The Benefits Of White Noise For Your Baby

Baby yawning while listening white noise

Do you sleep better with the sound of a fan or the rain pitter-pattering outside? Your little one may feel the same way. White noise for baby can be a helpful tool to lull them to sleep and keep them sleeping soundly.

Your baby spent nine months getting accustomed to the beating of your heart, the air going through your lungs, and many other ambient sounds. It’s no wonder that white noise would be a welcomed addition to their sleep outside of the womb.

This article will share everything you need to know about using white noise to soothe your baby to sleep.

Table Of Contents

What Is White Noise For Baby?

Mom going to set white noise for baby to sleep

White noise creates a constant flow of ambient sounds. It’s called “white” because, similar to a white light that is a combination of all different colors, white noise is a combination of different frequencies of sound.

The beauty of white noise is that the combination of high, low, and medium-frequency sounds masks other sounds that may disrupt sleep, like a doorbell or people talking.

When you hear static from the television or the hum of a vacuum cleaner, you are also hearing white noise.

Pink Noise

Pink noise is said to be better for babies older than four months because this is when sleep regression may begin due to an increase in development.

Pink noise has reduced higher frequencies compared to white noise and is believed to be more soothing.

This belief comes from a study in which researchers synced pink noise with adult brain waves while in deep sleep. The use of pink noise resulted in a longer duration of deep sleep.

The Best White Noise For Your Baby

There are several options for white noise that can promote restful sleep for your little one. Let’s take a look at a few of these below.

1) White Noise Machines

If you choose to use a white noise machine, make sure to pick a device that has different sound selections to choose from. That way, you can determine which ones work best for your baby. Most machines include at least 20 sounds.

Automatic-off timer settings are also convenient if you want to turn the machine off after a few hours. In addition, portability is important so your little one can sleep soundly wherever you go, like Grandma’s house or on a trip!

2) White Noise Apps or Videos

If you don’t want to buy a white noise machine or are in a pinch, you can play sounds straight from your phone. YouTube has videos with white noise for babies, like the sound of an air humidifier or vacuum cleaner.

There are also apps you can download on your phone that play sounds like rain or a hairdryer. Some of these sounds are considered “pink” noise, which, as we mentioned, doesn’t have as high of a frequency as white noise but is still effective for babies four months and older.

Keep in mind, however, that phones release non-ionizing radiation. To be safe, make sure you put your phone on airplane mode when you place it near your baby.

3) White Noise Fans

This is a go-to option for white noise, especially in the summer. The wide range of frequencies a fan makes creates a consistent sound that will lull your baby (and you) to sleep.

Tip: Air conditioners might seem like another great option, but the continuous “on and off” is ineffective.

Just like you, your baby will have a preference for what helps them get to sleep. Trial and error can help you weed out the white noise that doesn’t work and so you can land on the things that will result in a well-rested baby.

Benefits Of White Noise For Babies

Happy baby waking up from a nap

In addition to the Newton Baby Original Mattress and our limited edition Sleep Sack For Babies, white noise is a great contributor to a restful night’s sleep for your little one.

One study found that 80% of newborns exposed to white noise dozed off within five minutes, while only 25% of those without the background noise fell asleep as quickly.

As we mentioned briefly above, white noise creates a safe and comforting sleep environment for your baby. Mimicking the sounds they heard in the womb, the sound informs them that it’s time to go to sleep.

Using white noise for baby provides a higher chance that they will sleep through the night as well because it masks any outside distractions, like the TV.

Sometimes, babies wake up and can find it difficult to fall asleep again. While white noise blocks any disruptive sounds, it also provides a soothing background for when they awaken, no matter where they are. White noise also turns on your baby’s calming reflex when they start crying.

White Noise And Colicky Babies

In another study, white noise increased sleep time and significantly decreased the duration of crying in colicky babies.

Playing white noise for your colicky little one may be a more effective, non-pharmacological way to help with crying and sleep duration than other techniques, like using a swing.

Potential Cons Of Using White Noise

white noise for baby to sleep

The recommended noise limit for infants is 50 decibels. White noise machines that go above this level could cause damage to your baby’s hearing or auditory developmental delays.

Of course, you want to avoid hurting your baby’s hearing. This may sound scary, but as long as you do your research and take all of the necessary precautions, it is perfectly safe to use white noise machines.

If you are still concerned, you can always talk to your doctor and discuss safe decibel levels for your baby.

To give yourself added comfort, keep the machine and its cords as far away from your baby as possible and keep the volume at 50 decibels.

On a separate note, as much as you’d like to use it, your baby may not even like white noise. Or they may like it so much that they won’t be able to sleep without it. This brings us to our next point: when to stop using white noise.

When To Stop Using White Noise

White noise can be a lifesaver to get your little one to sleep. It may even be the only technique that works. Even so, your baby still needs to learn how to self-soothe.

Being a good sleeper is a learned skill, so if your little one becomes dependent on white noise, it may be harder for them to learn how to self-soothe. Good sleep habits need to be implemented and learned.

Additionally, turn white noise off during the day. Your baby needs to learn the sounds that are in their home, especially their caregiver’s voice. While there’s no one recommended age at which to stop using white noise for your little one, just know that it shouldn’t be used forever.

Wean Your Little One From White Noise

Always stick to your regular sleep schedule and routine when possible, even if you’re trying to stop using white noise with your baby. This makes it easier to cut off the white noise cold turkey should you choose to do so.

If you would rather wean your little one off white noise gradually, slowly turn the noise down and then off completely after they’re asleep. This usually takes around 20 minutes.

Repeat this process for all naps and nighttime for one to two weeks. Everything requires consistency, so if it takes longer, don’t fret. Your baby will be a sleep pro in no time.

Quality Sleep For Your Baby

Sleeping baby

Getting babies to sleep isn’t always easy. Just remember that white noise is a tool, not a crutch. As long as you don’t use it forever and you use it correctly, white noise for baby is a safe and simple way to help little ones get the quality sleep they need.

If you ever have any questions about your baby’s sleep, book a Newton Sleep Consultation for a one-on-one personal session with one of our top certified sleep consultants.

With a little practice and the right tools at your disposal, both you and your little one can get the sleep you need.

Sweet dreams!