When it comes to finding ways to help your baby sleep better, you may come across various suggestions. However, as a new parent, you want to make sure that the advice you receive is both effective and safe for your little one.One such suggestion is using white noise.Despite its potential benefits, some caregivers may be uncertain or skeptical about using it. Here's what you need to know to make an informed decision.
Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional."
White noise is defined as any sound that contains a mix of frequencies with equal intensities. In simpler terms, it is a noise that lacks any pattern and is composed of all the sounds that the human ear can hear.White noise has been known to help some adults and children, including babies, fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. There are various sources of white noise available, such as white noise machines and apps, as well as YouTube channels dedicated solely to white noise.
There is no age limit when it comes to using white noise to help your baby sleep better. In fact, starting early can greatly improve the quality of your baby's sleep, especially if they struggle to stay asleep for more than 30 minutes.
Deciding when to stop using white noise for your baby is a personal choice, which may be made by the caregiver or the child as they get older. Some parents aim to stop using it by the time their child is 2 years old, while others continue to use it until their child is 3-4 years old and able to decide for themselves if they want it playing while they sleep. However, many older children and adults still find white noise helpful for sleep.
The question of whether white noise is good for babies often receives a positive answer from pediatric sleep experts. Research shows that the noise level inside the uterus is loud, similar to the sound of a lawnmower, which is why fussy babies may be soothed by the intense, low-frequency sounds associated with white noise.
White noise creates a familiar and comforting environment for babies, mimicking the sounds they heard in the womb, such as their parents' heartbeat and digestive noises. The continuous sound also helps to block out any sudden or loud noises that may stimulate or wake up the baby, and it can also serve as a sleep cue as part of a pre-sleep routine.
White noise is often associated with static sounds from a TV or radio, or sounds from everyday devices like lawnmowers, car engines, vacuums, or hair dryers. Pink noise, on the other hand, is found in nature and has less variation in frequency. Some sound machines have options for both white and pink noise.
White noise is better at blocking out loud or sudden noises like doors slamming or fireworks, and it resembles the sounds babies heard in the womb. Pink noise works better at masking more subtle noises or continuous sounds like people talking or the TV playing. The benefits of pink noise for babies have not yet been fully researched, but studies show that white noise may reduce fussiness and increase sleep duration.
White noise is commonly used as a sleep aid for babies, but some may worry about its potential impact on baby hearing. A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2014 found that all 14 white noise machines tested exceeded hospital-recommended noise levels at maximum output. To ensure safety, the AAP recommends placing white noise machines at least 7 feet from a baby's sleep area and keeping the volume lower than 50 decibels.
While white noise has been shown to help 80% of newborns fall asleep within 5 minutes, according to a small study, the effects of white noise on older babies and its potential impact on hearing and auditory development have yet to be thoroughly researched. Additionally, relying on white noise to fall asleep may create dependency issues, particularly during travel or in daycare settings without white noise.
Here are 5 tips for using white noise to safely soothe your baby: