Are Sound Machines Good For Babies?

Are Sound Machines Good For Babies?

Sleep matters for you and your infant! Every parent wants a happy, relaxed sleeping baby. In fact, a newborn to a 3-month-old typically sleeps between 14-17 hours per day. As they get older, they will sleep less - with a 4-6-month-old sleeping about 12-16 hours per day and a 7-11-month-old sleeping about 10-12 hour stretches with only 2-3 naps daily.  If your baby isn’t getting enough sleep, it might be persistently fussy or have trouble settling down to sleep at night. If that’s your situation, it’s recommended that you talk to your pediatrician to get some help. Many parents also turn to technology to assist. Furthermore, solutions such as Dreamland weighted sleep aid products and sound machines can assist in creating a healthy sleeping environment for babies. Dreamland Baby offers doctor-approved, and science backed sleep solutions with weighted sleep sacks and blankets – ensuring even weight distribution from your baby’s shoulders to toes. Remember, it’s only been a short while since your baby exited the womb so they may be craving similar surroundings - and that’s where the sound machine comes in. Read on to learn more. 

Do pediatricians recommend sound machines?

The World Health Organization says that safe listening depends on the intensity (loudness), duration, and frequency of exposure. However, a recent study in the journal Pediatrics suggests that infant noise machines often have settings for sound that is so loud it could damage adult hearing. Therefore, they are potentially dangerous for infants. However, safe listening is possible as long as parents take precautions and follow guidelines. Sound machine volume should be monitored to ensure safety. Furthermore, monitor how far away the sound machine is from the baby. For the most accurate recommendations, read, ask, and research about the sound machine you are using. 

What are the benefits of sound machines for babies?

Sound machines can mimic the noises a baby once heard in the womb. Think about the sound of an ultrasound - that’s what your baby is craving. Plus, they can help drown out other noises - although that’s not their main use. The benefits of using sound machines for babies include:

  1. Mimic noises they remember from the womb. By shutting out background noises, repetitive sounds produced by a sound machine can make babies feel safe. After all, they are exposed to a lot of new sounds, sensations, and lights every day which can be overstimulating.
  2. Background noise can help babies fall asleep and stay asleep longer. White noise has been proven with research to help 80% of infants involved in a study to fall asleep in just 5 minutes. Plus, babies often wake up every 20-45 minutes from sleep. The noise or sound machine can help calm them and get them back to sleep. 
  3. Sound machines can also reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Background noise is known for helping babies sleep lighter. We know what you’re thinking - you want your baby fast asleep. But hear us out. Babies that are not in a deep deep sleep can be woken faster in the event they are not getting enough oxygen. This can potentially save their life. An ongoing investigation draws the connection between a running fan reducing the dangers of SIDS in children.
  4. Background noise caused by sound machines have also been shown to reduce the amount that the child cries overall. This is because the sounds remind them of the whooshing sounds they heard in the womb. These sounds were the result of blood coursing through the veins around the uterus. While the baby cannot go back into the womb, you can mimic some familiarities to help them transition to the real world. 

Why do people use sound machines for babies?

As mentioned earlier, when your baby is young, they can wake up often. This is known as “sleep arousal.” Sleep arousal can occur about every 20 minutes or so. Any kind of noise such as doorbells, pets, or washing machines can wake a baby during periods of light sleep. Sound machines can help drown out noises, but that’s not their primary reason for use. Sound machines can mimic the sounds a baby heard in the womb. As a result, they can lull your baby to sleep - kind of like the lullaby you sang to them that you thought would do the trick. Sound machines are relatively inexpensive so they are worth trying if your baby is fighting sleep. 

But, a sound machine may not be the only environmental factor that helps your baby sleep. For the ultimate recipe, try a gently weighted sleep sack or swaddle paired with a sound machine. Turn the lights off and go get the sleep you’ve been daydreaming out. 

Why does white noise help babies sleep?

White noise helps babies sleep because the sound reminds them of the womb-like environment they grew accustomed to for nine months. The noises you heard while getting an ultrasound were real - and your baby might miss them. Sound machines mimic the rhythmic sounds of blood rushing around the body and the vibration of every breath. They create a soothing background noise to complete an environment made for sleeping babies. 

Ways to ensure that a sound machine is safe for your baby:

First and foremost, make sure the sound machine is not too loud. As mentioned in the 2015 study published in Pediatrics - sound machines above 50 decibels can damage infant hearing. And trust us, some sound machines can be set higher than that. Next, place the sound machine a safe distance away from the baby. Placing the sound machine too close to their little ears may cause damage. So, as desperate as you are for sleep - safety first. Here’s a summary of some of the ways to ensure your baby is safe when using a sound machine.

  • Maintain a safe distance between the sleeping baby and the sound machine (check product recommendations)
  • Monitor sound machine volume
  • Set a timer on the sound machine so it does not run all night
  • Slowly wean your baby off the sound machine after the first year 
  • Pay close attention to manufacturer directions and safety warnings
  • Questions? Ask your doctor or a professional (Take advantage of technology and send them a message online!)

Conclusion

Overall, sound machines are one of several ways to help your baby establish healthy sleeping routines. With the guidance of your pediatrician, consider all your options to help your fussy baby. If the warnings about sound machines concern you, a great alternative can be a weighted sleep swaddle or sleep sack – which stimulates deep touch and can also help your baby sleep more soundly. Alternatively, weighted sleep sacks and swaddles can be used in combination with sound machines. Together these sleep aids can keep your baby feeling calm thus promoting a good night sleep - for both of you! Dreamland Baby products were designed in close partnership with Pediatricians, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurses and Certified Sleep Consultants and have been reviewed by Pulmonologists for breathing safety.  At Dreamland Baby we are committed to helping babies (and parents) get the sleep they need to develop and function while prioritizing safety and health.

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