Certainly, the saying, “sleep like a baby” is misleading. Getting a newborn to sleep can be a dream—or a total nightmare.
When parents struggle to settle baby for naps or nighttime, it doesn’t take long for tensions to run high and moods to swing. Soon baby is cranky and parents are frustrated.
To avoid these stressful feelings, some folks opt to install a sound soother in the crib. Not only does this entertain and calm baby, it gives Mom and Dad a much-needed break. This article will help you to choose the best crib soother for your family.
First of all, you can choose different settings and sounds to match baby’s current mood. For example, if she’s a bit squirmy, dim blinking lights and soothing music might be just the thing to calm her down. Or if she’s already drowsy, skip the light show and settle her with quiet lullabies. And there’s always the option to ignore the soother altogether and just let baby sleep on her own.
Soothers for babies are versatile; most of them can be used as baby crib toys as well. There are models with engaging colors and sounds (like a simulated waterfall and jungle animals) that will amuse your little one (and allow you to move freely about the house because you know she’s safe and secure in her crib!).
Most are easy to remove from the crib so you can set them up in different play areas throughout the day. Some even double as bedside nightlights for when your child moves to a bigger bed.
Of course, not all soothers work for all babies. Some children are distracted by the sounds and movements and actually have trouble falling asleep with a crib soother nearby. Another possible problem is that as baby gets older, she may figure out how to manipulate the settings on her own. When this happens, the soother may be more of a hindrance.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of a crib soother:
There are numerous soothers on the market today. It makes sense to browse the options to find the one that will work best for you. (Remember, the most expensive does not necessarily mean the best.) Here are some features to consider:
A note about batteries: Most soothers come with a “starter” battery that allows customers to try out the music and lights before they make their purchase. These batteries do not last long; to avoid frustration, we suggest buying back-ups right away.
For a quick overview of our favorite models, check out the table below. (If you'd like more info on related products, check out our reviews of baby mattresses right here).
Features we love
Buy it now
Fisher-Price Rainforest Waterfall Peek-a-Boo Soother
- Comes with
- Waterfall is mesmerizing for babies
Fisher-Price Woodland Friends Twinkling Lights Crib Rail Soother
- 30 minutes of music
Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother
- Lights and music soften after 10 minutes
Fisher-Price Light Show Crib, Soothe 'N Play
- Has an interactive mode where baby can activate lights and sounds
Keep reading for all the details!
This crib soother has several appealing features.
At first glance, baby will notice the colorful rainforest animals (including a monkey and frog) surrounded by a shining waterfall. The waterfalls move in a gentle motion to create bubbles. Lights pulse in the background. There are melodies (classical and lullabies) and nature sounds to choose from; they play up to 18 minutes at a stretch. The volume is adjustable to a high, medium or low setting.
This model is easy to install and runs on 4 “C” batteries. There’s also an on-off button that’s accessible to grown ups and could be activated by slightly older babies.
We were immediately drawn in by the waterfall design. The way the water moves is truly mesmerizing and the bubbles added a clever, attractive touch.
Fisher-Price’s Crib Rail Soother is the first totally soft crib soother. Unlike others, it’s made of soft fabric that wraps around the crib rail and attaches with fabric ties. It’s a breeze to install and remove!
This soother offers 30 minutes of music (or white noise or nature sounds) plus various light displays. The music and lights automatically quiet down and dim after 5 minutes to help baby fall gently to sleep. The adorable woodland animals on this soother will highlight any nursery décor.
Of all the crib soothers we reviewed, this one gets the most points for the best crib soother design. We appreciated how easy it was to install and remove (by using the fabric ties).
Parents and kids will gravitate towards the familiar Baby Einstein friends displayed on this crib soother. There are also a variety of 10 melodies or ocean sounds plus a combination of gentle lights and movement to choose from.
One of the best features may be the way the sounds and lights slow down after a period so baby can gently drift off to sleep. This soother can be activated remotely, so parents never have to worry about waking up baby when they adjust the volume or lights.
The Sea Dreams soother fits almost all cribs and, as a bonus, can be used as a bedside nightlight as baby gets older.
The remote control is a real treat! When we wanted to adjust the sound on the soother we worried that we’d wake up baby, but the remote control saved the day. We never had to interfere with baby’s relaxation time!
The genius of this Fisher-Price soother is in its simplicity. There are only 2 modes to choose from depending on if baby is ready to wind down or not: “soothing mode” or “interactive mode.” The interactive mode means playtime! Baby can stay safe in her crib and enjoy stimulating (but still gentle) lights and engaging sounds. At just a touch of a button, the soother can switch to soothing mode for 30 minutes of calming sounds, either music, white noise, or nature sounds.
As baby matured, she loved to interact with this crib soother. We were thrilled that it kept her engaged during playtime, but we also appreciated how the lights and sounds helped her to develop visual and auditory skills. She followed the soft lights with her eyes and responded to the music in a way that showed us she was getting the most out of this baby crib toy.
Crib soothers are among the gifts that keep on giving to new parents! The trick is finding the best crib soother for you and your baby’s needs. Although there are numerous models to choose from, all of the ones we’ve reviewed offer at least 2 fantastic features: a soothing mode and an interactive mode. After you choose a mode to match baby’s mood, you can use her safe crib space for secure playtime as well as nap and nighttime.
For new parents, getting baby to sleep in any sort of reliable pattern can be frustrating (to say the least). In turn, we suggest following in the footsteps of millions of other well-meaning folks and purchase a soother for baby’s crib.
Over time, it may become your—and baby’s—very best friend.
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