Of all the standard advice I give out to mothers of newborns to toddlers, the one piece that seems to immediately make a difference is the implementation of white noise. There are all sorts of products on the market, from a sheep you put inside the crib that emits a low frequency whirrrring sound, to a $60 “sound conditioner“, but my number one recommendation is the cheapest, loudest box fan you can find, something like the good ole’ Lasko 3733. Just turn that baby on to the loudest setting, face it towards the wall (so your little one doesn’t get too cold), and you have the most effective sound machine on the planet.
A box fan on it’s loudest setting will seem too loud for mom and dad, but will be the perfect volume for baby. Also as a hilarious aside, another household object that is the perfect loudness would be something like a blowdryer, which one would NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES EVER USE AS A WHITE NOISE MACHINE except for if you are Lori Broady and a show called My Strange Addiction did an episode on you where they showed how you’re addicted to sleeping with your blowdryer and you co-sleep with your 4 year old and have burned her on not one, but multiple, occasions, and how you have started a fire with your blow dryer addiction.
Moving on, the volume of white noise is of utmost importance. The womb is very, very loud. I’ve read reports that the decibel level inside the womb is about 90 decibels. N I N E T Y. That’s as loud as a lawnmower! So, you want your newborn to sleep well? Crank up that fan as loud as it will go.
Some new parents, and even some more seasoned parents, think it’s wise to have babies nap not only without white noise, but while also being exposed to ambient noisea, thinking that somehow this will create a baby that can “sleep through anything”. Let me tell you this right now – having an infant who can sleep well in that kind of an environment is about as common as having a baby that is “by the book” and sleeps easily on a schedule without too much help from mom and dad. It might be possible, but it’s unlikely. And frankly, it’s unfair. There is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t give your baby and child every possible chance to sleep successfully. Darken their room, turn on a fan, create cues for them so their brains are immidiately attuned to sleep when those cues are given. Do the best you can to make sure their sleep environment is as accommodating to their needs as possible.