When I first had Georgia many years ago, the term ‘white noise’ was never bandied around our coffee group. I heard stories of parents putting their babies near washing machines or leaving the vacuum cleaner going in their nursery to get them off to sleep but I don’t think this kind of settling technique had a specific name.
Fast forward to when I had Samuel 4 years ago – white noise is the talk of the town!
But what is white noise, and should your baby be exposed to it?
Here are some great points to consider:
Babies need strong rhythmic noise
Babies have been in utero for 9 months listening to mums blood rushing around at the same noise level of a vacuum cleaner. When they are born, most babies will be put into a quiet room which we then all tip toe around saying ‘shusshhh don’t wake the baby’. Its not actually what babies are used to and some will find this quite unsettling. Dr Harvey Karp, the world expert on infant sleep agrees that babies find strong rhythmic noise very comforting.
White Noise Reduces Stress in Babies
Babies can become stressed simply by the amount of stimulation they are exposed to before they have developed appropriate coping mechanisms. This can include bright lights, noise, excitement and even handling from well intentioned visitors. White noise creates a safe space that blocks out some of that stimulus.
Babies exposed to white noise will cry less
Isn’t it amazing that no matter where we go in the world, ‘shushing’ is the universal thing we all do to settle a crying baby or child. We don’t get told to do this, we just do it instinctively. There is a good reason we do this. Shushing is known to trigger one of the calming reflexes which babies are born with. For shushing to work effectively on a crying baby, it must be louder than the babies cry. Babies up to 6 months old can only do one thing at once. So when baby is crying and the loud shushing is introduced, baby has to stop crying as they start to listen to the loud shushing. In turn, they start to engage with the rhythmic shushing as it triggers their calming reflex.
White noise really helps Colicky and Fussy Babies
It’s true, the Baby Shusher in fact was developed by a dad in the US who discovered that his shushing could settle his colicky daughter far quicker than his wife. Yip sorry, guys can shush more effectively than us girls as the pitch and loudness of their voice is at the ideal range to get bubs settled and off to sleep quickly.
Does technology replace what Mums and Dads should be doing?
White noise such as the Baby Shusher was not created to replace the cuddles of mums and dads. Nor does it replace a feed, a change, burping or even a lullaby but it does give mums a chance to gently soothe a baby out of a crying spell and remain calm. In fact, a lot of Mums use the Baby Shusher along with other soothing techniques such as cuddles. Some mums that have been up between 8-10 times a night have found it a complete life saver enabling them to soothe baby without stressing themselves or their little one. So many Mums end in tears from not being able to soothe their baby out of a crying spell or suffer from PND and find it hard to cope. The Baby Shusher is endorsed by leading USA pediatrician Dr Harvey Karp from the “Happiest Baby on the Block” His shushing technique can be seen in use over and over again on the internet. The Baby Shusher has been successfully used with little ones coming out of operations whereby they can’t always be given a cuddle and even premature babies that can’t always be held either.
What if my baby gets so used to white noise that they won’t be able to settle without it?
White noise is actually one of the easier ‘sleep aides’ to wean from however I see nothing wrong with a child who still wants background comfort noise to sleep. After all many adults sleep better with white noise in the back ground. If you do want to wean your child off white noise simply turn the volume down every few nights until it is off.
I hope this is helpful to you, add any comments or if you have any questions please ask and I will do my best to answer them.