You might think your baby needs complete silence to sleep, but your little one might actually sleep better with a baby white noise machine. Bedtime for your tot isn’t always going to be the quietest time of your day, which is why getting your little one used to background noises while they’re resting plays such a crucial part in running your household as normal without worrying about waking up your baby.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
You’d think that with white noise machines, it would be as simple as finding one, plugging it in, and hoping like heck that it soothes your baby or at least drowns out the noise of your own parental anxiety for a minute. (Joke’s on us, nothing can do that.)
And while it’s not that complicated, there are a couple of things that you really need to decide about before purchasing. Those are, lighted or not lighted, timer or no timer, chargeable or corded, plush or standard, and whether or not you want a reactive sound machine.
Lighted or Not
If you’re interested in a sound machine that lights up, there are a few categories to choose from: plain old night light style, dimmable night light (sometimes with a timer), and galaxy light that makes stars glow on the ceiling. Opting for a night light is a nice feature to have, but if you’re using it frequently to put your baby to sleep, you should opt for one with a timer so that it isn’t running all night long.
Dimmable night lights, a feature that the Hatch Rest has, work wonders at bedtime. They allow you to find the best level of light at just the right times. They’re also great for offering just enough light for those middle-of-the-night diaper changes without waking up your babe.
Galaxy night light white noise machines are great for babies who are learning how to self-soothe. Whether you choose to do the cry-it-out method, or you just want them to start leaning into solo night times, a galaxy white noise machine that projects images onto the ceiling and walls gives babies something to gaze at as sleep comes. Some parents note that the galaxy can be distracting, or make the room to bright, but others insist that it’s a godsend.
Timer or No Timer
Some parents choose to have the white noise turn off after a period of time, 0r as pediatrician, sleep expert, and the author of the wildly popular Happiest Baby on the Block book, Dr. Harvey Karp suggests, decrease the volume once your baby is asleep. I personally find my white noise machine so soothing that it never goes off at my house — in fact, it’s playing in my office as I type this.
Chargeable or Corded
For regular machines corded is fine in most scenarios as long as it’s nowhere near your baby’s crib. Rechargeable white noise machines are good for when you’re going out, or you want to move it to an area where you don’t have a lot of outlets. If it’s a plush-style baby white noise machine (which we’ll get into in just a minute), there should be no cords anywhere near it.
Plush or Not
Plush baby white noise machines, like the Gemma Joy Bedtime Bunny Baby Sleep Soother, are snuggly and comforting, but they’re not always practical. The volume control isn’t always the best, and there are generally fewer sound options. That said, they’re the most portable of the bunch — and if I’m speaking from experience, my own children had plush sound machines as babies and absolutely loved them. Your baby will also probably form an intense attachment to their sound plush, so it’s best to buy a couple, in the event of an emergency.
Reactive or Not
Reactive baby white noise machines, like the Tiny Love Meadow Days Sound ‘n Sleep Projector Soother, are reactive to your baby’s noises meaning if your baby starts to cry, these machines turn on all on their own. They’re great for parents who don’t want a 24/7 white noise machine but still want a bit of sound assistance.
A baby white noise machine can help drown out your older kids doing somersaults off of the couch and help your babe drift off into a restful sleep (just be sure to always use it correctly!). We found the best ones so that your babe will be snoring and drooling in no time.
This baby white noise machine can be connected to your smartphone via an app, so you can be super sly about adjusting its settings without disturbing your little bub. This is especially effective for the first line of defense when it comes to soothing.
If you notice your little one is stirring while you’re not in (or near) the nursery, you can turn on a soft glow and cue up some sounds to draw their attention. It’s also the perfect way to wake your little one up in a gentle way if you’re not in the room.
Our deputy editor, Joana Mascioli, uses this baby white noise machine for her little one and says, “My son uses the Hatch every single night to fall asleep and absolutely loves it. I even tried a different one that I had gotten as a gift, but nothing beats the Hatch. I love it so much that I even bought a second one!”
More: These 60+ Baby and Parenting Products Will Change Your Life
This quirky little creature doubles as a sound machine and a light projector. Turn it on to play the perfect lullaby and watch your little one be mesmerized by the soft-glowing stars that dance around the ceiling.
The coolest part? There’s an integrated sensor that’ll trigger songs to sound when your little one fusses and cries. Users say that this noise machine is so intuitive and well-designed, remarking on its soothing lights and reactive noise. One user even said, “I’m so impressed by this baby white noise machine — I think it’s smarter than we are.”
If getting babies to sleep is our robot overlords’ future, I welcome it.
Tired of shushing your baby to sleep? Turn the job over to the pro. This sound machine provides 15 or 30 minutes of continuous shushing sounds, making it easy to follow Dr. Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block technique.
Users love this one for babies who are only soothed by their parents. It uses a real human voice to make the shushing sound, and while that seems creepy to adults, like something out of a haunted house, babies absolutely love it.
Despite whining and crying for hours on end when it’s time to go to sleep, your baby wants to doze off just as much as you want them to.
Help usher them into a restful snooze with six different soothing white noise sounds. HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine has calming tones like the pitter-patter of rain or the delicate chirps of summertime bugs.
The compact machine is both battery- and adapter-powered, which means you can take it from the nursery to your room to the living room for a quick midday nap without having to unplug several cords.
As we mentioned earlier, one study cautions against too-loud sound machines that could potentially damage an infant’s hearing. This Skip Hop soother lets you control the volume of what your baby hears, from lullabies to nature sounds.
You can combine the sounds as well, making a soothing aural landscape for your baby. Parents tell me that the light is the real draw for this machine. You have both the galaxy projection and a gentle nightlight and can change them in a minute.
Our tester loves this white noise machine/lovey so much that his mom said, “I literally cannot take it from him, he goes crazy when I try!”
And it’s easy to see why — it’s reactive to your baby’s cry and plays sounds and lights up to calm your baby as soon as it gets triggered. It’s a ridiculously soft plush bunny with just the cutest expression, and it’s just loud enough to calm your baby without causing damage to their hearing.
Instead of counting sheep to sleep, your baby can be soothed by this one instead! Strap this cuddly little lamb to your baby’s crib, and choose from four soothing sounds, including a mother’s heartbeat, to lull your baby to sleep.
Parents love that it’s a gentle approach to soothing their baby, allowing them tactile comfort while being soothed through the calming noise.
With a total of 24 different sounds, there is certainly a perfect subtle noise for your restless tot that will stop or reverse their sleep regression in its tracks.
Whether your tot takes to the low whirling sounds of a fan or the crackling of a campfire, the volume-adjustable tones will help them drift off into la-la land. The gentle yellow night light will help your little one ease to sleep alone without having to lay in a totally dark room.
As an aside, once your baby gets older, you can totally steal this from them if your spouse snores because it drowns sound right out, according to reviewers.
Their nursery will be like a sound-bath oasis. Aaahhh!