What are the best online resources to help your baby get to sleep? We review the best apps for baby sleep.
In this age, you'd be hard pushed to find a parent that hasn't got a ready list of apps on their phone for all kinds of parenting emergencies. But which apps actually help when it comes to settling your baby to sleep?
We've been doing a little research and have come up with the top five that parents look for when they download a baby sleep app.
What does a baby sleep app need to do?
Unfortunately, no app in the world will get your baby to sleep through the night and they are not a magic cure. If your baby isn't sleeping well, baby sleep apps may help to calm and soothe them but they won't teach her how to fall asleep. As always, parenting cannot be done remotely and there are some skills that only you can bestow upon your little ones. That said, baby sleep apps do have a valuable place in your life now and then. We think a good baby sleep app should:
- help to settle baby ready for sleep
- help baby to sleep a little longer
- help baby to drop off when tired enough
What to look for when you download a sleep app
It's worth looking out for the following:
- The size of the app – will it eat lots of data, will it run slowly or buffer?
- Does it have good reviews from parents?
- Is it easy to use?
- Is it free? Or at least reasonably priced?
The top five baby sleep apps
In our opinion, these are amongst the best baby sleep apps out there. See if you think they'd work for your baby; you know your little one well enough to know what she would respond to best.
This is available on the Apple store and it's a really lovely app. It's free and very simple to navigate, using the concept of lullabies to soothe baby to sleep. There are 12 piano tunes to choose from and the option to add information such as how long your baby takes to fall asleep and how long she sleeps for.
The lullabies wind down in energy towards the end, in the anticipation that by the time they are finished your baby will be relaxed and soothed enough to fall asleep. Each 'concert' lasts 25 minutes, which is usually long enough for your baby to fall into a deep enough sleep so that you can creep out.
In addition to the lullabies, the app also has the option of playing a variety of noises to fill the silence as your baby sleeps, which can be really great for some babies, particularly newborns. The app creators call this a 'soundscape' and in this mode, the app will detect your baby's cries if she wakes in the middle of the night and automatically start up again.
Of course, it’s not intended to be a replacement for you but it’s a good feature for unsettled babies that struggle to sleep without sound. The diary feature is also handy, with options to add relevant information such as teething, so that you can get a clear picture of your baby's sleep patterns.
If you have a baby that responds well to music, and likes to have constant sounds during sleep time, this app is great for you. It's free to download so worth a try.
This is another free app from the Apple store. It relies on your baby's need to overcome the silence of this strange world, and it has lots of different sounds to choose from to help your baby to settle off to sleep, from a car engine, to the sounds of a busy market, to gentle rainfall.
White noise is known to help babies sleep and there are also options to replicate sounds from inside the womb too. There are three modes: Play, to help baby fall asleep, Listen, to help her stay asleep and Track, to help you keep a handle on the sleep. During listen mode, the app will detect when your baby is awake and crying and will automatically start up again in the hope that she will settle herself.
Each sound can be volume-controlled within the app, and if you upgrade to the paid version, you can control how long the play sessions are. Once the session is over, you can choose the listen mode and each sound can be paused at any time. There's also the option to record your own soothing sound, although with the variety on offer we'd be surprised if there wasn't one in there that suits.
If your baby likes white noise, this is the app for you!
This is another white noise app, once again free of charge. It’s simple to use and works on the same principle as Sound Sleeper - some babies just sleep better with some background noise! You can also record your own sounds onto this app too.
Another great app for white noise fans.
This app uses the age old shushing method. The idea is that the shushing sounds help to stop your baby crying and soothe her to sleep. Apparently, it’s great for fussy babies and an excellent way to preserve your own voice if you're used to shushing for a long time! The app is not free but it is good. It has the option of setting how long you want it to shush your baby for, from 15 minutes up to eight hours and it also allows you to record your own custom shush too. There is a handy feature that listens to your baby and adjusts the volume of the shush.
If your baby responds well to shushing, this app might just save your voice night after night.
A simple app, we like this one because it helps you to keep a check on how long your baby sleeps so that you can spot any patterns or issues as they arise. If baby sleep is a problem, this can be a really helpful app.
There is a note-taking function that allows you to add in things such as teething or illness and the simplistic nature of it means that almost anyone can use it easily – even sleep-deprived parents. All you need to do is enter the start and stop time of your baby’s sleep and because you can also enter feeding information, it helps you to get a bigger overall picture of your little one’s sleep. It's easy to use and handy to have.
If you like to keep a track of baby's sleep this app is perfect and very easy to use.
So that's our top five. What are your favourite apps?