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.
A seat attached to a base, with a motor that runs on batteries or A/C power. Larger profile than bouncers.
0 – 6 months.
To contain and calm baby with soothing bouncing motion.
A seat attached to a base that bounces when baby moves. Some are battery-powered. Lightweight and lower profile than swings.
0 – 6 months.
To contain baby for play and encourage leg muscle development.
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.
6 – 12 months.
Types of Baby Swings
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.