The SNOO bassinet doesn’t go on sale until November 1 in the US but it’s already created a massive furore online.
The high-tech bassinet is the brainchild of paediatrician, Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby On The Block. He told The Wall Street Journal that it could “usually calm a crying baby in less than a minute”.
So what’s so special about SNOO?
Well, it does pretty much what a human would do. It rocks babies, with a slow swing if they’re asleep, or a faster jiggle if they’re upset. It also plays soothing noises – “soft rain”, if they’re asleep, or “womb sound” if they’re crying. It’s all done automatically, without anyone having to be in the room, pressing different buttons.
Dr Karp says nowadays, parents are often raising their kids alone, without relatives or friends to lend a hand.
“You’re supposed to have that extra help,” he points out.
He says SNOO is “like having your mother-in-law in your bedroom without having your mother-in-law in your bedroom”.
Life is easier with a baby who sleeps. Image via happiestbaby.com
Dr Karp stresses that the bassinet's rocking and soothing noises will only help babies who are just plain tired. If they're crying because they need a feed or a nappy change, parents obviously need to step in.
“We don’t want people thinking this is some kind of magic bed - a ‘Neglect-o-Matic’ or whatever you want to call it - where you just put the baby down and they sleep for eight hours. Babies don’t do that.”
When a video of the bassinet was posted by Mashable, parents lost their minds. Within a day, there had been more than 4000 comments.
"How about enjoying holding your baby and rocking them every chance you get?" wrote Sarah Torres. "They grow so fast that I just cherish every second being close to them. I know eventually they won't want to be."
"For the low cost of $1300, you can have as little physical contact with your baby as possible," posted Brandi Cote. "This is the most first-world product I have ever seen."
"Perfect!" commented Chris Brown. "Get that and a laptop, big screen TV, iPhone and iPad, then you'll never have to deal with them, till they shoot up the school seeking attention from you."
"Or, if you don't want a child that moves around makes noise, and requires your attention, might I suggest the cheaper option of a packet of Durex?" Vincent Aurelius added.
Okay. Steady on.
A baby being swaddled in the SNOO bassinet. Image via happiestbaby.com
I wouldn't buy a magical jiggle-shoosh bassinet myself. My babies both slept within arm's length of me. My presence seemed to comfort them, and they didn't often cry during the night. But that was my experience.
I had friends who had their babies in a cot in a different room, and some of them were up and down all night, trying to soothe their crying children back to sleep. They would head to work the next day, sometimes operating on an hour's sleep. That's no way to live. That's not healthy.
I can see this kind of product could appeal to parents whose babies have real trouble sleeping, like the ones who never close their eyes for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. How are you supposed to "cherish every second" if you are so massively sleep-deprived that you can barely function? It's been proven that new mums who sleep for less than six hours a night are more likely to develop post-natal depression.
Sure, post comments about the bassinet. But have a little sympathy for parents who are genuinely suffering.