Integrating white noise into your baby's sleep routine can be a great way to help your little one fall asleep and stay asleep.
White noise creates a calming atmosphere that can help block out sudden noises such as slamming doors or the sounds of other children playing. And if your baby is accustomed to lots of background noise, white noise may prevent the sudden silence of the bedroom from waking him or her up as you try to put baby into their crib.
If you have a colicky or fretful baby you may find that playing white noise calms them down at stressful times, but mostly it is ideal for helping your baby sleep. It recreates the noise of the womb so it feels comforting to baby as he or she falls asleep.
How long should your baby sleep?
It is important to remember that all babies are different, especially when it comes to sleep.
Newborns sleep on average for 18 hours per day, waking up for feeds on a regular basis. This decreases as they reach 1-3 months old with some babies sleeping for solid periods of 4 to 5 hours at a stretch.
By 3-6 months many babies can sleep for a solid 8 hours at night, taking naps throughout the day. By 6 months to a year, your baby may sleep around 14 hours in total including day time naps.
This all sounds great in theory but the trouble is that your baby doesn’t know or care that he or she is supposed to be sleeping.
Many babies do not sleep in these so called normal patterns, but if you do have any concerns you should always take advice from your doctor or pediatrician in case there is an underlying cause. Additionally, a sleep journal is a great tool for keeping track of your baby's routine in the even you do need to have a conversation with your pediatrician.
Tips on using white noise
To use white noise as part of baby's sleep routine, start by playing it shortly before it’s time to put baby to bed.
As nighttimes approaches, make sure the white noise remains at a low, consistent volume — this can help soothe baby and keep him in a calm state. Some parents even use white noise to mimic a gentle shushing noise, which can help create a peaceful atmosphere.
Try starting with a low volume, and work your way up until you find the right balance. Check out your baby's sleep patterns to see how he or she responds to different sounds and the different sound levels.
It is crucially important to ensure that the volume is not set too loud. It needs to be set below 50 decibels which is the maximum noise limit for hospital nurseries. According to research carried out by the American Academy of Pediatrics, exceeding this volume could potentially be damaging to an infant’s auditory development.
If your home is relatively consistent in sound, you may decide that you'd like to turn off the sound once your baby is asleep rather than having it play the entire duration of their sleep period. Fade Away Sleep Sounds features loopable versions of their sounds that can be played indefinitely, or 60 minute sounds that end with a slow, gradual fade to silence, giving you the option to use whatever work best for your child. There's also an Alexa skill that can be programed to play as long as you'd like, ending with the fade to silence.
White noise for baby sleep can be a boon for parents and babies alike. Done right, it is a safe and effective method of ensuring that baby gets some sleep and that your baby is comfortable and relaxed throughout the night.
Not all babies respond to white noise but if you have a fretful baby that struggles with sleeping, white noise can make a fantastic difference to his or her sleep routine.