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White noise can help put your newborn baby to sleep

Updated on June 26, 2009

Sleep like a baby?

As they say, anyone who says the sleep like a baby doesn't have one. Ask any parent what the most stressful part of new parenthood was for them and they will almost all say trying to get their infant to sleep. The funny thing is, new parents often notice their babies sleep when monotonous noises are going on – like the hairdryer or the washing machine or tumble dryer. These appliances basically make white noise which babies tend to find comforting because it makes them feel like they are in the womb.

Unfamiliar world

When it comes to sleep time, it helps to look at it from your tot's point of view though. They've spent nine months in the womb – a comfortable, safe environment with clearly defined boundaries and suddenly, they are thrust into the world with colours and lights and strange sounds and lots and lots of space (ever notice how very young babies like to be swaddled? It makes them feel safe – like they are still in the womb). It's pretty stressful for the baby. Your daughter has to get used to a whole new environment, one which is very different to the womb. Sleeping can be tricky for a tiny baby – used to gentle motion in the womb and the comfort of steady sounds of mum's heartbeat, the outside world just doesn't seem right and since they have no other way to communicate, babies cry. It can often help to try and recreate some of the sensations of the womb for your baby – gentle rocking can drift them off to sleep, being swaddled is also a good way of making them feel like they are still safely in the womb, and then of course, creating some white noise can really help calm and soothe your baby.

Where can you find white noise CDs?

As I mentioned above, many parents find their newborns dropping off unexpectedly when they turn on the tumble dryer or they have a fan blowing or some other repetitive noise. This is counter intuitive to a certain extent because we think you need a quiet environment for a baby to fall asleep in. In fact, you can be too quiet, creating an atmosphere that your baby isn't used to and making it difficult for them to fall asleep. Of course you can't just leave your appliances running all the time....a hair dryer blowing or a vacuum cleaner switched on consumes electricity at an alarming rate and in these energy saving and economically troubled times, we don't want that. And of course there are safety issues – leaving an unattended hair dryer on constantly isn't a good idea. The next best thing is to buy a CD of white noise or womb sounds that you can play to your baby to help them drop off to sleep. There are tons of these sorts of CDs out there – a quick glance through eBay or other online stores such as Amazon for white noise cds should bring you back plenty to choose from. Other good sources of white noise are recordings of the sea or a rushing river or perhaps a rainstorm. You can often find these sorts of sounds on CDs of sample sounds that musicians would buy, so be creative when you search. White noise is so well regarded as a soothing sound for your baby that you can even buy plush toys which will play white noise so your baby can have a cuddly white noise elephant for example!

What is white noise?

But what is white noise? White noise is really just all the frequencies a human ear can hear mixed together equally and played at the same time. Think of a crowded room of people talking – you can't pick out individual words or conversations, but you get a continual background hum – that's a sort of white noise. The sound of the sea or a rushing river is also white noise.

Fall asleep baby, stay asleep baby

White noise really serves two purposes in helping soothe your baby to sleep and to keep them asleep. In the soothing stage, it mimics the continuous sounds they would have heard in the womb – blood rushing, heart beating, digestive sounds and so on...this helps the baby feel like they are in a familiar environment so they feel safe and comfortable and fall asleep. While they are asleep, white noise can help mask any other sudden sounds which might otherwise make your baby (such as you, for example dropping your knife and fork by mistake) so it helps keep your little one asleep, which as we know is really a godsend for new parents.

If your newborn is having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try running your hair dryer while you are putting them down. If you find that the noise helps soothe them then consider investing in a CD of white noise to help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep. You might even find that the soothing sounds calm you down as well and pretty soon, you and your other half will be sleeping


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      1busymommy2 6 years ago

      We discovered the beauty of monotonous noise by putting the bouncy seat by the dryer. Worked like a dream when we were at home, but we travel a lot so we needed an alternative. Read about a fun portable noise machine, Sleepy Bee on Now we don't leave home without him. Even works in a noise airport.

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      mommy 6 years ago

      it was not good to letting baby cry so white noice may self soothe to sleep the crying baby thankyou hub

    • profile image

      busymommy 6 years ago


    • w_elizabeth profile image

      w_elizabeth 7 years ago

      nice hub tatau! now I know what white noise is...

    • Kimberly Bunch profile image

      Kimberly Bunch 8 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

      Nice Hub! Here's one that might help:

    • profile image

      ukato 8 years ago

      i really love d ideal becuz we parent need some help.

    • tatau profile image

      tatau 8 years ago

      thanks for the comment deepestwisdom. the joy of parenthood is only blighted by the lack of sleep.... :)

    • deepestwisdom profile image

      deepestwisdom 8 years ago from England

      This is a really interesting hub - anything that helps a baby to stay asleep has to be a good thing!