Baby White Noise: The Benefits Of White Noise For Babies

Photo by: @thewaltonadventure

The song may go “Hush Little Baby”… but the truth is that for most babies, peace and quiet is the last thing they want.

Have you noticed that your baby may fuss and cry when the room is quiet but the minute you turn on the vacuum they instantly calm down? That’s because after nine months in utero, your baby is used to a loud environment—the swooshing of your blood, the pounding of your heart, the gurgle of your stomach, the rhythm of your breathing, and all the sounds from the outside world that made its way to your baby’s little ears.

Exhausted, sleep-deprived new parents can put the power of white noise to work to help soothe their little ones and lull them to sleep. In this guide, we explain just what white noise is, why it comforts babies, and how you can use it to calm your baby.

What is White Noise?

As you were getting ready for your baby, you probably heard or read about the benefits of white noise for babies. But white noise doesn’t just refer to soothing sounds for newborns. It’s a catchall term for any type of sounds that are rhythmic and calming—think rain, ocean waves, or even the swooshing of a washing machine or the hum of traffic. 

Why do babies like white noise? These types of sounds mask environmental noises—anything from a wailing ambulance to a creaky floor to squabbling siblings and everything in between—that can be startling or disrupt sleep. White noise drowns out these sudden (and possibly jarring) sounds so they become unnoticeable.

Creating white noise is easy. You can set up a white noise machine that comes pre-programmed with a range of baby sleep sounds, buy baby gear that plays soothing sounds for newborns, or simply turn on a fan to block unwanted noise. 

Why Does White Noise Soothe Babies?

You may be wondering, why do babies like white noise? Imagine what it’s like for your baby to suddenly go from the loud, dark, warm, and movement-filled environment of the womb into a brightly lit and hushed world. It’s a startling—and unpleasant—change for most newborns.

White noise can help to ease the transition by re-creating the womb-like sounds that soothed your baby for nine months—and this can play a crucial role in not just calming them when they’re fussy but actually helping them to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that babies 2 months and younger cycle between light and deep sleep every 20 minutes, and they wake up easily when they’re in the light sleep cycle. By drowning out noises that might startle your baby during light sleep, white noise can help your baby fall back into the deep sleep cycle and stay asleep longer.

The almost magical ability of white noise to soothe and calm babies is just one of the features that sets the 4moms MamaRoo Sleep® Bassinet apart. Our bassinet come with four built-in sounds to recreate the soothing sounds of the womb, along with 5 speeds and motions to gently rock and comfort your baby no matter what sleep cycle they’re in.

How & When to Use White Noise for Babies

Now that you know why white noise works so well, it’s time to learn the right—and safe—way to use it.

To use a s bassinet with built-in baby white noise, such as the MamaRoo Sleep Bassinet, lay them down on the sleeping surface, then turn on the sound and volume that is most comforting to your little one and set a timer to play white noise for as long as you want your baby to sleep. Follow the schedule that you’ve already established for your baby, or, if you need help getting your baby on a schedule, read this article for sleep tips to try so you and your baby can get some rest.  

If you’re using a standalone white noise machine, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you position the machine at least 7 feet away from your baby and keep the volume below the maximum setting to avoid damaging your baby’s hearing and auditory development. 

White Noise for Better Nights

If you’re struggling with getting your baby to settle down and go to sleep, playing white noise may help calm and soothe your baby—especially when you combine baby sleep sounds with a gentle rocking motion—so they can drift off and stay asleep. Experiment with different sounds and volumes until you find the just right combination that’s music to your baby’s ears.