So it’s been almost four months since we brought Oliver home from the hospital and I don’t think there has ever been a faster four months in our lives. There’s been a lot of ups and downs, trial and error, but one thing has stayed consistent: the SNOO! I think a SNOO Smart Sleeper review has been our most requested baby topic thus far, and we’re happy to share as it has been a staple around here. I truly can’t imagine our newborn days without it.
If you’re not familiar with the SNOO, let me break it down for you….if you want to get any sleep with a new baby at home, it is a newborn essential…at least it has been for us. It was created by Dr. Harvey Karp, author of Happiest Baby on the Block. If you are expecting, I highly recommend the book. Dr. Karp coined the term the 5 S’s. The 5 S’s are swaddle, side-stomach position, shush, swing, and suck. We started using it from day one with Oliver and little by little he started to enjoy it more and more, and we began to get longer stretches of sleep. The SNOO Smart Sleeper acts as though you’re gently rocking the baby to sleep (“swing”), with a built in sound machine (“shush”). The bassinet also has a swaddle that clips into place, for safe sleeping on baby’s back.
Your Questions about the SNOO Answered
Was the SNOO in Oliver’s nursery or your room? Does the noise bother you?
The SNOO has been in our room next to our bed. At first the sound machine took some time to get used to, but now we find it comforting. 🙂
Did you buy additional SNOO swaddles?
Yes, we bought an additional swaddle for each size to keep us covered during laundry days. When you buy the SNOO you get one swaddle in each size: small, medium, and large. I also like their Sleepea swaddle, without the clips for nap time and if you want to double swaddle.
How long do you think it will be used before your son outgrows it?
We recently had a call with one of Happiest Baby’s sleep specialists and they gave us some great tips for when we’re ready to transition to the crib. We plan on using it until around 6 months or until Oliver grows out of it. According to SNOO’s site, you can use the SNOO until your baby can get up on hands and knees.
What does your baby wear when sleeping in the SNOO sack?
We dress Oliver for bedtime similar to how we dress ourselves, so if I’m wearing a tank top and shorts to bed, I’ll put him in a short sleeve onesie. If I’m wearing pants to bed, I’ll put him in a long sleeve onesie. I feel like the SNOO sack acts as a “blanket” as far as an extra layer goes. We also keep the house around 70 degrees at night, which he seems to like.
How does the SNOO work?
Does it “rock” all night or only if baby fusses?
So the great thing about the SNOO is that you have a ton of options. The app gives you a motion limiter option, a weening mode option for transitioning to the crib, and you can control the level of motion the bassinet begins on. You can control the initial amount of motion the bassinet begins on. From day one when we turned on the SNOO we used the baseline setting: a light rock/sway from side to side. When your baby cries or fusses the SNOO recognizes that and moves up a level, so sound and motion increases. If you want to limit the amount of motion, you can turn on the motion limiter setting. When you get to weening mode for crib transition the SNOO will not rock, it will only use the white noise. On weening mode, the SNOO will only begin to rock if the baby fusses. You can also make SNOO more or less responsive to your baby’s cry by controlling the sensitivity level and control how loud the built in sound machine is. Also, the SNOO will turn off after increasing levels if the baby doesn’t soothe. That’s your signal that your baby needs you: a diaper change, a feeding, physical contact, etc.
How does it work with feedings? Do you wake him up to eat or let him sleep? (Or does he wake up on his own to eat?)
When we first brought Oliver home from the hospital we were waking him every three hours around the clock to eat. So we would put him to bed after his evening bottle at 7:30pm and then wake him at 10:30pm, 1:30am, and 4:30am, and then be up for the day around 7:30am for his morning feeding. At almost exactly one month old he started pushing that first (10:30pm) feeding and within days he pushed it to 12am on his own, so we followed his lead and stopped waking him up. From there, his sleep and eating schedule changed which I’ll share more in detail below, but we stopped all nighttime feedings around 3 months old.
When we were feeding Oliver in the middle of the night, we kept him in his SNOO sack, unless he needed a diaper change. We would feed him with the Hatch Baby Rest light on (a dim red color) and the sound machine going.
What’s your favorite feature of the SNOO?
My favorite feature of the SNOO is the app. It is such a help for so many reasons! For starters, with a newborn you’re so tired, to remember what’s going on or how your baby slept even a week ago can be hard to remember. I’ve loved being able to log all of his naps and nighttime sleeps. It’s helped tremendously with us making progress in his sleep patterns. Also, I love that you can control the SNOO from the app: turn it on, turn it off, put it up a level, bump it down a level, etc. It also has analytics to see how well your baby slept from one week or month to the next.
When do you use SNOO vs crib?
We currently use the SNOO only at nighttime, but used it for naps in the beginning. Now Oliver takes his first nap at home in the crib. It’s important to us for him to get used to sleeping in all different places and also think it will help with the transition to the crib. Then he usually naps on the go with us during the day and then his last cat nap in his crib at home.
Does the SNOO work?
Does the SNOO really help with sleeping through the night?
The big question! We don’t have anything to compare this to, as Oliver is our first baby and he has used the SNOO from day one, but I feel like looking back on his sleep logs, it’s clear the SNOO has helped. I’ll share some of his logs below. Take a look at the ages when looking at these.
So like I mentioned above, when we first brought Oliver home from the hospital we were waking him every three hours around the clock to eat (10:30pm, 1:30am, 4:30am and then 7:30am). He went from feeding three times a night to feeding two times at night. At almost exactly one month old he started pushing that first (10:30pm) feeding and within days he pushed it to 12am on his own. By 1 1/2 months old, he pushed his first stretch of sleep to 8 hours. The first stretch of sleep is always the longest. He basically was dropping those feedings on his own little by little, and with each feeding dropped I believe he was able to connect those sleep cycles each time because of the soothing nature of the SNOO.
At around 2 1/2 months his reflux started acting up badly, and feedings became a struggle. He wasn’t getting enough food during the day so he was waking up more hungry each night. We went back to one night time feed for a bit. Once we got the whole reflux issue figured out, sleep seemed to be better. At around 3 months he was sleeping through the night, from 8:30pm to 7:30am. Now, this doesn’t mean he connects his sleep cycles perfectly each time. If you take a look at the logs you could see a faint red line in some areas. That means we locked the SNOO on a certain level. The thicker red lines were when Oliver was fussing. When Oliver would fuss, we would let the SNOO go from baseline, to a level 1, and then up to a level 2 to calm him. Sometimes, we could tell just by his cry that he was fussing and didn’t need anything at the moment, so we would lock it on a level 2. Level 2 has increased sound and a slightly faster rock to the bassinet. The majority of the time the increased level would soothe him and we wouldn’t need to intervene with the pacifier. However, sometimes we did need to use the pacifier and that’s ok. Thankfully, once Oliver would calm down he would spit the pacifier out, so I feel okay that he’s not too dependent on it.
Anyway, to sum it up…yes! I definitely think the SNOO works and if we ever had another baby, I would definitely use it again! I found such a great Facebook community called SNOO mamas, and everyone is so helpful sharing tips. Plus, Happiest Baby could also match you up with a sleep consultant if you have questions or concerns, which brings me to the next question….
How to Combat the Four Month Sleep Regression
Did it help with the four month sleep regression?
Oliver is 16 weeks and we are just entering this phase now. The Happiest Baby blog describes the sleep regression happening anywhere from 3-4 months, so I guess it hit Oliver a little early. We started noticing some changes in his sleep patterns around 15 weeks.
Suddenly this little guy wanted to party! At 15 weeks, he started waking up 11:30pm, at 5:00am…sometimes at 1am. Basically there was no rhyme or reason to his wakings. Thankfully the SNOO increasing to a level 1 or level 2 helped rock him back to sleep. Some nights we’ve had to intervene with the pacifier, but honestly I don’t feel like it has been that bad. I of course stay awake watching the monitor like a hawk even when we lock it on a level to soothe him, just to make sure he’s calming back down and falling back to sleep. Sometimes I unlock the SNOO (bringing it back down to baseline) after he’s calmed down and he’s back to sleep. He surprised us with his longest stretch ever the other night, sleeping all the way through the night until 7am without the SNOO intervening at all. So yes, I think it helps with the four month sleep regression.
Would you consider the SNOO to be a newborn essential?
I think this is the perfect way to wrap up the post. Yes, I do think the SNOO is a newborn essential. It helped us get sleep in between all those frequent feedings very early on, which made us all feel more sane each morning. I truly believe it has helped Oliver connect his sleep cycles and learn to push his stretches. I love that Happiest Baby also now offers an option to rent the SNOO, in case you don’t want to fully take the plunge to purchase it. Such a game changer!
**I added some items mentioned in this post to our Amazon Favorites page. It’s been really easy to compile what we buy and use daily on there. Click HERE to check it out.
**For more baby posts, check out these posts HERE.