Baby sleep aids

When your baby won’t stop crying and you know they are tired  and just need to sleep there are lots of things you can do to help them to sleep.

Baby ClinicMaggie, our health visitor and sleep expert and our whole team of trained parent supporters and other mums in the Channel Mum support group are there for you to ask questions and get support. Plus don’t forget to watch the series of helpful videos in our Baby Sleep Guide too.

White noise

White noise is a proven sleep aid. A study found that 80% of newborns fell asleep within just 5 minutes of listening to it.  That’s got to be worth a try right? You can download free white noise apps or a nice cheap alternative is a radio not tuned properly – white noise is the static noise you get between stations. Soft sounds like ocean waves breaking on a beach, a waterfall, a stream and rain sounds work well too. As can the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine – whilst not always practical when the rest of the house is sound asleep!


Calming music and lullabies can help soothe some babies, the Brahms lullaby has been used for years in cot mobiles and bedtime products to help babies get to sleep. The swaying rhythm is close to a heartbeat and is oh so comforting to little ones. Our voices are soothing and give comfort to our little ones too. Even if you feel you can’t sing, your voice is the most beautiful and calming sound to your baby. So it’s definitely worth giving it a try!

Scientists have done research that shows that music by Bach, Brahms and Mozart can actually reduce pain, calm babies, reduce crying, anxiety and arousal. Who knew!? Music has also been shown to be beneficial for children with autism and is often used in many schools to calm children when lining up or when working.  Babies have also been shown to respond to music they heard regularly when they were in the womb (let’s hope it was soft soothing sounds they heard regularly to help with bedtime!)

Here’s a list of some of the songs that researchers found worked well:
Hush Little Baby
Hushabye Baby
See Saw Margery Daw
Donkey Riding
Little Fish
Twinkle Twinkle
Five Little Ducks


Dummies have been found to reduce crying during immunisations and painful procedures but there isn’t any strong evidence to show that they are effective in reducing crying. Babies have a natural sucking reflex and many babies soothe themselves by sucking on fingers etc. If your baby is soothed by sucking then it is worth trying a dummy with them. Watch videos from parents discussing dummy use and more information on using a dummy here.

Watch this video for more information on top tips on getting newborns to sleep.

Health Visitor approved advice

This guide has been checked and approved by our in-house Health Visitor, Maggie Fisher in October 2018.

Factsheets in this series

Safe sleeping for babies

Your baby’s average sleep needs

Sleep and awake states of your baby

What are your baby’s signs of tiredness?

Your baby’s sleep cycles

The effect food can have on your baby’s sleep

Comforting and soothing your baby to sleep

Swaddling your baby

Bedtime routines

Using the ‘Gradual Retreat’ sleep training method

Using the ‘Controlled Checking’ sleep training method

Using the ‘Kissing Game’ sleep training method

Using the ‘Pick Up, Put Down’ sleep training method

Using the ‘Wake to Sleep sleep training method

You might be interested in

The Channel Mum sleep guide

How to sooth a crying baby

Controlled Crying



Dummies – parents debate pros and cons in these videos