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An Honest Review of the SNOO

I was very on the fence about the SNOO. It had also been four years since my last baby and I was very used to getting good sleep. I'm one of those people that really requires 7-8 (...or more) hours a night and I'm not my best self with a lack of sleep. So I had taken notice when influencers were using SNOOs. If you don't know much about the SNOO, it's a bassinet that has white noise and motion set up. You can limit both of these, but ultimately, as the baby fusses and cries, the white noise goes up and the motion goes up. There's a "preemie" setting to limit the motion and we actually never had to move up from that. The best way I can describe the SNOO is, you know in the middle of the night when your baby is fussing and you're like... I have changed you, I have fed you, I have burped you, what could possibly be wrong? And you're shushing and bouncing and doing anything in your power to make them stop crying? The SNOO will do that work for you.

Before I get any further: obviously I'm not a sleep safety professional. This is me sharing our experience with the SNOO and you should absolutely do your own research on what you and your pediatrician deem as safe for your baby. 

I tossed something up on my Instagram story this past summer asking if it was a sleep prop. If you're unfamiliar with the term sleep props, it's really anything that assists your baby in sleeping that you need to wean them off of. Think, pacifiers, swaddles with the arms in, etc. In my head, I was worried about purchasing the SNOO and having to wean Goldie off of it, setting myself up for failure when she moved to the crib.

I had a surprising amount of people reach out with questions and pointers. Ultimately, a friend reached out and said she didn't use the SNOO more than once, but was willing to sell it to me! I loved this, because the price tag on a brand new SNOO is significant and this sort of took the pressure off for me, given it's my third and final child - it felt irrational to buy such a high-priced baby item (my attitude on this has completely changed and I hit on that below).

Ultimately, the SNOO changed my life. Goldie was able to put herself down by about 4 weeks. She would go down happy, drowsy, and drift to sleep without much of a problem at all. After the initial newborn phase, the SNOO helped us get into the swing of things and find our flow. She would go down around 8, was up twice a night for feedings (which is highly reasonable and necessary as my kids aren't born super big), go right back down after her feedings, and would wake around 6am. I genuinely attribute her calm demeanor to the SNOO. Is it possible we got lucky? Of course. But her sleep is really great now (or at least fair, in my eyes! Up once... if ever, and in the crib), and if I was having a baby, would I find a way to get a SNOO? Absolutely.

I'm really wordy, but here are some tips and tricks (THANK YOU ALLIE!) that were shared with me, some things we learned, and what we followed:

  • I still tried to do the eat, wake, sleep cycles I learned in Babywise with my first two kids. That is your cornerstone, always, within reason. Newborns love to sleep and they can be hard to keep awake for feedings, do your best!
  • Goldie didn't really nap in the SNOO in those early days, we were doing virtual school and Bodie was all over the place, it just felt safest to have her sleep in the pack and play downstairs in her swaddles. This was particularly relevant until she got her days and nights straight (you should expose your child to lots of bright light during the daytime until they get it).
  • You should absolutely turn on the motion limiting setting initially, the standard motion feels WAY too quick for a newborn. We don't need to launch your baby anywhere.
  • You'll need a specific sleep sack for the SNOO, find some here. These are amazing because they keep the baby on it's back. I found that Goldie started to break free from the swaddle, and there are directions for safely keeping him or her on their back and swaddled differently, right here. I had two of the sleep sacks in each size and three of the bassinet sheets.
  • Hope to have your baby falling asleep on their own (in the SNOO) by 6-8 weeks. Good sleep is only good if your baby is learning to put themselves asleep or back to sleep on their own. If you're constantly nursing to sleep, you'll never get there (are there exceptions? of course - some people are blessed with excellent sleepers... my three kids aren't like that). 
  • The SNOO connects to your phone, you can turn it on and off there, but there's also a button on the side that controls the SNOO if your partner doesn't have the app. I honestly didn't realize I could use the button until about 6 weeks : ). The app tracks your sleep and the data is really fun to dig into if you're into that sort of thing!
  • The SNOO is loud on the floor below. We have hardwood in our bedroom and I was always kind of shocked at how loud it was downstairs when the SNOO was running. Nothing that would interrupt our very loud home, but if you're in an apartment it may be a bit of trouble?
  • Once her schedule was somewhat intact (I think I fed on-demand for the first 8 weeks, then it probably took another 2-4 weeks to fall into a true groove), I started to try to have her nap in the crib as often as I could so she could get used to putting herself back to sleep without the SNOO. If she was having a really bad nap day or I REALLY needed to get stuff done, I'd have her nap in the SNOO. Even now, she's sleeping in the crib full-time, but if she only naps for 30 minutes, sometimes I can get another 30-45 minutes if I toss her in the SNOO.
  • I'll hit on weaning below.
  • Initially, I was using a little pillow because of the risk of a flat head with the SNOO. You shouldn't really use these because if there's a problem with neck mobility or a flat head, you need to address those problems! Thankfully Goldie has been pretty good about moving her head all around, but I did turn the SNOO once or twice a week so she wasn't falling asleep facing the same direction every night, just as you'd put them to sleep facing different directions in the crib.
Here are some questions submitted on Instagram I am happy to answer:

Q: The SNOO is really expensive. Do I purchase, rent, or buy secondhand?
A: It is an investment, but there are few things I'd rather invest in than safe sleep for my child and good sleep for me. There are benefits to each of these above options. By purchasing it yourself, you have access to the warranty and the opportunity to sell it when you're done (they really keep their value, from what I have seen). If you're expecting your first child and hope to have more children, my advice is to absolutely buy one. 
If you're on the fence about it, then rent it or buy it secondhand! It is my understanding that with rentals, you end up paying a lot after cleaning fees, but I can't honestly speak to that. However, I feel like I'd feel unnecessary pressure to get the baby out of the SNOO? You may rush it to save money here? Just a thought. 
Buying secondhand is what we did. Check Facebook groups. It was so easy to have the former owner reset the serial number so I could easily access the app and we got it set up. Ours is getting ready to go to another home. : )

Q: How long can you use the SNOO for?
A: Six months or so. Goldie is starting to look pretty big in there and she's average sized. I believe the protocol for sleep in a bassinet, at least per my pediatrician, is as soon as your baby can roll over, you should be moving them to a safe crib. Like I said, she's still in there when we are extending her nap, but generally speaking, 6 months.

Q: Would you pay full price for the SNOO?
A: I hit on this above but at the risk of beating a dead horse, I'd pay double the full price for what it gave me. I'm genuinely sad I didn't have this product for my first two kids. I slept on an air mattress in Bodie's room for 6 weeks when he was born like a full-blown psycho. There were times that Jeff and I were like, this product makes us feel like we could have six kids. We are stopping at three.

Q: How did weaning go?
A: at four months old I turned on the wean setting (similar to the motion limiter, this all lives in the SNOO's settings). What does the wean setting do? It turns off the all night motion and only turns on when the baby is upset. At that point, we were barely using the motion anyway - this was perhaps a lucky coincidence. Once I felt comfortable enough with how her naps were going in her crib, at around 5 months I moved her to the crib overnight. The SNOO is still there if I need it.

Q: Can I achieve good sleep without a SNOO?
A: Of course you can! The SNOO didn't exist in 2014, to my knowledge. I read the creator's book though, and a lot of his principles helped us. Georgia was a wonderful sleeper - I followed the Babywise method religiously (TakingCaraBabies before it existed basically, she just packaged it a little bit prettier). Bodie was not a great sleeper. That said, our house is chaotic and so is our schedule. With therapies and school, Goldie doesn't have the luxury of guaranteed daytime naps in her crib or bassinet. The SNOO gave me control over nighttime sleep. Reading Babywise before your child arrives is a smart move, in my opinion - to learn the ins and outs of baby sleep. So yes, it's a luxury purchase and an investment, though it's not a necessary one. Here's our current schedule at five months:

7:00AM: wake & feed
9:00AM: nap
10:00AM: feed (this is occasionally a little later!)
12:00PM: nap
1:00PM: feed
3:00PM: nap
4:00PM: feed
6:30PM: feed and wind down
7:00PM: sleep for the night
*occasional wake in the middle of the night to feed.

All in all, I hope this helps! It's been a long time coming! I wanted to review once we had successfully lived through the wean, which was my biggest fear! It wasn't near as scary as I made it out to be. I'm always happy to talk through the use of the SNOO over on email or through DMs. Let me know!

Molly Knorr
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