When a baby develops within the mother, she is exposed to all the sounds of the mother’s life, muffled only by the fluid and abdomen layers around her. Upon birth, the baby is already used to handling a substantial amount of noise, and actually expects it. The ingrained dependence babies have for noise is the key to getting them to sleep deeply, and can be taken advantage of during any stage in development.
Noisy Sleep Makes Deeper Sleep for Babies
The vibration and noise of a car drive is known to easily put infants to sleep, and is a good example of sleep that is caused by noise, not in spite of it.
If parents allow the natural noise of the household to continue during nap-time and the earlier part of bedtime, they will find greater success with a baby’s sleep habits. This means that others in the home are free to move around as they normally would instead of tip-toeing. It means that the living room can be vacuumed, the dishes done, and conversations held at a normal volume.
It works because a fair amount of racket, sometimes considered “white noise,” urges the mind to dive down deep in order to achieve rest. A baby “deep” into sleep won’t be pulled up out of the sleep so easily. Loud crashes, dog barks and doorbells are no longer such a threat to an infant’s nap. The child will sleep longer, getting quality rest, and will wake up in a happier mood.
Parents who practice the art of “not being quiet” for a baby’s sleep have found that they can do some amazing things, like put their child down to nap in the middle of a picnic, take a young baby into a movie theater, etc. These parents will retain more of their regular social life, stay better rested, and feel less stress.
Older Babies and Toddlers Will Sleep Too
Older children are not any harder to teach deep sleeping habits than infants are. They too were formed in a noisy womb, and the comfortable ways of falling asleep were formed in their minds before anything else.
To get started, parents can forget standard sleeping schedules for a day or two, and let the baby show true signs that they are tired, (yawns, grumpiness, droopy eyes), before starting the daily nap. Letting young ones get visibly tired will allow a certain amount of exhaustion to aid the process of napping during noise, at least until the child and parent are used to the new idea.
When the nap is inevitable, the baby can be put into her bed and the door closed, but no efforts should be made to subdue the noise level around the home.
How to “Cry it Out”
If baby continues to cry and complain loudly, reminders from the parent that “it’s time to sleep!” can be spoken through the door every ten minutes. This lets the child know that mom or dad is still there, but it’s also still time to rest.
A standard length of time for baby to “cry it out” is about half an hour. Beyond half an hour, the parent may wish to enter the room and cuddle the baby before trying again. Tough as this process might be, a baby will get the picture, ultimately sleeping sounder.
The toughest hurdle is soothing a parent’s anxiety over silence that is no longer needed. Some have spent a collectively large amount of time pleading and begging for quiet around the home at nap time, and it’s an investment that is hard to let go of. Accepting noise will be worth it though, both for the child and the parent who are getting long sound periods of sleep.