Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nature sounds for children's rooms

An often overlooked use of nature sounds is for the relaxation of small children, particularly infants. Many babies who are restless at night can be helped to sleep by playing some kind of white noise in their rooms. The reason for this is that before a baby is born, she is accustomed to being constantly surrounded by the soothing and reassuring sounds of her mother's body; the beating of the heart, and the sound of blood circulating in the placenta create a comforting blanket of white noise. Out in the harsh reality of the world, a quiet bedroom can often seem too quiet. Adding the sound of white noise, wind, or flowing water, all of which contain similar frequency spectra, can help to mimic the soothing sounds of the womb, and lull a little baby to sleep.
Check out these quotes from the baby experts:

"Many babies are calmed, for example, by the hum of a fan or vacuum cleaner, a tape recording of uterine gurglings, or a record that plays soothing nature sounds, such as waves breaking on the beach..." -Eisenberg, Murkoff, and Hathaway, What to Expect the First Year

"'White noise,' such as the continuous, monotonous sound of a vacuum cleaner or a recording of ocean waves, can often relax and lull your baby... " -Mayo Clinic, Complete Book of Pregnancy & Baby's First Year

There are plenty of "white noise machines" for baby's rooms available out there, many of them costing $50 or more. And there are also many "nature sound machines" that play repeated, short loops of low-quality nature sounds. But why go through the expense and trouble? You already have a CD player or MP3 player in your home, so simply buy a CD or MP3 of some relaxing nature sounds, like a waterfall or ocean waves, and play it in your child's bedroom. For $10 or less, you could give your baby (and, in turn, yourself) the gift of restful nights!

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