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When you first have your new baby home from the hospital, you can’t imagine doing anything but holding and staring at her. Then it will hit you. What do you do when you need to take a shower? Or make a phone call or eat dinner? At some point, you’re going to have to set her down.
Baby swings offer a safe, comfortable place for your baby to be when not in your arms, and they’re very soothing to most babies. The swinging motion mimics the movement your baby felt in utero, and can quiet even the fussiest of babies (not to mention give your arms a break from rocking). Swings are designed for babies who can’t sit up, so you’ll likely use one from the time your baby is a newborn through six months or so.
There’s a lot to think about when choosing a swing, including safety, versatility and special features. In this guide, we’ll explore these and other considerations and share our picks for the best baby swings.
If you’re looking for a versatile swing with all the bells and whistles, the Fisher Price Cradle ‘n Swing is the one for you. The swing can move side-to-side or head-to-toe, and it features six swing speeds. You can also easily rotate the seat to face forward or to either side, so your baby can face you no matter where you are. The seat itself has a soft removable cover that’s machine-washable, and it can be set to two different recline positions.
The Cradle ‘n Swing is equipped with 16 different songs and nature sounds, including white noise. To keep your baby entertained, the swing also has a motorized mobile with mirror. A five-point harness will keep your baby safe, and you can use this swing until your baby is 25 pounds or tries to crawl out. It runs on either battery or A/C power.
The Graco Slim Spaces Swing is one of the most affordable swings you’ll find, and it still offers a variety of great features. The swing moves head-to-toe and has adjustable speeds, so you can choose between gentle rocking or faster motion. The leg height is also adjustable, so your baby can be at two different levels for easy interaction. The legs fold, too, for transport and storage.
For stimulation, the swing has a detachable toy bar. A five-point harness will ensure your baby stays safety in the swing, and there is a soft, removable head support for newborns. The seat pad is removable and machine-washable. The swing runs on batteries and can be used until your baby is 25 pounds or tries to get out. The Graco Slim Spaces Swing is a great fit if you’re looking for a simple swing at an affordable price.
The 4moms mamaRoo is unique in that it’s designed to mimic a parent’s natural movements. It’s a bit pricier than other swings, but with all of its features, many parents swear by it. Instead of swinging back and forth, the mamaRoo features five different motion options that fluidly combine side-to-side and up-and-down movements. Its cradle-like seat has an adjustable recline, so baby can be anywhere from fully reclined to upright.
The mamaRoo can play four different soothing sounds, and it’s also Bluetooth Enabled, so you can play music from any device. A toy mobile features three colorful balls, one with a rattle, one with a mirror and one that crinkles. The cover comes in four different colors, can be zipped off and is machine-washable. The swing runs on A/C power. It can be used until your baby is 25 pounds or can crawl out.
Many parents like to have both a swing and a bouncer, and the Graco Duetsoothe Swing + Rocker is both! The seat can be removed and used as a stand-alone bouncer. In bouncer mode, the seat naturally bounces with your baby’s movements and also features soothing vibration. It has a handle so you can easily move it around the house. In swing mode, the seat can face forward or to either side, so your baby can swing side-to-side or head-to-toe. It has different recline positions and six swing speeds.
The swing includes a mobile with plush toys for visual stimulation. It also plays ten different songs and five nature sounds. The Duetsoothe can run on batteries or A/C power, and the seat cover is removable and machine-washable. Your baby will stay safely in place with a five-point harness, and the swing can be used until your baby is 30 pounds or can crawl out.
When choosing a swing for your baby, there’s a fair amount to consider. In this section, we’ll run through baby swing basics, how swings compare to similar baby products and top factors to think about when choosing a swing.
What is a Baby Swing?
A baby swing is essentially any seat that moves side-to-side or head-to-toe (or some combination of the two). Typical swings have some sort of base that holds them steady with and a seat that attaches to the top and a motor. Swings are intended for small babies, usually newborn to six months. Make sure to stop using your swing once your baby hits the weight limit or tries to get out of the swing.
Why Do You Need a Baby Swing?
Though some parents make it through the first six months without a baby swing, most find them to be a life-saver. Not only are baby swings a safe space to place your baby when you’re doing something else, they’re also a great soothing tool. Parents of colicky babies, especially, find that the gentle motion of a swing can quiet even the fussiest baby. Many moms and dads also use swings to calm their baby down before nap or bedtime.
Swings vs. Bouncers vs. Jumpers
To contain and calm baby with soothing swinging motion.
To contain and calm baby with soothing bouncing motion.
To contain baby for play and encourage leg muscle development.
A seat attached to a base, with a motor that runs on batteries or A/C power. Larger profile than bouncers.
A seat attached to a base that allows it to bounce when baby moves. Some are battery-powered. Lightweight and lower profile than swings.
A cloth seat that supports baby while allowing baby’s feet to touch the ground surrounded by activity center. Baby can spin and jump while being supported.
0 – 6 months
0 – 6 months
6 – 12 months
Types of Baby Swings
While baby swings all serve the same general purpose, there are a few different designs to consider:
The typical baby swing has a fairly large footprint. A large base supports the motor and swing and enables a variety of functionality, including different recline positions, seat positions and swinging directions.
Portable baby swings tend to be smaller and sit lower to the ground. They usually fold up so they can be carried to a different room or put in the car to take elsewhere.
Instead of a swinging motion, glider swings have a more fluid motion meant to mimic a glider chair or being rocked in a parent’s arms. They are usually controlled at the base rather than at the top of the swing.
Like most baby products, baby swings must comply with standards outlined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Standards include guidance on structural integrity, restraint systems, seat recline angles, electrical components and other elements. It’s a good idea to purchase a baby swing new so you know it meets the latest standards.
It’s also important to use your baby swing as intended. Be sure to buckle your child in every time. Newborns should also be reclined to prevent their heads from falling forward. While many babies nap in swings, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that babies should be moved to a flat sleep surface once they fall asleep. And while swings are a safe space to contain babies, you should still limit time spent in them. Newborns that spend too much time in seats can develop a flat spot on their heads, plus new babies still crave physical contact with their parents.
The most basic swings have one seat position. Others have the ability to face forward or to either side, enabling different swinging directions. This can also be useful if you want your baby to be able to see you as you move to different parts of a room. If you’re considering purchasing a stationary seat or bouncer as well, consider finding a swing with a removable seat. That way, you’ll have the ability to soothe your baby in the swing, while also enjoying the portability of a stand-alone seat. Some swings also fold up for easy transport.
The best swings are not just those with the best features, but those that easily switch from one mode to the next. For example, if you want to change the seat recline, is it as simple as the touch of a button or is there more involved?
Different babies have different preferences, and the same baby can also have different needs from one minute to the next. Some swings only move in one direction, while others have two or more movement options. You may also want to consider choosing a swing with different speed options as your baby might prefer different levels of movement as he or she grows.
Many swings include special features to soothe or entertain your baby. Swings that play music or white noise can be a great option when you’re trying to calm your baby. Some are even Bluetooth enabled so you can play your own music through them. Many swings include a mobile or toy bar. Visual and tactile stimulation are important and can also serve as excellent distractions for fussy babies. For ease of use, also look for a swing that allows you to set the swing and/or music to a timer.
Ability to Clean
It’s unavoidable—your swing is going to get messy at some point. Make sure you find one with a seat cover that’s easily removable and machine-washable. Some brands even sell extra seat covers so you always have a backup.