Q&A: Why Do Babies Like White Noise? (Easy FAQ For Noob Parents)

Have you ever heard the term white noise and heard that it may help your baby sleep better?

Are you looking for ways to soothe and calm down your little one?

Do you notice your baby falling asleep to background noises and wonder if this is something that actually helps them sleep?

If you’re confused about what white noise really is and how it may be helping to put your little one to sleep, or if you want to know more about it, we may have the information you need. From what you mean by white noise to how it gets made and whether or not your baby may actually like it and how often can you expose your baby to white noise, we are discussing all this and more in our article today.

What is white noise?

White noise is the term that is used to describe the type of noise that is made when a lot of different types of sounds that have different frequencies are combined. To make it a little easier to understand, white noise can also be described as the sound that would come out of all the different types of sounds that a human being can possibly hear. If you take all these sounds and mix them together, what you get will be known as white noise.

How is white noise made?

  • White noise gets the term ‘white’ from the way that light works.
  • For instance, when you see any white light, it is actually made up with all the different shades of light that are there.
  • In a similar way, white noise actually combines all the different frequencies of sounds that are present.
  • When you are listening to white noise, you are actually listening to 20,000 different tones that are all playing out together at the same time.
white noise baby machine

Is white noise really attractive to babies? Why do they like it?

  • White noise contains all the different frequencies of sounds that are present out there. As a result, it can actually help to mask out any other sounds that your baby may be able to hear.
  • When there is white noise, in a way it kind of overshadows all other sounds that are reaching your baby.
  • As a result, what your baby does hear is a kind of soothing sound, where your baby is not able to pick out any individual words or voices.
  • For instance, if you live in an area where there is a lot of noise coming in from the outdoors, having a white noise where baby is could actually mask out all those sounds and make it more relaxing for baby.
  • When your baby is in the mother’s womb, it hears sounds that are very much like white noise. So, when they hear these same sounds outside the womb, it feels comforting to them, like home, or the womb, where they have spent so much time till the time they were born.

Does it simulate the sounds in the womb?

how to use white noise for baby
  • It might come across as surprising, but it seems that when your baby was in the womb, the kinds of sounds he or she was able to hear were actually more like white noise and not your voice specifically.
  • The time that your baby spends inside the womb is actually full of a lot of different types of sounds and it is actually quite noisy in there.
  • For instance, some of the sounds that your baby regularly hears while being inside the womb are sounds of the blood as it rushes through the blood vessels in the mother’s body, any sounds that are generated due to the movement of the mother’s stomach or the intestines, the sound of the mother’s heart beating, any amount of air that is moving in and out of the mother’s lungs and so on.
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    All these sounds make a lot of noise inside the womb, but because there are too many sounds that are all getting combined together, it creates a sort of white noise.

Do babies actually benefit from white noise? Does this help soothe them and is it effective in making them sleep?

Yes, there are definitely quite a few benefits of exposing your baby to white noise. Here are a few ways in which you can help your baby by putting on some white noise.

  • Exposing your baby to white noise helps them fall asleep easier and faster, and also helps them stay asleep for longer. It drowns out other noises and sounds that could otherwise disturb your baby and interfere with their sleep.
  • White noise also imitates the kind of sound that your baby has heard while being inside the mother’s womb, so it will feel comfortable and familiar to baby. This will also help to soothe baby and calm them down, making it easier for you to put them to sleep.
  • When you expose your baby to white noise in the recommended sound limits, it can be one of the most natural, inexpensive and effective ways in which you can put your baby to sleep.
  • Getting enough sleep is very important for your baby, especially in the first few months or the first year, as this will help your baby reach all the important milestones. White noise can help your baby sleep better. 

Should parents expose their babies to white noise? How much what noise is healthy?

If your baby is having difficulty in falling off to sleep and if he or she is not getting as much sleep as is required on a daily basis, it is alright to use some white noise, but in moderation.

baby white noise machine
  • Experts recommend that you can expose your baby to white noise as long as the sound is within 60 and 70 decibels.
  • If you are using an app or a white noise machine, make sure you check the reading to see that the decibel levels are being maintained.
  • Also, most paediatricians and doctors are of the view that you should gradually lower and remove any dependence on white noise around the time your baby is between 3 months and a year old, as this is the age by when your baby will learn how to fall asleep naturally, without any additional support of white noise.
  • Please also make sure that if you are using something to generate the white noise, place it a little away from the baby and gradually increase the distance.

As with anything related to your baby, it is best that you check about this with your baby’s paediatrician so that your baby is absolutely safe and happy. 

Is it possible to be exposed to too much white noise?

There is not much study that can effectively talk about whether or not you can expose your baby to too much white noise. As a parent, what you can do, however, is to try different ways of putting your baby to sleep instead of just exposing your baby to white noise each time it is time to sleep. Use the white noise tactic for only those times when nothing else seems to work, so that your baby does not get addicted to it and there is no side effect. You can also speak to your baby’s paediatrician to know more.

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