**Let me preface this: I am not a sleep expert, just a mom sharing my own experience, opinion, and what worked for us. Baby sleep is not one size fits all. Consult your pediatrician, talk to a certified sleep consultant, lactation consultant, etc.**
I feel like I can’t say it enough but I really love our Snoo bassinet! We were getting 9 hour stretches by 8 weeks with Penelope and sleeping through the night by 9 weeks (12 hours with a dream feed) with Goldie. It has been one of the best baby items we purchased. I wrote a review about it here. However, I think that if you don’t have a “schedule” and set your baby up for success with the Snoo, it might not give you the results you hoped for. That’s where Taking Cara Babies comes in. I can thank her for teaching me everything about sleep with newborns and babies. I highly recommend taking her class and following her on Instagram. She gives so many sleep tips, product recommendations, and general baby tips on her page. I learned SO much from her!
Let’s break down how the Snoo helped us with both girls. We had a lot of trial and error with Penelope, but everything I learned with her I applied to Goldie, and our experience went much smoother. She was sleeping through the night a lot sooner than Penelope was with zero sleep training. I had to do formal sleep training with Penelope when she was 6 months old.
When we brought Goldie home I started her “schedule” from day 1.
- Feeding every 2-3 hours (I hardly ever let her get to 3 hours)
- Bedtime at 7:30 pm
- Dream feed around 10 pm
- Feed when she wakes in the middle of the night
- With Penelope we had to wake her every two hours in the middle of the night for the first two weeks because she had lost so much weight in the hospital. We were also having trouble breastfeeding. It was so exhausting, mentally and physically. Once we got the OK from our pediatrician, we were able to start letting her sleep as long as she wanted in the middle of the night. Goldie on the other hand did not drop weight and we were given the green light from the day we got home to let her sleep as long as she wanted during the middle of the night.
- Up by 7:30 am for 1st feed of the day
Sticking to this schedule worked for us. It also helps that Penelope goes to bed at 7:30 and wakes around 7:30, so we were just adding another child to that schedule. When Penelope was a newborn, we did bedtime between 9-10 pm and around 4 months we slowly worked back to a 7:30 pm bedtime. It was a tough transition for us and she went through a big regression. As we adjusted Penelope’s bedtime to 7:30 she started waking up more in the middle of the night so I incorporated a dream feed (a feeding that happens 2-3 hours after you put them to bed). With Goldie, I did the dream feed from the start.
Our Bedtime Routine:
Around 6:45 I would start feeding. Typically her last feeding can last anywhere from 20-30 minutes. Once she is done feeding we do a diaper change, pajamas on, read books with Penelope, swaddle, and then bounce. While cradling her in her swaddle, I would bounce on an exercise ball until she got sleepy eyes and then lay her down into the Snoo. I set the Snoo to max out at a level 2 during the first 6 weeks, after that I let it go to the higher levels, if needed. If she started crying after I put her down, I would repeat bouncing her on the ball while patting her bottom (babies love this), until she would finally fall asleep. I think the longest I repeated this was for about a half hour. It’s tough because you just want to lay down and stop bouncing BUT it is so worth it! After a couple weeks it was becoming easier to just put her down in the Snoo for the night and she would fall asleep on her own with no crying! There was little to no crying involved in Goldie sleeping through the night. Those first few weeks were tough because I had to stay committed to the process but like I said, so worth it. I knew it was a matter of time before things would slowly get easier and she would learn how to fall asleep independently.
More things I applied with Goldie:
- Bedtime – 7:30 pm every night, however depending on how much sleep she got during the day I might put her down a little earlier.
- Never nurse to sleep – I wanted it to be very clear that feeding and sleep are separate so she wouldn’t wake and start crying because the boob wasn’t there for her. During the day it would sometimes be hard for her not to fall asleep especially in those early weeks, but it was the last feeding before bed that I was very strict about.
- Fall asleep independently – Helping her learn how to put herself to sleep on her own was hard but it became easier and easier. Consistency is everything here.
- Blackout tent (or room) – Can’t see a thing when the lights are out. This blackout tent is my favorite for travel. We have used it even when going to family/friends houses and we put the girls down for a nap there.
- Hatch Sound Machine – This is the sound machine I use when they are in their cribs. I would use this in addition to the sound that the Snoo makes. On the lowest level of the Snoo the sound is very quiet so I put the Hatch on at around 20-30%.
- Double swaddle – The Snoo swaddle is great but I found that the girls could break their arms out of it pretty easily. So I would swaddle just their arms into a very light breathable swaddle and then put them into the Snoo swaddle.
Arms Out Sleep Sack Transition:
I started transitioning Penelope to arms out too early and we experienced a little regression where I had to then put her back into swaddle position. I didn’t want to go through that with Goldie so I made sure that the timing of this was right. The Snoo swaddle also makes this transition easy with the buttons on the top of the Medium & Large size sleep sack. I started the transition close to 3 months old, when she was showing signs that she was going to roll over while on her play mat (this is different for every baby). The first two nights I had one arm out and the third night I did both arms. The first night she woke herself up a couple times but the Snoo helped rock her back to sleep.
Transition Out Of The Snoo:
One of my concerns I had prior to getting the Snoo was thinking that my baby would rely on the motion and that the transition out of it would be difficult. This was not the case. Goldie transitioned great into a pack n play (in our room) at 5 months because she was getting too big for the Snoo. I probably kept her in the Snoo for longer than she needed because I was attached and didn’t want our sleep to change. A few weeks before we transitioned her out we changed the setting to “wean mode”. This means that the Snoo would no longer make any motions but would continue to make the sound associated with each level. She did totally fine when the motion was turned off. The first night we had her sleep in her pack n play she woke up a couple times because she rolled over, once I rolled her back she went back to sleep. After the first couple nights of rolling her back I had to let her figure it out on her own, which she did. Both my girls are now belly sleepers, it’s the cutest thing.
More About Our Sleep Experience:
By the time Goldie was 2 weeks old we were down to one middle of the night feeding. It was usually around 2-3 am. That MOTN feeding gradually stretched from 2 am to 3 am to 5 am to 7:30 am! I remember the first time she slept completely through the night I woke up in a panic at 7 am and checked the Snoo app to make sure I didn’t sleep through her crying. Ever since then she has been sleeping through the night! I continued her dream feed until she was about 7 months old. I slowly started weaning her at 6 months. Another big difference between Penelope and Goldie was room sharing. I believe Penelope went through her sleep regression was because she could smell me. Weird, right? It’s amazing how your body and baby are connected. The first day that we transitioned her out of the Snoo to her crib in her own room she instantly started sleeping better. When she was in our room she would scream like she knew I was right there, and her cry in her own room was very very faint and only lasted a few seconds before she would go right back to sleep. Goldie on the other hand did not care that I was there. In fact, she slept in our room up until she was 8 months old. I was fully prepared to move her out of our room and out of the Snoo sooner because of what we went through with Penelope but we didn’t have to do that.
I think the main thing to getting a better night’s sleep is figuring out a plan and sticking to it. Consistency and routine is everything. Whether you get the Snoo or not, take the course through Taking Cara Babies! I hope that this information helps you have a better understanding of how the Snoo helped us. Getting your baby to sleep can be difficult, especially when operating on zero sleep because you’re up every few hours feeding your baby. If you’re in that phase, I know exactly how you feel. You will sleep again, I promise. I would tell myself that this is just a season, it will pass, and I will make it through. Hang in there mama, you got this <3