Is your baby irritable in bed or when trying to go to sleep and you’re hoping a distraction may help?
Some babies still need stimulation when they are trying to fall asleep to help distract them from the idea of immediately wanting mom. A baby mobile can be a great addition to your baby’s crib or sleeping area because it can provide the necessary stimulation that may help distract your baby from missing you.
There are many different mobiles on the market, so it may be tricky to find one that best meets your needs. Here’s what you need to know when looking to purchase the best baby mobile.
What Is A Baby Mobile?
A baby mobile is a structure that hangs above your baby’s sleeping area and has hanging toys or objects to help entertain your baby.
Some mobiles are more complex than others and may include other features than just hanging toys.
Some of these features include:
- Bluetooth capability.
- Ceiling projection.
- Night light.
- Removable toys.
- Glow in the dark.
- Operable by remote.
There really isn’t a right or wrong choice when choosing a baby mobile, but it is important that you find one that satisfies your baby. Sometimes the extra features may be the secret key in keeping your baby content and entertained.
Why Buy A Baby Mobile?
As you have probably heard many times by now, back is best when it comes to babies sleeping. When your baby is on their back in their sleeping area, the ceiling above can be a rather uninviting place to look.
Babies thrive on stimulation and having something entertaining to look at may be the difference in your baby being content and then quickly becoming fussy. No one wants to stare at a blank ceiling, but if there is an interesting object above, your baby will become intrigued.
Types Of Baby Mobiles
Aside from the fact that baby mobiles have different features, many of them are built and attach in different ways. It is important that you become familiar with all the different kinds of attachments, uses, and features, so you can make an easier decision when it comes time to make a purchase.
There are typically three types of baby mobiles:
- Crib-mounted: This is the most popular type of baby mobile, and it is also the easiest to assemble. All you have to do is clip it to the side of the crib and your job is done. These types of mobiles can support more weight, so they often have more complex items hanging from them.
- Ceiling-mounted: This type of mobile is no longer as popular because of the fact that you have to make a hole in your ceiling. A hook would be placed into the ceiling and this item would hang from it. A downside to this is that if you ever want to move the location of the mobile, you would have to create another hole in the ceiling.
- Portable: Much like the crib-mounted mobile, portable ones often clip onto whatever item you choose. The difference between these and the crib-mounted ones is that the items will not be as heavy because it is meant to be frequently moved around and not stationary.
Some parents choose to make their own baby mobiles, and that is perfectly acceptable as long as safety is in mind. If you choose to make your own, most often it will be ceiling mounted.
Features of the Best Baby Mobiles
It is important you find a mobile that is going to satisfy your baby.
When you are on the hunt, you should keep the following features in mind.
1. Is There Movement?
A baby mobile that moves will be much more fascinating to your little one than one that remains in place. Baby mobiles that move are somewhat heavier than stationary ones because there has to be room for the motor and batteries. One downside to a moving mobile is that you will have to replace the batteries frequently.
2. What Movement Direction Do You Want?
Baby mobiles used to just spin around in circles by the breeze in a room when windows were open, but now motors can make them do all sorts of things. You can purchase a mobile that moves clockwise, counterclockwise, up and down, or a combination of the three.
3. What Kind of Toys?
There are hundreds of options of toys on baby mobiles. You need to find one that catches your baby’s attention. If your baby has never looked twice at a monkey, you probably shouldn’t buy a mobile with monkeys.
Try to identify what toys seem to intrigue your little one. If your baby loves Elmo, try to find a mobile with the Sesame Street characters.
Or you may want mellow toys that aren’t too stimulating to promote sleep.
4. Make Sure It Fits Your Crib
Crib-mounted baby mobiles are designed to fit cribs, but not all of them fit every crib. You should make sure that if your crib has rounded edges, you find one that can accommodate that type of edge. You should do the same thing if your crib has square edges.
There may be some crib mobiles that are universal and can accommodate any crib, but it is important you double check before purchasing.
5. Do You Like The Music?
If you are leaning more toward a mobile that plays music, make sure you like the music that is playing. Most baby mobiles play soothing tunes, but you never know if yours may choose to play a fast-paced version of a nursery rhyme. Calming melodies are typically the most preferred option.
You should also pay attention to how the music will be played. If you have to wind the mobile every time you want the music to be played, that may become a pain. Most parents prefer mobiles with musical timers. A set amount of music is good, babies go into deeper sleep with a constant white noise like a fan, than they do with changing sounds like music.
6. Baby’s Point of View
The mobile is for your baby, so you need to make sure it caters to your baby. Some mobiles look great from the parents’ perspective and for decoration purposes, but they aren’t all that appealing from your baby’s point of view.
Make sure you view the mobile from underneath so you have a better idea of what your baby will see and make sure that it seems stimulating and entertaining.
The Best Baby Mobiles of 2020
Now that you have a better idea of why you might want a baby mobile and the safety precautions you should take, here are our top 10 picks of 2020.
1. SHILOH Plush Musical Mobile
One major feature of mobiles is music. Many mobiles may only play a couple of tunes, but there are musical mobiles with more songs than some MP3 players. If music is an important feature to you, be sure to find a mobile that has a wide variety of musical choices.
This musical mobile is great for music lovers hoping to find a mobile that can provide their child with an array of options.
SHILOH musical mobile contains 60 world famous tunes that can play one hour in all. It will also auto sleep after 30 minutes if there is no operation. Press on again and the musical mobile will start at the break point.
There are six buttons on the mobile — music, spin, volume up, volume down, music previous, and music next. The inclusion of these buttons ensures you won’t be stuck with the same selection of songs each time.
When your baby interacts with the toy it will begin to play music or make different sounds to encourage your baby’s interaction.
This is an ultimate musical mobile, in that it has many options, safety features, and fun and inviting colors to captivate your little one.
- Contains 60 songs, up to an hour of music.
- The toys detach for your child to play with once he or she outgrows the mobile.
- The materials in the product are non-toxic and durable if your baby was to bite them.
- The holder height can adjust higher to stay out of the reach of your baby.
- Adjustable music sound level.
- Should not be attached to bassinet.
- Some parents did not like the randomization of songs.
- Parents noted the product was extremely difficult to disassemble.
2. Tiny Love Take Along Mobile
It is always nice to have a mobile that you can take on the go. Portable entertainment for you little one is a must, and a mobile can be intriguing enough to keep your baby content for hours.
The Tiny Love Take-Along Mobile is a colorful and engaging mobile that easily goes everywhere with your baby.
From a very young age, babies will appreciate the sense of security and continuity invoked by taking this mobile along everywhere they go.
The colorful hanging toys spin to provide your baby with visual stimulation. There are also multiple colors and styles to choose from to ensure you find a mobile that best fits your decor ideas.
This adaptable mobile is designed to easily attach to most playards, strollers, and bassinets so you can take it along wherever the day takes you and baby.
This is a perfect mobile for a mom looking to get all the great features of a crib mobile, but having the option to attach and take it on the go easily.
- Fun at home and on the go.
- Easy attachment to cribs, strollers, car seats, and bassinets.
- Thirty minutes of uninterrupted music with 5 different melodies.
- Spinning toys.
- Velcro fastener for infant carrier.
- Large clip for stroller.
- Doesn’t attach to mamaroo.
- Some users noted the mobile squeaks when in motion.
3. Tiny Love Soothe and Groove Mobile
Some mobiles have a dismal variety of music options. With this product, your baby (and you) have a variety of musical options, from classical to upbeat. Plus, you can control the volume.
The Soothe ‘n Groove Mobile is an ingenious way to entertain your child from baby through their toddler days both at home and on the go.
This mobile is well-loved for the variety of musical options.
With six different musical categories and 18 different tunes, there’s up to 40 minutes of continuous and non-repeating music for your child to enjoy. The special soothing motion of the mobile captures a baby’s attention and keeps them engaged, and colorful buttons allow your child to activate and change the music on their own. The unique design features two high-quality speakers for great sound and easy to control volume.
This mobile is awesome for a parent hoping to get more out of the traditional mobile. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be able to attach to a pack and play. So, this option would work best with a crib. Regardless, this mobile will last through the baby stage and keep entertaining your little one as a toddler.
- Grows with your baby. It starts in a crib, but then transitions into a stand-alone music box.
- Offers six different musical options with 18 different melodies.
- Forty minutes of uninterrupted music with your choice of calming or energetic tunes.
- Specially-designed soothing motion for a calm and relaxed baby.
- Includes a soft night light to comfort your baby at night.
- Some users noticed a clicking sound when in use.
- Some parents said mobiles did not have an included night light.
- Does not work with pack and plays.
4. Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim-Mobile
Some parents view mobiles as a method of entertainment and hope it occupies their baby for at least a little bit of time. You can take your mobile a step further and find one that is specifically designed for learning purposes. Imagine exposing your baby to a stimulating and educating environment just by simply hanging a mobile.
The Infant Stim Mobile is a nursery mobile for cribs that incorporates research-based black and white, high-contrast graphics and images to engage your infant fully. If you are looking for a mobile that provides your child with developmental entertainment, this is a great option.
Babies develop sight, they cannot see anything distinct when they get out of the womb, so this mobile will be great from the start as they are learning to see.
Editor's Note:Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC
The easy-to-install crib mobile arm includes an adjustable cord to change the distance of the graphic cards from baby as their vision develops. The arm lock fits most cribs, so you don’t have to stress over whether this one will work.
The Stim-Mobile was developed in 1988, and has received numerous accolades over the years — most recently it was named number one in Best Mobile in Reader’s Favorites. The product prides itself on its attention to detail and milestone-specific graphics to help encourage your baby to learn.
There are 10 different graphics to choose from, so you can be sure to keep your baby stimulated with different images. The images are also designed with age in mind, so your baby will always be challenged and encouraged to learn.
- Introduces baby to high contrast images and colors for early visual development.
- Ten interchangeable cards to offer a range of simple to complex colored patterns and graphics.
- Graphic cards are labeled by age to help ensure you are using cards complimentary of the developmental stages.
- The adjustable cord on mobile allows you to easily change the distance of the cards from your baby.
- Some users noted the pictures did not properly stay in place.
- Some purchasers had difficulty putting the mobile together properly.
- Does not include music.
5. Tiny Love Classic Developmental Baby Mobile
With this mobile, you won’t have to choose between the stark black and white designs of developmental mobiles or the adorable, cute characters children so often love. It combines both for a unique and innovative design.
Three hanging spirals for development and three animal characters hang from the top of the mobile. Choose one of the four melodic tunes from the music box, including a 20 minute continuous loop of classical music. It also features movement and light features.
Moms can control the level of engagement the mobile offers by turning off the lights, movement, or sound as they see fit. Once your baby gets a bit older, you can remove the arm and let them play with the music controls on their own. A glowing night light function also helps babies sleep through the night.
With so many functions and pieces, this baby mobile supports both development and entertainment, making it a great choice for any mom.
- Design elements support both development and entertainment.
- Easily transforms as your baby grows.
- Includes night light function.
- Does not include the three necessary C batteries.
6. Starry Night Baby Soother Night Light
Sometimes parents prefer not to keep their babies in a totally dark room. What better way to incorporate a nightlight than through the already sought after baby mobile? This combination makes a parents job a little easier and provides your baby with a nighttime distraction that they can see.
If you are trying to find a sleeping solution for your little one that creates a soothing environment, and not a completely distracting one — this mobile is perfect.
You will get many great features with this product, including music and a night light. This night light takes it a step further and also allows the possibility of projecting images onto the ceiling.
The universal attachment eases your worry that this mobile may not fit on your crib. It is designed to fit almost all modern day cribs with ease.
Once your child outgrows the need for a mobile, this can become a table lamp or night light. The opportunities are endless, and it is great knowing a short-term investment can last much longer.
- It has mobile soother and nightlight modes to grow with baby and help him or her sleep.
- Mobile includes three adorable toys and a removable canopy.
- Plays nine tunes for musical enjoyment up to 30 minutes.
- Projects moon and star images onto the ceiling or the canopy.
- Universal attachment to fit most cribs.
- Requires four batteries.
- Toys are made of cloth, so they are difficult to hand wash.
- Toys do not move or spin.
7. Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Mobile
The Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Mobile features bright colors and a geometrical design that will instantly capture baby’s attention.
The gently swaying crib mobile will encourage your baby to focus and track, and the offset appendages help develop depth perception. This not only helps your baby’s developing vision, but has a calming effect as baby settles into the crib or wakes from sleep.
If you are looking for a more simplistic mobile that doesn’t have all the other modern-day features, this one is great. It is designed in a way that it still moves around, but no batteries or motors are needed.
You can have the peace of mind knowing this mobile can always entertain your child and won’t stop randomly due to a dead battery.
- Attaches easily to most crib styles.
- The rods and beads are intricately balanced to twist and turn to mesmerize your baby.
- Bright colors help enhance your baby’s vision.
- Does not play music.
8. Fisher-Price Precious Planet 2-in-1 Projection Mobile
Many mobiles require that you constantly go back in the room to restart them or to activate certain features. A Bluetooth mobile gives you the freedom to control the mobile without having to walk into your little one’s room. Bluetooth mobiles provide parents with a sense of comfort and ease, and make entertaining your baby quick and easy.
The Fisher-Price Precious Planet 2-in-1 Mobile starts as a motorized crib mobile for newborns with music, plush animal friends and a canopy light show. As baby grows, it converts to a crib soother with music, sounds, night light, and ceiling light show.
Use the portable remote to turn it on or off for up to 30 minutes of music, soothing sounds, and the full-color canopy or ceiling light show from your smartphone or tablet – without disturbing baby!
There’s even a smart messaging feature that senses room sounds and sends an alert to your device if something seems amiss. The mobile attaches easily to almost any crib.
- Choose from three music and sound options.
- Easily attaches to almost any crib.
- Portable remote.
- Music sounds and light projection.
- Age up to 24 months.
- Some users noted the safety feature to connect it to the crib snaps easily when installing.
9. Tiny Love Meadow Days Soothe 'n Groove Baby Mobile
When it comes to items for your baby it is nice to be able to handpick as many aspects of it as possible. There are baby mobiles that let you dictate, color, characters, and the music that will play. A customizable baby mobile allows you to be more involved and have a little more control over the type of item your surround your baby with.
As your little one grows, the Tiny Love Meadow Days Mobile changes with them. It features cute character projections on the ceiling, soothing dreamy music, and a starry night light that will lull your baby soundly to sleep in no time.
This mobile is perfect for the mom who wants a little bit of her personal touch included. There are six musical categories with a total of 18 melodies and 40 minutes of music. You get to choose from so you can control the music your child is listening to.
In addition to selecting the music, there are also multiple color schemes available to ensure you can get one that suits your nursery best. The plush toys are detachable, and you can purchase ones separately to incorporate into your mobile.
- Toddler music box.
- Up to 40 minutes of continuous music.
- Choose from six different musical categories.
- Several color options available.
- Some users noted clicking sounds when the mobile turns.
- Some users noted their product would not remain secured in place.
10. Tiny Love Pack and Go Mini Mobile
The car can be a difficult place to entertain your baby because you don’t have any extra hands. It can be difficult to find backseat entertainment because you don’t have your eyes on your baby and you want to make sure the item they are playing with is safe. A car seat mobile is a great entertainment feature that is designed for backseat travel, so it should give you peace of mind on security.
If you are always on the go, chances are you have looked for ways to entertain your baby. It can be challenging to keep your baby happy in a stroller or car seat because you aren’t always able to quickly come to their rescue.
This mobile is a great solution to on-the-go travel because it is compact and allows you the freedom to bring it anywhere.
The colorful toys will help capture your baby’s attention and hopefully distract him or her from the fact that mom isn’t right there.
This mobile is simple, yet entertaining and any traveling mom needs to utilize this toy.
One of the best features of this mobile is that it is designed to be closer to your baby than crib mobiles. This means your baby will be able to fully interact with it and the pieces are safe for your baby to grab.
There aren’t any strings or dangerous objects that pose a suffocation or choking hazard. This is important especially if you choose to use it in your car where you won’t have your eyes on your baby constantly.
- Clips easily to most strollers and car seats.
- Colors and patterns attract baby’s attention.
- Bell-shaped wind chime makes attractive sounds when baby touches.
- Easily folds away to be carried anywhere.
- No movement or music.
- Some noted the wind chime is heavy and could be dangerous.
Crib Mobile Safety Considerations
As with most baby items, there are safety risks you need to be aware of.
1. Out of reach
If you have noticed your baby can touch or hit one of the hanging items, that may be cute, but it is also a sign you need to raise the mobile.
If your baby has the potential to pull the mobile down or get caught up in the strings, it can pose a serious risk. Not only could this be a strangulation hazard, but it could also cut off circulation to tiny fingers or other body parts.
Once your baby is able to sit up or easily access the mobile and it can no longer be raised, it is time to remove it. You don’t want to put your baby at risk.
2. String length
Even if you feel like your mobile is far enough out of the way, pay attention to the length of the strings. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that mobiles have strings less than 7 inches, or they could become a serious strangulation hazard.
3. Keep it clean
Your mobile will collect dust just like any other object in your house. It is best if you try to clean it once a week. If you allow dust to collect and then you turn the mobile on, all of that dust is going directly to your baby and your baby’s bed.
4. Keep it secure
You need to make sure the mobile is completely secure. Once you install it, you should give it a tug. If it feels even slightly loose, you should make adjustments.
You don’t want your baby tugging on it and then it falling and landing on his or her head (1).
5. Age appropriate
Your little one will eventually outgrow the mobile, and that means it is time to remove it. Pay close attention to the age range on mobiles when you purchase one. Mobiles are designed with newborns in mind, so they aren’t supposed to last forever for your child.
If a mobile has a suggested age range like 0-6 months, it is probably best you remove it at 6 months because that means your baby will soon master certain milestones that could make your mobile dangerous.
If you still want to utilize the mobile, you can always find another spot for it. Many parents choose to move the mobile above the diaper changing area to keep the wiggle worm slightly distracted and diaper changes a little easier.
The Bottom Line
Our top pick for the best baby mobile is the SHILOH Plush Musical Mobile. With 60 songs, it has the largest library of music out of any of the mobiles I could find. The music settings are also easily adjustable to find the perfect volume and tracklist for your baby.
I also love the fact that the adorable plush toys and can detach from the mobile so that your child can play with them later on.
But what about you? What did you think about our baby mobile reviews? Which mobile are you planning on buying for your baby? Let us know in the comments section below, we’d love to know your opinion!