I was speaking about why babies like white noise to Malcolm on BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester.
Happy babies love white noise, because it helps them calm down & relax quickly. White noise resembles sounds the baby heard in the womb, which has a calming effect. It also masks other distracting noises so that your baby can fall asleep and remain sleeping.
It is very common for a baby’s sleep pattern to change after the fourth trimester. That’s because:
- their calming reflex fades away
- babies become more social and wake up when they hear little noises in the middle of the night
- they are possibly being weaned off being cuddled or rocked to sleep
- they are teething
All four of these factors may lead to a surge in sleep problems . . . just when you thought you had it nailed!
High-pitch white noise is harsh, hissy, whiney, and annoying – think of sirens, alarms, beepers or loud screams. These sounds are important for getting your attention but they’re terrible for sleep.
On the other hand, low-pitch sound is droning and hypnotic – think of the monotonous rumble of a car, or the rhythm of a train or rain on the roof when you’re all cosy in bed, or if you’ve ever been at a boring meeting where you find yourself drifting off! That sound is terrible for getting attention, but it’s fantastic for lulling us to sleep.
Continuous sounds, like hair dryers, vacuum cleaners or rain on the roof, are effective to help little ones drift off.
Also, here’s a blog on ‘Why lullabies really do send babies to sleep’