To use or not to use a white noise machine. That’s one question that many expectant parents are asking themselves right now. While these machines can cause a few problems, depending on the type that you pick, many make up for that with a number of great benefits that simply can’t be ignored.
Since newborns need a lot of sleep, up to 18 hours a day, for the record, it’s possible that a white noise machine will provide them with the restful sleep that they need. However, there’s a bit more involved in that, as you also need to choose the best possible machine for your little one. Paperclip is here to break down what you need to know.
What Is a White Noise Machine?
Let’s begin by explaining what a white noise machine is. You’ve probably heard white noise in the past without fully realizing what it is. The sound that fan blades make when the fan is turned on – that gentle whirring sound? That’s white noise. These machines create a soothing sound for the entire time that they’re on.
When choosing a white noise machine for your little bundle of joy, you may be able to select the sound that you want, such as the sound of a heartbeat, gentle fans whirring, or even ocean waves. What matters is that the sounds drown out extra noise, helping your baby sleep better.
How Do White Noise Machines Work?
A white noise machine is a little like a radio, only it doesn’t pick up stations, and you certainly can’t load a CD or MP3 into it. Instead, they often come with preset sounds that play over and over on repeat for hours, as long as the device is on. You may find some that run on batteries (either rechargeable or disposable), making them easy to bring on trips with you (maybe even inside your gorgeous diaper bag, if it’s small enough). Others plug into the wall and are reliant on standard electricity.
No matter which kind you have, using them is easy. You simply plug the machine in (or ensure that it has new batteries or a full charge), choose the type of noise that you want your little one to hear while they nap, and then turn it on. You may be able to set the volume, and some programmable models might be able to turn off on their own at a preset time. All in all, the options available are pretty cool!
Why Do I Need a White Noise Machine?
So, why would you need a white noise machine? The easy answer is because you want your baby to get a restful sleep. After all, they need it for their development.
To get into more depth with that, if you live in an urban environment and are worried about noisy car horns and other street sounds keeping your baby awake, then a white noise machine is a great idea. Plus, if you have older children (who will definitely be making noise while the baby is sleeping), then a white noise machine will ensure that those sounds are drowned out.
Think of it this way – what was the best night of sleep that you had in your life? Were you staying in a hotel near the ocean, where you could hear the waves crashing all night long? Or were you camping in the woods, falling asleep to the sounds of birds, squirrels, and other wildlife? Either way, you found those noises soothing, and they prevent you from being woken up by any noises, like a nearby highway near your campsite. Your baby will feel the same way once they’re sleeping with a white noise machine on.
When Is the Best Time to Introduce a White Noise Machine?
Ideally, you want to begin using a white noise machine when your baby first comes home from the hospital. This gives them a chance to get used to it right away, and this is the time that you’ll need sleep the most, as you recover from giving birth. (It’s also the best time for baby to sleep since you’ll be able to get in a few winks while they do.)
With that said, some parents may only use theirs at certain times, like when they know that there will be a lot of outside noise, so it’s really up to you. There’s no real right or wrong here.
Issues with White Noise Machines
Of course, nothing is perfect, and white noise machines are at the top of that list. There are two main issues that the experts have reported with these machines: the sound levels that they produce and the fact that some babies become dependent on them. It’s best to keep both of these things in mind when you’re making your decision.
Experts have noticed that many of these white noise machines, even though they’re designed for use by parents with infants, produce sound levels around 50 decibels. This means that prolonged use of them can damage the baby’s hearing, preventing them from developing properly and leading to issues with speech later on in life. If you want to use a white noise machine, make sure to check this on the list of features.
In addition, babies can become dependent on a white noise machine, leaving them with the inability to fall asleep without one playing nearby. It’s a little like an adult who needs to sleep with the fan on, just because they find the sound soothing. A baby that needs a white noise machine to sleep will simply have a hard time sleeping without one, leaving you with a cranky, overtired infant on your hands if you leave your trusty device at home.
How Do I Choose the Best Model?
So, you’ve decided to purchase a white noise machine for your baby’s room. Now, you just need to consider several different things in order to pick the one that will best fit your needs. The price, features, decibel levels, and sound options are all things to keep in mind.
Look at the Price
Obviously, the price matters quite a bit when you’re choosing a white noise machine, since you want one that you can afford. However, if you’re planning on putting it on your registry, then you have a few more options, and you may end up with a higher-end model that someone purchases as a treat. Keep this in mind when you make your decision since it’s not worth breaking the bank over a white noise machine.
Examine the Features
What features do you want the machine to have? There are some that plug into a wall and are stationary, while others operate on batteries and can be placed in a diaper bag while you’re on the go. Do you want one that has cool lights on it as well? Or a simple model that just plays white noise?
And then what about the programmable options, where you can have them run for a certain period of time to help your baby drift off to sleep, only to turn off once they’re out cold? All of these and more are things to consider when making your decision.
Check the Decibel Level
As we’ve already mentioned, the decibel levels are very important here. You want a white noise machine that produces less than 50 decibels so that it won’t damage your baby’s hearing. On top of that, you also need a white noise machine that has an adjustable volume so that you can ensure that it isn’t so loud that it keeps your baby up. Look at the specs very carefully when choosing which model to buy, so you end up with one that’s quiet enough to keep your little one’s hearing in tip-top shape.
What Are the Sound Options?
Do you want a white noise machine that sounds like static? Or one that mimics the sound that a heartbeat makes? How about ocean waves or nature sounds? Many white noise machines come with multiple options, and in order to change the sound, you simply need to flip a switch or adjust a lever. Others may only come with one or two sounds, leaving you without any of the fancier choices.
Make sure to check the packaging to ensure that the white noise machine that you purchase creates the sounds that you prefer. Otherwise, you may not be fully satisfied with your new device.
As a parent, not only do you need to decide whether or not to use a white noise machine, but you also have to spend some time picking out the best one for your needs. Once you do, it’s time to introduce it into your baby’s sleeping routine, helping drown out noise so they sleep soundly, and you get a much-needed break.
Cons aside, such as dependency, there are plenty of great reasons that warrant buying a white noise machine. Give your baby (and yourself) the gift of blissful, uninterrupted sleep!