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Getting the $1,500 Snoo bassinet was the best parenting decision I've made

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The Snoo bassinet in a baby's bedroom Rob Ludacer
  • The Snoo helps soothe babies with a combination of motion and sound.

  • It was created by well-known pediatrician Harvey Karp and based on his 5S's theory.

  • The bassinet has a price tag of $1,500 to purchase or $150 per month to rent.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

To say I was unprepared for life with a newborn when I had my first baby is the understatement of the century.

Yes, I had the basics covered. We had plenty of diapers, cute outfits handed down by friends, a stroller for adventures, a couple of swaddles, and a bassinet on my side of the bed. I paid little attention to sleep because all books assured me that newborns slept 14 to 17 hours a day, which sounded like I could get a decent amount of sleep myself.

But I quickly learned that my sleep set up was less than ideal. After weeks of getting sleep in one-hour chunks, I had an emotional breakdown. A friend who had a baby weeks before me had reached out to see how we were doing, and I told her I was miserable and probably depressed.

"You need a Snoo," she told me.

I was introduced to the one thing I should've added to my baby registry

Based on research by well-known parenting expert and pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, The Snoo is a smart bassinet that reacts when a baby fusses, and soothes them with a combination of white noise and motion. The idea is to help replicate the environment babies are used to in the womb, while also making sure they are in the safest sleep environment possible.

The bassinet applies four of the five S's in Karp's "5S theory": swaddling, shushing, swaying, and sucking, if your baby is into pacifiers (the fifth S is holding a baby on their side or stomach, which is not meant to be used for sleeping).

If the Snoo is unable to soothe your baby, it will stop rocking and send you an alert to your phone letting you know your baby needs you.

The bassinet also comes with an easy-to-use Velcro swaddle that clips into the bassinet to ensure the baby is always sleeping flat on their back. It comes with a price tag of $1,500, or about $150 per month if you rent it.

One of the biggest criticism the bassinet gets is its cost. "If you hire a 14-year-old to babysit, it'll cost you about $15 an hour … conversely, Snoo rents for about 15 cents an hour (less than $5/day). That means for the cost of a Starbucks, you'll get more sleep, safer sleep, sleep, and a trained baby," Karp told Insider in an email.

My first thought when opening the Snoo box was how stylish and elegant it was. Unlike all the other bright and plastic baby products we owned, the Snoo has a beautiful minimalist design. We quickly installed it and anxiously waited for bedtime to see if this smart bassinet was the answer to all of our problems.

The Snoo actually works

It was. Not immediately, of course. But our nights went from sleeping one hour at a time, to sleeping four hours, to sleeping eight hours by the time our son was eight weeks old, to sleeping through the night at three months.

I started feeling more like myself and began to enjoy being around my baby. It suddenly became clear to me what a deep and damaging effect sleep deprivation had on me. I went from thinking I had ruined my life by bringing a baby into the world to enjoying every second he was awake.

According to Karp, exhaustion, persistent crying, fear, and feeling bereft of help are key postpartum triggers. "Snoo immediately helps all four of the stressors that cause PPD," said Karp.

When I say the Snoo was life-changing for me, I don't say that lightly

When I found out I was pregnant with twins years later, the first thing we did was to get a second Snoo. I knew we were going to need all the help we could get with three kids under three, especially at night. And that turned out to be even more true when the twins were born mere days before New York State declared a lockdown due to COVID-19 and we were left to do it all on our own, without our support network.

The Snoo was up for the challenge, becoming an extra set of hands when we needed to tend to the twins in the middle of the night.

The app that accompanies the bassinet was also helpful for me. I was able to learn my children's sleep patterns and better understand their needs. No child is the same, and so the data that the app provided me was more helpful than any sample schedule I got.

Some people in my life were skeptical of the Snoo

When we got our first Snoo back in 2018, the bassinet was not as well-known as it is now, so we got a lot of questions from friends and family. I remember my doula asking me what would happen if we lost power, to which I answered, "It's still a bassinet with a swaddle".

Another common question was if we were worried our kids would want to forever be rocked to sleep.

It's a fair question. The Snoo comes with a wean function for when you are ready to transition your baby to a regular crib. We used it with all three kids and none of them required rocking in our arms to sleep.

One of our Snoos is now lovingly called "the traveling Snoo." I've passed it down to a friend I met in our postpartum support group. Now she is passing it down to a different friend of ours. Another friend from the same postpartum support group rented a Snoo.

It's been almost four years since those first sleepless nights with my son, and I still will talk to anyone about our experience with the Snoo. I genuinely don't want any parent deal with what I went through.

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