White Noise

by Liz Feldman

in Colic 101

Many psychological and physiological disorders can be cured through the use of ‘natural’ ingredients and simulating equally ‘natural’ environments. White noise is such a ‘natural’ sound which mimics a particular environment which is considered to soothe frayed nerves of adults and put many distressed and sleepless individuals including infants to sleep.

But what is white noise?

To understand white noise you have to know what white light is. White light is not a colorless light but a combination of all the colors of a spectrum. Similarly, white noise is also a combination of all the noises in the sound spectrum which is manifested in the form of a low-pitched, monotonous and humming sound.

To draw a parallel, imagine you are lying beside a rumbling brook or sitting in an airplane. Why do you tend to fall off to sleep? It is the same quality of repetition of a sound which soothes the nerves and puts us in a state of slumber.

White noise is considered to be of great help in correcting various sleep disorders in adults as well as infants, who might be suffering from some ailment including stomach upset, reflux diseases or simple gas problem and colic and have turned restless, fidgety and light-sleepers. Not only does white noise induce comfortable sleep, it can even shift us to a deeper sleep state.

When it comes to infants, you can expect the baby to be refreshed after a good few hours of sleep.

White noise can be created at home with simple home appliances like running washing machine or dish washer, running fan, open shower etc., and it can also be bought as CDs with pre-recorded white noise.

There are many ways white noise can be used for putting babies to sleep.

The two top ways are CDs or MP3s which often have the sound of running water or fans as the foreground. These CDs very accurately produce a radio-static like sound that shuts out unwanted noise.

Available in the market for some years now, white noise CDs are available which mimic uterine sounds which gives the baby the impression that he is still residing in the mother’s womb. White noise is now recommended by doctors to rectify sleeping disorders of grown up children also, especially those with diagnosed ADHD problems, etc.

Tracks of the white noise CD are so well blended that the CD player can be set on repeat through out the time the baby is expected to sleep.

Research shows that for babies younger than 4 months, who are in the typical colic phase, the crying decreased from an average of 3, 16 hours to 2.14 hours, which is a wonderful relief for mother of colicky babies.

You can also buy white noise machines which produce sounds that would be somewhat similar to a soothing waterfall, pitter patter of raindrops or even ocean waves. For as low as $50, you can purchase a white noise machine that can generate those sleep inducing sounds for you and your baby.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Melinda December 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm

The best white noise machine is the Marpac SleepMate 980. We’ve been using one for our baby since the day she was born. I highly recommend it.

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Meg February 3, 2010 at 3:19 pm

We had a monitor with two receivers. We would put one receiver in the baby’s room on the wrong channel and it would make a steady static noise that stayed on consistently all night. It worked wonders and didn’t cost us a dime. Loved it!

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baby moses basket February 13, 2010 at 9:55 pm

A white noise machine is a great way to help a baby that is having sleeping difficulties. A new baby is used to the sounds of the womb and a consistent heart beat. These machines mimic some of these sounds and spark a familiarity in the brain of the baby. This peaceful feeling ofen induces sleep and its worth a try if the problem persists.

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