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How Does White Noise Affect Babies?

Sleeping baby yawning.

Is your newborn or infant having sleeping problems? Traditional solutions include pacifier/bottle, diaper changes, and investing in the best mattresses for kids. Such solutions can help your little one sleep soundly.

I’d like to share another option that’s effective yet less well-known to parents: white noise for baby sleep. We usually think of noise as a bad thing for a baby’s sleep, but the right sounds can be the perfect solution to help them fall asleep and sleep better.

What Exactly Is White Noise?

White noise is simply a sound that can hide other unwanted sounds in an environment that need quiet and silence like a baby’s room. While some adults use options like sound machines, you can also use baby sleep sounds so your tot can sleep better.

Nature Sounds

There are many kinds of white noise that can help reduce outside noises like traffic and other city sounds. Some examples include nature sounds such as beach and rain shower sounds.

You can even find sound machines and sleep sounds specifically designed for infants. They produce white noise like lullabies or the sounds of a mother’s heartbeat.

White Noise and Babies: The Science

1990 study

Like when picking kids mattresses, it’s important to know about past research regarding white noise and babies.

A 1990 study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood showed proof that white sleep sounds can benefit infants, according to Healthline. In fact, 80% of the babies fell asleep within 5 minutes of listening to the pleasant sounds!

White noise not only can block out sounds outside the house but also sounds inside the house, such as noisy older brothers or sisters, for example.

Infants might even fall asleep during noisy times that aren’t part of their regular sleeping/napping schedule. That’s because they might be used to loud noises surrounding them.

One Machine for Multiple Kids

It’s possible that white noise machines that produce white noise for sleeping might actually benefit children of different ages in your household. They include infants, toddlers, and grade school kids.

Pros and Cons

While newborns do a lot of napping, toddlers usually nap just 1 to 3 hours per day. White noise sleep sounds can help with both kids so they can get more shut-eye.

Meanwhile, there are also some possible downsides to white noise machines. Some babies don’t respond to them, so their sleep quality might not improve due to the sleep aids.

Why White Noise Works

Sounds of Life

The answer might be surprising. During your 9 months of pregnancy, your little one is surrounded by the pleasant sounds of human life. This includes the mother’s heartbeat, blood flowing, and every breath you take.

In fact, the average noise level in a mother’s womb ranges from 70 to 91 decibels. For reference, a vacuum cleaner usually produces 70 to 80 decibels!

After the infant is born, they find themselves in a quiet world that lacks the material sounds they got used to. This can cause them to feel anxious and isolated. White noise sleep sounds helps to bring back the symphony of sounds the young baby experienced when in utero.

Mother’s heartbeat synchronizes with fetus’ (link)

Is Using White Noise Sleep Sounds Safe?

White noise for baby sleep can be quite effective. As always, it’s important to use the machine effectively to get the best results.


Make sure to check/test the decibels produced by different sound machine products. They shouldn’t produce more than 50 decibels outside the baby crib, for example. Keep in mind a newborn’s/infant’s ears are still developing, so they’re more sensitive to sound than adult ears.

A related factor is some experts recommend limiting the use of noise apps. So while they shouldn’t be loud, they also shouldn’t be overused.


There are many reasons why your baby might not be sleeping or napping well. One of the surprising reasons is their environment lacks the mother’s sounds they experienced while in the womb.

Just like choosing mattresses for children, you can pick a sound machine that safely and effectively produces pleasant sounds for your little one. The sounds of ocean waves, chirping birds, and gentle rainstorm can help your infant sleep like a baby!

Special thanks to our guest blogger:


An enthusiast and expert when it comes to sleep products, Erick dedicates a lot of his time reading, researching, and reviewing about both traditional and emerging sleep brands that manufacture varied types of sleep products – from eco-mattresses, smart pillows to cooling sleep systems, Erick has probably reviewed them all. Erick also finds sleep especially important since he juggles a small business which he runs from home, makes sure he spends time with his daughter and he also writes during his spare time – you can definitely see that he needs a great forty winks all night, every night so he’ll make sure that you get great sleep, too!


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