Baby Sleep Solutions: Baby Sleep and White Noise

Baby Sleep Solutions:  Baby Sleep and White NoiseNavigating baby sleep is one of the most challenging parts of early parenthood.  It is often a guessing game of trial and error based on many factors, some of which are completely out of a parent’s control.  Using white noise is a baby sleep solutions tactic that many pediatricians and sleep experts recommend for luring babies to sleep.  We’re taking a closer look at baby sleep and white noise today.

Can you train your baby to sleep through noise?

Many new parents are given the advice to train their babies to sleep through noisy situations in an attempt to make them better sleepers in any circumstance.  This is a lofty idea but not necessarily possible.  Newborns sleep soundly most of their days and nights regardless of their environment and the level of noise around them.  At about six weeks, infants become more aware of their surroundings during wakeful times but still can sleep almost anywhere at any time they are tired.  By around four months, however, babies are much more likely to be affected by sounds that could potentially keep them awake as they begin to have periods of deeper and lighter sleep.

Therefore, the theory of training your baby to sleep through noise doesn’t really work beyond early infancy when it probably would have happened anyways.  Bummer!  But there are other noise-related sleep solutions to try.

How white noise can help your baby sleep

White noise is a constant droning noise that blocks out other noises.  Examples are television static, vacuum cleaners and rushing water.  Parents often use white noise to help babies fall asleep and stay asleep starting at a young age.  Babies enjoy white noise because they are used to constant sounds they heard in the womb, such as their mother’s heartbeat, digestion and blood flow.  These familiar sounds are much more appealing than silence.

Besides drowning out household noises, it also helps create healthy sleep habits as babies recognize the white noise sound as time for rest.  White noise machines are available at most baby product stores or you can use a white noise app or download white noise files onto your mobile device or tablet.

Hazards of white noise

Do be careful where you place the white noise in your baby’s room and how loud it is.  A recent study showed that several white noise machines may cause permanent hearing damage when turned on to a high volume setting.  The consistent loud noise for 8+ hours a night might lead to hearing loss later in life.  Be sure the white noise you select is set at approximately the volume of a normal conversation.  Also, keep the noise machine at a safe distance from your child’s ear.

Remember, all babies are different and white noise is not a one-size-fits-all baby sleep solution.  Some babies who are colicky, have digestive issues, are jaundice or are just not sound sleepers may not appreciate white noise as much as others.  Baby sleep and white noise is something to try but you may need to seek other baby sleep solutions to get your baby into a successful sleep routine.