When Judith Brownridge brought home Brogan, a foster baby going through withdrawal, she had some idea of what to expect. Judith has been fosteringbabies for a Local Authority Councilin Scotland for about 8 years. Brogan is her sixth foster baby and the second baby with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) that she had cared for. (NAS is a condition that occurs when a baby withdraws from certain drugs, such as opioids, and it’s marked by extreme fussiness, shaking, and an inability to settle.)

With her first NAS baby, Judith recalls sleeping very little. She and her husband would have to take turns eating dinner so that one of them could hold the baby. “As soon as we’d put her down in a cradle or Moses basket, she would wake up and start crying again,” Judith says. “That went on for about 4 months before she really got over her withdrawals and by that point she was 5 months old.”

Then, Judith began to care for Brogan, who was severely withdrawn. “She was the worst NAS baby we’d seen for years in the neonatal unit where I work. She was really, really unsettled,” says Dr. Mairi Wilson, MBChB, a clinical fellow in neonatology at Royal Alexandra Maternity Hospital. “She was crying all the time and jittering and shaking. No matter what you did she would be crying.”

But this time there was one big difference in Judith’s experience: She had the opportunity to use SNOO through the Royal Alexandra Maternity Hospital's neonatal unit.

“When SNOO was mentioned we thought, great! Maybe we’ll get some sleep,” Judith says.

From the start, Judith was impressed. “The baby would go to bed at around 9pm, but as soon as she was swaddled and sleeping in SNOO, she’d maybe only wake about once each night for a bottle,” Judith says.

Soon, Brogan was sleeping through the night, from 7pm to 7am. Naps became easier too. “We could put her down and go to the toilet or make a coffee,” Judith says.

And SNOO became a bit of a local celebrity in the process, drawing interest from others in the community.

“The health visitor was very impressed. The social worker wanted to see, so everyone was up and down looking in the bedroom,” Judith says. “The social worker actually said she’s the most content withdrawal baby she’s ever seen. I think that’s due to the SNOO.”

While Judith acknowledges that it’s difficult to compare two different NAS babies, based on her experience, she does believe that SNOO made a difference. “We would be happy to use SNOO again for our next baby and hope they can soon be used in hospitals to help NAS babies recover quicker,” she says.

So, are Judith and her husband getting more sleep, too?

“We’ve got a 6-year-old as well, so maybe not too much…” Judith says with a laugh.

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