White Noise For Babies: Benefits And Precautions
What is white noise?
When it comes to babies, one has to make use of the best available options so that they are provided with optimal comfort. There are all sorts of objects available which are aimed to offer parents assistance in taking care of their baby. One of the options that you will find is the usage of white noise. White noise refers to a constant sound that is emitted evenly within the normal hearing range of humans, which is 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Examples of this include the sound of an electric fan or running water. The basic purpose of using white noise is to ensure that the baby is able to fall asleep with ease.
How does white noise work for babies?
There are all sorts of chores that you need to handle as you take care of the baby. Sometimes, you wait for the baby to fall asleep to get on with these tasks. You might have noticed that there are certain chores which, despite being noisy, do not disturb the baby in their sleep. For instance, it is highly unlikely that the baby would wake up due to the noise of the vacuum cleaner or carpet cleaning. This is because the baby is used to the sound of the blood flow which rushes within the placenta, which is louder for them than the sound of a vacuum cleaner.
After being enclosed in the same surrounding for so long in the womb of the mother, the baby tends to have a tough time dealing with the distractions of the new environment. This leads to excessive crying and other related problems. At such times, distracting their attention using white noise proves to be quite beneficial as the baby calms down, subsequently falling asleep within a short span.
Benefits attained from white noise for babies
You can think of white noise as a lullaby that calms the baby down by providing them with an environment which is similar to the one that they have become used to. Let us take a look at some of the benefits that will be offered to the baby by using white noise.
Reduction of stress
As the baby is stressed out with the new environment, white noise gives them a feeling of security as they feel that they are back in the place that they were used to. It, thus, serves to de-stress them. There are certain situations which lead to the baby getting jittery. These include instances when they are tired, hear unfamiliar sounds, or feel overwhelmed with the things that they see around them.
Enabling them to fall asleep
A baby’s nap time is usually for 20 to 45 minutes. It is usually hard to make them sleep for longer. However, it has been seen that babies sleep longer when they hear white noise.
It is a common tactic that whenever a baby cries,
the parent tries to quieten them down by making sounds to distract them from whatever is the reason for their discomfort. This can be attained using white noise such as shushing. However, you will have to make the sound a bit louder to distract the baby. An option is to make use of some sort of calming music.
Reduction in the risk of sudden infant death syndrome
It has been seen that white noise reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. While the mechanism is unclear, it basically cuts active sleep, which is the duration when SIDS tend to occur most often.
Is white noise safe for babies?
White noise is quite safe for your baby as long as you do not end up overdoing it. It is essential that you don’t play your sound machine too loud for the baby. Also, keep in mind that prolonged usage of white noise without any breaks can lead to developmental delays in the hearing center of the brain.
The extent of loudness of white noise
While there is no denying that sounds can produce impressive results, very loud sounds can prove to be harmful. Sound is measured using a decibel meter. You ought to get your hands on a decibel meter or make use of an app that would measure the sound for you. While using it, ensure that you are at least 6 inches away from the device so as to make sure the results are accurate. White noise should not go beyond 50 decibels.
Selecting the right white noise for the baby
There are quite a few options if you intend to use white noise to make your baby fall asleep.
If you are looking for a cheap option, you can try using a box fan. However, the fan tends to produce quite strong winds, which can make the baby cold. You might also face some difficulty in placing it near the crib. There are some overhead fans which can do the trick as well. However, the older models of these fans tend to be a bit too loud. While using the fan, you need to ensure that the baby does not feel too cold.
You can use music CDs, but you will have to ensure that the music is played without interruption for the baby to continue sleeping undisturbed. You can shush the baby on your own. If you can do it for at least 10 minutes without tiring out, give it a try. Otherwise, it is better to look for alternatives. Humidifiers can also do the trick, but they are occasionally not loud enough for newborns. You can make use of YouTube videos as well, but the most convinient and not a too expensive option is to get a white noise machine that’s made especially for babies. They usually come with different sound options like mother’s heartbeat, regular white noise and lullabies and are often portable, so you can use white noise to calm your little one when going for a walk or for a visit as well.
These are some of the ways via which you can calm your baby and ensure that they do not have any trouble in falling asleep.