There’s a reason shushing—aka white noise—is an integral part of Dr. Harvey Karp’s groundbreaking 5 S’s for soothing babies: It really works! White noise has been proven to help lull babies to sleep and keep them calm and content. And it can work for toddlers, big kids, and grownups, too.

But if your family hasn’t yet tried drifting off to this soothing sound, you might wonder how white noise works its magic, how to best use white noise to help your little one sleep, or even whether your babe can become dependent on this sleep-inducing sound. So, to cut through the noise (heh), we’ve pulled together Dr. Harvey Karp’s best white noise advice.

What is White Noise?

Not all background noise is created equal! Learn why the whirl of a rumbly fan and the sound of a pediatrician-designed white noise machine is very different from nature sounds and quiet lullabies when it comes to inducing sleep.

White Noise Explained

What is white noise? Will you know it when you hear it? To be sure, read our easy white-noise cheat sheet to help you land on the perfect sounds to get your baby to sleep.

White Noise is One of The 5 S’s

Dr. Harvey Karp’s renowned 5 S’s for calming babies includes Swaddling, Side-Stomach Position, Swinging, Sucking…and Shushing—aka white noise! Learn more about the baby-calming technique that’s taught in hospitals, parenting clinics, military bases, and more all across the world.

White Noise in the Womb

Baby’s love of white noise starts in the womb! Learn about what babies can actually hear in utero…and how those sounds continue to calm after they’re born.

Can White Noise Be Harmful?

Many parents worry that white noise machines may be bad for babies…but is that really the case? Here, Dr. Harvey Karp delves into the research and offers his expert take on white noise and hearing.  

The Big Difference Between White Noise and Lullabies

Science tells us that the best lullabies to calm your baby aren’t the same sounds that help your baby sleep. Find out what lullabies can—and cannot do—for your baby…and why white noise is always a better sleepytime helper.

Baby Sleep & White Noise

Babies are born loving white noise! Find out why…and how to use white noise to get your little one the best rest possible.

White Noise Benefits for Newborns

The familiar sound of loud, rumbly white noise is exactly what your baby needs to help trigger their calming reflex, which is nature’s “off-switch” for crying and “on-switch” for sleep all babies are born with. Learn more about how white noise benefits babies.

Is It Good to Sleep With White Noise?

The white noise that lulls little ones to sleep is slightly different from the white noise that can calm upsets. Dr. Harvey Karp explains how white noise helps babies sleep.

Common Baby White Noise Mistakes to Avoid

There are right and wrong ways to use white noise for baby’s sleep. Learn what the four most common white noise missteps are.

Can Babies Become Dependent on White Noise?

Babies can become reliant on a white noise...just like grown-ups become “dependent” on bedtime comforts like snoozing with a pillow or sleeping on a mattress. If you’re still eager to wean your little one off white noise, simply wait until after their first birthday and then gradually lower the sound for a week or two until it’s off. Read more about baby sleep cues.

The Simple Baby Bedtime Routine That Really Works

Most babies are ready to start a bedtime routine when they’re around 6 to 8 weeks old. Here’s how to include white noise into a baby’s bedtime routine.

White Noise & Transitions

Whether your bub is moving from SNOO to crib, from crib to toddler bed, or simply sleeping in a new environment for the night, the familiar rumbly sound of white noise can help them get the ZZZs they need.

White Noise Helps Get Baby From SNOO to Crib

When your child moves to the crib, it’s very helpful to continue playing white noise for all naps and nights. Here’s how to use white noise during your crib transition.

Help Babies Sleep Away from Home

Recreating bedtime comforts—including soothing white noise—is instrumental in helping babies, toddlers, and big kids get proper ZZZs when at grandma’s, the babysitter’s, or on vacation. Here’s how to make traveling with Baby easier.

White Noise Helps Baby Move to a Toddler Bed With Ease

Your little one’s favorite and familiar sleep cues, like white noise, make for an easier transition to the big-kid bed. Learn how to use white noise for this milestone move!

Toddler Sleep & White Noise

Babies don’t outgrow white noise. Instead, the soothing sounds of white noise continue to help toddler and big kids get the ZZZs they need…just in a different way.

The Best Toddler Bedtime Routine Includes White Noise

As your toddler’s mind gets more active, soft white noise often becomes less effective. Here’s what you need to know about the rougher white noise big kids need.

Advice for Sleep Training Your Toddler

There are a few sleep training methods for parents to choose from…but they all have one thing in common: White noise! Here’s why white noise is a must for toddler sleep training success.

White Noise and Toddler Waking

Teething, a mild cold, a noisy television…all of these nuisances can disrupt a toddler’s sleep…but white noise can keep these night-wakings at bay.

Adult Sleep & White Noise

Truth is: You never outgrow white noise! The calming, sleep-inducing sounds can continue to help your sleep throughout your lifetime.

How White Noise Helps the Whole Family Sleep

While swaddles and SNOO are only for babies, there is one baby-sleep essential that’s perfect for the whole family: White noise! Learn how to use white noise to help everyone get the rest they need.

White Noise & Pregnancy: Getting Better Sleep When Expecting

White noise can improve sleep quality in adults…and help those with sleep issues—like sleeping with a big old pregnant belly—fall into deep sleep more quickly. Learn more!

Our Best-Selling, Pediatrician-Designed White Noise Products

SNOObear white noise teddy bear

SNOO Smart Sleeper: The award-winning responsive SNOO bassinet uses white noise, gentle rocking, and a safe swaddle to boost Baby’s sleep for all naps and nights. Its quick response time often calms upset babies in under a minute…and SNOO can add 1 to 2 hours of sleep per night.

SNOObie: This friendly-looking parental sidekick isn't just a sleep-enhancing white noise machine, it's also a nightlight and OK-to-wake sleep trainer (and so much more!) SNOObie plays the white noise parents love in SNOO...with some extras, including four lullabies, two soothing shushing tracks, two calming Magic Breathing tracks, and the lulling sound of a train. (Learn more about how you can use SNOObie to boost your family's routines!)

SNOObear: It’s a white noise machine, a lovey, and a silly puppet—perfect for babies and toddlers! SNOObear offers Baby the same signature white noise sounds as SNOO, plus it’s responsive. That means, after the sound shuts off, SNOObear continues to monitor your baby for three more hours and automatically plays its soothing sounds if your little one cries.

White Noise MP3: This download includes Dr. Harvey Karp’s top eight soothing white noise sleep sounds, such as “Strong Hair Dryer,” and “Fast & Vigorous,” both of which calm fussy babies, ultra-low pitch “Soft Rain” designed for sensitive sleepers (most Like Womb), and “Mellow” womb sounds for a full night’s rest.

White Noise CD: This CD includes the very same magical sleep sounds that Dr. Harvey Karp recommends—and features in—the white noise MP3 above. 

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.