Yes, white noise is great. But with a few caveats. In the
first three to four months, white noise can be soothing for babies—that's why you'll hear
so many parents say that odd noises like hairdryers or static between radio
stations and so forth seem to magically make their baby stop crying. You might even notice that your newborn likes
to sleep in a busy coffee shop. Researchers are not sure why, but background humming and activity can trigger a
calming response and help little babies settle. It could be that they were so
used to constant noise from being in utero or that audio input helps to
balance and organize the nervous system (similar to the way motion makes babies
In any case, it makes sense to use white noise in your baby's
Don't crank the volume, though. I've been in many baby nurseries to
help families with sleep, and I always ask to hear the white noise. I sit
quietly and listen to it and tell parent to do the same.
Don't crank the volume, though.
"Imagine you are
sleeping in here," I say. "Is it peaceful and calm?" Often, the machine is set to too loud—which
can be harmful to a baby's ears over time or become too grating. If you'd
like the noise in your own bedroom, it's probably a good one for your child.
Usually, that means a nature sound, like rain or the ocean, rather than a static
sound. Even a low fan can do the trick.
After the newborn period, white noise can still be helpful
as a sleep association, as long as it doesn't turn off in the middle of the
night (the change could make your baby disoriented).