When you have a newborn at home, a good night’s sleep seems like a distant dream. It is not just about frequent feeding sessions and nappy changes that keep you awake. Sometimes, your baby might have difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep.
Pediatricians usually recommend relaxing activities like a warm bath or massage to help babies sleep better. When these techniques don’t work, you can try alternatives like white noise.
For adults, the sound of the sea or calming music is the go-to sounds to help us relax. Similarly, for babies, white noise is found to help them relax and sleep soundly. White noise is one of the most effective, easy and inexpensive sleeping aid for babies.
What is White Noise? How does it help your baby sleep?
White noise is a familiar sound that can keep the baby calm and drift them off to sleep. It is a commonly used method of calming a crying or colicky baby to sleep.
Unlike what we assume, your womb is a very noisy place!
When in mother’s womb, babies are surrounded by noise which is a mixture of a heartbeat, rushes of amniotic fluid, breathing sounds of the mother, muffled the sound of mother’s voice and blood flowing. These sounds are comforting to the baby. When babies are born, they feel uncomfortable with the newness as they haven’t gotten used to the outside world and find it difficult to adjust to the relatively calmer environment in the external world. This often leads to stress resulting in constant crying and colic.
White noise is familiar to the baby and that’s why they love white noise. It is like “home” to them. It imitates the familiar sounds of the womb. These repetitive sounds can soothe the baby and drown out other noises that occur in the environment like a noise of appliances such as your dishwasher, vacuum etc and hence help the baby stay asleep.
Babies have something called as “sleep arousals” which is the short interval for which they fall asleep and then wake up for a short duration. Typically, babies sleep soundly for 20-45 mins and then wake up. White noise helps the babies to fall back asleep if they wake up from sleep and help them get quality sleep which is very important for their overall development.
Benefits of White Noise
#1. White Noise reduces stress
Are you wondering what babies get stressed about? Well, the answer to that is almost everything. Babies get stressed when they are tired, when they get overwhelmed with the external environment – the faces, the lights an the sounds. White noise comforts them and also helps them cry less. Some white noise machines have a heartbeat setting, such as the NapNap Mat which is similar to the mother’s heartbeat and can be very comforting for the baby.
#2. It helps them sleep better
Babies fall asleep faster when there is white noise in the background as it reduces stress and settles the baby. It also masks other environment sounds like traffic, vacuum, washer etc., and help the baby sleep longer. Babies have sleep arousals when they only nap for 20-30 minutes White noise also helps babies to sail through these arousals and hence enjoy longer and relaxed naps.
#3. White noise also reduces the risk of SIDS
Better sleep is a great way to lower the risk of SIDS and suffocation in babies
#4. White Noise will also help you sleep
Parents wake up every time the baby gets up. White noise can help your baby sleep which will eventually make you sleep.
#5. Can help a colicky baby
By imitating the sound of the womb, white noise offers a comfortable environment by blocking distracting noises an helps your fussy baby settle down.
It is, however, important to understand what precautions to take before you start using white noise. The recommended noise limit for white noise machines for infants is 50 decibels. Also, if your baby cries when you start the white noise or wakes up too frequently during sleep, it can indicate that the white noise is disturbing your child’s sleep.
Dear Parents, sleep is very much essential for your child’s physical and emotional growth. If the typical sleeping aids like lullabies, massages and warm baths don’t work, you can try using white noise to help your baby sleep. Babies also wake up frequently due to issues like hunger or wet nappies. It is important to understand the root cause of it.
White noise is harmless and does not have any side effects if it is used in the right manner. It is definitely a recommended alternative to help your little one to fall asleep soon and stay asleep longer.