Features four soothing nature sounds with adjustable volume. Auto-off timer can be set to 25 or 45 minutes. Velcro strap and compact size are great for on the go use. In the unlikely event that your baby doesn't enjoy the sound feature, it can be used as a regular stuffed animal. Conveniently machine washable.
Requires batteries. Light sleepers may wake up when the timer goes off.
Boasts six audio options, including lullabies, white noise, and natural sounds. Can be plugged into an outlet or used with batteries, making it perfect for both at home or travel use. Optional timer can be set for 15, 30, or 60 minutes. Affordable.
Buttons make a clicking sound when pressed. Some feel the lullaby audio quality is a bit tinny.
Most babies instinctively respond to the rhythmic shushing sound. Good volume with two timer options. Compact, portable, and easy to use. Although the design is basic, most parents find the convincing sound works very well. Includes two AA batteries.
A bit pricey considering it only has a single audio option. 15-30 minute timer intervals are on the short side.
Bluetooth capability opens up a world of music, voice, and natural sound options. Comes with two built-in tracks and unlocks 14 free tracks on activation. Easily clips onto car seats, strollers, or cribs. Features continuous play and timer options. Soft and safe for babies to play with.
The outlet cord could be longer. Without using Bluetooth, you're limited to two white noise tracks.
Can be powered by batteries or plugged into an outlet. Comes with six naturally soothing audio options. Compact enough to take along on outings. Straightforward settings are easy to navigate.
Can be difficult to achieve a moderate volume. Buttons are noisy when pressed.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Parents are sometimes surprised to learn that the womb is a noisy place, with rhythmic whooshing and shushing sounds as the heart pumps blood through the body. Baby soothers mimic this same type of rhythmic white noise to comfort and soothe your baby to sleep.
As with other baby products, you’ll find a dizzying array of baby soothers to choose from that vary in form, cost, sound quality, durability, sound options, portability, and timer options. These considerations can make a significant difference in whether or not a particular baby soother is compatible with your preferences, lifestyle, and baby’s personality. For instance, if yours is an active family that takes lots of road trips, a compact, portable baby soother is a must! If your baby is a light sleeper or needs constant white noise to stay in slumberland, a baby soother that allows for continuous play all night is ideal.
Read on to learn all about the factors that set baby soothers apart. We’ve also included helpful tips for making the most of your new baby soother, answers to commonly asked questions about these products, and a few of our favorites.
Your search for the perfect baby soother should start by considering three key factors: form, portability, and power source.
Some baby soothers resemble tiny smart speakers or boombox speakers, while others double as cuddly stuffed animals your baby can hold and play with. You have four basic options to choose from, each of which offers distinct advantages:
Stuffed animal: Sometimes, the speaker for a baby soothing device is hidden inside a stuffed animal, which has a couple advantages. For one thing, if your baby doesn’t respond well to the noise, you at least get an adorable companion out of your purchase. Stuffed animals also appeal to décor-conscious parents, since some other soothers can appear out of place or clunky in a nursery.
For safety reasons, these baby soothers should be placed beside the crib, not in it. Also, stuffed animals can become stinky after a while from drool, spit-up, and so forth, so be sure to choose a washable option. Keep in mind, too, that the on/off button for stuffed-animal soothers can sometimes be difficult to find in the dark or with one hand.
Stand-alone speaker: If your nursery design is simple or modern, a sleek speaker may be just the ticket. Stand-alone speakers usually offer the best audio quality and the highest number of options for different sound types. They may connect with Bluetooth for additional versatility and can usually run on either batteries or a plug-in power source. These baby soothers also have straightforward buttons and controls that are easy to activate.
Some stand-alone speakers are brightly colored and so may not match your nursery décor. And some parents complain of these soothers being a bit too loud for their baby, so read user feedback and search for a product with a range of volume options.
Night-light: Night-light baby soothers can be another clever way to disguise a speaker while adding value to your nursery. Night-light soothers create white noise while also emitting a soft glow that’s helpful when feeding or changing your baby at night because you don’t have to turn on a light.
Since night-light baby soothers depend on a plug-in power source, there may be some logistical challenges in finding an outlet that’s the right distance from the crib to deliver the right volume. Most night-light soothers aren’t portable either.
Keychain: Keychain baby soothers easily clip onto a stroller, car seat, or crib. They offer plenty of versatility in terms of exactly how close the soother is to your baby (without putting it in reach of little hands or mouths) and are the ultimate in portability. These baby soothers often have fewer audio track options.
Experienced parents can tell you that babies sleep all the time — in the car, on outings, at family get-togethers, and even at the grocery store — but some babies need a little help falling asleep, especially on the go.
If your little one has a hard time sleeping away from home, a portable baby soother can be a lifesaver. Look for lightweight, compact baby soothers that have the option to run on batteries for maximum portability. Soothers that clip onto a car seat or stroller are even better. Keychain and stuffed-animal soothers are often your best bet. Some parents choose to keep a plug-in stand-alone speaker in the nursery and use a portable keychain or stuffed animal for outings.
You’ll find baby soothers that run on batteries, plug into a wall outlet, or offer both battery and plug-in power options. Higher-end portable baby soothers may be rechargeable. The ideal baby soother typically has several options available. This is helpful in the event of a power outage or if you have to move the baby soother and don’t want to have to crawl under the crib to unplug it, for instance, if your baby is sick and needs to be moved closer to your bed in the middle of the night.
Baby soothers that operate only by battery power are typically meant for on-the-go use. Be certain to keep extra batteries in your purse, car, or diaper bag, since batteries can die at inopportune moments, such as when your baby really needs to be soothed asleep for a nap.
Volume: It usually takes some trial and error to figure out the magic volume to help your baby fall asleep easily. Be wary of baby soothers that don’t have a decent volume range. A baby soother that’s too loud or too quiet can be frustrating and ineffective for you and your baby.
Timer: Some baby soothers have a built-in timer that stops after 15 to 45 minutes of play, saving battery life after your little one has nodded off to sleep. Others play continuously as long as they’re powered on. If you aren’t sure which you might like, choose a product that has both options.
Options: If you aren’t sure which sound your baby will like best, or you simply want to have options for different situations, such as lullabies for getting your baby ready for bed and a low level of white noise while your baby sleeps, choose a baby soother that gives you plenty of options. Some have just one or two sounds, usually white noise or waves and a rhythmic heartbeat, while others give you lots of nature sounds, lullabies, and rhythms to choose from.
Custom: Some babies aren’t very impressed by the sound of a shushing or whooshing device, but they love to hear the sound of your voice. A few baby soothers give you the option to create a custom recording of your voice singing a lullaby or simply speaking softly to your baby.
Quality: If you have a sensitive baby or will be sharing a room with your baby or co-sleeping, superior sound quality can mean the difference between soothing nature sounds and a tinny reproduction that ultimately drives you crazy. Keep an eye out for user reviews that mention sound quality. Red flags are words like “tinny,” “scratchy,” or “staticky.”
Some baby soothers have strangely short cords, which can be a problem when trying to position the soother appropriately between the crib, power outlet, and dresser or changing table where the soother will be placed. Look for a soother with a 6-foot cord or longer.
Some baby soothers include a warranty that protects you in the event the product malfunctions. If you think you’ll use your baby soother a lot (some parents use them almost constantly), a product with some type of warranty would be well worth your while.
Inexpensive: You can find budget baby soothers that cost from $10 to $20. While the majority of these are smaller battery-operated keychain soothers that clip onto a crib or stroller, some are stand-alone speakers that can run on batteries or be plugged in. Budget baby soothers usually have few sound options and may not have the best audio quality, so read reviews carefully.
Mid-range: For $20 to $30, you can find more stand-alone speakers and stuffed-animal baby soothers with more sound options, better sound quality, lots of volume control, versatile timers, as well as high-quality portable options that can run on batteries or be plugged in. Cord length is typically ideal on these soothers, and some give you the option to create custom sound recordings.
Expensive: For a top-of-the-line baby soother, expect to pay $30 to $50. These high-end products are typically made by brand names and backed by a warranty. They contain higher-quality materials and provide the ultimate in audio quality and playback. If you’re seeking a baby soother that plays lullabies, or you’ll be keeping the baby soother where you can hear it at night, you may want to choose one of these. Most can run on batteries or be plugged in, and some are rechargeable. In this price range, you’ll find a number of adorable decorative baby soothers that are meant to complement nursery décor.
Start the soother at the lowest volume. You can increase the volume as needed, but less is usually more. You want the volume to be low enough that you can hear your baby’s whimpers or soft cries above the sound of the baby soother.
Don’t place the soother in the crib with your baby. Soft baby soothers can get wedged near your baby’s face and restrict breathing. Hard baby soothers can cause bumps or bruises when your baby rolls over, and your baby could get tangled in a cord.
Protect your baby’s hearing. Some pediatricians caution that using a baby soother over 85 decibels can damage hearing over time (OSHA requires hearing protection at that sound level). A level of 65 to 70 decibels is usually ideal.
Add a baby soother to your bedtime routine. It can be especially helpful when your baby needs extra comfort and soothing, such as when weaning your child from a swaddle or during bouts of teething.
Take advantage of the device if you’re a light sleeper. A baby soother can help you sleep as well by blocking out the noise of tiny shuffles and sighs your baby makes that can wake you.
Q. How long will the battery last in a portable baby soother?
A. Battery life depends on the product you choose, but as a general rule you can expect rechargeable baby soothers to run a couple hours continuously, while battery-operated baby soothers last much longer (several weeks or months) depending on battery type and usage. Since a number of baby soothers have built-in timer options of 15 to 45 minutes, you should be able to get numerous uses from your portable baby soother between charging or changing the batteries.
Q. Are plush baby soothers washable?
A. Most, but not all, plush baby soothers are washable. When you wash your baby soother, be sure to remove the sound box and batteries first, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid mishaps or damage to the stuffed animal.
Q. What sounds does a typical baby soother play?
A. Sounds that are commonly included as audio tracks in a baby soother include heartbeats, whale songs, lullabies, rainfall, ocean waves, trickling streams, white noise (static), rhythmic whooshing sounds, and wind in grass. If you aren’t sure what your baby might prefer, it’s a smart idea to choose a baby soother with several different audio tracks.