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What's the go with white noise?

For parents navigating the delicate dance of baby sleep, the concept of white noise often emerges as both a curiosity and a potential solution. You may be wondering what exactly is white noise? Is it safe for my baby? Can it really help them sleep? In this article, we will explore the world of white noise, looking at the benefits, and considerations for integrating it into your baby's sleep routine.

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What is White Noise

White noise includes all the frequencies audible to the human ear. Unlike other noises, white noise will have the same intensity throughout the audible frequency range between 20-20,000 hertz.

White noise was derived from the term ‘white light’, where light is a blend of visible light wavelengths. White noise is a blend of all audible sound frequencies. White noise can help individuals and, more commonly, babies to fall asleep and remain asleep by linking sleep cycles without disruption. White noise is produced when every frequency we can hear is played in random order simultaneously.

Familiar sounds produced included ‘shh’ radio or television static, electric fan, hair dryer, vacuum.

What about other noises?

White noise, pink noise, blue noise, red noise, black noise. Is there a difference?

White noise is a consistent audible sound, while pink, blue, and red noise change in intensity and frequency (sound up and down or deeper/lighter). Back noise refers to silence.

Essentially, the noise your baby prefers to sleep to will be individual; most will like white noise, but many will also enjoy other sounds with varying intensity (for example – heartbeat, waves crashing, birds chirping, lullaby).

Any noise can be used as a sleep aid. Most adults will enjoy pink noise as it relaxes the mind, and research has shown it to result in deeper and more extended sleep periods.

What are the benefits of white noise?

  1. Distraction from environmental noises that may keep your baby awake.

  2. It may help relax your baby to help them drift off to sleep.

  3. Soothes your baby.

  4. It provides comfort from being in silence. Babies are used to noise from the womb of their mother’s heartbeat and blood flow.

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When to introduce white noise?

Is there a right time to introduce noise into your baby's sleep? In essence, no. You can introduce noise to your baby’s wind down/sleep time when it feels right for you and your baby.

Most babies will fall asleep around white noise, particularly if you have white noise somewhere in the home. Like adults, some babies will take to it, and others will not respond to it. If you are wanting to introduce noise into your baby's sleep routine, start with white noise and then explore other noises such as your pink and red (lullaby and nature sounds).

White noise is typically beneficial around week six when your baby becomes more aware of their surroundings and is easily more distracted. However, you can introduce it earlier.

Keep the noise machine at a distance from your baby’s ears, as hearing is sensitive in young babies and children.

My name is Vanessa Barnard, and I am the founder of Illoura Birth. I am a Childbirth and Newborn Educator, Doula and Paediatric Nurse, and soon to be infant & child Sleep Specialist. My mission is to support families on the journey to meeting their babies and thereafter with holistic and evidence-based information. My focus is to inspire and boost your confidence on this journey through pregnancy, birth & postpartum. 



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