One of the greatest desires of a new mother is that the newborn, once put to sleep, falls asleep as quickly and for as long as possible.
Sometimes, however, it takes a long time for the baby to fall asleep and, once it has fallen asleep, it only wakes up after a few moments. What to do in these cases? Often, to ensure a faster and quieter sleep for your child, pediatricians recommend involving him in relaxing activities, such as a hot bath or a gentle skin to skin massage.
When none of this works, instead of giving up, you can resort to white noise. What is this about? Let’s see it together in the following paragraph.
What is white noise?
White noise is a continuous or monotonous sound, such as the sound of a washing machine, hair dryer or TV on a non-tuned channel. White noise is also present in nature: rain, the sound of water rushing into a pond or the sound of waves breaking on the shoreline.
The real novelty associated with white noise is represented by some recent studies that show how this is able to promote sleep in both adults and children. Research conducted at the end of the 90s on 40 children in the first months of life showed that white noise is even able to make children fall asleep in just 5 minutes.
However, the use of white noise to help newborns sleep has its drawbacks, as well as its pros. How about we go and discover them together?
The pros of white noise to make children fall asleep
Does your child tend to fall asleep faster when there are some appliances in operation or sleep longer when it rains outside? It’s not strange at all: he too probably suffers the calming and relaxing effects of white noise.
The advantages here are obvious: not only have you found a method that helps your child relax and fall asleep faster, but this method is also compatible with many of the things you have to do during the day, such as vacuuming or washing. Beautiful, isn’t it?
The presence of a sound like the white noise in the house can also help you to cover more annoying noises that could interfere with the sleep of the child, such as that of other siblings who play.
In this regard, there are also CDs that reproduce sounds related to white noise including the heartbeat, which can also serve to mask other noises of the house helping the newborn to sleep better.
The cons of white noise for children’s sleep
In addition to the positive aspects, however, white noise also has negative aspects, first of all the fact that the newborn could become dependent on this type of sound and no longer be able to sleep well if not in its presence.
This could be a problem when the baby is out of the house for the time of nap, for example at his grandparents’ or nest, or if the baby sleeps in a room with other people who cannot sleep unless there is absolute silence.
Studies have even shown that the continued use of music and sounds that reproduce white noise can have negative effects on the child’s hearing and speech development, especially when the recommended volume limits are exceeded.
There is also another element to consider: not all newborns like white noise, every child has different needs and some may even be bothered.
Finally, keep in mind that a child who cannot sleep and often wakes up even at night may be hungry, cold or in need of change. Intervening immediately with white noise is not always the best thing: as a good parent, you must first ensure that the lack of sleep is not related to some discomfort or simply, as often happens, to an additional desire to cuddle.
How many hours of sleep does an infant need?
Now let’s answer the crucial question: how much time does a baby need to sleep?
Infants of a few weeks of age should sleep at least 18 hours a day, alternating between resting and feeding. At 6 months, the total number of hours of sleep is reduced to 14, while periods of rest at night tend to become longer and longer. However, these are recommended averages because each child is different and, alas, some infants from the very first days may sleep much less.
One thing is certain, however: all newborns need to have enough hours of sleep to grow well and healthy. Proper sleep is, in fact, one of the fundamental actions for their development.
Therefore, if your child cannot have a long and prolonged rest after having also tried the white noise, there is no need to insist. In this case, it is better to focus on other methods such as one of those described in the post “5 tips for making your child sleep better”!