White Noise for Baby Sleep

Although most parents swaddle their babies these days, it amazes me how few use white noise. White noise works miracles with fussy babies and is an amazingly powerful cue to aid baby sleep. This special sound is as important as swaddling. It’s a key tool in the Happiest Baby sleep approach…and it is simple to do!

The sound needed to turn on the calming reflex when a baby is crying is a rough, rumbly whoosh noise that is as loud as his crying. You can provide this sound simply by putting your mouth close to your baby’s ear and making a strong “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

How to Use White Noise to Get Babies to Sleep

Once your baby is calm, lower the level of your white noise to about the loudness of a shower (65-70 decibels) to keep the calming reflex on. 

And, to help your baby drift off easily and sleep soundly, white noise is a must. The best white noise for sleeping mimics the sound babies hear in the womb. 

We recommend playing white noise via CD or MP3s, SNOO, or even your Alexa device. CDs and digital recordings are great to use during car rides when your baby will fuss, and can easily be used if you leave your child in the care of their grandparents, uncles/aunts, etc.

Two cautions about smartphones for white noise: They release microwave radiation so you should always put yours on airplane mode when you place it near your baby. And telephone and computer speakers do not make the best sound for babies. They make a hissy/tinny noise, not the deep, rumbly sound that best mimics the womb.

How Does White Noise Help Babies Sleep

As with swaddling, white noise should not be used 24 hours a day. You will want to play it to calm crying episodes and during naps and nighttime sleep (start the sound quietly in the background during your sleepy-time routine, to get your sweetie ready to glide into dreamland). 

After 3-4 months, the calming reflex will gradually disappear. But by then, your infant will be aware of the connection between white noise and the pleasure of sleep. “Oh yeah, I recognise that sound…now I will have nice sleep.” Many parents continue the white noise for years, but it is simple to wean whenever you want. 

How Loud Should White Noise Be for Babies?

A 2014 study claimed that white noise should be played at 50 dB. However, we believe that to be incorrect because white noise does not aid in baby sleep until it reaches 60-65 dBs. Depending on the loudness of your babies cries, you will want to increase the volume of white noise to match your child’s crying. Then, you will want to slowly turn it down after several minutes, and reduce to 60-65 dB once your baby has fallen asleep. It is important to allow the white noise to play at 60-65 dB once your child falls asleep for several minutes before turning it off to ensure they are comfortable.

List of Best Baby Sleep Sounds

When using white noise to aid in baby sleep, you will want to make sure to play the right sounds. Here is a list of some of our favourite baby sleep sounds.

  • Strong Hair Dryer – Calms Fussy Babies
  • Fast & Vigorous – The Best Sound for the Fussiest Babies
  • Moderate – Gradually Guides Your Baby to Calm
  • Mellow – Womb Sounds for a Full Night’s Sleep
  • Hair Dryer – Boosts Sleep for Light Sleepers
  • Rain – Peaceful and Soothing for Infants and Parents
  • Soft Hair Dryer – Unique, ultra-low Pitch for Sensitive Sleepers (most Like Womb)
  • Soft Rain – Unique, ultra-low Pitch for Sensitive Sleepers (most Like Womb)

You can get all of these baby sleep sounds through our digital recordings of white noise here.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.