What the Sleep Pros Think About White Noise Machines
Updated: Nov 14, 2021
...although it might seem unnatural to create noise when you want your baby to go to sleep, remember: it wasn’t exactly soundproof in the womb! Babies are not actually used to silence.
If you've been following along, this would probably be the second time I'm actually giving parents the green light for a sleep prop. If you missed the first sleep prop that I thoroughly love, you can get the deets here.
Benefits of White Noise Machines
Why do I love sound machines? There are countless noises that can wake your child from a peaceful slumber, whether it’s a garbage truck going by, a car starting or your older child tearing down the hall singing the alphabet at the top of his lungs. Before you know it, baby is wide awake and you have to start the sleep routine all over again.
Environmental noises are a fact of life that you can’t do much about… but there IS something you can do proactive to cut back significantly on how much your child will be woken up by the noise. In my experience, white noise machines can be a lifesaver when it comes to helping babies fall asleep and stay asleep without interruption.
Personally, I am a big fan of the Dohm, Lectrofan, Hatch and the Hush Portable White Noise Machine as they create a consistent sound that mimics rushing air. This is soothing to the child and blocks out everyday noises that can startle him awake.
And although it might seem unnatural to create noise when you want your baby to go to sleep, remember: it wasn’t exactly soundproof in the womb! Babies are not actually used to silence. Life is loud, and those nine months when baby was in utero he heard everything from your gurgling stomach to the sound of your voice and other people talking in the outside world. Baby would just peacefully sleep through it. In fact, utter silence is not the norm for a newborn at all, and it takes some getting used to.
One of the biggest benefits of the white noise machine is that it helps babies fall back to sleep if they wake up. This means their nap times will last longer and they will be less likely to fully wake in the night.
Dispelling Sound Machine Myths
There are some common misconceptions regarding the use of white noise machines, and some people don’t agree with using them. I am a firm believer that sound machines are a useful tool in helping babies fall asleep and stay asleep longer, so I’d like to address those concerns.
Addiction fears White noise is not the same as these other props like nursing or rocking to sleep. Its use is to block out noises that you can’t control that might be waking your child. The best sound machines have volume settings that you can turn down at night.
Damage to little ears There has been some recent press about noise machines being harmful to babies, but I strongly disagree. According to Slate, these stories were based on the results of a single study published in Pediatrics that raised questions about how white-noise machines should be used. It didn’t come to the conclusion that the machines cause any hearing loss or deafness. Good sound machines simply don't go loud enough to be of risk to your child. Remember to keep it several feet away from the crib and don't max out the volume.
Weaning Off the Sound Machine
When you’re ready to wean your child off the machine, simply turn the volume down a little every night until you’re not using the sound at all. But again, this is one of those sleep props that are actually considered a good sleep prop so don't be in a hurry to remove it from your child's sleep environment especially for those room sharing with their baby.