Will White Noise Help your Child Sleep?

January 20, 2017

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Does this sound familiar?...

Your fussy baby finally falls asleep for her afternoon nap and you sit down for a much needed moment to yourself only to hear the lawn mower next door crank up right next to your child’s window. Just like that, Sleeping Beauty is wide awake and mad!  Now everyone’s afternoon is ruined.

 

Or maybe you live in the country and you are awoken at dawn by a wailing infant who has adorable (but ridiculously loud) birds chirping outside her window each morning.

 

Environmental noises are a fact of life and usually they are simply out of your control.  Luckily, there IS something you can do about your baby’s ability to sleep through the noise. In my experience, white noise machines can be a lifesaver when it comes to helping babies fall asleep and stay asleep.

 

 

You have plenty of choices when choosing the white noise machine that works for you. The Marpac Dohm machine is a popular option because it creates sounds using an actual fan and motor (use the contact form below to receive a Marpac discount)!  Homedics makes the MyBaby Sound Spa which has a few different sounds to choose from, including static white noise, and provides a more economical option.  You can even get a white noise app for your tablet or smartphone for FREE!  Any of these options can be used successfully. Whatever white noise you choose, I recommend choosing a machine that provides CONTINUOUS white noise that will play for the duration of your baby’s sleep, rather than one that will automatically shut off after a certain period of time.  The purpose of white noise is to help block out the day-to-day sounds that can startle and wake a child by providing a consistent sound, so suddenly stopping that sound can also cause premature waking. 

 

 

Although it might seem unnatural to create noise when you want your baby to go to sleep, remember: your baby was used to hearing plenty of sound in the womb, so some sound is quite comforting!   Your child is actually quite used to noise by the time he is born because he has been listening to you talk, your stomach gurgling, and the sound of TV or radio while in utero. Believe it or not, complete quiet can actually be more confusing to a newborn than background noise.

 

One of the biggest benefits of the white noise machine is that it helps babies block out the sudden, unexpected sounds that would otherwise cause a full awakening.  For babies struggling to nap during the day and stay asleep during the night, white noise can actually help babies fall back to sleep if they have a brief awakening.  This means their nap times may start to lengthen and they will be less likely to fully wake throughout the night.

 

The main concern parents have about trying white noise is usually about their child becoming “addicted” to white noise, and that is a valid point. In my experience, there is no need to worry about a white noise addiction.  A white noise machine IS NOT being used as a “sleep prop” therefore does not have the same side effects as using a pacifier or being rocked to sleep. White noise is simply a useful tool that helps you control your child’s sleep environment to help her sleep better and longer. 

 

When you are ready to wean your child off the white nosie, simply turn the volume down a little every night until you are not using the sound at all.  It is also okay to use white noise for naps and cut it out at night if your home is typically much quieter in the evenings.  

 

If you are already using white noise and your child is still struggling to sleep, there may be something else going on.  Use the link below to book a free evaluation call with me to find out how I can help your child start getting the rest they need!

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