Jennifer Van Grove: Snoozing On The Mommy Job

By Jennifer Van Grove
San Diego Union-Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Columnist Jennifer Van Grove shares her experiences with the “Snoo”. As Van Grove put’s it, “It’s funny (but not) how minimal sleep and lengthy stretches of trying to comfort an inconsolable baby will eventually make $1,200 sound like a totally fair price to pay for a baby bed.”

San Diego Union-Tribune

Earlier this year, I brought home something both completely life-changing and terrifying. Sure, I could be talking about Makena, my now 3-month old baby girl. But really I’m referring to Snoo, the smart bassinet that my husband and I purchased after a month or so of sleep deprivation.

The invention of Dr. Harvey Karp, the pediatrician and author behind the Happiest Baby enterprise, Snoo promises better sleep for baby, and parents by association, by using a combination of white noise and movement to lull your wee one, encased in the accompanying swaddle sack, to sleep.

The bassinet doubles as an always-on soothing device, equipped with tiny microphones to cycle through five levels of louder sound and faster jiggling that correspond with the intensity of baby’s cries. It turns off, and notifies parents via push notification, only when the baby can’t be calmed.

In some ways, Snoo is like a more hands-on Amazon Echo for a newborn, meaning it’s a digital assistant always listening for its wake word, or cry, in this case, and equipped to respond with an answer that’s more often right than wrong.

Confession time. I didn’t have the mental capacity to ponder the potential pitfalls of this too-good-to-be-true sounding gadget before buying one. Nope. I just needed help, and fast.

Later, I would read about other moms’ concerns, which range from fear about the Snoo interfering with parents’ ability to bond with their babies to outright disdain for parents who are seemingly lazy and unwilling to rock their babies to sleep. One might also worry about what Happiest Baby will do with babies’ sleep data, which the company does collect, or be uneasy about introducing infants to a device at birth.

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