Any parent knows that having a new baby is exhausting. Some babies are born great sleepers. Our son was not. He rarely slept more than 2 hours at a time and never napped more than 29 minutes (exactly 29 minutes), even as he got a little older. While it’s normal for newborns to wake up that often to eat, as they age, you can expect them to sleep longer stretches. But not our sweet babe. He just did not like to sleep unless he was being held.
Before we had Thomas, we did lots of research on the best baby products on the market and added them to our baby registry.
I read lots of pregnancy books.
I read lots of newborn baby care books.
We hired a doula.
We packed our hospital bags.
I bought postpartum supplies.
I learned about breastfeeding.
Like all parents, we wanted to be as prepared as possible. And since I was terrified in particular about lack of sleep, the SNOO Smart Sleeper Bassinet was the first thing we purchased. It’s one of the mostly highly rated products on the market for babies and multiple friends reached out to tell us to buy it as soon as they heard I was pregnant.
You may already be familiar with the SNOO, but in case you’re just starting your research, I’ll share an overview of what it is. In short, it’s designed to help with some of the 5 S’s (swaddle, side/stomach, shush, swing, suck) that parents can leverage to help babies sleep. It had so many great reviews, and it was very expensive, so it must be the right thing to get, right? For some, maybe. For us, nope. We HATED the SNOO.
Snoo Bassinet Review
In today’s post, I’m going to dive into the details of the SNOO Bassinet, talk about how to use and assemble it, and then talk about why we didn’t like it for Thomas. I’ve had many friends rave about it, so this is your reminder to do your own research and make your own decisions about what to use for your baby. Remember, what’s right for YOU may not be what’s right for US!
Okay, let’s get right to it.
The SNOO Bassinet was created by Dr. Harvey Karp, the author of Happiest Baby on the Block. It’s a smart bassinet that uses gentle side to side rocking motions and plays white noise to promote better sleep and self soothing for your baby. Unless the SNOO is in Weaning mode (more on that below), the motion is ALWAYS on. The SNOO comes with an app that lets you change the speed of the motion and the white noise sound. You must connect your Snoo to wifi in order to use the app.
Snoo Bassinet Specs
30 x 16 x 32 inches. It weighs 38lbs – so it’s not too clunky but also not small. I was able to carry it from room to room when we had overnight doulas, but you won’t want to move it around too often!
Attachable sleep sacks
All SNOOs have built-in hooks to attach a sleep sack. This prevents your little one from rolling in their sleep, as babies always need to be placed on their back to sleep. The Snoo is compatible only with their own brand of sleep sacks that swaddles the baby and then attaches to the sides of the bassinet. The Snoo will not turn on if the hooks aren’t engaged with a sleep sack.
5 levels of sound + motion
There are 5 options for white noise and the rocking motion so you can customize it for your baby’s sleep.
The rocking is horizontal. Hold your hand out flat in front of you with your palm facing down. Now bend at the wrist, right and left. That’s how to rocks. It doesn’t rock like a rocking chair.
Using the app, you also adjust the baseline noise and motion that it starts at when you turn it on, and you can also limit the motion so it doesn’t go above a certain level. You can also press the button on the Snoo to increase the motion without the app. Our doula used this feature when she stayed overnight.
Automatically hears crying and adjusts
This is the key distinguishing feature of the Snoo compared to other bassinets: the speed of motion and white noise adjusts based on your baby’s fussing. So, if the SNOO hears your baby crying, the motion gets faster and the white noise gets louder, automatically to soothe your baby.
You can also adjust the Snoo’s sensitivity to noise. Maybe you have a very quiet cryer – you can make the SNOO more sensitive to noise. Or maybe your baby is louder – you can make the SNOO less sensitive to noise.
The app will track stretches of sleep and when it was soothing your baby or when the SNOO was stopped. (This isn’t our log, but a screenshot my friend sent me. I wish Thomas slept that long of stretches when he was in it, ha!)
You can control your SNOO remotely from the SNOO app which lets you pick the motion and noise for your baby. That’s also where you can restrict motion and adjust the baseline level (i.e. what speed it starts at).
Sleep consultant access
SNOO has sleep consultants that you’re able to access at any time. I called them one time after we’d had Thomas for a few weeks (more on that below) and they were incredibly helpful and provided lots of suggestions. But ultimately, that phone call should have been a red flag.
How To Use The Snoo Bassinet
Many parents setup their shipment of SNOO for 1 week before baby arrives. We set ours up about a month beforehand (more on that below) and got it synced with our wifi and app, which was nice since it took a little fiddling. It would have been stressful to figure out the day he came home from the hospital!
We also limited our motion right away since since it seemed to upset him more. I also wasn’t comfortable with the motion, even though SNOO states it’s safe even for preemies who are much smaller than Thomas was. Yes, the SNOO will adjust automatically, but you know your baby best, which is why they allow customizations within the app.
While this is around the time that some parents are in weaning mode, SNOO experts recommend waiting until at least 5 months. However, we took Thomas out of the Snoo at 4 months, as soon as he started to roll. The Snoo website says that it’s safe when kids start rolling because they’re strapped in but my friends pediatrician told her as soon as they roll they need to be out because they can get trapped upside down in the sack, and that the sack being strapped in doesn’t necessarily prevent rolling. I was also terrified of him rolling and the Snoo tipping over.
We never used the Weaning mode as a result since we went cold turkey from the SNOO to the crib, but the weaning mode means that the SNOO only turns on motion if it’s soothing, rather than the continuous motion that’s used in the normal mode.
How To Assemble The Snoo Bassinet
Turn the sleeper upside down after taking the cover off. Insert the 4 legs into the bottom of the SNOO. Make sure the leg arrow matches the same color on the SNOO. Listen for a click and then tighten the bolts by hand.
Find the leg that has a long plastic power cord holder. Pull that off and place aside. Open the box with the power adapter and connect the two pieces. Once connected, plug the cord into the socket on the base of the SNOO.
Slip the bassinet over and plug the power cord into the wall. The power button should flash for a few seconds, and then light up white. Now you can reattach the power cord holder to the leg of the SNOO and put the cord in it to remove tripping hazards. At this point, you can put the SNOO fitted sheet on.
If your baby has reflux or a stuffy nose, SNOO sells leg lifters can be attached to the feet of the legs closet to babies head to add a slight incline. However, this is NOT a safe sleep practice.
Download the SNOO app and follow the prompts to sync it to your SNOO. There is a barcode underneath the bassinet to connect it to your app and then sync it to your wifi. You CAN use the SNOO without wifi by manually turning it on, but you cannot adjust it from the app if it’s not synced to your wifi.
Is the Snoo Worth It?
Okay, now for the moment of truth: Is the SNOO worth it? No, not for us. The SNOO simply didn’t work for our baby. I was terrified of Thomas rolling in the middle of the night and my husband was uncomfortable with swaddling correctly at first, so the features of it gave both of us peace of mind. And, I was so scared of not sleeping since I really struggle without sleep and it triggers my anxiety. So I was desperate for anything to help with sleep.
The first few weeks, we figured Thomas was just being a newborn and not sleeping well and the SNOO couldn’t do much. But, after about two months without more than 1-2 hour stretches in the SNOO, my husband and I HATED it. We eventually sold the SNOO when Thomas was five months old and we were very ready to bid it good riddance.
I distinctly remember asking friends if it took a while for the SNOO to “work” since it seemed to upset Thomas far more than soothe him. I even called the SNOO customer support line to ask for their help since it didn’t seem to help Thomas. They suggested adjusting the sensitivity so it didn’t increase speed and sound as much and to limit the motion. This is what should have been a red flag… they were telling me to LIMIT the SNOO’s capabilities because what it was designed to do UPSET my baby. His best naps were if he happened to fall asleep without motion. And when I started using a traditional white noise machine in his room, he slept better. I did too – the pitch of the white noise built into the SNOO was super irritating.
Also, let’s consider the cost: It’s $1695!
There are options to rent from SNOO for $159 a month, and this would be a much better option in my opinion. However, if the SNOO works for your family and your babies, it could be worth buying if you plan to have multiple kids. But, it’s easy to re-sell if not. They do have a 30 day return window if you buy it, but it’s 30 days from when it’s delivered. So if your baby is late (mine was two weeks late), that eats into half of the trial period.
I also think they have tricky marketing to get you to spend more money:
- It only works with THEIR sleep sacks and the sleep sacks aren’t designed to grow with your baby, like other swaddles. So, they rapidly outgrow them, forcing you to buy more. We had to buy six different sleep sacks (two in each size, Small, Medium, Large) before Thomas was out of the SNOO.
- They sell leg lifters to incline the bassinet, which is NOT safe sleep practice but parents will try anything when they’re sleep deprived.
There are a few things I did like about the SNOO that I want to mention.
Number one: it’s beautiful. I love the minimal design and the wood detailing. It was far prettier than other bassinets we considered!
We also loved that it strapped Thomas in on his back so that he couldn’t roll, which we were nervous about even when he was tiny. That gave me peace of mind.
The Snoo sack made swaddling easier as we learned.
And, like I mentioned, it was really easy to sell. We had multiple people reach out within one hour of posting it to sell it. I almost felt bad selling it to another mom since I hated it so much. But again, what works for me may not work for them.
You don’t NEED the SNOO. It’s not a game changer. I kind of wonder if people who swear by it had good sleepers to begin with and they would have been champion sleepers with or without the SNOO. So if you can’t afford it, don’t fret. You’ll be just fine without. Better off, I’d argue.
In retrospect, I’m really not comfortable with the SNOO from a safety perspective. And that’s what REALLY matters. The AAP does not recommend any products for sleep that require restraining a baby, especially if the product also rocks, i.e. the SNOO.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the SNOO if you’ve used it. Your experience will help others considering it since some people absolutely LOVE it!
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