The Colour of Noise

The Colour of Noise

We often hear of the effect white noise can have on you or your child’s sleep. Who knew there are other colours of noise?? Not me. My guest blog post today is from the amazing Jerylin Gan, Ph.D. about the colours of noise.


Have trouble sleeping?  A toddler who wakes whenever you accidentally step on that creaky floorboard?  Just hate the sound of those damn chipper little birds at 5 am?  Then someone’s probably recommended playing white noise in the background.  Maybe in the form of a fan, a mp3 of a waterfall, or one of those sleep sheep stuffed animals that play a heartbeat as well.  

From my experience, white noise is wonderful.  Both my kiddos and husband will wake at the drop of a hat.  But you know what I’ve found works better for me?  Pink noise.  That’s right.  There’s more than one colour of noise!

There’s white, pink, brown, gray, and violet noise (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colors_of_noise).  The difference between the colours is how loud certain frequencies are.  Low frequencies sound low to human ears; high frequencies are higher pitched.  “Noise” is when you play a lot of frequencies at the same time.  White noise is when all frequencies are played at the same volume.  Pink noise is when lower frequencies are played slightly louder than the higher frequencies.  Brown noise is when lower frequencies are played a lot louder than higher frequencies.  

And though it’s hard for most people to tell the difference between the different colours of noise, they’ve been shown to have different effects on people. What might be soothing for one (e.g. the sound of a vacuum to my friend’s baby) might sound awful to another individual (e.g. the sound of a vacuum to me).  So experiment!  Try to see if you like white, pink or brown noise.  See which noise might help you sleep better.  See which noise will help you concentrate on a task!  

Jerylin Gan, Ph.D.

You may wonder who is Jerylin Gan, Ph.D.? Well, let me fill you in. Jerylin is currently an amazing stay at home mom with a passion to ensure her children are getting the much-needed rest they require. Jerylin has a BA in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UC Berkeley, PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior from the University of Washington, Seattle and she did further training at Cornell Medical School. She is my go-to person when looking at the science behind a number of studies we see popping up on social media.

Originally posted June 21, 2016 

Updated and re-posted Nov 23, 1018

Sleep Sack: Is it really necessary?

There are so many different gadgets and things available for infants and toddlers now that is can be overwhelming as a parent. You may find yourself asking…Is this really necessary?

Is a sleep sack something that is needed or not??

If you are reading this as a new parent I want you to fast forward in your thoughts to when your child is climbing out of the crib way before you want them to! Now stop and think about how a sleep sack can prevent a child from lifting their leg over the rail. Run do not walk to the store and get your child a sleep sack!

It is much easier to get your child into a sleep sack as a baby then it is as a toddler to prevent the crib climbing. This is the main reason I recommend a sleep sack. It is not the only reason though.

Another reason for a sleep sack is for warmth. Both the American and Canadian Pediatric Societies do not recommend blankets in the crib until at least one year of age. The sleep sack is wearable and moves with the child; therefore, it is acceptable.

How do I know which one is best?

There are so many different types of sleep sacks out there these days that he can be overwhelming. The main things I look for is temperature regulation and how easy is it for a toddler to get out of it.

You can get a sleep sack for different temperatures. Each sleep sack has a TOG label. This label will help you decide which one will keep your child warm without causing him to overheat. I had one that was made from bamboo which would flex with the temperature. You can spend a fortune on finding one that works so I would ask your local mom’s group for their favourite one and TOG level. The TOG level best for my son may be different for your child is you live in a warmer or colder climate.

To keep our little man warmer in the winter he would wear a fleece sleeper under the sleep sack. In the summer he could often be found in a light sleeper or just a diaper shirt in his sleep sack.

In my personal opinion, the most important thing to look for is how a child can get out of the sleep sack with ease. The ones with the button on the shoulder were easy for our little man to get out of. We had one with a zipper down the middle. The zipper started at the top of the sack and zipped down. The good thing with the zipper in the middle was when he started experimenting with unzipping it, I was able to turn it around so the zipper was in the back. I did this a few times and then he stopped trying to undo it.

 

As with all decisions we make as a parent the best decision is the one you make for your child. This post is my opinion of why I like a sleep sack. As always be the parent you want to be!

Sleep Regression? What is it?

Sleep Regressions are talked about a great deal when talking about infant or child sleep. If you speak to a parent with a young child and you mention the word regression you will most likely see a look of fear in their eyes.

Honestly, I feel that these regressions are actually overrated! The fact is that there are many reasons for a change in a child’s sleep and stating if a child is (insert age) they will have a regression in sleep is not necessarily the case. I believe that a number of sleep-related issues get blamed on a specific age when in fact the change in sleep can usually be tied to a developmental milestone or change in sleep needs.

What is a Sleep Regression?

A sleep regression is when your child’s sleep takes a turn to the difficult side. You had a few weeks or days of great sleep and then wham, you are up several times or fighting with your child to get them the sleep they require.

When is it a True Regression?

Changes in a child’s sleep will happen several times. If the change in your child’s sleep has lasted for more than 4 days and cannot be blamed on an illness or growth spurt then you are in the midst of a regression.

The Most Talked about Regressions Demystified!

4-month Regression: 

This is when our little ones are moving from the newborn sleep cycle to the sleep cycle that is similar to yours and mine. They are moving from 2 stages of sleep to 4 to 5 stages of sleep per sleep cycle.

8 to 9-month Regression:

This is typically related to a developmental milestone. At this age, there is so much growth going on that is does play havoc with our child’s sleep.

Typically, the developmental milestones that are occurring at this age are as follows: learning to crawl, standing, walking and babbling.

18-month Regression

This can usually be related to increased separation anxiety. This age is famous for this! It does make putting your little one down for sleep a bit more difficult.

2/2.5-year-old Regression

This is usually when our little ones have a verbal explosion! Has your child started to talk a great deal more? This is usually the culprit to sleep-related issues at this age.

Thanks for the Explanation, Now what?

The best thing you can do if you suspect that your child is dealing with a sleep regression is to be patient. If your child had good sleeping pattern before and you do not introduce any new sleep props your child should be back on track in 4 to 7 days.

If a week has past and you are still dealing with the sleep regression then I would recommend that you look at your child’s wake time. Your child will most likely benefit from a 15 minute increased wake time.

You adjusted the wake time and are still having issues then I would look for a hidden sleep prop or a prop that your child wakes up requesting.

 

If you are a Parenting Foundations Member, please feel free to send me a message so I can help you further. If you are not a member yet you can click here to learn more about becoming a member which gives you direct access to me, Brenda from Parenting Foundations.

Pacifier: The Real Deal

A pacifier  (aka soother, dummy, sucky, etc) can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

The sucking reflex is a very calming for many children. It is a very natural thing. Children come out of the womb with the ability to suck and they love it!! Many of you may even have pictures of your little one sucking while in the womb!

As children age, the soother can become an object that they depend on greatly. I believe this is often when pacifiers become an issue.

What is the big deal about a Pacifier?

The following is a list of the reasons that a soother can become an issue:

  • Children can begin to develop dental issues with prolonged pacifier usage after 2 to 3 years of age.
  • Children that keep the pacifier in their mouth all night may struggle with getting into the deeper stages of sleep.
  • You may find yourself going on a soother hunt several times a night in a dark room!
  • Your child needs your help to put the soother back in their mouth during each wake-up! We all wake every to 60 to 90 minutes.
When should you consider removing the Pacifier?

This is completely up to you; however, there are a few things that would cause me to encourage you to drop the pacifier. The following are my reasons for dropping the pacifier:

  • Your child is not able to go back to sleep with out you inserting the pacifier and they are in a different room than you. Your sleep is definitely affected.
  • Your child is not appearing well rested. This will be evident with their behaviour during the day.
  • Your child’s speech is impacted by the pacifier.
  • Dental issues are beginning to develop.
How can you remove a Pacifier?

There are a number of ways that you can remove a pacifier from your child. The older your child is the harder it can become; however, it is possible and may not be as hard as you think. Here are some common ways to remove the pacifier:

Cold Turkey: 

This may seem to be the harshest method but in reality, it is the easiest. Stop giving the pacifier. At first, your child will protest; however, you can add more comfort to your child during this transition which will help with removing the pacifier.

This is the best method for children under 1 year of age.

Gradual Removal: 

This is when you start reducing when the soother is offered during the day. For example, only offering the pacifier during rides in the vehicle and in bed. After a few weeks of only offering it during designated times, you then cut it out completely. The first few days without the pacifier are trying times but it does get better with time.

This is the method that we used with our son. When he was just over a year, we only offered the soother in the vehicle and while he was in the crib for a nap or bedtime. I would offer a snack in the vehicle when needed and offer comfort objects (ie his lovey) when he needed something other than my comfort to calm him. Then we set aside 4 days where my husband and I could take turns offering him support through the night if he needed it. The first night he requested it a few times at bedtime but we stated “it is all gone” and offered him a hug. at bedtime, it took a few extra minutes to put him to sleep but that was it. He woke once during the night and needed comfort to go back to sleep. Night 2 he asked at bedtime and we stated the same message “it is all gone”. He fell asleep and stayed asleep all night. That was it!

This is the best method for children between 1 to 2 years of age.

Soother Fairy:

This is when your child gathers up all of their soothers and places them in a spot where the soother fairy (aka you) will remove the pacifiers and replace them with an object that your child will enjoy or has been asking for. For younger children, it is a good idea to replace the pacifiers with an object that can be used as a comfort object. After the pacifiers are gone you may have to deal with an upset child during sleep times or periodically throughout the day. The best thing to do is make sure you dispose of the pacifiers so you do not give it back to your child.

This is a method applicable to children over the age of 2 but best for children close to age 3.

Stuff a Bear:

This is when you bring your child to a place that makes stuffed animals and brings along the pacifiers. Your child then stuffs the pacifiers in the bear or whatever stuffed animal your child chooses. Then voila you have Soother Bear! When your child requires support you can remind her to grab her bear and also provide hugs and extra comfort when needed. This can be a quick solution for some children. Some children do get frustrated that they know where the pacifier is but cannot get it.

This is another method that is good for children over the age of 2. This is my preferred method for children that are closer to 2.

Deflating the Pacifier:

There are a couple of ways to do this; however, before proceeding I would like to remind you to proceed with caution with this method. The soother can become a choking hazard as the material gets compromised when you deflate the soother. This is when you poke holes in the soother so your child will no longer be able to suck the soother like she did before. Some children do not care and keep chewing on the soother. Other children will just stop using the soother as they are no longer getting the benefits from the soother.

This method is good for children over 1.

Chopping the Pacifier:

This is when you cut off a little piece of the pacifier. I advise you to proceed cautiously as this can also be a choking hazard. You usually start with the tip and then every few days chop off a bit more until there is nothing left but the plastic handle. Some children will just stop using the pacifier altogether and some will hold onto the plastic handle and suck on the plastic. If this is the case for your child I would then use another method to get rid of the pacifier all together.

This method is good for children over 2.

 

As with all things related to children and parenting, there is no right or wrong answer to how you should proceed with removing your child’s pacifier. Hopefully, one of the methods in this article will help your child with removing their dependence on the pacifier.

If you have any other questions or need assistance with coming up with a plan to assist your child with becoming pacifier free, please feel free to post a question in the forum area.

Take care and have a lovely day!