Dr. Sarah Mitchell
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October 5, 2020

SNOO for Babies: Is it worth it? Pros and Cons

What is the SNOO? 

From their website, “the 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), the SNOO helps babies by imitating the calming sensations of the womb.”

4 Reasons I like the SNOO:

  1. Safe Sleep Requirements

At the time of this writing the SNOO is one of 3 safe sleep spaces that meets the American Academy of Pediatrics requirements for safe sleep.  These requirements aim to reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) which peaks between 2 and 4 months of age.   Cribs, bassinets and travel cribs also meet that requirement.

The  Safe Sleep requirements the SNOO, cribs and bassinets meet are:

  • Baby must sleep on a firm surface such a crib, a bassinet or a pack and play
  • Babies should be placed to sleep on their backs
  • There should be no other items in the crib including bumpers or blankets

You can read the full requirements on the AAP Website here. 

Products such as baby swings, the doc a tot, snuggle me organic and the like, do not meet the AAP guidelines for safe sleep environments. 

  1. It Helps Keep Your Baby Well Rested

The number one goal of my Helping Babies Newborn Sleep Class is to keep your baby well rested.   A well-rested baby is easier to have fall asleep and then stay asleep.  A baby who isn’t sleeping well often falls into a negative feedback loop where it’s harder to fall asleep and then stay asleep. The SNOO will help your baby fall asleep by rocking the bassinet back and forth so you don’t have to.   

  1.  The SNOO has a built- in swaddle.  

Swaddling your baby is extremely helpful in the first 3 months of life.  It helps minimize the startle reflex that is present and can wake babies up.  The swaddle is zipped into the mattress of the SNOO.  Very safe. 

  1. It can help establish some good sleep habits. 

Every single sleep article or book I’ve read talks about how we should be putting your baby down drowsy but awake.  I disagree with this.  I want you to be putting your baby down “calm but awake” and then helping them fall asleep in the crib/bassinet where they’ll be spending the night.  When you put her baby down drowsy but awake you’ve done the work of relaxing them and having them relax on you.  This can set you up for a lot of long nights when your baby hits the 4 month sleep regression, wakes up more in the night and requires you to come in and make them drowsy again at every wake up.  You want to be putting your baby down “calm but awake” and get them used to falling asleep in the sleep environment they will spend the night.  The SNOO helps you achieve that by having your baby swaddled in safely and making them drowsy in the bassinet. However you can also learn to do this "calm but awake" approach that with your own hands using a crib. I teach this in my Helping Newborns Sleep class.

3 Reasons You Don’t Need A SNOO

  1.  The price tag.  

The SNOO is $1400 or can be rented for $150 a month.  You might be willing to pay that for a good night’s sleep especially if you had a bad sleep experience with an older child.  You don’t NEED the SNOO.  You can achieve the same actions that the SNOO does with your very own hands.  I teach parents how to help their newborns become drowsy while in the crib every day for a fraction of the price using my "Calm but awake" Method in my online newborn class. 

  1. Delays Parenting Skills

95% of my private coaching clients, with babies 4 months or older, here in silicon valley use the SNOO.   That goes to show you that it can help you in the first few months but it isn’t insurance against sleep problems long term.  When you have a machine rocking your baby in the night for you it definitely helps them sleep in the short term.  However it can rob you of the learning curve becoming a great sleep detective and figuring out what your babies cries and body language mean.  In addition when they grow out of it, they don’t know how to fall asleep without it. 

  1. Yet Another Transient Baby Product

Most kids grow out of the SNOO around 4 to 5 months of age or as soon as they start to roll they need the space provided by a cirb.  I’d rather you spend $1400 on a high quality organic mattress and crib/toddler bed for your baby that will last her until she’s a toddler or preschooler. 

Whether the SNOO is right for your family is a personal decision.  You’ll make the right decision for your family. 

Are you looking to gift your newborn the love of sleep but want to do so in a more natural, less product depending way?  My online class and community “Helping Newborns Sleep’ can teach you the detective skills to learn why your baby is struggling with sleep, how to prevent the fussies and help imprint healthy sleep habits that will guide you through the months.

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