Our blog series featuring our readers’ favorite baby sleep products continues with your picks for the most helpful gadgets and devices. Read our first two posts, about swaddles/blankets and blackout shades, and don't forget to check back later for our grand finale about sleep spaces.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we can never say enough how essential it is to keep it cool, dark and quiet in your baby’s sleep environment. While the first installment of this series covered the “cool” part and the second post took care of the “dark,” this post is all about the white noise machines and other gadgets that can help protect the “quiet” in your little one’s room during naps and nighttime.
Before we get started, a few disclaimers:
**Please make sure that you’re familiar with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) safer sleep guidelines (found here) so you can make informed decisions about your little one’s sleep safety.
**Also, please note that, although the Baby Sleep Science team has reviewed the product information for everything listed below, we do not personally test or endorse each item. Use your knowledge of sleep basics and safety guidelines, as well as your family’s preferences, to decide whether a product would be a good choice for your baby or toddler.
Whether it’s creaky wood floors, a barking dog or a busy street outside, you don't want disruptive noises to wake your little one once you’ve finally gotten him or her to sleep! Your baby will be particularly sensitive to noise disruptions during the early morning hours and at nap time. At Baby Sleep Science we are big fans of white noise to help mask those sounds that could disturb your baby or toddler’s sleep. And speaking of fans, they are a simple option for creating that ambient sound, but be aware of where it is blowing. You probably don't want a constant gust of wind pointed at your sleeping baby! Another option is buying a white noise machine that can be placed in your baby’s room.
A few things to keep in mind...
Make sure that the white noise is continuous, that is, it should play uninterrupted from bedtime to wake time (nothing on a timer that will only last a short while). You also want the sound to be at a consistent level, so choose “static” white noise, rainfall or waterfall sounds, rather than breaching whales, crashing waves or similar options that can vary significantly in sound and volume. Set the white noise at a comfortable volume, not so loud that it feels stressful or intrusive. And finally, you want to place the white noise machine between your baby and the source of potential noise (window, door, etc.), and not within a few feet of your baby’s head.
Now, here they are: parents’ favorite white noise gadgets, as chosen by you, our readers!
Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine
This small machine is on the pricier side for something that is “just” a white noise machine, but some parents love it because the internal fan creates the actual sound of rushing air—without the breeze—instead of an electronic recording. It has two speed settings, and the “tone” of the sound can be adjusted manually to be higher or lower.
Homedics White Noise Sound Machine
This affordable machine offers a choice of six digitally recorded sounds (we prefer the more consistent “white noise” or “rain” options to the thunder, ocean or summer night ones) that will play continuously all night until you turn it off in the morning. It’s also convenient for travel because it packs easily and can run on batteries (as well as the included electrical plug). It does have a small green light, but it's not very bright, and if the machine is across the room from baby should not impact the Circadian Rhythm.
Your Old Smart Device + An App
If you don’t already have an old smart phone or tablet lying around unused, then this probably won’t work for you, but if you do, there are plenty of free white noise apps for iOS or Android that you can download and use in your little one’s room. Whether you connect it to a small bluetooth speaker or just plug it in and leave it on the floor or changing table, this option could be the cheapest and easiest one to use in a pinch at home or while traveling.
Hatch Baby Rest
This multi-functional device is a promising option that could combine all of your sleep gadgets into one. The Hatch Baby Rest offers a number of settings for night light, sound machine and “OK to wake” indicators. It connects to your smart device, so without even entering the room you can choose the color and dimness of your baby’s night light, set the white noise or play light and sound to teach your older toddler when it’s wake-up time. Light and sound programs can be preset or controlled manually from your phone. (Keep in mind that we recommend consistent sound, very dim light, and avoidance of blue or green colors lights throughout the night for babies that are more than a couple months old.)
So what do you think? Did we include your favorite baby sleep gadget, or do you prefer to keep the bedroom “tech-free”? Are you curious to try one of these? Who knows, with the speed of technology developing these days, there may be something new out there we’ve never even heard of! Let us know in the comments, and in the meantime please reach out to us if you need any help solving your little one’s sleep issue.
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