This is a very individual thing. In your baby's first weeks and months, a monitor can be valuable assurance that your baby is safe as he snoozes, especially when he first moves into his own room or if it's down the hall or on a different floor from yours. But babies can be very noisy at night. If you're the type of parent who is roused by every little gurgle and sigh, then either ditch the monitor when your baby starts sleeping consistently through the night (usually by 6 months) or turn the volume way down so you'll only hear baby if he's really upset and screaming away. It's not a good idea to go rushing to your baby's side every time he makes a peep anyway, since this will not only disturb him, but also thwart your efforts to teach sleeping through the night.
However, if you like the reassurance of hearing your baby's every breath, or you're a heavy sleeper who might not hear your child shrieking otherwise, then go ahead and keep the monitor until your child's older. Some moms find it's natural to give up the monitor when their toddler's ready for a big-kid bed -- and can come get you himself if he needs you.
Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.