Updated: Dec 18, 2019
What is the deal with the white noise obsession? The main reason white noise machines help newborns sleep is because it mimics the noise they heard in the womb. If your baby his having a hard time settling down, it may be the quiet lack of noise and movement that is unsettling her. If your toddler has a hard time staying asleep during nap time because of all the hustle and bustle of the house, a noise machine may do the trick! It is important, however, to know how to use them well and safely.
One question I get all the time is which White Noise Machine is the best?
The answer is of course subjective, but here are my top 3.
This was my personal favorite. It's very simple, easy to use, and has different lullaby settings. When we sleep trained our son for bedtime we decided we wanted a NO tears method and so we chose a method that included a lullaby. I loved this sound machine because it also has a remote control, so we could switch it to white noise when we were sleep training him, without having to be in the same room. The price is also nice, just $25.
This whitenoise machine was recommended to me by MANY of my friends before my baby was born. Moms will swear by it! The noise quality is high, it helps babies stay asleep, and the price is not TOO Too much for what it is: you can find different Dohms from $40-60 dollars.
This is a bit more pricy, the Porsche of Whitenoise machines, if you will. Other Sleep Consultants like to recommend this one for its volume and portability.
Another important question: What are the safety guidelines?
Unfortunately there is not enough research yet to compose a safety guideline, but we can look at different studies to be as safe as possible. A
concluded some rules to stick to:
"1. Place the ISM as far away as possible from the infant and never in the crib or on a crib rail.
2. Play the ISM at a low volume.
3. Operate the ISM for a short duration of time."
What is a low volume?
The sound of a soft shower is between 60-75 decibels. While there is no research proving that this is too loud for an infant, anything above this may be harmful at long exposures. 85 decibels is about a hair dryer pumping out loud air and it is also a workplace safe limit, so it is safe to assume that should be the absolute limit on the exposure we give our children. To know how loud your white noise machine is, you can download any app on your iPhone or Android to measure it. I like to be on the side of safety, even if there are no concluding studies
Should it run all night?
For a white machine to be useful it should run the course of the night. All of us humans like to keep sleeping in the same environment we fell asleep in. A white noise machine is only good if it will help a baby sleep the entire time, not just for the first 30 minutes.
Having said that, I'm on team "wean-off-white-noise" if you can just because it's something else to think about. Once an infant is sleeping well and over 4 months, I recommend to wean off the white noise if possible. This gets rid of a prop and also allows a child to learn to sleep in any environment.
If your tot is too attached to the white noise, or you need it to cancel other noises, fear not! Just stick to safe volumes and place it as far from your child as possible to block out all other noise.