White noise machine: how it can help babies to sleep well

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A baby white noise machine is a device designed to create a soothing and consistent sound resembling white noise, which includes all audible frequencies played at equal intensity. These machines are specifically tailored to help infants sleep better by masking disruptive noises from the environment, such as traffic sounds or household noises, and providing a comforting and familiar background sound. Many newborn white noise machines offer various sound options beyond white noise, including nature sounds, lullabies, and heartbeat sounds, to further aid in relaxation and sleep. Baby white noise machines are portable and can be easily placed in the nursery or carried during travel to create a consistent sleep environment for infants, promoting restful sleep and potentially reducing nighttime awakenings.

Are white noise machines a good idea for a baby?

White noise machines can be beneficial for babies in certain circumstances. They create a consistent and soothing background noise that can help mask other sounds in the environment, potentially aiding in relaxation and sleep for infants. Many parents find that white noise machines can be particularly helpful in calming babies who are easily disturbed by noises such as traffic, household sounds, or sudden noises. However, it's essential to use white noise machines safely and appropriately, ensuring that the volume is set at a safe level and not too loud for the baby's delicate ears. Additionally, some experts advise against prolonged use of white noise machines, as babies may become dependent on them for sleep. As with any sleep aid, it's essential to monitor your baby's response and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

The importance of getting a good night's sleep

When adults consider sleep deprivation, they typically imagine grumpy, exhausted days relying on multiple cups of coffee to function. However, the impacts of insufficient sleep might not be as evident in infants and children. Concerns related to inadequate sleep in young ones encompass:

  • Irritability
  • Frequent tantrums
  • Drastic changes in behavior
  • Hyperactivity

The best white noise machines for babies

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Here are the best white noise machines for babies in Australia, available from various retailers both online and in-store.

  • Dreamegg white noise machine: A beloved choice for parents, the Dreamegg D11 features a charming, portable design and 24 calming sounds like white noise, ocean waves, and lullabies. Practical functions include a gentle night light and timer for hearing protection.
  • Mybaby white noise machine: Compact and travel-friendly, this machine offers 6 calming sounds including heartbeat and white noise. It integrates seamlessly into your baby's sleep routine with options for continuous play or timed intervals. Powered by adapter or batteries (sold separately) for convenience.
  • Hushh white noise machine: Designed with parent-friendly features, the Hushh offers three soothing sounds and a gentle amber LED night light. USB rechargeable and equipped with a baby-safe clip, it's perfect for strollers, car seats, or cribs.

Other sounds of noise machines

There are different ranges of sound frequencies often used to promote relaxation and improve sleep. Apart from the white noise, which includes all audible frequencies with uniform intensity, the pink noise targets lower frequencies and the brown noise encompasses even lower frequencies. Here's a deep dive on pink and brown noise machines:

Pink noise machine

Pink noise exhibits a power spectral density that decreases by 3 dB per octave, resulting in a more balanced sound perceived by the human ear. It is commonly applied in sound therapy, relaxation methods and even for tinnitus treatment thanks to its calming and soothing qualities.

Brown noise machine

Brown noise machine showcases heightened energy at lower frequencies, with a power decrease of 6 dB per octave. This generates a deeper, rumbling sound commonly employed for relaxation, meditation, and fostering a feeling of coziness and tranquility. This type of machine is useful for adults in case of tinnitus caused by stress and anxiety.

Newborn white noise machine: pros

A white bunting white noise machine for a baby offers several advantages that can contribute to better sleep and a calmer environment for infants:

  • Faster sleep initiation: White noise in the background may help newborns fall asleep more quickly, especially if they are accustomed to noise during sleep times.
  • Masking household noise: White noise can effectively block out household sounds, such as the chatter of older siblings or other ambient noises, creating a more peaceful environment for the baby to sleep in.
  • Mimicking mother's heartbeat: Some infant white noise machines feature a heartbeat setting that replicates the rhythmic sound of a mother's heartbeat, which can be particularly comforting for newborns.
  • Improved sleep patterns: The use of white noise may aid in establishing and maintaining sleep patterns for newborns, leading to more restful and consolidated sleep throughout the night.
  • Accommodating siblings: Families with more children of different ages can benefit from white noise machines, as they can help mask noises from other siblings who may not be on the same sleep schedule, facilitating better sleep for the newborn.

In summary, a newborn white noise machine can provide numerous benefits, including promoting faster sleep onset, masking household noises, comforting newborns with simulated heartbeat sounds, improving sleep patterns, and accommodating the sleep needs of multiple children in the household.

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Are white noise machines bad for babies? The cons

While newborn white noise machines offer potential benefits, it's important to consider some drawbacks associated with their use:

  • Exceeding noise limits: Many white noise machines for babies exceed the recommended noise limits set by organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), potentially posing risks to infant hearing and auditory development.
  • Risk of dependency: Babies can become dependent on white noise machines to fall asleep, which may create challenges when the machine is not available, such as during travel or daycare.
  • Individual response: Not all babies respond positively to white noise, and some may even find it unsettling or disruptive to their sleep.
  • Potential developmental issues: Regular exposure to high sound pressure levels from white noise machines may have long-term implications for infant development, particularly concerning hearing and auditory processing.

When using a white noise machine for a newborn, it's crucial to follow safety guidelines, including placing the machine at a safe distance from the crib and keeping the volume below the maximum setting. Additionally, parents should be prepared for the possibility that their baby may not respond well to white noise and be open to alternative sleep strategies if needed.

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Before purchasing a white noise machine


When purchasing a white noise machine to aid your child's sleep, it's essential to consider a few key factors, particularly noise levels. Anything exceeding 50 decibels could potentially harm a baby's hearing and impede developmental progress. Hence, prior to making a purchase, conduct thorough research to ensure the chosen machine aligns with safety guidelines regarding noise levels.

Additionally, it's crucial to avoid potential issues such as battery-operated machines or those with timer functions only. Many babies may wake when the machine stops, so selecting a model capable of running continuously throughout the night is advisable. White noise machines are readily available both online and in stores, catering to various budgets. However, there are also free white noise-generating apps that offer convenient on-the-go options for soothing sounds directly from your smartphone.

How to use a white noise machine


Now that you've selected the appropriate machine, you might be wondering about the best way to utilize it. What volume setting is optimal? How loud is considered too loud?

When using your white noise machine to soothe your crying baby, it's important to adjust the volume accordingly. Once your little one has calmed down, set the volume to a level similar to that of a soft shower. If the noise seems uncomfortably loud to you, it's likely too loud for your baby as well, so be sure to decrease the volume accordingly.

In addition to avoiding the highest volume setting, research suggests keeping white noise machines at least a foot away from your child. Furthermore, it's always wise to consult with your child's healthcare provider before incorporating a white noise machine or any alternatives into your baby's sleep routine.

FAQs about white noise machine

Can a white noise machine damage a baby's hearing?

When using a white noise machine for a baby, it's important to keep the volume at a level that is soothing and conducive to sleep without being too loud or potentially harmful. It's also crucial to place the white noise machine at a safe distance from the baby's crib or sleeping area to prevent the sound from being too intense. Additionally, monitoring the baby's reactions to the white noise can help gauge if it's too loud or not effective in promoting sleep. Every baby is different, so it may require some trial and error to find the ideal volume level that works best for your baby. Always prioritize the baby's comfort and safety when using any sound machine or device for sleep.

How loud should a baby's white noise machine be?

The general recommendation is to set the volume of the white noise machine at a level that is no louder than 50-60 decibels (dB), which is approximately the sound level of a normal conversation or gentle rainfall.

When to stop using a baby's white noise machine?

Deciding when to stop using a white noise machine for a baby can vary depending on individual circumstances and preferences. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Sleep Patterns: As babies grow older, their sleep patterns may change, and they may become less reliant on external sleep aids like white noise. If you notice that your baby is consistently sleeping well without the white noise machine, it may be a sign that they no longer need it.
  • Sleep Associations: If your baby has developed a strong association between the white noise machine and sleep, they may continue to rely on it for sleep even as they get older. In such cases, it may be necessary to gradually wean them off the white noise machine to encourage independent sleep habits.
  • Developmental Milestones: As babies reach developmental milestones such as improved self-soothing skills or the ability to sleep through background noises, they may no longer require the white noise machine to fall asleep.
  • Environmental Factors: Changes in the baby's environment, such as moving to a quieter or more familiar sleeping space, may influence the need for a white noise machine.

Ultimately, there is no set age at which you should stop using a white noise machine for your baby. It's essential to observe your baby's sleep habits and comfort level and make adjustments accordingly. 

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