ParentDish's 15 Favorite Lullabies

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Keep singing ... maybe they'll finally fall asleep. Credit: The Little Pecan, Flickr

Parents have been lulling their children to sleep with song since ancient times. You see, when all else fails, a gentle lullaby sung in a soft and soothing voice can calm the fussiest baby and send her off to dreamland.

Whether you are a new mom or dad just learning the ropes or an old pro looking to expand your repertoire, this collection of 15 favorite lullabies is sure to lead to sweet dreams. Click the titles for the full lyrics.

1. Rock-a-Bye Baby: You probably already know the first four lines, but "Rock-a-Bye Baby" is actually a three-stanza song, thought to be the first written on American soil. "Down will come baby, cradle and all" might give parents a jolt, but babies love it and so do we.

2. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star: No doubt the most popular lullaby, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" was adapted from a 19th-century English poem by Jane Taylor. "How I wonder what you are" sets a magical tone and is often the first song a child learns to sing.

3. Hush, Little Baby: Promising a child a reward for going to sleep might be a parenting no-no, but if we really could "buy you a mockingbird," we would.

4. Bye Baby Bunting: While mom takes care of baby, daddy has "gone to get a rabbit skin to wrap the baby Bunting in." We love the longer version, where the whole family is involved in taking care of baby.

5. You Are My Sunshine: Though not a traditional lullaby, this tune completely captures how we feel about our children. When we sing "You make me happy when skies are gray," we really mean it.

6. When You Wish Upon a Star: Made famous by Jiminy Cricket, this song promises our little loved ones that it "makes no difference who you are," dreams really can come true.

7. Amazing Grace: "Oh how sweet the sound" of this 1700s Christian hymn. Sung by Elvis, Aretha and parents, too, we love its message of hope.< 8. Itsy Bitsy Spider: Whether you sing it "itsy bitsy" or "incy wincy," this song is a perennial favorite. And what could be cuter than a baby's little hands mimicking the spider as it "climbed up the water spout?"

9. Golden Slumbers: From a poem by Thomas Dekker, this song tempts baby to sleep with the promise that "smiles await you when you rise." The original is nice, but we love Paul McCartney's dreamy version, as well.

10. Are You Sleeping? (Frère Jacques): Although Americans sing the lyrics in English, we like the French version because it includes the fun-to-sing "ding, dang, dong" line.

11. Brahams' Lullaby: There are many versions of this song by Johannes Brahms, many of them made up on the spot by tired parents. We love them all but include Brahams' Lullaby here mostly for its beautiful melody.

12. Little Sandman's Song: With nodding flowers and drowsy budding branches, this song conjures up a sleepy world ready for bed. For babies who aren't quite ready, the Sandman is there. If "the sun itself has gravely found pillows in the West," surely your little one is getting tired, too.

13. All Through the Night: An Old Welsh song from the 1800s, "All Through the Night" promises baby a safe and peaceful slumber until "soul immortal shalt though waken, home through the night."

14. Little Boy Blue: Who will wake the little boy who is "under the haystack, fast asleep?" Certainly not a parent who has lulled him to sleep with this sweet and simple song.

15. Over the Rainbow: A classic ballad made famous by Judy Garland, this is a lovely song that refers back to a young girl's favorite lullaby. What better promise for a child than a place where "skies are blue and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true?"

Related: Babies Dig Classical Music

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.