How To Choose The Best Baby White Noise Toys For Sleep How To Choose The Best Baby White Noise Toys For Sleep
00(Last Updated On: November 6, 2018)00 How To Choose The Best Baby White Noise Toys For Sleep
(Last Updated On: November 6, 2018)

We have seen this scene many a time in movies and TV programs.

An overjoyed couple brings home a newborn baby only to have the joy sucked right out of them by being woken up for the umpteenth time in the night by the sound of their little one crying.

The truth is all babies can be fussy sleepers. That is often the case especially during the first few weeks when newborns are adapting to a new world.

However, there is one method that has been scientifically tested and proven to be very effective at getting babies to nod-off fast – white noise.

So, say goodbye to trying the many unusual tricks circling online; such as putting your baby in a hiking bag pack and walking a few miles after dark. Or settling your baby in a car seat and propping it up on a washing machine or drier. Because, in this guide, we’ll discuss baby white noise generators, find out how they work and compare 6 of the best selling models in the UK.

This Guide At a Glance:

For ease this guide is broken down into easy to read chunks. You can read everything in order or skip to certain sections if there is anything in particular you’d like to know first. Here’s the contents at a glance:

Baby White Noise Toys Comparison Table


  • Ollie the Owl Grofriend


  • Our Rating


  • Dimensions:
    14 x 25 x 21 cm
  • Multiple Sounds:
    Yes (rainfall, heartbeat, lullaby, & white noise static)
  • Adjustable Volume?
    Yes
  • Can Be Attached To Cot/Moses Basket?
    Yes
  • Soothing Light?
    Yes
  • Batteries:
    4x AA (not included)
  • Noteworthy Features:
    Cry sensor, 3 levels of light, separate timers for sounds and light
  • ££

  • Bubzi Co Baby White Noise Sleep Aid


  • Our Rating


  • Dimensions:
    21.8 x 18 x 13.5 cm
  • Multiple Sounds:
    Yes (10 lullabies plus white noise setting)
  • Adjustable Volume?
    Yes
  • Can Be Attached To Cot/Moses Basket?
    Yes
  • Soothing Light?
    Yes
  • Batteries:
    3x AAA (included)
  • Noteworthy Features:
    Star light projector with changing colors, 10 lullabies plus 2 white sound profiles, & 30-minute automatic timer
  • ££

  • SweetDreamers Ewan The Dream Sheep


  • Our Rating


  • Dimensions:
    18 x 15 x 10 cm
  • Multiple Sounds:
    Yes (heartbeat & womb sounds, harp music, vacuum cleaner, and rain)
  • Adjustable Volume?
    Yes
  • Can Be Attached To Cot/Moses Basket?
    Yes
  • Soothing Light?
    Yes
  • Batteries:
    3 xAAA (not included)
  • Noteworthy Features:
    Plays 4 soothing sounds, portable cuddly design, and Velcro tail
  • ££

  • Chicco Goodnight Stars Soft Musical Nightlight


  • Our Rating


  • Dimensions:
    13 x 16 x 27 cm
  • Multiple Sounds:
    Yes (heartbeat & womb sounds, harp music, vacuum cleaner, and rain)
  • Adjustable Volume?
    No
  • Can Be Attached To Cot/Moses Basket?
    Yes
  • Soothing Light?
    Yes
  • Batteries:
    3x AA (not included)
  • Noteworthy Features:
    Separate starlight projection and light features, cute removable cuddly toy, and a nice varied play selection
  • ££

  • Fisher-Price CGN86 Hippo


  • Our Rating


  • Dimensions:
    24.1 x 17 x 7.9 cm
  • Multiple Sounds:
    Yes (white noise, nature sounds, and soothing music)
  • Adjustable Volume?
    No
  • Can Be Attached To Cot/Moses Basket?
    No
  • Soothing Light?
    Yes
  • Batteries:
    3x AA (not included)
  • Noteworthy Features:
    Lengthy 30-minute run time on sounds, sensory simulating light projector, and plush cuddly texture on head and legs
  • £

  • Summer Infant Slumber Buddies Eddie the Elephant


  • Our Rating


  • Dimensions:
    29.2 x 16.5 x 10.2 cm
  • Multiple Sounds:
    Yes (3 lullabies, running water, and heartbeat)
  • Adjustable Volume?
    Yes
  • Can Be Attached To Cot/Moses Basket?
    No
  • Soothing Light?
    Yes
  • Batteries:
    3x AA (included)
  • Noteworthy Features:
    Adjustable timer, star & moon display, 4 colour display options, and 3 level volume control
  • ££

Roundup: The Best 6 Baby White Noise Toys Compared

Ollie the Owl Grofriend

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When looking for a baby sleep aid, what better place is there to shop than from the Gro Company? This brand is dedicated to helping parents get their babies to sleep safely. With over 16 years of experience, Gro has rightfully earned their place as one of UK’s leading baby sleep brands. Their products are always safe, innovative, and designed to make parenting easier. One favourite choice for many parents is Ollie the Owl Grofriend.

More than a baby sleep aid, Ollie the owl is a plush cuddly companion that you will find yourself using all day, every day. During the day, Ollie will take up the role of the perfect playmate for your baby. The device then transforms into a trusted sidekick at night that will put your baby to sleep in a peaceful womb-like environment. Ollie even keeps an ear out for any stirring and murmuring and then swiftly re-activates so that you do not have to wake up. Here are more details on just what Ollie does:

Top Features

4 Different Sounds

With Ollie the Owl, you get 4 soothing sounds. These include Heartbeat, Rainfall, White Noise Static, and Brahms Lullaby sounds. This collection may not be the most packed. However, it offers just the right amount of variety to keep things different and interesting for your baby.

Buttons situated within either of Ollie’s wings make it very easy to select the sounds. Simply touch one wing to activate rainfall and heartbeat sounds and the other for the static and lullaby tune.

Adjustable Design

Beautiful, snuggly, and very soft in a tactile plush velvet material, the design of Ollie is one of its best features. But that is not the only likeable feature of this cute owl. Every aspect of the owl is adjustable and all of that control is conveniently placed at your fingertips.

The sounds can be adjusted through 3 different volume levels (Low, Mid, & High), while a gently glowing light (activated by pressing Ollie’s foot) that comes on at the owl’s tummy can be adjusted over 3 sensory levels.

Cry Sensor

Like all good white noise machines, the owl includes a timer that turns the sounds off after 20 minutes of play (light turns off after 30 minutes). But what if your baby is a particularly fussy sleeper who keeps waking up after short bouts of Sleep?

Well, in anticipation of this problem, Ollie is fitted with a cry sensor that automatically turns on when your baby makes even the tiniest of noises. Once you turn Ollie on, he will play his sounds for 20 straight minutes and then switch to standby mode for 3 hours. If your baby cries or makes a noise within this 3-hour time frame, the last played song will simply come back on.

Pros
Easy to use
Fits perfectly into any baby nursery
Cute owl look with heart motifs and lovely grey colour
Has secure Velcro for fastening onto surfaces (cot, pram, etc) and can also stand on its own
Built-in cry sensor technology is a nice touch that helps both baby and mum enjoy longer sleep times
Batteries are safely tucked away ensuring your little one cannot get to them
Cons
Batteries run out quickly

Conclusion

If you have had kids before or are a first-time parent, you will probably agree that any tool that promises to help babies sleep without any fuss is worth buying.

With Ollie you get a loveable owl that delivers on that promise and then some. The soft light and different sounds really help babies relax while the owl’s huggable design will win favour with your little one. The CrySensor technology, in turn, gives Ollie an edge over other competitor products making it a fantastic well-rounded sleep aid.

Bubzi Co Baby White Noise Sleep Aid

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With its adorable and plush design, this wise old owl will most likely become one of your baby’s favourite toys. Since it combines a nightlight and white sound machine into one convenient package, you can use it to put your tot to sleep as well as a source of light to make your way through your baby’s room during late night nappy change and feeding visits.

The owl even helps stimulate visual and auditory sensory development in your baby and makes a great companion for keeping your little person entertained when you cannot. Factor in the excellent low price of around £30 (at the time of writing) and the Bubzi Co owl is one of the best value for money white sound products around. Below we discuss all the specifics of this sleep aid owl to help you make an informed buying decision.

Top Features

Simple Controls

Everything you need to operate this Bubzi Sleep Aid is situated on the Sleep Owl’s tummy. On it is a round, removable sound machine with a starlight projector and 4 buttons.

The buttons feature power, arrow, volume, and star symbols for turning the owl on & off, choosing sounds, adjusting volume, and activating the starlight projector respectively. With the arrow button, you can use a series of repeated presses to scroll through the available sounds or a continuous press for 3 seconds to play all of the sounds in sequence.

Part of this stuffed owl’s controls also include a built-in timer, which turns off both sounds and the starry light after 30 minutes of play. This saves you from having to sneak into your baby’s room later in the night to switch the owl off.

Lullabies Galore

Mothers have been successfully singing their babies to sleep for centuries. This is part of the approach behind the Soothing Sleep Owl. It has 10 lullabies (7 more than the higher priced Summer Infant Eddie the Elephant) in its repertoire, including all-time favourites like Baa Baa Black Sheep, Oh My Darling, Mary Had A Little Lamb, London Bridge Is Falling, and Hush Little Baby.

So even if singing is not your forte, your baby can still enjoy the pleasure of drifting off to soft and comforting lullabies like so many babies before have. You can use the lullabies to keep your baby calm and happy during the day as you engage in other tasks.

White noise is another tool that the Bubzi Co Sleep Owl uses to soothe your baby to sleep. This is offered in the form of a chirpy birdsong and heartbeat sounds.

Soft Star Projection

With more and more white noise machines including a light projector in their design, it came as no surprise to find in the Sleep Owl.

It utilizes a starlight projector, which projects softly lit stars that will help tiny droopy eyes close much faster than they are willing to. And it gets even better. The stars are as beautiful as they are comforting. They slowly fade into different colours ranging from a green to yellow to purple glow, as well as a captivating mixture of blue and red.

Safe Build

Thanks to a clever design, the batteries of this owl sleep aid are not a hazard to your baby. They are situated within the removable plastic sound machine underneath a battery compartment, which you have to unscrew open using a tiny screwdriver that is provided along with the owl. Therefore, your child will not be able to get to the batteries even during their curious toddler stage.

Pros
Small and portable design
Sound module can be removed to give the stuffed owl a good wash
Lights and sounds can be played together or separately
The owl’s back has a Velcro handle for attachment to the baby crib, car seat, pushchair, and pretty much any surface
Features 5 volume settings that give you plenty of freedom to choose how loud or soft you want the music and sounds to play
Includes free AAA batteries as part of the package
Cons
Since the unit runs on batteries, you might need to replace them often or invest in a rechargeable set.

Conclusion

Save for the non-rechargeable battery downside, there is nothing to fault about this Bubzi Co Baby White Noise Sleep and Nightlight owl. The whopping 10 songs, 2 realistic-sounding nature profiles, starry nightlight projection, and reasonably lengthy run time of 30 minutes are some pretty amazing features. Some more expensive models do not even offer such a generous combination of features.

SweetDreamers Ewan The Dream Sheep

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If you cannot wait to try out the soothing effects of white noise, SweetDreamers Ewan the dream sheep is a great device to start with. This sheep actually produces pink noise, which is basically a combination of random noises that get louder and more powerful at the lower frequencies. Think white noise with the bass turned up.

All the same, pink noise is just as great as white noise when it comes to calming and settling down a baby to get some rest. Read on to find out more about the soothing traits of Ewan the dream sheep.

Top Features

Multiple Sound Options

The main thing that stands out with Ewan is multiple play options. Does your baby appear calmer in the midst of nature sounds? Or, is music the preferred relaxation tool for your baby? Ewan the dream sheep has you covered. He has 4 soundtracks in total, which include harp music, vacuum cleaner, rainfall, and womb sounds.

Each of the soundtracks plays alongside an actual recording of a heartbeat at rest echoing in the background. Therefore, you get double the sleep-inducing hypnotic power of white noise with Ewan.

Soft Pink Glow

The low base frequency sounds of this SweetDreamers cuddly sheep will be enough to soothe your baby right into a deep and lengthy slumber. However, Ewan goes on to include a charming pink glow that makes for an even more soothing atmosphere. Just like the included sounds, the pink glow mimics the womb’s environment to naturally trigger feelings of comfort and relaxation in a baby.

Velcro Tail

Need to head out for the day with your infant? Well, why not bring Ewan with you. The sheep itself is small and can easily fit into a car seat, pushchair, or pram without causing your baby any discomfort.

But that’s not the best part. Ewan has a Velcro tail that makes it possible for you to attach the sheep onto whatever means of baby carrier you are using when on the go. So, the chances of losing Ewan during outdoor trips are slim. The Velcro tail also means you can stick Ewan onto your baby’s cot at night.

Automatic Shut-off Timer

With Ewan activated and your baby sleeping peacefully in the cot, it wouldn’t be good if you had to wake up to turn off the sheep, especially after comfortably settling down to sleep. Well, that kind of inconvenience won’t be a problem since Ewan has an inbuilt shutdown timer. The sheep automatically shuts off after 20 minutes. This function helps to prolong battery life and allows you to enjoy your beauty sleep too.

Pros
Buttons situated on one of the sheep’s feet make it very easy for you to choose your desired sound and volume settings
Light and portable design makes this device good to use on-the-go
The device emits a soothing pink glow at night that doubles up as a night light
Features a nice soft cuddly design that your baby will love
The pink light can be turned on & off at will
Cons
Uses non-rechargeable batteries
Batteries do not last long

Conclusion

SweetDreamers Ewan is quite literally a dream sheep. Thanks to the inclusion of not just real life heartbeat and womb sounds but also music and soothing glow light, you will not have to rock or sing your baby to sleep.

Simply set your little tot in his/her cot, and turn on Ewan to your child’s favourite sound. The light will engage your baby’s attention thereby preventing him from crying or fussing while the sounds will soothe him to sleep. Any parent will agree that putting a baby to sleep that easily is a huge blessing. There is; however, a slight downside. Ewan runs on non-rechargeable batteries, so you will have to buy new ones from time to time.

Chicco Goodnight Stars Soft Musical Nightlight

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Your baby may not be able to snuggle up to the Chicco Goodnight Stars Soft Musical Nightlight at night as is the case with stuffed animal sleep aid toys, but this is a small price to pay given all that you get in return.

This device doubles up as a coloured lamp and starlight projector. It also plays an array of sweet melodies and throws in some nature sounds to gently lull your baby to sleep. The unit even includes a removable cute soft fabric toy, which although smaller than your average stuffed toy is just as huggable. So, before you dismiss this Chicco Goodnight nightlight for its unusual design, check our guide on the product first.

Top Features

Bedtime Melodies and Nature Sound Combo

If you have a baby who loves the sound of music, the Chicco Goodnight Musical Nightlight is perfect for you. Featuring great taste in music, this nightlight introduces your baby to music in style with a selection of 2 classical tunes (Bach & Rosinni compositions) and an additional 2 New Age tunes. All you need to do is press the button featuring the musical note icon, and the melodies will start playing one after the other.

Aside from the 4 melodies which most babies find relaxing, the nightlight includes an addition 2 soothing nature sounds in its list of play options and are this devices ‘whitenoise’ sounds.

2 Light Modes

Whether you are settling down your little one for sleep or are going into the room for a night time feed or nappy change, the Chicco Goodnight helps ensure you can do both with ease. The unit has a small switch on one side that allows you to flip between 2 settings of Light and Projector modes. The Light Mode simply shines a coloured luminous glow through the nightlight’s globe-like top, giving you some light to see in the dark. The Projector Mode, in turn, starts a display of stars that change in a cycling pattern of colours to keep your little one entertained.

Both modes display their various light effects for 10 minutes before the unit switches to standby mode. The length the music plays for is also affected by the choice of light setting. When in ‘Light Mode’ the sounds play for 6 minutes, whereas ‘Projector Mode’ delivers 12 minutes of play before the nightlight goes into standby mode.

Detachable Soft Toy

One unique upside of the Chicco Goodnight is that your baby gets a cuddly friend in the form of a tiny cute stuffed toy – that looks just like a little person. The toy is made of a soft cuddly material, clad in pyjamas, and has its eyes closed.

With this friendly design, plus the fact that the cute toy can be detached from the nightlight, it makes a great playmate when your little one is up and about, in addition to making the perfect bedtime companion to signal sleep at night.

Pros
Can be used from birth
Lightweight (0.42kg) and portable design
Comes in cute pink and blue colours
Light is nice and soft
Buttons are chunky and easy to use
The unit is both freestanding and can be attached to the baby cot
You can re-start the unit’s light effects at any given time by simply pressing a moon-shaped button found next to the sound button
The detachable toy can be tossed in the washing machine for a quick freshen
Cons
The volume cannot be adjusted
Does not come with batteries or the tiny screwdriver needed to open the battery compartment
You cannot go directly to a favourite song as all sounds play continuously on a loop

Conclusion

The Chicco Goodnight Stars Soft Musical Nightlight will make a nice addition in any nursery. The enchanting light display with beautiful tunes and nature sounds playing in the background will set the mood for sleep. Plus, it also acts as a lamp you can use to move around your baby’s room without causing a disturbance, and your little one will get a separate play companion that can be carried anywhere.

Fisher-Price CGN86 Hippo

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If you are looking for an affordable sleep aid tool for your baby, the Fisher-Price CGN86 Hippo should be in your list of considerations. Its manufacturer suggested retail price as of this writing is £22.99, but you can pick one up for as little as £19.99 on some online stores.

One thing is for sure – the Fisher-Price CGN86 Hippo is one of the most affordable baby white noise devices you will come across.

Sporting a charming look in light blue and white with stripes and dots of colour spread along the legs, this snuggly hippo is also great at its job. It sets the perfect mood for sweet dreams with 30 minutes of soothing sounds coupled with a beautiful starlight projection in a hypnotizing soft glow that will send your baby gently off to dreamland.

Top Features

Baby-Friendly Design

A hippo may not be the first choice of sleep aid design but this Fisher-Price projection soother has a lot going for it. The exterior of the hippo is in a calm light blue colour while the legs and face feature a soft, plush texture that adds a touch of comfort to the soother/toy.

The soother even comes complete with cute hippo-like facial features (including sweet light blue love hearts on the cheeks and a tiny smiling mouth). The hippo also includes a little something for parents in its design. It is light enough to be carried everywhere you go with your little one and offers easy operation in the form of a trio of buttons located on the side of the hippo for light, music, and sound selection.

3 Audio Modes

In terms of sounds, this Fisher-Price CGN86 Hippo more than satisfies. It features 3 audio modes that give you the choice between white sound, classical lullaby music, and nature sounds that include rainfall, frogs, and even the sweet chirping of birds. All sounds play for a full 30 minutes before the hippo shuts off which should easily be enough time to ease your little one off to sleep.

Unfortunately, there is no volume button so you may find the music mode to be a little too loud especially during the night when the outside world is quiet. The white noise and nature sounds, however, are soothingly perfect.

Starlight Projector Dome

This is where Fisher-Price CGN86 Hippo (literally) shines best. The back of the hippo is a hard clear plastic dome-shaped projector with stars littered all over. The projector releases a beautiful star-filled light into your baby’s room in a hazy-like glow that will entrance your child while also gently relaxing him/her in readiness for sleep.

Aside from looking great, the starlight projector can really light up the entire ceiling or wall when strategically placed in the room. Best locations include on a dresser next to your baby’s cot or at the very centre of the room.

The only downside is that the light only stays on for approximately 5 minutes, which is not long enough for a baby to settle down and fall asleep. What’s worse is that some parents have said the stars going off can sometimes unsettle a baby who was just dozing off.

So, you will have to practice clever tactics like when switching on the light when your baby is already nodding off, sticking around to hit the light button every 5 minutes, or choosing to forgo the mesmerizing stars altogether to avoid prolonging the bedtime routine.

Pros
Extremely light with 0.5kg of weight
The Hippo can be set down on any flat surface (dresser, car seat, cot mattress, tabletop, etc)
The device has stars that emit a calming soft light glow
Batteries are safely tucked away inside the hippo’s belly/underside
Both the lights and sounds are great for developing and strengthening visual and auditory senses in your child
Cons
Does not feature the convenient Velcro strap that most portable units come with
Stars only light up for a meager 5 minutes

Conclusion

Fisher-Price had the right idea when designing this Hippo Projection Soother. The hippo’s design is very captivating to a baby, the sounds are delightful, and the faded starlight is just at the perfect intensity to avoid over-stimulating your little one.

These 3 features create a comforting and soothing sleep environment, making the hippo brilliant at its job. It is just a shame that the light, which is arguably the best feature of this hippo was cut so short.

This puts an otherwise great soother at a disadvantage against competing products like Ewan the dream sheep, Ollie the Owl, and Bubzi Co White Noise Sleep Aid and Night Light all of which have lights that last much longer. The lack of volume control is another thing that prevents this hippo from being a hit amongst all parents.

Summer Infant Slumber Buddies Eddie the Elephant

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Featuring everything from a soft fluffy body with light projection to a variety of calming sounds, adjustable timer and volume settings, Slumber Buddies really went all out with this pretty little elephant.

So, whether you are dealing with an infant who does not know the difference between play and sleep times or a toddler who is experiencing sleep regression, Eddie could very well be the slumber pal your child needs to sleep better. Find out firsthand about the magical sleep aid that is Eddie the Elephant by reading through our guide below.

Top Features

Multiple Light Settings

Much like the Fisher-Price Hippo, Eddie the Elephant has a dome-shaped projector with stars on his back. Thanks to the dome shape, the starry light that seeps through the projector spreads far and wide in your baby’s room making for both a beautiful calming scene and a good source of light. The light is not too bright but shines at just the right intensity to capture your little one’s undivided attention and illuminate the room as well.

Another plus with little Eddie here is that he throws in a moon onto his dome back projector to create a more realistic nightscape. The light also comes in multiple colour settings of red, green, and blue.

The red is a bit dull, the green is bright, while the blue offers the nicest glow and is a favourite among most babies and parents. A light button (one of 3) situated at the base of the dome projector takes you through these colours one press at a time.

Pressing the button once more (i.e. 4 presses in a row) will take you to Eddie’s 4th light setting – a rhythmic light show that displays all colours continuously on a loop. With this setting, each colour lasts about 10 seconds at a time giving your baby enough time to soak in the starry marvel that is happening before dozing off.

5 Sounds

When it comes to sounds, there is a good variety of them with Eddie. The list of options includes 3 lullabies (Brahm’s Lullaby, Hush Little Baby, & Frolic Rhodes) and 2 sounds (Babbling Brook & heartbeat), all of which are accessed at the simple push of a button.

The music can be a bit loud but with the volume button at hand; you can set down to the lowest setting to avoid upsetting your baby.

In-built Adjustable Timer

With sleep aid tools, there are generally 2 things that most parents would rather avoid; going through packs of batteries in a short amount of time and having to wait out the baby to fall asleep to physically turn off the unit. This where a timer feature comes in handy and Eddie has outdone himself in this area. You not only get a much-needed built-in timer but are also provided with the choice of deciding how long you want to the elephant to run. Options include 15, 30, and a remarkable 45 minutes straight.

Pros
Lights are both interesting and relaxing
A portable build of just 454g makes it possible to take the elephant anywhere from visits to grandma to overseas trips
You can select either sounds/music and lights to play separately or both at the same time
Batteries last a respectable 20 hours
The battery compartment is screwed shut and hidden under the elephant’s padded belly (which straps shut with Velcro flaps) to keep babies and toddlers out
Cons
Does not playback the list of sounds continuously

Conclusion

Comfy, easy to use, adjustable, and soothing & mesmerizing in equal measure, Summer Infant Slumber Buddies Eddie the Elephant offers everything you will need in a sleep aid. The only thing missing to make Eddie hit a home run in sleep aid features is a sensor.

However, with a maximum of 45 minutes on the timer, you will not need one, as your baby will be fast asleep by the time Eddie turns off.

What is White Noise?

In technical terms, white noise is a special type of sound, which contains all the frequencies within the human range of hearing (between 20 and 20,000HZ) in equal intensities.

Unless you have deep knowledge about sound, that definition probably does not make much sense. So think along these terms; sitting in a fully packed stadium or walking through a busy crowded street. Since there will be all sorts of noises plus a bunch of people talking at the same time in varying pitches, you will not be able to make out everything that you hear.

Instead, the collective noise will rise up in unison and hit your ears as one sound, which resonates like a distant and continuous roar. That is pretty much what white noise is – a wide range of sounds in different frequencies wrapped as one sound that your ears cannot make sense of.

What is the Baby-Sleep Relation to White Noise?

While most people will be quick to assume that noise can be unsettling for a baby, the contrary is true. Newborns actually find a bit of noise to be relaxing. That is why many babies will fall asleep in the middle of a noisy party or when taken on a car ride.

This stems from their time in the womb, which is quite a noisy place (slightly less loud than a lawnmower but louder than a vacuum cleaner). From as early as the 16th week of pregnancy when the ears become functional, a foetus hears a whole range of sounds constantly every day.

This includes the loud whoosh of blood rushing through the mother’s arteries, intestinal gurgling noises, not to mention the thunderous beating of mum’s heart, which resonates at more than 90 decibels (or slightly louder than a bulldozer).

External voices and sounds also make it to the foetus’ ears although these get a little muffled by the amniotic fluid. So for babies, loud is actually normal. This is why baby white noise and white noise generators help to trigger sleep in newborns.

With the amount of noise babies are used to while in utero, night-times in the real world can be uncomfortably quiet for a newborn. White noise creates a safe haven by mimicking the whooshing sounds heard in the womb. As a result, it is believed that white noise calms infants helping them drift off to sleep.

There is even evidence to support this hypothesis in a 1990 study published in the “Archives of Disease in Childhood”. In the study, 40 babies were taken and divided into 2 groups of 20 each. The first group of babies were exposed to white noise while those in the other group were not. From the group exposed to white noise, 80% of the babies fell asleep within five minutes while only 25% of infants in the other group managed to sleep that fast.

Other Benefits of White Noise

Aside from its relaxing effect on babies, white noise has other benefits that help newborns sleep better. These include:

Blocking out Loud Noises:

It does not take much to wake a baby from sleep. The honk of a car outside, a loud TV, small children running around the house, the clanging of dishes, and other abrupt environmental noises will do it. White noise cancels out these noises, ensuring that once down for the count, your baby will only wake up after getting enough sleep.

Preventing Arousal from Sleep:

In addition to being light sleepers, babies tend to sleep for short cycles at a time. This is because babies have what is called ‘sleep arousals’ whereby they doze off for about 20 – 45 minutes, rouse from their sleep, and are unable to fall back to sleep afterwards. White noise helps babies to transition through the sleep arousal periods more peacefully without waking up. As a result, your baby gets to enjoy longer and more restful sleep times.

Reducing Risk of SIDS:

While this has no relation to helping babies sleep better, it is worth mentioning. It has been found that the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome reduces significantly (by up to 72%) when a fan is installed in a newborn’s room. While health experts are not sure why this is the case, the theory is that white noise reduces active sleep (or sleep arousal as its better known), which is the state where SIDS is most likely to occur.

Types of White Noise Machines

You would think that for a machine whose purpose is to simply emit white noise, there would not be much difference among models. But, this could not be further from the truth.

White noise machines come in all manner of designs and shapes. From mechanical-looking devices to owl-shaped gadgets to snuggly teddy bears and stuffed animal toys, the are a lot of choices out there.

To help you navigate through the endless array of options, here is a quick breakdown of the different types of white noise machines.

1 Plug-in machines

As per the name, these types of white noise machines plug into an electrical socket to work. The great thing about this type of machine is that you never have to worry about running out of batery. Simply plug in the machine and you are good to go. So, you can use one at any given time of night or day

2 Battery-Operated machines

Battery-operated white noise emitters run on rechargeable batteries. They are also known as portable white noise machines owing to the fact that they can be used anywhere both in and out of your home. This means that with a battery-operated white noise machine, you can put your baby down for a nap when at a friend’s home, while out food shopping, or during road trips. You just need to make sure you have a full charge on your machine before heading out.

3 Stuffed Animal machines

As far as looks go, stuffed-animal white noise emitters are the cutest designs you can get. They are simply a white noise machine inserted into a stuffed animal. The animal part of the machine can be anything from a teddy bear to a monkey, elephant, sheep, or even giraffe. So in addition to serving as a white noise machine, your baby gets a toy to play with as well with this option.

4 Combination machines

These emit not just white noise but also throw in an extra feature or two. The feature can be an alarm, a clock, one end of a baby monitor, or a light projector, which illuminates patterns or shapes on the ceiling and walls of your baby’s bedroom.

Tips for Choosing a White Noise Machine

The fact that there are different types of white noise devices out there, means that you will have to take a minute to decide what machine will be good for you and your baby.

It also pays to have an idea of what features to look out for in a white noise machine. This way, you will be able to find an ideal match quickly. So, we have compiled some shopping tips below to give you a head start on finding the best white noise machine for you.

Battery or Electrically Operated?

The first choice you will be faced with when buying a white noise generator is whether to go for a battery or mains-powered option. For the most part, electrical white noise machines are the better option as they are the cheaper model and do not come with the hassle of having to be charged.

However, if you are always on the move with your little one, the portable advantage of battery-operated machines will be better suited for you. There are; however, some white noise machines that run on both mains power and battery making it possible to enjoy the benefits of each type.

Choose a Tolerable Sound

As mentioned earlier, white noise is the general term given for any constant and unchanging sound that contains a blend of varying sound frequencies. For this reason, there is a wide spectrum of possible white noise sounds – rainfall, waterfalls, jungle noises, fuzzy static, sea waves, washing machine noise, plus so much more.

So, before choosing a white noise machine, familiarize yourself with the noise it produces. Is it soothing and pleasant to the ears or does it make you wince in pain as pure white static noise normally does for many?

Get one with Adjustable Volume

Although babies are used to a noisy environment, too much noise is obviously not a good idea. A white noise machine that is too loud can cause ear problems or even deafness when used over a lengthy period of time. So, it is highly important that you make sure that the device you buy has an adjustable volume. This way, you will be able to keep the volume at a reasonable level.

Look out for a Sleep-Timer Function

The majority of white noise machines come with a timer function that allows you to set the device to turn off after 15, 30, 60, or so minutes. This feature is worth having because it allows you to save on power or prolong the device’s battery life.

Does it have any other useful/interesting features?

The scope of features found on white noise machines is vast. Some have a voice activation feature that triggers the emission of white sound when the baby starts crying in the middle of the night or grunts or gurgles in their sleep.

Others project a starry nightscape great for keeping babies entertained as they fall asleep. You can even find white noise generators that allow the option of adding your own soothing sounds and even lullabies to the unit’s sounds.

Remote control functionality is also a feature you can find in white noise machines. Overall, any machine with extra features is a great buy, but only if the unit’s price is within your budget and the extra features are genuinely useful.

To Sum Up

If you have a small baby who seems to take forever to fall asleep only to wake up a few minutes after being put down, a white noise generator is something you could really benefit from.

They are simple to use (most units are activated via a touchpad or buttons), non-invasive, effective at sidestepping sleep problems in babies, and does not cause any undesirable side effects when used correctly. This simply entails keeping the volume at the recommended level of no more than 50 decibels to avoid hearing problems and slowly starting to wean off your child from the machine at about 1-year of age to avoid an over-dependence on white noise.

Give white noise a try and you might find yourself singing its praises.