I'm starting to put a few product reviews on this site, starting with one that may be a little surprising - the Snoo sleeper from the Happiest Baby (this and other links in this post are affiliate links).
The Snoo Sleeper was definitely a splurge and I did a fair amount of research before buying it - it helped me to make the decision, and also helped me to figure out a way to only pay £97 for it (rather than £1,195). Here's my take on the famous smart cot and why I'm glad I bought it.
Why buy the Snoo Sleeper
If you've seen the ads or taken a look through the site, you've seen the promises. The marketing for the Snoo Sleeper says that it*:
- Securely swaddles babies on the back. That means once your precious little one is swaddled in their cozy SNOO Sack and clipped into the bassinet, they will remain safely on their back all sleep long.
- Triggers the innate calming reflex, which is a baby's “off switch” for fussing.
- Aids a baby’s sleep with soothing, womb-like sensations.
- Automatically responds and adjusts to your baby's fussing with motion and sound, often soothing upsets in under a minute.
- Reduces the need for sleep training. SNOO's weaning mode allows for a gentle transition to cot.
- SNOO boosts confidence. With the extra help SNOO provides, new parents feel more like themselves, which contributes to overall wellbeing.
I've even read articles that claim that it'll buy you 1-2 hours more sleep per night and help you to sleep train your baby. The Happiest Baby site claims that white noise makes 80% of babies fall asleep in 5 minutes.
It's meant to be the safest cot on the market. I can see why - there's no way for your baby to turn over. It means that overly anxious parents like me find it extremely reassuring, but it does limit your baby's movement and articles online claim that it might affect milestones or cause flat head.
As for sleep, the cot listens out for your baby fussing and has a basic mode where white noise and gentle swaying keep your baby asleep for longer and then higher levels with louder white noise and more swaying to get them back to sleep. It makes sense that this would keep babies asleep for longer, and can sometimes save your back when they're really fighting sleep but you need to put them down for a bit.
Does it deliver on the promises?
The safety side is pretty straight forward - the sleep sacks strap the baby into the cot and velcro between their legs so even the wriggliest baby won't be able to get out of it. I've been making sure that our baby gets lots of time to move around during the day and she's in line with the usual milestones for rolling around (and has a pretty round head).
I wasn't really comfortable with using the soothing features of the cot until she was over 12 weeks old. Before then, I reasoned that if she was fussing she was probably hungry, wet, or lonely so didn't want a cot to try to soothe her to sleep instead of doing it myself. It's possible that I could have made my own life easier by letting it do its thing but there we go. My baby follows the usual sleeping patterns for her age, but she was happy to just lie and chill in her cot from a pretty young age which I credit to the Snoo. When I'm putting her to bed, I can also sometimes put the Snoo on a higher level and see if it will soothe her rather than always relying on my arms and back muscles to get her off to sleep. In short, it's not a magic bullet - particularly not in the 4th trimester when you're still going to have to get up regularly as the baby needs to feed and change every few hours.
But now that we're in the 4 month sleep regression, it's been incredibly helpful. You can speak to their sleep consultants about your problems - ours suggested that I lock the sleeper on level 1 rather than letting it respond to her so that she always has a higher level of noise and movement to keep her asleep. Last night she was totally awake at 2am so I tried it. Earlier in the week, a 2am wake up turned into 2 hours of me trying to soothe her and get her back to sleep, only for her to wake up again at 4, 5 and then 6. Last night I just put her to bed on level 1 and she (and I) were back to sleep pretty quickly. It also prevented her from waking up and fussing as much as previous nights, which is a huge change from this week's regression to 1-2 hour sleep stints with lots of fussing in between.
Pros and cons of the Snoo Sleeper
- Great build quality
- Incredibly safe
- Extra sleep sacks etc. are only around £7, if you don't mind buying the old patterns on sale
- Helps to soothe your baby
- Takes up less space than lots of traditional cots and Moses baskets
- If you wake up and panic that you've taken the baby to bed with you because you're sleepy, the noise of the Snoo is immediately reassuring because it doesn't turn on without the baby being clipped in (yes, this has happened quite a lot)
- You can customise settings depending on what your baby prefers
- The app tracks when your baby is in the cot and it's turned on so you don't need to enter sleep data manually
- You can swaddle arms in or arms out, which is extremely handy when your baby is completely against arms-in swaddling like mine - the swaddle is also loose on the hips so is safe for babies with hip dysplasia too
- You can speak to a sleep consultant about your problems
- It's customisable for your baby depending on what they prefer
- Not all babies love it - my baby particularly doesn't love the higher settings
- The mattress is weirdly thin and flimsy - I expected something less annoying for the price
- It can be a bit annoying to add things like mobiles and baby monitors to as they mostly try to sell their own accessories but you can find workarounds on Amazon
- You're only using it for 6 months max and need to find another solution for after that
What's the cheapest way to get a Snoo Sleeper?
I looked into all of the options for getting a Snoo Sleeper, which are:
- Buy new - £697-£1,195
- Buy used - £400-£600
- Rent - from £80pm
We assumed that we'd be using it for the full 6 months and plan to have 2 children, which affected the maths.
Snoos sell on eBay and elsewhere for around £400-£600 second hand, but I'm not sure whether they can then resell for same amount so I think buying second hand and selling third hand won't allow you to then resell for the same amount. I'm also not sure whether owners of second hand Snoos can use the sleep consultant feature.
You can rent the Snoo Sleeper for around £80 per month (I can't seem to find a direct rental in the UK but places like Badoodle and Fat Llama do offer them). So that would come to around £480 for one child or £960 for two, assuming you use it for the full 6 months and both children take to it.
Finally, Snoo run regular sales of around 40% off and offer timed delivery so you don't need to live around a huge box until your baby arrives. That means that you can buy the Snoo for £717, and the site offers another £20 off if you sign up to the newsletter so we're looking at £697 upfront for the cot.
How to get a Snoo Sleeper for £97 overall
So that takes us to my solution. I realised that rental would actually cost me more than buying the Snoo in the sale and then reselling it once we were done with it.
Depending on what the market is like by the time we sell up, we could end up only paying £97 for the Snoo Sleeper, and in the worst case scenario based on current sold prices on eBay, around £297. I bought ours in the Black Friday sale and had it delivered in March, but I've seen sales throughout the year so you just need to keep an eye out.
Overall, if I were paying full price and unable to resell, I'd find it hard to balance whether the additional sleep is worth £697, but I think the safety aspect is. But given that I'll be spending considerably less on it, it's definitely been worth it for my peace of mind and whatever extra sleep it has bought me.
*Taken directly from the Happiest Baby website