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Shhh, be quiet and listen for a moment - peaceful isn't it...or is it? What can you hear? Cars? Music? The refrigerator, washing machine or dishwasher? A ticking clock? A dog barking? Church bells? Even when you think the house is quiet and peaceful, there is plenty of noise going on. This is 'white noise', background noise that your brain discards by blocking it out.
Babies are strangely placated by white noise, and it's not just the occasional background noise, but foreground noise that sounds constantly. If your baby is crying at night, try turning the vacuum cleaner on just outside their bedroom. You might be amazed at how quickly it soothes them and they fall asleep!
Research suggests that the noise a vacuum cleaner makes is similar to constant noise your baby heard in the womb and that this noise takes them back to that time which was comforting and safe. White noise masks more interruptive noises that might also be keeping your baby awake. Many advocates suggest that white noise helps to ease colic in babies too.
Rather than keeping your vacuum cleaner running every time you want to soothe your baby to sleep, why not buy some white noise on CD or MP3 and play this to help your baby sleep? You'll find white noise CD's are available from Amazon and most other record stores.