Babies are already used to white noise – afterall, the womb can be a noisy place with the reassuring echo of human life. Every day breathing and the beating of your heart, create a comforting sound somewhat akin to the hum of a vacuum.
After arrival, babies often find themselves in a world of hushing and quiet footsteps. All with good intentions, this curated silence can leave them feeling isolated, possibly anxious and inturn can lead to trouble sleeping.
Soothing background sounds help some babies get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. Here’s what to know about white noise for your baby.
Is white noise okay for babies?
White noise machines create a comfortable, womb-like environment that calms infants. They are meant to be in the background, making it safe for babies from a health perspective.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using a white noise machine set no louder than 50 decibels (about the sound level of a quiet dishwasher), so use a low volume setting and use a timer to stop playing it once your baby falls asleep. Follow common sense and your instincts – don’t put the noise machine or its cords within your baby’s reach.
Should I worry about using a white noise machine?
Some babies don’t like the sound of white noise, so you may have to rely on other ways to get your little one down. Others like it so much that they become dependent and may struggle with sound sleep without white noise in the background.
Buying and using a white noise machine
For safe sleep you do not want to buy anything with sound levels above 50 decibels, so before purchasing a white noise machine be sure you do your homework to ensure your little one’s safety.
White-noise machines are available online. But if you’re on a budget, you can produce white noise by running a fan. You also can pick up a low-cost, white noise-generating app such as White Noise Baby for your smartphone – also a perfect on-the-go option.
Once you’ve purchased your machine, you may have to adjust the volume on your white noise machine in order for it to effectively calm down your crying baby. After your little one has been soothed, adjust the volume to the level of a soft shower.
White noise sounds can be incredibly helpful during the difficult stages of your baby’s life, especially in the first few sleep-challenged months. Still, you don’t want to get into the habit of exposing your child to white noise all night, every night.
Babies aren’t born into sound sleep, it’s a skill they develop. A 24/7 white noise machine could get in the way of your baby learning to self-soothe. However, white noise can be a useful tool to help newborns and babies get the quality sleep they need.