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"I heard a noise, faint, monotonous, white."
December 6, 2011 9:42 PM   Subscribe

Getting babies to sleep is a topic of great interest to all parents (see previously). One trick that has been shown to work is white noise. Although many opt for a white noise machine, other parents swear by radio static, vacuum cleaners, dryers, or a running faucet. Now, of course, you can send your cutie to slumberland without wasting nearly so much electricity or water, all thanks to youtube.

Rain
Vacuums & Appliances
Running Water
Excuse any typos, as I wrote much of this post with a sleeping baby in my arms. Thanks, white noise!
posted by Deathalicious (89 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite

 
I swear by the method (it is in a book, relatively famous, I forget which) that suggests tilting your infant will stop them from crying. It worked beautifully on both my twins.

disclaimer: this is not a substitute for finding out why they're crying and taking very attentive care of them

But as an adult, white nose helps me tons, so I can certainly imagine it helping infants.
posted by davejay at 9:43 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the basic principle of saying SSSHHHHHH or SHUSHHHHH - basically producing repetitive white noise from a familiar source, shushing a baby to sleep.....
posted by Rumple at 9:46 PM on December 6, 2011


What if your computer costs more to run that aforementioned radio, vacuum cleaner, dryer and running tap combined? What then?

nvm, I don't actually have a baby.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:50 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, there's Simply Noise that generates white, pink, or brown noise from your browser.
posted by rosken at 9:50 PM on December 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


I used to put this site on for my daughter when she was a baby. Worked well, especially when we were still up and didn't want other noises distracting her. Knocked me out half the time too.
posted by hypersloth at 9:51 PM on December 6, 2011


jinx
posted by hypersloth at 9:51 PM on December 6, 2011


relax with white noise.
posted by crunchland at 9:52 PM on December 6, 2011


Side 2 of "Dark Side of the Mood" always worked for us.
posted by Gelatin at 9:54 PM on December 6, 2011


Moon, drat it all.
posted by Gelatin at 9:54 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I use the Yule Log on my iPod. Straight from WPIX like I watched on TV as a kid. Great white noise too.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:55 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wtf? People leave their faucets on all night?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:01 PM on December 6, 2011


Now, of course, you can send your cutie to slumberland without wasting nearly so much electricity or water, all thanks to youtube.

Yeah, why use a 5 watt radio when you can use a 150 watt laptop?
posted by rhizome at 10:02 PM on December 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


...and he's crying again.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:06 PM on December 6, 2011


Now, of course, you can send your cutie to slumberland without wasting nearly so much electricity or water, all thanks to youtube.

We power all of our devices using a nearby stream and a waterwheel and I'm really pissed off that we now have to generate enough electricity from these to get YouTube to make white noise when after all we had the same damn thing from the water running down the slew, slopping over the waterwheel.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:08 PM on December 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


My colicky nephew was most calmed by Old '97s music played at maximum volume, if that helps anyone at all.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:11 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


rhizome: "Now, of course, you can send your cutie to slumberland without wasting nearly so much electricity or water, all thanks to youtube.

Yeah, why use a 5 watt radio when you can use a 150 watt laptop?
"

You know, honestly, I can't seem to even get static anymore. Radio stations just have too much broadcasting power or something, no matter where I go on the dial it's one station or another.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:18 PM on December 6, 2011


Eight hours of rain.

I need to download this. I've had real trouble finding realistic thunder sounds in white noise recordings. After a while my brain starts analyzing how they might have faked the sound. Hopefully if it's actually from a real thunderstorm my brain won't say 'brick banged on hollow wood box with reverb added' in its killjoy brain kind of way.
posted by winna at 10:26 PM on December 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think, of all the colors of noise, that white is my favorite. To me, white noise is all the other colors of noise put together.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:26 PM on December 6, 2011


The wife and I used to use radio static, not only for our baby, but for our own sleeping, back when there used to be noisy folks out in our neighborhood at night. Things have quieted down here in recent years, though, so we haven't had to do that in a long time.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:31 PM on December 6, 2011


I use an iPhone app, and it works very well for putting me to sleep, though not for my wife.
posted by vidur at 10:32 PM on December 6, 2011


I listen to NPR.
posted by not_on_display at 10:33 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Faucet running 2 1/2 hours

Show that clip to someone who lives in the Sahara and they'd be utterly mortified.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:35 PM on December 6, 2011


Show that clip to someone who lives in the Sahara and they'd be utterly mortified.

I don't believe you'd have to go that far.
posted by mykescipark at 10:38 PM on December 6, 2011


Faucet running 2 1/2 hours

It makes me want to pee. That's probably wrong, given those people in the Sahara and all.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:39 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It makes me want to pee. That's probably wrong, given those people in the Sahara and all.

I've peed in the Sahara. It's really not that different from peeing anywhere else. Except that you're often peeing in the sand. That's a little different.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:47 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or, filter out the blue-green light (Rosco theatrical filters do fine to eliminate the band that controls keeping your brain awake. Lose that and your brain begins to get sleepy a few hours later: this search finds among others this

"this study represents a preliminary attempt to provide insight into the relationship between daytime exposure to light and night-time sleep in young, healthy infants. No intervention or manipulation of light or behavioural routine was attempted .... a relationship was found between light exposure and babies who showed an early propensity for sleep at night and activity during the day. ... High levels of light exposure may not be necessary as Waterhouse et al. (1998) reported that even domestic levels of light can influence the human circadian system, and that it is the timing, rather than intensity of light which is of crucial importance. ..."
posted by hank at 10:51 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just to weigh in, white noise isn't just for babies. If you suffer from tinnitus, white noise is often the best way to engage your ears enough to where the sound outside your head drowns out the sound inside it.

What tinnitus sounds like. Mine is more or less a sine wave, right around 8khz by my reckoning, although with some harmonics to make it less "tonal." It's with me 24 hours a day, and the bad news is: it's getting louder over the years.

It may seem counterintuitive, but total silence is almost deafeningly loud, and adding some white noise (rain, seashore, etc.) actually makes things seem quieter, despite the fact that I am adding sound.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:01 PM on December 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Japanese TV has informed me that apparently if you take a sip of some sort of liquid and hold it in your mouth, and then sort of lean forward and suck air in through your mouth to make a sort of THP-LL-PL-PP-PPLLP noise it'll calm your baby

I have no baby to test this with but I trust Japanese TV to be right about really weird things
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:02 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I want a noise loop of someone typing on an old IBM keyboard, to remind me of Dad. That sound always lulled me.
posted by The otter lady at 11:03 PM on December 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


huh, for my very mild synaesthetic mind, the only one of the "colors of noise" which mapped at all to my experience was the "Gray Noise."
posted by Navelgazer at 11:11 PM on December 6, 2011


I've peed in the Sahara.

I too have peed in the Sahara, and the experience was depressing. I spelled my name. I even used my middle name. But as the sands shift with time, I know that my mark will disappear, covered by sands, covered by the winds of time.

And I reflect on my urinary calligraphy. What is it to make your mark on the world? What is it to stand tall, to ignore the crowd (largely drunken Australians I met in Cairo) and try to make a difference in this world?

My piss sinks into the sand. Time goes on.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:14 PM on December 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I currently put my three-year-old and three-month-old to sleep with a playlist consisting of two albums: Mend by Geotic and Lullatone's Little Songs About Raindrops. The shuffle playlist is almost exactly 90 minutes and is perfectly relaxing for them (and me)! Also--the albums are free/pay what you want!
posted by sleeping bear at 11:18 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've had real trouble finding realistic thunder sounds in white noise recordings.

There's some real thunder in this rain recording I made a while ago. It's not 8 hours long, but this post inspired me to make a "movie" out of it and post it to Youtube. I posted the MP3 of the recording to MeFi a few years ago.
posted by zsazsa at 11:28 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Uh, these are not all white noise. The sound of a seashore is close to pink noise (generally reckoned the most calming type of noise). Rain? Probably closer to brown noise. TV static is white noise though, I think.
posted by iotic at 11:38 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Poppy tea will calm the little nipper.
posted by benzenedream at 11:54 PM on December 6, 2011


There is a fantastic inexpensive iPhone app called White Noise that I use all the time, sometimes hooked up to speakers. It has a ton of sounds, including several kinds of rain, and you can mix them together and tweak the settings of each sound in a mix.

My favorite: rain/wind/heartbeat/brown noise

Great with noise-cancelling headphones too. I'm too paranoid to use it while sleeping though, because I wouldn't hear if a yeti stomped in the ceiling...
posted by Nattie at 12:17 AM on December 7, 2011


I want a noise loop of someone typing on an old IBM keyboard, to remind me of Dad. That sound always lulled me.

Heh. I grew up in various small factories, and then lived/worked in one for a while. We had a lot of pneumatically powered T-shirt/textile printing presses and other pneumatic powered machinery. They were really noisy, but rhythmic and peaceful. Towards the end we had a big turbine/vane compressor to run all of the machines, and it was about as loud as a small jet engine if not louder - but at the far end of large concrete building, through two or three concrete walls and about 500 feet of clattering factory space.

What do I watch on YouTube to fall asleep? How it's made videos. Both the show of the same title and others. Does it have repetitive machinery and a dry monologue? Great! Glass bottle factory? Lightbulbs? Springs? I love high speed CAD/CAM six axis wire benders.

Also old nasa or aviation videos. Gotta love that crackle and hiss of old film, though it's not so great when the film suddenly has blaring marching band music or something.

Another great source for falling asleep videos is recordings of cab view train rides. There's countless, countless videos of train rides on YouTube. They're interesting enough to look at and go sightseeing for a while but boring enough to not keep you awake, the audio quality has white/gray noise going on and is usually very quiet. The bells and whistles in the cab are usually melodic and rather pleasant and far and few between.

I'm not a baby, but now that I think about it I've been falling asleep to YouTube for a few years now. I just set the battery alarm to something sane and unplug it and let it turn itself off.
posted by loquacious at 12:35 AM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


you can send your cutie to slumberland without wasting nearly so much electricity or water, all thanks to youtube.

Except for the megawatts of electricity required to power and tonnes of water nedded to cool the giant datacenters made necessary by the likes of youtube...
posted by Skeptic at 1:33 AM on December 7, 2011


I'm personally fond of the Chroma Doze Android app as a noise generator - I have control over the content of the noise, so I can figure out ways to optimally combat outside sounds.

It's also fun to slide the color thingies up and down and make little static songs wheeeeee
posted by louche mustachio at 2:43 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


We got a white noise generator for baby llama and had (and still have three years later) a ritual of turning it on at night to signal bed time. We have the same model in our room. When we travel we take them both. That was the biggest thing in getting her to sleep reliably and have a predictable bedtime of seven, which we really needed: bath, bottle, book, bed to an accompanying whoosh of white noise.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:50 AM on December 7, 2011


It's with me 24 hours a day --- You and me, both, Shutterbun.
posted by crunchland at 3:02 AM on December 7, 2011


My computer has fans in it that generate a fairly pink noise spectrum. But that keeps me awake, so I turn it off at night.
posted by asok at 3:10 AM on December 7, 2011


I've been falling asleep to YouTube for a few years now.

I've gotta say, I am loving the "feeling of not being alone" here on this issue. Granted, before YouTube it was an iPod, and before that it was a portable DVD player, and before that it was a portable 8mm video walkman, and before that it was a VHS player with the TV on a "sleep timer" and before that it was a portable cassette player, and before that it was a transistor radio, but yep, I do enjoy (indeed require) some company to help me sleep.

These days, an iPod Touch playing YouTube or Netflix videos does the job nicely. I just wish someone would invent better "pillow speakers." Radio Shack used to sell one, but it was pretty crappy. Earbuds are pretty good in the sound-quality department, but a little bit of tossing & turning will present problems.
posted by ShutterBun at 3:14 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Giant datacenters. Yes!
A couple of 80 ton air conditioners create great noise.
Don't know if it's white noise, but it's put me to sleep a lot of times.
posted by MtDewd at 3:14 AM on December 7, 2011


I must recommend the 'Womb to World' compilation CD (link to shop) from South African company BabySense. It is a mix of various ambient and relaxing white-noise like sounds, but much less harsh on the ear than pure static. Not sure where it fits in the white/brown/pink/teal static hierarchy. As a parent of two kids, one whom was "colicky," this relaxing 1hr+ mix worked wonders. We made an mp3 of the CD, bought a tiny cheap mp3 player and plugged in some PC speakers, and used rechargeable batteries. The sounds ebb and flow between natural and pure white noise, it evolves and alters, it is very calming. The thing was on repeat all night for months for us.

Instant slumber.

I somewhat fear that I will walk past somebody playing this cd and will instantly fall into a deep sleep in a Pavlovian/hypnotic response.

The only problem was that once we stopped using it it took weeks to adjust to not being gently immersed within the belly-of-a-whale/rain-storm/ocean-waves/inside-a-vacuum-cleaner all night and we missed the white noise painfully.

I vaguely suspect that they might have mixed into the static the sound of a city being carpet-bombed way above from an underground shelter deep beneath the earth.

It's a surprisingly comforting sound.
posted by Hypnerotomachia at 3:27 AM on December 7, 2011


Looking forward to Hair Cleaner, The Kleptones mashup of the hair drier and vacuum cleaner.

Maybe the sound of an all night poker game could be added to the list forming here.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:06 AM on December 7, 2011


When my daughter was a newborn we got a set of CD's from this company. They worked like a charm; we took them with us on trips, ripped them to our iPods, and gave them as gifts to other new parents. For whatever reason the fan and vacuum cleaner worked the best. Then when she became a toddler my daughter decided she hated the vacuum cleaner noise in real life and began running from the room whenever anyone was using the vacuum.
posted by TedW at 4:24 AM on December 7, 2011


Yeah, why use a 5 watt radio when you can use a 150 watt laptop?

The only radio I own is in my car, and I'm guessing that costs more to run than my PC (which doubles up as my stereo, I'm guessing like a lot of people nowadays or this post wouldn't exist). Sadly you can't tune BBC iPlayer or the iTunes Podcast window to "static".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:48 AM on December 7, 2011


Sadly you can't tune BBC iPlayer or the iTunes Podcast window to "static".

Indeed. And that between-stations sound on analog radio, man, I used to love that. It had a mystery, and a sense of directionality: as you got closer to a station, you'd hear the faintest precursors of it, then as you passed it, you'd hear its faint echoes. Like a train approaching, then passing, then fading from view. There's a poetry and a tactile quality to analog radio that digital sound devices lack. I'm glad I grew up with old technology, in that regard. i think it taught me something about listening.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:40 AM on December 7, 2011 [11 favorites]


In these days of Soundcloud and Bandcamp and Grooveshark and iTunes and Rhapsody and Pandora and last.fm and all the rest, it seems really silly for streaming audio to be presented primarily as bandwidth-hogging, electricity-gobbling videos.

Which is not meant as a knock on the poster, but rather a gripe about the Internet, I guess. Why do we flock to video even when video isn't really what we're after?
posted by Western Infidels at 5:58 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


My kids are teenagers now, so this post was for me, thanks, Deathalicious.

[Btw here in Taiwan, mothers often use the sound of running water to toilet train kids.]
posted by rmmcclay at 6:12 AM on December 7, 2011


I regularly fall asleep to Deep Space 9. Not sure how that would work with a baby.
posted by desjardins at 6:29 AM on December 7, 2011


Who cares about the baby? I put my wife to sleep with our white noise generator!

She laughed at me when I got it for her one xmas, but now she has me turn it on every evening before bed.
posted by Theta States at 6:36 AM on December 7, 2011


I swear by the method (it is in a book, relatively famous, I forget which) that suggests tilting your infant will stop them from crying.

I think it's The Happiest Baby on the Block.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:46 AM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


NOW YOU TELL ME.
posted by zarq at 7:09 AM on December 7, 2011


Sleep Sheep anyone? I prefer the ocean sounds while hubs likes the the rain setting. Baby does not appear to have a preference as demonstrated by the fact that both make him sleep. And, the sheep is darn cute.
posted by Leezie at 7:14 AM on December 7, 2011


Irish whiskey wokred for me and also for my kids. Be careful though and not too much: it is expensive.
posted by Postroad at 7:22 AM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Yeah, why use a 5 watt radio when you can use a 150 watt laptop?

I don't think it's possible to tune a radio perfectly between stations here without picking up some signal under the noise. Some people aren't bothered by unintelligible voices and snippets of music but for others it's nightmare fuel. <missing the point>...and I don't know if any laptop since the Compaq Portable has needed more than an 85 watt power supply; a modern ultralight laptop probably only needs about 20.</missing the point>

These days you can find clock radios for $20 at Bed Bath & Beyond that can play noises for an hour or so at night and shut themselves off. They usually offer a variety of textures, so if pure white noise doesn't work you can try wind or waves or waterfalls or etc. Buying a CD or some sound files of exactly the same noises for the same price means you're still out added money for the playback equipment.

There's a freeware white noise generator for the Mac: Noisy. It works fine.
posted by ardgedee at 7:24 AM on December 7, 2011


Using white noise like this [i.e., constantly, for a long time, while kid is asleep] appears to have some mildly harmful neurological side-effects, according to this book. There is value in occasionally immersing young brains in silence.

That said, I've raised three kids, I know how hard it can be, you do what you have to, far be it from me, etc.
posted by richyoung at 7:33 AM on December 7, 2011


richyoung: "Using white noise like this [i.e., constantly, for a long time, while kid is asleep] appears to have some mildly harmful neurological side-effects, according to this book. There is value in occasionally immersing young brains in silence.

My kids have slept with a white noise machine since they were infants. Is there any documentation of this available to read online? Am a little concerned now.
posted by zarq at 7:49 AM on December 7, 2011


For myself, white noise can just knock me flat, even when I don't want it. Or, I can put on a documentary on the TV. Sadly, those usually knock me out, too. (I bought Cosmos. Can't hardly watch it and stay awake. The music and his pacing lull me completely).

As far as babies go, my granny taught me about that. It's called 'laudanum' or something like that. Doubt it's still around.
posted by Goofyy at 7:56 AM on December 7, 2011


richyoung: "Using white noise like this [i.e., constantly, for a long time, while kid is asleep] appears to have some mildly harmful neurological side-effects, according to this book. There is value in occasionally immersing young brains in silence.

That said, I've raised three kids, I know how hard it can be, you do what you have to, far be it from me, etc.
"

According to this article, white noise is not harmful unless you play white noise constantly:
After reviewing the literature, we also could not find studies showing that white noise is harmful for human infants. The one study we did see was very small and tested the effects of continuous (24 hours per day from day 7 of life) white noise on rat pups (baby rats). Continuous exposure to white noise (70 decibels) was found to cause delayed development of the auditory cortex, an important structure in processing speech sounds. However, it’s important to note that the results of this study cannot be inferred to human infants exposed to white noise during a particular time of day. Why? Not only do human infants develop differently than rat pups, but this study only looked at non-stop exposure to white noise, not short term exposure during naptime or nighttime sleep. Common sense tells us that babies need to hear more than white noise. Some low-level white noise is safe for babies as long as it is not continuous and they are exposed to lots of different sounds throughout the day, especially human voices. Talking and reading to your baby every day is a great way to ensure proper development of your baby’s hearing.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:05 AM on December 7, 2011


Reminiscing about analog radios, I miss the sound of quick-spinning from 106.7 down to 90.1, the high-speed gurbling trip through 30-40 genres.

When my last analog tuner started failing a few years ago I knew there'd only be digital replacements (unless I wanted to spend insane money), so I struggled along with temperamental buttons and a slipping tuning string for far longer than was sensible.

When it reached the point where I had to leave the cover off permanently (changing stations required helping the string take-up wheel by hand) I finally replaced it. With a sleek black box that does nothing more than play the radio station for the button I push.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:16 AM on December 7, 2011


Because playing a youtube vid is so economical compared to a white noise machine...?

As an aside, I considered building my own white/pink noise generator with output for our kid (and yes, it works a treat to not just get them to sleep, but keep them asleep.) But, making clean, high quality white noise compared with simply playing back a nicely generated recording is a fair amount of work.

Most white noise generators, admittedly, are just short loops, and most of us can hear the virtual splice (though babies don't care).

In the interest of over-engineering a solution< i planned to modulate two channels of a white noise by amplitude, with each being directly out of phase with each other with one channel delaying playback so the splice was 50% into the other channel. Then mixing both into the same mono output. The notion is that the splice is played back at the lowest amplitude, while the additive output stays at a constant amplitude.

Honestly, just get the $20 unit sold at your local 24-hour pharmacy. It works fine in the "waterfall" mode.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:03 AM on December 7, 2011


When I was little, and all through my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, I would instantly fall asleep when my mother would turn on the vacuum cleaner. No matter where I was in the house or what I was doing. She had to make sure I wasn't near the stairs.

As an adult, I still can't run the vacuum for more than five minutes before I have to lie down and take a nap.
posted by trip and a half at 9:04 AM on December 7, 2011


The comment about white noise delaying auditory development intrigued me, so I looked around a little bit and all the speculation seems to stem from this article. For those who can't get through the paywall that I assume is there (I am at work and so have access) the researchers exposed 7 day old rats to moderate (70 dB, about normal conversation levels) noise for 9 to 83 days continuously in order to produce the changes they describe. Not only is this very different from the way people use white noise, but rat pups develop differently than human in a variety of ways; for example, they mature in a period of weeks rather than years. This means their bodies are much more active at the cellular level, which in turn can make them more susceptible to environmental influences. (There is a similar discussion going on in the pediatric anesthesia community regarding the influence of anesthetics on the developing brain, also driven in part by rat studies.) So while the findings concerning noise exposure are interesting and point the way toward further research, they are a very long way from showing that white noise machines aren't good for babies.
posted by TedW at 9:09 AM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everyone's already told the story (side sleeping, shhhh, bouncing in fits and starts ... the other two "S"s I can't remember now ...) but Dr. Harvey Karp really does a good, if simplistic (new parents need things simplified) job of explaining the basics of newborns and infants.

I heartily suggest white noise, even if you're worried that your kid will become too dependent on it. First off, he or she probably won't. Second off, so what. Compare having to leave a small MP3 device on all night from age 2-10 vs. not getting enough sleep from age 2-10. I know which I'd choose.

With my first daughter, she really liked white noises (faucets, hair dryer, etc.) and we used it to calm her down when she was very young but we never used it for sleeping (the pre-smartphone era for us). She was a challenge to sleep train, but was an amazing sleeper from 5 mo. to 2. Post-diapers, the challenge is keeping her in bed at sleeptime, but she still (mostly) naps and sleeps well.

Still, we live in a multi-unit residence, with neighbors above and below us and the floors and walls are very thin. The floors also squeak loudly. There are times (specifically 5am) when I wish my oldest now had some ambient noise in her room.

With my second daughter, it's a no brainer. I've used 1 "Natural Sounds Running Water" MP3 ever since she was born. As a baby, she slept through the night since 4 or 5 weeks, like 7pm-7am (waking up to eat, of course). Of course it's taken her longer to sleep on her own in silent places, but it was TOTALLY worth the extra sleep I got when she was young. And she was much more "colicky" than her sister during that godawful 4 weeks-3 months period.

Part of your approach depends on how much your own sleep matters to you (and probably how old you are). I think if you are willing to sacrifice your own sleep for a while, you can sleep train your kids faster and without any help from sound or other devices (my oldest daughter still likes her Twilight Turtle one of our friends gave her when she was 1), but man, I need my sleep.

My last 2 cents: don't be afraid to let your littlest ones sleep in the bed with you, depending on your circumstances (i.e. size of the mattress). There are other places and times to have sex with your partner (not that you'll be having that much sex anyway). And she'll move out of the bed OK (at least mine did) if you do it before 6 months.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:10 AM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh. I've been using a two hour loop of a screaming baby to try and fix my constantly-running faucet.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:25 AM on December 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


I don't think I would have survived the first 3 months of our baby without white noise and the help of Dr. Karp's 'Happiest Baby on the Block'. None of the electronic white noise devices ever worked to get her to sleep, but they helped keep her asleep once the swaddling, bouncing on a medicine ball, and vacuum cleaner running for an hour did the initial work.
posted by dvdgee at 9:26 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Other white noise "pro" tips...

* Hair dryer at diaper time. If your baby fusses at diaper time--squirming, crying, smearing feces with his feet, etc.--try a hair dryer. Helps kill diaper rash, gives a lovely white noise sound, and warms up baby's bottom. Just watch the temp!

* The dishwasher. If you're lucky enough to have one, fire it up and plop the little girl in front of it while you clean the rest of the kitchen or get drunk on cheap wine.

* The vacuum cleaner. Get your little one used to whatever you've got early. Otherwise they get scared of those things.

* Again, if you have an MP3 player or smartphone (or even nonsmartphone with audio playback and repeat functionality), you have a white noise machine. Recording ambient sound of your own (hair dryer, faucet, dishwasher) and making an MP3 is fairly trivial these days (maybe only to those of us in the upper classes, but lots of people have PCs with mics).
posted by mrgrimm at 9:51 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Youtube solution seems a little weird when there’s CD’s and little devices that do this (and have been for decades) much cheaper and simpler.

I like this for myself, even though it’s a little more CPU intensive than a CD, it has a lot of variety, and you can make your own.
http://www.resonance-asm.com/

I don’t know about kids.
posted by bongo_x at 9:57 AM on December 7, 2011


they helped keep her asleep once the swaddling ...

Oh, man, the swaddling. The "S" that shall not be named, lol.

For others it might work (and it was OK for the first 4 weeks), but my other PROTIP would be "if swaddling isn't working, give it up."

We swaddled (and re-swaddled, and re-swaddled) our first daughter for her first 5-6 months and it just was not worth it. I had good, duct-tape like swaddles, super tight, but she would struggle and struggle so much that even though being immobilized certainly helped her calm down, swaddling in toto did not. Even if I was pro and wrapped her up in 30 seconds or so, it was enough time for her to work herself up in a lather. She just didn't like being controlled (she's quite stubborn that way).

We maintained an open mind with our second, and when again at 4 weeks she started struggling too much, we gave it up and never looked back. There were a few points earlier on when I wondered if we screwed up, but she's been a delight ever since she got past 3 months.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:58 AM on December 7, 2011


bongo_x: "The Youtube solution seems a little weird when there’s CD’s and little devices that do this (and have been for decades) much cheaper and simpler. "

How are CDs or sound machines simpler and cheaper than clicking on a link?
posted by Deathalicious at 10:11 AM on December 7, 2011


I prefer fans - but of course, I don't live in South Korea.
posted by symbioid at 10:12 AM on December 7, 2011


That's the one reason I've hesitated about moving our laundry nook (which is otherwise in a totally annoying location) -- I like falling asleep to the sound of the dryer.

(And now I'm wondering how much of my propensity to doze off on long car rides -- as a passenger! -- comes from the sounds of the car.)
posted by epersonae at 10:38 AM on December 7, 2011


Man, I got sleepy just reading the words "Rain Sounds inside a car"... I fondly remember snoozing that way during long roadtrips when I was a kid. I'll click the link when I can afford a nap.
posted by travertina at 11:05 AM on December 7, 2011


Deathalicious, I do not believe any of this "baby" stuff without pictures!
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:25 AM on December 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


How are CDs or sound machines simpler and cheaper than clicking on a link?

This link that you click would be on a computer, yes? The computer itself would cost more than the CD player or sound machine, and it probably draws more electricity as well.

As for simpler, you have to turn on the computer, start a browser, and then find the link. Sure, that sequence of steps isn't very hard...when you're not bouncing a screaming baby with at least one arm. On the other hand, my kid's sound machine has just one button that I need to press.
posted by polecat at 11:52 AM on December 7, 2011


LAS-9 (free Android app) made my night. I don't know if it really helped the little guy sleep, but I was stoked to find a free app variant of the Buddha Machine (self-link previous post). But if you're running something from your computer, you can try the wall o' virtual Budda Machines (Flash-based). Or you can download the loops yourself, and replicate any of the 3 Buddha Machine versions, or mix + match!
posted by filthy light thief at 12:38 PM on December 7, 2011


I should make a recording of "rain sounds on the third floor of an old church, complete with the varied drips from several leaks falling into a collection of sand pails left over from the vacation bible school.". Because damn if I didn't nearly fall asleep at work today.
posted by Biblio at 1:26 PM on December 7, 2011


Don't forget the highly scientific Soothing Sounds for Baby by composer Raymond Scott!!
posted by speicus at 4:15 PM on December 7, 2011


We devoted an old 1st-gen ipod and old sony walkman speakers and a 2-min mp3 of crickets on infinite loop to the kiddo's room. The whole setup moves with us if we travel and seems to really help him settle in.
posted by secretseasons at 5:36 PM on December 7, 2011


the young rope-rider: "Deathalicious, I do not believe any of this "baby" stuff without pictures!"

You'll just have to be satisfied with this video.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:15 PM on December 7, 2011


polecat: "As for simpler, you have to turn on the computer, start a browser, and then find the link. Sure, that sequence of steps isn't very hard...when you're not bouncing a screaming baby with at least one arm. On the other hand, my kid's sound machine has just one button that I need to press."

Understood. I've been a computer geek for so long that I pretty much go to a computer first to solve everything. There's almost no point in time where either my or my wife's laptop isn't already open, and at this point I can pull up the Heavy Rain video in around 5 seconds.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:17 PM on December 7, 2011


Sorry, this is the video link
posted by Deathalicious at 10:29 PM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


But as an adult, white nose helps me tons,

Daddy's little helper?
posted by banshee at 2:22 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can put on a documentary on the TV. --- How It's Made is practically a hypnotic to me. I'm out within 10 minutes.
posted by crunchland at 3:39 PM on December 8, 2011


ShutterBun: "It's with me 24 hours a day, and the bad news is: it's getting louder over the years."

Me, too. It used to be just now and then, but it's all the time now and getting louder. The sound varies quite a bit. I think that may depend on what's up with my sinuses and air pressure.

Anyway, I use a fan at night for both the white noise and air circulation. Even now during winter with night time temperature below freezing it's a must-do.
posted by deborah at 10:39 PM on December 9, 2011


When I first noticed I had it, it was while I fell asleep, and I thought it was the tivo in my bedroom that was putting off the noise, though my wife said she couldn't hear it. As time went on, I started noticing it all the time, and it was pretty unbearable. Once, my wife and I drove past a wooded area and she pointed out how loud the peepers were, but I couldn't hear them at all. So I went to an ENT doc and hoped and prayed it was something easily fixable, like ear wax or something like that. Nope. Surprisingly, once I learned it was something I couldn't do anything about, I was better able to cope with it, and it doesn't bother me as much as it used to.
posted by crunchland at 3:33 AM on December 10, 2011


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