Remember life before kids? The long out-of-town weekends, the sleeping through most of the Saturday with a book on your night shelf, the late Sunday afternoon cocktails with friends in high heels, glossy lips, a perfect mani and everything? Yeah, me neither.
Life with a baby (or more!) is damn hard. You need to do so many things and you have only 24 hours to keep your head above water and handle the situation! On top of everything, your little bundle of joy refuses to sleep most of the nights and your battery is constantly on the verge of dying out.
During the so-called sleep regression periods, the baby not only has difficulties going to sleep and staying asleep at night but he is also his worst during the day. You know what I am talking about – he is fussy and miserable and he wants to be carried and lulled and you feel like you are going insane!
Luckily for us, 21st-century parents, there are these magic baby soothers called baby swings that can immensely help you during these periods by literally getting the baby off your hands so you finally have time to do the dishes, brush your teeth or have a glass of wine and a sandwich.
Thank you, baby swings, YOU ROCK!
A baby swing is what I call the “Baby Beast Tamer”. It suspiciously looks like an infant car seat but instead of being powered by the car engine (which can get quite expensive at some point) it is powered by batteries or power cord. Its secret power is soothing your fussy baby by rocking itself back and forth (or side to side) providing you with precious moments full of the blissful sound of silence you haven’t heard for months.
Unlike the popular method of soothing your baby driving them in their car seat around the block, the baby swing gives you the opportunity of being able to calm your baby in the comfort of your home. The baby swing’s calming rocking motion does wonders with fussy babies and is one of the few purchases almost no parent has ever regretted.
This is hands down the ultimate top of the line baby swing. Imagine all baby swings had a kingdom… Well, 4moms mamaRoo would be their king.
Why babies love it:
- It quite successfully imitates parents’ natural motions (from up and down to side to side and beyond).
- You can play your baby his favorite soothing sounds or use the MP3 plug-in to play your (or baby’s) favorite tunes
- The seat can be adjusted to any position (including full recline). Hello, maximum comfort!
- It features a super cute toy mobile with 3 reversible toy balls (black and white on one side and colored on the other).
Why parents love it:
- Your baby is not particularly keen on being swayed from side to side or bounced up and down? This gem of a baby swing has 5 different motions! You can choose from kangaroo, tree swing, rock-a-bye, wave, and (my favorite) car ride. No more riding aimlessly around the block at 3 am!
- You can control both motion and sound from your smart device (if it’s compatible). Contemporary mamas welcome aboard the technology of your dreams!
- The seat fabric is easily removable and machine-washable.
- Did we mention it is already used in more than 300 hospitals?
Ingenuity Inlighten 2-in-1 Cradling Swing – Avondale
This 2-in-1 full-sized baby swing perfectly combines two smart infant seats in one amazing product. It easily converts from a baby swing to a vibrating rocker seat for a maximum comfort of both baby and parent(s).
Why babies love it:
- With a seat rotating 180˚ and 6 different swing speeds your little one is swung in his favorite direction (from side to side and from head to toe) at the speed that soothes him best. Plus, the baby is always in sight!
- It has an electronic mobile with moving lights and 3 sweet plush toys keeping him happy and entertained.
- It offers maximum comfort thanks to its 2 reclining positions and a deluxe oversized seat with a removable head support.
- It plays 8 different melodies and 3 soothing nature sounds.
Why parents love it:
- It saves money (and space) – you get 2 products in one by just removing the seat and converting the swing to a rocker. It is a lifesaver for parents on a tighter budget who don’t want to compromise quality and/or simply have no room for 2 separate pieces of spacious baby gear (a swing and a rocker).
- It has this ConnectMe feature that allows parents to connect a smart device to the swing and entertain their baby with pictures and videos.
- Its ingenious frame design makes folding, moving, and storage a piece of cake.
- The AC adaptor is so convenient (no battery replacement needed).
- The seat pad is easy to clean and has a 5-point harness.
Bright Starts Itsy Bitsy Jungle Portable Swing
So, you want a top notch quality baby swing that offers all the features of a full-size swing but without taking up all that space? Look no further! Bright Starts Itsy Bitsy Jungle Portable Swing is super easy to fold up and set up again. Bye-bye, baby clutter!
Why babies love it:
- Its True Speed Technology makes sure baby is enjoying his favorite speed. Baby gets bigger but speed remains consistent!
- The seat has 2 reclining positions for extra baby comfort.
- The two gorgeous playtime toys on the toy bar keep baby entertained when they are awake.
- The super cute design with lovely colors stimulates baby’s sight.
Why parents love it:
- The 5-point harness and non-slip feet provide maximum safety.
- It’s foldable, compact, and lightweight – you can easily reduce the baby clutter in your apartment and move it around the house (or even take it with you on vacation).
- It’s the best portable baby swing on batteries.
- The 6 melodies have volume control and auto shut off (the music plays for a while and then slowly powers down instead of just shutting off).
Graco Glider Elite Baby Swing
With its modern design and a seat that doubles as a bouncer, Graco Glider Elite Baby Swing is a very popular choice (especially among first-time moms due to the convenience it offers).
Why babies love it:
- The back-and-forth gentle gliding motion makes baby feel like he’s being cuddled and comforted in a nursery glider.
- The plush, roomy seat with three recline positions offers coziness, extra support, and comfort to baby.
- The two-speed vibration and 6 gliding speeds will guarantee your little one will find the pace that works best for him.
- The 10 melodies and 5 nature sounds will keep baby entertained and happy.
- The super cute, super soft, and super colorful toys work as a great visual stimulation and look like a lot of fun!
Why parents love it:
- Its seat doubles as a bouncer which is super convenient as you can easily take it with you when you need to go to another room without disturbing baby’s comfort.
- This is one of the few baby swings on the market that has the option to plug in or use batteries – the choice is up to you! Plus, there’s a timer mode that helps extend battery life.
- Thanks to its ingenious frame, it takes up 40% less space than most other baby swings of the same type.
- There’s a 5 point harness, so you are sure your baby is always safe in his baby glider swing.
Buying a baby swing is no rocket science but there are still a few features you should consider before taking out your credit card. Even though they all do the trick, some of them boast features that might tip the balance for your specific situation. Here are the basic features to look for and the options you have when buying a baby swing:
Except for supporting your baby (obviously), the baby swing seat is the place where your precious little one will spend a lot of time (hopefully), so you might ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it easy to clean? Considering there will be a baby in the swing, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that you will eventually find all kinds of baby bodily fluids as well as food in different stages of the digestion process all over the baby swing seat. So it better have a removable and easily washable seat cover.
- Are there different reclining positions? It goes without saying that newborns will feel more comfortable in a fully reclined position. But what happens when the baby gets older and wants to explore the world? Given the fact you are probably going to fall in love with the comfort a baby swing can give both you and your baby, you should consider a baby swing with different reclining positions.
- Is it nicely padded? This question is often neglected by new (sleep-deprived) parents but it’s important to feel the padding of the baby swing prior to buying. It has to be neither too thin nor too thick to provide your baby with maximum comfort.
Let’s face it. The primary reason you are buying a baby swing is, well, the swinging part. It’s that magical rhythmic rocking motion that imitates the motion of the womb and that has the power to soothe your cranky baby and provide you with the hands-free time you’ve been craving for ever since you became a parent. Here’s what to expect:
- Speed – an adjustable swing speed setting is a feature that is totally worth considering. By speeding up and slowing down the swing speed you can easily find the rate your baby feels most comfortable at. It’s a huge plus since newborns and older babies tend to change their mind about the speed at which they like to be rocked!
- Direction – while most baby swings offer only a back and forth swinging direction, there are models that also have a side to side/up and down/round and round motions available. Unless you are buying a baby swing with multiple swinging directions included, look for signs in your baby that will show you which swing direction is more soothing for him and opt for a baby swing that has this particular feature.
- Timer – depending on your preferences, you can choose a baby swing with a timer or one without a timer. The timer feature lets you set up a particular period during which the motion is on. There’s a downside to it, though, as you will have to turn it back on if the baby is still awake and wants some more rocking…
- Material – We’ll put it straight. It’s not advisable to opt for a cheap baby swing with a plastic frame. After all, the frame is what prevents the swing from falling over so the sturdier it is the better. All reputable baby swing manufacturers use metal for the baby swing frame construction.
- Base and legs – the baby swing frame plays an important role as it supports the whole construction of this baby gear. Hence, a wider base means a sturdier construction. In terms of convenience, though, a wider base also means another obstacle to have in mind when hurrying around folding laundry and cleaning baby puke off the floor.
- Does it fold? In case you live in a small apartment (or you want to fabricate the state of your pre-baby living area – good luck with that!), you should consider a foldable frame. It allows the baby swing to be neatly folded up and tucked in a distant corner until the next time you’ve had it enough with swinging your clingy baby in your arms.
You are saying goodbye to your cash anyway, so why not welcome some baby swing extras as well? Mobiles, toy bars, vibration (!), trays, music, and lights are among the many extras some fancy baby swing models boast about.
Don’t fall into the trap of wanting it all, though, as you need mainly a life-saver here, not a mobile circus in your home! Carefully choose the extras that you will feel most comfortable with. Hold on, there’s still a chance for that last piece of sanity you’re left with to stay intact during this newborn-baby-toddler rollercoaster your life has turned into.
Knowing your baby is safe in their baby swing is vital for each parent. Here are the safety features to look for in a baby swing:
- The harness – a 5-point harness is, undoubtedly, the safest choice, offering enough support both for the upper body and for the lower body. A 3-point harness is a good choice for older babies. Whichever option you go for, make sure the straps are made of a durable material, are well adjusted and are comfortable for your baby, of course! The lock should also be sturdy with the straps securely locking into place to ensure your child’s maximum safety.
- The recommended weight, height, and age guides – whether there is a minimum or a maximum requirement for any of the above, you should make sure your baby’s measures are within the required limits.
- The recline positions – it is extremely important to choose a baby swing that offers a fully-reclined position if your baby is under 4 months as, up until this age, babies have little to no control of their necks.
- The parent attendance – even though one of the major advantages of baby swings is freeing your hands so you can actually do something around the house, you should always keep baby in sight. Whether your bundle of joy is in a baby swing or no, he should never be left unattended.
- The swing placement – where your baby swing is positioned is as important (in terms of safety) as the rest of the safety precautions. When you set it up, make sure the surface is flat (no inclines or elevations), it’s easy to see it from different angles, and no pets have access to it (as they can accidentally turn it over).
- Sleep – baby swings are generally not designed with night sleep in mind, but an occasional short nap is perfectly fine. In terms of safety, putting your baby to sleep in their crib is the wisest choice.
- Time limits – while there are no hard rules on this one, you shouldn’t leave your baby in the swing all day. Some experts say an hour (or less) a day is best for the baby but there’s no research that either proves or rejects this theory, so just go with the flow and make sure you get baby off the swing if he shows any signs of irritation or discomfort.
- Toys – most baby swings come with a toy bar (or a mobile) that offers plenty of opportunities for your little one to have fun playing with the toys or just looking at them. To make the entertainment safe, every time you put the baby in the swing, ensure that all toys are securely and safely connected to where they belong. As you know, any loose parts or small objects can end up in your baby’s mouth, increasing the chance of choking.
Ease of use
Do you know what’s even more dreadful than the 4-month sleep regression? Hard to use baby gear! If you don’t believe me, try to assemble a nursery furniture set while you’re 9-month pregnant, it’s the first time your husband meets a screwdriver in person, and it’s 40˚C outside, because, August. Don’t ask me how I know.
So, apart from baby comfort, there’s this term that’s a little vague to new parents, called “parent convenience”. Since you don’t have the luxury of experiencing it in most stages of parenthood, you can at least secure it for your (sleep-deprived) self when it comes to baby swings and the like:
- Assembly – as if we need another thing complicating our new life as parents… Well, unfortunately, unless you’re buying doughnuts, you’ll have to deal with assembly. Since baby swings come unassembled (sigh), you’ll have to deal with assembly yourself. So pick a model that doesn’t make you want to use a hammer at some point of the assembly process.
- Battery removal – if you opt for a battery-operated baby swing, make sure you choose a model that makes it (relatively) easy for you to change the batteries. Unless you really like using your hammer for that.
- Baby positioning – Do you know what babies’ greatest feature is? They eventually grow up and stop crying, whining, spitting, and puking on themselves. Oh, and they start sleeping through the night. But I digress. The thing is that when the baby grows, it can get harder for you to put him in the swing and get him out of it. Baby swings with open tops or folding down frames can make your life really easier in this case.
- Wind-up – the cheapest baby swings currently on the market, wind-up baby swings may save you some money but they can become a real pain in the *ss. I mean, what is the point in buying a baby swing if you have to rewind it every 10-15 minutes? If you like your hands busy, just skip the baby swing altogether!
- Battery – battery-powered baby swings may sound like a good option at first (due to their lower price compared to the plug-in options). But if you are an unfortunate parent of a tough sleeper (welcome to the club), you will soon find the hard way that replacing baby swing batteries every week or so is not cheap. At all.
- Plug-in – the most expensive baby swings on the market are the plug-ins. But can you really put a price tag on comfort? With no need for you to rewind like a crazy person or try to figure out how to use the screwdriver to change the batteries at the freezing sound of your screaming baby, it’s a matter of common sense to resort to the plug-in baby swing of your dreams.
No matter which type of baby swing you have chosen, make sure both you and your husband/wife (or any other caregiver who’s using it) is comfortable with it. Parents, just like baby swings, come in all sizes and shapes so we are sure that after you have read all the valuable information you need in this ultimate baby swing buying guide, you will make the right choice.
Now, go baby swing shopping and ROCK ON, BABY!