10 of the best baby sleep toys and projectors to soothe and settle

The very best sleep-aid toys to help your little ones drift off into a deep slumber...

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Any toy that helps with the all-too-often tricky task of sending your little one off to the land of nod deserves an award in our books, but these particular sleep aids – tested by babies and rated by their parents – go above and beyond.

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Soothing heartbeat sounds, soft light projectors and even sensors that respond to your baby’s cry (saving you from getting up) all feature in our round-up of the most state-of-the-art sleep aids that also double up as gorgeous toys.

Here’s our pick of the best baby sleep-aid toys, as tested by babies and rated by their parents…

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1. Zazu Ocean Projector, Cody the Crab, £45 – best for beautiful projection

Age: From birth
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Projector – Gold

What it is: A sweet, smiley plush crab that soothes your child to sleep using projections of underwater scenes with music, swimming fish and moving waves and a 3-step sleep programme.

It features projections and music to draw baby’s attention, then the lights and music are lowered as the waves start to calm. Then, after 30 minutes the music switches off, the waves are calm and the fish are asleep – and hopefully, your baby is, too! Choice of ocean, heartbeat sound or white noise melodies. Cry sensor restarts the sleep programme if baby cries. Uses 3 AA batteries. Washable.

Why we love it: Mums and dads love our gold award-winning projector as much as their babies do, with testers praising the soothing sounds and beautiful projections – it’s so hypnotic, you might have a job not falling asleep, too!

MFM tester Catherine, mum of Phoenix, 8 months, says “My son was captivated by the projections and the soothing sounds. He was really in awe watching the little fish and the ocean currents projected in his room. As days have gone past he has taken well to it and seems much sleepier with Cody the Crab. The different phases it goes through have helped to gently lull him to sleep.”

Available from: Coming soon

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2. Tiny Love Sound ‘n’ Sleep Projector Soother, £34.99 – best for using your own music

Age: From birth
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Projector –
Silver

What it is: A hedgehog projector soother with starlight projector, 17 lullabies including white noise, and an MP3 player so you can use your own music. Cry sensor uses music to get babies back to sleep; auto-timer means you can set it to switch off after 10, 30 or 60 minutes. USB rechargeable battery. Adjustable volume.

Why we love it: Our silver award-winning projector has 2 unique features – an MP3 player so you can use your own music (perhaps recordings of yourself singing a lullaby?) and a USB-rechargeable battery, making it more eco-friendly than the other regular battery-operated sleep aids in this round-up. Most importantly, our testers loved the cry sensor for helping to get their babies back to sleep when they stirred in the night – result!

MFM tester Chelssi, mum of Jack, 14, Elisia-Leigh, 10, Kyla-Rose, 5, and Dennie-Lou, 7 months, says “This is a very clever little toy. My daughter has had many bedtime soothers, including a new one, which has now been completely replaced with this one. There are many functions on there and it’s great for if she becomes fidgety in the night because it has a cry sensor. Would highly recommend. It’s perfect.”

Available from: Amazon and Precious Little One

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3. Infantino Musical Soother & Night Light Projector, £34.99 – best for adaptability

Age: From birth
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Projector – Bronze

What it is: A fox night light and cub plays 20 minutes of music or nature sounds (5 songs and 3 nature sounds), while the fox’s four-part tail gently moves and projects a colourful moving display of stars and clouds. Comes with a removable baby fox nightlight. Adjustable light and music settings; can be used without sound. Uses 3 AA batteries (included).

Why we love it: Plenty of functions and settings mean our friendly fox bronze award winner is easy to adapt to your growing child, and we were charmed by the removable sweet fox cub nightlight.

MFM tester Abi, mum of Riley, 2, and Sienna, 3 months, says “This is completely different to anything I have seen in this category. The different functions and settings mean it can change as the child changes. My 3-month-old was very excited to see the lights and seemed to like the music element.”

Available from: Amazon

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4. Fisher-Price® Soothe ‘n Snuggle Otter, £39.99 – best for unique ‘breathing’ feature

Age: From birth
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Sleep aid – Gold 

What it is: An otter with a rhythmic ‘breathing’, lit-up belly to naturally soothe baby. Measuring 25cm x 15.5cm x 11cm, it features 30 minutes of calming music and soothing sounds (white noise, womb, snoring or heartbeat). Volume, breathing function and tummy light can be switched off. Machine washable with electronics removed. 4 AA batteries required (included).

Why we love it: Otter walked away with our gold award for its unique ‘breathing’ tummy, which testers praised for settling their babies off to sleep. Although it doesn’t have a cry sensor, its impressive features make it a great-value buy.

MFM tester Hayley, mum of Lily, 5, and Liam, 4 months, says “I’ve had trouble with getting my 4-month-old settled at night and this sends him right off. He loves the softness of it and likes to stroke it when falling asleep. The soothing music and also the breathing function is perfect to make my baby feel as though he has me next to him. Very worth the money.”

Samuel, dad of Zack, 2 months, says “We already own Ewan the Sheep and we believe the snuggle otter to be a better choice as it has more features and we found the breathing function helped to settle Zack a lot quicker than Ewan the Sheep.”

Available from: Amazon, Smyths Toys and Argos

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5. Snüz SnüzCloud Baby Sleep Aid, £29.95 – best for portability

Age: From birth
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Sleep Aid – Silver

What it is: A soft, cuddly cloud with 4 soothing sounds: heartbeat, pink noise, lullaby and waterfall that play for 20 minutes before automatically turning off. Two light options: soft white and calming pink. Adjustable volume. Comes with Velcro strap for attaching to cot/pram/car seat. Uses 3 AAA batteries.

Why we love it: Our silver award-winning stylish cloud is really easy to use. Our testers loved the choice of two lights, and that like Ewan the Sheep, the Gund whale and others in this round-up, it’s really portable so it can soothe your baby in the pram and in the car, as well as in their cot. Although it doesn’t have a cry sensor, at this price our testers felt it was well worth the money.

MFM tester Kimberly, mum of Blake, 20 months, and David, 7 months, says “Great toy and it really works. My baby loves the music and the heartbeat the best. Soft to the touch. Very huggable. Attaches well to pram and car seat. Sits nicely in the crib. Pink lights are great and really make the room glow.”

MFM tester Sarah, mum of Evelyn, 2, and Stanley, 3 months, says “My little boy always responded to the sounds when they came on and he settled very well in his Moses basket when it was playing.”

Available from: Amazon, Snüz and John Lewis

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6. Sweet Dreamers Ewan Deluxe with Shush, £39.99 – best for innovation

Age: From birth
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Sleep Aid – Joint Bronze

What it is: The upgraded fleecy sheep Ewan (a former gold award winner) now offers 5 rather than 4 non-computer-generated soothing sounds, including a new calming human voice saying ‘Shush’, a vacuum cleaner, rainfall, harp therapy melody and womb music, all with a resting-heartbeat sound in the background. Pink, melatonin-inducing glow and music switch off after 20 mins; smartCRY sensor soothes your baby if they stir; Velcro tail attaches to cot/buggy/car seat; comes in purple or grey. Requires 3 AA batteries. Cry-sensor pod is removable for machine-washing.

Why we love it: Our joint bronze award winner, Ewan is already something of a legend in the sleep-aid world, and we love this new, improved version with ‘Shush’ sound effect, which our testers agreed helped their babies off to sleep. An added bonus is that, like SnüzCloud, Ewan is super-portable so you can maintain bubba’s reassuring sleep routine when you go away.

MFM tester Lucy, mum of Sophia, 2 months, says “I’d definitely recommend Ewan as it does help to soothe my baby to sleep. We use Ewan’s new shush noise as part of the night-time routine. I’ve used it a few times in the night too when she wakes up. The cry recognition mode is very clever, but my baby is in a Chicco Next2me crib, so I can easily turn the noise on myself. I’d imagine that the cry sensor will be good when she’s a little older and in her own room. The red light which is given off is also very soothing.”

Available from: Amazon and Sweet Dreamers

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7. Gund Sleepy Sounds Light and Sound Whale, £29.95 – best for ease of use

Age: From birth
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Sleep Aid – Joint Bronze

What it is: An 18cm musical smiley plush whale with glowing lights in its cheeks. Press music note on right fin for 1 of 5 sounds: Ocean Magic, Soothing Ocean Whale Sounds, Brahms’ Lullaby, Bubbles or Ocean White Noise, press again to skip to preferred tune; music turns off after 20 minutes. Machine washable.

Why we love it: Our testers really warmed to the softness of this smiley whale, our joint bronze awardwinner. Although it doesn’t have as many features as some of the pricier sleep aids in this round-up, we loved that it’s so easy to operate – similar to the SnüzCloud, which costs the same. Like the SnüzCloud and the (pricier) Grofriends and Ewan the Sheep, it’s very portable, too.

MFM tester Petrena, mum of Olivia, 2 months, says “My daughter loved this. It’s very soothing with some very effective sounds programmed into it. The material is so soft and lovely – my baby loves touching it. It’s very effective at putting Olivia to sleep, so that alone means it’s worth its weight in gold!”

Available from: Amazon and eBay

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8. Grofriends Light and Sound Sleep Aid, £34.99 – best for travel

Age: From birth

What it is: A soft, velour-and-plush cuddly owl, penguin, hedgehog or bear with tummies that light up and play 4 soothing sounds (heartbeat, rainfall, white noise static and a Brahms Lullaby) for 20 minutes before switching to standby for 3 hours; light stays on for 30 minutes; CrySensor restarts the sounds when your baby cries. 3 volume and light settings. Velcro fastener for attaching to cot/buggy/car seat. Surface-wash only. Requires 2 AA batteries.

Why we love it: Former silver award winners Ollie the Owl and Percy the Penguin have now been joined by Bennie the Bear and Henry the Hedgehog – all are super-cute and soft and we like how easily you can adjust the volume and the light intensity. Compared to others in this round-up, it’s very similar to Ewan the Sheep for price and features, and like Ewan (and the Gund whale and SnüzCloud), it’s also very portable for trips out or away.

MFM tester Charis, mum of Lewis, 9, Olivia, 5, and Jude, 12 weeks, says “It kept my 12-week-old baby entertained. He loves the lights and the sounds relax him. He’s fallen asleep to the white noise from birth and it works every time.”

MFM tester Davina, mum of Fern, 1 month, says “We tested Percy the Penguin and he’s wonderfully soft: perfect for young babies. Fern loves the heartbeat noise, and the lullaby is beautiful – not at all brassy like it can be on some toys. You can also change the volume and the level of the light.”

Available from: The Gro Company, Smyths Toys and Argos

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9. Chicco First Dreams Baby Bear, £24.99 – best for value

Age: From birth

What it is: A machine-washable teddy bear featuring 3 different light effects, including ceiling projection, and 30 minutes of sound with a choice of classical, jazz, soft rock and modern new-age soothing melodies. Lights-only option available. Comes in pink, blue or cream. Takes 3 AAA batteries (not included).

Why we love it: This super-portable cute teddy – one of our former Bronze medallists – is super-soft to the touch and great value for money. The cheapest in this round-up, it provides light projection as well as sound. We’re particularly impressed by the varied music, which is loved by babies and easy on parents’ ears, too! Plus the easy-to-activate and tactile tummy pad is great for toddlers.

MFM tester Samantha, mum to Taran, 2 months, says “As soon as the bear came out of the box, Taran’s face lit up! He’d not given that reaction to a toy before. I was pleasantly surprised by the classy music choices, which, even after a week of playing, have not become annoying.”

MFM tester Alyssa, mum to Hallie, 4 months, says “Haile likes the music, as it’s very soft and relaxing. And I love that this is machine-washable!”

Available from: Mothercare and Amazon

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10. The Whisbear Humming Bear, £49.99 – best for sensory skills and travel

Age: From birth

What it is: A furry bear with four long legs that plays soothing sounds of the womb to help settle babies to sleep. Humming Bear plays for 40 minutes before fading out, while its CRYsensor feature means that it switches back on for 20 minutes if your baby cries. Takes 3 AAA batteries.

Why we love it: Unique in this round-up, the tactile, textured legs and ears are designed to help develop sensory skills, plus it’s really easy to take out with you, like some of the others in this round-up. The only downside is that it doesn’t have a light projection feature, unlike other sleep aids of this price.

Available from: John Lewis and Whisbear

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