A soothing, peaceful white noise sound in baby’s room does two things: it provides a helpful rest cue and it helps her to sleep better — and longer — by creating a “soundscreen” to blot out some of the ambient noise of the home. This means that when baby’s asleep, you won’t have to tiptoe around the house, and she won’t be disturbed when you do the dishes, host a dinner party, or get really, really into Stranger Things. Phew.
Below are two categories of sound machines: portable and at-home.
A note: White noise is healthy in moderation and there are apps you can download that will make sure that the decibel level you’re using won’t hurt baby’s ears.
As you probably know, there are plenty of phone apps out there that make white noise. But let’s say you actually want to use your phone rather than relinquish it to baby. Or maybe you don’t want your phone thrown to the ground and smashed to smithereens? Here are our two picks for portable, battery-operated sound machines that are perfect for when you’re out and about — car rides, stroller walks, travel, etc. Both have timer functions to save battery life.
Take care that these machines are placed close to baby but not right next to her ear.
Yes, it looks like an immersion blender. But bless this tiny machine for straightforward-ly doing its thing so well that many newborn photographers swear by it to keep babies chill during photo shoots.
Pros: Super-small, super portable, and great for travel or daily outings
Cons: The sound can’t be customized and it plays its one sound in 15 or 30 minute increments; No clip for attaching to stroller or car seat
Slightly more tricked out than the Baby Shusher, this model’s got a few more sound options in addition to white noise.
Pros: Compact; Multiple sound types; Continuous sound or 3 timer options (15, 30 or 45 minutes); Clip for attaching to stroller, diaper bag, or car seat
Cons: Maximum sound level is low
At Home (Plug-in)
These sound machines are meant for home use because they’re heftier and plug into an outlet. Ideal placement is about 5 feet away from crib.
This is one of the only white noise machines that uses pure white noise and no other rhythmic sounds. Some may consider that a drawback, but the sleep consultants we talked to see it as a plus, because while ocean waves, heartbeat, or rain sound peaceful and soothing, they actually activate babies’ brainwaves. This means that when babies are in a lighter, active stage of sleep (i.e., transitioning in between sleep cycles) rhythmic sounds could actually wake them up.
Pros: You can adjust not only the volume (two levels) but tone, as well; Stays on all night long which helps babies get into and stay in the deeper sleep cycle stages longer; Warranty included
Cons: No battery option
This sound machine is super multitasking and economical, especially when you consider that it pulls quadruple duty by including 6 sounds and lullabies, and 3 rotating image projection discs. Note that images are still, not moving. Now, some straight talk: The sleep consultants we spoke to prefer basic sound machines (see above) that offer only white noise and no additional sounds or projections (especially those images with blue light since they can inhibit the production of melatonin, which babies are short on to begin with.) HOWEVER, many parents still like these features, so given that, we’re including this product, which is definitely feature-rich and affordable.
Pros: Rotating images projector, which can be used without sounds: Variety of sounds and music; Auto-off timer; Lightweight
Cons: Projections are a pro or a con, depending (see above paragraph); No night light feature, but some people use a projected image to serve that purpose; No battery option