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Sleep. It’s probably something you took for granted before having a baby. I don’t even remember the last time I had a full night’s sleep. So, if you’re like me, anything that can help your baby drift off into the land of nod is a bit like gold dust.
Enter white noise devices. Newborn babies are not used to silence – for nine months they were surrounded by different sounds such as their mum’s heartbeat, her rumbling tummy and the muffled noise of the outside world – and so, the carefully selected sounds of white noise devices can help remind babies of the comfort and security of the womb.
Another reason why white noise improves sleep is that it masks other sounds – something which is especially useful during daytime naps when a doorbell or a ringing phone may disturb sleep.
Anna Skórzyńska stumbled upon the idea behind her company myHummy when she discovered an unorthodox way of helping her young son sleep – the humming of a hair dryer. She then started to develop a teddy bear that was able to produce the same noise as a hair dryer and other white noise. The first version of the humming bear was created in 2014. Fast forward five years, and myHummy has won multiple awards on its journey to helping babies and parents get a better night’s sleep.
Of course, myHummy isn’t the only product on the market like this. There’s also Ewan the Dream Sheep (£29.99 on Amazon) and the Whisbear. Although they all have a lot of similarities, myHummy offers more sounds than both Ewan and Whisbear. It’s also the only white noise toy that can be completely operated by your phone (via an app) and the only one which allows 12 hours of non-stop playing (its competitors play for only 20-40 minutes).
Rykesha has been testing the myHummy with her six-month-old daughter, who is not yet sleeping through the night. They have been using the bear during daytime naps and bedtimes.
What were your first impressions of the myHummy bear?
I thought the teddy bear was really cute and I Ioved her little turquoise outfit. The bear and accompanying travel pouch are really soft – perfect for delicate skin.
I know it’s not recommended to place anything in your baby’s cot for at least the first year, so I was pleased to see that the bear comes with a hook and removable attachment ring on its back so you can hang it from the side of the cot instead.
Which myHummy Bear do you have and how does it differ to others in the range?
Our bear is called ‘Lena’ and is part of the Sweethearts family. Others in the range include the Smarthearts family and Sleephearts family. They offer no difference except the bears and their outfits are different colours. With all the bears, you can choose whether you want a Humming Heart with or without Bluetooth.
How does it work?
The myHummy Heart emits white and pink noise through its unique removable Humming Heart device. Once you’ve chosen your baby’s preferred sound, your bear can be set to play non-stop for 12 hours, or for 60 minutes to a gradual fade out. The bear’s inbuilt sleep sensor will enter a stand-by mode in which the sound comes on again if baby begins to stir or if they detect an increase in background noise. The sound plays for another 60 minutes and this cycle is repeated for 12 hours.
What sounds does it make?
There are five types of white noise to choose from and these resemble a hairdryer, vacuum cleaner, sea waves, rainfall and amniotic fluid with a heartbeat.
When our daughter was a newborn, we used a white noise app on our phone and she settled well with a womb sound, so I wanted to try the amniotic fluid and heartbeat option as I thought they’d be pretty similar. However, this one is more like a fast train. We tried each sound out and found the sea waves option the most soothing.
What is white noise and pink noise?
The various colours ascribed to noise (I’ve since learned that there is also blue and brown noise), refer to how different audio frequencies are distributed into the ear.
White noise is made up of all the sound frequencies that humans can hear, with every frequency distributed equally. The hum of a fan or television static are examples of white noise.
Pink noise is very similar to white noise, but instead of having equal power across frequencies, pink noise comes out louder and more powerful at the lower frequencies. Examples of pink noise include ocean waves, leaves rustling in the trees and rainfall.
Does the myHummy Bear calm babies?
I’ve definitely noticed that the myHummy helps calm my daughter. I turn it on during her last feed and by the time she’s done with her milk, she’s very sleepy. I think it’s a great tool for the bedtime routine so your little one knows it’s time to sleep.
Can you control the volume of the white noise?
Yes, you can control the volume directly on the Humming Heart or via the app. The volume goes up to level 16 and we set it between three or five depending on the time of day and amount of background noise we want to block out.
What do you think of the design?
The Humming Heart has just one button to control all of its many functions. That means there are a lot of button combinations and I’ve struggled to remember them all. Fortunately, I can use the app, which is much easier.
My daughter doesn’t engage with the bear as much as her other soft toys – probably because it’s not as colourful. She does enjoy chewing on the bear’s paws though which are filled with tiny beads.
What age is the myHummy Bear most suitable for?
White noise is particularly effective for newborns, though it can also help older babies, toddlers and even adults.
Newborns really benefit from the white noise because they’re not used to silence. For nine months they were surrounded by sounds so the white noise offers a familiar comfort and security.
Tell us about the app
The myHummy mobile app acts as a remote control for the Bluetooth-enabled myHummy products. It allows you to monitor and adjust all the settings straight from your phone.
It’s free to download and is available on Google Play and the Apple Store. Once you turn on your phone’s Bluetooth, pairing up the Heart to the app is really quick and simple. You click the Humming Heart three times and it links up within seconds.
I found the app very easy to use and all the buttons are self-explanatory, though each page also has an information icon for instructions and additional detail if you do need any help.
With the app, you can set the type of sound you would like it to play, the volume, how long you would like it to play for when it’s turned on and if you would like the sleep sensor to be on.
In addition, the app has two extra features that the Humming Heart does not – Alarm mode and Baby Monitor mode. In Alarm mode your phone will play an alarm when the myHummy is switched on and the Humming Heart detects a noise like a cry or whimper. When using Baby Monitor mode, notifications can be sent to your phone when your baby wakes up and the white noise is not turned on.
The app also allows you to check the battery power level in the Humming Heart which is really handy. And as an added extra, the app has a fun photo feature where you can edit photos of your little one with predesigned ‘stickers’ for social media sharing.
Does it need batteries?
Yes, three AAA batteries. After testing different battery brands, myHummy recommends using Energizer (especially Ultimate Lithium batteries), Maxell (alkaline) or Varta (alkaline). I’m sure any good quality brand of batteries will do the trick though.
Is the myHummy Bear easy to clean?
Dribble and spit up is easy to wipe away with a damp cloth but for a proper clean, you can wash the myHummy Bear in the washing machine (after removing the Heart) at 40c. All myHummies are made of certified materials suitable from birth.
What’s in the box?
- myHummy Bear
- Humming Heart (with or without Bluetooth)
- Attachment ring/teether
- Heart-shaped travel pouch
Are there any design elements you found particularly useful?
The travel pouch is great for when we’re on the go.
Is it good value for money and can you buy any extras?
The Sweetheart Bear with the standard Humming Heart is priced at £59.99 and it’s a further £20 for the Bluetooth version at £79.99. While it’s a good product, I do think it’s really pricey. There are similar products on the market that are much cheaper, and of course, there are several apps that can be downloaded to your personal devices for free.
As for added extras, each myHummy family has a matching blanket that you can buy for £24.99. If it’s made from the same fabric as the myHummy bear, I can imagine that it’s incredible soft, but I think it’s ridiculously overpriced for a blanket.
Where can I buy myHummy bear?
It’s available from Amazon, myHummy and Kidly.
I would definitely recommend myHummy, especially for parents with newborns as I think it would be really beneficial to start using white noise from the very start. It effectively helps calm your baby and prepares them for sleep. Of course it’s not the Holy Grail – if you have a very overtired and upset baby it is not going to settle them from that sort of intense state. But I’ve really noticed a difference in my daughter’s sleep. Her morning nap has extended from 40mins to over an hour and she now sleeps for five hours straight at night whereas before she was waking up after three hours.
The one downside is the price. If you want to take advantage of all the features myHummy has to offer, it’s going to set you back nearly £80. Of course, you can simply download a free white noise app or play a video from your laptop. And if you’re happy leaving your phone by the cot all night, then you can go for that. But using myHummy would be much easier thanks to its very helpful and smart sleep sensor. If it hears the slightest noise after going into standby mode it will start back up again and last for another hour.