I know I’ve already mentioned this product in a previous post, but I have to give props again. This is, hands down, the single best baby purchase we’ve made. And it was a whim purchase, a nice-to-have for a first time mom worried about SIDS. But it’s turned out to be the most valuable item we have.
Last night we had another alarm. It was about 9pm, and baby had been sleeping for a couple of hours. We were upstairs (baby sleeps downstairs) and heard the alarm via the handheld video monitor that hubby had brought into the office.
We’ve been through this before. In the beginning, the alarm would disorient us… Is it an alarm clock? One of our cell phones? But last night we knew exactly what it was and flew down the stairs and into the nursery.
It doesn’t get less scary every time. Every time we wonder, is this time going to be different? Are we not going to be able to rouse him? This time, he is already awake when we come flying into the room. That’s unusual as typically he is not, and we need to shout and flick or slap the bottom of his foot to rouse him. But this time the alarm and vibration must have wakened him.
He looks disoriented… Eyes are red and swollen and face is blotchy. Blinking. Confused. We swoop him up into our arms and kiss him hug him rock him tell him not to scare us like that again. We reset the alarm and then put him back to sleep. We turn up the volume on the handheld video monitor.
The way the Snuza Halo works is by detecting very very small movements, such as breathing. The device is clipped to the diaper so that the sensor (the purple part) lays over the baby’s belly button. It can then detect the small rise and fall of the stomach as breaths are inhaled and exhaled.
Should there be no movement (breathing) for 15 seconds, the device will vibrate in an attempt to rouse the infant. If this works and subsequent breathing is detected, the device will then begin monitoring silently once again.
Upon the third incident of this nature, the device will also alert the parents. This is done with a beep…. beep…. beep.
If, at any time, the vibration doesn’t rouse the baby and there is another 5 seconds of non-movement (so 20 seconds total), the alarm will sound. This is a loud sound much like an alarm clock.
For us, the alarm does go off. The first time it went off was our 4th day home, and it caused a world of panic. The pediatrician said it was “periodic breathing” and nothing to worry about. Said the baby would outgrow it. Actually advised us to stop using the Snuza as it would only cause unnecessary worry.
Of course we threw that advice right out the window. If anything, we became more diligent about using the Snuza whenever the baby is sleeping (now attaching it even during nap times). My pediatrician would say overkill. I say, I don’t want to find out that you were wrong when it’s too late.
So baby is now 18 weeks old and has not yet outgrown this periodic breathing. The episodes have become less frequent (maybe once every few weeks now instead of once or twice a week), but they still occur. They occur during nap-time as frequently as during the evening.
In doing my own research, it appears that periodic breathing is characterized by breathing stops of up to 15 seconds for infants under 6 months. So we meet the under-6-months criteria, but not the timing criteria (since the Snuza alarms at 20 seconds). I will be discussing this with our pediatrician.
In the meantime, the Snuza is quite simply the only thing between ongoing sleepless nights and the ability to sleep soundly (us, not baby). When I wake in the night and the baby is still and silent on the video monitor, I can relax knowing that the Snuza will alarm if there is an issue… Instead of running into his room every 20 minutes to check on him and, in the process, wake him up.
Oh and I do have to mention – we follow all other advice to prevent SIDS. Baby is not overheated nor wrapped while sleeping, never sleeps on his stomach, no blankets are used (besides the wearable ones), no toys are in his crib, and we use mesh (breathable) bumpers. He doesn’t appear to have any risk factors besides being a boy: was not a preemie, we don’t smoke, I took care of myself during pregnancy, etc. So we’re really at a loss as to why this is happening.
Regardless, if you’re even considering a sleep monitor – DO IT. I promise you will not be disappointed. I personally prefer the Snuza to the Angelcare mat because it is portable and can go anywhere with the baby.
For some reason, I’ve had difficulty finding the Snuza in stores here on the west coast, so I ordered mine on Amazon. It looks like it’s about $120 there, but I would have paid a lot more than that for the peace of mind it provides.
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Thanks for writing about this! I had not heard of it but will definetly order it. I remember with my 1st born waking up a millions times to make sure he was breathing, even with the bassinet right next to me.
Coincidentally I just received a notification from Snuza this morning that they changed the name of the HALO model to the HERO (nothing else has changed – just the name). I still swear by this product and use it every day. Fortunately now that my baby is getting older it alarms much more infrequently – and usually only when it has fallen off. But the continued peace of mind is priceless, and I will probably continue using it until he is old enough to take it off himself.