Are you using white noise to help your baby sleep? I’ve only used white noise as a sleep aid for about 3 or 4 years but it can be soooo useful to help your little settle and sleep well at night. When used correctcly white noise can be a really usefull tool for helping your baby to calm ans settle to sleep and even stay asleep longer.
After doing a bit of research and trial and error i’ve found the best way to use white noise and I'm sharing my tips with you so you can help your little one get more sleep ( I also live streamed about it the other day click here to see the video)
What is white noise?White noise is a sound where every frequency that can be heard within the range of sound waves that human ears can hear is heard in equal amounts. A lot of babies find it soothing to hear and it can sound very similar to noises given off by static radios and old tvs out of frequency. Other rhythmic noises from . around the house can have a similar effect on your baby or even your toddler such as the hair dryer, running water, the washing machine , hoovers, fans air conditioners or even the car engine. Ever notice your baby suddenly go quiet when you're drying your hair?
It’s thought that many babies respond well to white noise over silence during sleep because the loud noise is similar to the noises your baby used to hear in the womb.
Many of us, myself included assumed that when in utero, noises the baby would hear were muffled and that the mother’s heartbeat would soothe the baby. According to what i've researched this isn't actually true as the heartbeat isn't as loud to a baby as we'd expect and that the muffled yet loud noises of the outside world are what babies can hear in the womb. Then when they're born us grown ups obsess about keeping the environment around the baby quiet.
Ever noticed how when you shhhhh a baby it seems to calm them? Ssssshhhh is universal, in that it's the same sound that seems to calm babies whatever language you speak. But when you think about it the shhhhhhh sound is the same as white noise.
So how do you use white noise effectively to help your baby sleep?
1.When using white noise the volume needs to be fairly loud. I’d been using it incorrectly in the past by playing it quite low like a mild background noise. And then shutting it off as soon as the baby falls asleep. but it needs to be loud enough for the baby to hear over a potential cry not to drown out your baby's but so your baby can hear it.
When i use my white noise app i use it on my ipad at about 60/70% of the max volume which is fairly loud but far from deafening.
This is the white noise application I use on my smart phone or ipad with my clients. Its made by the app developers TMSsoft and theres a free version ( the icon for the free version is pink) and a paid version of the app. The free version of the app has a limited choice of sounds and the app needs to remain open or the sound shuts off. The paid version was £2.99 in the IOS app store and is also available on android.
2. Use the noise machine all night long. Playing it during the wind down process after bath and after a story is a brilliant cue to give your little one. Great to use as they fall asleep as well as throughout the night. The benefit of using it all night is that during brief arousals and awakenings it's the same constant noise they heard as they went off to sleep and it's calming enough to help them drift back off to sleep or into their next sleep cycle. If your little one struggles with sleep it can be useful to use in the wind down process before and during nap times too.( useful for cat nappers too for this reason )
3.It drowns out annoying background noises that you have no control over. The doorbell, kids playing in the back garden next door, police sirens. All those loud or sudden noises that can wake a soundly sleeping baby but yet you have zero control over. Block out the excess noises with your white noise. It may not drown out the sounds completely but they won't be nearly as disturbing to your little one as they would be if your baby slept in complete silence.
4. Its safe. I read a recent study ( somewhere that google led me to)claims that noise machines played too loud in infancy can cause noise induced hearing loss especially if played at a volume of 85 decibels or higher.I’m no hearing expert but i think if we turn the volume down a little and perhaps have a speaker or sound machine positioned away from.the cot we can not worry about causing hearing loss. But let’s be real here if 2 adults having a conversation is recorded as averaging 60 decibels then i seriously doubt a white noise machine could cause noise induced hearing loss. If we use a moderate level of volume ( we have enough to worry about as it is) If you have concerns about the safety of white noise talk to your doctor and do a little bit of research. So far I've never heard of any safety issues concerning white noise.
5.It’s an independent sleep association. I try not to label sleep associations as bad or good i label them as independent or parent dependent. Use white noise as you settle your baby to sleep his now and and every time you settle them to sleep and it will become a useful you sleep association. The more you use white noise at times of sleep and rest the more your little one will get to understand what’s happening. It will become familiar, predictable comforting to your baby as she will hear it and get to understand “ah this happens when i go to sleep. Babies and toddlers thrive on predictability. And it's an independent association. If you use it whilst rocking your little ones to sleep or feeding to sleep having it play whilst settling can make weaning off of rocking/cuddling/feeding to sleep easier than without as it's a factor that has remained constant in the falling asleep process despite other changes.
6. It apparently helps soothes colicky babies too! I'm assuming because if the womb like sounds a baby would find it soothing. I’m not 100% sold on this one though, will test out the theory further and see.
7. If you’re co sleeping you’ll sleep better too. It drowns out excess background noise. If you’re a light sleeper it can help block out those niggling little noises that can disturb your sleep like your baby stretching or wriggling in their sleep,tweeting birds at 4am, your snoring hubby? not so much. You'll still hear your baby though.
Give white noise a try tonight. You don't need to go out and buy a white noise machine. You can download an app on your smartphone or tablet (just be prepared to forgo usage of your device whilst your little one is sleeping.