White Noise for Babies

White noise is a constant sound that comes out evenly within the hearing range (or range of frequencies) of human. Normally, the human hearing range is 20 hertz to 20 kHz. A good example of white noise is the sound of electric fan or running water. This is the reason why it is being used for babies. While it is a good thing for babies, for us adults, the sound of the waves or an acoustic melody seems to work too. So if you want to make your baby or yourself fall asleep fast, try white noise.

Why Does White Noise for Babies Work?

Have you ever wondered why your little one doesn’t wake up even when you are cleaning your carpet with a vacuum cleaner? Babies are used to the sound of the rustle of blood rushing within the placenta. They even find it louder than the sound of a vacuum cleaner.

After many months in their mother’s womb, babies can easily be distracted by their new environment which leads them to crying, thus, causing stomachache. But if you will distract their attention with white noise, they will calm down and automatically fall asleep in just a few minutes.

Benefits of White Noise for Babies

White noise is like a good lullaby that calms babies as it resembles the old environment that they got used to when they are still in their momma’s womb.

1. Reduce Stress in Babies

White noise produces a safe “home” and it does help babies from being stressed-out with their new environment. Just like any of us, babies do get jittery when they are tired, when they hear sounds that are unfamiliar and when they are overwhelmed with the things they see around.

2. Help Babies Sleep

Typically, baby naps for only about 20-45 minutes every time. Once they reach this mark, it would be hard for them to go back to sleep. But it has been tested that babies sleep easier and longer when they hear white noise as it defuse whatever stimulus is present such as the horn of vehicles, doorbells or noisy children.

3. Calm a Crying Baby

When a baby cries, we always, consciously or unconsciously make them quiet by making a sound to distract their attention from whatever is causing their pain. White noise like shushing can do this, but you should make it louder because hushing in such a very low volume won’t distract your baby’s attention. You can play some calming music as an alternative when you get tired of doing it yourself.

4. Reduce risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

You may have heard about SIDS if you have a baby or two. White noise has actually reduced the occurrence of SIDS. Nobody knows exactly how it helps, but one thing is sure, white noise cuts active sleep or the REM equivalent wherein SIDS usually happen.

How Safe Is White Noise for Babies?

White noise is relatively safe as long as you don't use it all the time with any breaks. Besides, always choose pattern sounds like music or speech over a radio static or an air conditioner's hum. Alternatively, you can read to your baby. But always remember do not overdo it because according to Web MD, exposure to unstop, unpatterned sounds can "delay the development of the brain's hearing center in young rats", although this study is on rats, not babies.

How Loud Should White Noise Be?

Sounds can have great effect, yet it can also be harmful when it is too loud. It is measured using decibel meter. It is advisable that you buy a decibel meter or try to get an app that can measure the decibel of a sound, but whatever you use, make sure that you are at least 6 inches away from the device to measure the decibel accurately. 50 decibel or lower is the recommended measurement and it should not go beyond that.

Choose the Best White Noise for Babies

So, if you really want to use white noise to make babies sleep well, the following are good choices:

  • Box fan is one of the cheapest options but can also be a good thing to use for your baby, but it produces strong wind which may makes baby cold and it is inconvenient to place it around the crib.
  • Certain overhead fans are loud enough to make a good white noise. But the old type seems to be a little too loud. Also do make sure the wind won't give your baby a cold.
  • CDs are also fine but it should be played continually to avoid sleep interruption.
  • Your own shushing- if you enjoy doing this for at least 10 minutes without getting tires, that’s fine but if not, better use alternatives.
  • Humidifiers are a good choice but they may be not loud enough for newborns.
  • There are countless suitable white noises you can find on YouTube, so better check it out.

Note: Shushing is the act of imitating the repetitive whooshing sound produced by the blood flowing through the mother’s arteries around the womb. Shushing has been used on many generations to calm crying babies and it works even better with a moderate rocking. 

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