Have you heard of the Snoo? When my first son was born 4 years ago, the Snoo didn't exist. Three years later, when my second son was born, I still didn't know much about the Snoo. I figured we would use a bassinet for the first week or two and then move him into the pack n play (my older son was still using the crib and I wasn't ready to move him yet!).
Well, things didn't go as planned. Rory was a crappy sleeper and needed to be held, rocked and bounced all the time. There were nights that my husband would put Rory in the car seat and swing him back and forth until he fell asleep. We had used a sleep coach with our
older child so I reached out to her. "He's still too young. Do what you can until he reaches four months" is what she told me. FOUR MONTHS! That felt like forever! He was barely four weeks old. So I started researching. There had to a magical swaddle or gas drop or swing or noise machine that would help my baby sleep, right? I tried a few things, but nothing seemed to work. My research then led me to the Snoo...
The Snoo is a "smart bassinet" developed by Dr. Harvey Karp (The Happiest Baby on the Block). It responds to your baby's cries by increasing bassinet movement and white noise to calm your baby. It promises to add 1-2 hours of sleep a night and keep your baby safely on their back by using a special swaddle that hooks into the bassinet. You can pair the Snoo with an app to control sound and movement, while also getting daily reports on your baby's sleep. From the Snoo website:
"SNOO is a responsive baby bassinet that boosts a baby’s sleep by combining gentle rocking with soothing white noise and snug, safe swaddling. Created by Dr. Harvey Karp (The 5 S’s, Happiest Baby on the Block), SNOO helps babies by imitating the calming sensations of the womb."
This sounded amazing to me. So many of the reviews talked about how their baby was nearly sleeping through the night by 2 months thanks to the Snoo. Only problem: it cost $1200. Yikes! I mentioned this to my husband and he immediately shot me down. But after a few more nights of no sleep, I became determined to get my hands on a Snoo. I ended up finding one on eBay and paid $650 for it. It took 5 days for it to get to our house and it was the longest 5 days of my life.
When the Snoo arrived, I was shocked at how easy it was to set up. I simply attached the legs and plugged it in. It comes with swaddles that are also very easy to use. You just velcro your baby's arms down and then zip up the swaddle. The swaddle then attaches to the sides of the bassinet so your baby stays on their back. Turn the Snoo on and it does the rest of the work for you. I was amazed at how easy it was to use and how well it responded to my baby's cries, increasing and decreasing movement and sound as necessary. Check out this video for how the Snoo works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxTSH93ttO8 (Keep in mind this video is made by Snoo).
We ended up using the Snoo for about 3 months. Once Rory was old enough to sleep train, we transitioned him to a pack n play and sold the Snoo for $600 on eBay. So what did I think of the Snoo? It was...okay. I think it helped Rory sleep better, but he still woke up pretty frequently and was hard to soothe. However, it may have been worse if we weren't using the Snoo. So here are my thoughts on the Snoo:
-- Very easy to set up and use
-- Customer support was amazing - Even though we purchased the Snoo second hand, they still offered us the same support they offer the original buyers
-- The app was easy to use and I enjoyed tracking my son's sleep
-- The Snoo shuts off automatically if your baby does not calm at the maximum soothing level, alerting you that baby needs more attention than just the movement and noise that the Snoo offers.
-- I really liked the swaddles. They were quick and easy to use.
-- I thought it was a beautiful bassinet and it actually looked like a piece of furniture rather than more baby stuff.
-- Expensive! I justified the expense because I knew I could sell on eBay and recoup most of the cost, but $1300 for 6 months of use is a bit crazy.
-- Large and difficult to move. The Snoo makes no claim that this is a portable bassinet, but I did have to move it a few times. It's bulky and heavy, but manageable.
-- It can take a while to master clipping the swaddle to the bassinet. Frequently Rory would fall asleep in my arms and then wake as I struggled to strap him into the bassinet.
-- The Snoo includes a Small, Medium and Large swaddle but I ended up purchasing more because it was nice to have extra when blowouts happened, so that was an added expense
-- May make transitioning to a crib a little more challenging because of the motion. There is a wean feature that reduces motion as your prepare to transition to a crib. We never used it so I can't speak to how that works.
-- Wasn't the miracle I had hoped for! It probably helped some, but it wasn't as awesome as some of the reviews claimed.
So overall, is the Snoo a must have? No, but it is pretty nice. I do think that if I had used it from birth, instead of starting at 1 month, I would have had more success. I also probably went in with really high (and maybe unrealistic) expectations. I wanted this bassinet to get my baby to sleep through the night at 2 months. That didn't happen, but that doesn't mean the Snoo was a complete failure. And the Snoo can now be rented, which I think is awesome and more reasonable than shelling out $1300.
From a sleep coach perspective, I have no strong opinion on the Snoo. If it's in your budget and something you want to try, go for it! Don't worry about having to wean from the rocking motion - you can sleep train through that later if necessary. But is it vital in the newborn stage? No, you can definitely live without it. Find a set up that works for your family, practice healthy and safe sleep habits and know that we can work through any sleep issues once your child is 4 months old and 12 pounds!