Baby White Noise: How White Noise Can Help Your Baby Sleep

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 use the power of white noise for babies to help soothe and lull them to sleep. In this guide, we explain just what white noise for baby sleep is, why it comforts infants, and how you can use it to calm your child.

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 for baby sleep 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 for babies drowns out these sudden (and possibly jarring) sounds so they become unnoticeable.

Creating white noise for baby sleep is easy. You can set up a baby 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. 

Is White Noise Bad for Babies?

Some of you might have concerns about whether white noise for babies is safe - especially when it comes to their long-term hearing health. But rest assured that the benefits of white noise often outweigh the potential drawbacks.

One concern is that prolonged exposure to high-volume white noise could potentially damage an infant's hearing. However, this can be easily solved by keeping the volume at a safe level  - around 50 decibels which is similar to a quiet conversation.

Another consideration is that some babies might develop a dependence on white noise to fall asleep. But for many parents, the advantages of improved sleep quality and duration for their infants make baby white noise a valuable tool. 

Why Does White Noise Soothe Babies?

You may be wondering, why does white noise for baby sleep work so well? Imagine what it’s like for your child 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 for baby sleep can help to ease the transition by re-creating the womb-like sounds that soothed your infant for nine months.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 child during light sleep, white noise for babies can help infants fall back into the deep sleep cycle and stay asleep longer.

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

How Does White Noise for Babies Help Them Sleep

White noise for babies can be a powerful tool in establishing healthy sleep habits from an early age. By providing a consistent auditory backdrop, baby white noise can help regulate an infant's sleep-wake cycle to encourage more predictable and restorative resting patterns. 

The benefits of white noise can also extend beyond its immediate soothing effects. Exposure to such calming sounds can help your child develop the ability to self-soothe and fall asleep independently over time. 

Finally, white noise for baby sleep can create a positive association between the sound and the act of falling asleep. This can make bedtime routines more effective and less stressful for both you and your child. 

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 for your baby.

To use a bassinet with built-in white noise for baby sleep, such as the MamaRoo Sleep Bassinet, first lay them down on the sleeping surface. Next, turn on the sound and volume that is most comforting to your little one. 

After that, set a timer to play baby white noise for as long as you want your child to sleep. Follow the schedule that you’ve already established, 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 machine that makes white noise for baby sleep, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you position it at least 7 feet away from your child. Keep the volume below the maximum setting to avoid damaging your infant’s hearing and auditory development. 

When to Stop Using White Noise for Baby

As your baby grows and develops, you may wonder when it's appropriate to stop using white noise for baby sleep. While there is no definitive age to discontinue using baby white noise, many parents choose to phase it out gradually as their child reaches toddlerhood or when they transition to a toddler bed. 

Some signs that your child may be ready to sleep without white noise include an increased ability to self-soothe, a more consistent sleep schedule, and a reduced startle reflex. To help your baby adjust to sleeping without white noise, start by lowering the volume gradually over a period of weeks or months. 

You can also begin to limit the use of white noise for babies to only naps or the first part of the night. Ultimately, the decision to stop using white noise for baby sleep will depend on your child's individual needs and your family's preferences.

So, Is White Noise Good For Babies?

If you’re struggling with getting your infant to settle down before bedtime, playing white noise may help calm and soothe your baby. The benefits of white noise become especially pronounced when you combine baby sleep sounds with a gentle rocking motion. Experiment with different sounds and volumes until you find the just right combination that’s music to your baby’s ears.

White noise for babies can be a useful tool for promoting better sleep, as it helps mask disruptive external noises and provides a consistent, comforting auditory environment. As with any sleep aid, it's best to use white noise for baby sleep in moderation and as part of a well-rounded rest routine that includes a quiet, dark room and a consistent bedtime.