The Benefits of White Noise for Babies


It’s no secret that babies need lots of sleep to grow and develop properly, but let’s be honest, sometimes it can be a challenge for them to fall asleep and stay sleeping. As a parent you have probably tried it all – rocking and swaying only for your baby to wake up the second you put them down, musical mobiles that run on timers so you have to stay nearby to keep restarting the music, or maybe you have even driven around in circles until 11pm and gotten the baby to sleep but now you are faced with the dreaded “transfer”. All of those options have long been used by many parents and can, in fact, work but are not always sustainable long term.

Something that is often overlooked but easily accessible is the use of white noise. Most often associated with the sound of TV or radio “static”, it becomes clear why many parents have not thought of this as a viable option to get their children to sleep, however, there are a number of resources and studies that indicate otherwise.

What Is White Noise And Why Do Babies Love It So Much?

While you may think of sound as an often singular tone, there is actually an entire spectrum of sound that makes up the noises we experience on a daily basis and the frequencies on that spectrum are associated with various colors. White noise just so happens to be a combination of all of the audible sound frequencies in a mashup and due to its continuous steady tone, it functions great as a distraction blocker which some parents have attributed to their children falling asleep faster because they are less likely to hear other sounds that often keep them awake.

This same distraction-blocking property also has the potential to soothe babies who are crying or fussy by giving them a sense of comfort as it takes their attention away from external stressors and gives them a singular noise to focus on. Ultimately, white noise can be beneficial for both babies and their parents, creating a peaceful and relaxed environment. Who doesn’t want that?

How Can White Noise Help Your Baby Sleep Better At Night?

White noise is great at encouraging sleep because it provides a constant and soothing auditory cue. In fact, white noise has often been described as comparable to womb sounds which babies find familiar and comforting leading to a feeling of calmness and tranquility.

This may be why babies often fall asleep at noisy parties or to the sound of a vacuum when parents are cleaning, since these types of steady sounds at certain frequencies do not often have much variation and are likely perceived by the baby as relaxing.

Coupled with a low-light and cool temperature environment, white noise can have a positive effect on your baby’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

What Are Some Other Benefits Of Using White Noise For Babies?

In addition to helping babies sleep, white noise can offer other benefits, as well. For example, white noise can help soothe a colicky baby or calm a fussy infant. White noise can also block out other environmental sounds that might be jarring or distracting to a baby like traffic or construction noise, siblings playing outside, or pots and pans clanging in the kitchen.

Additionally, some research has shown that white noise can help babies learn languages faster and more effectively retain information by muffling surrounding sounds and allowing them to focus on the language instruction.

So, whether you’re trying to get your baby to sleep or simply want to give them a learning boost, white noise is definitely worth considering adding into your routine.

How Can You Create Your Own White Noise Soundscape For Your Baby’s Nursery?

White noise does not always have to be listened to on its own to have the desired effect when trying to put your baby down to rest. In fact, by creating a soundscape in your baby’s nursery that incorporates white noise, you can provide your little one with a more layered way to benefit from the frequency of white noise while combining it with other familiar sounds. There are several ways that you can create a white noise soundscape.

While white noise can be easily accessed by changing the A/V input on a TV, that may not always be an option for families who live in a home with one or no televisions or radios, or who may not have a television within range of their child’s sleeping area.

Another option is to explore multiple sounds that use the white noise frequency or that combine well with more “traditional” white noise and play them simultaneously. Some additional sound ideas to consider are the gentle pitter patter of raindrops or the more intense sound of a waterfall, waves crashing on the shore, or even the innocuous whirring of a fan or air conditioner. Getting your baby to stay asleep can be stressful so this can be a fun experiment to find a group of sounds that your baby responds positively to and keep them on rotation.

If you do not have immediate access to a way to play multiple sounds at once using different audio sources, a more effective solution to getting your baby to sleep while creating a white noise soundscape is to subscribe to a white noise podcast like 12 Hour Sound Machines. With a ton of sound options to choose from and more added regularly, it is a great way to get access to the sounds that your baby loves most without the need to purchase any additional equipment or keep your TV/radio on all night.

Summing It All Up

There are lots of benefits to incorporating white noise into your family’s routine and if your babies are having trouble falling and staying asleep, it’s worth experimenting with different types of white noise to find what works best for you when creating a white noise soundscape. There’s no one-size-fits-all to using sound as a tool and that’s what makes its impact so fascinating. Whether you are using white noise to calm your baby, put them to sleep, or help them learn a language – sound exploration is a fantastic zero-cost, high return way to help achieve your family’s goals.

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