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During sleep training we ALWAYS suggest using a white noise machine, hence a frequent question we get asked: “What is the best white noise machine to use!?”. So we took to the South African “online streets” and sourced some machines to test and review and we finally get to share the results! But first off why on earth would you want to play white noise??

The pro’s of playing white noise to your little one:

White noise has so many benefits! Newborn babies really enjoy white noise as it mimics the sound of the womb in which they were for 9 months! The sound of blood rushing through the placenta is a familiar sound and helps them calm down and fall asleep.

For older babies it soothes and boosts sleep, it makes good sleep better and once your little one links the sound of white noise with sleep they will move to a sleepy phase as soon as they start hearing it! It is a wonderful sleep cue.

White noise is effective (at the right pitch) at blocking out external sounds. So when you live near a noisy road, have gardening services working all day or even just a toddler running around when your little one should be sleeping this will be pure gold!

In a 1990 study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood(Trusted Source) showed that white noise is indeed helpful. Forty newborns were studied and it was found that 80 percent were able to fall asleep after five minutes of hearing white noise.

Sleep training your little one?

Using white noise during this time, will help tremendously with your little one, helping them calm down, as well as creating a great sleep cue and familiarity.

So let’s get to the review… We looked at the following functions:

  • Battery Life – We especially looked for a unit that used a rechargeable battery and could work without being plugged in. This keeps you from having to spend fortunes on replacing batteries and being stuck with a flat white noise unit.
  • Timer – White noise should be played constantly during nap times and overnight, but if you live in a very quiet area you might want the white noise to switch off as soon as your baby is in deep sleep and the house is quiet. It also saves battery if you know your little one is taking a 30 min nap- set the timer and it switches off.
  • Sounds – We were not really looking at how many different sounds a machine can make as we are really only looking for White noise. Our winner was the only one with a range of white noise sounds.
  • Aesthetic – You’ve spent some dimes making your baby room look pretty, just to add an ugly looking machine to the shelf – we think not 🙂 Also, can you easily travel with it?
  • Night Light – This is an added bonus and not really a necessity.
  • Speaker quality – The main attraction. Definitely, something to look at intensely as this is what will be making the sound. You wouldn’t want to spend all night listening to white noise sounding very hollow because of a cheap plastic speaker!
Battery LifeTimer FunctionSoundsAestheticNight LightSpeaker
Baby & Adult White Noise Machine
baby sleep
USB cable (which needs to be plugged in to work) or Battery Powered. (Takes 3AAA Batteries NOT Included)– 15, 30, 45 min. – Always on option.6 sound options: light music, raindrops, forest birds, thunderstorms, waves, white noise.Looks and feels generally very plasticNo1/5
Better Sleep
Better sleep white noise machine
Built In Rechargeable Lithium Battery.– 30, 60, or 90 min.
– Always on option.
– 5 sound options: White noise, lullaby, ocean, rain, and clock ticking.
– SD card slot (not sure who uses SD cards anymore)
White and grey. I would rate 3.5/5 for look and feelA soft, strobe-free, diffused led light3/5
Little Weasel
Little weasel white noise machine
It takes about 2.5 hours to charge and a fully charged battery can play sound for about 7 hours. The device works whilst charging– 30, 60, or 90 min.
– Always on option.
29 Soothing Sound Options: nature sounds, including settings for ocean waves, crickets, birds, rain, wind, thunder, a stream, and a campfire. For babies and children, the machine also offers womb noises, a music box tone, and a lullaby tone. There are also 7 fan sound options and 7 white noisesGorgeous! Easy to work and navigate. Adjustable Night Light Colours and Brightness. The light can be turned off or set to one of 8 colour options: white, red, soft amber, bright yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink. The brightness can be adjusted.5/5
30 volume levels
Dreambaby White Noise machine
Dreambaby White noise
built-in rechargeable battery,can be plugged into a wall outlet for all night play or you can leave it on a timer of – 30, 60, 90 min, 60min
– Always on option
28 soothing sounds: Fan Sounds, White Noises, Natural Sounds.Gorgeous! Sound is relatively easy to use, the light function is a bit flaky. I would be wary of accidentally touching it while in babies room at night. It might wake baby with a sudden bright light!Adjustable brightness and color options.5/5
Comparison Table

The winner by leaps and bounds was the Little Weasel white noise machine! It really gets a 5-star rating in all aspects!

Little weasel white noise machine
Little Weasel
  • The speaker quality is really good, and it doesn’t hurt your ears when listening to it for long periods. There are various white noise options so you can choose the one you and your baby prefers!
  • It looks really good! I didn’t mind adding this to the shelf in my baby girl’s room!
  • The controls are very easy to navigate and the night light works great.
  • The best part is that it works with a normal USB charger (cable included, USB plug not) and charges very quickly. It then lasts 7-8 hours on battery life, but can also work plugged in.

The secrets to making white noise work effectively for our babies

Remember to keep it as constant and continuous as possible and the white noise should not change tone. The sound volume should be as loud as your shower. If you measure the sound of the water from your shower it will be around 50-65 DB. Anything lower than this does not seem as effective. In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) tested 14 white noise machines specifically for infants. Finding that all of the units exceeded recommended noise limits. If you decide white noise is something you would like to try for your infant/baby start at 50 DB pushing it to 65 DB not louder until you see its working. Once your baby consolidates naps and nighttime sleep to gradually reduce it to a level that your little one will comfortably sleep with. REFER to what DR HARVEY KARP has to say.

If naps have to be louder because of other children & background noises then keep it at 60-65 DB. If your little one sleeps happily with white noise down to 50 decibels overnight, then that’s great too.

Look out for signs that perhaps you may have turned it down too low. This way it’s in your hands deciding what is best for your little one.

Brave Little Baby favour white noise machine units as it has the best sound and volume options. We have suggested using an old phone or Ipad to play white noise through an app and works perfectly fine if you have these available for the whole duration of the nap and bedtime. Remember to put your phone on airplane mode so the white noise does not get disturbed with notifications and so your baby can also be safe from any phone radiation.

  • This is an app that we enjoy sharing that plays white noise via your phone or ipad : [White noise app] Make sure to choose specifically the white noise or brown noise options.
  • Here is the app to measure the loudness of the white noise in Decibels: Decibel X:dB Sound Level Meter by SkyPaw Co. Ltd
    Either way, having a unit or an old phone, both are portable for those travel days and can help your little one feel familiar in a new environment. Check out our Travel blog

The cons of white noise

  1. Some babies do not respond to white noise
  2. Babies do get dependant on the sound so there would be a recommended time to wean your baby from white noise
  3. The sound of the machine should not exceed 85 DB as this can potentially harm your little ones hearing, keep to the recommended 60-65 DB.

When do I wean my baby off of white noise?

Some parents might think they need to wean their little one off of white noise as soon as possible. But it is advised to use white noise for the full first 12 months of your little ones life, helping them through all the big developments happening. You may even choose to keep white noise for longer as it may help on your travels and help make it less stressful. Once you are ready to wean your little one from white noise: Every 3 nights, keep turning the sound lower and over a period of 2 weeks until its no longer needed anymore.

White noise myths

My baby sleeps so well without white noise she does’t need it. White noise works well for even your easy babies, it makes for even better sleep. Babies have so many developmental spells and you would need anything that can help getting them through that. White noise can help keep sleep a familiar step in their routine.

All white noise sounds – waves, rain, nature sounds- work equally well. White noise is not all the same kind of sound. One gets high pitched and low pitch and they have completely different outcomes. High pitched is usually sounds that are siren, hissing and alarm like and is usually great to help calm a fussy crying baby as it is attention grabbing. Not good for sleep. A low pitched sound is droning and hypnotic. Find the sound that works the best for your baby.

Sounds must be played as quietly as possible. When your baby cries you would need to help calm them by turning on the calming reflex and the white noise would have to be initially louder. Once your little one settles turn the white noise down to a decent volume for great sleep.

Let us know if you have found white noise to be helpful and when you decided to wean your little one off of white noise?

REF : Harvey Karp, M.D. Happiest baby on the block. Second edition. 2015. Bantam Books. United states.

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