Mother and Baby

The best bedtime lullabies to send your baby to sleep

Some of your earliest fond memories of childhood are probably listening to a bedtime story or hearing your parents sing you a lullaby before you fell asleep. These short, but sweet songs tend to stay with us forever. When you have a baby, you find yourself churning out all your old favourites and you are surprised you still remember every word.

Singing your child a lullaby as part of their bedtime routine is not only a lovely way to soothe them to sleep but it helps with bonding which is an important process after labour. Lullabies have even been found to reduce pain and calm babies breathing patterns, especially in pre-term and premature infants.

If you've found yourself in a lullaby rut and are struggling to find new songs to sing, then we have rounded up the best traditional and more modern lullabies to send your little one to sleep. Your baby won't care if you have the voice of an angel or not, but if you don't want to sing, we've included YouTube links, doing the hard work for you!

17 of the best bedtime baby lullabies:

1) Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star

This traditional lullaby is one that everyone knows and it is not exactly difficult to remember!

Favourite lyrics:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky

2) Hush, Little Baby

This one is perfect for calming down your little one and settling them off to sleep. It softly tells them to quieten down ready for bed.

Favourite lyrics:

Hush, little baby, don't say a word
Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird won't sing
Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring

3) Rock-a-bye Baby

Another lullaby where the lyrics will help encourage your baby to drift off to sleep easily. 

Favourite lyrics:

Rock-a-bye, baby, on the tree top
When the wind blows the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall
Down will come baby, cradle and all

4) You Are My Sunshine

This popular song was written by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell and first recorded in 1939. It has been declared one of the state songs of Louisiana and was originally country music. It has beautiful lyrics that will make your little one feel special when they are old enough to understand it. There are a lot of different versions including one by Johnny Cash which we love too!

Favourite lyrics:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

5) Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral (That's An Irish Lullaby)

"Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby)" is a classic Irish-American song originally written in 1913 by composer James Royce Shannon for the Tin Pan Alley musical Shameen Du. We especially love Bing Crosby's version and can barely keep our eyes open when we listen to this sweet tune.

Favourite lines:

Oft in dreams I wander 
To that cot again, 
I feel her arms a-
huggin' me 
As when she held me then. 
And I hear her voice
a -hummin
To me as in days of yore, 
When she used to rock me fast asleep 
Outside the cabin door. 

6) Danny Boy

"Danny Boy" is a haunting ballad set to an ancient Irish melody. Some have interpreted the song to be a message from a parent to a son going off to a war or leaving their Irish homeland.

Favourite lyrics:
Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
'Tis you, '
tis you must go and I must bide.

7) Over The Rainbow

"Over the Rainbow" was written for the movie The Wizard of Oz and was sung by actress Judy Garland in her starring role as Dorothy. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and became Garland's signature song.

Favourite lyrics:

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Once in a lullaby

8) Silent Night

"Silent Night" is a popular Austrian Christmas carol, composed in 1818, that is now famous worldwide. There are several versions but the one sung by Bing Crosby is the third best-selling single of all-time. But who wouldn't love a bit of Bublé to sing them to sleep?

Favourite lyrics:

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild

9) My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean

"My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean" is a traditional Scottish folk song. The song is believed to be about Bonnie Prince Charlie, an exiled heir to the throne of Scotland, England and Ireland.

Favourite lyrics:

My Bonnie lies over the ocean,
my Bonnie lies over the sea,
My Bonnie lies over the ocean, 
O bring back my Bonnie to me

10) Puff The Magic Dragon

The lyrics for "Puff, the Magic Dragon" are based on a 1959 poem by Leonard Lipton. The lyrics tell a story of the ageless dragon Puff and his playmate, Jackie Paper, a little boy who grows up and loses interest in the imaginary adventures of childhood.

Favourite lyrics:

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar

11) What A Wonderful World

"What a Wonderful World" is a pop ballad written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss. It was first recorded by Louis Armstrong and released in 1967 as a single, which topped the pop charts in the UK.

Favourite lyrics:

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

12) Baa Baa Black Sheep

"Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" is an English nursery rhyme and the earliest surviving version dates from 1731. The words have not changed very much in two-and-a-half centuries.

Favourite lyrics:

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane

13) Brahms Lullaby

Johannes Brahms's Wiegenlied, often referred to in English as Lullaby or Cradle Song was originally written for voice and piano, published in 1868. The lyrics of the first verse are from the collection of German folk poems and the second stanza was written by Georg Scherer. The English translation and lyrics vary from version to version.

Favourite lyrics:

Lullaby and goodnight, with roses bedight
With lilies o'er spread is baby's wee bed
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed

14) Frère Jacques

Frère Jacques is a nursery rhyme and song also known in English as Brother John. The song is about a friar who has overslept and is urged to wake up and sound the bell. There is something particularly lovely about the French version although it might be harder to sing yourself!

Favourite lyrics:

French:

Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong

English translation:

Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John,
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong

15) Little Boy Blue

"Little Boy Blue" is a popular English nursery rhyme. 

Favourite lyrics:

Little Boy Blue come blow your horn,
The sheep's in the meadow the cows in the corn.
But where's the boy who looks after the sheep?
He's under a haystack fast asleep

16) The Skye Boat Song

"The Skye Boat Song" is a modern Scottish song. The text of the song gives an account of how Bonnie Prince Charlie, disguised as a serving maid, escaped in a small boat after the defeat of his Jacobite rising of 1745.

Favourite lyrics:

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye

17) Beautiful Dreamer

"Beautiful Dreamer" is an American song by songwriter Stephen Foster. It is folk-like with a basic melody and a quiet and calm mood to help tots drift off easily.

Favourite lyrics:

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude
world, heard in the day,
Lull'd by the moonlight have all passed away!

What lullaby does your baby love? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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Catriona originally joined the team as an Editorial Assistant to work on the 2019 M&B Awards. As a Digital Writer, she has written and updated hundreds of articles on the site from medical explainers to celebs news and shopping galleries.

Catch her running along the Thames or eating her way around London's restaurants.

 

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