White Noise for Babies: Can It Help Your Baby Sleep?

Is your baby struggling to get to sleep at night? Have you tried the 5 S’s strategy for calming a baby but don’t know what sound will work best to help your baby get to sleep? Several studies have proven that white noise that mimics the sounds of the womb can significantly help your baby get to sleep.

We’ll talk about the benefits of white noise, how to play it safely for your baby, and what white noise sounds are best for babies. When following safety guidelines, white noise machines can be super effective for helping your baby fall asleep.

Why White Noise for Babies Helps Them Sleep

White noise mimics the soothing sounds of being in the womb and can trigger a calming reflex for babies. The shushing sound is one of the 5 S’s to calm an infant. Pediatricians recommend making the shushing sound softly in a baby’s ear to help them calm down during crying and to fall asleep. 

But it can be very tiring to shush your baby to sleep. That’s where a white noise machine can help your baby fall asleep independently. The white noise machine can mimic the shushing sound and be set to turn off once your child is sleeping, making it an essential baby product.

RELATED: How to Get a Baby to Sleep Through the Night

Benefits of White Noise for Babies

Research and studies have proven that white noise significantly helps babies calm down while crying or trying to fall asleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that white noise for babies can:

Cons of Using a White Noise for Babies

There are a few cons of using a white noise machine that caregivers should be aware of before using:

  • Some babies don’t like the white noise, which can have the opposite effect, keeping your baby awake.
  • Some babies can become dependent on white noise to fall asleep.
  • If played too loudly for too long, white noise machines may cause hearing loss.

Creating the Best White Noise Environment for Your Baby

While white noise does have many benefits for helping your baby fall asleep and stay asleep, you do need to follow these guidelines to create a safe environment:

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends setting the white noise machine at or below 50 decibels.
  • Place the white noise machine and cord at least seven feet away from the baby’s crib and out of reach.
  • Set a timer to turn the white noise off once the baby is asleep.

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RELATED: Calming Songs to Sing to Your Baby


parents taking a nap with baby

Not All White Noise is Equally Effective

Most white noise machines have several sounds to help your baby fall asleep. But not all white noise sounds are effective. You want to pick a sound that mimics the shushing sound that the baby heard in the womb. It should be monotonous and low-pitch to help your baby fall asleep. 

Other sounds like rain, birds, or even ocean waves may be great for adults, but these sounds may have the opposite effect on babies. You don’t want to add distracting sounds that can stimulate more than soothe.   

Can White Noise be Harmful?

Yes. If the white noise machine is set too loud or plays too long, it can cause hearing loss for your baby. If you use white noise for your baby, you’ll want to avoid using the maximum volume setting and place the device at least 30 cm away from your baby. 

Should You Keep White Noise On All Night for Your Baby?

No. White noise is not meant to be on all night, and constant exposure may lead to hearing loss. It should only be used for a short period of time to help your baby fall asleep. Once asleep, you need to stop the white noise so that your baby can learn to acclimate to sounds in your home. 

It’s best to find a white noise machine with a timer so that you can program how long the sound plays. We recommend that you shut the sound off within an hour of your baby falling asleep. 

When Should You Stop White Noise for Your Baby?

There isn’t a guideline for when you should stop putting your baby to bed with white noise. This really is up to the parents and child. That said, many parents choose to wean their children off of falling asleep to white noise by age two. 

Ideally, you want your child to learn to self-soothe and put themselves to sleep without additional sleep aids. But there are lots of children and adults who enjoy white noise to help them calm down before sleeping.


sleeping baby

White Noise for Babies is a Very Effective Sleep Aid

When used correctly and within safety guidelines, white noise is a fantastic tool for helping your baby get a good night’s sleep. It’s also very effective at calming a colicky baby, which can be a lifesaver. And when studies show that new parents lose an average of six months of sleep during their child’s first two years, then you need all the help you can get.

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RELATED: How to Dream Feed: Better than a Lullaby

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