White noise – what, where, when, why and how!
By Nathalie Schittekatte, certified sleep consultant for children
White noise. White what? Noise? Those who have been following me on social media for a while now know that I, as as sleep coach, speak of full praise about white noise. I receives dozens of messages with questions such as “What is white noise?”, “How do I make white noise?”, “For what age do you recommend this?”, “What device do you recommend?”. Therefore, I have decided to write a blog about white noise. What, where, when, why and how!
WHat is white noise?
White noise is for example what you hear when your radio cannot find a channel. In general, white noise is a constant tone. White noise is sometimes confused with womb sounds or natural sounds, which is not white noise. The sound of crackling rain can be used as white noise since it is also a very constant sound.
Where do you use white noise?
You can use white noise both at home in your child’s bedroom and in any other location. I am thinking of naps that need to take place when you and your little one are going somewhere or at the daycare for example. You can also put white noise in the corridor or in front of an older child’s door so that he/she does not wake up from the crying of a younger brother or sister next door, which is unavoidable the first weeks after birth or during sleep training.
When do you use white noise?
I recommend the use of white noise from birth. A newborn has just been in a noisy womb for 9 months and is not used to sleep in the silence. Young babies will calm down faster and sleep better with the sound of noise. Have you ever noticed that your newborn fell asleep spontaneously when you were vacuuming? That is why!
If you have never used white noise and have an older child, white noise may also come in handy occasionally. I always take my portable device with me on vacation and will use it during naps or the start of a night when there is a lot of ambient noise. In this case, white noise is used to camouflage external sounds. I always use the sound of rain.
Early birds whose biological clock goes off at the crack of dawn because of, for example, mum or dad who must get up early can also benefit from white noise. A young child who hears noises in the house will soon think that the day has started and wants to start the day, even though it is still very early. During my sleep coaching programs, I also regularly recommend white noise if there are older siblings in the house who could easily be woken up during sleep training.
Why do you use white noise?
Well, this question was answered above. It is really an ideal and inexpensive tool to help your little one sleep better and / or to wake up less quickly due to ambient noise.
How do you use white noise?
You can leave white noise on continuously during naps and at night, this won’t hurt. Then make sure you use white noise that does not automatically shut off after a while. However, if you only use white noise occasionally, a device where the noise falls out after a while can certainly work, if it pops up again when the ambient noise becomes too loud again. We use one like that.
The cheapest solution for white noise is an old radio where you can turn on white noise. That’s it! However, there are a lot of other options, such as an app on your phone, Spotify, Youtube or a fixed or portable audio device. When purchasing a sound device, make sure that it plays “white noise” or the sound of rain. Many sound devices are offering a whole range of baby melodies or heartbeat sounds, while I prefer a constant noise.
White noise can be quite loud, roughly the sound of a running shower, 50 to 60 decibels. You do not have to worry that your child will be addicted to white noise when you use it on a daily base. If your child always sleeps with white noise, you can systematically reduce this around the age of 1 year by reducing the volume a little bit each week, until you can switch it off entirely.
The devices I recommend
Zazu Suzy: This device is very compact and fits in all diaper bags. You can hang it on the buggy, give it to the daycare, use it in the car, etc. It will automatically shut off after 20 minutes but will switch on automatically when the ambient noise becomes too loud or when your baby is crying. Zazu is a Dutch brand that I regularly recommend, I am also a fan of Zoë the penguin and Sam the sheep.
Numsy constant white noise: This device is ideal for continuous use during naps or nights at home. You can also take it with you when you travel as it is compact enough and rechargeable. This is a good investment if you are currently pregnant or have a newborn at home.
Written by Nathalie Schittekatte. Certified sleep consultant for children and owner of www.snugglesanddreams.com.
Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are mine and are not influenced by ZAZU Kids.