Baby swings provide a simulation of the gentle and rhythmic motion babies experience in the mother’s womb. A swing is an indispensable tool to parents especially when dealing with a colicky new baby. Swings also offer relief and ease in breathing for babies experiencing breathing impairments or a stuffy nose. Swings allow them to be in a fairly upright position while sleeping to alleviate sinus pressure.
Full size swings are made to support babies from newborn to the weight of around 30 pounds. This specification can vary by model. Most swings are equipped with a motor powered by batteries which allows the swing to operate for around 200 hours. The low constant noise of the motor on this type of swing may be annoying to parents, but soothing to babies. The motion of most swings is forward and back, but many models also feature sideways swinging, similar to that of a cradle.
There are some models that do away with the batteries by the use of an electric plug. The standard-sized models of either power supply are light in weight although awkward to move. For this reason, they are typically placed in the rooms of most activity like the kitchen or living room.
Swings require considerable space which makes them a difficult piece to fit into limited living areas. Most people only use a swing for a baby’s first couple of months. Use will decrease after that time and may stop altogether unless the baby has developed an addiction to motion in order to go to sleep.
Initially, no baby likes the motion of the swing, regardless of the model or type. It takes a short time for them to become accustomed to it, though. The primary consideration for parents in regards to baby swings is whether the baby likes it or not. This is not something that is easily determined before purchasing one. There are basically two kinds of movement achieved by swings. The forward and back motion is accomplished by all swing models but those that are the least expensive only have this type of motion. Cradle swings additionally feature the side-to-side movement that simulates a cradle.
Types of Baby Swings You Can Buy
The main considerations in choosing a swing to purchase are whether you need it to be portable and where you intend to place it in your home. With these 2 considerations in mind, there are two swing types to consider:
- Full-size swings – This style is for use indoors and for babies newly born up to a weight of 30 pounds, which depends on model specifications. The frame of this type is made of metal tubes and the legs stand far apart. The seat is suspended by two arms attached at the top middle of the frame.
- Portable swings – These swings are made for travel and popular with parents who need to take their baby with them throughout the home or to various locations. It is easy to assemble and sits low to the surface on which it is placed.
How to Choose the Best Baby Swings – Features to Consider
Evaluate all the features with an eye toward safety and comfort for the baby. This is the list of features to be considered while shopping for swings:
- Frame – In the full-size style, make sure the posts are sturdy and that the distance between them offers enough stability to avoid tipping while the baby is awake and active. Look for ease of storage and assembly.
- Accessibility – More current models of swings feature the “open-top design” which differs from past models in that there is no crossbar at the top of the frame. This innovation allows the parent access to the child from over-head as opposed to having to stoop down and remove the child from the swing while keeping clear of the bar. This design is infinitely preferable to the older models and will make using your swing much easier.
- Seat Cover – The cover should be soft and padded as well as machine washable. It is best to have an infant head support that is removable. Other than that, it’s a matter of personal taste and preference.
- Seat Settings – There should be a minimum of three positions to be set for the baby’s reclining. You will need this flexibility if you want the baby to be able to sleep in the swing. Some models also have height settings that can be adjusted to a raised setting to accommodate newborns and lowered for infants who have become more active.
- Speeds – Swings that are powered by electricity or batteries can have as many as eight speeds. Four speed settings are plenty. Faster speeds tend to excite babies more than relax them. It is best to try the slowest speed with your baby and gauge the reaction before trying faster settings. The more the baby weighs, the slower the swing will move, so plan on increasing the speed to achieve the same effect as time passes.
- Entertainment – Many swings are equipped with enjoyable diversions for the baby such as toy bars, tray and mobiles. Babies usually have no interest in the toy bar until they reach the age of 3 months. Toys need to be securely attached with no removable parts that can cause choking. Some models come with cute extras like music, volume control, lights and storage receptacles attached.
- Convertibility – Since swings can only be used for between 6 and 9 months, it may be practical to choose one that can convert to other purposes as the baby grows. Some can transform to a bouncy seat, a rocker or to a portable carrier for the baby by removing the seat. Although convertibility translates to a higher price, it can save space in the home from the storage of extra gear. The amount of use you can get out of one pricier item may save more expense and hassle later on.
Other Buying Recommendations for Baby Swings
Never purchase a used baby swing. Parts could be missing, the restraint can be inadequate or certain parts could be broken. The risk for injury to your child is too great to gamble on an old swing.
Sturdiness and stability are the key factors in the frame that you want to find. The legs should stand far enough apart to prevent the possibility of tipping, but not so far apart that they protrude too far out to avoid tripping over them. The seat should have good padding and a 3 to 5 point safety harness. The seat should also offer reclining options to facilitate sleeping as well as an upright position.
Cradle-type models should be mounted firmly underneath and the frame connections should not be flimsy or loose. Look for safety certifications on the packaging. Allow for 30 minutes to construct the swing. Before you place your baby in the swing for the first time, operate it while pressing your hand down in the seat some to check for stability.
Bright Starts Comfort & Harmony Portable Swing Review
The Bright Starts Comfort & Harmony Portable Swing is one of the best purchases I have made as a mother. With three young kids at home with me during the day sometimes getting everything done can be hard. The Bright Starts Portable Swing allows me to bring my baby with me throughout the house without having to worry about collapsing and moving a full size swing. Even better is the added bonus that it helps to entertain my toddler, who loves dancing to the music that is quietly playing. The best part is the swing is so quiet that you never even realize it is on, so the music doesn’t have to be turned up to play over the motor.
One of the best features of this swing is the different seating positions, so it can grow with my baby. As a newborn, I prefer my baby to recline in the swing rather than sitting straight up, but even in the sitting up position the swing seems to cradle my baby. One problem with swings is how fast they swing despite the ability to adjust the swinging speed. The Bright Starts Swing comes with a new technology that allows the swing to detect the baby’s weight and adjust the swinging motion automatically in an attempt to deliver a consistent speed that helps in soothing my baby.
- Soothing Music with volume control. One of the problems with many swings is that the music is annoying, even if it is supposed to be soothing. The Bright Starts Comfort & Harmony Portable Swing has the best music out of all the swings I have tried with my three kids. Not only is the music soothing to my newborn, but my toddler also enjoys dancing to the music that is playing. The volume control allows some adjustment, but you only have the choice between quiet and loud, I prefer the quiet setting because I use the swing to help my baby relax.
- Very Portable. While there are many different portable swings available to choose from the Bright Starts version is the most portable one I have found. This swing is very easy to fold up, plus it folds up flat and that allows me to take the swing with me wherever I go. When I take the older children to the park, being able to take the swing along with us is a huge bonus because it helps free up my hands to push the big kids on the swings.
- Moveable Toy Bar. The toy bar is a great feature because it comes with two toys that dangle down for baby to look at. While the toy bar hangs directly above the swing, it makes it look harder to remove baby than it is. The best part is that I can move the toy bar out of the way with just one hand.
- Super Comfortable Seat. While all swings claim that they have a comfortable seat that is far from the truth. Bright Starts Comfort and Harmony Portable Swing really does have one of the most comfortable seats around. The fabric is super soft, while the 5-point harness keeps them securely in place. The best part about the seat is the size of the seat; it is oversized so it will still fit my baby comfortably as she grows.
- Swing Automatically Shuts Off. One of the biggest issues, although it is a minor issue, that I noticed was that the swing automatically shuts off after one hour. I found this to be an odd feature, and a minor irradiation, because the swing has a timer based on 15-minute intervals. You can use this timer to shut the swing off after 15, 30, or 45 minutes, so why give this option if the swing shuts itself off after one hour. While it is irritating it is something that you can work around, all you have to do is plan ahead and restart the swing before the swing can shut itself off.
- Speed settings aren’t very adjustable. Although the swing comes with a dial for adjusting the speed of the swing it doesn’t do much good, pretty much all of the settings are the same speed I have yet to notice a difference. This is not the first swing that I have purchased, so I have also noticed that the speed-setting problem is the same on every swing, even your full size swings.
The Bright Starts Comfort and Harmony Portable Swing is one of the best portable swings out there. I choose this swing for my third baby because I needed something that I could take with my when I traveled or went to the park and the Bright Starts swing was the perfect choice for that. Not only is the swing super portable, but it is also durable. No matter where I set the swing up at I don’t have to worry about it tipping over or my baby falling out, as long as she is properly strapped in to the swing. The Bright Starts Portable Swing is a great swing at an affordable price
Fisher–Price Precious Planet Swing Review
The Fisher-Price Precious Planet Open Top Take-Along Swing is one of the best portable swings you can find, definitely lives up to the Fisher-Price name. One of the best-selling features of this swing is how brightly colored it is. Most swings come in soft, neutral colors because manufacturers feel that is soothing for a baby to look at. While this might be true, I for one wanted something fun and vibrant to look at, which the Precious Planet Swing exceeded those expectations. The seat is brightly colored, but so are the toys that hang down in front for the baby to look at.
Another outstanding feature of the swing is how lightweight it is. I am not the strongest person in the world, so sometimes lugging baby equipment around gets to be a little tiresome. This swing is so light that moving it from one room to the next is a breeze. Despite how lightweight the swing is the frame is a high quality one, meaning that while the swing isn’t heavy I am not worried about the frame collapsing. The durable frame is also a plus because my babies are a little bit on the hefty side, so I need something that is going to support them and still swing.
The Precious Planet Swing is also one of the most comfortable swings that I have ever seen. I remember the first time I put my baby in it it seemed like she just sank down into the seat. Just looking down at her, she looked so warm and cozy. The comfort of the seat is nice, but so are the different reclining positions of the swing. The seat reclines backwards so baby can lie down while catching a quick nap or the seat can be adjusted to a sitting position for playtime.
- Features that stimulate baby’s senses. One of the things I noticed about this swing is how many different senses it stimulates for your baby. One of the most obvious ones is the visual stimulation because of the bright colors; the toys located at the top of the swing are brightly colored to grab baby’s attention. These same toys are also dangling down to encourage baby to reach up and grab them, which improves hand-eye coordination. The music that plays in the background stimulates your baby’s hearing. In addition, the animals move when the swing moves, which encourages baby to start visual tracking.
- Compact design. One of the reasons that I chose this swing over some of the other swings is how compact it is. This swing actually fits inside my baby’s crib, which is a great place to store it when it’s not in use. The swing also folds up even smaller so it can be safely tucked away when it is not needed. However, the compact design allows me to carry the swing all over my house, and it fits in just about any room.
- Easy to take baby in and out. One big problem with swings is taking baby in and out because of toy bars or trays that get in the way. This swing makes it easy to take baby in and out because the tray can be moved out of the way with just one hand.
- Swing settings. The swing comes with a variety of different settings, so you can choose how fast or slow baby is swinging. This to me is a bonus because some babies enjoy swinging faster than others do, so there is no perfect setting. Not to mention that you have to increase the swinging speed with heavier babies, so having those extra settings is nice. Even on the fastest setting, the swing doesn’t eat through batteries as other swings do.
- Cannot carry it one-handed. The photo on the box is very misleading because there is no way to carry the swing with one hand, even after you have folded it up. The swing comes with two handles to make carrying the swing easier, so if you connected a strap of some sort to each handle you would be able to carry the swing around along with your baby. Despite this, the swing is not hard t move from one room to the next; in fact having two handles makes it easier to grip.
- Music. For some reason that I have yet to figure out, sometimes the music stops playing on its own, but that is easy enough to deal with. Other times the music stays on, so it must be some kind of glitch. Another problem with the music is that you cannot adjust the volume setting as you can with other swings, so the music can get rather old.
The Fisher-Price Precious Planet Open Top Take-Along Swing is one of the best portable swings I have found on the market. The swing easily folds up so you can take it wherever you need to go, and it is lightweight making it easy to carry. Not only does this swing live up to the high expectations I have for Fisher-Price products it is also very affordable, you won’t break the bank buying this cute little thing.
Graco SweetPeace Newborn Soothing Center Review
The Graco SweetPeace Newborn Soothing Center is a unique swing that is designed to soothe a newborn through various senses. The swing also helps meets the needs of newborns by reaching out and stimulating their senses. After several years between kids I was in the market for a new swing, was tired of the wind up ones and the battery powered ones weren’t much better. I happened upon the SweetPeace Soothing Center and instantly fell in love. As an added bonus, it is made by Graco, which to me is a name that means high quality and durability.
The swing comes with three different reclining positions, which is helpful depending on what my baby is using the swing for. I can also change the direction that the seat is facing, so I can always give my baby something new to look at. Through using the swing I have found that being able to move the seat’s position is a blessing because it extends the amount of time my baby spends in the swing, allowing me to get even more done.
One of the biggest claims of the SweetPeace Newborn Soothing Center is that it recreates the motions of the mother to help sooth a fussy baby. One of the ways this works is through the rocking motion, but also through the white noise selections. One of the selections is the sound of the mother’s heartbeat, which does seem to help on really bad days. However, the one I have found the most useful is the swishing noise, which sounds like liquid moving around. To me this is the most soothing sound to my baby because they lived in the womb for nine months listening to all of the fluid moving around as I moved around.
- iPod or MP3 Player Plug In. I have never seen a swing have the option of plugging in an MP3 player or even an iPod, even with the iPod docking stations being so popular. Having a plug in spot for my music is nice because it allows me to control what my baby is listening too, but also lets me enjoy the music coming from the swing. Perhaps the best part is the sound quality; it is sounds almost as good as my home stereo.
- Music Choices. While I can plug my own music into the swing, it also comes preprogrammed with a variety of music choices, as well as the white noise option. One of the best things about the preprogrammed music choices is you have soothing songs, but you also have upbeat songs that you can listen to when baby is awake. Many parents make the mistake of thinking that all of the songs that come with the swing are supposed to help put baby to sleep, but many babies, mine included, spend time in the swing while they are awake. Having upbeat songs, help keeps them awake, in most cases.
- Control panel. One of the best things about the control panel, aside from the blue light that lights up the buttons in the dark, is the memory setting. The first time I turned my swing off and then turned it back on the next day the settings from the previous day were still stored in the swing. Having the swing settings stored is nice because that means I don’t have to constantly adjust the swing when I turn it on. In addition, the control panel comes with a lock button, so my helpful toddler cannot mess with any of the buttons.
- Power options. The swings that I used with my other two kids were either wind up or battery powered. I preferred the wind up ones because they didn’t eat through batteries, but I liked the battery-powered swing because I didn’t have to manually wind it up to get my kids swinging. The Graco SweetPeace Newborn Soothing Center comes with an AC adapter that you can plug directly into the wall, no more buying batteries every week. However, you also have the option of using batteries, which makes it easier to take the swing with you no matter where you go.
- Swaddling blanket. This is one of the only swings that I have seen that comes with a swaddling blanket, which has a good purpose but is not very practical. The purpose of the blanket is to swaddle your baby in it with your scent on it. All of the things my baby uses has my scent on it because I handle everything she touches. While the idea of the blanket is good, the blanket itself needs improvement because of how small it is. The blanket is so small that I cannot use it to comfortably swaddle my baby in it.
- Toy Bar. While this is a small complaint, it is something that parents need to keep in mind. The toy bar is seriously lacking, but the swing makes up for this in so many other areas. The toys on the bar are not very easy for baby to reach and they don’t come off. I prefer not to use the toy bar; instead, I just give my baby her own toys.
The Graco SweetPeace Newborn Soothing Center is truly a unique swing. The swing has a seat that vibrates to help soothe baby, but the seat can also come out to fit any Graco Infant Seat, which some parents find helpful when they bring baby in from the car. Although this swing is a bit more expensive than others are, it is well worth the price. You get a swing that is close to being perfect, and the cons associated with the swing are such minor issues that they shouldn’t even be counted.