I wasn’t prepared for the lack of sleep that came with my newborn. I was warned, of course, but I figured late nights out in my 20s and all-nighter Netflix binges in my 30s would adequately prepare me for the sleep deprivation caused by the tiny new human in my life.
Four months in, I was a zombie, wondering if salvation (i.e., a few hours of consecutive sleep) would ever be in the cards for me. So when a friend recommended the Hatch Rest Smart Sound Machine, I didn’t realize how essential it would be for my son’s — and my own — sleep success.
The Hatch is a white-noise machine and lamp that illuminates with customizable colors and plays 11 different sounds. Parents can adjust the sound and light on the lamp itself or with the Hatch app, which syncs via Bluetooth.
After testing sounds like lullabies and birds, even TV static and the white noise from the dryer, I realized my son visibly relaxed and fell asleep faster with the rain sound. I played this every night and used the wind sound for naps so he could distinguish between night sleep and day naps. I programmed the light to shine red in the evenings and orange for naps. (Hatch suggests using warm colors for sleep, avoiding blue or purple light before bed.)
The real test was when we began to sleep train around 5 months. Once we weaned him off night feedings, we moved to the Sleep Wave method, a gentler alternative to letting our baby cry it out. It had started to slowly work, but in our efforts to sleep train, I’d forgotten to use the lamp.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to get babies (or kids) to sleep, but for my family, the Hatch machine was the missing part of the sleep training puzzle. Each evening, I made it a firm routine to turn on the lamp’s rain sound and red light. It encouraged our baby to relax, self-soothe and fall asleep on his own. If he woke during the night, I’d turn it on again via the app (or slightly raise the volume) to help him get back to sleep on his own. Although he’s not old enough to fiddle with it yet, I know the child lock feature will be helpful later on. This allows kids to touch the lamp without changing any settings.
Because the Hatch can be programmed to change sound or light (you can even dim or increase the brightness) at bedtimes or specific times, I can use the time-to-rise feature for our son starting when he’s 2.
- If he wakes up and the light is red with a rain sound, he’ll know it’s time to go back to sleep.
- If he wakes up and the light is green and birds are chirping, he’ll know it’s time to get up.
The lamp can help push your child’s wake-up time by five or 10 minutes every few days to gradually make it to the goal wake-up time. Parents can even involve their toddlers in the process, asking what color or sound they’d like to wake up to in the morning.
The lamp can also help with bedtime routines — once it changes color, kids know it’s time to settle down. It works for quiet time and nap time, too. It's evidently a big hit with other parents, too: The Hatch has a 4.8-star average from almost 25,000 reviews on Amazon, 88 percent of them 5 stars.
The Hatch sound machine lamp worked so well for my family that my parents bought one during our three-week vacation in Arizona, since the lamp is too bulky to transport by plane. I credit the sound machine for my son’s easy adjustment to a new sleeping environment and different time zone — there were almost zero issues.
Parents can choose from hundreds of white-noise night lights for babies to fit any budget. But the Hatch lamp’s versatile app control and time-to-rise function make the product something that can grow along with your child, not just another item to donate or toss when your baby outgrows it. The lamp promotes uninterrupted sleep for babies, toddlers and children — and raises hopes for a future filled with better rest for the whole family.
Other baby white-noise and light machines to consider
If you’d prefer something more portable with a rechargeable battery, the smaller Anescra sound machine has 24 different sounds, seven colors with various brightness options and a timer. The product is significantly more affordable than the Hatch, but it doesn’t have the time-to-rise function. It has a 4.6-star average rating from over 9,000 reviews on Amazon.
The Meross White Noise Machine comes with several light and sound options and the ability to connect with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit (lamp only). It’s only slightly cheaper than the Hatch and has a 4.4-star average rating from 275 reviews on Amazon.