Chances are there is a certain song or nursery rhyme from your childhood that evokes the sense of nostalgia, joy, or calmness that you want to bring to your own baby’s world. The act of singing lullabies with your children is a tradition that is often passed down from generation to generation. Singing with your baby is a time for bonding, fun, and creating memories.
While it’s enjoyable to sing with your baby at any time of day, the benefits of singing a lullaby to your baby as part of their bedtime routine go way beyond a good time.
Benefits of Lullabies
Music is a great way to help develop communication and emotional skills in babies and help with their emotional regulation. Lullabies, which are often simple songs with repetitive words and rhyming, are especially known to calm a baby and get them ready for sleep.
According to sleep consultant Mandy Treeby, co-founder of the Smart Sleep Coach by PampersTM, app which helps solve any of your baby’s sleep issues, babies start recognizing patterns as early as six weeks. When you sing a lullaby at night as part of your baby’s consistent nightly bedtime routine, the comfort of hearing the same simple lyrics and melody every night can relax your baby and promote a better night’s sleep.
Lullabies have been used by parents as part of their nighttime routine for generations, and families often have a personal favorite. If you’re looking for a new song to sing at nighttime or are curious to learn more about one you already sing, here is our list of 10 lullabies recommended by sleep experts as great additions to a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine.
10 Expert-Approved Lullabies for Bedtime
Cradle Song" (Brahms’s Lullaby) or "Wiegenlied
“Cradle Song”, also commonly known by its first line “Lullaby and goodnight”, or “Brahm’s Lullaby” after its composer Johannes Brahms, is considered one of the most popular lullabies ever. It was published in 1868 by the name “Wiegenlied” which is German for cradle song. Its soothing melody and soft lyrics have made it perfect for lulling babies to sleep for generations.
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
This incredibly popular lullaby was based off a poem written by Jane Taylor in 1806 called “The Star”. It was a nursery rhyme before it began being sun to the tune of the 1761 French melody, “Ah! vous dirai-je, maman.” The words promote the magic and wonder of what you see when you look up at the sky at night. It’s a go-to for many parents around the world!
Hush, Little Baby
"Hush, Little Baby" is a soothing lullaby that promises your baby different happy things and gifts in the morning—if they wind down in the evening. That, on top of its repetitive structure and calming melody, makes it a great choice for a song to encourage your baby to go sleep.
You Are My Sunshine
The song "You Are My Sunshine" has been a cherished lullaby for generations. The message of love and reassurance, coupled with its calming melody, can make your baby feel special and soothed—two feelings that can help them drift off for the night.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
The Wizard of Oz is a classic movie loved by many families around the world. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow “is a popular song from the movie that is as nostalgic for parents as it is calming for babies trying to fall asleep. The song is written about someplace where you can’t get into trouble, and the lyrics sing about dreams coming through. The melody complementing the dreamy lyrics can transport your baby (and you) to a world of happiness and tranquility.
From the movie The Sound of Music, the song "Edelweiss" makes for a heartfelt and tender lullaby to sing to your baby before bed. The song sends the message of love and protection, which complements a calm and comfortable bedtime routine.
This lullaby is famously sung by Mary Poppins, the title character in one of the most beloved movies from Walt Disney. In the movie Mary sings this lullaby while putting the children she is caring for to sleep after a busy day. She tries reverse psychology to get the children, who are resisting sleep, to shut their eyes. It tends to work wonders!
“Baby Mine” is a song from the Disney film Dumbo. Dumbo’s mother, a circus elephant, sings the song as she cradles baby Dumbo with her trunk. The soothing music and comforting lyrics convey a parent’s deep love and protection for their child. These sentiments are universally relatable and can make your baby feel safe. And it goes great with a cuddle!
All the Pretty Little Horses
Also known as “Hush-a-bye", the traditional lullaby “All the Pretty little Horses” sends your baby the message that they will have all the pretty horses when they wake the next morning. The repetition in the chorus creates a peaceful and rhythmic atmosphere, making it ideal for bedtime. And for a child protesting sleep, thinking about exciting things that may happen the following morning may encourage them to settle down.
Lavender's Blue (Dilly Dilly)
"Lavender's Blue" is an English folk song and nursery rhyme from the 17th century. Parents like "Lavender's Blue" because of its melodic beauty, simplicity, warmth, comfort, and timeliness, making it a perfect lullaby. It’s also quite nostalgic, making it even more authentically enjoyable for the entire family to sing.
The Bottom Line
Parents often find there’s a magical power in the melody of a lullaby to soothe their baby to sleep. Adding a lullaby to your baby’s bedtime routine, which is already proven to wind them down before bed, is both an enjoyable and beneficial way to help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
If you want to know how to best support your baby with everything sleep, such as finding the best time to put them to sleep each night or how to set up their nursery, download the Smart Sleep Coach by PampersTM app. In addition to knowing how to craft the perfect bedtime routine for your unique baby, Smart Sleep Coach has tools to optimize their sleep schedule and adjust their routine as their sleep needs change. It also can help guide you through inevitable sleep regression!
Also, if your baby is waking up often at night, don’t forget to try a nighttime diaper. Using an extra-absorbent diaper such as Pampers Swaddlers Overnight is another way to promote longer stretches of sleep, for both you and your little one.
How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.
International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, “Socializing Enchantment: A Socio-Anthropological Approach to Infant-Directed Singing, Music Education and Cultural Socialization”
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, “Time for bed: associations with cognitive performance in 7-year-old children: a longitudinal population-based study”
Psychological Studies, “Neonatal Musicality: Do Newborns Detect Emotions in Music?”