Should Babies Snooze Without SNOO cots?

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September 13, 2021
3 min read

Seldom does a consulting day go by without someone asking my opinion regarding the Snoo.

What is a SNOO?

This space-age bassinet was designed by a US paediatrician to simulate settling methods (swaddling, rocking, etc) intended to elongate a baby’s sleep and help them overcome unsettled behaviour. For many sleep-deprived parents, this provides a much-needed respite from frequent feeds and excessive crying.

Essentially, it’s a robotic night-nanny responding to your baby’s cry volume, rocking and shushing your baby through the night.

Problems with the SNOO

Aside from the hefty price tag, there are also fears regarding security, with US embedded-device security firm RedBalloon recently hacking a Snoo via WiFi, to make it shake violently, to highlight security vulnerabilities. Furthermore, although pitched to reduce the incidence of SIDS, the actual SIDS guidelines continue to recommend an empty cot/bassinet with a firm mattress; no gimmicks.

Also, although there’s no current evidence for harm regarding radiation exposure, I remain somewhat reluctant to have so much gadgetry around a newborn baby.

Finally, and most importantly, the Snoo misses the point.

Put simply, if your baby needs constant resettling, then there is something being missed that’s causing this unsettled behaviour.

The key is to identify it, then remedy it. Once this is done, you won’t need any robots to hush your baby through the night.

Parents need to look to uncover the cause of unsettled behaviour

I see countless babies with untreated causes of unsettled behaviour, from colic to eczema, protein intolerance to reflux, and everything in between. I deeply believe that glossing over these treatable conditions does a disservice to babies.

Prevention is the key, so yes – babies should/can snooze without SNOOs.

What if I’ve already spent a fortune on a SNOO and I’m using it to settle my baby?

If you’ve already purchased a SNOO do not despair – you are not a bad parent, quite the contrary, you’ve invested in something to create an ideal environment for your baby, you’re a FANTASTIC parent!

What I want you to be conscious of is monitoring your baby for cues of wind and all the other reasons that could be causing them to be unsettled.  The aim is to do our very best to listen to them, to watch them and understand what they are telling us, so that we can help alleviate causes of discomfort.

The other aim prior to 6 weeks is to create healthy sleep foundations, in the first 3 weeks of life you can cuddle or rock your baby as they drift off to sleep – don’t worry about negative sleep associations in this period, just enjoy the bonding time.

After 3 weeks we want to start creating healthy sleep foundations – e.g. our babies being put down sleepy, but not asleep; allowing them to fall asleep independently. Remember, they are still learning at this point, so if you’re turning the SNOO off or down for even one sleep a day – that’s a terrific start.

To recap – you’re a great parent, never forget this! Always look for the cause of the unsettled behaviour so you can prevent it – rather than mask it – and work towards independent settling in time.

I’m using the SNOO and I’d like to wean my baby off it, what do you recommend?

At the Dr Golly program we believe weaning off the Snoo bassinet as soon as you can, or even better, avoid using one in the first place. As discussed above SNOO bassinets can mask unsettled behaviour and if your baby needs constant resettling, then there is something being missed.

The key is to identify why your baby is unsettled, then remedy it. Once this is done, you won’t need any fancy bassinets to rock your baby through the night.

If you are already using a SNOO, then we recommend using the wean function for few days, before using it as a bassinet only, turning off the rocking feature.

If your bub has been in the SNOO for a while, then it’s normal to take a little longer to wean off it.

Learn more about:

1. The history of Red Nose day & why it’s leading to more Colic here

2. Red Nose Day & creating safe sleep environments here

Learn more about the Dr Golly Philosophy  here.

Shop the Dr Golly age appropriate routines  here.