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Using White Noise To Get Baby To Sleep – Pros And Cons

White noise to get baby to sleep
By Kelin George | November 20, 2020
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After you become parents to a newborn, uninterrupted sleep will seem like a luxury that you can’t afford. When your baby is in the newborn phase and gets up every two hours, sleep for you will become a distant dream. White noise machine works like a miracle during this time, which helps a baby to sleeping.

White noise is the sound that blocks all other surrounding sounds like the traffic and let your baby drift into a peaceful sleep. It will help mask other sounds that might take place around your baby, and play a peaceful tone over and over again. Babies are not used to sleeping in a quiet environment; before they were born, they were used to all kinds of noises in the utero. Having said that, babies are also not used to very large noises, and this can easily startle them from their sleep. Soothing white noises can be sounds of ocean waves, rain, vacuuming, or sounds that resemble a mother’s heartbeats.   White noise helps baby sleep better, and for a longer time without waking up again, and again, they tend to cry less when they’re exposed to white noise. But, babies shouldn’t be exposed to too much white noise as they tend to get dependent on it to sleep, or it can affect their hearing ability if kept at a high volume. You can turn off the white noise as soon baby falls to sleep or after she’s awake. To develop sleeping schedule habits for your baby, it is advised to wean your baby off of white noise machines slowly.

What is white noise?

White noise is a buzz, static sound which is played at the same amplitude and intensity all the time. It is produced by combining all different sound frequencies at once, and no individual sound will be audible, and you wouldn’t be able to distinguish one sound from another.

Let’s keep science aside for a moment! In simple English, white noise helps mask all sounds that may happen naturally in the environment or is present in the surrounding like traffic sounds.

How does white noise help my baby to sleep?

How does white noise help my baby to sleep?

Before making their grand, crying entrance into this world, babies were used to a different world with different kind of sounds. The rhythmic beating of your heart, the sound of your blood circulation and other surrounding sounds (ranging from 70 to 90 decibels) are similar to the intensity of a vacuum (70 to 80 decibels), meaning that your womb is not at all a quiet place for your baby.

Babies are used to sleeping by listening to sounds like these, and suddenly after being born if you think babies need to sleep in a quiet, peaceful environment, then you got another thing coming!

Babies are not born with the skill of self-soothing to sleep. We have to help them go to sleep. Have you ever had the thought that why your baby sleeps only 10-15, 20 minutes max and will wake up crying soon after? Well, your baby is born into a world foreign to her, and she might get anxious or stressed with everything new to her. White noise machines create a calm, womb-like environment for your baby to help her sleep better and for a longer time.

The sleep cycle of your baby is completed after 20 minutes, and just like an alarm clock, she wakes up again and begins to stir. At this time, the sound from the white noise machine will help calm her down and put her back to sleep.

How many hours of sleep does a baby need?

How many hours of sleep does a baby need?

Sleep is extremely important for babies for their growing bodies and brains. Although babies have different sleep cycles from each other, their sleep cycle mostly depends on their age.

Newborns (0 to 3 months)14 to 17 hours of sleep
4 to 6 months12 to 16 hours of sleep with 3 naps a day
7 to 12 months10 to 12 hours of sleep with 1 or 2 naps a day

Pros and cons of white noise for baby

By knowing all the pros and cons of buying a white noise machine or using white noise to help your baby sleep better, you can make an informed decision about using one.

Pros:

The constant ‘shushing’ sound in the utero is resembled by white noise which can help a baby to sleep or calm a crying baby. Babies up to the age of 3 months don’t know how to sleep on their own and white noise can help them sleep better and keep her rested and happy when awake. You can even download apps that produce white noise on your mobile phone instead of purchasing a white noise machine.

Sometimes, loud, sharp sounds can startle your baby from sleep, and white noise can help cover disruptive sudden noises like a dog barking or a car horn or a television playing in another room.

Using a white noise machine can help you catch up some sleep when your baby is fast asleep. You no longer have to tiptoe around your house to avoid making any sounds which can wake your baby up, rather while your baby is asleep, you can work, cook or clean around your house.

Cons:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that noise limits for babies are 50 decibels. The white noise machine can play louder than that, and constant exposure to loud sound can cause hearing disability for babies.

Using white noise machine constantly can make babies dependent on it and will not calm down or sleep unless they hear the familiar soothing sounds. This could become problematic if you travel to someplace else with your baby and no sound machine is available for them. Constant exposure to white noise machine is also known to speech delays and other developmental hindrance.

Newborns and infants are not supposed to sleep throughout the night. Babies can wake up for a lot of reasons like hunger, wet diaper or any other discomfort which should be looked after by parents.

Weaning from white noise machines can become a hurdle if you’re trying to instill a sleep routine with your baby after she’s 3 months old, as they are habituated to sleeping after listening to white noise.

Also, all babies are different from each other, and it is not necessary that your baby might like the white noise machine. It’s really a trial and error process.

Conclusion

White noise machine can be incredibly helpful in the early months of a baby’s life when they struggle to sleep or have colic. Babies are not born with the skill of sleeping by themselves; rather, it is a learned skill which is inculcated by parents over time. White noise machine can help soothe babies and make a womb-like environment where they can be comfortable and go to sleep peacefully.

But, babies shouldn’t be constantly exposed to white noise similarly like you wouldn’t eat the same food throughout your life. If white noise machines are a boon for parents of a newborn baby, it also has its drawbacks. If you’re looking to invest in a good white noise machine, then buy one that has options to switch off automatically, or boost its volume if the baby starts crying in the middle of the night and lowers the volume when the baby is resting.

White noise machine can prove good to the baby as long as it is not misused and is kept safely away from the baby. Make sure to keep the machine 7 feet away from the baby’s crib at a low volume.

To use a white noise machine in a healthy way, try to turn off the machine after the baby sleeps, or try not to use white noise for every sleep, instead use it only occasionally. Most importantly speak once with your pediatrician on your next visit if you’re planning to use a white noise machine.

Meanwhile, comment down below and tell us how you plan to use your white noise machine, or do you have other secret spells to make your child fall asleep.

About Kelin George

Kelin GeorgeA 20-something mother of a son, Kelin is the wife of the world’s most patient man and a busy homemaker. When she’s not running after her kid, she is busy penning down words on her laptop. She believes the world will always try to instil ‘mom guilt’ in new mothers, but she goes by the maxim ‘a mother knows best’.