Life in the womb is super loud, so when your kid is born they go from “SLAYER!” to “The Sounds Of Silence.” White noise — or, as they like to call it, aural sleepy fuzz — makes them feel at home, among a host of other benefits: it’s crazy cheap to produce (“Shhhhhhh”), can help your baby get to Snoozeville and stay there, reduces crying and stress (for them and you), is easy to wean off of, and has even been linked to reducing the risk of SIDS. Weirdly though, for something so very simple, it’s often incorrectly used. So turn up your hearing aid, here’s the lowdown:
You Buying This?
You may not realize it, but you already own a white noise maker. It just so happens to be branded as a vacuum, fan, shower, radio, or your own face. Then again, using the vacuum as anything other than a vacuum is impractical and unfair to the vacuum. Radio static is a good fix, except nobody has a radio, and running a desk fan seems viable until you learn that it’s trying to kill you. What your baby really needs to sleep soundly and safely is a cacophony of womb-like tunes, which is a mash-up of a steady heartbeat and low-frequency whooshing and rumbling. You can probably do a pretty decent approximation yourself, but you’ll pass out if you try to go for more than 5 minutes or so. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps and affordable products like White Noise Baby, Baby Snooze, Baby Shusher, and the Skip Hop Soother, which keep that aural sleepy fuzz bumping all night. Plus, at least one of those is an adorable owl. You are not an adorable owl.
If It’s Too Loud, You’re Too Freaked Out
White noise should be louder than you might be initially comfortable with; loud enough to drown outside life noises but not so loud that it hurts your ears. It should be about as loud as a shower when you’re in the bathroom, or mild rain falling (~50 decibels). If your baby already sleeps in the bathroom or the rain, you’re set for white noise but might have some other issues.
Turn It On And Keep It On
Whatever you use to make white noise, make sure it can safely run continuously while the baby sleeps. Not only will it take your baby to Snore Valley on the express train (it’s the stop after Snoozeville), if they startle awake, they will be less likely to stay awake.
Keep in mind that white noise will probably also help you out by drowning out all the little fusses that make you want to run and check on the little squirt. So fire up the white noise machine and get ready for the best sleep you and your baby have ever had. “Hey man, is that freedom rock?” Yes, yes it is.