January 14, 2008

DTQ: What White Noise Do You Use?

tibetan_jukebox.jpgJust about this time last kid, I posted about an ancient [i.e., circa 1996] family remedy for quieting a fussy kid: a CD with a few white noise tracks on it of everyday household items: a vacuum cleaner, running water, a dishwasher, etc.

Then today, I saw this sweet-looking Buddhist jukebox containing recordings of Tibetan monks chanting. Which reminded me of FM3's Buddha Machine I bought way back, promptly lost, and then just found again when we moved. The Buddha Machine is a little transistor radio-looking thing that contains a collection of droning electronic compositions by the ambient musicians FM3.

There's no chance that the Buddha Machine will ever soothe a kid of ours; it drove my wife crazy. Too obtrusive, plus the one I got was an early model, and it's a little staticky.

But it made me wonder what other sounds or sources might be out there to calm a crying baby. Any good standbys?

Digital Buddhist Jukebox in Tibetan, $4 [dealextreme.com via boingboing gadgets]
Previously: The White Noise Album


It actually never occurred to us to get a white noise machine when the kid was born. Fortunately, either she just got used to sleeping through the noise or the "whump, whump, whump" of the helicopters flying overhead provided the necessary white noise (we have both tourist sightseeing helicopters and police helicopters that like to hang out above La Jolla, where we live).

Otherwise, how about sounds from the womb? I read somewhere that it was supposed to make your baby smarter (joke, joke).

When my son was born I used to take him to postnatal yoga with me. He routinely stayed awake for the whole class & then fell asleep during meditation. Finally I figured out what was happening & in a crazed, sleep deprived way, insisted that the instructor needed to sell me the wacky chanting monk CD she had used for class that day. I still have it, and it still works like a charm.

The only downside is that if I play it in the car I start nodding off myself!

[yeah, watch out for that. -ed.]

My son (3 1/2 months old) has always seemed to fall asleep to the soothing sounds of a 3 1/2 year old running around making a lot of noise.

We've shied away from the sound machine with #2 because with #1, it seemed to take much longer than we wanted to (in terms of time and batteries) to wean her off it.

[wean? I remember a HS radio station that'd go off the air every night at 8pm and switch to wave sounds. I listened to that all through college. and now we have the soothing sounds of all the traffic, plus Cheney's helicopter lifting off every ten minutes to get him a gallon of milk or some paper shredders or whatever. -ed.]

My 4 month has stopped needing white noise since about three month. In his early days he needed my mother's metronome, set at 60bpm or the Tummy Sleep Bear by Lionheart that I picked up in a garage sale.

FWhen he went through the phase of randomly crying every evening we found ourselves turning the radio to static, but that drove us crazy, so we downloaded sounds of the waves crashing into the shore and uploaded it onto every device in the house (ipods, phones, computers etc). It saved us...

This is worth a try:


We used a radio tuned to static. If the baby got louder, we turned the volume up. It was great, and we already owned it, so it was cheap.

Honeywell fan. Every night for the last year or so. It's particularly pleasant when it's well below zero outside.

I was just reading a June issue of the New Yorker (yeah, yeah, I'm catching up) and in the profile of Paul McCartney, he talks about how after his mom died at age 14, his father rigged up a radio and dual headphones so that he and his brother could fall asleep to music and radioplays. He said that it greatly affected his dreams. well, duh.

We have a small fan that has be noisily and constantly running for the last 2.5 years. It covers up the loud squeaky stairs as well as the annoying sounds at 5am of our cat meowing.

geoff - thanks for the tip. the best I have been able to come up with at 5am is killing the cat. our annoying cat has never woken up the kids (nor has our squeaky stairs), but wakes me up every night...

We used the fans forever. Loved 'em. A little nerve wracking with the kids fingers, but after you realize that the plastic blades aren't going to chop them off you're ok.
Problem is we moved into an older house with a lot of windows and the fan draws in the cold air extremely efficiently. So we've gone with these:


We can't use ones with samples. Both my wife and I anticipate the rhythm and can't sleep. This one works like a fan, but without the cold air. Got one for us and one for the kid.

We've used a soundmachine since the baby was born. We have an old rowhouse and the stairs all squeek, as does the hall outside of the baby's room. we use the Marpac White Noise Machine Sleep Mate Sound Screen 980 Dual Speed Sound Conditioner we ordered from amazon. its nice and shields most casual noises.

I'm guessing Cheney's more likely to be sending out for a fifth of scotch than a gallon of milk. Why am I not surprised to learn that there's a lot more activity at the Naval Observatory than at the White House?

Also, if you live around the Naval Observatory, keep the curtains open so that you can be lulled to sleep by the soothing blinking lights from the flying suacers of Cheney's Alien Overlords stopping by to issue more instructions and drop off more pods.
What? It's the most reasonable explanation I can think of for that guy.

We find a nice clock radio tuned in somewhere between Radio Cymru and BBC Radio2 works a treat...why spend your hard earned cash on fancy white noise machines when your child can be soothed with some old junk you have lying around the house.


We use this, which we found at a church sale a few years ago, and bought for its retro good-looks, but love for its functionality.

sorry, greg, I misplaced my >

I was trying to link to ">this

We use the Homedics SoundSpa. $20 at WalMart or on Amazon. Set it to waterfall and it's just staticky white noise. And you can't tell when the sample begins or ends, which is something that bothered me about our first machine.


we use an air filter...we have one of the big ones, it is adjustable from soft to loud (low to high of course)and it blows our daughter's flensted mobile nicely in addition to providing nice white noise.oh, and cleaning the air.

I ordered a few of these based on your post, and I think it's one of the greatest things I've ever purchased. I carry it around everywhere. The first chant (you can choose between 4 or 5 of them) instantly lowers my blood pressure by 20% at least. I spent all of Saturday cleaning, just listening to that chant in its crappy digital loopiness. We're expecting, so tensions can run high, and this did the trick. I was even wearing it around my neck when we had to go to The Container Store. I'm giving these out as gifts. They rule.

Google DT

Contact DT

Daddy Types is published by Greg Allen with the help of readers like you.
Got tips, advice, questions, and suggestions? Send them to:
greg [at] daddytypes [dot] com

Join the [eventual] Daddy Types mailing list!



copyright 2018 daddy types, llc.
no unauthorized commercial reuse.
privacy and terms of use
published using movable type