Ah, the SNOO...the most expensive bassinet on the market. Just in case you don't know what the SNOO is, it's a bassinet that reacts to your child's cries and movements. If it senses that your baby is awake, it automatically rocks him faster and turns up the included white noise louder to try and get him back to sleep. All of that technology comes with a hefty price tag, of course. So, I'm here to answer the questions on everyone's mind:
Is a SNOO worth the cost?
Is a SNOO safe?
Do sleep consultants recommend the SNOO?
At the time of me writing this, the SNOO costs about $1,700 at most retailers. Nope, that second zero is not a typo. Almost two thousand dollars for a bassinet. Most babies only sleep in a bassinet for the first 4 months, at most. It's no longer safe once they begin rolling consistently and have the possibility of pulling themselves up on the sides. A bassinet isn't very deep, so a 3-4-month-old can easily reach up and grab the top. This is why it is no longer safe once that is a possibility. So, is it worth the cost? Well, worth is relative. If you can afford it no problem, then you might think it is worth it. If this price tag is a stretch for you, then you would probably say no. However, even if it is worth it, is it recommended?
There is actually a lot of debate on whether or not the SNOO is safe. It depends on who you ask. Physical and occupational therapists hate the SNOO and absolutely do not agree that it is safe or recommend it. The SNOO has a built in swaddle. This keeps your baby from moving around at all because the swaddle is attached to the machine. Therapists say this presents pretty high risks of torticollis and head shape issues because the baby is stuck in one position the entire time he's in it.
As a sleep consultant, I also do not recommend the SNOO. Here's why. First, it's a sleep prop that is very hard to get rid of. Second, because of how it restricts the baby's natural movement and development. These are both things that are important for your child's sleep skills be able to develop normally. All three of my babies rolled onto their sides to sleep within their first week of life (which is completely safe since they rolled there themselves). To the right here is baby Phoebe sleeping peacefully on her own in her $100 Ingenuity bassinet at 5 days old! :-) I placed her down on her back, and she rolled herself to the side like this. This is how she was comfortable sleeping. (This is the Love to Dream swaddle).
The SNOO keeps a baby from exploring and figuring out how he comfortably likes to sleep, which begins much earlier than you may think. Allowing this natural development and exploration will help your baby sleep much better in the long run. Can you imagine being strapped down to your bed and forced to sleep the whole night in that one position? I can't...I'd go crazy! Babies are able to move more than that even in the womb. I'm not sure where we get the idea that keeping them from moving at all is helpful.
The SNOO also gets a baby hooked on movement to sleep. I've worked with many babies who basically have to be rocked the whole night...and the SNOO will do it! You can probably guess how hard it is to wean a baby off of this when it comes time months down the road. This is why I often find babies in the SNOO long after it's safe. They just cannot sleep without the constant movement and then parents don't know what to do. The bassinet does have a weaning feature, but I have yet to work with someone who said that actually worked for them. Most people who rely on the SNOO from the beginning really struggle to get their baby out of it later. And I've also talked with a large amount of people who didn't like the SNOO at all, didn't think it helped, and did not think it was worth it.
I get it...those early days, weeks, and months are HARD. I've been there three times. I promise, though, it does get better, regardless of whether or not you have a SNOO. The less props you rely on through the newborn stage, the better off you will be moving forward. If you're in this stage now and can't find the light at the end of the tunnel, my New Bundle of Joy E-Course can help!
If you did use the SNOO and loved it, then that's awesome! There's no shame in using it, especially if you do think it helped and didn't cause issues later on. This is just my humble sleep consultant opinion on them. And yes, even though I did not use a SNOO for my own children, I have seen them up close and personal, in live action with newborns. If you've used the SNOO, what was your experience like? Let me and other parents know by commenting!
~Ashley Bell, pediatric sleep consultant