*disclaimer: you will see a lot of photos of a sleeping baby in this post. This should by no means put forward the impression that my newborn slept like a baby. She didn’t, I am just clever at capturing the odd photo.
In my previous post I touched upon my daughter’s early addiction to white noise. For anyone who is pregnant or has a newborn and is unfamiliar with the necessity for white noise for your baby in those early weeks, the main reason they are soothed by ‘sshhing’ noises is because it mimics the ‘whooshing’ sounds of blood going between the placenta and baby. Pretty cute if you think of it like that really. Considering we pretty much tried and bought everything on the market to satiate Maggie’s need for constant aggressive white noise permeating the air to give me a moment’s grace from (both of us) wailing, I think I can provide a good perspective on what’s hot and what’s just ok on the white noise front.
If you look at it from your newborn’s perspective, it’s no wonder they are seeking familiar sounds after being expelled from the comfort of the womb after 9 months into the big wide world. Whilst we would love them to be fans of the soothing tones of John Legend or Mozart, its more likely blasting your expensive GHD blow-dryer on top speed will send your little one into a peaceful Zen. If like me, you feel a little on edge at having your hairdryer on all night and day and would rather not risk burning the house down on day 2 of bringing your new bundle of joy home, there are some great alternative options that should, hopefully, soothe your little ones.
This little legend looks like a hybrid between a teddy and an octopus. He joined the Baker family 3 weeks into Maggie’s life after I was searching for something a little more hardcore than Ewan the Dream Sheep. From the moment his beady little eyes met Maggie’s, it was love at first sight/sound. Simply press his little paw and Whisbear will start sshhing at your baby for an initial 40 minutes. You can also set the level of volume of the sshh, but we opted for the loudest setting for Maggie, cos that’s her jam. Unlike the more popular Ewan the Dream Sheep, Whisbear has just one ‘sound’, which, in my opinion, is the closest to the hairdryer noise. The genius part is that Whisbear has a cry-sensor built in that ‘senses’ your baby if it wakes or makes a noise, and springs back into full on ‘sshhing’ mode for the next 20 mins to lull your little one back to sleep. And, as long as you change the batteries regularly, he will continue to do that throughout the night or whilst out and about in the pram. His clever design also makes him easy to fit over the side of the cot, or lay him down spread eagle on a flat surface next to your baby. Whisbear is my number one choice and I have since bought a few as presents for new mum’s in the hope of spreading his soothing joy far and and wide.
Don’t get me wrong, although Maggie seemed better soothed by Whisbear in the initial months, Ewan still has his place in our house. I found that Maggie needed both Whisbear and Ewan working in perfect white noise making harmony in order to enter a deep sleep. Ewan has 4 different options for sounds, albeit all a little gentler in tone/frequency than Whisbear: heartbeat + womb, heartbeat + vacuum cleaner, heartbeat + harp music, heartbeat + rain. We would turn on the heartbeat + rain option and he would also emit a calming pink glow from his super soft body. His one downfall is that he only plays for 20 minutes so I would find myself having to get up to press his paw throughout the night, in the early days when we didn’t have Whisbear. We suspended him from the side of her Snuzpod, and later from her cot. When Maggie reached 5 months old, Ewan migrated to my bed when we started to wean her off all the white noise devices as I have been known to need the company of a certain calm sheep in order to help me nap. I also managed to put him on a hot wash in the Washing Machine during one of my baby brained moments and he survived, so I’d say he’s pretty durable too, all things considered.
This soundspa was absolutely great, especially when we were out and about in the pram. By having the word ‘spa’ in its title may lure you into thinking it dishes out pedicures for your much needed post-preggo hooves, but you would be wrong. However, there is nothing more ‘spa’ like than the sound of a sleeping baby – I’ll take that over a full body wrap any day. I found out about this one when we took Maggie for a new born photo shoot at 10 days old. The photographer had this device and when she played it to Maggie, she immediately calmed down enough to be able to take a few non-screaming/pooing/weeing photos. It has 4 different sound settings and the volume of each can be adjusted up or down: heartbeat, white noise, ocean, and lullaby. Again, we opted for the white noise sound for Maggie and, as long as it is fully juiced up on 3 x AAA batteries, you can either play it constantly or it has a 15-minute timer option too. I would place this next to Maggie’s head in the pram, and it gave me at least 3 uninterrupted lunch breaks with friends in the early weeks. Winner.
Since moving Maggie out of our room and into her own nursery, we discovered that we had developed a white noise addiction too – oh joy! The sound of silence now deafens both Chris and I, and having the fan on constantly throughout the winter made for some what chilly times in the boudoir – and we can’t rely on body warmth as we have now been together for over 6 years so body contact is limited to a 10 minutes snuggles before going our separate ways to our respective sides of the bed. So we needed our own white noise option. Having Ewan in bed with us was getting a little creepy/juvenile so I was overjoyed when I found out about this ‘grown up’ device whilst watching a segment on ‘This Morning’ about getting a decent night’s sleep. Thanks Phil and Holly. This machine fits the bill perfectly – sits on the bedside table and emits a calming white noise throughout the night (or it also has a timer option) at your chosen frequency and volume to put you into a deep sleep within minutes. It also has various sound options, and apparently has the ability to mask exterior noises as well as snoring. Luckily neither Chris nor I are snorers unless I’ve had too much to drink, so I can’t vouch for that claim by the manufacturer. But Chris did use it whilst taking a lunchtime nap to mask some building works the other day, and had no problem falling asleep – but this is from a guy who once fell asleep against a bass speaker in a club, so perhaps don’t take his word for it. I do think that this would be a great option to have in the room with you and your baby in the early days, it’s just a shame we didn’t know about this one when Maggie was sharing our room.
I downloaded this app on my phone following a recommendation from a friend. It does have some good features, and the hairdryer noise is very close in sound to my actual hairdryer but I didn’t use the app for very long. Reasons being that I didn’t like leaving my phone next to Maggie for sustained periods (even if I did have it in Airplane mode) for fear of emitting some sort of radio active waves into her developing brain as well as the fact I wanted my phone fully charged for middle of the night breastfeeding Insta-stalking/ random purchases on Amazon prime, so this app did tend to drain my battery, foiling my night time plans. I also needed to delete it to free up some memory space for the 13,000,000 pictures of Maggie taken on my phone in the early days. It would be a great option for holiday as you wouldn’t have to take an extra suitcase for Ewan and his pals, and it does have some great reviews online so worth the download.
After spending the first 2 nights blasting the hairdryer for hours on end, we searched YouTube for ‘hairdryer noise’ and found this video – there are hundreds of white noise videos on YouTube, so its about finding the right one for you and your baby but there’s probably a reason why this one had had almost 3.5 million views. It did relieve me from the fear of my blowdryer, quite literally blowing up, although Maggie could definitely tell it wasn’t the genuine article – clever little Bean. Much better for your electricity bill and much safer for all concerned as well. Also, given the fact that Maggie developed her full on white noise habit in the middle of Summer, it’s a much cooler option if you only have a hairdryer with a hot setting.
Maggie seems to have weaned herself most of the white noise, but we still keep a very low ‘white noise’ going throughout the night courtesy of her baby monitor, which has lots of options for music and sounds. Whether she needs it, or if its just me being too paranoid/nervous of a crap night’s sleep to turn it off, we will never know because until she’s old enough to tell me she doesn’t want it anymore, I’m hesitant to to give her a truly silent night. I expect many of the modern baby monitors have a similar sound function if you haven’t got this one.
…if you do go ahead and buy any of these devices I wholly recommend that you buy cheap batteries from Poundland and carry them you on your person at all times in case your portable device runs out of battery. The fear! I did buy some rechargeable batteries for an extortionate price, but they were rubbish and didn’t even last one night of noise so I wouldn’t recommend going down that path. Also, make sure you have and take one of those teeny tiny screwdrivers with you as you need it to undo and secure the battery openings.