Whether you’ve been experiencing constant sleepless nights with your newborn or preemptively saving yourself the frustration of infant sleep, you may be considering the Snoo Smart Sleeper by Happiest Baby.
This bassinet sounds like every sleep-deprived parent’s dream, but with the hefty price tag, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth the money. Find out below if it lives up to the hype with my personal experience in this SNOO bassinet review.
I was very thankful to be gifted the SNOO bassinet from Happiest Baby, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.
What is So Great About the SNOO Bassinet?
The SNOO smart sleeper is no ordinary bassinet. This smart bassinet makes claims to solve every new parent’s problems of night wakings and anxiety by providing a safe and helpful solution for newborn sleep.
The SNOO is made to soothe crying babies to sleep while providing a safe place for baby to rest on their back. It was created by world-renowned Pediatrician, Dr. Harvey Karp. He had previously wrote the book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, which can be hailed as a new parent’s bible to help babies sleep better.
He created and teaches the “5 S” approach to soothing a newborn, which includes Swaddle, Side or Stomach position, Shush, Swing, and Suck. These strategies provide conditions that mimic the womb so that a newly born baby can continue to feel safe and cozy, exactly how they felt in mom’s belly.
He successfully incorporated most of these strategies as the basis of the SNOO. These strategies attempt to help infants fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
How Does the Snoo Work?
The SNOO bassinet uses technology to produce a safe and calming environment for a newborn.
There are several smart components, including three microphones, two motors, and a speaker which work together to hear you newborn’s cries and rock them right to sleep.
The SNOO can only be activated when the specially designed swaddles are clipped into the bassinet. Once your baby is securely swaddled, placed on their back, and clipped in the bassinet, you simply press the button to turn on the gentle, rocking motion with soft, white noise.
Your baby is safely strapped down to the bassinet on his or her back to keep them from moving or rolling and the gentle rocking *should* soothe them right to sleep.
Once your baby starts to fuss, the SNOO’s microphones will pick up the sound and signal to the motors to increase both the volume of white noise, as well as the speed of the rocking. The frequency and rocking should help calm them right to sleep and soothe them when they awake in the middle of the night.
The rocking and white noise continue to increase until it fully soothes your baby to sleep. The motion can get pretty volatile, and while it may look like it’s being too aggressive, you have to trust that this process has been well-researched and is completely safe for your baby.
You can track the progression and level on your app and increase or decrease the speed and volume if you wish.
Once the SNOO succeeds at calming and soothing your baby, it will decrease the sound and rocking back to its baseline.
This process in turn can give parent’s extra sleep as they won’t need to wake up for every cry or fuss. If the SNOO raises up to the highest level and your baby cannot be soothed, it will turn off and alert you to care for your baby.
Sound too good to be true? Well it might be, depending on your baby.
My Honest SNOO Bassinet Review
Before welcoming baby #3, I was so excited to try out the SNOO. My previous two children weren’t great sleepers which led to a lot of stress and sleep deprivation. I was confident that the SNOO would be the answer to new parent prayers.
We started using the SNOO bassinet from the first day that we brought our son home from the hospital. For several naps and all nighttime sleep we clipped him into the SNOO to settle into sleep.
For the first week, our son loved being swaddled tightly with his arms down in the SNOO sleeper swaddles. He would immediately feel that cozy feeling which would help him fall right asleep.
We could put him in the SNOO even if he was awake, and the gentle rocking motion plus the tightness of the swaddle helped him to drift into sleep. He definitely enjoyed the rocking and when he would wake up crying, most of the time it did soothe him right back to sleep.
During the first week, he slept 3-4 hour stretches at night which only led to 1 real middle of the night feeding and wake up for me, which was incredible.
When I looked at the app in the morning, I could see the exact time that the SNOO sensed my baby crying, increased the motion and sound, and soothed him back to sleep. This was wonderful because I never even heard him begin to fuss during these times and I was able to sleep through the cries and get some much-needed rest.
The SNOO worked like a charm this week to give mama sleep by calming him on the first sound of cries. From experience with my other children, those little cries would have probably escalated into louder cries that needed my attention had we not been using the SNOO.
TIP: Pu your baby down awake, but drowsy, so they get used to the motion of the SNOO rocking them to sleep. If they hate it, continue to rock them to sleep in your arms and place them in the SNOO asleep, but gradually fade away the rocking until they get used it from the bassinet.
After the first week, once my son snapped out of his super sleepy newborn state, he started to really dislike being swaddled tight. I noticed that while in the SNOO, he was constantly kicking and grunting as if he was trying to break out of the swaddle.
At first, I thought he was having gas issues because often kicking and grunting is their way of getting gas out, but I realized that it was simply him trying to escape the swaddle.
Instantly I was nervous and annoyed. I had to lay him down unswaddled, but how can he use the SNOO if he isn’t clipped into the swaddle?
However, I came up with a solution. There are other options to using the SNOO without pinning their arms down to their sides.
So if you’re a SNOO owner whose baby hates being swaddled, take note: The SNOO swaddles have snaps by the shoulders so that you can release their arms for an arms up position.
However, very young babies still have their moro (startle) reflex which causes them to wake themselves when their arms flail up. That’s what was happening to my son when we tried this.
TIP: You can try different swaddles with the SNOO. Of course it comes with swaddles that are meant for this device, but not every newborn will be responsive to them. It may be a trial and error period to see which option your baby likes best.
I also tried to use a different type of swaddle which allows their arms to be held up instead of down at their sides, the Love To Dream Swaddle Up. I placed him in this swaddle first and then strapped him into the SNOO swaddle to activate the motion.
This worked better, but he still got frustrated that his arms were hitting him in the face.
Then I discovered the Dreamland Baby Weighted Sleep Sack which changed things for the better. I put our son in this sleep sack on top of the bassinet and this is what worked best for us.
TIP: SNOO has some tips on getting your baby to sleep if they’re having a hard time, such as placing a bag of rice on their belly and a rolled up towel on their legs. It’s worth it to try some of these strategies before switching swaddles.
I had to keep the swaddle clipped into the bassinet in order to activate motion so I just laid our baby right on top of the open swaddle. This ended up being our solution to not liking the swaddle.
However, we still encountered a few other problems with the SNOO.
The SNOO was very inconsistent with consoling my baby. I won’t blame the SNOO or my son, but every child is different and has different needs.
When my son would start to cry while asleep, sometimes it would rock him back to sleep, but many times he would get more agitated with the volatile rocking. This would lead to him waking even more and needed me to console him even more.
You have the ability to lock the motion so it doesn’t get to the highest levels so that took care of that.
TIP: Experiment with the different settings on your SNOO to figure out what works best for your baby. You can adjust the white noise sound volume and the intensity/sensitivity of the movement when your baby cries.
This is the time when I thought the SNOO was most effective for us. I really felt that it helped soothe my baby while he was crying or upset and it limited the amount of times that I had to wake up to soothe him.
We went back to using the Love to Dream Swaddle Up to keep his arms up by his face while he still felt she and secure. This ended up being our best solution and the swaddle that worked for the longest time. It kept him nice and snug, but allowed him some movement.
He continued to only wake up 1-2 times per night to feed and a couple more where I’d just put the pacifier back in his mouth. For the most part, the SNOO was rocking him back to sleep when it was activated by cries and grunts.
TIP: Buy several extra sheets and swaddles to switch them out when cleaning is necessary.
One of our personal issues was that my son spit up A LOT. He would end up spitting up in the middle of the night causing him to wake up and then had a difficult time going back to sleep. Not every baby will have this problem, but I believe that led to some of our difficulties.
Pros and Cons
There are definitely some advantages and disadvantages of the SNOO from my experience:
- Limits mom and dad’s wake ups: While the SNOO doesn’t soothe them back to sleep every single time, it works most of the time. This led to me waking up much less from my baby’s cries each time he woke up.
- Peace of mind with safe back sleeping: Your baby is fastened to the bassinet so you don’t have to worry about them moving and getting stuck in their sleep.
- Use the app to track sleeping: I love waking up and seeing what times he was stirring and how often the SNOO rocked him to sleep without me waking.
- Built in sound machine
- Not all babies are comfortable laying flat on their backs: The SNOO enforces back sleeping which a lot of babies aren’t fond of. They may like to be on their side, tummy, or able to move their bodies.
- Not all babies like being swaddled arms down: Your baby may want his arms out to suck on his fingers or just to stretch, but you can use different swaddles with this bassinet.
- It is inconsistent with detecting the cries: I did set my SNOO on the lowest sensitivity because he didn’t like the fast rocking, but often it wouldn’t turn up the speed when my baby was crying.
- Expensive: However, you can still get it discounted and resell it.
- Difficult to clean: Although you use a sheet to cover the mattress, my son’s spit up got all over the sides of the bassinet. It was impossible to clean in-between certain parts.
How Much Does the Snoo cost?
The SNOO currently retails for $1,495 which is an awfully steep price tag for the average parent to swallow, especially without knowing if it will work for your child. However, some will say that you can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep so maybe it’s worth it to some.
While that price does seem expensive, be aware that you should never have to pay full price for it! There are sales for the SNOO Smart Sleeper every couple of months where you can get 10-30% off.
Happiest Baby offers a 30 day no-risk trial where you can try out the SNOO and if it doesn’t work for your baby, you can return it for a full refund. That seems like a no-brainer.
Another great way to save on the SNOO is to purchase it second-hand and also to resell it yourself. You can typically find it discounted on Facebook Marketplace or find a local mom selling it in your area. They also can be resold for nearly the price you bought it for!
There is now the option to rent the SNOO which will also save you tons! The rental costs $129 a month and you can commit to anywhere from 1 month to 6 months, but cancel anytime. Be aware though that there are fees associated like an 89.50 reconditioning fee, a $99 refundable deposit, and a $59.50 return shipping cost.
All of those charges can add up, especially if you are keeping it for the full 6 months. Therefore, buying it discounted or second-hand and reselling it may be your best financial option.
Should babies wear clothes under the SNOO sack?
Your baby should still be clothed under the SNOO sack, even though it does provide an extra layer of clothing, but how warm you dress him is dependent on the weather. For the winter months, he wore his full zip up, footed, sleeper pajamas that had long sleeves and pants. Once it started to get warmer, I would have him sleep in just a onesie, but if the air conditioning was on full blast, he’d still stay in his long sleep, footed pajamas.
Does the SNOO shake too hard?
You’ll notice that on higher settings the SNOO will really jiggle your baby to calm his crying. It may seem too fast at first to most parents, but it’s exactly what your baby needs to soothe and fall asleep. It imitates the same motions that they felt in the womb.
SNOO’s platform only moves 1/4 inch side to side at its highest level which is perfectly safe for your baby to activate their calming reflex.
The fast jiggle works for some babies and not others which is why they allow you to adjust the settings and not have your SNOO bump up to the highest level.
Would I recommend the SNOO Safe Sleeper?
While every baby is completely different, it’s hard to say what will work for your child and your family.
The high price tag would definitely make me weary of purchasing it full price without knowing how my baby would react to it. However, if you can get it on sale and resell it later on, or even rent it, I would definitely recommend that!
Comparing our newborn sleep experience from the SNOO to having two other babies in a standard bassinet, I truly believe both my son and us got more sleep when using the SNOO. However, it wasn’t the absolute miracle that I was hoping for (Is 12 hours of sleep a night for a 6 week old too much to ask?!).
There are SO many parents that I have spoken to that absolutely swear by the SNOO. I’ve had several friends and relatives that got much needed sleep after days and weeks of sleep deprivation, all because of the SNOO.
So while you never know how it’s going to work for your baby, at least you are now aware of the pros and cons. Your best bet would be to buy it second-hand just so that you can resell it for a similar price.