White Noise or Not?

White Noise or Not?

There seems to be this constant issue where something is good for a bit; then, bang now it is bad.  I have also seen when bad things are now good (do not introduce certain foods until 1, now do it as soon as you introduce solids).  Let the confusion about what to do with a baby happen again: Should you use or not use a white noise machine or device?

If something is too loud it can affect a child’s hearing.  Now do I think you should run into your child’s room and remove the white noise device you are using, NO!  I do think you should make sure it is not on a loud setting and it is placed away from your child’s crib, bassinet, or bed.

What is the purpose of white noise anyways?  In my opinion, the purpose of white noise is to reduce the effect everyday noises have on a child’s ability to remain asleep.  The steady quiet hum in the background appears to reduce the number of times my child is startled awake.  I have put a fan on in my little man’s room since he was just over 6 months.  This has reduced the amount of tip-toeing the other people in the house have had to partake in.

Here are some of the tips/points to consider if you choose to use white noise:

  1. It should be on a low setting.
  2. The device should not be right beside your child.
  3. Constant is better than intermittent.  Some children will wake up if the white noise shuts off.
  4. If your child really likes the background noise you may find yourself having to pack a white noise machine or similar device when you travel.

Ultimately, the final decision is up to you as a parent.  If you are concerned, do not hesitate to remove the device or talk to your child’s doctor.  I hope this post has reduced your questions or sense of uncertainty around using white noise as a tool in your home.

Happy sleeping, everyone!!

 

 

 

The Colour of Noise

The Colour of Noise

We often hear of the effect white noise can have on you or your child’s sleep. Who knew there are other colours of noise?? Not me. My guest blog post today is from the amazing Jerylin Gan, Ph.D. about the colours of noise.


Have trouble sleeping?  A toddler who wakes whenever you accidentally step on that creaky floorboard?  Just hate the sound of those damn chipper little birds at 5 am?  Then someone’s probably recommended playing white noise in the background.  Maybe in the form of a fan, a mp3 of a waterfall, or one of those sleep sheep stuffed animals that play a heartbeat as well.  

From my experience, white noise is wonderful.  Both my kiddos and husband will wake at the drop of a hat.  But you know what I’ve found works better for me?  Pink noise.  That’s right.  There’s more than one colour of noise!

There’s white, pink, brown, gray, and violet noise (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colors_of_noise).  The difference between the colours is how loud certain frequencies are.  Low frequencies sound low to human ears; high frequencies are higher pitched.  “Noise” is when you play a lot of frequencies at the same time.  White noise is when all frequencies are played at the same volume.  Pink noise is when lower frequencies are played slightly louder than the higher frequencies.  Brown noise is when lower frequencies are played a lot louder than higher frequencies.  

And though it’s hard for most people to tell the difference between the different colours of noise, they’ve been shown to have different effects on people. What might be soothing for one (e.g. the sound of a vacuum to my friend’s baby) might sound awful to another individual (e.g. the sound of a vacuum to me).  So experiment!  Try to see if you like white, pink or brown noise.  See which noise might help you sleep better.  See which noise will help you concentrate on a task!  

Jerylin Gan, Ph.D.

You may wonder who is Jerylin Gan, Ph.D.? Well, let me fill you in. Jerylin is currently an amazing stay at home mom with a passion to ensure her children are getting the much-needed rest they require. Jerylin has a BA in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UC Berkeley, PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior from the University of Washington, Seattle and she did further training at Cornell Medical School. She is my go-to person when looking at the science behind a number of studies we see popping up on social media.

Originally posted June 21, 2016 

Updated and re-posted Nov 23, 1018

Time Change Coming

Time Change Coming

Yippee (sarcasm inserted here) we have a time change this weekend! We will find ourselves moving our clocks ahead an hour. So if your child usually wakes up at 7 am the clock will say 8 am!!! You will look at the clock and smile but realistically it does not mean much 🙁

There are a few things you can do; however, you first have to decide if you are okay with the morning wake time.

 

If you are happy with the new wake time then do the following:

1. Naps will occur after the proper amount of wake time. This will make it seem like naps are now on hour later then they were the day before the time change. It is the clock playing tricks on you.

2. Bedtime will be one hour later then usual.

3. Maintain this new schedule.

 
If you are not okay with the new wake time then do the following:

1. Wake your child at the desired wake time. Expect your child to take a few days to adjust to being woken up.

2. Naps at the proper amount of wake time.

3. Plan for bedtime to be a the regular time which may feel like an hour earlier to your child. It will take time to adapt.

4. Be patient as this will take at least a week for your child to adapt to the time change.

 
The third thing you can do is go with the flow and adjust with your child as their bodies adapt.

This is most likely what we will do. I will put on my big girl panties and by patient with the little man while he gets used to the clock changes.

 
The final and most important thing is that you do not stress out!!

As with everything related to children, the calmer you can be the easier the transition is.

 

Take Care and Happy Sleeping!!

Does White Noise Help Put Baby to Sleep?

Does White Noise Help Put Baby to Sleep?

Hands up if this sounds familiar…. Your fussy baby finally falls asleep for her afternoon nap and you sit down for a much needed moment to yourself only to hear a car with a broken muffler roaring down the street. Just like that, Sleeping Beauty is wide awake and mad NOT a good combination.

Or maybe you live in the country and you’re awoken at dawn by a wailing infant who has adorable (but ridiculously loud) birds chirping outside her window.

Environmental noises are a fact of life that you can’t do much about; but, there IS something you can do about your baby’s ability to sleep through the noise. In my experience, white noise machines can be a lifesaver when it comes to helping babies fall asleep and stay asleep.

There are lots of options out there. You can get sound machines in most department stores, drug stores, and online.  You can also use things you may already have in your home.  For example, we use a fan pointed away from our son.  We keep the fan on all year long.  And although it might seem unnatural to create noise when you want your baby to go to sleep, remember: it wasn’t exactly soundproof in the womb!

Your child is actually quite used to noise by the time he’s born because he’s been listening to you talk, your stomach gurgling, and the sound of the family and the TV and the car radio while in utero.

Believe it or not, complete quiet can actually be more confusing to a newborn than background noise.

One of the biggest benefits of the white noise machine is that it helps babies fall back to sleep if they wake up. This means their nap times will last longer and they will be less likely to fully wake in the night.

The main concern parents have about trying this is usually about their child becoming addicted to white noise, and that’s a valid point.

My experience is that there’s absolutely no need to worry about this. White Noise machine IS NOT being used as a sleep prop like a soother or being rocked and sung to. It’s there to block out noises that you can’t control that might be waking your child.

Personally, I still use white noise for myself and our 3-year-old.  If I do not have white noise on, my sleep is more interrupted.

If you want to wean your child off the white noise machine, simply turn the volume down a little every night until you’re not using the sound at all.  If you want to wean your child from the fan turn the speed of the fan down then slowly move the fan out of the room.

If you have more questions about your child’s sleep feel free to call 403-652-7111 to seek your free 15-minute consult.

Happy sleeping, everyone!

Three Myths About Sleep Training

Three Myths About Sleep Training

Staying in the RoomThe topic of Sleep Training gets lots of people pretty riled up. I am a firm believer in you do what works for you.  If you want to help your child learn how to sleep better, then find the best method for you and your family.  If you are fine with the way things are, then that is okay too.

I believe that lots of people are afraid to talk about the fact their child does not sleep and they are just plain exhausted.  Who wants to admit they feel like a failure? Babies are supposed to sleep wonderfully.  I can say from personal experience that I did not talk about the struggles we had with getting our young man the sleep he required.  I did not want others to think I was incompetent.

I would have stood on my head if that would have worked.  I tried many different sleep environments.  I always thought I would not want to co-sleep, but I tried.  I would have done it if it worked for us.

We had 2 bassinets and a crib.  I tried the swing and many other gadgets.  Eventually, with practice and our assistance, he was able to sleep.  This was a long process for us.  We were able to teach him the skills to sleep with very minimal crying.  I could not and still do not do well with him crying.  That said, I clearly understood that when he cried, it was his way of expressing himself.  He was very clear that he was not happy with any change.  Once we had a consistent routine in place his sleep improved immensely.

It was my own personal experience that gave me the desire to become a Child Sleep Consultant.  I had over 20 years of experience working with children and a  Bachelor of Child Studies.  My own child had me stumped!  There I was pulling out all the tips I had given to others or used in the past and they were not working. What worked for me was finding a method that I was comfortable with and our son did well with.  The method we used was to stay in the room with our son.  We worked our way out of the room slowly.

After we had worked out our sleep issues, I was introduced to the Sleep Sense Program. This program was very similar to the strategies we used to teach our how to sleep.  I decided to become a consultant so I could teach other parents this method.

To this day, there are times that I hear other Mom’s talking about sleep and I want to scream it does not have to be that way! What really gets me fired up is when I hear or read things like this:

  • You should just enjoy getting up to nurse/feed all night, someday he’ll be all grown up and you’ll miss it.
  • You were the one who decided to have children. 
  • Well, you’d better learn to live with it!

Being overtired is not fun for anyone involved.  When people state things like I previously mentioned, it makes the reality of being a parent that much harder to take. Then throw in the many myths about sleep training and sleep-deprived parents have nowhere to turn.  Let’s debunk the myths:

Myth #1: Your baby will not love you in the morning.

Really? Do you think that after just one night of changing your baby’s sleep habits she won’t love you anymore? Is that all it would take?

Would all the cuddles you give her, all the food you provide, all the diapers and clean clothes she wears, all the playtimes and bath times, all the kisses and laughter be for nothing because of a few nights of protest?

The truth is that making changes to anyone’s sleep habits will always be met with some resistance. So yes, it is safe to assume that your baby is not going to happily accept the fact that you are no longer going to rock her on the exercise ball for an hour each and every night, but as long as you are a loving and attentive parent in the first place, the love will endure.

In fact, most people find that once their baby is sleeping well, she’s even happier and healthier than before.

Myth #2: Sleep training means leaving your baby to cry it out.

It does not have to be that way.  I am not comfortable with babies crying.  I do my best to teach families how to reduce the amount of crying. In fact, I usually recommend staying in the room.  Sometimes your presence is enough to reduce your child’s resistance with sleep.

Children adapt SO quickly that she’ll soon figure out how to calmly get herself to sleep and then everyone is happier.

Myth #3: Sleep training is too stressful for babies.

Sleep training does not have to be stressful.  There will be crying out of protest.  It does get easier with consistency and persistence.  The first few nights are usually the most difficult.

As for those who say that a few nights of crying are too stressful? You’ve really got two choices:

  1. Make some changes. This usually involves a few nights of your child crying for 10 to 40 minutes at bedtime. After a few nights, most children start to learn how to fall asleep independently and the crying stops completely shortly thereafter.  In this scenario, the total amount of stress felt by your child amounts to a few minutes of crying for a few nights.
  2. Do nothing. In this scenario, the parent continues to nurse/rock/bounce their child to sleep every night. The child wakes up 1 to 10 times per night and needs to be nursed/rocked/bounced back to sleep each time. In this scenario, both parent and child are subjected to months (or even years) of systematic sleep deprivation where neither ever gets enough consolidated sleep to wake up and feel rested or refreshed.

So what sounds more harmful: A few night’s of crying or months/years of depriving your child of a good nights sleep?

If one or more of these three myths have been holding you back from taking the simple steps needed to create long-term, positive change for your child’s sleep, I really hope I’ve been able to change your mind.

And as always I’m here for you when you’re ready to get started. Feel free to email me, [email protected].