On Friday, March 31 the FDA approved the use of the SNOO for safe, infant back sleep. Prior to this, the Happiest Baby company touted SNOO as having the ability to help babies sleep longer – an added “1 – 2 hours of sleep per night.” The device (FDA De Novo approved medical device) is designed to keep baby on his or her back, with a strap-in sleep sack that wraps around baby’s body. When baby begins to stir or wake, the SNOO motion-activates to gently rock baby back to sleep. The device is only approved for babies up to age 6 months, who are not frequently rolling over nor have any medical contraindications.
Caregiver use of the bassinet has been controversial in the past, with some medical professionals suggesting that the device can impair natural human bonding and infant learning; restricts infant movement; can lead to plagiocephaly; and can actually lead to sleeping trouble in the long-run. The device, however has received clearance as a safe sleep space, as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in a supine position, on a firm, flat surface to reduce the risk of SIDS. The SNOO was not given clearance for it’s risk reduction, but rather it does not increase the risk of SIDS.
As a postpartum doula, I have the first-hand experience of working with families who have and have not used the SNOO. Each family chooses their sleeping style based on what works for them, and in that regard I neither discourage nor encourage parents to use a particular device to aid in getting more sleep. I only encourage them to use safe practices in helping their own child sleep well. What I have found works is swaddling (which the SNOO supports), sound (the SNOO does have sound effects) and a content baby before he lies down.
Sources: www.fda.gov, Happiest Baby, Susan Klemm MS, OTR/L; Stacy Conder, PT