Q AND A WITH DR. KARP
My Snoo was one of the best gifts Nick and I received before we had Nico. The Snoo really worked wonders for Nico. Dr. Karp, the creator of the Snoo, is an incredible doctor, and he sure knows how to help babies (and parents!) get their sleep. As month 6 rolled around and Nick and I began to think of how we’d transition Nico out of the Snoo and into his big boy crib, we reached out to Dr. Karp to ask if a few questions. His responses are below, and I’m now happy to say that at 12 months, my baby sleeps almost 12 hours most nights. It is life changing, and this had a lot to do with introducing Nico to more solid foods, and slowly weaning him off breast milk, but he sleeps!! Thank you Dr. Karp, for helping us get our baby to sleep!
1). Once the baby is out of the ‘4th trimester,’ do all the 5 S’s still resonate?
When a parent first learns the 5 S’s, it can feel like they have “magic” power. It’s actually not magic, it’s science: When done just right, they trigger an automatic, biological response called the calming reflex, that acts as a virtual “off switch” for crying.
Like most other newborn reflexes, the calming reflex fades after some time. (But a hint of the calming effect of cuddling, motion, and rumbly sound remains with us for the rest of our lives, which is why we’re soothed by womb-like oceans sounds, rocking in a hammock and being hugged.) The upside of this is that your baby naturally becomes less dependent on motion for sleep over time; so please don’t worry that a baby can become addicted to motion—or to SNOO—it just doesn’t happen. (Just like they don’t get addicted to swaddling or only drinking milk.) SNOO is the perfect sleep tool for the first 6 months of life, and easy to wean by the time your baby has fully benefited from their special bed.
2). Can you advise a step by step process for transitioning from SNOO to a crib?
Absolutely! I recommend you wait to start weaning until 5 or even 6 months. Before then, your baby is just not ready and sleep can sometimes unravel. (Note: Even if your baby’s toes touch the bottom of the bed, it’s still best to wait to wean until 5-6 months.)
The first step is to let one of your child’s arms out of the SNOO Sack (the large size has snap openings at the shoulders). If she begins startling herself awake, just go back to both arms swaddled and try again in a week.
After a few nights of good sleep with one arm out, you can free the other arm.
The next step is to turn on the App’s Weaning feature. About a week before you plan to move your baby from SNOO and to a crib, go into the App settings and toggle on the Weaning option.
While in Weaning mode, SNOO will play white noise all night, but not give any rocking. However, if your child cries, SNOO responds as usual—with both motion + sound—until your baby is calmed, and then it gradually returns to gentle white noise, but no motion.
3). First night sans SNOO. What are your recommendations?
SNOO is so good at teaching reliable sleep that the only thing you will still need is a strong, rumbly white noise! You’ll definitely want to use it for the next 6 months. In fact, most parents find sound as a big help throughout the toddler years, and beyond! You can get the same white noise used by SNOO in MP3 or CD format, in the Happiest Baby store.
Note: When you’re ready, white noise is simple to wean; just lower the volume a little each night over 1-2 weeks …and you’re finished!
4). When the baby is rolling, and swaddle ceases, what should we do to make bedtime transition easier for the baby?
Continuing with the right type of white noise and sticking to a consistent bedtime routine are both very helpful. As your babies grow, they develop an increasing ability to make associations. For example, when you turn on white noise when getting your baby ready for bed, he’ll link this soothing sound to sleep. In the same way, if you follow the same steps in the same order—bathing, dressing for bed, feeding dimming the lights, turning on white noise, and possibly offering a pacifier—your baby will prepare himself for sleep. After your baby is 9 months old, letting your toddler sleep with a small handkerchief size lovey can be a comforting addition to the routine.
5). What is a good age for weaning night feedings?
Consult your doctor, but many families are ready to wean night feedings at around 4 months of age. To do so, it is very important to boost daytime calories, feeding every 2 hours or so (if she’s sleeping, wake her after 1.5-2 hours to feed) and by cluster feeding in the early evening and offering a dream feed—waking your baby at 11pm or midnight just enough to feed. Even before you’re ready to completely wean night feeding, you these steps may help you sleep longer stretches of sleep at night.
6). Is it true that breastfed babies need to eat more frequently then formula fed babies or babies who are eating more solids?
It is true the breastfed babies tend to eat more often. That’s because breastmilk is more easily digested than formula, which also tends to mean breastfeed babies are less constipated and gassy. However, breastmilk will fill your baby’s tummy much better at night than early solids like rice cereal or pureed veggies. Think about it—milk is full of protein and fat, which is much more nutritious and filling than something like cereal, a simple mix of starch and water.
Thank you Dr. Karp!