My sister came to help me right after my first baby was born. Between having the baby delivered by Cesarean section, being a first time mom, and having some anxiety issues due to the huge hormonal changes that had taken place in my body, I felt helpless. She had already had three children so she seemed like an old pro at this baby stuff. She came over almost every day for the first couple of weeks to give me a hand.
I learned a very important lesson from my sister on the first day she was there. I was only supposed to climb the stairs once a day to go to bed at night due to the surgery. So I put the baby in her bassinet in a room just off the kitchen during the day for naps.
The first time I put her down for a nap when my sister was over, I came out into the kitchen to where my sister was washing the dishes and I said “Shhhhhh the baby’s sleeping!” My sister looked at me and said, “Are you nuts?!!!”
She then began explaining to me that if I kept the house silent every time the baby went to sleep, then I was going to have to keep the house silent every time the baby went to sleep. She explained that little things beyond my control like the telephone ringing or the doorbell etc. would startle the baby and wake her up if the house was silent. Also, I would be limited as far as what I could do while she slept.
My sister suggested that during nap-time and bedtime, that I throw a load of laundry in the washing machine, a load of dishes in the dishwasher, vacuum, etc. So then any sudden loud noises wouldn’t wake the baby. This advice always served me well with both of my children.
In some homes where I babysit, the parents have actually purchased a Sound Machine to keep from having the infant sleep in total silence for the same reasons. Many children still use them through the toddler and preschool years.
Some of these are called “white noise machines” and that’s exactly what they do. They just make that fuzzy background noise that helps to blend louder sounds so they don’t startle a sleeping baby (or adult).
There are other types of sound machines as well, that have different settings for sounds like rain, a babbling brook, ocean waves crashing on the beach, etc. Some even have classical music settings.
Some people argue that it makes the child dependent on sound to fall asleep. But, by using the volume control, it should be very easy to wean a baby or child off the sound machine by making it quieter and quieter each night until it is no longer audible.
As I mentioned, a sound machine isn’t necessary; you can make background noise by simply cleaning the house or listening to music. So, babysitters and nannies as well as parents, don’t feel like you have to tiptoe around the house once the baby or kids are asleep.
Any type of noise in the background, whether it was the washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum, or music while my children slept, gave me the ability to get so much done without disturbing them. Thanks for the words of wisdom Sis!
The Babysitting Lady