Anyone that has had a kid in the past five years will have come across the SNOO from The Happiest Baby. It’s a smart crib for your newborn that acts as a responsive soother to calm the cries of your sleeping baby. It’s divided new parents into old and new ways of thinking about newborn care. Do you let technology soothe your child while you regain precious hours of sleep or do you soothe the baby the same way humans have done for millenia? It's a fair question; we tested one for 5 months to find out.
Back to sleep: This is it. This is the reason you purchased the SNOO. If your baby accepts the SNOO as their robot rocker then you’ve gained countless hours of sleep and brain cells in not having to put your baby back to sleep in the middle of the night. Now this doesn’t mean that the SNOO will soothe your child back to sleep every time they wake up, you will have to pick your baby up and do the hard work a lot, but the SNOO is for the moments when the baby just needs a light touch or motion to go back to sleep. In the 5 months that we used the SNOO the motion of the SNOO probably saved us from picking up our daughter about 100 times. In the later months during the sleep regressions and teething the soothing really came in handy for those tough nights.
It looks the part: This one is easy. The SNOO crib looks and feels great. It has a nice modern Danish design that looks great anywhere you put it. It feels sturdy and all the components work flawlessly. With the high entry cost of this product this should be expected, but it's worth mentioning.
Wait for it... the price?: Once you're beyond the immediate sticker shock, you can make a case that the price is more than fair. First, there is an option to rent the SNOO for $125 a month. For folks who are unsure whether the SNOO will work for their kid or are only planning on having one child, this is a great option. If your kid doesn’t take to the SNOO, you're only out a couple hundred dollars and you can ship it right back. Second, if you buy the SNOO you can either re-sell the SNOO on Facebook Marketplace for a good price or use it again if you have another kid. But at the end of the day, getting back an hour or two of sleep every night for 6 months is genuinely priceless.
Pro: The SNOO app does a great job at tracking every sleep session your baby has in the crib. This is helpful for new parents to not only look at that last night of sleep but also look at the emerging trends and developments of your baby's sleeping habits. Babies are constantly changing, so having this data is immensely helpful in addressing newborn sleep. Also, when your baby finally has a long stretch of sleep or sleeps through the night you can post your flex on Reddit's r/SnooLife. I found this annoying when our baby wasn’t sleeping very well and we questioned all of our tactics, but a couple months down the line I totally understand the pure joy of telling everyone your baby slept through the night. New parents reading this, it will happen.
What's Not as Good
Roll of the dice: You will just not know if your baby will accept the SNOO until you try it in real life. Sometimes it takes a couple weeks for the kid to start to enjoy the constant movement of the SNOO. So there's a couple of week window where the anxiety is high and you question your (hefty) purchase. Thankfully our kid accepted the SNOO after her second week. During those first few weeks we just used the SNOO as a regular bassinet. This is why the rental pricing makes the most sense to us, because if we ultimately decided not to use the SNOO we could just ship it back and only be out a couple hundred dollars.
White noise: When you first start using the SNOO the first thing you will notice is the sound of the white noise. The noises are based on the different levels of soothing within the SNOO system. The higher the soothing level, the more motion and sound the SNOO puts out. So when you first hear the white noise, it's fairly traumatizing. It kinda sounds like Darth Vader snoring four different ways, and first-time parents just getting used to the sounds of their own newborn may find that a little disturbing. The shock only lasts a couple of days, and you get used to it, but we ended up using a regular white noise machine in addition to setting the SNOO to a maximum of level two anyway. The white noise ultimately ended up being a non-issue for us down the road.
What's Just Not Good
Unintentional nightlight: The button on the outside of the crib is strangely bright. SNOO, why the hell would you put a bright button light on the side of the crib? Not everyone has a humongous master bedroom. The exterior button light lit up a good portion of our small Brooklyn apartment bedroom. We ended up taking some black tape and covering the button light. These are the things a new parent does when they are trying to fix all the light leaks and creaky noises in their apartment.
The art of the swaddle: The most essential part of the SNOO crib is the swaddle that is clipped into the bed. The idea is that you place your child into the swaddle, zip them up and then they stay on their backs in one position throughout the night while the SNOO motion soothes them to sleep. This is all great in theory, but getting a drowsy baby into the SNOO swaddle and zipping up of that damn zipper is literally like the final challenge on Survivor. Every movement becomes calculated in an effort to keep your baby drowsy while you lock them into the swaddle. If you fail, the process of rocking your baby to a state of drowsiness and attempting to swaddle in SNOO starts again. Nobody really prepares you for how hard this can be. I challenge the engineers at SNOO to come up with a better way to do this. It freaking sucks during the first couple of months and eventually gets easier over time if your baby learns to sleep on their own in which you can zip them up in the crib awake, not sleepy.
The box it came in: Straight up, the worst part about the SNOO is the box it comes in. As someone that had to drag this box up to our third-floor walk-up apartment in Brooklyn, and then magically find a place to store it, I can tell you I have a deep-seated resentment for it. The SNOO people say you can fold up the box and put it under your bed, but you'll need a pretty tall bed with nothing else under it to do so.
It's totally worth every penny to use the rental pricing and try it out. If your kid accepts the SNOO and you can save yourself, especially moms, a couple hours of sleep a night, you have won. That benefit of the SNOO, if it works for you, is worth everything. Also, If you can drown out the sounds of your older generation parents and grandparents telling you that SNOO is too much, then you’ve really made it to #SNOOlife.