Is baby shh white noise harmful for babies?
When a mother and father behold the wonder of a new life, they can easily become overwhelmed by the tasks of parenting. There is so much to learn and being human, they will make mistakes along the way. But life is not always predictable. Perhaps he cries for food but a few minutes into his feeding, he stops and refuses to nurse or take his bottle. Maybe he arches his back in pain but rejects the comforting efforts of his parents. Or scarier; you find him spitting up what looks like his entire meal—at every meal in addition to him routinely waking out of a sound sleep, crying in discomfort. What will a parent do? This is when white noise comes into play.
So, what exactly is baby white noise? What type of thing is a white noise maker?
Do you have a baby who cries excessively, especially in the evenings? Do you wish you could make it stop? Did this start around three weeks after you brought your baby home? If your baby is otherwise healthy and thriving, you may have a colicky baby. You need some relief. You need to mimic the sound your baby heard in the womb for 9 or so months to comfort and soothe your baby. You need to play some white noise for your baby.
Well, actually, lots of things generate white noise. Have you ever gotten sleepy while driving in the car? Or how about while listening to the hum of a fan? I know I do. In fact, I sleep with a fan on all year round.
That type of monotonous, rhythmic sound is what scientists call white noise. It’s a frequency of sound that encompasses all the frequencies a human ear can hear. It’s great for masking out all other sounds, and it’s great for babies who are fussy and having trouble sleeping.
What does white noise have to do with baby sleep music and is it harmful to babies?
Short answer: No! I’m glad you asked. Let’s do an experiment. Put your hands over your ears. Do you hear something? That’s the sound of the blood pumping through your ears. A baby experiences a sound similar to this while in the womb. Your baby remembers this womb noise and correlates it with a happy place where everything is safe and secure.
But how can white noise soothe your crying baby?
Playing a white noise cd can help to make your baby’s transition easier. It will mask out other noises and simulate the sounds of the womb at the same time. If you use white noise to help recreate the noise your baby heard while in the womb and help simulate the sights of the womb, you are on your way to calming your colicky baby.
Here are some additional suggestions for recreating the sights and sounds of the womb:
• Lower the lights, pull drapes, close blinds
• Reduce any extraneous stimulation (i.e. TV, Radio, loud talking, etc.)
• Swaddle your baby
How did you know that white noise is not harmful to the baby?
After one long, horrible evening of uncontrollable screaming, I was desperate. I decided to try a crazy method I had heard about…turning on our vacuum cleaner. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? I pulled out the vacuum and plugged it in. And much to my surprise, she IMMEDIATELY stopped crying.
Why do babies stop crying when white noise is introduced
There is a big difference between a fussy baby and a colicky baby. Fussy babies have fussy times followed by relative peace and calm the rest of the day or night. The colicky baby seems irritable nearly all the time, day and night. Symptoms of colic include: piercing cries combined with physical symptoms such as acute tummy distress, folding of the legs, flailing arms, inconsolable crying, and passing gas. Although this list of symptoms makes colic sound like a digestive disorder, it’s not. GER and GERD are digestive disorders that share some common symptoms with colic, but these conditions are not the same as colic.
Most theorists suggest that colic is related to an immaturity of the nervous system or the infant’s inability to process the full range of stimuli common among newborns at birth. The condition affects about 20% of the infant population showing up usually between the second and fourth week and generally ends by three months. While there are no significant medical concerns associated with “true” colic, the main problem is the stress and anxiety it creates within the home. It is emotionally difficult for parents to cope with the constant crying of an inconsolable baby knowing nothing can satisfy her. This is where close friends and extended family may be able to help, even if it is to give the parents a short break now and then.
What are the alternatives to white noise?
It would be nice if there was a medical cure for colic or some homespun remedy that could bring babies relief from their physical distress. However, this is not the case. The encouraging news is that colic, while distressing, is not hopeless, and babies do outgrow it. If your baby is living with colic, here is a list of suggestions to consider.
1. At the other end of the spectrum are those babies who are comforted by steady sound, commonly called white noise, or rhythmic motion or both. (Some parents believe that the noise and vibration offer a measure of comfort for their infants; the authors offer these as suggestions rather than recommendations.)
2. Always consult your pediatrician to rule out any medical reasons for your baby’s excessive crying or spitting up. Ask your practitioner what might be helpful for your infant.
3. Stay mindful of the fact that all babies are different and respond to different measures. Find out what works for your baby and stay with it. For one mom it is swaddling her baby; for another it is giving her baby a warm bath. Still another mom might try bring relief by placing her infant in a swing or near a vibrating dryer, (not on the dryer) If the baby is bottle-fed, consider changing formula. Your pediatrician can advise you on this.
4. Breastfeeding moms may find certain foods in their own diet to be a source of their baby’s discomfort. You can start by eliminating the “gassy” vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, and garlic) or any spicy foods, as well as dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol. If food sensitivity is causing the discomfort, there will be a noticeable decrease in your baby’s colic-like symptoms within a couple of days. After a few weeks gradually reintroduce individual items back into your meal plans and watch for a reaction.
5. Colicky babies need to be burped frequently. Infants fed with a bottle tend to swallow more air, resulting in discomfort. You might consider using a different bottle or nipple design to help reduce the amount of air your baby swallows during a feeding. Bottles that are curved, vented, or have a collapsible bag inside are other options. After a feed lay the baby across your knees, with his tummy down, and gently massage his back. The pressure of your knees against his abdomen may help relieve his pain.
6. Many moms find swaddling a colicky baby with a blanket helpful, as it provides a sense of comfort and security. This can be done during feedings and for naps.
7. Parents should take care not to smoke around their baby. Better yet, they should not smoke at all!
8. Keep in mind that most babies, especially those with colic, possess a low threshold for rapid movements, such as the flickering of a television screen. A baby’s developing neurological system has difficulty processing such rapid light and sound changes and such stimulation may further heighten an already stressful situation. Think about offering feedings in a less stimulating environment.
Taking Care of Yourself
First-time moms and dads may find these early months challenging beyond belief, especially if they have a colicky baby. This can lead to some stressful and frustrating weeks, so one of the best things you can do for your baby is to take care of yourself. As much as possible, keep your baby’s routine going. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break. Ask a friend or family member to take over for a while, even if it is only for an hour or two. While time always seems to move slowly during stressful situations just keep in mind the hope of the future—your baby will outgrow his colic.
White noise, baby sleep and hunger
You may be afraid your babies will wake up hungry an hour after you put them down if they have not taken a full feeding. The surprise is that they won’t wake up hungry before the next feeding but will probably wake up just in time for the next scheduled feeding, better rested and ready to eat a full bottle.
As your multiples mature, they will develop definite waketimes and sleep times. When they are newborn or premature, they will always fall asleep while you are feeding them, or maybe they won’t even wake up for the feeding. As they get older, they will still get drowsy with feedings but with a little stimulation you can have them fully awake and ready to play after a meal.
Waketime activities with multiples should always include some independent playtime. When the appointed time for the nap arrives, the babies may indicate readiness by being fussy and inconsolable or they may be wide awake and cheery. Put them down awake! It will be clear that logistically you can’t rock two, three, or more babies to sleep at each naptime. Your babies need to learn to comfort themselves. Multiple babies, even more than singletons, need to learn patience and how to calm themselves. The fact that mommy and daddy each have only one lap and one set of arms sets up some unavoidable limits. Self-comforting is particularly important when they are sick or under stress. If babies have learned the skill of sleep early on in life they will seek sleep when they feel tired instead of further stressing themselves with crying and fussing.
If your multiple babies have been sharing a room since birth, they won’t wake each other up. They will learn to shut out each other’s crying, so don’t separate them when one is fussing. When little ones are having a particularly hard cry, you can go in every ten minutes and pat them, reassure them, and possibly check for a wet or soiled diaper. You will function as a guide, teaching them how to self-comfort. Go in to them only long enough to cause them to stop crying but not long enough for them to fall asleep. Your goal is to put them down awake, allowing them to fall asleep on their own—without a transition process, such as rocking or patting. This can be more challenging than it sounds, due to the sheer physical effort of caring for multiples.
You need to start and finish each eat/wake/sleep cycle in a fairly structured fashion. It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to pick up three babies, diaper them, and put them in their cribs for a nap. One common pitfall for parents is to allow their babies to fall asleep in their waketime activity chairs or swings. Parents get busy doing a household chore, answering the phone, or trying to solve one baby’s problem, only to find the others have fallen asleep sitting up. While it’s true they’ve fallen asleep by themselves, they didn’t do this in the right place—their own cribs. If this happens often, they may develop difficulty self-comforting as they lie in their cribs.
There will always be unexpected events to contend with, but try to plan ahead by putting your babies down awake in their cribs when you are not distracted. That way, when they do fall asleep sitting up, it will be a rare event and not a habit.
I am a traveler and blogger with many years of experience in the outdoors life. I love to try different sports and activities all year round.