Does The SNOO Bassinet Really Help Babies Sleep Better? (2023 Review)
The Good Trade editors endorse products we’ve personally researched, tested, and genuinely love. Learn more about our methodology and business model here.
With a sleep-deprived brain and bloodshot eyes, I reviewed the notes I’d hurriedly typed into my phone during our daughter’s one-month newborn checkup. “Try the Snoo” was at the top of the list.
The SNOO promises to lengthen infant naps and nights with a gentle rocking motion and soothing white noise, as well as boost the safety of their sleep.
We were desperate for our baby to sleep more than she was in her bedside bassinet, and our pediatrician recommended that we consider the SNOO bassinet. Advertised as “an extra set of hands,” the SNOO promises to lengthen infant naps and nights with a gentle rocking motion and soothing white noise, as well as boost the safety of their sleep with a swaddle that clicks into the crib and prevents them from rolling. If your baby begins to cry, the SNOO will rock faster and increase the white noise to soothe them. Additionally, it connects to WiFi and has a corresponding app that allows you to track and adjust the motion and sound levels yourself.
This high-tech bed was developed by famous pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, perhaps best known as the author of Happiest Baby On The Block. Continuing his quest to help babies and their caregivers get quality rest, Dr. Karp’s LA-based company (Happiest Baby) launched the SNOO in 2016, manufacturing it at a reputable factory in China that specializes in children’s products. I was drawn to the fact that this product was created by a respected pediatrician, not just a tech company.
The internet knew I was entering parenthood and had been marketing to me accordingly, so I’d seen several ads for the SNOO even before giving birth. The price tag of $1,695 caused me to categorize it as an unnecessary luxury until a medical professional suggested it for our family. Thankfully, Happiest Baby has a rental option for $159 a month, which makes it much more accessible. I ordered a rental that afternoon, and five days later, the renowned sleep solution was delivered to our front door.
The packaging was sturdy and well-designed, and setting up the SNOO took just a few minutes: attach the legs, plug it in, download the app and connect the bed to a WiFi network. The SNOO appeared brand new, with no signs of previous use. Each one undergoes a rigorous five-step sanitizing and reconditioning process (outlined at the bottom of the product page) in between rentals. It also comes with a brand-new mattress, fitted organic cotton sheet, and two organic cotton swaddles (one small and one medium), which are yours to keep. I ordered a second set of the swaddles so we’d have a backup in each size when they needed to be washed.
Once it was set up and naptime came, I placed my baby in the swaddle. I was blown away at what happened next: she started to fuss, the SNOO began rocking her faster, and she was fast asleep in less than a minute. I texted family members and mom friends, raving about the immediate results. Over the next few weeks, she became more accustomed to the SNOO, and we noticed that the naps she took in it were consistently longer than the ones she took in a Pack-n-Play or any other location.
I wish I could say that my baby blissfully slept like an adult from that moment forward, but no product in the world can fully bypass the reality of newborn sleep woes.
I wish I could say that my baby blissfully slept like an adult from that moment forward, but no product in the world can fully bypass the reality of newborn sleep woes. However, this smart little bed significantly helps. Before the SNOO, one of our biggest struggles was transferring our daughter from our arms to the stillness of her bassinet. She would switch from sleepy to alert and enraged as soon as she felt a motionless mattress underneath her. With the SNOO, we could transfer her with much less drama, and she quickly began to allow us to put her down “drowsy but awake,” just like all the baby sleep experts suggest.
Many customers say that the SNOO also helps their little one fall back asleep without human intervention by ramping up the rocking when it senses crying in the middle of the night. In our experience, there was usually another need (diaper change, hunger, etc.) that required us to get the baby up once she started crying during a snooze. I appreciate that the SNOO will not keep rocking an upset baby indefinitely. In fact, once it escalates to its highest setting, it will automatically turn off and only resume once it senses that the swaddle has been unclipped and then reattached––signifying that the parent has taken the baby out to tend to them and then put them back in once they’re calm.
Designed to be used until a baby is six months old, 25 pounds, or pushing up on hands and knees (whichever comes first), the SNOO has a “weaning mode” that helps prepare your baby for the next phase. Our daughter grew quickly and we transferred her to a standard crib around four months old. The transition was as smooth as we could have hoped for.
Once we were done with our rental, we loaded it into the original packaging and scheduled a pickup. The whole process was streamlined and efficient. We loved the experience so much that we planned to rent again for our second baby but had a friend generously let us borrow the SNOO she owns.
This time, we had the bed set up before we came home from the hospital, and our baby has used it since day one. Most of her naps are “contact naps” because we love the snuggles, but she happily rests in her smart sleeper whenever necessary. As I type this, my newest newborn is slowly swaying back and forth in her SNOO, getting a solid several hours of safe sleep—something I only could have dreamed of when my oldest was her age.
The SNOO isn’t a replacement for vigilant caretaking. It can’t pop a pacifier back into a baby’s mouth or sing their favorite song.
The SNOO isn’t a replacement for vigilant caretaking. It can’t pop a pacifier back into a baby’s mouth or sing their favorite song when they’re upset. Neither can it feed them at 3 A.M. What it can do is offer a safe environment for sleep while mimicking the motion and sounds of the womb, and it does that impressively well. I recommend it to all new parents.
- The SNOO is a smart sleeping bed created by pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp.
- The SNOO mimics the sounds and feel of the womb for newborns by rocking and playing white noise.
- A safety swaddle helps keep the baby in place, and sensors in the SNOO will react to the baby’s crying by rocking harder. There is a safety shut-off in place.
- The SNOO is available for purchase or rental. It is designed specifically for newborns up to six months old.
- When used as directed, the SNOO is a helpful sleep aid for young infants (especially for naps), though does not replace the need for human caretakers who can feed, change, and sing to the baby.
Ellie Hughes spent several years as a sustainable fashion blogger and leading the marketing for brands aiming to operate with ethics and the environment as their priority. She is now a freelance writer and marketing consultant living in Portland with her husband, two young daughters, and corgi.