They’re all about the sleep, ‘bout the sleep, ‘bout the sleep… – Lowell Sun
My son, expecting his first child in June, tells me he plans on getting a SNOO for the baby.
“A who?” I said.
“A SNOO,” he repeated. “It’s a baby bed that can detect when the baby is fussy, that jiggles and turns on white noise to put the baby back to sleep so the parents don’t have to.”
Here we thought we were savvy in the ’90s with baby monitors that looked like walkie-talkies.
Ah, but 2022 technology being what it is (excessive) and parents-to-be being who they are (tired already), the latest baby accoutrements include a monitor that not only hears the baby, but films the baby, even measures the temperature and humidity in the baby’s room.
Today’s new parents can buy an app that interprets cries so they don’t have to; a sock that measures movement and heartbeat so parents know the baby is breathing; and the piece de resistance for somebody’s extra cash: a machine that detects, then tweets to a host of waiting family and friends, when the unborn baby kicks.
My son and his fiancee are just old-school — or broke — enough to take a pass on most of the gadgets.
Except for that SNOO.
“I just think it’s comforting to think we might get some sleep,” my son said.
And therein lies the operative word, “might.”
Far be it from me to put the screws on Chris and Kate’s SNOO to-do. And yet the way I see it — the way I lived it three times — parents of infants have been throwing darts at the problem of sleeping through the night since the phrase circadian rhythm was first uttered.
“There are thousands of inventions in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s category for small beds for newborns or infants, e.g. bassinets or cradles with rocking mechanisms, the earliest of which are from the mid-1800s,” says the Smithsonian Magazine.
How well I remember the multitude of (unsuccessful) tricks with my trio to include Ferberizing, aka letting the baby cry it out. Our bleary eyes told the tale, until, child development being what it is, it was just simply time for the baby to sleep through the night.
In fact, there will always be a few universal infantile character traits, no matter the year 1822 or 2022, that new parents will ever try to master and control:
The baby will poop.
The baby will spit up.
The baby will cry.
The baby will have trouble eating.
The baby will not sleep through the night.
Any of which will cause overtired, overanxious parents, many of whom are working remotely these days at a desk in the nursery, to run out and buy or rent a SNOO.
I must say if I were in my son’s slippers, I wouldn’t be absolutely averse. The SNOO may be worth a try, especially because the $1,600 setup is available via rental for $159 a month. Reviews are mixed, I should point out, with an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 from among almost 3,000 users, including this glowing one:
“It was our second life-changing event in the span of a week. Best sleep-deprived, 3 a.m. purchase of my life,” said one consumer.
But then: “Our baby hated it,” said another. “He slept worse in it than in his crib.”
I hope the SNOO is true blue for my son and his new little family. I hope if it’s not the end-all good juju it claims to be, that it helps, even if just a little boo, err, bit.
I did just see on the SNOO’s official website, meanwhile, that the baby has to be weaned from the SNOO to the crib at 5 or 6 months when she no longer is addicted to constant motion.
Did somebody say the word wean? Which the parents have to do? Which can be a lengthy, involved process with its own store of confusion and sleeplessness?
Face it, I want to tell my son: In parenting, there’s no real magic or guarantees.
Baby gadgets or no baby gadgets, the real energizer bunny is you.
Debra-Lynn B. Hook of Kent, Ohio, has been writing about family life since 1988. Visit her website at www.debralynnhook.com; email her at email@example.com, or join her column’s Facebook discussion group at Debra-Lynn Hook: Bringing Up Mommy.