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A good night's sleep is as important to parents as it is to babies. Whether your child is still in swaddlers or running around at top speed for hours on end, a nice stretch of shuteye can do wonders for refueling his/her body -- and yours. But as for getting a kid to actually lay down for eight or so hours? Well, that's another story.
Lullabytes is something of a smart soother for your iPhone, using simple controls, intelligent sensors, and sweet melodies to lull your child to sleep. A handy quick-start guide will show you the ropes, but Lullabytes' colorful interface is so simple, a baby could figure it out. On the the main screen, you'll find few options: A giant orange play button, a cute, functional teddy bear clock, and a ladybug "nightlight." Pressing play immediately starts the music and a timer, so you can keep track of how long your baby is sleeping (or not).
There are 12 short musical pieces of a couple minutes apiece that play in succession, but they've been edited and arranged so there won't be any jarring transitions when Beethoven blends into Bach. Tracks can be paused or skipped, and the app goes silent when the final number is finished. Melodies can manually be restarted, but tired parents will want to set it to automatically play when crying is detected, which even works when your iPhone is locked. While it's certainly useful for quick naps, the overlying philosophy is to develop a bedtime routine for your child. A sleep diary with personalized charts helps target patterns that need to be repeated or corrected, and the app even offers tips on how to properly incorporate Lullabytes into your child's sleep schedule.
While the included songs are certainly familiar and soothing, we would have liked a little more variation in the selection; we hope to see a playlist of white noise and nature sounds added in future updates, as well as the ability to rearrange the order of songs. Also, since the app forces the screen to stay on, it can be something of a drain on your battery if you don't remember to lock your phone.
The bottom line. If you have a fussy child, Lullabytes might be the answer to your bedtime prayers.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 5.1 or later
Simple interface. Good song transitions. Nice features for tracking sleep patterns.
Limited selection of sounds. No playlist customization. Can be a drain on battery.