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New parenthood can be wonderful, albeit full of surprises – as anyone who’s changed an unexpectedly explosive nappy will testify. But for many new parents, getting their baby to go to sleep – and, crucially, to stay asleep – can be the greatest challenge of all.
Perhaps your baby struggles to drop off or wakes frequently. Or you may find yourself rocking and shushing your baby at bedtime and nap times, which can feel frustrating when you’ve been on the go all day.
Then there are those 3am wake-up calls. Sadly, sleep deprivation can be detrimental to our physical and mental health so it’s important for both you and your baby to get some quality shuteye.
Baby sleep aids can be a useful way to help settle your newborn, whether they respond well to white noise, a reassuring night light or a toy playing soft lullabies. Or you may find your baby relaxes with a bedtime foot massage or drifts off to sleep more easily when cuddled up in a baby sleeping bag in their cot.
Often, it can be a case of trial and error in order to find the best way to settle your baby. In the interests of freeing up your evenings so you can veg on the sofa and binge the latest boxset and helping both and your baby get some decent kip, here are the best baby sleep aids to try.
1. Tommee Tippee Ollie the Owl Light and Sound Sleep Aid
“I got an Ollie the Owl. I love it! Goes on for 20 minutes and has a sensor to come back on if your baby stirs. Batteries seem to be lasting so far.”
Much more than just a cute toy, Ollie the Owl offers a range of features, including soft lighting. He can be attached to your baby’s cot with a handy Velcro strap and can emit sounds including a heartbeat, rainfall, white noise and Brahms’ Lullaby, all with adjustable volume levels.
Ollie’s finest talent though has to be his CrySensor, which detects when your baby is unsettled to then restart the white noise function, which helps them go back to sleep.
One downside is that Ollie munches batteries like they’re going out of fashion because he’s always on standby, so it would be wise to get rechargeable batteries so that he always stays charged.
Ollie the Owl is our favourite baby sleep aid because he’s so versatile and would look great in any stylish, modern nursery.
Read more: The best best newborn beds to give your baby a great night sleep.
2. pNeo Baby Shusher
“Definitely recommend the Baby Shusher from Amazon. Helped with my twins and we've also bought it for friends who also say it helped.”
Shushing a restless baby comes naturally to most parents – it’s just something we tend to do without realising. That said, hushing endlessly while crouched by your baby’s cot takes time and patience.
Thankfully, the Baby Shusher can do all the hard work for you, emitting a shushing sound that should lull your baby into thinking that you’re still in the room with them.
Easy to set up, you can programme it to shush for 15 or 30 minutes, which should be long enough to get your baby off to sleep. It’s also small and easily portable so you can carry it around with you during the day or fling in your suitcase for holidays.
The batteries last a long time too so you’ll hopefully be excused from shushing duties for the foreseeable future.
3. Lumie Bedbug Sleep Light
“I love mine and I’ve noticed a difference. It’s nice to pop on in the morning too to ease them into natural light.”
“You can keep it on all night on any of the settings. The last one is a red light that is extremely low. I’ve used the second to last setting to keep the light on for an extended period of time.”
This quirky gadget from Cambridge-based light therapy specialist, Lumie, is the most expensive baby sleep aid on our list, but would add a cool edge to any nursery.
The science behind the Lumie Bedbug is impressive. It focuses on babies’ circadian rhythms – the natural internal process regulating the daily sleep-wake cycle. The Bedbug’s soft LED lights mimic a comforting sunset glow to soothe your baby into settling down for sleep, and would be a useful addition to your daily bedtime routine.
Mains-powered rather than battery-operated, this night light isn’t as portable as some of the sleep aids on our list but could still be taken on overnight trips and holidays, as long as you’re able to plug it in somewhere.
4. Sweet Dreamers Ewan Deluxe
“My daughter loves Ewan the Sheep. Still has him in her bed now! I have a new Ewan for DC2.”
“We had Ewan the Sheep which worked wonders.”
Chances are that you’ve heard of Ewan the Sheep – he’s something of an A-lister when it comes to baby sleep aids. Sleep-deprived parents on our forums and elsewhere really do rely on Ewan the Sheep to get their little sleep avoiders to settle.
Woolly and soft to touch, this cute little sheep emits the pink noise heartbeat and shushing that babies hear in the womb – an alternative, gentler option to white noise.
Some studies have found that pink noise is more effective than white noise for settling babies to sleep. Ewan is also cry-activated, which means that his pink noise will restart if your baby wakes and cries.
Ewan is a great portable travel sleep aid and another benefit is that he can be washed, as his electric pack is removable.
He’s one of the more expensive sleep aids around, but considering he provides a shusher and night light in one cuddly package, we’d say he’s worth every penny. He can be attached to your baby’s cot or placed near it in order to adhere to safe sleeping standards.
Read more: The best baby play mats for your newborn, all tried and tested by real parents and their babies.
5. SnuzCloud Sleep Aid
A lovely looking 2-in-1 baby sleep aid, the SnuzCloud would suit most nursery designs and colour schemes. It’s both a night light and shusher, and can be safely attached to the side of your baby’s cot or placed nearby to adhere to safe sleep standards.
The SnuzCloud offers various features. You have the option to switch this cute fluffy cloud to either a soothing pink light or reassuring white light, depending on what your baby prefers.
It also makes 20 minutes of soothing sounds including heartbeat and that all-important pink noise. Price reasonably, the SnuzCloud is also a great budget baby sleep aid.
6. Rockit Baby Rocker
“We had one and I loved it! Had it in the pram at all times from birth until my DS was about six months. So useful to get him to sleep, and used to use it when I was in a café or what have you to keep him asleep (and avoid me having to constantly rock the pram). I think it was definitely worth the money.”
If your baby is a buggy napper and you’re getting tired arms from all that rocking and pushing, the Rockit Baby Rocker could be the newborn sleep aid for you.
This reasonably priced little gadget ingeniously attaches to any pushchair. It works by gently mimicking hand rocking, leaving you with your hands free for a much-needed break and a cuppa. Speeds can be adjusted depending on your baby’s preference and the cycle lasts 30 minutes at a time.
There are no sounds or lights involved and if your baby doesn’t respond to being rocked in their pram then this isn’t the gadget for you. But the Rockit is invaluable if rocking is your baby’s thing.
It can also easily be popped in your buggy’s basket for days out, or in an overnight bag for trips away, making it a great travel sleep aid for babies.
7. ErgoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Sleep Bag
“I used the ErgoPouch and it worked a treat. My little one won't sleep in anything else. 100% worth the money.”
Swaddling can make newborn babies feel snug and secure, as they did in the womb, and some parents swear by it. That said, it can be hard to swaddle your baby correctly and safely when you’re new to it.
The ErgoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Sleep Bag makes swaddling easy because there’s no faffy wrapping. It’s bell-shaped, allowing free movement of the hips and legs. You can easily free your baby’s arms by simply popping the poppers on this newborn sleep bag – it’s important to have your baby’s arms free once they can roll onto their tummy.
Midnight nappy changes are no bother with this swaddle sleep bag thanks to the clever two-way zip, meaning you don’t have to disturb your baby to change them when they’re sleepy.
Made from soft, stretchy organic cotton and bamboo, the ErgoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag is a soothing choice for your child's delicate newborn skin. The 1.0 TOG rating means that it can be used year round, providing that your baby’s room is between 69 to 75°F.
Related: Mumsnet users favourite baby sleeping bags to keep your baby snug, safe and secure.
8. myHummy Lily Sweetheart with Sleep Sensor Humming Heart
“We have the myHummy now and have never looked back.”
“I’ve got friends who swear by myHummy.”
myHummy is a great alternative to both Ewan the Sheep and Ollie the Owl. This cuddly bear features a heart-shaped pouch that emits a range of five different soothing sounds, including white and pink noise.
myHummy was developed based on the results of a study which found that babies – particularly newborns – are three times more likely to fall asleep when listening to white noise. Offering cry-activation, this cuddly companion will soothe your baby whenever they stir.
There’s a whole family of bears to choose from and you can also opt to have myHummy personalised with your baby’s name. The free teether can be used as a hook for securing myHummy to your baby’s cot to fulfil safe sleep guidelines or you could place it near the cot instead.
9. Nattou Silicone Night Light
Offering a cool contemporary look to brighten up your baby’s nursery, Nattou night lights are available in a range of styles: you can choose between a rabbit, a cat and a mouse.
Featuring in-built sound sensors, the night light activates at the sound of your baby’s gurgle or cry to give them some reassurance. The soft light emits seven different colours and you can adjust the brightness too. It can be charged by USB and offers 12 hours of light between charges.
This night light is best suited to older babies rather than newborns as it doesn’t offer the reassurance of a white noise soother. It offers value for money though as it can be used for years to come as an eye-catching night light for your toddler or older child’s room.
10. Mummy Loves Organics Shhleepies Natural Sleep Oil
“A little massage, clean PJs, story and a milk feed before bed.”
And now for something a little different… You probably already know that babies thrive on routine and that it can be helpful to establish a bedtime routine from around three months.
This routine may involve giving your baby a wash, reading them a bedtime story, and giving them a cuddle and a milk feed. You might also like to incorporate a little bit of foot and leg massage into your baby’s nighttime rituals.
Shhleepies Foot Oil could help your baby feel relaxed and ready for sleep. Baby-safe, with no nasties, this product is scented with frankincense, mandarin, English lavender and Roman chamomile.
This heady combination of scents is said to not only help babies feel safe and nurtured, but can also help establish a healthy sleep pattern.
How can I soothe my baby to sleep at night?
There are lots of ways to help soothe your baby at night. The NHS advises parents to try to establish a loose bedtime routine from around three months. Here are some ideas for helping your baby to feel sleepy at bedtime:
- Dim the lights and use a night light instead
- Turn off the TV or loud music
- Give your baby a wash – babies don’t need to be bathed every single night (a top and tail may well suffice)
- Try a relaxing baby massage
- Change them into a clean nappy
- Change them into clean bed clothes
- Read a calming bedtime story
- Sing some soothing bedtime lullabies
- Have plenty of cuddles
- Give your baby a milk feed before bed
- Brush their teeth if they have any (or wipe their gums)
- Settle your baby in their cot
- You could use a swaddle sleeping bag* or use another baby sleep aid if you think it would help
The Lullaby Trust, which promotes safe sleeping for infants, recommends that parents do not use sleeping pods, and we have not included these in our list.
Please also note that The Lullaby Trust does not recommend the use of cot bumpers or toys inside cots, due to increased suffocation risk. If you’re using a baby sleep aid, ensure that it’s out of reach of your baby and securely attached to the cot, well away from your baby, or placed near the cot instead.
You should also ensure that the sleep aid you are using meets British Safety Standards.
What is the best baby sleep aid?
The best baby shusher is the pNeo Baby Shusher which is reasonably priced, works well and is easy to carry around making it an ideal portable baby sleep aid. The Nattou Silicone Night Light is the best baby night light we’ve found as you can use it for years as a night light for your toddler or older child.
Tommee Tippee Ollie the Owl Light and Sound Sleep Aid is the best baby sleep aid. More than just a cute toy, he offers a range of soothing sounds as well as working as a soft night light to reassure your baby. He’s great value for money too.
How we chose our recommendations
Our baby sleep aids suggestions have come from recommendations on the Mumsnet forums and from consumer reviews on the web. We consulted advice from the NHS and The Lullaby Trust to ensure that the products we reviewed fulfilled official guidelines. We also consulted independent review sites for opinions about products to ensure we were bringing you an honest summary of baby sleep aids for 2021.
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