Have you heard about that new $1160 baby bed?
If you're a new(ish) parent - or spend any time on parenting blogs - you've probably seen posts about the new SNOO Smart Sleeper by now. In a nutshell, it's a beautifully designed, high-tech sleeper that promises to help you and your baby sleep better.
It "listens" to your baby's cries, responding with gentle rocking movements and white noise to soothe your baby back to sleep.
Baby is soothed back to sleep, parents get to keep resting... sounds like a win-win! Right?!
"Not so fast!" say the "experts" in the comments section...
Products aimed at helping babies (and their parents) sleep more soundly are certainly not new, but this particular product seems to have struck quite a nerve.
For every "oh wow, where was this when I had my baby?!" there seem to be a dozen comments shaming would-be buyers.
"This is gross. Babies cry. Pick your baby up."
"Comfort your baby while rocking in a chair. Priceless."
"All parents go through [sleep deprivation] for the well-being of their babies. Deal with it."
Yes. Babies do cry. Some more than others. And babies absolutely do need the love and nurturing touch of their parent(s). But you know what? Parents have needs too! And one of these is sleep.
There's a reason sleep deprivation is classified as a form of torture.
Prolonged periods of sleep deprivation can have devastating effects on a person's physical and mental health. In postpartum mothers specifically, we know that sleep deprivation worsens postpartum depression.
Look. No one is suggesting that parents completely abdicate their responsibilities to love and nurture their babies. The "SNOO" is simply one of many potential tools now available to make the difficult postpartum period maybe just a little more manageable.
As postpartum doulas, our opinion on this fancy new contraption is no different than our opinion on all the other choices we and our clients make about giving birth and raising children.
You do you.
Gather whatever research and opinions you find helpful (which may be none, and that's ok too!). Listen to your gut. And above all, do what you feel is right for your family.
For some families, the "right" thing may be to bedshare and respond immediately to their baby's every noise. For others, helping their baby learn to sleep independently and get settled into a routine that fits with the family's schedule is best.
Whether you choose to have your baby sleep in your bed or on their own, this bassinet pairs nicely with the American Academy of Pediatrics' recently updated guidelines for safe sleep.
(Didn't have a chance to read? Here's the gist: Baby should sleep in the same room as their non-smoking parents for at least six months, preferably a year. The AAP still recommends that babies have their own safe sleep surface, but the new guidelines recognize that some bedsharing is bound to happen with breastfeeding, and they suggest the parent's bed be free of pillows, sheets, blankets, etc. that could cause baby to overheat or impede her breathing in case mom and baby fall asleep together in bed.)
As doulas, we're here to say you are the experts on your family.
We support you, no matter what.
If a high-tech sleeper helps you and your baby get some rest, great!
If you'd rather stick to low-tech snuggles, that's great too!
And if you're feeling exhausted (and desperate) enough to consider spending $1160 on a baby bed... we humbly suggest you may benefit greatly from the support of a postpartum doula. We are here for you day or night.