While a Norland Nanny has long been seen as the ultimate status symbol for royalty, it seems a very different kind of ‘virtual nanny’ service is gathering momentum among VIP fans both in the UK and across the pond, with investors including Gwyneth Paltrow, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel and Scarlett Johansson.
It’s called SNOO, a rather genius nanny-style gadget that soothes babies from afar. Celebrity fans include Sophie Turner, Gigi Hadid, Chloë Sevigny and Serena Williams who’ve each turned to this high-tech 24/7 parenting kit, which acts as a spare pair of hands for families willing to pay the £1,145 price tag for a product that is capable of reducing crying, helping babies settle and naturally sleep train.
Invented by Dr Karp, the paediatrician and author behind the Happiest Baby empire (the Duchess of Cambridge is reportedly a fan of his best-selling parenting books), the SNOO Bassinet has been dubbed ‘the crown jewels of baby registries.’ Dr Karp told Forbes last year, ‘Most have thought of it as a luxury item, like Moses’ basket or a high-end crib but what it really is, is a caregiver adding hours to baby’s sleep.’
From the outside, it looks like a simple, chic crib but it functions like a robotic night nanny, processing a baby’s cries and responding accordingly – either by rocking or playing a white noise that mimics the sounds of the womb, helping babies sleep longer and in turn, getting their A-List parents more rest time. Dr Karp has been donating SNOOs to the NHS throughout the pandemic and hopes to have them in all hospitals soon, with a rental service launching in the UK later this year.
Babies are swaddled and secured in the cot, preventing them from rolling over (it’s been named the safest baby bed in the world) and there’s an app too which enables parents to track sleep cycles and customise the device’s settings. Rumour has it they’re working on making the app more reactive, taking on a role that a traditional nanny might previously have done, providing parents a full report on their child in the morning, when nappies need to be changed and if they’re running a temperature.
In a podcast with Dax Shepard, Ashton Kutcher revealed he and wife Mila Kunis turned to the gadget for their second child, ‘It’s got a natural swaddle and it’s got a sensor in it, so the louder the kid cries, the faster it goes. And it puts the kid back to sleep! It’s unbelievable! Trust me on this’, he said.
We’re told Lady Mary Charteris has already received a SNOO ahead of the arrival of her first child and a certain royal mum is another avid fan. Watch out, the Rolls-Royce of smart sleepers is clearly aiming for world domination.