What is white noise?

White noise is a parenting phenomenon and a tool commonly used as an effective way of calming distressed and crying babies, but how exactly does it work?

What is white noise?

Have you ever turned to doing some pointless washing or hovering in the hope the background noise might just get your little one off to sleep? White noise is a parenting phenomenon and a tool commonly used as an effective way of calming distressed and crying babies, but how exactly does it work?

What is white noise?

White noise is a ‘noise containing many frequencies with equal intensities’. After your little one has spent so long in the womb, it can be very stressful being exposed to the noisy world. White noise is a calming sound that is most commonly used to mask unwanted noise whilst mimicking the continuous sounds your baby hears in the womb to reduce stress, soothe your unsettled baby and prevent them being woken by loud noises.

Many articles on white noise reference The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Harvey Karp. His book is based on his theory of the calming reflex, which by following his 5 S’s sends a baby from ‘crying to content in a matter of seconds’. The second S is for shush, Harvey argues that hoovers and others sounds often fail because they lack ‘the womb’s rumbly quality’, instead ‘the best way to imitate these magic sounds is white noise’.

In addition to calming your baby and helping them drift off to sleep, the constant white noise can give your baby a continuous repetitive sound to help them stay asleep and drown out loud sudden noises that may have before woken your child and made them stir.

White noise products

Ollie the Owl is the ultimate white noise toy. In addition to being adorable, the intelligent CrySensor means Ollie the Owl will listen out for when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night and sooth them back to sleep for 20 minutes with either white noise or lullaby.

In addition, the Grohush is the perfect white noise baby calmer for on the move. The Grohush is the only hand-held white noise tool that only babies can hear, and doesn’t disturb those around you.