Rock An iBaby
By Dylan Vidal
An electronic smart crib has caused a stir on social media as mothers all around the world are weighing in on the latest technological development in parenting.
The ‘SNOO’ baby bassinet retails for $1500 AUD and promises to quickly calm your baby so everyone can get a better night’s rest.
Created by paediatrician, Dr. Harvey Karp, the crib comes equipped with white noise, a swaddle and high-tech sensors that detect when your baby is distressed so that your baby can learn to self-sooth and remain calm during the night.
After a video of the controversial crib was posted on the Buzzfeed Facebook page, parents quickly flooded the comments section to give their two cents on the baby bassinet.
Commenters such as Lisa didn’t appreciate the isolating nature of the gadget.
Comment on the Buzzfeed Facebook Page.
Many mothers such as Ricki-lee would just be glad to get a few hours more of rest each night.
Comment on the Buzzfeed Facebook Page.
Author Kathy Fray. Courtesy of http://www.kathyfray.com
Kathy Fray, New Zealand’s No.1 best-selling author on birth, babies & motherhood, is a strong advocate for these technological advances and says that owning a device such as the SNOO crib would have been beneficial to the well-being of her and her babies.
“I could easily recall multiple times when owning a rocking-cot coul
d have felt divine for me and for baby,” said Fray.
“Trust me, when you’ve got a 4 year old having a hissy-fit melt-down, and a 2 year old having her 3rd ‘accident’ in her pants in the past two hours, and the baby is now drastically overtired and going to be hard to settle, because the morning preschool teacher wanted to have a prolonged ‘friendly chat’ at the lunchtime pick-up, and the cat has just spewed a fur-ball in the middle of the lounge, then the idea of being able to place Bubs into an electric cot would have been a dream! And I just don’t reckon that would have made me a Bad Mum.”
When it comes to the SNOO crib, Fray says that any criticism against the smart crib is “a speculative guess” at best, and denies there being any negative developmental side effects it could have on newborn children.
“I cannot imagine they [critics] received an Ethics Committee approval to confirm this theory, or that Mothers agreed to be part of the research,” said Fray.
“Would you like to participate in a study to see if a product will negatively affect your relationship with your baby?” I think not! So from that perspective, the product critics, are purely hypothesising.”
In fact, Fray believes that by eliminating ongoing long-term sleep deprivation, the SNOO can alleviate the severity of Postnatal Depression and reduce the stress on stay at home mothers.
“One thing we know scientifically with complete certainty, is that parental sleep deprivation dramatically increases rates of postnatal depression. And being a best-selling Birth, Babies & Motherhood author myself, I can confirm that the #1 commonest challenge (by far!) parents ask for help with, is infant sleep. “
“Should her partner do some of the workload? Sure! But he’s typically gone all day 5-6 days a week, and if he was anything like my husband – a senior carpenter using cut-your-fingers-off-in-a-split-second tools- then he’s leaving at 6am [and] I want him very well slept indeed.”
However, in the face of all the ‘sanctimommies’ (a sanctimonious mother) out there who criticize her upfront and unapologetic attitude towards parenting, Fray calls for an end to guilt tripping and one-upmanship amongst mothers.
“Who the heck are you, to be so judgemental?”
“Slathering parenting guilt upon guilt atop of our loving caring Mothers today, is one of the absolutely worst things that routinely occurs these days, far far too rampantly. It’s plain bloody awful actually, and it is also enormously responsible for good wonderful mothers, worrying to ridiculous levels of anxiety.”
Jennifer Hamilton and her family. Courtesy of http://www.jenhamilton.com.au
Jennifer Hamilton, parenting expert and creator of the popular baby app WOTBaby, doesn’t deny the short term gratification of a product like the SNOO, but warns parents of the dangers of not giving their child the hands-on care they need.
“Yes, they [electronic cribs] are not very good. In the long term they’re not going to work. It’s stripping of you the opportunity to make mistakes in order to learn and go forth and communicate with your bub as they go,” said Hamilton.
“Those first few weeks is crucial for bonding for mother and baby so skin to skin contact just the smell from mother or father. That baby is bonding greatly just by the smell. It’s all instinctual in those first couple of weeks. They are just like little instinctual beings and they need it for survival.”
“The constant rocking sensation is just adding to that stimulation so I would imagine that would cause more unsettledness as the baby’s growing rather than learning how to sleep in a still bed as they’re growing and developing…So if we’re constantly putting them off to sleep with rocking and patting and all of those things then babies don’t learn how to sleep.”
But when it comes to explaining the reason why parents are turning to these devices, Hamilton says that many first-time parents aren’t leaving the hospitals with the skills to properly understand their baby’s needs.
“There is a real fear there. There is not enough education leaving the hospitals. There is not enough support and there is not enough people teaching mums how to settle their babies.”
“You’ll find that if you put your baby on anything, if you put them in a basket on top of the washing machine they will go to sleep. If you put them in a pouch and carry them around they will fall asleep. But of course, that way they will get that skin to skin contact which is a much better way, but what im saying is that babies are easy to switch off and settle they will settle with rhythm, with warmth, with constriction and being wrapped tightly, all those things that recreate the environment of being in the womb is what are going to respond to.”
It’s fair to say that no matter who’s side you are on, we can all agree that every mother just wants the best for their baby.