how her baby liked the device, her report was very positive. Her son didn’t seem to notice it at all and had no kinds of rashes or reactions.
The one-handed clip design is also an extremely convenient feature. It’s so easy to remove the Oma Sense with one hand (if you’re not sure why a one-handed design is important, you’re probably not a parent yet!) and it’s also extremely stable. During our testing time, it never slipped off.
So, how do you maintain the Oma Sense?
It’s extremely easy, actually. Simply wipe it off with a damp washcloth (using only mild soap, no harsh chemicals) or a baby wipe. The Oma Sense is only splash-resistant, so it shouldn’t be submerged at any point.
Unlike the Snuza Hero, there isn’t a little silicone guard installed on the tip, so you don’t have to worry about any caked dirt under the edges.
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The beauty of this device is its simplicity. The Oma Sense monitors your baby’s breathing movements and, when it can’t feel any, it sets off an alarm for you and baby. In the meantime, a blue indicator light flashes every 30 seconds to show you that the device is working and detecting your baby’s movements.
“I love that the light blinks because I can look at the video monitor and I can actually see it working.”
We really wanted to test out this WakeUp Technology Levana mentioned. Some experts believe that SIDS may stem from a baby simply “forgetting” to breathe during deep sleep. The WakeUp Technology stimulates your baby when this happens and, ideally, kickstarts his breathing pattern again.*
During our testing period, my tester was able to stimulate this function. True to Levana’s promise, the Oma Sense produced an alarm and vibrations after 15 seconds of no movement. After another 5 seconds, the device went ballistic and produced a loud alarm.
The first alarm was not atrociously loud, which is a relief. So, even if the device does have a false alarm, it won’t wake the entire house. The second alarm, meant to alert the parents, is VERY loud. I actually tested this alarm out myself by holding my breath and can attest to this.
This is actually one feature of the Oma Sense that I really appreciate over other baby breathing monitors. You can actually test out the device yourself, which increases your peace of mind.
*I should note that Levana does not and cannot claim that this device prevents SIDS.
“I did get the alarm to go off so I could hear it. The first one that startles the baby is not loud, but the actual alarm is AMAZINGLY loud. It’s also loud enough to hear through the baby monitor.”
If you’re anything like me, your main concern with a baby movement monitor is false alarms. The last thing you want to deal with after you’ve finally convinced your baby to go to sleep, is a head-splitting false alarm. During my research of the device, I did find that a couple users that complained of a false alarm. However, during our entire 7-day testing period, we didn’t have a single one. I’m not sure what the story is behind those negative reviews, but I’m willing to bet that placement may have been the issue.
I’m sure this is your next biggest concern: how long does the battery last?
The downside to avoiding dangerous cords is that you become dependent on batteries. Having to worry about the device dying when your baby is sleeping is a real concern, so we made sure to keep an eye on the battery usage while testing.
The device runs off a Panasonic 3V battery. Ideally, this battery will last for 30 days, but it really depends on your usage.
For this Oma Sense review, my tester turned off the device after every use. We still haven’t received a low battery indication. When it comes time to replace the battery, you can use the spare Levana provided.
I think this is where the Oma Sense could improve though. In the future, I would love to see it equipped with a rechargeable battery or possibly have an additional indicator that represents how much battery life is left.
How Does the Oma Sense Compare to Its Competitors?
|OMA SENSE||SNUZA HERO||OWLET SOCK 2|
|Detects Breathing Movement: YES||Detects Breathing Movement: YES||Detects Breathing Movement: YES|
|Detects Heart Rate: NO||Detects Heart Rate: NO||Detects Heart Rate: YES|
|Detects Oxygen Levels: NO||Detects Oxygen Levels: NO||Detects Oxygen Levels: YES|
|Skin Required: NO||Skin Required: YES||Skin Required: YES|
|Wifi Required: NO||Wifi Required: NO||Wifi Required: YES|
|Price: $||Price: $||Price: $$$|
|Age Requirements: Up to 6 months||Age Requirements: Up to 6 months||Age Requirements: Up to 12 months|
Hopefully, by now you have a decent idea of what to expect from the Oma Sense.
But how does it compare to the competition?
As a new parent, you might be having difficulty choosing which baby breathing monitor to buy. That’s completely understandable! There are so many to choose from and the differences are very, very subtle.
I would say that the Oma Sense’s main competitors are the Owlet Sock 2 and the Snuza Hero. Both devices monitor your baby’s breathing movements and both are manufactured from reputable companies. Let’s dig in to some of the differences!
The Owlet Sock 2
The Owlet Sock 2 is comprised of three components: the sock that wraps around your baby’s foot, the base that reads the signal from the sock, and your phone. In addition to breathing movement, the Owlet also detects your baby’s oxygen levels and heart rate via pulse oximetry.
The Owlet Sock 2 requires WiFi in order to access your baby’s breathing data and receive notifications, while the base relies on bluetooth frequencies to communicate with the sock.
All of these features come with a hefty price. Right now, the Owlet Sock 2 is listed at $299.
The Snuza Hero
The Snuza Hero is the most comparable competitor to the Oma Sense. Like the Oma Sense, the Snuza Hero clips onto your baby’s diaper or pants, and monitors his breathing movement. When the Snuza does not detect movement after 15 seconds, it vibrates and lets out a little tone. 5 seconds later, it will emit an alert for the parents.
There are a few key differences between the Snuza Hero and Levana’s Oma Sense.
First, you’ll notice the difference in size and shape. The Snuza Hero is oblong, with a silicone tip, while the Oma Sense is closer to a circle and flat. Personally, I favor the Oma Sense’s shape, simply because it doesn’t touch the baby as much. Because the Snuza Hero requires constant contact with baby’s tummy, some parents have complained about rashes or sores developing over time.
The Snuza Hero’s clip design is also different from the Oma Sense’s. Parents seem to have two main issues with the plastic clip design. The first, and most popular, is that the clip fails to latch correctly to the baby’s diaper, resulting in shifting and even falling off. This can lead to several irritating false alarms. Secondly, some parents have noticed that the clip’s plastic edges are jagged, resulting in skin irritation.
Aside from design differences, the Snuza Hero boasts a couple additional features, such as an audible tick, a separate alarm for less than 8 breaths a minute, and the ability to blink with every breath.
The Snuza Hero is manufactured in South Africa, whereas the Oma Sense was created and built in Canada.
The Snuza Hero is considered the Oma Sense’s direct competitor and is priced slightly lower before you factor in my $20 coupon code.
The Oma Sense by Levana Review: Is the Oma Sense Right for You?
Who the Oma Sense is Best For
If you’re a new parent on a budget and you desperately want some peace of mind, the Oma Sense is perfect for you. It will accurately read your baby’s breath movement and may even help prevent terrible situations.
The Oma Sense is also perfect for parents that have sketchy internet and are even a little leery about letting these frequencies surround their baby.
Who the Oma Sense Isn’t For
You’ll notice that my tester and I have very little negative comments in this review. That’s because the Oma Sense is supposed to do one thing and it does it very well.
Still, it’s not for everyone.
If you think you meet any of the criteria below, then please keep searching. You won’t be happy with the Oma Sense and you’ll be mad at me for recommending it.
- You’re a techy: The Oma Sense does not offer a phone app or any data at all. It’s completely self-contained.
- Your baby is older than 6 months: It will not read properly on a mobile child.
- Tummy sleepers or side sleepers: While my tester did get the Oma Sense to work when her baby was on her tummy, this does dramatically increase the likelihood of false alarms.
- You bed-share: The device may pick up your movement, rendering it useless.
My Final Thoughts on Levana’s Oma Sense
Before you purchase the Oma Sense (or any baby monitor, for that matter), try to take a good, hard look at the features that matter the most to you. If your main concern is finding a reliable baby movement monitor, I can’t recommend the Oma Sense enough.
My tester and I were very impressed with the Oma Sense’s capabilities. We’d recommend it to any parents looking for a straight-forward baby movement monitor, especially those with a limited budget.
So, are you ready to purchase the Oma Sense? You have great timing. September is actually Baby Safety Month and Levana is running a promotion all month! Use the code, SAFETYMONTH, to save a total of $40 if you’re a US customer (retail $79.99), or $50 if you’re purchasing in Canada (retail $99.99).
In the meantime, I really hope this review helps you understand some of the Oma Sense’s features and how it compares to the competition. If you have any experience with the Oma Sense, Owlet Sock, or the Snuza, I know our readers would love to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments below.
Good luck and get some rest!