Baby Sound Sleep Machines

Sleepless nights due to a screaming child are the bane of young parents. So, it was not surprising that the first item on the Must-have list for a family member’s baby shower was a “Baby Sleep Sound Machine.” 

Generally, these products advertise continuous calming, soothing “white noise” that is meant to help children fall sleep faster and stay asleep longer. Some offer a variety of sound settings, such as nature sounds or rain and ocean noises. 

There are also phone apps that serve up distracting sounds, which has been said to be helpful for travel or visits to family and friends’ homes. 

Some concerns

Might parents jump at using these devices too fast without giving the baby a chance to fall asleep on his/her own? 

Then, while trying to mask or drown out ambient and household noise, it is easy to turn the volume up way too loud and endanger a child’s hearing. This is a key concern regarding sound machines. 

Also, it has been found that some children do not like continuous sound. Rather than settling them down, it might actually excite them – much to the frustration of the parents.

There are also those who warn that children can become dependent on the ongoing sounds and will eventually be unable to sleep without them. 

Many reasons for crying

As a rule, newborns are too small and do not sleep through the night. They wake up and they do cry. Crying expands their lungs and is also their way of communicating. It takes up to six months for a baby’s sleep-wake cycle to develop and stabilize. During that time, they usually settle down as they get on a regular feeding schedule, become familiar with their new environment and get to know their parents.

Before resorting to the “sleep machine” think about the obvious distractions that interfere with the baby’s sleep. Create a calm sleeping environment and establish a soothing nap/bedtime routine. 

Also, consult with the pediatrician as there might be physical reasons, such as discomfort and even pain that make for excessive crying. It is important to discuss the positive as well as the negative aspects of sleep machines with the doctor, should such a device be considered to help soothe a “fussy” child, 

How loud are these devices? 

As already mentioned, a major concern regarding baby sleep machines is the potential for hearing damage due to sound being turned up too loud. In general, manufacturers do not share volume output ─ which in this case is hugely important information ─ in their product specifications. However, studies on how much sound these devices might pump out do give reason for worrying about possible noise-induced hearing damage and the resulting negative effects on a child’s speech and language development. 

Therefore, it is important for parents to get a general sense of sound levels and danger zones. 

Basic sleep machine rules

It sounds trite, but using baby sleep machines responsibly is the duty of the parents. 

Do not put a sound machine into the crib with the child or mount it to the crib railing for hearing as well as for physical safety reasons.

Mind distance. Keep the sound machine about 6 feet away from the crib. 

Be careful when setting the volume! Babies have very good hearing. Compared to them, parents have already losses that might tempt them set the machines way too loud. 

Experts say that the room sound level should be that of the whir of a quiet fan or of a gentle rain shower – about 50 decibels.

Don’t guess at sound levels. Measure them with a smartphone sound meter app. Remember that the app has to be compatible with the phone. In other words, an iPhone calls for an i-compatible app; an Android for a droid-compatible app etc. 

In the end, sleep is important for children’s healthy physical and mental development as well as for the parents’ continued sanity. Learn about the correct use of these electronic lullaby substitutes so that some well-deserved rest can be had by all. That said, Bonne Nuit! 


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Meet me online: 

Guess what! I do ZOOM presentations! Nice way to talk to people across the nation. 


Visit my website

Join me on Facebook:

I even Tweet: @WhatDidYouSay88