White Noise


One of the few books that I’ve decided to read to prepare for parenthood is “The Happiest Baby on the Block.”  I really like it and if the author, Harvey Karp, is correct, this book will be a lifesaver during the first few months of Roo’s life.  I recommend reading it.

He talks about the first few months of life as the fourth trimester, when an infant is still developing some of the senses and controls that other animals would develop still in utero.  It makes sense the way he presents it.  You have to read the book to completely understand.  I don’t want to review the book here.

But, I do want to talk about a component of the book that concerns me.  He encourages the use of what he calls the “5 S”s” listed below but not necessarily in the correct order:

  • Swaddle
  • Ssshhh
  • Swing
  • Side/stomach
  • Sucking

I think they all make sense and he has real life examples of how the use of all techniques combined have miraculous effects on a sobbing baby.  However, I’m concerned about the Sssshhhh component.  In his book, he strongly encourages the use of a white noise machine.  However, I worry and have read medical articles, which backs up my concern, that constant white noise is not good for a baby’s auditory development.

I’m all for shushing loudly close to her ear to help her calm herself but I’m just not sure about the constant white noise all night in her nursery.

I understand why the constant noise is helpful to calm a baby as he explains that in utero the baby is exposed to constant noise from the blood rushing through mom’s body and organs making their usual noise.  However, I don’t know if putting a white noise machine in Roo’s room is a good idea.  I would rather play her soft music in the background to help her sleep that shuts off after a certain amount of time to help her fall asleep.  I think there is nothing wrong with listening to music as you fall asleep.  I often did when I was younger at low levels when I was falling asleep.

What do you all think?  Am I crazy?  Have you used Karp’s method successfully including the white noise machine?  Is a fan running all night enough white noise?

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4 thoughts on “White Noise

  1. I’m a certified instructor for HBOB and have had the honor of meeting Harvey Karp twice. The 5 S’s are incredible and I can’t even begin to tell you all the success stories I’ve seen. I think the white noise machine is an incredibly useful tool for keep babies asleep for longer periods. No matter how loud you have it, its still quieter than the noise of your blood circulation and heartbeat while their in the womb. If you’re worried about her getting too attached to the noise or anything like that you can start weaning her off it after 3 months but I haven’t read anything about it affecting their development because its just not that loud. The shushing in the ear is much louder and even that is perfectly safe for their ears. If you want to email me your address I can send you the DVD which is great and explains everything really well while showing you what he means.

    You’ll have to share how it worked after Roo is a couple months old!! 🙂

  2. We sleep with a fan on (for me actually because at 25 I need background noise to sleep) but I think it’s good for my son as well as he sleeps in our room and will till he’s a year. I also have a sleep sheep but I find he’s not into it yet, my sister said it became a life saver when we niece was about 6 months. I think noise is better for babies as they learn to sleep without of being super quiet. But that’s just my opinion. Also I read a lot about having air circulation aka a fan and it’s help in SIDS prevention. Who knows how true that is but if all I have to do is turn a fan on then I will

  3. I have heard great things about his methods from friends who have had babies recently. Also, a friend lent us the DVD of “The Happies Baby on the Block.” It’s pretty amusing to watch, but I definitely think his methods work.

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