White noise, lullabies and nature sounds all minimize outside noise and help lull your child to sleep. Some sound machines include nightlights or soothing light shows, while others add audio monitors and cry sensors to help your baby have the best rest ever. Here are the latest and greatest tools that promise to help your baby doze off and stay asleep.
Kulala Baby Sleep Lamp
Designed by sleep scientist Dr. Sofia Axelrod, this beautiful lamp emits a red light that supports melatonin and works with your baby's circadian rhythm to create the perfect sleep environment. It's handcrafted from maple wood and baby-safe materials and makes a gorgeous addition to your nursery. Buy it on its own or get the Kulala Sleep System, which comes with the lamp, Axelrod's book How Babies Sleep and a 6-month subscription to the Kulala sleep-tracking app.
Available at kulalaland.com, $249 for the Baby Sleep Lamp and $289 for the Sleep System.
Great for Outings
Throw this small sound machine, the LectroFan Alpha, in your diaper bag or attach it to a stroller or car seat and you're ready to go. Choose from seven sounds (including a heart beat, fan, pink noise, brown noise and ocean waves), and recharge it with the included USB cable. One charge lasts for up to 40 hours.
Available at soundofsleep.com, $24.95.
All-in-One Sleep Solution
This cute bear not only makes an adorable addition to your nursery, it could also be the key to getting your child to fall asleep and stay asleep. Its red light therapy helps the body produce melatonin, which encourages sleep, and the pink noise sound machine mixes high and low frequencies to improve sleep quality. The cool-mist humidifier, night light and aromatherapy also help create an optimal soothing environment. With your purchase, you also receive 30 days of free support from the company's sleep support team.
Available at thebabydreammachine.com, $99.
Circles of Soothing Light
The Sleepy Seas Sound & Lights Whale from GUND is a cute, cuddly creature with special powers: Press the music symbol for 20 minutes of soothing sounds, followed by an automatic shutoff. Pressing the spiral symbol lets you choose one of these soothing sounds: whale sounds, ocean, bubbles, white noise with waves, and Brahms' "Lullaby." Change the volume with a press of the tail. While the calming sounds soothe your baby for rest, circles of light will glow from this smily whale's cheeks.
Available at gund.com, $30.
Your Virtual Bedtime Assistant
Familiar with the Hatch Rest+? This is the next generation. Rest+ has five key features to help your family get better sleep. It includes a two-way audio monitor; sound machine with white noise and lullabies; a nightlight with soft and bright light, as well as a rainbow of colors; time-to-rise features (when the clock changes color to let a toddler know it's okay to get out of bed); and a clock, so parents and older kids know what time it is. It works in tandem with an app on your mobile phone or tablet and is compatible with Alexa. It's also cord-free and portable, thanks to a rechargeable battery.
Available at hatch.co, $89.99.
Activated by Baby's Cries
The Kübe nightlight boasts 10 lullabies, five soothing sounds (birds, heartbeat, stream, forest and ocean), and three projection themes on the wall or ceiling: soothing sea, starry night and peaceful forest. Best of all, it's voice-activated, so if baby wakes up crying, the music and/or projection (your choice) will start automatically to lull them back to sleep. It comes with a timer feature and auto shutoff after 30 minutes and works with batteries or USB.
Available at bbluvgroup.com, $34.99.
Stars and Sweet Sounds
White noise, lullabies or a relaxing bird song will soothe your child to sleep at one of five volume settings. You can also turn on a light projection of colorful stars on the wall or ceiling to give baby something magical to focus on while drifting off to sleep. The Bubzi Co Soothing Sleep Owl can sit on a bookshelf or dresser or attaches to a stroller or the outside of the crib. Pop out the music box when it's time to clean the owl.
Available at bubzico.com, $30.95.
Lullabies and a Light Show
This sweet fox nightlight, the Infantino Go Gaga Musical Soother & Night Light Projector, plays soothing melodies or nature sounds for 20 minutes to help baby fall asleep and tune out other noises. You can also add a light show that displays slowly drifting colorful stars and clouds on the wall. Choose one or both, depending on what your child enjoys. For added comfort, the baby fox nightlight can be removed and placed in bed.
Available at target.com, $29.99.
A Soother and Much More
This sleek soother not only looks modern, it changes the baby sleep game. In addition to providing lights and comforting sounds designed to help babies fall asleep, Suzy Snooze doubles as an audio baby monitor when hooked up to its app. When babies wake up, its cry sensor will help put them back to sleep. It also grows with your child: When they're older, it'll function as a nightlight and provide a clear signal for when it's time for your toddler to get out of bed.
Available at bleepbleeps.com, $133.
What the Dohm lacks in bells, whistles and cuddly touches, it makes up for in effectiveness. This white-noise sound machine has been helping babies (and adults!) rest since 1962. It offers two speeds and a dial to adjust tones and volume. And the white noise is natural, meaning the whooshing noise comes from a fan, not an audio loop, so some folks find it more soothing.
Available at marpac.com, $44.95.
Great for On-the-Go
First of all, it's adorable. Secondly, we love that it's rechargeable and easy to stash in a diaper bag or suitcase to help baby sleep anywhere, anytime. But what makes WavHello's SoundBub a winner is that thanks to an app and Bluetooth, you can play your (or your baby's) favorite tunes, not just the typical Brahm's lullaby. This is key for those babies who best snooze to Taylor Swift or the Star Wars theme song. This sweet owl also has six white noise options, including shushing and pure white noise, and has a battery that lasts through the night if needed.
Available at amazon.com, $34.99.
More Sleep Soothers to Consider
Lulla Doll by Roro
A social media sensation when it launched, the Lulla Doll by Roro (above) can work miracles on baby sleep issues. The soft, huggable doll plays a real-life recording of a mom's heartbeat and breathing for up to 8 hours. Place it on the outside or inside of your baby's crib, depending on their age, and you may be wowed by its ability to calm and soothe. Keep the doll close to your body before giving it to your child so it picks up your motherly scent, which can offer baby added comfort.
Available at lulladoll.com, $59.
Music & Lights Elephant by Fisher-Price
Some sleep soothers eat up batteries like nobody's business. If you're not looking to buy stock in AA's, consider the Fisher-Price Music & Lights Elephant, which plugs into your wall. It comes loaded with a whopping 20 songs and lullabies to choose from, along with white noise and ocean, rain and other nature sounds. Since you don't have to worry about draining the battery, you can leave this one running all night long, or choose an auto-shutoff after 20 or 120 minutes.
Available at bedbathandbeyond.com, $19.99.
Twilight Turtle by Cloud b
This has been a sleep-soothing favorite for years. The plush turtle features a hard shell with eight constellations that project on the ceiling in three colors. Now, there's an app for this classic that allows you to program a customized mix of melodies to play from the turtle. It all works thanks to Bluetooth and can provide soothing sounds to your baby for up to 24 hours.
Available at amazon.com, $29.99.
Soft Heartbeat Toy by Zazu Kids
Attach this soft pup to your baby's crib and let it works its magic. The Zazu Kids Soft Heartbeat Toy plays six different soothing noises, including music, heartbeat and white noise, and it shuts off after 10 minutes. The cool thing is that it automatically starts again when it senses movement or the sound of your baby waking up.
Available at amazon.com, $34.99.
Shhh... Portable Sound Machine by Munchkin
If your baby is a big fan of shushing noises (and what baby isn't?), then this portable noisemaker is for you. Munchkin's Shhh... Portable Sound Machine only plays three sounds (the ever-popular shushing, white noise and a heartbeat), but it may be all you need. It also provides a soft nightlight glow that can pulse with the sound if you choose. At just over 4 inches tall, it's easy to take on the go.
Available at munchkin.com, $18.
Nighty Night Owl on the Go by Cloud b
If your baby will be snoozing in the stroller or car seat often, try Cloud b's Nighty Night Owl on the Go. It's small enough to stow in your diaper bag and clips onto gear with Velcro. It has four soothing natural sounds (gentle stream, ocean waves, spring showers and whale songs) and can be set for 23 or 45 minutes.
Available at cloudbusa.com, $35.99.
Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar by SCS Direct Store
This Very Hungry Caterpillar-themed gadget fits in the palm of your hand and is handy for taking on vacation or even a nap at Grandpa's house. Not only does it play two lullabies and a rain sound, it'll project a starry light show on the ceiling in blue, green and orange. The sound and lights keep going for 40 minutes.
Available at amazon.com, $16.99.
—Julie Seguss & Eva Ingvarson Cerise