If you are a parent, you probably noticed how your baby magically stops crying when you rock and jiggle them in your arms. It reminds them of being in the mother’s womb, where everything was in motion.
Yes, they love being jiggled, but that can be rather problematic if their idea of a “good time” is at 3 AM – when you can barely hold yourself, let alone a baby. In these situations, or similar ones, a baby swing may seem like a gift from the gods.
With this guide, we will tell you all about baby swings and how you can pick them. Choosing the right one will not only make the baby happy – but it will make the parent even happier.
For many new mommies and daddies, baby swings can actually be a lifesaver. These helping tools are practically freestanding units that mimic the rocking back-and-forth motion of a mother’s womb, therefore calming cranky babies and working their magic on them.
Baby swings are a useful purchase during the first few months of your baby’s life when the child is still getting used to being “born.” Weight limit varies, and most of them can go up to 30 pounds.
A swing isn’t a substitute for human contact; therefore, you might not want to make a habit out of leaving your kid in the swing for the entire day. Still, if your baby is fond of the swing, it will help every parent get that much-needed hands-free time.
Bear in mind that not all babies like baby swings (we know, shocker). Therefore, before spending a load of money on such an item, you might want to try one from a friend first. It will spare you the wasted money on something you won’t even use.
Most parents are bewildered by the variety of options they have at hand. All of them look so similar that they leave you thinking: “so what’s the difference?”
Well, they might be insignificant for some parents, but there are certain differences between a rocker, a bouncer, a swing, and a bassinet.
The rocker is basically a baby-sized rocking chair. Even adults have these types of chairs, but they refer to them as gliders – if only to just cut down the ambiguity.
Rockers are generally motion-powered – meaning that you, the parent, will have to do the rocking. They are not that widespread, and they are generally not for overnight sleeping.
However, they do have incline settings that you can choose for newborns (reclined) and toddlers (upright). This means that the rocker will be “growing” at the same time with your baby’s needs.
Like baby rockers, baby bouncers are generally fairly small – enough to fit the baby – and motion-powered. They will start bouncing as the baby wriggles (or as you give it a little bounce), and it will “vibrate” for a few good minutes before it stops.
Bouncers are generally the least expensive of the batch. The downside is that, once the motion stops, the baby is likely to wake up (in the event that they fall asleep there).
Baby swings, unlike rockers and bouncers, are generally mechanically powered. They take up about as much space as a regular armchair, mostly because they have a wider base to ensure stability.
Parents prefer these versions simply because the swinging doesn’t stop – however, they tend to be more expensive than rockers and bouncers. Still, they also offer more mobility to the parent, and they also keep the little one happy.
Also referred to as “rock n’ plays,” “soothers” or “sleepers,” baby bassinets are generally used for overnight sleeping. They are most often powered by a mechanism, and they will usually vibrate the child to sleep.
Alright, so you got your hands on the best baby swing out there. However, how do you know that your child can use it? What age is the “right” one for your child?
Generally, this will depend on the swing that you purchase. Considering that newborn babies do not have any neck control at the beginning of their life and they need constant support, you will have to constantly keep them on their back.
Therefore, if your baby swing has a reclining option, then you can use it the minute you bring them home from the hospital. As long as the baby stays lying down, it will be completely safe for them.
On the other hand, if the baby swing does not recline, you have to wait until the baby is able to keep their head upright. The timing can be different for every baby – so make sure you are certain of their neck control before you put them in the swing.
Baby swings will generally have two powering options: battery or plugged-in. Some swings may even integrate both of them for the comfort of the parent, while others will have only one of those options.
When choosing the best baby cradle swing, you will have to consider all the pros and cons of each powering system.
When it comes to the best swing for your baby, a battery-powered one is usually the most popular option. How much battery it will use depends on the swing capacity and size. Some swings will need 5D batteries while others will work just as well with a 4D one.
Batteries generally activate the vibrating function – so if you want your swing to vibrate your baby to sleep, you will need a battery. Plug-in options generally do not offer enough power for that.
The advantage of battery-powered swings is that you can move the child along with you as you are doing your chores, and it does not keep you stuck near a power source. If you also tend to frequently go out with your baby, the batteries will once more help.
The drawback of battery-powered swings is that they tend to be on the more expensive side – so if you are on a tight budget, they might not work for you. The best baby swing choice is almost always the least expensive one.
It might also be inconvenient if the batteries that it comes along with are not widely accessible. Make sure that you either buy one whose batteries you can actually find, or you get a set of batteries that are rechargeable.
Nearly every baby swing will have a plug-in option – a detachable cord that you may use at your own preference. The power cord is generally compatible with full-sized baby swings, making them hassle-free.
You also do not need batteries to power an electric baby swing. This is a convenient and economical option, considering you won’t have to buy new batteries each time the swing runs out of power. You just plug it in and you’re good to go.
The disadvantage, however, is that they keep you glued to your spot. So, if there is only one socket in the room – or in the nearby area – you won’t be able to move the baby from that spot.
No baby swing has the same features. Aside from the regular “swinging” options, each swing will have their own extra characteristics that will make them more interesting compared to other fellow swings.
Nowadays, you are not likely to find a mechanical baby swing that does not offer a music feature – and if you do, they are rare and probably also budget-mode. It has been recognized that babies are better entertained (or put to sleep) with music.
Still, when it comes to choosing a swing with pre-programmed songs, make sure to select something that will soothe the child – and not drive the parent insane. Listen to the songs before you buy the swings.
Furthermore, the best-rated baby swing nowadays will probably have a USB or MP3 plug-in option. This will save you the trouble of having to go through the entire playlist of the swing, checking the songs one by one.
These are generally the most convenient since you can choose your favorite songs yourself – or even play recordings of yourself as you are singing. They are a good way to get your child used to your voice, even when you are not sitting next to them.
The same thing that applies to music also applies to nature sounds. Some babies feel soothed by the sound of birds chirping. On the opposite, other babies feel woozy after listening to the sound of the ocean or rain, so you might want to start looking for that instead.
Before setting on a list of nature sounds, you might want to test them on your child as well. It’s very easy to look them up on the Internet nowadays; just open your browser on a computer or your mobile phone and let them listen to a sound or two.
After that, once you’ve figured out your kid’s preferences, look for a swing that has these sounds. With any luck – and with the best setlist – you’ll be able to put your baby to sleep in no time.
Every swing will have different speed settings. Some babies fall asleep faster if they have repetitive, rapid motions. Other babies prefer that the swings have slow, simple glides.
If you do not have any friends with a baby swing that you can test on your kid, you might want to get one that has more speed settings than one. This way, you’ll be able to accommodate it to the preferences and needs of your baby.
Also, some swings have a full-recline setting – while others don’t. If your child is already able to hold their heads, you can go for an upright seat.
On the other hand, if your child is a newborn, you might want to look for one with multiple reclining settings. This way, you may use the same swing even as your child grows up into toddler phase.
Last but not least, some swings have head-to-toe motions – which are generally the classics when it comes to these products. However, some cradle-type swings also come with a left-and-right soothing motion that your baby might find enjoyable.
Mobile connectivity is perfect when you want to control the settings of the swing from a distance. Let’s say that you want to change the song to another one from your baby’s playlist; you no longer have to go to the swing yourself to make the change.
Instead, you activate your Bluetooth on the phone and connect it to the swing’s own Bluetooth connection. It’s a feature that is common for most new models – the high-tech ones that parents go for.
A mobile connectivity can also help you adjust the settings of the swing. With some swings, this connection even allows you to use the chair as a phone.
This way, if daddy calls while mommy is playing with the child, mommy can answer it directly by using the controls from the baby swing. The voice generally goes directly to the speaker, allowing the child to hear the voice of the parent as well.
When it comes to the baby’s safety, it’s less about the age of your infant and more about his/her physical ability. For example, a smaller baby will have different needs than the bigger ones.
It is recommended that children under the age of four months should be seated in the most reclined of positions. Not doing so may cause them to hurt their neck since they do not have the necessary power to hold their head on their own.
Look for baby swings that have a safety harness. This way, if your child is buckled into their seat, they will be less likely to climb out from the swing and harm themselves. The five-way harness is generally the most appropriate one.
Let’s face it; your kid is definitely going to start wriggling in his/her seat at some point. Non-slip feet may sound basic, but they are of utmost importance. They will keep the swing from moving if your baby starts wriggling too much.
Generally, this is mostly the case for toddlers. Newborns will wriggle a bit – but not too much. Once they grow up, however, this wriggling will intensify – so you may want to take extra care.
When you use a baby bouncer, you should always use it on the floor, where everything is stable. At the same time, you should also keep it away from hazards. The clearer the area around is, the better.
Also, you should avoid letting your infant sleep in a baby swing. Indeed, you may use the swing to get them to fall asleep – but once they’re in Dreamland, make sure you move them to a firm sleeping surface as soon as you can.
Four out of five babies will probably love their baby swings – but there’s always that one case when the infant will refuse even the best baby swing. For them, it doesn’t compare to the mother’s womb – so they flat-out refuse it.
One technique would be to get them used to the swing – without them being aware of it. Start by putting them in the swing for a few minutes every day, but stay next to them. Allow them to get used to the swing.
Similarly, you may rock the baby in your arms every day until they are in their near-sleep state – then gently place them in the swing for a few minutes. Granted, they will probably wake up – but in that near-sleep state, their bodies will get used to it.
You can also use the “distraction” method whenever your baby is throwing a fuss. Regardless if it’s some jiggly things above their head or the TV running, they’ll keep the child distracted long enough for them not to notice they’re in it.
In the end, you should not panic; most baby swing reviews have parents saying that their children used to hate the swing – but eventually got used to it. In these cases, patience is key, and you’ve got to keep using it until they start accepting it.
Every baby is unique in their own way. Generally, if they still seem to nap comfortably and they need the power of rocking to go to sleep, then it might not be the time yet to ditch the swing.
On the other hand, if your child starts becoming far too active and tries to climb out of the swing, then you might want to consider stopping the use of the swing.
There are no actual specific guidelines that say when you should stop using the swing. Generally, it’s all decided by the child’s maturity and activity level. At the same time, you might want to stop using it when the child goes past 25 lbs.
However, don’t stop using the swing abruptly; instead, do it in stages. If you used to leave your kid for half an hour every day in the swing, change that time from 30 to 20 minutes, and keep shortening the time. Eventually, the child will no longer ask (well, cry) for it.
No matter how much you may want to keep things clean, it’s never going to happen with a baby near you. Just when you think it all looks cozy, the baby will drop a “bomb,” puke, or do whatever to stain the swing.
In these cases, you should immediately clean the seat, to avoid your child touching any dirty areas. Furthermore, pay close attention to the harness; that’s the one the baby is definitely going to touch.
Even as you perform the emergency “first aid kit,” always make sure you provide regular maintenance. If you can take out the fabric and wash it, then you might want to do it every day (make sure you always have some spares around).
Use a mild soap to clean the baby swing. This is less because of the swing and more because the health of your baby is at risk. Some babies have reactions from strong soap, and the smell might prevent them from relaxing or sleeping.
If you use battery-powered swings, make sure to check them every now and again. Sure, they might work, but some of them might start leaking at some point – and that substance is something you might want to avoid exposing your baby to.
So, what is the best baby swing? Even at this point, it’s hard to tell. Some people want a battery-powered one with an MP3 plug-in while others want the budget one with no fancy extras.
If you generally “swing” your baby at home, then a plugged-in swing is a decent option for you and your baby. On the other hand, if you tend to travel around a lot, then you may want to go for a more portable, battery-powered swing.
At the same time, you will have to consider the weight and age of the baby. If they are in that stage in their life when they can’t hold their neck by themselves, then a baby swing with a full reclining option might be a better option for you.
Before making your purchase, try to get familiar with the features that your child might prefer. Once you know that, you might want to pay our buying guide a visit; we found a few popular options that you and your baby might enjoy.