Recommended Product Alert: The Hatch Rest Sound Machine for White Noise
A few of the questions I receive frequently as a sleep consultant are, “Won’t my baby become dependent on white noise?” Or, “If I don’t use white noise, they’ll just learn to sleep through anything, right?” Or – the one that gets the biggest eye-roll from me – “Won’t playing white noise damage their hearing?”
I’m glad these parents are concerned. But, as with anything, if you’re using it in the right way, you don’t have anything to worry about!
I ALWAYS come from the mindset that, yes, children are capable of sleeping without white noise. However, I want to provide the best quality sleep possible and make it easiest for your child to master healthy sleeping habits.
And that includes utilizing white noise.
Okay, let’s dive into the quick answers to these questions:
- Will your child become dependent on white noise? We want white noise to help your little one recognize it is time to sleep. It helps them get a better quality sleep and it’s something you have total control over, meaning, you can phase out using white noise as they get older and are expert sleepers…or you may decide to keep it because it works for them!
- If you don’t use white noise, will your baby learn to sleep through anything? Not necessarily. Some babies are more sensitive than others, especially when they are learning how to sleep well. Using white noise helps drown out external sounds that would otherwise wake a child up. Just like I can sleep through the occasional loud car that goes down the street in the middle of the night, your child can learn to sleep through noises but takes practice and still disrupts sleep.
- Will playing white noise damage my child’s hearing? Playing any noise too loudly can damage your hearing. Make sure the sound machine is at least 6 feet from your child’s head, and play it around 50 decibels or less. We’ll chat more about these recommendations later in this article.
Keep reading to learn about these recommendations, how to adapt them to your child’s bedroom setup, and all about one of my very favorite products that plays white noise AND grows with your child to help them sleep well into toddlerhood and beyond.
Using White Noise & Why It’s Beneficial for Sleep
Using white noise can help your baby (and you!) fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, resulting in better quality sleep. For this to work, though, white noise will need to be played continuously throughout the duration of the sleep period.
Numerous studies have demonstrated improved sleep with white noise. One study, which focused on toddler sleep while using white noise, showed diminished night wakings for all children in the study while another reported night wakings occurring after white noise was discontinued during sleep.
White noise is a combination of sound playing on low-, medium-, and high-frequencies, and because it spans all the frequencies, it has a masking effect on external sounds. So, if someone rings the doorbell and the dog starts barking in the middle of nap time, chances are, your little one may sleep right through all the commotion if you’ve got their white noise playing in the background and set up strategically between them and the doorway.
One final way you can think about white noise is the sound of the running shower water. It’s fairly loud if you think about it, but eventually, you become used to it. It’s the same with the white noise playing in your child’s bedroom.
And it’ll help them sleep…what’s there to lose?!
How to Use White Noise Safely
How can you use white noise safely and effectively??
First things first, you’ll want to consider your child’s location in their bedroom and where any external noises may be coming from – this may be near the door to the hallway or a window next to a busy street. You can use more than one sound machine if necessary. If you have siblings who share a bedroom, make sure you have sound machines placed between the children to mask their individual sounds from the other.
Per the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, you’ll want to place the sound machine 6 feet from your child’s head and set the decibel level around 50 dB of sound. This volume ensures that it’s loud enough to benefit and help with sleep, but not too loud where it may damage their hearing.
If there is continual sound occurring around 85 dB or higher, people can expect to experience noise-induced hearing loss. So make sure you check the sound level of your white noise frequently to make sure it isn’t too loud for your baby.
Testing the Sound Level of Your White Noise Machine
There are plenty of decibel meter apps you can download on your phone. Many smart watches also have a noise meter built into them. I recommend the Decibel X app if you need to download one. Simply place the app open near where your child’s head is placed when they’re sleeping and turn on the sound machine. Adjust the volume on the sound machine until it reads 50 dB on your meter app.
My Favorite White Noise Solution: The Hatch (you can use it as your child grows!)
I’m all about getting the most bang for your buck, and if you’ve been reading this blog post thinking, “Hmmm…I really need to get a sound machine for my baby…” well, then, let me introduce you to one of my favorite products for children of all ages – The Hatch Rest.
This product is excellent, mostly because it’s super useful during all stages of your child’s development.
Here’s why I love it and how you can use it during each stage:
- When your baby is a newborn, they’ll feed throughout the night. You can play the white noise on the Hatch for sleep but also use the nightlight function on a low setting so you can see what you’re doing when you’re taking care of your baby during the middle of the night. It is also connected to an app so you can easily turn it off or on as needed, right from your phone.
- As they grow out of their night feedings, you’ll just play that white noise all night long.
- As they approach 18 months to 2 years old, you may want to start introducing the light for sleep. Keep it simple – On = it’s time to get up! Off = it’s time to sleep.
- As they grasp the concepts of on and off, you can start to introduce colors: Green means go and it’s time to wake up, and red means stop…it’s time to get in your crib and lay quietly. This will help set a foundation for your child to eventually move into a toddler bed.
- Once your child is in a toddler bed, you’ll continue to use the colors as their toddler/preschooler alarm or “okay to wake” clock. They can get up and out of their bed when the light turns green. Red can signal the start of bedtime.
Pro-Tip: Read the Sleep Rules blog post to learn more about how you can continue to help your child sleep well into the toddler and preschool years.
You can learn about and purchase the Hatch and other products I recommend here.