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Using white noise effectively for babies

 
Using white noise to help babies sleep and settle is nothing new, but using it effectively is another challenge. Chances are that you’ve come across white noise as a recommendation for babies, or you might be using it already as a sleeping measure for your own baby. However, do you know how to use a white noise app or portable white noise machine to your advantage?
Using white noise to help babies sleep and settle is nothing new, but using it effectively is another challenge.

Chances are that you’ve come across white noise as a recommendation for babies, or you might be using it already as a sleeping measure for your own baby.

However, do you know how to use a white noise app or portable white noise machine to your advantage?

Not all white noise is created equal and it’s often difficult to know what to start and to make the most of the benefits white noise offers.
 

How to use white noise effectively for babies


Here are 4 ways you can use white noise effectively, particularly when it comes to babies and sleep.
 

1. Know why you’re using white noise


There are different reasons why you might use white noise and these can change with the age of your baby.

Typically, white noise is used for 3 main reasons.

These are to:

1. help stop your baby crying

2. help to settle your baby into sleep

3. help mask external noise

Using white noise for newborn babies

During the newborn stage (0 - 12 weeks), white noise is a great tool to help soothe and encourage your baby to sleep.

Using white noise at this stage is calming and effective as it helps to replicate the sound of the womb which your newborn baby is already familiar with.

Using white noise for infants

After 3 months or so, your baby’s memory of the womb has dulled, so the effectiveness of white noise to soothe them at this point becomes somewhat limited.

That doesn’t mean you should stop using white noise. In fact, white noise is still useful and can help mask all those annoying household sounds that can wake your baby.
 

2. Why pure white noise is best


These days when people talk about white noise, they are often referring to different sounds that can help encourage your baby to sleep.

For instance, white noise apps can come with the sound of the ocean, raindrops, a hairdryer or a heartbeat (to name a few) to help your baby to sleep.

However, true white noise is reminiscent of static, a mix of sound waves blended together. Just like white light is a mix of all colour wavelengths mixed together.

This means the modulation and pitch of pure white noise doesn’t change.
 

3. Keep white noise continuous for sleep


If you’re using white noise to help your baby to sleep, it is best to keep it continuous.

That is, playing for the entirety of their sleep time. And yes, that means playing it all night long too!

Basically, when your baby wakes at night, you want the conditions to be the same as when they went to sleep so they can easily resettle.

When the noise they went to sleep by has suddenly stopped, this can cause some babies to wake fully, wondering what has changed.
 

4. Watch the volume of the white noise


This tip goes back to why you’re using white noise in the first place.

It’s important to note that the volume used to stop a baby crying in the short term is not the volume you should be using to settle them to sleep.

Yes, there is a theory that you can use loud white noise to stop a newborn baby crying. And loud white noise appears to work; but you also need to be very mindful of your newborn’s delicate little ears.

Anything over 80 decibels can cause hearing loss. So always keep loud noise short to get their attention and to help calm them down. And once your baby has stopped crying and starts to settle down, turn the volume down too.

For settling to sleep and to mask external noises, white noise should not be very loud and typically be the volume of a running shower.

Just because most white noise machines have the ability to go really loud, it doesn’t mean you should use them at their full volume!

More baby articles to enjoy:
Source: This article was written by Kim Corley, a certified sleep sense consultant at Cherished Sleep www.cherishedsleep.co.nz.
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