Most people are prepared for the first few weeks or even months of sleep being tough with a new baby, but when sleep is still elusive when they’re six months or more, and you’re running on empty, you need some assistance. A good routine helps a lot, so does blackout blinds, and a calming sleep space, but new parents will be recommended white noise again and again. Baby monitors play it, there are specific white noise machines and white noise playlists are aplenty on Spotify, but now there’s also pink noise and brown noise popping up as our savers of sleep. To find out which is the right one for your baby, how to use it and why exactly it works, we spoke to Dr. Daniel Golshevsky (Dr. Golly), paediatrician and creator of the Dr. Golly Sleep Program.
Why does white noise help soothe babies?
“If we consider the concept of the 4th trimester; this helps us to understand where the most effective settling techniques are derived,” says Dr. Golly. “Different measures like swaddling, shushing, patting, rocking a newborn, essentially return us to the feeling of being in the womb and are extremely effective. If you think about what a baby is hearing when in the womb, it’s similar to listening to things when underwater. This is the theory behind white noise as a settling technique. As your baby grows, it remains a positive association, helps your baby link their sleep cycles and drowns out external and household noises.”
What white noises should we be using?
“True white noise is that static sound, but many white noise machines also play nature sounds such as rain and ocean sounds. Either option, white noise or nature sounds, are fine to use. What is important is that it be played at a medium level (around the volume level of a shower running) and when your baby is crying, it can be turned up so they can hear it over their cries, then turned down when calm and settled. It should be played for every sleep, for the entire duration of sleep, even overnight, and it’s amazing how many parents tell me they now love white noise too and their own sleep has benefited.”