23 Favorite Lullabies to Soothe Baby to Sleep

Here’s 23 of the best lullabies to soothe your baby to sleep, from the classic (“Hush, Little Baby”) to the modern (“A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes”).
ByRose Walano
Jun 2017
baby lullabies main image
Photo: Shutterstock

You don’t need the voice of an angel to sing your baby to sleep with lullabies. Singing may just be the easiest way to soothe a child, not to mention a beautiful bonding experience between parent and baby. But of course, there are only so many times you can sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”—though, it’s one of our favorites! If you’re looking for new bedtime lullabies for your child or children, you’ve come to the right place. We rounded up the most beautiful baby lullabies and lullabies for kids, including true classics (“Hush, Little Baby”) and modern classics too (Disney’s “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand”). Soft lullabies, popular lullabies, an Irish lullaby or a French lullaby, we have them all here, complete with videos so you can teach yourself these beautiful lullaby songs.

Scroll to see The Bump’s 23 favorite lullabies!

The Bump’s 23 Favorite Lullabies for Babies and Kids

Lullaby Name : “Hush, Little Baby”

Opening Lines:

Hush, little baby, don’t say a word.
Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird…

Why We Love It: The classic of classic baby lullabies promises that you’ll be there for baby, no matter what.

Lullaby Name: “Frère Jacques

Opening Lines:

Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?

Why We Love It: Who doesn’t remember this classic French lullaby? While technically more of a morning song—“Morning bells are ringing, Brother John!”—“Frère Jacques” has long been considered a lullaby, and who are we to argue? Sung softly, it will instantly put babies to sleep. (We also love it as a song to sing to slightly older children who are afraid of the dark. The sun will come soon enough!)

Lullaby Name: “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral (That’s an Irish Lullaby)”

Opening Lines:

Over in Killarney, many years ago
My Mother sang a song to me in tones so sweet and low,
Just a simple little ditty, in her good old Irish way,
And I’d give the world if she could sing that song to me this day.

Why We Love It: Though written in 1913 for the musical Shameen Dhu, the Irish lullaby—its subtitle is “That’s an Irish Lullaby,” after all—feels like a folk song passed down from Irish mum to Irish mum, through the generations. And the giggle-worthy chorus? Infectious.

Lullaby Name: “Cradle Song”

Opening Lines:

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…

Why We Love It: You can’t round up a list of the best lullabies without “Cradle Song,” commonly referred to as “Brahms’ Lullaby,” as it was composed by Johannes Brahms. But. While you may know the melody, you probably don’t know all of the lyrics, and you must, because you’ll be singing it to your little one soon enough, if you haven’t already!

Lullaby Name: “Rock-a-bye Baby”

Opening Lines:

Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock…

Why We Love It: No, we’re not talking about the Pitbull song. (Though it’s undeniably catchy.) We’re talking about the Mother Goose melody from the 18th century. That’s why it’s so easy to follow along (even if the lyrics are slightly creepy!).

Lullaby Name: “Sleep, Baby, Sleep”

Opening Lines:

Sleep, baby, sleep,
Your father tends the sheep,
Your mother shakes the dreamland tree,
And from it fall sweet dreams for thee…

Why We Love It: The “Sleep, Baby, Sleep” lullaby provides such sweet visuals. Who wouldn’t want to fall asleep to the image of their mother shaking the “dreamland tree” so that dreams slowly fall around them like leaves? One of the most beautiful lullabies, for sure.

Lullaby Name: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

Opening Lines:

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

Why We Love It: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is iconic because it speaks truths. Every child looks up at the sky and tries to understand the stars! (Plenty of adults too.) Sing it right before bed, when your baby’s cuddled up and looking out the window, admiring those celestial spheres in all their glory.

Lullaby Name: “You Are My Sunshine”

Opening Lines:

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

Why We Love It: Technically, the lines above are not the opening lines of this country classic—those are about serious heartbreak. Which is why, since Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell debuted the song in 1939, parents have skipped to the somewhat lighter chorus, which, when sung in lullaby form to children, reminds them how special they are.

Lullaby Name: “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”

Opening Lines:

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home…

Why We Love It: Though it isn’t known for certain, many believe that “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was written with allusions to the Underground Railroad, the freedom movement that helped fugitive slaves escape to the North, making a tender lullaby even more soulful.

Lullaby Name: “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes”

Opening Lines:

A dream is a wish your heart makes,
When you’re fast asleep,
In dreams you lose your heartaches,
Whatever you wish for, you keep…

Why We Love It: Of all of Disney’s beautiful lullabies, this one, featured in Cinderella, may just be one of our favorites. The message: With a little faith, everything is possible. It encourages kids to keep dreaming, and we believe only good can come from that.

Lullaby Name: “Danny Boy”

Opening Lines:

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling,
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side…

Why We Love It: Many of you said you were looking for Irish lullabies to sing to your little ones, so here’s a second. Even if you’re not of the Emerald Isle, who can resist the instant nostalgia of this Irish lullaby? It’s whimsical and wistful, which makes it, in our humble opinion, all the more sincere when sung.

Lullaby Name: “All the Pretty Horses”

Opening Lines:

Hush-a-bye, Don’t you cry,
Go to sleep, my little baby,
When you wake, you shall have
All the pretty little horses…

Why We Love It: If you’re looking for baby lullabies to rock your child to sleep with, “All the Pretty Horses” is a gorgeous choice. The popular version of today talks about all the pretty horses that the child will awake to in the morning, “Blacks and bays, dapples and grays,” prancing just for baby.

Lullaby Name: “Baby Mine”

Opening Lines:

Baby mine, don’t you cry.
Baby mine, dry your eyes.
Rest your head close to my heart,
Never to part, baby of mine…

Why We Love It: Another Disney classic, this one’s from Dumbo. Which of course you know, because who can forget the image of Dumbo’s mom, Mrs. Jumbo, rocking her bold-eared baby to sleep in her trunk? (No, you’re crying. sniff)

Lullaby Name: “All I Have to Do Is Dream”

Opening Lines:

When I want you in my arms,
When I want you and all your charms,
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is,
Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream…

Why We Love It: The Everly Brothers’ dreamy ditty may be about romantic love, but in this stanza, maternal love could just as easily apply. Just wrap your baby in your arms and start singing…

Lullaby Name: “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)”

Opening Lines:

Goodnight, my angel,
Time to close your eyes,
And save these questions for another day,
I think I know what you’ve been asking me,
I think you know what I’ve been trying to say,
I promised I would never leave you,
And you should always know,
Wherever you may go,
No matter where you are,
I never will be far away…

Why We Love It: Billy Joel’s “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel),” written for his daughter Alexa Ray Joel, has a powerful purpose: to remind children that, no matter what happens in life, they will never be alone.

Lullaby Name: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

Opening Lines:

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high,
There’s a land that
I’ve heard of once in a lullaby,
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream,
Really do come true…

Why We Love It: The Wizard of Oz’s iconic tune, made famous by the incomparable Judy Garland, is the ultimate modern lullaby. After all, Dorothy heard of the place “where trouble melts like lemon drops”—a dream world, indeed—“once in a lullaby.”

Lullaby Name: “Silent Night”

Opening Lines:

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright…

Why We Love It: “Silent Night” is one of the prettiest holiday-themed lullabies. It’s so calm and soothing for baby to listen to, and it tells the tale of Christmas simply enough for even the smallest of children to understand.

If you’re looking for a Hanukkah lullaby, consider the aptly named “Hanukkah Lullaby” by Ruth Abrams. The song itself is delicate and twinkling, and it can be accompanied by Abrams’ gorgeously illustrated—and informative—book about the holiday.

Lullaby Name: “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”

Opening Lines:

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

Why We Love It: Fun fact: The traditional Scottish folk song may have been written about a man. (Charles Edward Stuart, or “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” to be exact.) But since the subject is ambiguous, the song can also double as a love song, and a soft one at that—perfect to lull a baby to sleep with.

Lullaby Name: “I Want to Hold Your Hand”

Opening Lines:

Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something,
I think you’ll understand,
When I say that something,
I wanna hold your hand,
I wanna hold your hand,
I wanna hold your hand…

Why We Love It: The Beatles’ early hit is just as soft and dreamy as any traditional lullaby, and the lyrics? Just as appropriate for parents to sing to their little one. Grab hold of a little one’s hand and sing away. (Runner-up: “Hey Jude,” equally sweet with a message of resilience.)

Lullaby Name: “La La Lu”

Opening Lines:

La la lu, La la lu,
Oh, my little star sweeper,
I’ll sweep the stardust for you,
La la lu, La la lu,
Little soft fluffy sleeper,
Here comes a pink cloud for you…

Why We Love It: One last Disney entry. Perhaps because it’s so short and sweet, “La La Lu” is often overlooked on lists of Disney classics. But this beauty, actually written as a lullaby for Lady and the Tramp, boasts stunning imagery like, “I’ll sweep the stardust for you.” How beautiful is that?

Lullaby Name: “Puff the Magic Dragon”

Opening Lines:

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea,
And frolicked in the autumn mist,
in a land called Honnah Lee…

Why We Love It: Peter, Paul and Mary’s wistful song about a little boy named Jackie and his dragon friend, Puff, is the definition of whimsical. Though, the ending is sad—Jackie grows up, and Puff goes back to his cave—what child wouldn’t want a friendly dragon friend? It’s the ultimate fantasy—and one of the ’60s most enduring songs.

Lullaby Name: “Your Song”

Opening Lines:

It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside
I’m not one of those who can easily hide, I
Don’t have much money but boy, if I did
I’d buy a big house where we both could live

Why We Love It: With a name like “Your Song,” Elton John’s modern masterpiece, easily switched to a lullaby, always sounds personalized. Start singing it when your child’s a baby, and she may always believe it was written just for her. (We’ll never tell.)

Lullaby Name: “Sweet Dreams (Goodnight Song)”

Opening Lines:

Leader: Goodnight to you
Baby: Goodnight to me
Leader: Now, close your eyes and go to sleep
Goodnight, sleep tight, sweet dreams tonight…

Why We Love It: Our last pick for the best of the best lullabies is special for many reasons, but this one most of all: It’s a duet! While the parent sings the first line, the child sings the next, and then the parents finishes it off until baby falls asleep.

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