So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.
I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!
Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.
When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.
Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.
My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.
I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.
Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.
Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.
I truly thought that sound machines were a bunch of hooey, but truth be told, they are a whole lot of Hallelujah. I had received a sound machine as a baby shower gift. After some serious googling and chatting with other parents who sang the praises of the sound machine, I yanked that sucker out of the box and let her rip.
Remarkably, I saw a change within my son's first sleep with his sound machine. The full miracle didn't appear overnight, but after a few tweaks, like picking the appropriate sound level and preferred sound variation, we were off and napping!
While he was off and napping, I was enjoying the simple freedoms of watching television with the volume on and microwaving pizza to my heart's content. So, mamas unite and reclaim your right to be somewhat noisy in your home! Watch that show at volume setting 8, walk across your creaky wood floors, flush that toilet. The world is your oyster!
A couple of quick tips on putting your sound machine to work:
Keep sound at a reasonable volume: Your baby is not at a Def Leppard concert, no need to turn up the bass. The recommended volume for a sound machine is compared to the sound level of a soft shower. If your machine is booming more like a monsoon than a gentle bath, dial it back a few notches.
Sound selection is not that deep: If you are like me, and are overthinking which sound to choose on your machine, don't. Your baby is not going to lose IQ points because you chose sounds of the ocean versus heartbeat. The key to a sound machine is the consistency of the sound. All the sounds on the machine are soothing, just choose one and roll with it!
I've got the power! Oh wait, no I don't: Most sound machines can be either plugged in and/or run on battery power. If you are a plug-and-go family, a friendly warning, power outages are real. If the power goes out, so does your sound machine. Back up that restful serenity with a couple of backup batteries. Your machine won't skip a beat, and you won't want to beat yourself for skipping out on the batteries.
Our favorite sound machine + accessories:
This is as techy and customizable as I have seen in a sleep machine. The Yoga Sleep Dome Connect Sound Machine keeps the sleep sounds natural with fan-based white noise. Featuring 10 adjustable settings for both tone and volume you and your babe will have some nice options to choose from. My favorite part is this sound machine can be adjusted either manually or via app. A bonus feature of the app is the ability to set the sound machine with sleep schedules. You've got enough to remember, let the sound machine take this one off your plate.
Bedtime for baby doesn't have to mean bedtime for you. Bedtime can be wherever when you have this great travel sleep machine with you. Compact, includes three soothing sound features, and a LED nightlight, this sound machine is easily portable and nicely priced. This would be a great gift to keep at Grandma's house for that occasional date night sleepover or getaway weekend.
Make the sleep spa complete with some cozy new bedding. This crib sheet goes beyond cuddly and straight to dreamy. Made with Oeko-Tex Certified 100% cotton your baby's sheets might be the best linens in the house. Choose between the three sweet patterns of the alphabet, rainbow, and floral to complete your child's nursery and sleepy time experience.
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