Should You Use White Noise While Your Baby Is Sleeping?

Peaceful infant asleep in its mother's arms

Have you wondered if you should use white noise while your baby is sleeping or if it was just something that they were going to become dependent on?

I LOVE white noise machines and recommend them to all of our clients at Bee Wise Sleep Consulting. Some parents are concerned that it may be a “sleep prop” but I disagree. White noise is a great tool to help your baby fall asleep easier and stay asleep without relying on it in every situation.

For a newborn, they are born accustomed to noise. Your womb wasn’t always a quiet place so white noise can be comforting to them. One study found that 80% of newborns exposed to white noise fell asleep within 5 minutes, while only 25% fell asleep quickly without it.

The biggest reason that I recommend white noise machines to parents is because of background noise. There are a thousand different potential things that could wake up your sleeping baby! A school bus in the morning, dogs barking outside, a train, thunderstorm or that garbage truck that always seems to arrive during your child’s nap, regardless of the time! White noise machines drown out all that background noise to help keep your baby sleeping through their nap or overnight. It’s also beneficial in drowning out the noise of the house, such as energetic siblings while your baby is attempting to fall asleep at bedtime or nap time.

However, it is important that the volume is not too loud. While some sound machines can reach up to 85 decibels (!), The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends setting the volume no louder than 50 decibels. Regular exposure to higher sound pressure levels may be damaging to infant hearing and auditory development. You can download decibel reading apps on your phone to be sure it’s at the appropriate volume. It is also important that the white noise machine and it’s cords are out of your child’s reach.

So, what type of white noise should you use? Any consistent sound is acceptable. Ocean waves, rain, or babbling brook are all good choices. Lullabies or songs are not beneficial because they have pauses in them that can actually wake your baby up when they occur. When purchasing, there are so many options. The Hatch is a great option for its many feature The white noise machine that my 3 kids kids personally use is (not affiliated).

When should you stop using a white noise machine? That is up to you! My 7 year old still uses his because there are always external noises that can wake a child up. And it helps drown out the sound of the neighbors playing basketball when he’s trying to fall asleep at bedtime.

If you are struggling with your child’s sleep and would like to learn more about how we can help you and your family, you can schedule your free 15 minute discovery call here:

Sleep Philosophy
My sleep philosophy is that all children (and mommas!) need restful sleep, and so my goal is to help children learn independent sleep skills so that they can fall asleep on their own and stay asleep through the night. I will help develop a customized sleep plan that aligns with the family’s wishes.