Why Babies Love White Noise

Baby Sleeps Through the Night

White Noise Helps Baby Sleep Flickr@Kekka

Babies love white noise. Let’s start with looking at it from baby’s perspective. They’ve just spent their entire life in the womb. And the womb is deafeningly loud. It is just slightly less loud than a lawnmower. Loud is normal to a baby. Life outside the womb is uncomfortably quiet. White noise sounds like “home” to a baby.

The Volume Inside the Womb

The Noise Level Your Baby is Used To

Why You Should Use White Noise with Babies?

Baby Sleeps Through the Night

White Noise Helps Baby Sleep Flickr@Kekka

All babies, ALL, should have loud white noise when they sleep all the time until they are at least 1. White noise is hands down the most effective, easiest to implement, inexpensive sleep aid for babies. It is also the sleep aid that parents most frequently DON’T use or they don’t use it CORRECTLY. I’ve had parents tell me they don’t want to use white noise because they are afraid their baby will become addicted. Or they don’t want to have to invest in a $70 white noise machine from the Sharper Image catalog. Or they think they are using white noise, but whatever device they are using barely makes enough noise to drown out a library whisper (yes I’m talking about you sleepy sheep – these don’t work, please don’t buy one).

White noise is hands-down the best and easiest thing you can use to help you and your baby sleep better.


White noise reduces stress in babies.

What do babies get stressed about? Just about everything. They’re stressed when they’re over-tired, they’re stressed because their world is more stimulating than they’re ready to handle, they’re overwhelmed with lights, faces, and excitement. White noise creates a safe space for them by blocking out that stimulation.


White noise helps babies sleep.

They fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer. Babies have what are called “sleep arousals”, usually about every 20-45 minutes. Ever wonder why your baby only naps for 20 minutes at a time? Well it’s because when she hits her sleep arousal at the ~20 minute mark she is unable to fall back into deeper sleep and thus her nap is over. White noise helps babies gently navigate these arousals to get longer, more restorative naps. It also helps to block out the noise of life (older siblings, doorbells, garbage trucks, etc.) that can interfere with naps and night sleep.


White noise helps babies cry less.

Did you know that shushing is a sound that people universally understand and make with babies? Shushing is simply white noise that you make yourself. The key to using white noise (sushing or from a radio) to help calm a crying baby is that it needs to be LOUDER than the crying. Holding a screaming baby while shushing like a gentle librarian is useless. Your baby can’t hear the shushing over his own crying. You need to shush LOUDLY (sounds a bit ridiculous I know) so that the calming noise can penetrate above the crying. Also you may need to continue to shush for a while. Loud sustained shushing can be a challenge. If you’re starting to feel dizzy and/or see stars it’s time to outsource your shushing to an electric white noise device (radio, et al).


White noise reduces the risk of SIDS.

A relatively famous study (famous if you read a lot about baby sleep, so honestly you should be a little proud if you haven’t heard of it) showed that babies had a significant reduction in the risk of SIDS if they had a fan in their room. Nobody knows why the fan helps – it could be my moving the air around although many believe it has to do with the white noise the fan makes. We DO know that white noise reduces active sleep (which is the sleep state where SIDS is most likely to occur).


White noise will help YOU sleep.

Parents notoriously wake up every time the baby grunts or gurgles (and babies are NOISY CREATURES). Newborn swings can also be quite noisy, especially when they’re banging away mere inches from your bed. White noise will help mask these small noises so you and your partner can sleep better.


White noise is easy to wean off of.

When your baby is older (generally after their 1st birthday) you can gradually start to decrease the volume of the white noise. If they continue to sleep well, you’re done. If they wake up more frequently then they used to turn the white noise back on.

How to Use White Noise?

White Noise from Boom Box Radio

Boom Box for Baby Flicker@istopcrappics

You don’t need to buy ANYTHING – no sleepy sheep, no Sharper Image white noise generators, no mystical baby white noise CDs. Any old boom box, stereo, or alarm clock will work. In fact you can probably use the alarm clock in your your bedroom. You have a baby now, you no longer NEED an alarm clock. Simply set it to static (if you have a hard time finding a good static station on the FM dial, try searching on AM), turn up the volume, and you are all set. Put your radio where the baby primarily sleeps (probably your room). When the baby moves into his/her room, the white noise device goes too.

Turn the volume up to roughly 50 db (approximately the volume of somebody taking a shower if you are standing in the bathroom). It should definitely be louder than you think. It shouldn’t be UNCOMFORTABLY loud (if it bothers YOU, it’s probably too loud). Leave the white noise on whenever your baby will be sleeping. Whatever you are using to make white noise should be continuous. Any CD or Sleepy Sheeps (have I mentioned my loathing of these things?) won’t work well because they will TURN OFF at some point.  While this may not cause problems for newborn babies (under 3-6 months) eventually you will find yourself with a child who wakes up crying every 45 minutes when the Sleepy Sheep turns off.

If you have a particularly fussy baby or are looking for ways to survive the dreaded witching hours, you may want to bring your white noise maker out into living room (or wherever you like to grind through the fussy part of the day) to help create a calming environment for your fussy baby. Simply move the radio back to the bedroom when it’s time to sleep.

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  1. Great article! I agree that white noise is the best. Although when the baby sleeps in your room, it can get annoying. We have a fish tank in our room though and the sounds of that is like a white noise machine. My baby likes the white noise much better than the music.

    My dad and brother have a hard time calming down the baby when he cries. You know why? Because they shush quietly and rock softly. They had loud noise but also constant movement when in the womb. Loud shushing and quicker bouncing/rocking works wonders.

    • THANK YOU, Alexis! While I am afraid of writing this for fear that I will jinx the miracle I just experienced, I can’t help but give thanks where thanks are due. My husband and I have struggled with getting our little one to sleep since Day 1. She is now three months old. After spending yet another day letting her fall asleep on my boob for every nap (or rather, cat nap), I decided to give your suggestions a try. I placed our tightly swaddled little girl in her swing (on speed 3, cranked up the white noise on the AM dial, gave her wide-eyed little face a big smooch, whispered “I love you,” and closed the door. With absolutely NO TEARS, she fell asleep in three minutes max. I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve been called a miracle worker… :-)

  2. I was once a quiet shusher too. I thought that sushing should be done at the volume of the nice old lady at the library.


  3. Thanks for this post! We were given a Sleep Sheep, which works wonders on our 3-week-old girl, but now she’s pretty much guaranteed to wake up every 45 minutes when it shuts off. I do not understand the logic behind the timed shut-off feature! Would it be so hard to have a continuous play option? Now have to go find ourselves a radio.

    (PS – Love your site. We are also setting out to acquire a swing too)

    • So glad you find it useful! And as a product manager (in a previous life) I also don’t understand why somebody would design a product with this sort of design flaw. The swings do the same thing – sound shuts off in ~7 minutes. Why are you doing this to us baby manufacturers?!?!?

  4. There’s this book called The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge — in chapter 3 he talks about an autism researcher who thinks that white noise is an environmental risk factor for infants with a genetic predisposition to autism.

    Of course, even though a friend gave us that book to read, we still use a white noise generator when our baby sleeps. We just don’t play it very loud :)

    (We asked this sleep consultant whether she thought the white noise generator was going to turn our kid autistic and she assured us it won’t. With a mild sneer.)

    • Hey Matt, it sounds like you are reading those anxiety-inducing parenting books. How’s that working out for you? ;P

      • Those anxiety-inducing parenting books were almost the death of me and my husband. Thankfully we ditched them all and went with what worked. There are so so many things out there that can be attributed to autism I think that white noise is the least of our worries!!!

      • Hi Alexis,

        As a parent and audio professional I’m slightly about the tone of this article and your comments, considering the very real dangers of continuous noise exposure to young infants.

        Whilst you’re happy to recommend positive studies on the effects of white noise, your article fails to mention the other side of the research which has demonstrated delayed cortical development in the brain, and a possible link to learning difficulties.

        Just Google for “White Noise Delays Auditory Organization in the Brain” and “Noise damages babies’ brains” to see the other side of the argument.

        Whilst undoubtably white noise does have an effect on calming some children, this does not necessarily mean it’s good for them. Just as many parents rely on a pacifier, it has been shown that constant use can delay speech development.

        Your article considers white noise as an essential tool for ALL new parents. However, I’ve taught my child to sleep in quiet and noisy environments, using good old fashioned patience, love and attention.

        White noise machines have been around for 50 years but modern humans have done pretty well without them for the preceding 200,000 years.

        I hope this adds some balance to your argument.

        • Hey Jeff,
          I’ve read and discussed the research you mention in my blog before. Yes if you raise rats in a sound deprivation chamber of constant deafening white noise for their entire existence, they grow up funny. I’m pretty sure that we would too. The other research you mention points again to constant noise pollution. Neither of these comes close to what I’m talking about here which is the use of a reasonable level of white noise for infants while they sleep.

          As an audio professional you have to make the decision that feels right for you and your baby. But I’m entirely comfortable with the overwhelming body of evidence that supports the idea that reasonable white noise is a safe and powerful sleep aid for infants.

          • Hi Alex,

            As a fellow blogger, I feel we have a duty of care to our readers.

            I recently read an article stating the extent to which medical research is misrepresented, even at the highest levels.

            Confirmation bias is a big pitfall we can easily stumble into, so I believe we need to tread very carefully when giving broad recommendations on health issues, especially when it concerns children.

            When it comes to childcare, even if there’s a 0.5% chance of something having a negative impact, I’d want to be aware of all the facts.

            Issues like these inevitably come down to personal opinion and on this topic we differ. However, no hard feelings, thank you for engaging in discussion, I really like your blog and wish you all the best.


            • Dude,
              It’s tough to suggest research to support your point in one hand and then point to the idea that research is highly suspect on the other hand.

              The bottom line is this: There IS a huge body of evidence that supports that a reasonable volume of white noise for sleep is both helpful and beneficial. There is also overwhelming anecdotal evidence for this. And no evidence (either research or anecdotal) that suggests otherwise.

              Dr. Karp is an extremely well respected pediatrician who works closely with multiple research groups on a wide range of infant soothing issues (swaddling, white noise, etc.) is big proponent of the use of white noise:

              (PS. I’ll be interviewing him next week)

              So if you want to poop on academic research and suggest that it’s biased, that’s your choice. My husband is an academic researcher and I can tell you his research is NOT biased. Of course it’s irrelevant to babies so not much help there.

              If you have concerns, I would bring them up with your pediatrician. But I’m 100% comfortable with my recommendation.

        • I agree with Jeff in some aspects: when dealing with the health of infants, you should list pros and cons. To avoid it completely is you poo-pooing academic research such as you suggested Jeff was at blame below. It’s fine for you to believe one thing and list your arguments for why (and you may be completely correct), but by completely eliminating the other side of the argument you could be causing harm in some cases. Such as if a parent has a child (such as a preemie(s)) that may be prone to developmental hearing issues.

          Stating – oh well I mentioned that before in another post – as a reply to a comment does not cover this as people may have arrived on this page (such as myself) from a google search. Rarely do I read all comments.

          Since your suggestion is on LOUD white noise (and not the same as the study about SIDS and the noise of say a ceiling fan) I’m a little disappointed in your lack of coverage regarding possible dangers. You could have easily included (since you are obviously already aware) and then stated you felt the overwhelming evidence was that it was safe for that specific problem (and cited the evidence).

  5. Can anyone recommend a white noise machine? I know you said the radio is fine, but our radio gets interference from the baby monitor so it will buzz sometimes. We bought the Marmac 980A machine because it had great reviews, but it’s just not loud enough and we have to use a fan in addition to it. Kind of defeats the purpose. We need something loud that doesn’t shut off after 90 minutes.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    • Dominica,
      You could try a few things:
      1) Break the antenna on your radio (if you can).
      2) The fan may work fine & be sufficient on it’s own.
      3) If you have an ipad/laptop there are tons of free white noise apps you can download that are quite loud and don’t have timers.
      4) While I’m no expert on white noise machines (my goal is to help you NOT spend $$ on them) I know you want to steer clear of anything marketed as a tool for babies or that runs exclusively on batteries. The baby white noise machines tend to be too quiet as do things with batteries (which often have timers also).

      Good luck!

      • Thanks for such a quick reply! I will try the antenna thing. The fan will be great in the summer but it gets a little too cold with it running in the winter here in Colorado. I used to have an app on my phone but it would randomly force-quit sometimes. But the radio thing, good idea. :)

        • HI! I have been using the homedics ss2000 soundspa for four year and I LOVE it. I use it every night all night long. And it gets LOUD! I also have one in my 6month olds’ room and we have it playing for him at every nap and all night long. He is a great sleeper and I thing this is a big reason why. My mother in law is worried he will be addicted to it and not able to sleep without it in the future, but I figure we will deal with that in the future if it happens! I also have a 3rd machine to bring on trips. It is so small and portable. It is only $20 at Amazon or Walmart and doesn’t take a lot of room like a radio or fan. Good luck :)

    • we have the Dex sound sleeper:

      wee keep it on a combo of ocean & thunderstorms and it worked great for both our babies. i grew up near the ocean and the sound is realistic enough that it doesn’t annoy me; even lulls me to sleep 😉

  6. We use this video and it’s quite good for our needs. And it’s also long (12 hours):

  7. Great article! One thing I have to disagree on is the sleep sheep, 45 min is all my son needs to sleep 12 hours at night. Although now that is about to change I am sure because I will be bringing home twins from the hospital soon and its going to be noisy at night which he is not used too. So radio static it is! :)

    • Congratulations on your soon-to-be-here twins! Very exciting times :)

      And I’m really glad the sleep sheep works for YOU. It just doesn’t work for a lot of people which is why I’m generally not a fan. But whatever works for you is cool in my book!

  8. good article… now know why my baby sleeps better when his rocking chair was placed infront of my tv…Thanks

  9. I usually use a fan that makes a lot of noise, but when we were on vacation, we used the radio trick and it was perfect! I hope more people pay attention to that! I was SO OBSESSED with my first son’s sleep. I would go into his room with the white noise on while people were making noise in the other room, just to see how much it drowned out. Very satisfying to realize white noise drowns out a LOT! My son is 21 months now and I still use a fan in his room.

    • I’m amazed by the number of people who DON’T use white noise because:
      a) It’s SOOO easy
      b) It’s SOOO cheap
      c) It works SOOO well
      And unlike most other baby sleep techniques, you don’t have to wean them of it later :)

  10. This is SO true. My son will not sleep unless white noise is being played. I thought it would be bad to leave it on all night, but apparently it is just fine. One cheap suggestion I have, is to buy or create a white noise cd and just use the “repeat” button on your cd player. Then you have the noise all night long!

    • Excellent – another cheap/free white noise alternative!

      Although truth be told, we no longer have a device that will play CDs in our house. I literally have this huge stack of CDs waiting for me to take a rainy weekend to rip into MP3s (this will NEVER happen and one day I’ll simply dump them ALL) because we’re all about the iTunes 😛

      • Haha, we don’t have a cd “player” either. I burned the cd onto my laptop and just use the repeat option there :) I’m so all about the iTunes as well!

        I absoulutely LOVE your website. It’s my baby Bible! Any time I am feeling down about my son’s sleep habits, I come for a peruse of your articles and comments and feel reassured that I’m not the only one struggling. Thanks for being honest, helpful, encouraging, and funny.

  11. Actually, I was also wondering… my boy is a little over 3 months old. He requires swaddling and a swing to sleep, and he sleeps the longest and best when the white noise is LOUD. We have a cd that plays the hair dryer. When we play it at full volume, he stays asleep for naps for over an hour, or 2 hours and at night time for 4 hours. When we turn it down, he wakes up 20-40 minutes after he goes down. I know white noise is a great thing for babies, but sometimes I worry it might be TOO loud for TOO long. We use the Harvey Karp CD. I know it needs to be louder than those lame sleep machines and swings, but can it be too loud for too long?

    • The suggestion is that it should be the same volume as a shower. So if you were standing in the bathroom and somebody is taking a shower – THAT is the volume you are going for. Hope that helps?

  12. appstore offer white noise apps. I use esleep lite and works super good! for Iphone or Ipad or even Ipod.

  13. Hi
    I’m just wondering if you use a white noise machine how am I supposed to know if my baby needs something. He is 2wks now, and I wake up every tiny noise he makes, which I know is not helpful for my own sleeping habits. I worry that if I can’t hear him and his sounds I might miss an important cue he is giving me, such as being hurt or wanting to eat. I know you mentioned in previous pages that you should try to feed the baby when he is cueing to eat and before he is crying, but how will I hear these cues if the white noise blocks it out?

    • I would be shocked if your white noise is so loud you don’t still hear your baby just fine. For starters most new Moms (read: every Mom I’ve ever known) wakes up every time their baby coos regardless of white noise. When babies are hungry they will let you know! White noise doesn’t block all these noises out – you’ll still here him in there. It does however provide a really soothing sound for your baby that sounds a LOT like what your tummy sounded like.

  14. THANK YOU, Alexis! While I am afraid of writing this for fear that I will jinx the miracle I just experienced, I can’t help but give thanks where thanks are due. My husband and I have struggled with getting our little one to sleep since Day 1. She is now three months old. After spending yet another day letting her fall asleep on my boob for every nap (or rather, cat nap), I decided to give your suggestions a try. I placed our tightly swaddled little girl in her swing (on speed 3, cranked up the white noise on the AM dial, gave her wide-eyed little face a big smooch, whispered “I love you,” and closed the door. With absolutely NO TEARS, she fell asleep in three minutes max. I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve been called a miracle worker… :-)

    • That is FANTASTIC news! Thanks so much for taking a moment of your precious nap time to share :)

      And three cheers for your unencumbered nipples – WOOT WOOT! 😉

  15. I am a huge believer in white noise. With my first child, I found an hour and a half loop of rain on a tin roof. I burned a cd and would play it for every nap and night sleep on repeat. We would wear the cd out and I would have to burn a new one every few months. It is now 4 years later and I have a newborn again. The same loop is now set up on an mp3 player in her nursery and I keep a copy of the same loop on my phone. When we are out and about and she is fussy, I play the white noise on my phone and hold it near her, and she settles right down. Observers think I have some magic parenting mojo. White noise, don’t leave home without it!

    • Everybody now has these cool white noise apps on their iPhones so I should probably update this post to reflect the fact for yes – there’s an app for that. Although my oldest is only 5 years old I feel like a caveperson talking about how we used to use the AM radio for white noise. You know….back before we had indoor plumbing 😉

  16. We love white noise too. My husband and I actually have the “white noise app” on our phones. We also downloaded the same app to our Kindle (which has basically become my son’s Kindle, since it is with him all night while he sleeps, and it usually travels with us in his carseat too). We always have people looking at us with confused looks on their faces when he’s sleeping in his carseat/stroller out in public, we get asked “what is that noise?” Truly, ANYTHING to get baby to sleep and stay asleep :)

    I was wondering on when to stop the white noise, so thanks for this post! I seriously am obsessed with your website!

    • Isn’t portable white noise great? I was looking at old timey photos of women in wagon trains with babies in tow and thinking about how lucky we are. iPads, swings, ergo carriers, etc. Not only does it help baby sleep but now it’s portable! (Seriously my oldest is just 5 and when he was a baby we had no portable options to ALL naps happened in the car or our house). So glad to help!

  17. I do use white noise with my 1 month old daughter. My question though is when to stop using it? My husband can only sleep with white noise which is a problem. I think it creates problems if you need a machine to fall asleep. When we travel my husband can never sleep because it’s too quiet. I don’t want to be at a relatives house or be on vacation and have a child who can’t sleep because we didn’t bring our radio. When do you suggest (or do you) one stop using it?

    • No sooner than 1 year. And it’s really easy. Just gradually lower the volume. Seriously this is the easiest sleep aid to wean off. I bet you could use the same technique with your husband if you wanted to 😉

  18. My 3 week old daughter definitely sleeps better with loud white noise in the background, but it leads me to a question – she’s meant to sleep in the same room as me so she can hear me breathing (helps to regulate her breathing so I’m told) but there’s no way she can hear me breathing or even acknowledge my existence with that racket in the background. Is there more benefit to her sleeping with the white noise than there is to her being able to hear me breathing?

    I have to start working again in a few weeks – I work from home and am on the phone quite a bit and there’s no way I can be in the same room as the white noise while I’m working. That means I’ll have to be in a separate room from her when I need to speak to someone and some calls can last a while. I have no idea if this is safe or not! The room I’d take calls in is literally right next door to where she’d be sleeping, I’d be all of five seconds away. But I’m concerned I wouldn’t be able to hear her over the white noise in a different room. First-time mom and no idea what to do!

    • We’re talking about 50 dB of sound which is the volume of somebody taking a shower. It shouldn’t quite qualify as a racket?

      I don’t know about babies listening to your breathing to regulate their own breathing. Nor am I aware that babies need help regulating their breathing. In my experience once babies pop out they quickly figure out the breathing thing pretty well all on their own.

      I DO know that the womb is deafening loud and white noise is a powerful soothing/sleep aid for babies. Especially if you are hoping for longer naps while you work, I believe it would be a mistake to not use this powerful option to help her sleep. I also believe that if she needs you, you’ll definitely still hear her over 50 dB of white noise. So I’m not concerned about your ability to know when you’re needed.

      As with everything, you can always try it and see. But personally I would stick with the white noise. Good luck!

    • I know this doesn’t matter so much for you anymore, but the benefits of a mother healing to regulate breathing are for those who are bed sharing. So white noise would not affect that, as the baby is right next to the mother

  19. hi. what do i do if i need to go out somewhere or to someones house and my little one needs to sleep and i don’t have my laptop to put white noise on? :S i don’t have a fancy phone either

    • Well if you’re in the CAR then your problem is solved as the car makes all the white noise you need. Otherwise you might have to invest in a cheap portable AM/FM radio (maybe you can get a used one at a yard sale)? The Sleepy Sheep are portable and make white noise but aren’t cheep ($20-$30) AND the white noise is REALLY quiet to the point of being almost useless. For the same money you could get a nice travel white noise machine (Bed, Bath, & Beyond) which would be more useful. We have one that I bring to hotels where ambient noise can cause issues so at least it’s an investment you can use when the kids are older. Hope that helps!

  20. Hello, quick question about white noise- I’d like to use it for my 5 week olds day time naps (cat napper) but I don’t want to have to use it at night cause she sleeps really well and for long stretches at night as it is and I don’t think my husband and I will be able to sleep with the noise. So if I start using it during the day do you think she will also start to need it at night??

    Thanks :)

    • You can have one set of sleep associations for day sleep and a different set for night. So you can totally use it JUST for naps. But if things start to go south at night (you’re likely heading right into the 6 week sleep regression) I would strongly recommend you consider the possibility of night use as well. At least keep it in your back pocket just in case?

  21. Hi,
    I have been reading Dr. Karp’s happiest baby book, and am preparing for a colicky baby just in case (due date Sept 21). I also have a question about the white noise. We live in a townhouse and the baby’s room shares a wall with the neighbouring building. Unfortunately here in Australia there is little insulation in the walls and we are afraid the noise will be heard by our neighbours all night long – we often hear bumps and noises from them. Also, I know just how loud a shower is in another room as we have two bathrooms upstairs where we sleep – doesn’t bother me but my husband is very finicky with sleep. Do you get used to the noise on a nightly basis? I am only planning on using this technique if I have a fussy baby, and I’m sure you will agree that the noise from the static will be much less frustrating than the noise a colicky baby will make! Haha.

    • Crystal,
      So sorry I didn’t see this comment earlier! Well now your lovely-definitely-not-colicky baby is almost here. Woo hoo!

      For starters, I might talk to your neighbors beforehand. Gently explain that you will have a newborn baby and that newborns cry a lot. Of course you will do everything possible to soothe your baby but that at some point they will be inconvenienced by the noise and you wanted to apologize proactively. Also tell them that you’ll be using white noise consistently which is both enormously soothing for the baby, provides protection against SIDS, and will help to block out the noise that newborns make. And that you appreciate all their support in this.

      Seriously – don’t NOT use one of the most powerful newborn soothing tools because the neighbors might hear it. Trust me – white noise is a far preferable sound to an infant crying. And cry they do!

      Swaddle + white noise WHENEVER baby sleeps. Swaddle for at least 4 months and white noise for 1 year. This comes directly from Dr. Karp’s (love) training materials and I consider it baby gold.

      As for your husband I’m guessing he’ll get used to it. Also consider that babies are VERY noisy sleepers. They burp, grunt, groan, gurgle, a TON. So if your husband is a tricky sleeper he’ll be better off accepting the white noise than waking up every 15 minutes when the baby makes noise. People are shocked by how much noise babies make when they sleep so trust me….for just so many reasons, white noise will help everybody out :)

      • Hi Alexis,

        Thanks for your reply. Our son is now 7 weeks and we have no problems with him being too loud for our neighbours and my husband doesn’t complain too much about the white noise throughout the night!

        I really enjoy your articles. We are using white noise and swaddling at every sleep and have been for several weeks now. Our son does well during the night, however the day is a different story. Sleeping in his bassinet is ok…he can get up to 1 hour, but sometimes needs help to get through the first sleep cycle. He can get 2 hours in his swing sometimes, but other times only 10 minutes. I am starting to wonder if he is just a catnapping baby by nature. We do everything the same at each nap time, so I don’t know why his sleeps are all over the place, other than the fact that he’s a baby and thus unpredictable!

        Thanks again,

  22. My wife forwarded me this article and i casually went through it thinking nothing would really come of it. Well what do you know the thing actually works. I can proudly proclaim that i am able to put my baby to sleep within a span of 10-20 mins by cradling her and turning up the static/ white noise to a comfortably loud level.

    My wife and i owe you countless hours of sleep.

    Stay awesome.

  23. I recommend an app called “White noise” by TMSoft

    I’ve been using it from the time my baby was 3 days old.

    • You know there are a ton of white noise apps and I should probably do a bit of research into them as I’m a bit out of touch with baby apps. I’m glad that yours is working great!

  24. Great commercial. How ever did previous generations make it through life – guess we’ll see 20 years from now?

    • I’m confused – do you consider my post as a commercial for white noise? I hope not as I tried hard to give people lots of free options to help their babies without having to buy anything.

      How did previous generations make it through? Well for starters only in the past 50 years are families rearing children without the support of nearby relatives. This is a very new trend where parents are solo-parenting because grandma doesn’t live next door anymore. So we need to help our babies more because you can’t just pass a fussy tired baby to grandma for a few hours while you get a nap. Also? We just KNOW more things! As we know more about how our bodies and our babies work we adjust our parenting.

  25. This site has worked great for us in addition to the apps on my phone

    • I’m so out of touch with baby apps – DEFINITELY need to play around with these. Dr. Karp has one out and as he’s really a top guy for baby research it’s probably well worth checking out also.

      Thanks for sharing this awesome web resource for people to use!

  26. Hi!
    After several attempts, I found this great white noise so I thought I would share:
    It is a bizarre video, though!

  27. The more I read your posts, the happier I get! Why don’t more pediatricians give advice like this!? Seriously! Parents everywhere are begging for practical solutions on how to help their babies sleep and not feel guilty about it. I cannot praise you enough for your advice! We have used a small fan in my daughter’s room since she was about 4 months (and we transitioned from swing to crib). The fan has a high setting and a low setting. Obviously, the high setting definitely louder than the low setting. However, because it’s a fan, the room does tend cooler on the higher setting so we usually keep it on the lower setting. We have her dressed in long, footsie pajamas and our baby monitor has a temperature gauge on it, but I always worry about her getting cold at night. Someone suggested a sleep sack, but then I worried about her getting overheated. Is there an ideal temperature at which baby should be sleeping? Does a cooler or warmer temperature help with sleeping? TIA.

    • Lar,
      I’m glad my posts make you happy – that makes ME happy :)

      Generally cooler is better than warmer (overheated babies are at a slightly higher risk for SIDS). 68 degrees is generally thrown about as “great for babies.” If you have to choose between 66 degrees and 70 degrees, I would probably go with the cooler option.

      For clothes the suggestion is, “One more layer than you have on.” So if you’re wearing a t-shirt, then baby would wear a t-shirt and jammies. Where I am it’s summer and I would do a baby t-shirt and cotton jammies. In the winter in VT it’s blasted cold and our house is chilly at night and then we would do t-shirt, warm jammies, sleep sack. Hope that helps?

      If the fan is throwing you off there are PLENTY of options (see the comments for tons of apps, youtubes, etc.) that you could use instead.

  28. So I put 3 month baby Amaya down in the swing for both naps today, and she slept for 3 and 2.5 hours – very good. She has kind of reverted to waking all the time when sleeping at night, just in the last 2 weeks. It sucks, to say the least. But we usually put her in her crib and she will sleep a few hours at least. I hadn’t ever put her in the swing for the night.
    Tonight, I double swaddled her, turned on the white noise (both new practices) and she hung out/fussed a bit for about 20 minutes, then slept for 15 minutes. Then she was screaming. I put her in the swing and she is content. We don’t have room for the swing in our room, though, so I am wondering a few things.
    1. Is it necessary to have her fall asleep and wake up in the same place? Can I transfer her from the swing (in the LR) to her pack and play (in our room)?
    2. Any idea for the sleep suckiness all of the sudden? I did go back to work part time a few weeks ago, so I am thinking that might be the reason – is she rebellious already? Little shit. :)
    3. She seems to like the (really badly out of tune) classical music that is on her swing. Should I try that instead of white noise? Put on Pandora next to her pack and play and see if that will help her sleep? Or should I just try everything for a few more days (namely putting her in her pack and play to sleep with the white noise)?

    • Update: moved her from the swing to crib, and she slept a total of 2 hours (swaddled with white noise). Fail.
      Last week (thursday/Friday) she slept 6 hours and 7 hours respectively, in her pack and play, without the white noise. I’m at a loss.

      • I’ve tried white noise with the swing, swaddled, unswaddled. In the crib, swaddled, unswaddled. I get 20-40 minutes total. Naps and sleeping at night. I seriously feel like nothing is working, I have no idea what to do next, what I”m doing wrong. I have no instincts for what is right. I really don’t. I just know everything I’m currently doing is wrong wrong wrong.

        • Hey Stephanie,

          I’m by no means an expert, but I thought I’d take a stab at it. Babies are totally unpredictable and as Alexis says, there’s no such thing as linear progress. You have great instincts and you love your little one and that’s why you are working so hard to figure out her sleeping issues. Couple questions, is it dark in the living room where the swing is? We had the same issue with my son a couple weeks ago, not sleeping for very long in the swing during the day…we moved him to a room with blackout curtains and his naps are considerably longer.

          Also, I would suggest being consistent for a few days (4-5) to really test out all the soothing. As Alexis says: “Swaddle, white noise, paci, dark room”. Even though Amaya is 3 months, I think she’s still young enough to use all that and not be afraid of sleep associations quite yet. Also, maybe try and keep her in the swing. From what I’ve read on here, it not only helps to put them to sleep but helps them stay asleep longer. Maybe after a few good days of sleep, she’ll transition a bit easier into the crib/pack n play.

          You can ignore all of this, but just know that you are NOT alone. Babies are HARD!! You’re doing a great job.

        • Well I was going to comment on what is going on here but after Anna’s generous and 100% correct thoughts below I think I’m not really needed:)

          So I’ll just say this – Anna is right.

          Also newborns go through fits and starts (often referred to as wonder weeks, sleep regressions, or growth spurts) so what you are describing really sounds like that. They commonly occur at 6 weeks, 4 months, and 6 months but every baby is different so you never really know.

          Few quick thoughts:
          – Stick with white noise. The loud “muzak” stuff might help but all the studies have focused on the benefits of white noise (soothing, reduce SIDS, etc.) so until those pesky professors start researching muzak, stick with what we know (white noise).
          – You are teaching her to sleep under certain circumstances if you are consistent. But it sounds like you’re a bit all over the map – swaddle, unswaddle, swing, no swing, crib, swing THEN crib, etc.

          For now at 3 months I would go with – swaddle, loud white noise, and swing for naps and swaddle, loud white noise, and crib at bedtime. Commit to trying something for a few days before you determine that it is or isn’t working for you.

          Also how is she sleeping at daycare? Lots of babies struggle to figure out napping in a new environment for a while. It could be that some of this is related to her not napping well there and now you are getting bitten by the “overtired baby sleeps like crap” bug.

          You CAN move her from swing to pack and play temporarily but eventually this will work against you. So if this is a temporary technique you use to weather this sleep regression it’s probably OK but as she gets older (4 months) you’ll want her falling asleep and waking up in the same place.

          Nice blog BTW (I tried to leave a comment but I can’t use any of your comment login options – booo!). I used to be one of those Bay Area types clogging up Truckee on the weekends. Too bad we moved away before the yummy cupcakes showed up :)

          • Thanks so much, Anna and Alexis. I really appreciate the feedback. I am super hard on myself, as most of us are, and I just seriously question every little thing I do – which is probably why I change things so much because when it doesn’t work I use it as evidence of my clear failure as a mom. :( But your point about being consistent makes a lot of sense to me. I also like that I can have a routine for naps and a different routine for bedtime, and, if I use the swing, the nap routine will help the bedtime sleep, too.

            I do need to cover her windows a bit more than the shades allow for, in order to make it darker in there during the day. Husband project tonight. She isn’t really into pacifiers, only about 1/10 times, which I’m fine with, but she is down right now in her room in the swing with her arms swaddled + white noise. I will commit to doing this same “procedure” until Sunday and then figure out if I need to reassess. But not until then!

            As for daycare, she isn’t at daycare. I am very lucky in that my in-laws come over during the day to watch her for now. I’m a teacher and have gone back to teach one class until November (when I go back full time). They come here and then we are slowly going to transition into me dropping her off over there. I leave at 6:30 a.m. for work, and it was just too hard to get up, get myself ready, pump, feed, etc. So I needed some time to figure that out. But, on good mornings, she sleeps until about 8:30 or 9:00. I am worried that when I do have to start dropping her off, that it will totally mess with her. I guess they are so resilient, but any tips for that challenge?

            Glad you liked my blog! I love my cupcakes :) Did I mention on there the irony that I now live in the Bay, and am one of the annoying people? That’s life, I guess!

            Thank you for everything. Cheers to good sleep!

  29. If you have an iphone you can download a free white noise app and play it through your phone. it doesn’t shut off and will not drain your battery. Works great for us!!! Great to have when you are out and about and baby gets fussy. I play it in the shopping cart at the grocery store when my baby gets fussy and she calms right down!!

    • So many great iphone apps! Our iPad has become the “must have” tool for travel because it’s so great as a travel night light and white noise machine. It’s nice being a Mom in the 21st century 😉

  30. Great article. My family members & friends think I’m crazy & damaging my baby’s hearing & brains by playing the white noise!

    My LO is 18 months now & has been using white noise (started off using a hairdryer to calm her down at 3 months) and then we downloaded an app on the ipad/iPhone. We use the white noise for both her naps & night time & she sleeps wonderfully, unless she is unwell/teething/growth spurt.

    My question is: when should I stop? How should I stop? Should I start by gradually decreasing the volume? And then do I just stop it completely one day or continue to use it but just stop it after 1 sleep cycle?

    The white noise helps her to map anywhere which is a great help if we arent home during her nap time & I’m not ready to let go of that…

    Thanks for your advice in advance.

    • Should you stop? There is no rush but she may be ready. It’s easy = just gently start dialing down the volume a little bit each day. If she continues to sleep like a rock star – GREAT! If not, then she still needs it. (She probably doesn’t need it but it doesn’t hurt). Generally I would advocate for starting to wean it off at night first. If your house is noisy at nap time (older sibs, garbage trucks, etc.) you might want to continue using it during the day. But at 18 months she’s probably ready to nap without it too.

      The recommendation is to use white noise till minimally babies are 1 due to the benefit of reducing SIDS. You can gently wean off anytime after 1 that suits both you and your baby.

  31. I am using Sleep Bug on my iPhone to get my son to sleep. He really loves it. I just set it to run for 30 mins and it works.
    Earlier I had a sound machine above his bed but it broke. So instad of buying a new one I got this app. I recommend it!

  32. I’m a mom of two little ones… My son is almost 2 and my little girl is 7 months… They both sleep in my room and there cribs are only a foot away from each other… So it’s really hard to get them both asleep and have them stay asleep thorough the night… So my husband and I got us a clock which also had different white noise options on it like rain, ocean, waterfall and like two other ones… I love this thing… I can put the baby down after her bath and once my son has had his bath I can take him in the room get him in his pj’s and in his bed without her waking up… I don’t know what I would have done without it.

  33. My boys are now 29 and 25 years old…and both are successful scientists and both slept with white noise machines when they were small… I’m the one STILL SLEEPING WITH THAT DANG MACHINE!!!! Can’t sleep without it cause of listening to it in the baby monitor. Even bought a travel size model for weekends away! Small price to pay though. It’s worth it!

    • So….do you think the white noise is why they are now successful scientists? OF COURSE IT IS!

      So people, if you want YOUR babies to grow up to be successful scientists, embrace the white noise.


  34. This is what I found after my husband told me to stop using the white noise machine in our son room, who is 10 week old.
    He said it will damage the brain…. If it does then many babies will be having problems?! I really don’t know.

    • Carol,
      If you have concerns you should run them by your pediatrician.

      But I’m NOT concerned by this research. This study raised baby rats in DEAFENINGLY loud white noise for their ENTIRE LIVES. They were effectively living in a sound-deprivation chamber. And they were baby rats. And yes they grew up weird.

      This is not what I’m suggesting you do with your baby. Use white noise when they sleep. It shouldn’t be louder than the volume of noise the shower makes. And it’s not all the time. And there is plenty of research that supports the use of white noise, appropriately used, for babies is actually pretty awesome.

  35. In your June 4th post you said “So you can totally use it JUST for naps. But if things start to go south at night (you’re likely heading right into the 6 week sleep regression)” What do you mean by 6 week sleep regression? I am just curious. I use white noise every night with my six week old. I just put the iPod right into her crib with her set to a beach/wave sound. It works pretty good, but she still occasionally has fussy nights where she hates being swaddled and wakes herself up trying to break her arms out of it. Thanks!

  36. I am trying this now with our 3 month old but hitting two teething problems. The sound is loud enough to come through on the baby monitor (very annoying – and won’t hear baby without it as he sleeps upstairs in our bedroom) and secondly I am not sure i can sleep with it on! Any thoughts?

  37. Just buy a cheap (£5 off eBay) old cb radio, don’t connect an antenna, there ya go hoodles of white noise. I’ve got an old HF radio I use for the twins.

  38. If you have a smartphone, there are plenty of free apps out there. My son (3.5mo) loves the relax and sleep app for android. We use the dishwasher and summer rain noises and he falls asleep almost instantly. It also has a timer if you want to start weaning him off it. (We use it for 20 min at bedtime and he sleeps through the rest of the night). White noise has been our best friend for his fussy periods.

  39. when my baby cries, I vaccumm. He settles straight away. I don’t ask why, I just accept it. :)

  40. I’m with you all the way on the sleep sheep. Stupidest. invention.ever.

  41. I have a white noise machine AND the swing makes white noise also. So I put the swing on white noise and the machine on heartbeat.
    Not really sure why I did it but I will let you know how it works.

  42. Isn’t it bad that my child only sleeps longer if the white
    Noise is playing?

  43. We will be trying this white noise with our 5 months old son. Since his birth, we have difficulties for him to stay asleep. Since we move him to his room a month ago, goodbye any sleep at night and during the day he sleeps on us for his nap. At night, he can wake up every 45 minutes. He doesn’t have any difficulties to go to sleep on his own when I put him down for the night but he will wake up at 1:00 am and then every 45 minutes for the rest of the night.(sleep regression?) I am hoping that the white noise will work. At this point, I am just hoping for any miracle for his sleep to get better. Love your website, I really appreciate how you explain thing with a touch of humour.

  44. Hiya Alexis,

    Hoping you, or one of your more experienced readers, come across this comment soon.

    Im in a similar situation to the previous commenter – my 6 month old has reflux, and developed really poor sleep habits as a result. I totally take responsibility for this – he was failing to thrive, and I believe part of that was due to poor sleep. We made a choice to get him to sleep however we could, and deal with the consequences later.

    Well, it’s now later, and time to deal with those consequences.

    He takes 30 min naps, and only if held. Short naps mean he can only manage to stay awake 1h30 before needing to snooze again. Thinking he may be UNDERtired, I have tried extending his time between naps to 2h, but it has made little difference to the nap duration. I have also tried extending his naps after he wakes up, with no joy.

    Nights are not much better, with wakings as frequent as every 45 – 90 mins.

    I tried white noise briefly for a nap or two when he was about 8 weeks old, with no success. I know now that I didn’t try it long enough.

    Do you think it’s likely to help now? He’s recently developed a phobia of certain loud noises (like the hair dryer), and I’m worried he’ll not only continue to wake up, but wake up terrified.

  45. I use rain noise for my two kids 5 and 3 as it blocks out street noise and there dad who stays up late. It just got a free app on my iPhone called sleep machine and it stays on all night. I’ve found I sleep better when I hear it too! X

  46. It’s been 55 days since we’ve CIO. Our baby’s now 8m. Many times our baby goes down quiet in the 8:00 hour. But sometime he cries for a bit. Rarely, he’ll go on for 25m. He’s not yet weaned at night. So I nurse him around midnight. Then he wakes between 4-5am. I change his diaper, nurse and bring him to bed w/ us. Then he sleeps till 8:30-9 :) Works for me (he use to wake every hour)! Anyway we use loud white noise and recently my hubby started thinking this was a crutch for him (easy for him to say, he wasn’t waking up!). I’m frustrated because it hasn’t even been 2 months since CIO and everything’s going awesome. But he wants to remove the wn. Keep in mind the crib is in our bed room. Alex, any advise I can give to the hubby to reassure him? I already read your article about reducing it at 1yrs old.

  47. Your a fckinknobend andhaveno credentials
    And are talking
    Out urarse. Babys arnt intheir loudest wnvironment inthewomb you douche. Theyre surrounded by a muffled
    Layer of skin and amniotic fluid.????!!!

    A baby should only be subjectto such things if it struggles sleeping or is restless. What do you think they did in the 80’s?

    Shocking how
    Precious todays parents are getting and then expecting a youtheful spoilt
    Race in

  48. I know this is an old article but hopefully someone can help. I am only starting using white noise now at 8.5 months. Is this too late to start? She doesn’t seem to like the hair dryer. In fact she has cried before when I use it.

    Do both these facts look bad for white noise being my magic saviour?

    • I don’t have the answer if white noise will work for you but my 5.5 mo old has had white noise for several months now but he also cries at the hair dryer. So don’t let that part deter you from at least trying!

    • Update – she’s fine with it, and while it’s not been a miracle answer it does help. She still wakes but not to general environmental noise like us on the stairs, the neighbours dog etc.

      • I still use one and my LO is 16 mos. I thought about stopping it because I don’t want him to get used to it, but he sleeps SO well with it?! The reason I use it is because he will wake up with the other noise going on in the house. When is it TOO late to take it away before they need it forever is my question?! LOL

        • Hey Tamra,
          So he’s 16 months old and sleeping like a champion with a fan on (it is a fan right?). And you’re worried that he’s going to need it forever. Like 40 years from now your baby will be an accountant who can’t sleep without white noise and he’ll be there at bedtime saying, “For crying out loud Mom, why did you have to saddle me with this stupid lifetime white noise habit!!!”

          No no no – embrace it. He’s got a strong sleep association with it. For starters if it aint broke don’t fix it. Secondly? If you had a different source of white noise (say a radio or a white noise machine) it would be easier to gently wean off by lowering volume gradually.

          That being said I would embrace it. It’s a GREAT sleep association. You’ve got ample time to worry about it. Enjoy the naps. Enjoy that it’s working for him.

          So that’s my vote…

  49. Hi, my bub is nearly 8 months old and needs help resettling at least 3 or 4 times a night. This is in addition to feeding once or twice a night. I’ve never tried white noise before, is she too old to start?

  50. Best sound machine money can buy, if buying one is your thing. This one is loud, runs both on batteries (in case of power outage, which has saved my butt during the night three times this summer!) and plugin, has timers but you dont need to use them, will run continuously. The waterfall noise is perfect for my little one and helps with drowning out our creaky old house noises and day to day life and I SWEAR she sleeps better because of it (well and because of sleep training).

  51. Best sound machine money can buy, if buying one is your thing. This one is loud, runs both on batteries (in case of power outage, which has saved my butt during the night three times this summer!) and plugin, has timers but you dont need to use them, will run continuously. The waterfall noise is perfect for my little one and helps with drowning out our creaky old house noises and day to day life and I SWEAR she sleeps better because of it (well and because of sleep training).

    and PS its cheaper at Walmart!

  52. White noise, really? Are you sure it’s not pink noise?

    Pink noise (equal amount of energy per octave) sounds way more “natural” than white noise. I’m pretty sure that what is described here as “white” is in fact “pink”…

    • Yeah white noise is much too harsh and doesn’t conform to the freq/volume curve the human ear hears.
      We don’t hear volume along frequencies linearly, rather logarithmically. So as the frequency gets higher, we don’t need as much volume of it to perceive the same volume level as a lower frequency. For this reason we hear more high pitch hiss than the deeper / lower tones. With Pink or brown noise there is a nice tapering off of the high frequencies and these sound oh so much more calming.

      There are many new articles on white noise being BAD for babies, in that most generators play them too loud. Just get an app or software to do this, it’s been around for yonks!

  53. I recently tried to wean my 17 month old off white noise. Over the course of a couple of weeks, I lowered the volume until I couldn’t lower it anymore. Then at its lowest volume, I set the timer to turn off after 1 hour. She woke up crying within minutes of the room going silent. Do I need to worry about this? Did I go about it the wrong way?

    • Hi

      She is addicted to the white fan noise. I think you should just leave it on ,and she is addicted, its no big deal. Ive used a fan to sleep my whole life. I feel soo upset and cant sleep without it. I have a friend like that, too. Shes already used to it, please don’t pull it from her now.

  54. My Previously decent night sleeper has started consistently waking between 3 and 5 am. My DS is 7.5 months old and until about 3 weeks ago he pretty consistently slept from 8:30 or 9 ish until about 8:00 am… Is 7.5 months to old to introduce a white noise machine if we have not been using one before?

  55. You don’t need to spend any money on white noise sound machine you have an application for your mobile phone Baby Lullabies & White Noise application which is safe, easy to use, and extremely effective and the most important think my baby cry less and sleep better.

    This application include white noise sounds, ocean surf, relaxing river, running water, electric fan, vacuum cleaner.

  56. My daughter just turned 9 months and we’re going crazy trying to get her to take long naps and sleep through the night. I really want to try white noise, but is she too old to start??? Or could it still work?

  57. I tried white noise last night for the first time with my 6 1/2 month old. (Didn’t spend a cent; just tuned a radio to the static between stations.) He did fall asleep nursing (oops), but I moved him to the crib after just a minute or two instead of ten like I had been doing. I said some goodnight words and left. He woke up and started to fuss, but a few minutes later he was quiet. Overnight I heard him twice, but it was more like moaning or whining, not even crying. He quieted down (and I assume went back to sleep) within ten minutes the first time, twenty minutes the second. So I woke up twice, but I got to stay in bed all night! I put him to bed like that again tonight — no fussing at all!

    My question is: The radio I’m using also makes a high pitch sound with the static. It sounds very similar to ringing in the ears. I’ve tried fiddling with the dial, but it still makes the sound. Is this a problem? I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop (it’s only been a night and a half), but as it stands now I’m so sold on white noise that I would definitely consider buying an actual white noise machine if need be.

    • That’s great news!

      As for the noise on your radio, it’s hard to say because I am not there, obviously :) There are plenty of free apps of MP3s that work great so if you have a smart phone or ipod and sound dock that would be an option? Or try the radio on a different station (sometimes AM works better). Lots of people use a humidifier or fan so that’s another option if you have something like that lying around.

      Good luck!

  58. Hi! The JSTOR link for “White noise creates a safe space” doesn’t seem to work for me. Would you be able to share the name/author/year of that study? I’d like to have a look at that. Thanks!

  59. We Never Used the White Noise Until About 2 Weeks Ago Because We Gave AnOther One ComING Soon So We Want Him To Get Used To The Noise AND Sleep it out. He is 18 months old. How loud should it be. I use it on a iPhone all night. But he has been sleeping thru the night after 6 months. We just started now because of the little one coming soon. It was on loud. But it was loud for me. So I put it on volume three. Idk if thats ok.

  60. I don’t know if this is still moderated, but I wanted to share this article that my husband just brought to my attention and that has me concerned because we took what you said to heart and turned the sound up loud and close to our daughter to soothe her. And it worked! But now I’m concerned. I’d love your thoughts on this if you are still monitoring comments. Article in question:

    • Hi Rachel,

      Give this a read:

      I used to play the white noise loud (too loud I think) and I briefly worried about it but my son has VERY acute hearing!!

    • Hi Rachel,

      In the article you linked, they found the noisemakers produced sounds between 68.8 to 92.9 decibels. Alex says white noise should be no louder than 50. 50 decibels is also the limit in hospital nurseries, according to your link. I bet you can download an app that tells you the exact volume of sounds around you if you are still worried.

  61. I am a father of newborn triplet girls. While I understand why the white, pink or brown noise is so important, it does not work for me. My girls spent the first 3 weeks of their lives in the NICU. They were not using any type of noise to help them sleep at the hospital. In fact, I feel as though I should I should have machine that mimics the sound of crying babies and monitor beeps and alarms. They all slept much better in the hospital than they do at home. They all become more restless when I try to use a noise generator and as an audio engineer, you best believe that the one I own is quite accurate. Oh, and the shush routine only leaves my wife and I aggravated and with sore teeth from doing so. Three out of five of the S’s that is taught have sort of been working, of those being swaddle, swing and suck. I am pretty sure that it is pink noise and not white noise that you are looking for. Since white noise is all frequencies at the same volume and pink noise is all frequencies set at the human ear response or the Fletcher – Munson curve. So to say that ALL babies must have this in their sleep diet is quite inaccurate. End of rant.

    • Hey Les,

      As the father of triplet girls I can totally understand you feeling a bit chuffed about things. But I will say that there is a solid body of evidence that white noise has numerous benefits for babies so I think it’s fair to say that it helps, at least nominally, “all” babies. There is further evidence that it’s particularly useful for preemies who are:
      – at higher risk of SIDS
      – cycle through sleep cycles more frequently

      There’s tons of research about preemies and the deafening volume of the NICU but it’s hard to say why they slept better there than at home. Maybe your home is too quiet?

      Anyway you aren’t the first person to bring up pink, white, brown, etc. noise and truthfully it’s a topic I don’t fully understand. A different sound engineer made his own “noise” that he felt was optimized for babies. All the academic research has been focused on “white” noise. But if we can come up with a compelling case for a different sort of noise that’s beneficial for babies, I’m all for it!

  62. First of all, this site is AWESOME!!! :) Second, my husband and i found that our tablet works really well for the white noise. We downloaded a couple apps that have white noise for baby and just some nature sounds, and my baby sleeps great with it!! :) In the days where technology is so big, I thought I would just suggest using your tablet if you have one. (Or iPhone, or Galaxy, or Droid, whatever it is you own.) :)

  63. Would a sound machine that plays a lullaby (at a higher volume then the sleepy sheep) work as well long term? We use the lullaby setting on her munchkin sound machine and my daughter (6mos) seems to respond well but will white noise work better in the long run?

  64. Hi my daughter is six months old, she was a great sleeper/napper. Until about four months started to cat nap, her napping is getting better, but at night I set my Ipad to two hours and shes waking up. So do you think she’s waking up because its to quite once the app stops? I feel like we have made it to where she cant sleep in quite. Also she slept in our room in a bassinett for four months and my husband sleeps with the TV on. So is she just use to sleeping iwth noise?

  65. Did someone try with music? Not pop but rock or symphony.

  66. Fantastic article! This has given me new found hope!
    As I type my little one is sleeping soundly listening to ‘Rain’ on my free app – it’s free for 30 min stretches and after readings his I shall be coughing up the £2.99 to get the full version…..turns out I had been using White noise incorrectly!
    My baby definitely responds well to WN and I’ve used it from birth but I have been starting to worry about the dependency it may bring…thanks for putting my mind at rest!
    Thanks for clarifying, can’t wait to try properly this evening and (hopefully!) have a decent night sleep :)
    Oh, just a thought… If baby needs feeding/changing/has a pain, will he still wake through the White noise?
    Many thanks again.

  67. My absolute favorite white noise app is White Noise HD:

    It’s by far the best white noise app out there. We use it consistently during nap time on an old iphone hooked up to some speakers. It’s so simple to use and does’t have a million different settings or confusing options, unlike all the other one’s I’ve tried. Plus, it’s free! Hope you find it as useful as we have.

  68. I have used music since the birth of my boy, around 13 months ago, for all daytime naps. By the time I realised (when I found your amazing site Alexis) how great white noise was he was already 6 months old & it wasn’t nearly as soothing for him as David Bowie belting out ‘Changes’. Although we laugh that when he goes to his first rock concert he will, inexplicably, fall asleep I guess what I’m saying is I do see merit in the article, but I can’t help but feel the reality is that a consistent & familiar background noise is, or will become, what is comforting for your child at nap time. Whether that means white noise, music, household noises or even a busy highway. It all sort of comes under the heading of vague background buzz after a while anyway. But hey, I’m no scientist, just a mum & just out of curiosity, did the study compare soothing talk with singing? I know it took me a while to learn the art of the one sided conversation whereas singing to my new little man was easy.

  69. Hi, my 6 month old is sleeping well at night but, despite showing signs of tiredness, won’t nap in the day. I’m thinking of introducing white noise for his daytime naps but will he become dependent on it and struggle to sleep without it at night? (At the moment he sleeps in silence at night)



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  3. Can I Make Noise While Baby Sleeps? | Troublesome Tots
  4. My new study secret | Sapphire and Rain
  5. What to Do About Infant Reflux?
  6. What Everybody Ought to Know About Baby Swings
  7. Because They Told Me So: Five Pieces of Advice I Wish I Had Taken. / theBabaBlog
  8. Sleeping Tips for a Newborn | BabyClip

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