Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher under fire for using 'robo crib'

Photo: Todd Williamson
Photo: Todd Williamson 

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have famously said they didn't use "a nanny or night nurse" when they welcomed each of the babies, Wyatt, now 3, and Dimitri, 1, despite being able to afford it. But they have shelled out for a piece of modern technology to help stave off a little of the sleep deprivation. 

Kutcher recently shared the baby sleep device that worked for them in Dimitri's first months, after the struggles of toughing it out with their first baby Wyatt. In a podcast Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, he enthuses about a $1500 electronic crib called the Snoo Smart Sleeper. And some people aren't happy.

"For kid number two we got one of those Snoos," Kutcher told Shepard. "It's an oscillating bed… it has a sensor in it so the louder the kid cries, the faster it goes and puts the kid back to sleep, it's incredible."

He details how the crib got Dimitri to sleep for a solid six hours just three days after birth saying, "I'm eternally grateful to the Snoo for that."

The Snoo can tell when a baby is unsettled then respond with different types of white noise and vibrations that are tailored to the pitch and volume of the crying. It also has a built in swaddle that keeps babies on their backs - the safest sleeping position.

 

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Some say this kind of robo-parenting does neither parents or babies any favours. Taking to social media, various commenters shared their criticism of the device.

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The point that the naysayers seem to be missing is that the Snoo only employs these methods for a minute or two before going dormant so a parent can intervene. 

The Snoo was invented by pediatrician Harvey Karp, M.D., whose famous 2002 baby sleep strategy "The 5 S's" were published in The Happiest Baby on the Block. The crib was devised around those principles to give babies the best chance of returning to sleep without parent intervention in the first few minutes.

He says of the Snoo, "Parents use it at night but also during the day when they need to place their baby in a safe environment while showering, for example."

"Up until 100 years ago, parents had so much support raising their children — but we've walked back on that concept and it's creating havoc," he told Yahoo Lifestyle.

"Sleep deprivation for parents is the main trigger for postpartum depression, obesity, stress, lowered breastfeeding rates, and SIDS, in the case of parents falling asleep in bed with their infants."

This is where the Snoo steps in, not as a 'replacement parent' but much like the other devices we've used for decades such as baby swings, rockers and bouncers.

People have commented in support of the couple saying that parents should be free to make these kinds of decisions for themselves.

Here here.