Raise your hand if this sounds familiar…
Your fussy baby finally falls asleep for her afternoon nap and you sit down for that much needed cup of coffee and time to yourself, only to hear a car with a broken muffler roaring down the street. Just like that, Sleeping Beauty is wide awake and mad- NOT a good combination.
Or maybe you are jarred from sleep at dawn by a wailing infant who was woken by the garbage truck banging the trash out of the cans.
Environmental noises are a fact of life that you can’t do much about, but 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!
There are lots of options out there, but I like to use Dohm machines (formerly called the Marpac SleepMate). This is a small, simple-to-use device that creates sound that blocks out a lot of these day-to-day noises that can startle and wake a child. The sound it makes is similar to rushing air, which can be soothing to a baby. Or if you don’t want to get that fancy, an old iPhone with Relax Melodies app gets the job done. Choose something you fine soothing- the rain option, waterfall, ocean...you get the idea.
And although it might seem unnatural to create noise when you want your baby to go to sleep, remember it wasn’t exactly soundproof in the womb!
Your child is actually quite accustomed to noise by the time he is born because he has been listening to you talk, your stomach gurgling, and the sound of his siblings, the TV and your favorite podcast all 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 using white noise is that it helps babies fall back to sleep if they wake up. This means their nap times will last longer and they will be less likely to fully wake in the night.
The main concern parents have about trying this is usually about their child becoming “addicted” to white noise, and that is a valid point.
In my experience I have found that there is absolutely no need to worry about this. White noise IS NOT being used as a “sleep prop", like a pacifier or being rocked. It is there to block out noises that you can’t control that might be waking your child. Can you say toddler meltdown while newborn is napping? Or innocently flushed toilet at 5:50 am?
If you ever wanted to wean your child off white noise (and I see no reason to do so, but if you did), simply turn the volume down a little every night until you are not using the sound at all.