When to Stop Using White Noise for Baby
I know that motherhood can be really hard. Sometimes, you just wish to run away! Jokes aside, there are moments when you can’t really help your baby falling asleep.
Have you tried a white noise machine? They are effective even with older ones, but on the other hand, can they do any harm to your baby’s health and hearing? Well, it depends on what you consider for a health problem.
If you are thinking about baby’s hearing, it may cause some unwanted problems, but only if you are not cautious with the white noise machine volume. In other cases, it can cause an addiction.
Now, you are probably thinking that your baby sleeps just well and that there’s no need for a white noise machine. You are wrong! White noise machines can help your baby to sleep even better!
Once it comes to the fourth trimester, your baby will become much more aware, social, calming reflex will fade away, and probably will start teething. All of that will cause a lot worse sleep not only for the baby but for you as well.
So once this time comes, you will definitely need a white noise machine. The question is, when should you stop using that machine?
Bottom line: white noise machines are quite effective when it comes to sleep. But on the other hand, you are wondering if they can cause any health or hearing problems to your baby.
In this article, I will try to answer what is the best time to stop using a white noise machine for your baby and if there are any side effects of using white noise machines.
What is the best time to stop using white noise for baby?
So, there are several questions that matter. First one is the problem when your baby get used to the white noise machine. Also, this is the most common one.
It happens that your little one gets so used to the white noise that once you turn the white noise machine off it immediately awakes your baby.
Using a white noise machine is quite handy. You can do everything in the background as long as it is the lower volume stress sound. It will camouflage the barking of your neighbor’s dog, for example, or your daily work at home.
The problem comes when you turn it down. Your baby is already social aware and more careful to any noise. Turning the white noise machine suddenly will just bring out these noises and awake your baby.
There is a solution, but you need to be persistent with this one. In order to root out this habit from your baby’s sleep, you will need to consistently and repeatedly turn down the white noise machine extremely slowly.
This will accommodate your baby’s ears to the natural, environmental sounds and prepare it for the real world.
Personally, I think that white noise machines are great devices that can improve your baby’s sleep. But the downfalls that they bring with them are scary. Therefore, I would recommend you to stop using it as soon as possible.
I see a lot of people using it for the grown-up kids as well. We are talking about 4-7 years of age. What will happen if your kid sleeps somewhere else when there’s no white noise machine?
Probably the sleepless night.
Moreover, if you are already using the white noise machines, you should probably use them at the lower volumes. Some frequencies can really damage the hearing of your baby.
Now, when it comes to stopping with the use of these white noise machines, I would personally stop around 1 to 1.5 years old.
When I say “stop” I don’t mean literally cut it out, but slowly turning it down in order to prevent more serious habit. This age was shown as the best one to turn down the white noise machine.
It will prevent your baby from creating some serious habit with white noise machine usage, and it is also a good time to start showing your baby what it is like to sleep with the normal environment.
Therefore, start gradually turning down the volume of your white noise machine and let your baby’s hearing accommodate to the nowadays noise.
Also, what I would recommend is a just occasional use of white machines. Your little one will not need it every night. At least, that is what I did.
So, if you see that your baby has a bit restless night, simply turn it on. In other cases, you can either completely turn it off, or set some low-volume of waterfalls. So, it is highly important not to isolate your baby completely from the realistic outdoor noises.
Nowadays, I see a lot of people using a fan in their rooms. Also, I see them whining about not being able to sleep without one turned on.
These things are double-edged swords. It’s quite effective, undoubtedly, but it also has some side effects. Or at least, it can make side effects if not cautious enough.
Shortly, there are three main cons that you should consider before getting a white noise machine for your baby.
- White noise machines may exceed recommended noise limits for babies.
- Babies can become dependent on white noise machines to be able to fall asleep.
- Not all babies respond well to white noise.
As we mentioned, it’s highly important for your baby’s hearing not to exceed that recommended noise limit. It can damage the hearing and make your baby highly sensitive to outer noises once you turn it down.
If you are using some extremely loud white noise machine, I recommend lowering it down immediately, if not turning it off completely. Loud noise machines are a priority, and you should root it out as soon as possible. Don’t let your baby get used to it.
You might like: White Noise vs Pink Noise vs Brown Noise
Finally, not all babies will respond positively to the white noise. Therefore, some babies might dislike what they hear. In those cases, you will need to stop using white noise machines and stop even trying to get it used to that sound.
As an alternative, you can try with a fan. I see a lot of people using a fan to simultaneously cool down or keep the sleeping routine at maximum level.
Just to give you an insight into how important sleep for babies is, and thereby answer to the question what age is the best to stop using a white noise, here is this info:
- newborns: up to 18 hours total per day, while waking up every few hours for feedings
- 1-2 months: babies can sleep 4-5 hours straight
- 3-6 months: sleep totals at night can range between 8-9 hours, plus short daytime naps
- 6-12 months: 14 hours of sleep total, with 2-3 naps during the day
Therefore, if you ask me, I would stop using it definitely after those 12 months period, or drastically reduce it until I root out the habit completely.
Conclusion: When to Stop using White Noise For Baby
In the light of everything I previously stated about white machines and the time that is best to stop using it, we may conclude that there are several factors involved.
Most of the people will just use the white noise machine until their babies are grown enough (3-4 years) to decide themselves whether they want the white noise machine or not.
However, I consider it harmful if your baby gets used to it. It’s like using a pacifier. Once they get used to it, they will quit really hard. My son, for example, got used to the pacifier and I’ve seen him sucking his finger at the age of 3-4. That’s quite frightening.
Therefore, you should probably try to root out this habit before it becomes a dangerous habit.
Hopefully, this article provided you with needed information of when should you stop using a white noise machine for baby.