One doctor came up with the answer for fixing lack of sleep caused by a new baby crying and fussing at night. Dr. Harvey Karp spoke with Personal Space about his invention, the SNOO smart sleeper, a high-tech bassinet that detects when a baby starts moving and crying and automatically starts rocking and playing white noise — which new parents can control from the comfort of their own bed on an app.
The modern-looking chic bassinet has three speed levels, and adjusts itself to soothe a baby, depending on how much he or she is crying. It usually puts them back to sleep, and if it doesn’t work within three minutes, it automatically shuts off and it’s time for mom or dad’s help. (Probably mom, just saying.)
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis use it, he talked about it on an episode of Dax Shepard’s podcast “Armchair Expert with Dax,” saying it helped their first baby sleep a full six hours at just three days old. Molly Sims and Zoe Saldana use it and Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are investors.
Is it too good to be true?
At $1,160, it’s a major purchase. But by most accounts the thing works. (Dr. Karp is also the pediatrician who wrote the famous 2003 book “The Happiest Baby on the Block.”)
Dr. Karp says his invention was sparked by his five “S” steps that will usually calm a baby: Swaddling, Side or Stomach position, Shushing, Swinging and Sucking. The SNOO Smart Sleeper tackles three of those: Swaddling, Shushing and Swinging. The SNOO swaddles, shushes, and swinging (really, rocking back and forth.)
“Babies don’t want to be alone, they cry, you bring in bed with you and you could accidentally fall asleep. A baby recently died in a Santa Monica hospital because the mom fell asleep wth the baby and that’s not the first time,” Dr. Karp tells us. “Every single hospital has had their scares, baby falling out of bed, mom falling asleep, they smother. Most women think it’s natural to have your baby next to you. You’re not meant to do this on your own — you need help.”
He says his invention is the first ever where you don’t have to be checking on your baby all night long because the baby is secured in a good position and moms have less of a risk of postpartum depression because they’re not waking up all the time with a fussy baby. Win-win.
“We started with former engineers from MIT, it took five years to build, I tested it on hundreds of babies and it just worked,” Dr. Karp says.
The way it works is SNOO’s patented swaddle securely attaches to the bed keeping babies safely on the back, all night long. Parents can manually change the soothing level, which Dr. Karp says is like having “a virtual night nurse.”
“The feedback was, when we brought it to people for fussy babies, they offered to pay $5,000 after a week if we said we’d take it away,” Dr. Karp says. “Lack of sleep is the number one cause of postpartum depression and this is a functional and beautiful way to help.”
In fact, companies like Hulu have started providing SNOO rentals to employees, in order to help them get through the first six months after childbirth, which, Dr. Karp says, makes for healthier, more productive employees when they return to the workplace.
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