Newborn babies love noise because it reminds them of the constant whooshing of amniotic fluid in the womb, their mother's heartbeats, voices, even outside sounds like hair dryers and dogs barking. Silence is actually pretty frightening for them. As they get older and more accustomed to our world, they adjust to silence but white noise is still good for their sleep as it drowns out other sharper sounds that could easily rouse them.
Sleep Sheep is an adorable sound soother and has four different sound settings (ocean, rain, whale, and heartbeat). It has a Velcro strap on the back so you can hook it to the crib, car seat, stroller, etc., and two timer settings (23 minutes [I know, it's weird] or 45 minutes) so it shuts off on its own. If sheep aren’t your thing, Cloud B has lots of other cute animal options to choose from, like Gentle Giraffe or Sunshine Owl.
Unfortunately, beyond about four months, Sleep Sheep wasn't doing the job anymore. Mila would wake up as soon as either timer stopped. This was obviously incredibly frustrating, for everyone. Sleep Sheep is still great for travelling (or you can remove the sound component from the back, making it just a cute stuffed animal) but we knew we needed to get a white noise machine without a timer.
That's where DOHM-DS came in. The Marpac DOHM-DS Natural White Noise Sound Machine is exactly what it says it is. It makes white noise. How it works is actually kind of science-fair fascinating; there is simply a fan inside. You first flip the switch up or down. Then, when you twist either the cap or the collar, you get differing frequencies, but all of which will effectively block out any other sounds.
To me, flipping the switch up sounds most like running water from a shower or pipes. Flipping it down sounds kind of like the hum of an engine or some sort of machinery. I personally like the second better, but both are agreeable and I can sleep with either. Sometimes I even forget that it's turned on because it makes such a natural, muted noise.
But remember, this machine doesn't have all the bells and whistles; it is literally just a tiny fan inside of a container. It's not going to play rainforest-at-dusk or misty-mountain-rain sounds. There are no birds chirping or waves waxing and waning; there is just a fan that makes a steady yet adjustable hum.
It's been great for us. I can't say that it's a miracle-worker and will get your baby to sleep for 20 hours (though, that's probably not desirable anyway). But it's better than anything else we've found, and it's simple. Not to mention, it is literally the official sound conditioner of the National Sleep Foundation. I don't think I can give it more credibility than that.