20 Best Lullabies to Calm Your Baby to Sleep

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There’s no sweeter way to put your baby to bed than with a soothing lullaby. As you snuggle your little one close at bedtime, adding music to the experience can boost your sense of connection and even improve your child’s cognitive development.

According to UNICEF, lullabies ignite multiple areas of a baby’s brain, which can prepare your child for language acquisition and reading skills. Additionally, the rhythm of a lullaby calms babies down by slowing their heart rate.

Although there’s no one definition of what “counts” as a lullaby—you could use your favorite pop song, as long as you sing it slowly and softly. In general, the more gentle and rhythmic the song, the more likely it is to send your baby to dreamland.

Here are 20 sleep-inducing songs to add to your nighttime repertoire.

20 Best Lullabies for Babies

“Lullaby and Goodnight” (Brahms’ lullaby)

Brahms’ lullaby is a classic bedtime ballad for a reason—its swaying cadence is the perfect soundtrack for the motion of rocking.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Hush, Little Baby”

Feel like getting creative? You can string together your own endless DIY verses of this nursery song that promises baby all manner of gifts mama (or papa) will give them as a display of love.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Simple Gifts”

The Shakers, an early American religious group, believed in the holiness of simplicity. This hymn from 1848 embodies this lovely concept.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Danny Boy”

For a mystical melody with Irish roots, sing "Danny Boy," the bittersweet song of love separated by distance.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Rockabye Baby”

Who’s putting their baby in a treetop (and why)? It doesn’t matter much if this old standard sends your little guy or girl right to sleep.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“When You Wish Upon a Star”

It’s hard to sing this one without visions of a crooning Jiminy Cricket from Disney’s Pinnochio—but that’s okay. The well-known song about wishing on a star is a sweet choice for winding down at the end of the day.

Get the music and lyrics here.

"The Rainbow Connection"

For another soothing song sung by a familiar green character, “The Rainbow Connection” comes from Kermit the Frog in 1979’s The Muppet Movie.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“All the Pretty Little Ponies”

“All the Pretty Little Ponies” paints an irresistible picture of the delights awaiting your baby on the other side of sleep. Coordinate the swaying melody with the rhythm of your rocking to help your baby nod off even faster.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“You Are My Sunshine”

We’ll grant that the verses of this folk song are a bit melancholy, but its chorus is an uplifting anthem of love and human connection.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

If you don’t know a lot of lullabies, you can always rely on classics like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Get a little more ambitious by learning all three verses!

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Beautiful Dreamer”

Written by Civil War-era composer Stephen Foster, “Beautiful Dreamer” has charmed American ears since 1864. Continue the song's lengthy legacy by singing it as a lullaby.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Edelweiss”

It’s a common misconception that “Edelweiss” is a traditional Austrian anthem. In fact, it was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for the 1965 film The Sound of Music. Regardless of its origins, however, this rhythmic waltz makes a great lullaby.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“All Through the Night”

“Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee all through the night.” Sounds like every parent’s dream for their baby’s nighttime rest! Encourage your little one to get to sleep (and stay that way all night) with this lullaby, originally a Welsh Christmas carol.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

Just like Dorothy found her way to the magical land of Oz, this ballad may help your baby find their way to dreamland.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Amazing Grace”

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate this classic hymn of redemption.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Baby Mine”

Disney does it again with this tender song from Dumbo that highlights the unbreakable bond between parents and children.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Kumbaya”

“Kumbaya” isn’t just for singing around the campfire. Bring this African American spiritual’s simple lyrics and easy melody to the nursery as a quiet bedtime song.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep”

Counting sheep may or may not work to induce sleep, but singing about it might help! This tune, first heard in 1954’s White Christmas, has taken on a reputation as a Christmas song, but works as a lullaby any time of year.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“It’s Raining, It’s Pouring”

Though you may know only the first lines of “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” about the old man who bumps his head, some versions add more to this song. For an extended take, check out folk trio Peter, Paul, and Mary’s version with multiple verses.

Get the music and lyrics here.

“What a Wonderful World”

In these uncertain times, this optimistic tune about the little blessings in life may help end your day (and baby’s) on a high note.

Get the music and lyrics here.

Lullaby Tips

  • Whenever possible, sing a lullaby to your baby yourself, rather than playing it on a device. Studies show that parents’ voices (especially mothers’ voices) engage babies’ brains far better than other sounds.
  • Never put headphones on your infant.
  • If using a device to play lullabies for your baby, be sure to keep the volume low. Your child’s inner ears are very sensitive, and anything above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. Keep in mind that normal conversation is around 60 decibels.
  • It’s never too early to start your child on music. Begin singing to your baby while they’re still in the womb!
  • Don’t worry about having the perfect pitch. Your baby will benefit from the bonding experience of your singing, even if you’re not a trained singer.
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  1. UNICEF. How music affects your baby's brain: Mini parenting Master Class.

  2. Stanford Medicine. Mom's voice activates many different regions in children's brains. Published May 16, 2016.

  3. Johns Hopkins Medicine. NoiseInduced Hearing Loss in Children.