“My baby only sleeps with white noise, like the hoover or hairdryer.” A baby being white noise dependent is more common than you may think. Here’s why and what to do about it.

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Mom’s Question:

My 2-month-old baby only sleeps in hoover noise! He just won’t settle to sleep without the sound of the hoover or hairdryer. Why is this and how can I stop this pattern?

How To Help White Noise Dependent Baby

I can’t help but smile when I read your question. There is just no end to the weird things that small babies start “needing”. I bet you’ll find this quite a dear memory in a year or so. Write it down somewhere!

Why babies sleep better with white noise

My guess is that your baby finds the sounds of the hairdryer and hoover soothing. Maybe it resembles (in his or her mind) the sounds she heard while still in the womb. It is actually quite common that babies fall asleep really well to so-called white noise, such as the hoover or hairdryer. An often referred to study from 1990 concluded that as many as 80% of the babies in the study fell asleep within five minutes in response to white noise compared with 25% who fell asleep spontaneously without white noise. A huge difference, but a small study (referenced below).

Babies are also routine-lovers, so if this sound makes them feel safe, they will want it every time he’s about to go to sleep.

How to stop using white noise to put baby to sleep

You can go to three different routes to deal with this habit:

  • Just stop! It might be a few tough days when it is hard for your baby to settle, but he or she is likely to learn quite fast. Stay close to him and make him understand that he is safe and loved anyway.
  • Another option, if you don’t want to do it the hard way, take it slowly. Put the hoover in another room, so that he gradually learns to fall asleep without it. And turn it off just before he falls asleep.
  • Or simply head play white noise from some app, Spotify, Youtube, or website! (Yes, all of these exist, so as you can see, your baby is not the only one sleeping to the noise of the hoover!)

With a bit of patience and persistence, it is my experience that you can change almost any of your baby’s habits. Just try to understand their situation and change it gradually into what you prefer.

Good luck, and I’d love to hear how long it took to teach your baby a new habit!


More Baby Sleep Habits

Research References

White noise and sleep induction

Find comments below.


Dec 18, 2015 Baby Sleep Sounds

by: Anonymous

It is funny what different things are required to help our babies sleep! I would concur that these sounds in some way “lull” your baby to sleep and have become part of his or her routine. Babies love being driven around in a car and colicky babies love the motion and vibration of a clothes dryer for example. These sounds may have similar sleep and relaxation qualities. For a short term fix you could record these sounds and play them in the baby’s room at night. You know, one person Mozart…. This is only a short term fix though. Eventually, you can probably play other music and sounds. I’d say if it works and the baby is sleeping, then so are you and how can THAT be bad??

Good luck to you!


by: Anonymous
My baby also needs the hairdryer on to sleep and I have to leave it on for a few hours otherwise he wakes. He is 17 weeks and is finally getting over colic and sleeps through the night. The hairdryer has been my savior as for the first 6 weeks he wouldn’t sleep until I used the hairdryer to settle him. I believe you do what works for you.

Feb 21, 2016 Baby Soother Apps

by: Anonymous

There are even mobile apps for that. Like Baby Soother and Colic Stuff.

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