Chances are, you came across this blog while you were scrolling through a middle of the night feeding. “How can I get my baby to sleep?” “Are sound machines bad for baby’s hearing?” or maybe you were looking for the best sound machine recommendations after your favorite instagram account or another mother mentioned they helped.
While I definitely have a few suggestions for sound machines, I also want to teach you how they can (positively) impact your baby’s sleep and more importantly, how to safely use them.
How to Use a Sound Machine for your Baby’s Sleep
Sound machines can be very conducive to infant sleep. Your baby is used to hearing the “Whoosh, whoosh” inside of your womb for 9 months. Therefore, having a sound machine may help the transition into the real world. Sound machines can also block out a lot of noise that your child may otherwise startle to. If you are room-sharing, your baby may hear you rustle in your own bed and wake up. This is especially true as your baby awakens to their senses and becomes easily distractable. A sound machine can minimize that.
A Sound Machine Is a Great Cue for Sleep
A nap or bedtime routine is a great habit to get into. It helps provide structure in your day and it also signals to your loved one that it is time to sleep. Your sleep routine does not have to be long. In fact, ours sometimes varies day by day, depending on how fussy my son is, but it always involves two sleepy time cues: the sleep sack and white noise.
(Stay tuned for a post on Nap & Bed Time Routines!)
A Sound Machine Helps Mask Outside Noises
Babies need a lot of sleep. However, around 12 weeks old, they become more aware of the world around them. They become easily distractible and every noise becomes a learning experience for them. However, life must go on and you can’t tip-toe around your house during nap time (or worry what your pesky neighbors might do). A sound machine is AMAZING to cancel out noises! I keep Baby G’s closest to his door and close it and I can’t hear my husband’s TV or our dogs’ barking. This means that my baby can’t, either!
Sound Machine Safety is Imperative!
However, it is important to use a sound machine safely. As I stated in my review on Taking Cara Babies’ Newborn Course, you should be weary of playing your sound machine too loudly. Cara mistakenly makes it seem safe to have the sound machines playing at 65-75 decibels.
The American Academy of Pediatrics disagrees, though. The AAP recommends that sound machines be at least 12 inches away and no more than 50 db’s of noise. This is to protect your infant’s hearing from hazardous sound pressure levels (2014 AAP Study). The CDC states that two hours of 80 dB or more may begin to damage hearing (2019 CDC).
If you aren’t certain what 50 decibels sounds like, the CDC likens it to a refrigerator hum or a quiet conversation. I personally downloaded an app that estimates the decibels and when in doubt, I turn the noise level down a few notches. At four months, I prefer to use my sound machine as a sleepy time cue rather than to block out all noise.
The Best White Noise Options
Free White Noise: Youtube
There is a ten hour video on Youtube labeled “Colicky Baby Sleeps to this Magic Sound.” There are no ads or interruptions. It is literally 10 hours of artificial white noise. The best part is that this is an absolutely free option!
How do you play this without losing your cell phone priveliges? Many parents I’ve talked to have pulled out an old cell phone or tablet they don’t use and keep that near baby’s sleep space.
The Smart House Solution
If you already have an Amazon Echo or the Amazon Echo Dot, these might be great options for you. All you have to do is ask Alexa, “Alexa, play white noise,” or my favorite, “Alexa, play shower sounds.” Just make sure to tell her to “Loop on” so that the sounds play all night long.
The Most Talked-About White Noise Option
The Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine
I can’t help but hear about the Hatch Baby Rest sound machine again and again in my mommy groups. Not only does it have a sound function, but a night light. You can customize the color, brightness, sound level and ambiance all from your phone!
However, some suggest that a motorized fan-based sound machine is better than those with synthetic presets. This is because the brain *may* tell when the loop stops and starts again. Either way, the Hatch sound machine has great reviews.
The Best Real-Fan Options
The Marpac Dohm
The Marpac Dohm sound machine uses real fans to create its white noise. This sound machine not only allows you to choose the volume at which it plays, but you can determine the frequency of the perfect white noise for you by twisting it!
The Travel Option: Yogasleep Hushh Portable White Noise Machine
Not only is the Yogasleep Hushh sound machine portable and a real fan option, but it also has less high- frequenciy pitches for babies’ sensitive ears. This machine has 3 different white noises and has a large volume range. Being rechargeable is also nice, so you can take this sound machine wherever you go!
The Yogasleep Hushh is actually what I chose, and I love it. My son sleeps in my room through the night, but we practice naps in his nursery. It’s really convenient to move the Yogasleep Hushh from one room to the next. I also like that I can take it to my mom’s (or wherever we may go) so that Baby G can have that sleep association!
A sound machine can be a great cue for bedtime, when used properly.
There are so many options for white noise and sound machines for babies on the market. I truly hope that I was able to confidently narrow down your choices. I personally love my Yogasleep Hushh but if I had to choose a second one, it would most surely be the Hatch Rest!
Remember that no matter what you choose, be cautious of the volume and sleep on! Until then, keep an eye out for my nap and bedtime routine post!