When it comes to babies, a restful night's sleep is no easy feat, and getting those eight, uninterrupted hours of sleep feels a lot like winning the lottery.
Like us, babies require certain conditions to sleep through the night. Factors such as lighting, temperature, and overall atmosphere play a role in how well our little one's sleep, and are all factors that we can control. Now, we're not promising that your baby won't ever scream their little lungs out again - after all, there's no miracle fix. However, there are certainly a few things you do that can help. The prime example? Baby sleep toys.
What is a baby sleep toy?
Baby sleep toys look exactly like other toys, but with the secret superpower of aiding sleep. Some produce soothing nature sounds or emit soft lights, and more advanced versions also include sensors to react to your baby's cues.
We've found the best baby sleep toys on the market to make you and your bubba's life that much easier. Shop our top picks below.
Are baby sleep toys safe?
Experts recommend only allowing your little one to sleep with soft toys after the 12-month mark, due to the risk of suffocation. For that reason, most of the toys in our round-up can be fastened to your cot or buggy, reducing the risk of anything going wrong. Once your little one is old enough, or under your supervision, feel free to unfasten and let them enjoy a cuddle.
The best baby sleep toys 2021
Fisher-Price Soothe 'n' Snuggle Otter
Apart from being adorable, this otter will soothe your baby to sleep as they snuggle up to it, using rhythmic motions of breathing. It's customisable, meaning you can adjust the music, sounds, volume and lighting to suit your preferences, and will engage all your baby's developing senses to induce relaxation and deep sleep. Where can we get the grown-up version?!
Review: "Couldn't be without it! Our little one would easily wake in her sleep so I'd be up god knows how many times in the night, but the white noise function soothes her when she stirs straight back to sleep! Really cute Otter design, super soft and snuggly. Easy to use and any hard bits are cushioned by the outer teddy so perfect for being in a cot with babies."
Sweet Dreamers, Ewan the Dream Sheep
With his cute, longing gaze, Ewan the Dream Sheep is truly a miracle worker. A best-seller in sleep aids, this cuddly toy replicates the comfort of the womb by producing actual recordings of a mother's womb and heartbeat, helping lull your little one to sleep. Ewan also comes with a choice of three additional white noise sounds, and also emits a soft pink night glow for further comfort.
Review: "I don't know how it does it, but it hypnotises babies! I have recommended this to so many people! I bought it pre birth and, as I ended up staying in a few days, asked my husband to bring it in. My daughter stayed asleep (I was panicking about her waking the other babies and mums) and all the midwives were asking about it! Somebody recommended it to me, and it really, really does work in those first few weeks/months. Just brilliant!"
Tommee Tippee Ollie the Owl
Ollie the Owl is a real hoot, playing a mix of soothing rainfall sounds and lullabies to help your little one drift into dreamland. Gently squeezing Ollie's foot generates a light glow, and the secure Velcro fastening means he can be attached to your cot, Moses basket, or even a buggy for when you're on the go. We also love the innovative CrySensor, which plays soothing music as soon as your little one starts to fuss.
Review: "Absolutely worked for my 8-week old granddaughter! What an invention and what a price!! Cry sensor is brilliant. Heartbeat, music, white noise-which is her favourite. Night light and sounds have different volume levels. Opted for the battery one as I don’t like the thought of usb battery inside but that’s just me. Batteries are cheap enough and still going strong. This owl can be attached to anything and go everywhere. It’s the perfect all in one sleep aid and friend for years to come. Well worth the money!"
SnüzCloud Baby Sleep Aid
This sweet cloud offers four soothing sounds including a heartbeat, pink noise, lullaby and waterfall sound. There are also two light options with a calming pink glow and soft white night light, helping your baby feel comforted and settled before sleep.
Review: "Loved the sounds on the snuzcloud. Very calming! It has 2 volume setting. I usually put it on the louder one. It was a very helpful product to me! Especially during the first few months with a newborn! It's a must-have. It helped put my baby to sleep. And honestly, it put me to sleep as well!!!"
Skip Hop Cry Activated Soother, Unicorn
The smart sensor on this adorable unicorn automatically responds to your baby's cries with lullabies, cleverly distinguishing between cries and other sounds. It can be fully customised and even lets you record your own voice to help comfort your little one no matter where you are. It's super soft and huggable, and easily attached to the cot.
Review: "My son absolutely loves this little guy! Nice and soft! Even the velcro is not the hard kind that scratches."
This science-powered magical teddy will become your baby's bedtime champion. Suzy the bear produces five different sounds, clinically proven to promote deep sleep, including white noise, pink noise and amniotic fluid, and even comes with a free teething ring.
Moonie Humming Friend
Equipped with a smart cry detector, five calming light modes as well as real recordings from inside a mother's tummy, Moonie the Humming Nightlight will make bedtime so much easier.
Mamas and Papas Light and Sound Sensory Toy - Owlbie
Another cute as can be cuddly owl, doubling as a sensory which plays musical melodies, nature sounds and has a glowing tummy that acts as a nightlight. The auto-timer switches Owlbie off every 25 minutes, meaning you won't risk waking your little one if you turn it off yourself.
Review: "I bought this for my friends’ newborn twins and the babies apparently are very soothed by it, the parents said it was a perfect pressie for them."