This post was first published a couple years ago, and now that we’re thinking about having another baby, I know that I’ll have to look for another bassinet, which is why I’m re-sharing my thoughts on the SNOO.
Any parent knows that having a new baby is exhausting. Some babies are born great sleepers. Our son was not. He rarely slept more than 2 hours at a time and never napped more than 29 minutes (exactly 29 minutes), even as he got a little older. While it’s normal for newborns to wake up that often to eat, as they age, you can expect them to sleep longer stretches. But not our sweet babe. He just did not like to sleep unless he was being held.
Before we had Thomas, we did lots of research on the best baby products on the market and added them to our baby registry.
I read lots of pregnancy books.
I read lots of newborn baby care books.
We hired a doula.
We packed our hospital bags.
I bought postpartum supplies.
I learned about breastfeeding.
We purchased strollers (the Thule and the Vista 2)
Like all parents, we wanted to be as prepared as possible. And since I was terrified in particular about lack of sleep, the SNOO Smart Sleeper Bassinet was the first thing we purchased. It’s one of the mostly highly rated products on the market for babies and multiple friends reached out to tell us to buy it as soon as they heard I was pregnant.
You may already be familiar with the SNOO, but in case you’re just starting your research, I’ll share an overview of what it is. In short, it’s designed to help with some of the 5 S’s (swaddle, side/stomach, shush, swing, suck) that parents can leverage to help babies sleep. It had so many great reviews, and it was very expensive, so it must be the right thing to get, right? For some, maybe. For us, nope. We HATED the SNOO.
In today’s post, I’m going to dive into the details of the SNOO Bassinet, talk about how to use and assemble it, and then talk about why we didn’t like it for Thomas. I’ve had many friends rave about it, so this is your reminder to do your own research and make your own decisions about what to purchase and use for your baby. Remember, what’s right for YOU may not be what’s right for US!
Okay, let’s get right to it.
The SNOO Bassinet was created by Dr. Harvey Karp, the author of Happiest Baby on the Block. It’s a smart bassinet that uses gentle side to side rocking motions and plays white noise to promote better sleep and self soothing for your baby. Unless the SNOO is in Weaning mode (more on that below), the motion is ALWAYS on. The SNOO comes with an app that lets you change the speed of the motion and the white noise sound. You must connect your Snoo to wifi in order to use the app.
30 x 16 x 32 inches. It weighs 38lbs – so it’s not too clunky but also not small. I was able to carry it from room to room when we had overnight doulas, but you won’t want to move it around too often! The mattress and water resistant cover do come with the bassinet.
All SNOOs have built-in hooks to attach a sleep sack. This prevents your little one from rolling in their sleep, as babies always need to be placed on their back to sleep. The Snoo is compatible only with their own brand of SNOO sleep sacks that swaddles the baby and then attaches to the sides of the bassinet. The Snoo will not turn on if the hooks aren’t engaged with a sleep sack.
There are 5 options for white noise and the rocking motion so you can customize it for your baby’s sleep.
The rocking is horizontal. Hold your hand out flat in front of you with your palm facing down. Now bend at the wrist, right and left. That’s how to rocks. It doesn’t rock like a rocking chair.
Using the app, you also adjust the baseline noise and motion that it starts at when you turn it on, and you can also limit the motion so it doesn’t go above a certain level. You can also press the button on the Snoo to increase the motion without the app. Our doula used this feature when she stayed overnight.
This is the key distinguishing feature of the Snoo compared to other bassinets: the speed of motion and white noise adjusts based on your baby’s fussing. So, if the SNOO hears your baby crying, the motion gets faster and the white noise gets louder, automatically to soothe your baby.
You can also adjust the Snoo’s sensitivity to noise. Maybe you have a very quiet cryer – you can make the SNOO more sensitive to noise. Or maybe your baby is louder – you can make the SNOO less sensitive to noise.
The app will track stretches of sleep and when it was soothing your baby or when the SNOO was stopped. (This isn’t our log, but a screenshot my friend sent me. I wish Thomas slept that long of stretches when he was in it, ha!) It’s nice to have the recorded sleeping patterns in the app to reference.
You can control your SNOO remotely from the SNOO app which lets you pick the motion and noise for your baby. That’s also where you can restrict motion and adjust the baseline level (i.e. what speed it starts at).
SNOO has sleep consultants that you’re able to access at any time. I called them one time after we’d had Thomas for a few weeks (more on that below) and they were incredibly helpful and provided lots of suggestions. But ultimately, that phone call should have been a red flag.
Many parents setup their shipment of SNOO for 1 week before baby arrives. We set ours up about a month beforehand (more on that below) and got it synced with our wifi and app, which was nice since it took a little fiddling. It would have been stressful to figure out the day he came home from the hospital!
We also limited our motion right away since since it seemed to upset him more. I also wasn’t comfortable with the motion, even though SNOO states it’s safe even for preemies who are much smaller than Thomas was. Yes, the SNOO will adjust automatically, but you know your baby best, which is why they allow customizations within the app.
While this is around the time that some parents are in weaning mode, SNOO experts recommend waiting until at least 5 months. However, we took Thomas out of the Snoo at 4 months, as soon as he started to roll. The Snoo website says that it’s safe when kids start rolling because they’re strapped in but my friends pediatrician told her as soon as they roll they need to be out because they can get trapped upside down in the sack, and that the sack being strapped in doesn’t necessarily prevent rolling. I was also terrified of him rolling and the Snoo tipping over.
We never used the Weaning mode as a result since we went cold turkey from the SNOO to the crib, but the weaning mode means that the SNOO only turns on motion if it’s soothing, rather than the continuous motion that’s used in the normal mode.
Turn the sleeper upside down after taking the cover off. Insert the 4 legs into the bottom of the SNOO. Make sure the leg arrow matches the same color on the SNOO. Listen for a click and then tighten the bolts by hand.
Find the leg that has a long plastic power cord holder. Pull that off and place aside. Open the box with the power adapter and connect the two pieces. Once connected, plug the cord into the socket on the base of the SNOO.
Slip the bassinet over and plug the power cord into the wall. The power button should flash for a few seconds, and then light up white. Now you can reattach the power cord holder to the leg of the SNOO and put the cord in it to remove tripping hazards. At this point, you can put the SNOO fitted sheet on.
If your baby has reflux or a stuffy nose, SNOO sells leg lifters can be attached to the feet of the legs closet to babies head to add a slight incline. However, this is NOT a safe sleep practice.
Download the SNOO app and follow the prompts to sync it to your SNOO. There is a barcode underneath the bassinet to connect it to your app and then sync it to your wifi. You CAN use the SNOO without wifi by manually turning it on, but you cannot adjust it from the app if it’s not synced to your wifi.
Okay, now for the moment of truth: Is the SNOO worth it? No, not for us. The SNOO simply didn’t work for our baby. I was terrified of Thomas rolling in the middle of the night and my husband was uncomfortable with swaddling correctly at first, so the features of it gave both of us peace of mind. And, I was so scared of not sleeping since I really struggle without sleep and it triggers my anxiety. So I was desperate for anything to help with sleep.
The first few weeks, we figured Thomas was just being a newborn and not sleeping well and the SNOO couldn’t do much. But, after about two months without more than 1-2 hour stretches in the SNOO, my husband and I HATED it. We eventually sold the SNOO when Thomas was five months old and we were very ready to bid it good riddance.
I distinctly remember asking friends if it took a while for the SNOO to “work” since it seemed to upset Thomas far more than soothe him. I even called the SNOO customer support line to ask for their help since it didn’t seem to help Thomas. They suggested adjusting the sensitivity so it didn’t increase speed and sound as much and to limit the motion. This is what should have been a red flag… they were telling me to LIMIT the SNOO’s capabilities because what it was designed to do UPSET my baby. His best naps were if he happened to fall asleep without motion. And when I started using a traditional white noise machine in his room, he slept better. I did too – the pitch of the white noise built into the SNOO (which is supposed to mimic the womb) was super irritating.
There are options to rent from SNOO for $159 a month , and this would be a much better option in my opinion. However, if the SNOO works for your family and your babies, it could be worth buying if you plan to have multiple kids. But, it’s easy to re-sell if not. They do have a 30 day return window if you buy it, but it’s 30 days from when it’s delivered. So if your baby is late (mine was two weeks late), that eats into half of the trial period. I believe the Snoo Rental Program would have been a much better investment for us.
I also think they have tricky marketing to get you to spend more money:
Number one: it’s beautiful. I love the minimal design and the wood detailing. It was far prettier than other bassinets we considered!
We also loved that it strapped Thomas in on his back so that he couldn’t roll, which we were nervous about even when he was tiny. That gave me peace of mind.
The Snoo sack made swaddling easier as we learned.
And, like I mentioned, it was really easy to sell. We had multiple people reach out within one hour of posting it to sell it. I almost felt bad selling it to another mom since I hated it so much. But again, what works for me may not work for them.
If we have a second baby, we’d go for the halo bassinet, which is what our sleep consultant recommends.
You don’t NEED the SNOO. It’s not a game changer. I kind of wonder if people who swear by it had good sleepers to begin with and they would have been champion sleepers with or without the SNOO. So if you can’t afford it, don’t fret. You’ll be just fine without. Better off, I’d argue.
In retrospect, I’m really not comfortable with the SNOO from a safety perspective. And that’s what REALLY matters. The AAP does not recommend any products for sleep that require restraining a baby, especially if the product also rocks, i.e. the SNOO.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the SNOO if you’ve used it. Your experience will help others considering it since some people absolutely LOVE it!
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28 responses to “Snoo Bassinet Review (and why we HATED it)”
I definitely don’t think the Snoo works for all babies, but we used it for our 3rd and it worked great! The newborn stage was much easier then with my first two. We rented in and were really happy!
I also did not like it. The white noise from it is incredibly irritating. I really don’t think it helped my baby’s sleep. We also went cold turkey to the crib at 5 months where he has been sleeping quite well with minimal sleep training. It is a very pretty bassinet but definitely not worth it in my opinion either.
Hi! We actually bought your SNOO (from our neighborhood FB page). Our son was extremely premature—born at only 24 weeks gestation. We had several people recommend this bassist for micropreemies. Anyway, he spent 4 months in the NICU, but now that he’s home, he seems to sleep much better in it than a stationary crib/bassinet. The sleep sacks put him straight to sleep. The strap in feature is very similar to how they secured him when he was large enough to move from incubator to crib. I will say that during his NICU stay, he had to be woken up every 3-4 hours for “care times” (feed, change, temp, measurements), and we had to keep that schedule when he came home, so we don’t get to test how long he will sleep in it (duration of sleep stretches).
HI!!! I am SO relieved it worked well for you. Tommy and I were so nervous to sell it since we had a bad experience and have talked about y’all from time to time. THANK YOU for sharing that it works! You made my morning. I hope he is doing well ad I’m so happy he is home!!!
Hi Lydia – happy to hear you had a good experience following your nicu stay. I recently had a 25 weeker boy and am wondering whether I keep the Snoo or return it. As I am concerned that after his 4 month nicu stay he will only get a month or so use out of it. How long post nicu were you able to use your Snoo before you had to migrate to a crib?
I loved the snoo. Gave us great peace of mind that he was safe. The day we transitioned was sad but he outgrew it as was ready. I think to each their own but our baby loved it and I’m happy we got the snoo, we now have a great sleeper. He may have been a good sleeper without but I saw many nights where the snoo soothed him back to sleeep, it especially shined 2-4 months, by 5 months he was ready to move out and we transitioned him to the crib from ween mode no problem.
We LOVE the Snoo! Our first went from only being able to sleep on us for the first 3 months of life, to sleeping on her own within the first day of use!
That is amazing!!!
We used the Halo Bassinest and loved it. It’s so nice to have baby close, the feeling of sleeping next to them, but still practicing safe sleep. We used our own sound machine. She transitioned to crib well at 4 months—started running out of room—ha! Hope you are able to try it out if you, God willing, have a second baby. Each baby has a different temperament (even siblings in the same family), but you two would already be full of information and experience from your sleep coaches, which is the most helpful!
So glad to hear such good things about the Halo bassinet!!!
I had the same experience as you. Our son disliked the swaddle, white noise sound and the rocking. He just never slept well while we had it. Once we returned the SNOO, we both a side sleeper and he instantly started to sleep much better through the night . The SNOO was definitely not for us.
So I would like to point out that when you put babies arms out of the swaddles (there are snaps on the edges by the arms, they are very hidden) when they are old enough to roll, then they can’t do it, so it’s still a safer option.
We have loved and hated the snoo at different times. Sometimes my daughter hated the rocking but other times it has been a lifesaver. I don’t rave about it but I highly prefer it over any other bassinet that we’ve tried. And we’ve tried quite a few with three kids.
Kind of ridiculous that you say the snoo is designed to irritate babies…. While it may not have worked for your baby it doesn’t have thousands of 5 star reviews for nothing. Just because you didn’t like it doesn’t mean it was designed to upset babies.
I never said it was designed to irritate. I also said this: “I’ve had many friends rave about it, so this is your reminder to do your own research and make your own decisions about what to use for your baby. Remember, what’s right for YOU may not be what’s right for US!” And my blog post is about sharing my experience and that was my experience. 🙂 Please read more closely before you say accusatory words. Thanks!
The SNOO was a complete game changer for us. Mid pandemic with first child = no outside help of any kind. Just the wife and myself. The SNOO gave us our lives back (yes I know this sounds selfish) Our only hesitation was the lack of AAP support but c’est la vie!
I’m SO glad to hear it worked for you!!!! I wish it had worked for us too! We also had our first child during the pandemic – solidarity!!!
This was really informative, I’m about six months pregnant and just started freaking out about newborn care. I will take your advice and rent initially, in case we have any issues such as the aggravating pitch of the white noise machine, since I’m sensitive to that kind of thing!
Congrats on your pregnancy and I hope the newborn phase is smooth for you!
While I appreciate your article- you didn’t actually follow how to use the Snoo. I couldn’t help but wonder if your anxiety and conflicted feelings might have made the Snoo an unsuccessful experience?
I actually did follow it exactly for a while before calling Snoo and following their suggestions to change how we used it! 🙂 I don’t think my anxiety made my child cry more in the snoo but my conflicted feelings definitely impacted how I felt about it and my willingness (or lack thereof) to let my child cry in it!
Seemed you didn’t follow or trust it from the start?
I did follow it from the start and did trust it from the start, which is why I purchased it in the first place. 🙂 I lost confidence quickly.
We love ours. It has worked well for our son and I’m nervous to transition to the crib. Mainly, I’m nervous because he hasn’t figured out that he can sleep on his tummy and freaks out every time he rolls over in the night. That said, there are snaps on the Snoo swaddle and they recommend transitioning to arms-out swaddle when baby starts rolling. Having the arms out would prevent baby from rolling over in the sleep sack while clipped in.
I’ve Googled many times at 3AM and from what I can tell, there has never been a Snoo death if that eases anyone else.
Agree with you regardless! Rent over own, what works for one baby may not work for another, and it is not a “must have” although I have very much enjoyed it.
hahaha! ahhh the 3am google search….I am so familiar with that! I hope the crib transition goes well for you!! If you struggle, I highly recommend Sleep Shore consulting!
Your FREQUENT use of ALL-CAPS made this HARD to READ. It’s KIND of OBNOXIOUS. Also who calls themselves FOODIES anymore? LIVE LOVE LAUGHTER FOODIE Food FAN YuM YUM! The way you drag out the articles before getting to the point is clearly just to MAX them ADS INNIT?
You liked it enough to read it. Have a GREAT day!
It took a few tries but my baby loves the snoo and it saves / gives us so much more sleep.
I’m soooooo glad it worked for you!!!