If the dreaded time of transitioning from SNOO to the crib is approaching and you’re terrified, you should know two things:
- You’re not alone.
- You’re at the right place…so, breathe.
Not a week goes by without a question (or five) on the SNOO weaning popping up in my inbox. In preparation for writing this, I read every single guide out there, and I think I understand what the problem is.
The guides are either too theoretical or too specific to weaning one specific baby off SNOO.
So, that’s what I’ll aim to correct today – I’ll try to craft a single reference piece that answers all the questions a parent might have on transitioning from Snoo to crib. Any parent.
Because of the comprehensive approach I’m taking here, I’ll need your patience because you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.
Transitioning from SNOO to crib – the basics
How long to use the SNOO?
You can use the SNOO as long as these three criteria are met: the baby is no older than 6 months, no heavier than 25 pounds, and cannot prop up on their hands or feet. As soon as either of these milestones is met, it’s time to move them from the SNOO to a crib.
Depending on their development and sleep patterns, that will be somewhere in the 4-6 months range.
The good news is, compared to other bassinets, SNOO is much easier to transition from.
Timing the transition
Don’t rush into a regression
Babies miss the womb during those first few months, and the SNOO does a great job mimicking the motions and the sounds. To put it simply, this new world they’re brought into is too still and quiet for them.
The baby is not dependent on the SNOO
I’ve seen this scenario – people notice that their baby doesn’t sleep as well outside of the SNOO and feel they’ve become dependent on it. So the thinking becomes – the loner I leave them in the NSOO, the more dependant they’ll be.
In reality, they come out of the womb dependent on the sounds and the rocking. By using the SNOO, you’re creating a more welcoming environment. Without it, the transition would be a much greater shock.
As their brains mature, they will outgrow that dependency at around 5-6 months. That’s the perfect time to start weaning from the SNOO. If you feel that you need to transition sooner, experiment with the settings. Your little one might have just outgrown the lower settings.
Interpreting the growth guidelines
Another common misconception that I often hear is, “My baby’s toes touch SNOO’s bottom; we have to transition right away.”
There’s no need to rush or panic as long as you’re within those milestones.
Stick to the SNOO transition plan
Below is a step-by-step guide on approaching things if they don’t go smoothly. Most people won’t need to go through all the steps, but let’s be thorough.
1 – Start with an arm out of the SNOO sleep sack
Free one of the baby’s arms and track their nighttime sleep. If they sleep fine, keep that up for a few nights and then release the other arm. If they fuss, go back to a full swaddle and try again in 7 days.
2 – Turn on the weaning feature (mode)
You can find the weaning button in the app settings. Choose a date when you want to make the transition and turn the weaning mode on a week before.
Once you toggle it on, you’ll see a “W” icon in the upper right corner. The weaning feature overrides all previous settings and rests the app to the blue baseline setting.
The motion will be off for the baseline level, but the white noise will still be on. SNOO will still react to your baby fussing and soothe them back to sleep. They’ll still get a good night’s sleep – the white noise will continue through the night, but the motion will stop a few minutes after they fall asleep.
Make sure the sleep sack is securely attached to the bed to eliminate the risk of the baby pushing up and falling out as they grow stronger.
3 – Move them to a crib after a week of weaning mode
The weaning feature should prepare most babies for the transition within a week.
Make the move but keep SNOO close by and turn on white noise when you want them to fall asleep. This goes for both night sleep and naps.
4 – Wean down the white noise
This one’s not a must, and it’s up to you when you want to get them “off” the white noise. If you ask me, it’s a great soothing tool, and there’s no rush to do it.
Once you decide to stop, you can do it in about 10 days or so…just start turning down the volume a bit every few days.
Of course, if you decide to keep using the white noise, you can switch to a machine or even play it from your phone. Happiest Baby has the SNOO white noise available as an audio file.
5 – A personal experience – quitting SNOO cold turkey
You won’t find information on transitioning from the SNOO cold turkey on the Happiest Baby website, and that’s understandable.
My experience is that it can work and has worked with many babies, especially if you pair it with a good sleep training method.
My gut told me to try it and fall back onto the weaning feature if it doesn’t work. Back then, I thought we were outliers, but I have since talked to many parents who have done it.
We ripped the bandaid right off, and within a week, our son was sleeping…well, like a baby.
Why we transitioned cold turkey
People rarely talk about this, but going from regular use to weaning is a transition in its own right, and I wanted to avoid going through it twice.
We had an established bedtime routine, healthy daytime sleep, and nap time…so I just went for it, and I’m glad I did.
Baby sleep tips and training recommended by Happiest Baby
When people say “baby sleep training,” most parents think of the “cry it out” method.
If you’re not a fan of that, there are gentler ways to sleep train your baby as you start weaning them of SNOO.
On their blog, Happiest Baby recommends the “wake and sleep” training as a way to transition to the crib seamlessly.
Here’s a brief outline:
- As you swaddle your baby before bedtime, use a white noise machine (or another source) and turn it up to be about as loud as a shower. Proceed to feed your little one and burp them.
- As they drift off and you lay them into the crib, gently wake them up with a scratch or a tickle…just until you get them to open their eyes.
- Let them fall back asleep.
It might sound counterintuitive, but those few seconds go a long way because the last I’m age in their little brain will be that of being in the crib and not in your hands. It’s a great way to promote independent sleep and skip paying for sleep consultants.
It’s certainly gentler than crying it out.
A few advanced tips for a night-long sleep
Most parents will be just fine without these “advanced tips.” But for those few percent of extra fussy babies, the move to the crib might prove to be challenging.
If you feel like your little one might belong to this group, there are a few things you can do before and after the move.
Make the crib familiar before the move
This one is especially important if the crib is not in the same room. To offset the change, bring the crib in and have your baby spend some time in it during the day. Start with a few minutes and take it from there.
You can also move the SNOO to the new room for parts of the day. Combine the two and, come transition time, your baby will be familiar with both the crib and the new space.
Ideally, you’d share a room with your baby until they’re one year old. If that’s not possible and you’re moving them to a new room, you’ll want to sleep there too for a few nights as they get used to the new space.
Resume and key takeaways
If I could leave you with one thought about the transition from SNOO to a crib, it would be not to dread it.
It might feel scary but, in most cases, it goes smoother than you might expect.