I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that most of you have heard about the Snoo. It’s made it’s rounds through the social media world and many parents have raved about this “robo bassinet” claiming that the Snoo is what helped their baby sleep long stretches throughout the night. I have been keeping an eye on the Snoo ever since I heard about it a couple of years ago. Not only did it look beautiful but the fact that this bassinet could also rock your baby into a sweet slumber with it’s womb mimicking sounds and movement was enough to peak my interest. Once we found out we were having a baby, I went into full research mode to see if this extremely pricey bassinet would be worth forking over the money for.
If you are unfamiliar with the Snoo, here is a little background on why this bassinet is so revered. From the Happiest Baby 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.” In addition, the Snoo claims to add 1-2 hours of sleep per night with it’s rocking motions while ensuring the safety of your baby with it’s special swaddle system that clips into the bassinet to prevent rolling into a compromising position. The Snoo will also respond to your baby’s needs. If your baby starts fussing, the Snoo will increase it’s levels (the levels run from Baseline to Level 4 and each level responds with more motion and sound) to help soothe your baby into a calmer state or back to sleep. You are in complete control of the Snoo from the app on your phone. You initiate the Snoo from the app (it will only turn on when the swaddle is clipped in) and can also keep track if you hear the levels increasing or decreasing. The app also provides you with your baby’s sleep statistics so you can track how long he/she is sleeping. On the Snoo’s website, it has extremely positive reviews stating that many babies that use the Snoo start sleeping 8+ hours through the night at 8 weeks! For tired new parents, this is a game changer.
When you are thinking about whether or not you should invest in the Snoo, keep in mind that your baby will only use the Snoo for a maximum of 6 months and that the Snoo costs $1,300. The Snoo comes with 3 swaddles (one small, one medium, and one large) and 1 bassinet sheet. Trust me, you will need multiples of all of those so that’s an added expense on top of the base price. That’s a lot of money for an item that won’t even last you a year and more than double what our crib cost. However, Happiest Baby offers a rental program for the Snoo, which costs you about $120 per month and you can cancel anytime. So, if your baby outgrows the Snoo or you want to transfer your baby to a crib before the 6 month mark, you can end your rental subscription, which is great. Jonny and I were going to rent the Snoo before Jonny found someone selling a brand new one for $600 (the couple never used it because they decided to co-sleep instead) that came with 3 swaddles of each size and 2 bassinet sheets. We immediately jumped at this opportunity and were very excited to have this smart bassinet in our possession.
Set up was relatively easy. We made sure to set it up a week before my scheduled C-Section (Brady was breech) so we knew the exact day he would arrive. I highly recommend setting up the Snoo before the baby comes because wow, once that baby is home with you, you are not only getting to know your baby but you have a million things to do. Setting up the baby’s sleep space shouldn’t be left to the last minute! Just hot tip from a new mom.
As parents, our goal was to set up a great sleep foundation as early as we possibly could. Our friend’s Sarah and Robbie gifted us with the Taking Cara Babies Newborn Course, which I highly recommend. We didn’t watch this until two weeks after Brady was born and I wish we had done this sooner. It helps set up new parents for success with the unpredictability of having a newborn. One of the tips that we took to heart was making sure that Brady took his first nap of the day in his sleep space (for us this was his Snoo) and to practice with one other nap of the day in that same space. I think that Brady was just more comfortable sleeping in his bed because that seemed to be the place that he preferred most, even though we made sure to soak up those newborn snuggly naps as much as we could, too.
Okay, so let’s get down to the nitty gritty. When we got home from the hospital, it was time to put Brady down for a nap. We literally had no idea what to dress him in because we had never done this before. The Snoo swaddle is very light weight and it has mesh parts on the shoulders and near the knees. We thought the Snoo swaddle would be enough to keep Brady warm so we left him in his hospital beanie and a short sleeve onesie and socks. It was February. WHAT WERE WE THINKING?! Of course, Brady was most likely too cold but we didn’t really know that yet. When we first put him in the Snoo, we laid him down in his Snoo swaddle, clipped him in, and turned it on. You can turn on the Snoo manually (there’s a button at the base of the Snoo that you can press to turn it on and hold down to change the level you want it to go to) or you can use the app to control it that way. We always preferred the app BUT if you are in a place that has spotty service, you can still use the manual button to operate it without WiFi (genius). Well, Brady started crying and we nervously watched as the Snoo “leveled up” (increased motion and white noise). When it got to Level 4 (red), we were terrified of how loud it was and how intense we thought the motion was. I immediately went into the settings and put on the Motion Limiter, which only allows the Snoo to go up to the motion of Level 2 and the white noise of Level 4. We never took off the Motion Limiter. That was our own preference but I know many people that swear by Level 4 once the baby is a bit older. Once we got over the initial fussiness, Brady settled and slept for an hour and a half. We were SOLD. From here on out, we started on our Snoo journey and never looked back.
Brady did all sleep in the Snoo except for when he slept on us. We were very intentional about this and I really think it paid off in the end. Brady became very used to the Snoo and I truly think it helped him sleep long stretches very early on, especially at night. I will say that I think Brady was always a good night sleeper (even in utero he was never very active during the night, which I think is interesting) but I do think the Snoo made him an even better sleeper. Brady loved the motion. It really soothed him. After that first night, we dressed him in long sleeve footie PJs every night. He was much warmer and more comfortable. Once our doctor gave us the okay to stop waking him in the night to eat, we let Brady take the lead and dictate when he wanted to wake up instead of us waking him every 2-3 hours to eat during the night. The first night we did this, Brady slept for 5 hours straight and it just got better from there. The first two months we kept the Snoo locked on Baseline (the slowest of the movement settings). I loved that you could keep the Snoo locked on a certain level (there is a little lock icon right under the Start/Play button) because I think he preferred the Baseline in those early months. This also came in handy when Brady got a little older because if the Snoo is soothing for more than 3 minutes, it will shut off and you have to go back in and reclip the swaddle, which can totally disturb the sleep process. A lot of the time, Brady self soothed by talking and babbling and the Snoo would level up to level 3 and then shut off. I would have to lock it at level 1 or the lowest level of Level 2 (you can’t lock it on the higher white noise on this level) until he fell asleep and then unlocked it.
Night sleep was one thing but naps were a different hurdle. Developmentally, short nap lengths are appropriate and very common, which makes it impossible to have a schedule because newborns want to sleep sporadically. I wish I could go back and tell that frazzled new mom version of myself that things would get better but I was so focused on day sleep that it really started to stress me out. We tried a bunch of different things. At one point, we used the Ollie Swaddle in the Snoo with no motion for a few weeks and that seemed to help his naps a lot, until it didn’t and then we went back to the Snoo motion and it helped. We also added additional white noise because I feel like the Snoo white noise wasn’t always loud enough for what babies need.
Brady slept in the Snoo for all sleep, naps and night. When he was around 3.5 months, his naps went to crap and he started having multiple early morning wakings. We are pretty sure that this was Brady experiencing the 4 Month Regression/Leap 4 and it was…not great. Naps became super short and I was driving myself crazy trying to figure it out. In the end, there was really nothing to figure out and he was just going through what he needed to go through. We went on our first trip with Brady to our family home in Lake Tahoe and we brought the Snoo with us. When we got home, we moved his Snoo to his room to see if it would help his sleep and it did a bit. When Brady turned 4 months, my friend Sarah recommended a Sleep Consultant, Chrissy of The Peaceful Sleeper (more on this later). Through her guidance, we decided to transition Brady to the crib. I was truly terrified of this transition because I was convinced that Brady couldn’t sleep without the motion and that he was addicted to it. That was really my one fear when it came to Brady using the Snoo and I was proved wrong. Brady not only didn’t need the motion, but when we transitioned him to the crib, he actually slept better. I think his early morning wakings were part regression and part letting us know he was ready to move onto a stiller and bigger sleep space. I really thought Brady would be in the Snoo into he was 6 months old but it turns out that he was ready to transition around 4.5 months. Babies, man.
So, would I recommend the Snoo to parents? 100% I would. I really think it made a difference in Brady’s sleep journey and I would highly recommend looking for one if you have the budget for it!
What I love about the Snoo:
1.) The motion really can work wonders with newborns to help settle and sooth them in those early months
2.) You can use the Snoo without WiFi (we had to do this in Tahoe because we had poor reception and it worked great)
3.) It helps babies learn how to connect sleep cycles on their own without adult interference, which helps babies become more independent sleepers.
4.) The Motion Limiter is great if you feel uncomfortable with the higher levels
5.) It’s a beautiful bassinet. I love the look of it.
6.) It responds to your baby based on their cries and fussiness AND you can choose how responsive you want it to be in the settings, which is awesome.
7.) Customer service is awesome! I called them twice about two separate issues and they were amazing every time.
8.) There is a wean mode to help wean your baby from the motion in preparation for the crib transition. There are also little snaps at the shoulders of the Snoo swaddles to help your baby learn how to sleep with their arms out. GENIUS!
9.) SAFETY! Just knowing that my baby was SAFE and clipped into the bassinet so he couldn’t roll over onto his tummy was so reassuring for me. It helped me sleep better at night. Happiest Baby has also never had a SIDS incident with a baby using the Snoo, which is amazing.
10.) Snoo provides you with a great sleep log to let you know how long the baby is in the Snoo, when he/she needed to be soothed, when he/she was taken out. It was nice to refer back to!
Things I wish were different about the Snoo:
1.) It’s bulky and heavy. We traveled with the Snoo once and I’m glad we did it but wow, did it take up a ton of space.
2.) The white noise speaker is right underneath where the baby’s head is. I didn’t love this (you can adjust the volume level as well). At first I was paranoid that it would hurt Brady’s ears since he slept with his head to the side but it was fine. When Brady was constantly tossing and turning, the white noise would shift since Brady’s head was moving over the speaker and it would often wake him in the early days. I did not like that. I actually put a burp cloth between the mattress and the speaker to muffle it.
3.) There is no camera monitor. I really wished that the Snoo came with a camera monitor so you could monitor the baby in the Snoo. We had the Nanit wall mount and ended up buying the Nanit stand to put in our room and travel with because when we started blacking out the room to help him sleep, I couldn’t always see him and felt better being able to look at him.
4.) It’s not always as responsive as I wish it could be. Sometimes Brady would be fussing and the Snoo wouldn’t pick up on it right away and then he would wake up. Other times, it would pick up on it immediately and rock him back to sleep on a higher level.
5.) The Snoo swaddle velcro SUCKS. Make sure you wash it in a delicates bag and keep the Snoo swaddle velcro closed AND zipped. This helps preserve the stickiness of the velcro but it’s not perfect. Apparently, Happiest Baby will replace your Snoo swaddle for free if it stops working as advertised. I just feel for a $1400 bassinet, the swaddle should work. We also had to start double swaddling Brady’s arms with a light muslin blanket because he has always been a little Houdini baby. Again, I feel like Happiest Baby needs to perfect their swaddle so there is no need to double swaddle.
6.) Because the babies are clipped in, they can’t move around too much so they move their heads from side to side more. This can result in a bald spot on the back of their heads. Not really a big deal to me but some have issues with it.
7.) Even though Snoo gives you a sleep log, it’s not very detailed and if the Snoo is “soothing” your baby, the baby often falls asleep but Snoo isn’t smart enough to count that as sleep time, which is annoying. Also, sometimes Brady would just be lying in his bassinet awake and the Snoo could count that as sleep. Obviously, the Snoo can’t be THAT smart, but I felt like I needed to watch everything like a hawk to make sure he was actually sleeping or not.
8.) Snoo can’t differentiate from loud self soothing (talking) and crying and would shut off if this went on for too long even if Brady wasn’t crying.
9.) It’s super expensive. I would recommend looking for a used one or renting it since you might not use it for a full 6 months.
My personal tips for using the Snoo:
1.) Use the Snoo from Day One! This helped Brady quickly acclimate to his sleep space.
2.) I suggest using the Motion Limiter when they are a newborn. Even though the Snoo is super safe, I still felt better knowing my newborn was not being rocked too much.
3.) Always try new things, like double swaddling, trying an arm out, trying no motion and a different swaddle, WHATEVER! It takes awhile to get to know what your baby prefers and even though I hated doing it, trying new things really does help you get to know your baby’s sleep preferences.
4.) Always have multiple swaddles and bassinet sheets. You never know when there is going to be spit up, pee accidents, whatever!
5.) The Snoo is not a “solve all.” There are times when Brady couldn’t be soothed back to sleep by the Snoo and that’s okay!
6.) Join the Snoo Mamas group on Facebook. I learned SO many great things from this group and found the group to be very supportive and helpful.