Hannah Astrachan is the Director of Global Benefits for Buzzfeed—which means she oversees all of Buzzfeed’s benefits and wellness programs in all of their locations around the world! That also means Hannah is tapped into the latest HR trends—as well as the needs of her employees…many of whom are parents

“We have to make sure throughout their lifecycle that we’re providing resources,” she says. “A huge portion of our employees are new parents. And we’ve always offered as many resources as possible because it’s hard to be a fulltime parent and a fulltime professional.” 

One of the resources Hannah brought to Buzzfeed’s employees has been Happiest Baby’s SNOO Employee Benefit Program, through which new parents get a 6-month SNOO rental…paid for by their employer! 

Hannah first learned about this offering from her former boss, who had worked at Activision (one of Happiest Baby’s corporate rental partners).

“She said the SNOO was one of the most popular benefits for new parents, and really wanted for BuzzFeed employees to be able to have this resource as well. ” Hannah remembers. “What I liked about SNOO is it has [FDA De Novo Authorization] now, and there are scientific articles written about it. There are doctors who recommend it, and a lot of hospitals are using SNOO. It’s not a random new vendor, which I would be really skeptical to offer as it involves the safety of newborns.  When there’s an infant involved, you’ve got to be as safe as possible. I like that SNOO is not only safe, but that it also works.” (For important safety information visit happiestbaby.com/fda.)

So, Hannah reached out and—to her colleagues’ excitement—was able to launch the SNOO Employee Benefit program at Buzzfeed in December 2021.

“As soon as we started to implement the SNOO [Employee Benefit Program], we had people come forward to say, ‘I really wish I had it the first few months,’” she says. “Sleep in general is really important. Until you don’t have many successful nights of sleep, you may not realize that it’s the foundation of strong mental and physical health.” 

This was a sentiment that she heard echoed by Buzzfeed employees. Buzzfeed has several active employee resource groups, including one for parents. In their Slack channel, SNOO comes up often! “I see SNOO tips and tricks have been a topic of conversation. It’s something people really rely on and are keen on sharing how to best use it.”

Not long after launching the program, Hannah was able to experience the benefit firsthand when she welcomed a son in May of 2022.

When she first brought her son home, he was sleeping surprisingly well. “Being naïve new parents, we thought, we don’t need SNOO, we’ll just use it as bassinet.” Then, about a week in, Hannah’s easy sleeper started to need more help dozing off, and she was spending 45 minutes rocking him before bed.

“We finally turned on SNOO, and he went back to sleep.” She remembers being so happy she cried.

Her little one spent several more happy months in SNOO before transitioning to the crib—around the same time Hannah had to make a big transition herself: back to work.

“I thought I could dive in headfirst and be same professional before having a baby. In truth it was really challenging,” Hannah says. “The hardest part for me was assuming I didn’t need to give myself more grace. I didn’t realize how hard it was until looking back, months later. It’s a hard transition—and it would be even harder if you’re not sleeping through night.”

Hannah feels grateful that in addition to giving its employees a free SNOO, Buzzfeed offers up to 26 weeks of fully paid leave—a crucial resource for employees who are easing into their parenting journey.

“Being on parental leave for half a year made me realize that less time than that would not have been enough. I couldn’t imagine going back before my baby was sleeping through the night!” 

Her experience put her even more in-tune with the challenges of balancing a career and parenting.

“One of the things that I didn't realize was so important until I discovered it was finding your community. I became close with a few other new moms who have babies around the same age (both at work and outside of work), and it’s been so helpful having a support system for the challenges, rewards, tips, and tricks with people who are going through what you are,” she says. 

She’s also put more boundaries in place. Before having a baby, Hannah says she never truly signed off, but now she’s more comfortable clocking out to spend time with her family. “That was an easy decision to make.”

Of course, as proud as she is of Buzzfeed’s benefits, she hopes that the future brings more support for parents.

“Offering a comprehensive bonding leave is tip of the iceberg. It’s definitely not the only resource that that helps a new parent,” she says.

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