How to Choose the Right Sound Machine for Your Little One

If you’re expecting (congratulations!) or you already have a little one, you may have considered using a sound machine to help them sleep. 

A sound machine (correction: a white noise machine) is one of my five elements in creating the perfect sleep environment. Does that mean you have to use one? No! But if you choose to, you want to make sure it’s going to soothe your child and help them sleep. 

So here are some things you should keep in mind when choosing one:

Does it make a shushing sound? 

Many white noise machines have a variety of sounds. Even though rain or waves are soothing to listen to, a shushing sound is the most conducive to deep, undisturbed sleep. 

Whichever machine you choose, make sure it plays a continuous shushing sound. 

Does it run continuously? 

Some white noise machines use a timer, but to avoid disturbing your little one’s sleep, you should run it for the entire duration of their nighttime sleep and naps. 

Can you adjust the volume? 

Depending on how far your little one’s white noise machine will be from their crib or bed (and the size of their room), the volume may need to be low, high, or somewhere in between. The adjustable volume will mean you can set it to the perfect level. 

Speaking of volume – an ideal level is between 45 and 55 decibels. You can take it slightly lower if you want to. If you have a newborn, you can keep it at up to 60 decibels because they’re used to hearing ambient noises outside the womb. (You can download a free app to check the decibel level.)

Is it portable? 

Some white noise machines are perfect for home but a little clunky to take with you on vacation (or to stay at someone else’s house). You can always use an app away from home, but if you want a white noise machine you can take anywhere, choose one that’s easily portable. 

If you decide to incorporate a white noise machine into your child’s sleep environment and find one that meets these criteria, you won’t regret it. It will soothe them during their pre-sleep routine, drown out noises outside of their sleep space, and help them sleep deeper and longer. You may even end up grabbing one for yourself.

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Rachel Ross

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