Hands up if this sounds familiar…
Your fussy baby finally falls asleep for their afternoon nap and
you sit down for a much-needed moment to yourself only to hear a car with a broken muffler roaring down the street. Just like that, Sleeping Beauty is wide awake and mad… NOT a good combination.
Or maybe you’re little one wakes at dawn to the tune of adorable (but loud) birds chirping outside her window.
Environmental noises are a fact of life that you can’t do much
about… but there IS something you can do about your baby’s ability to sleep through the noise. In my experience, white noise machines can be a lifesaver when it comes to helping babies fall asleep — and stay asleep.
There are lots of options out there, but I like to use the Dohm
machines (formerly called the Marpac SleepMate). This is a small, simple-to-use device that creates a sound that blocks out a lot of these day-to-day noises that can startle and wake a child. The sound it makes is similar to rushing air, which can be soothing to a baby.
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!
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 can last longer and they will be less likely to fully wake in the night.
The main concern parents have about trying this is usually about their child becoming “addicted” to white noise, and that’s a valid point.
My experience is that there’s absolutely no need to worry about
this. A white noise machine IS NOT being used as a “sleep prop” – like a soother or being rocked and sung to. It’s there to block out noises that you can’t control that might be waking your child.
When you’re ready to wean your child off the machine, simply
decrease the volume a little every night until you’re not using the sound at all.