Life Parenting
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When I think of my pregnancy, three things come to mind: excitement, nausea and fear. Excitement is great, nausea is unpleasant though expected, but fear? Fear is largely unavoidable when expecting a child, from worrying about the baby’s development, to the labour, to every single other aspect of raising a child. I combatted the fear as much as I could. I read the books, took every class (labour and delivery, CPR for infants, caring for a newborn, breastfeeding, etc etc etc), went to every doctor’s appointment, tried to stay as healthy as possible, spoke to friends and family and any stranger I encountered with a child, and bought the very high priced Snoo Smart Sleeper. Turns out, you can put a price on fear.

I’ll save you the trouble of looking it up. The Snoo Smart Sleeper, a bassinet that rocks and plays white noise at intensifying intervals based on a baby’s cries, retails for $1,495.00. I know.

The Snoo is the invention of Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician best known for writing the sleep guide The Happiest Baby On The Block and creating the 5 S’s (Swaddle, Side, Shush, Swing, Suck). I read Karp’s book six months into my pregnancy and felt better equipped to handle a newborn, but still unsure that I could actually put his methods into practice. We all agree that swaddling is terrifying, right?

The last adult book I’ll read for a while – Getty Images

Still nervous about the whole sleep thing, my husband and I took an in-person class. The instructor essentially taught Karp’s method, with a few added tricks and suggestions to help parents teach their baby to sleep through the night and get on a sleep schedule. The class helped, but the fear continued to nag me.

Around seven months, I was listening to Dax Shepherd’s Armchair Expert podcast, with Ashton Kutcher as the guest. Bet you didn’t think those names were going to come up in this review. Both men have two young children and they discussed how much Karp’s 5 S’s helped them. Then, they talked about the Snoo.

I had previously never heard of the mortgage payment bassinet, which Shepherd and Kutcher swore by. People take advice from celebrities all the time. My biggest baby purchase just happened to come at the recommendation of the two guys from Punk’d.

Dr. Harvey Karp with Jessica Biel, another millionaire who can easily afford the Snoo.  – Getty Images

I Googled the Snoo and found nothing but rave reviews that supported the tuition payment bassinet. The Snoo claims to be the safest and most effective baby bed ever made, which may be the meanest marketing ploy directed at nervous parents in the history of advertising. I sent my husband the website and he was all in, but then came my month of rationalizing.

Pro: We had been generously gifted either new or hand-me-down essentials by friends and family, leaving the bassinet as our only major pre-baby purchase.

Pro: We’re hoping to have more than one child, meaning we could use the Snoo twice.

Pro: We had just moved to a new city far from family or friends who could help with the baby on days when no one had slept, and sleep is very important.

Pro: The Snoo is beautifully designed with a faux wood bottom. This really doesn’t affect its abilities, but we needed all the checks in the ‘Pro Column’ we could get.

Con: Dolla dolla bills, y’all.

And then there was the whole issue of me being a straight up jerk when I don’t sleep. I know most people aren’t in the best moods when they’re tired, but I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m especially unpleasant to be around. I ran the numbers and the Snoo came in at less than the cost of marriage counselling. So, we waited for a sale (the company often runs 30 per cent off promotions), pooled our gifts cards, and made the leap. And if it sounds like I’m trying to justify the one-week at an all-inclusive resort bassinet, you are correct.

My husband and I told exactly zero people about our purchase. We were already getting enough flack from friends and family and every single person in the grocery store about not finding out the sex of our baby and we didn’t want to add another judgement element to our pregnancy (side note, we had a girl, gave her a unisex name, and everyone refers to her as a boy, reinforcing our decision that finding out the gender was unnecessary).

We knew that it was an outrageous price to pay for something our baby would use for six months, but maybe it was the constant “Enjoy sleeping while you can” jokes that people love to tell expectant parents (please stop), or the hope that the Snoo would magically reduce some of our fears over raising a baby. Maybe we were just terrified first parents who were desperately hoping the Snoo could be the one product in the history of the internet to live up to its hype. Regardless, we committed, and we’re glad we did.

Of all the baby gear we put together, the Snoo was the easiest, and I say that as someone who is not at all handy. Its four legs easily snap into place, which is the only assembly required. The Snoo comes with three organic cotton (they better be, for that price) swaddles in Small, Medium and Large that grow with the baby. The swaddles must be attached to the hooks inside the Snoo for the bassinet to turn on, creating an angel wing effect and preventing the baby from turning over, which gave us peace of mind once our daughter started rolling. The swaddles have a zipper up the middle, which makes for easy swaddling, and the baby can be swaddled arms in or out. The Snoo also comes with one mattress cover, but I recommend buying a second one for $20, which seems free in comparison to the actual price of Snoo.

The nicest piece of furniture we own.   – Getty Images

The Snoo has an app that enables you to track your baby’s sleep, while also controlling the pace of the jiggling motion and the volume of the white noise. There’s a button on the side that turns the Snoo on, which starts the jiggling and white noise at the lowest level. As your baby cries, the button changes colour to reflect the higher levels of ‘calming,’ with more rigorous jiggling and louder white noise that is intended to recreate the feeling of being in the womb. It wasn’t until our daughter was about three months old that we would let the Snoo get to the higher levels of shaking to calm her, because honestly it looks way too violent for a newborn. Again, FEAR. Thankfully, this was a rare occurrence because, well, it seems like the Snoo works.

My biggest reservation with recommending the Snoo is that our baby started sleeping in it the night we got home from the hospital. There is a possibility we were blessed with the one baby in the world that sleeps through the night with no help, but it seems unlikely. Once she was up in weight and the doctor gave us the okay to stop waking her up to eat, she slept an average of 8 hours uninterrupted at night. This increased to about 10 hours as she got older. Oddly, she’s never really liked napping in the Snoo, preferring the Rock and Play. While Snoo naps last about 45 minutes, Rock and Play naps average two hours. Maybe it’s being on an angle during the day, which is better for her acid reflux, but that would be my one issue and honestly, I don’t know what the cause is or if the Snoo can really be blamed.

There’s an entire industry dedicated to books teaching parents how to help their baby sleep, but one thing that every method seems to agree on is that good sleep begets more good sleep. So, did sleeping in the Snoo at night help our baby sleep better during the day? It seems like it.

There were only a handful of times that we had to employ the 5 S’s with our baby. Even with a bit of colic during the first two months and some intense acid reflux issues that continue to require medication for her and no dairy for me (soft cheese, will we ever meet again?), she has still managed to sleep through most nights.

Not my baby.    – Getty Images

The Snoo also enabled us to be lazy. We don’t have a strict bedtime routine. During the day, she sleeps in a room that doesn’t have blackout curtains. Once she was old enough to go out, she had no issue sleeping in the car, in the mall, in loud restaurants, and eventually on a plane. During our first trip to visit family when our baby was three months old, she slept in a crib for two weeks. After stirring a bit during the first two nights, we realized that the Snoo had blocked the noises we made before (she was still sleeping in our bedroom). Once we started using a portable white noise machine, she resumed sleeping through the night. A few months later, we visited my in-laws and she spent a week in a pack and play, again without any issue transitioning from the rocking Snoo to the still bed with the added white noise machine. Thankfully, our fear that the Snoo was the only place she would sleep was unfounded.

We’re now preparing to fully transition our daughter out of the Snoo and into a crib in her own room. She’s ready, but emotionally, we are not. Thankfully, when we do make the leap, she already has six months of quality sleep patterns thanks, most likely, to the very expensive bassinet.

As for the crib we have waiting for her, it was $130 from Ikea.

Getty Images