It wasn't until I became a mother that I began to appreciate just how much money there is in the baby sleep industry. And it wasn't until I became a mother that I felt all too willing to part with my precious dollars for the magical sleep program or sleep consultant or whatever solution that would get my baby to sleep through the night — or even just sleep at all. Two-hour stretches just weren't enough for me to feel like a functional human being.
Those first few weeks, every nap and sleep required rocking and rocking and more rocking. As soon as the sleeping baby was moved from my arms to the cot, he woke right up, and rocking resumed. I was a living zombie with perpetually painful back and shoulders from all the rocking.
At one point, I was ready to throw $200 a week at a night nurse to come 6–8 hours overnight (or however many hours $200 would get me) just so I could sleep soundly for one day each week. But as sleep-deprived as I was, it was obvious to me that the maths didn't add up.
Because there's this thing called the SNOO, a smart bassinet that rocks babies to sleep… all night long. It even detects crying and automatically ramps up the rocking and white noise in response. Yes, it's far more expensive than any other bassinet I've seen in a baby store, which was why I didn't purchase it in the first place. Still, it works out far cheaper than hiring a night nurse and has a 30-day money-back guarantee. So in a moment of desperation, I went for it.
A mere week in, I knew I wasn't going to be calling on the money-back guarantee. It didn't magically rock our baby to sleep for 12 hours straight, but almost right away it became a lot easier to get him down to sleep. When he woke during the night, the SNOO increased its rocking and white noise, and oftentimes that was all he needed to fall back asleep for a couple more hours.
Because it was so good at putting our baby to sleep, I started putting him awake in the SNOO and leaving the room. Sometimes he fell asleep, sometimes I needed to go in and help him out. Gradually, my intervention was needed less and less.
We used the SNOO for four months, and can confidently say it was worth every penny. I was also thoroughly impressed with the after-sales service, which includes free sleep consultancy, and when our first unit encountered some issues, the replacement process was fast and easy. However, by far the most valuable reward we've reaped from it is that it taught our baby to fall asleep independently, without the need for an excruciating period of sleep training.
At four months, we cold-turkey transitioned him from being swaddled in the SNOO to having both of his arms free and sleeping in the crib. Having been rocked and swaddled tightly for so long, I was fully prepared for at least a week of disaster night wake-ups. The disaster lasted one night before he was sleeping through again.
I don't think I have a unicorn baby. His sleep was absolutely rubbish before we got the SNOO, even though newborns are meant to be very sleepy. I am convinced that this magical smart bassinet taught him to sleep well, so thank you, robot nurse. This is why I love technology. It was 100% worth the splurge, and so far it's the one item that I consider a must-buy.
Unfortunately, babies change all the time. And with teething, sickness, sleep regressions, mental development… I'm not naïve enough to think that sleep is going to be all smooth sailing from here on out. But for now at least, I'm not complaining!