A baby swing is a necessity for moms and dads with a newborn or a particularly cranky baby. This is because baby swings can simulate the rhythmic rocking motion that a child has grown accustomed to while in the womb. Without these swings, a parent will have to constantly carry and cradle the baby in order to prevent crankiness, irritation, and all sorts of temper tantrums on the baby’s side.
While the best baby swing will never ever replace human contact, it will give parents more freedom when caring for their baby, not to mention save them a lot of headaches and joint pains normally associated with frequent lifting of the baby. It’s a great boon for parents that need to multitask or parents that have a colicky baby. They can provide the constant presence and care that a baby needs, while still enjoying a certain amount of freedom of movement – at least enough to do some left over work or light household chores while keeping an eye on the baby.
With the practicality of a baby swing not being subject to debate, the issue to be considered has to do with finding the right kind of baby swing that will address the parent and the baby’s needs. Different swings have different features; build quality, and price points. Finding the right one means you have to understand what makes a good baby swing.
Characteristics of the Best Baby Swing
Whether the baby swing is motorized or manual, made of plastic or metal, there are a few characteristics that you should look for if you want only the best, such as:
- Sturdy – the best baby swing should be stable and sturdy. You don’t want the thing to fall down or fall apart with your precious baby on board.
- Quiet –you should avoid those with unnecessary noises like creaks, clicks, or grinding sounds because it could disturb you and the baby. Only go for the ones that have built-in music or soothing melodies as sounds.
- Easy to clean – anything that will be used by a baby or toddler will get dirty. So you need a swing that can be easily cleaned so you won’t have to spend too long manually cradling your baby while waiting for things to get done cleaning.
- Easy to assemble – face it, the baby will take up most of your time, you don’t have enough to spare on complex assemblies and storage. You want a swing that you can set up and start using within minutes of unpacking.
The Best Baby Swing List
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of baby swings on the market. But so far we have found nine that would suit a parent’s needs, with the choice ultimately coming down to different factors like features, price, portability and the specific needs and budget of the parent. If you’re looking to buy one for your baby, it wouldn’t hurt to look at the following products first:
Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Portable Rocker
Fisher Price’s Newborn-to-Toddler Portable Rocker is designed for portability and long-term use. It is cheaper than most of the products on this list because it doesn’t have the automated swing function, but it does have a motor that provides soothing vibrations. Its main feature is that parts of it can be easily removed, which makes it suitable for packing and traveling. The other main feature is the ability to remove certain parts and adjust the seat so that it can accommodate the baby as she grows taller or heavier, hence the name: it’s meant for your baby from her newborn phase all the way to her toddler years.
Comfort & Harmony Cozy Kingdom Portable Swing
The Cozy Kingdom Portable Swing may look flimsy compared to the other baby swings on this list, but it’s actually very tough and sturdy and its design looks minimalist for a very important reason: it’s designed to be portable. The swing can be folded in a snap and can be stored in a single luggage, making it the ideal choice for parents who wish to travel with their baby in tow. Aside from the portability, the Cozy Kingdom comes with all the requisite features such as a motorized swing with 6 different speeds that mimic the motions that babies have come to expect from parents, the soothing melodies, and a foam toy bar with 2 plush toys.
Fisher-Price Deluxe Take Along Swing and Seat
This infant seat is designed to be portable, so it’s understandable that many of the features that you’d normally find in Fisher Price’s infant seats and cradles were removed or cut down, because the trade off is versatility, lighter weight, and a drastically reduced price. As for features, the Deluxe Take Along Swing Seat comes with soothing nature sounds and music, though the selection is limited. It comes with Fisher Price’s SmartSwing technology, which automatically adjusts the swing speed based on the baby’s weight, so that your baby won’t easily outgrow the seat when he gets heavier.
Fisher-Price Snugabunny Cradle ‘N Swing
The Snugabunny is the full-featured version of the My Little Snugabunny cradle featured earlier on this list. Like all of Fisher-Price’s baby cradles, this one comes with all of the expected features from a Fisher Price cradle, such as the motorized swing and vibration controlled by the Smart Swing technology (which automatically adjusts the swing speed according to the weight of the baby), 16 songs and soothing nature sounds, and the option to shift between AC adaptor powered operation or 4 D-sized batteries (not included in the box.)
Fisher Price Cradle ‘n Swing – My Little Snugapuppy
The My Little Snugapuppy is part of Fisher Price’s budget line of Cradle and Swing combos, which consists of smaller versions of their main product line with less features but significantly lower prices and more portable builds. The My Little Snugapuppy takes its name from its big brother, the Snugapuppy, and has most of the basic features that a parent needs from a swing and cradle.
The Little Snugapuppy comes with Fisher Price’s patented SmartSwing technology, which allows adjusting of the swinging motion to what’s comfortable for the baby. The product can swing from side to side and front to back, and also comes with a motorized mobile with animal-shaped toys. The unit is powered by a 120 volt AC adaptor or a 4 D sized batteries.
Graco Glider LX Gliding Swing
The Graco Glider LX Gliding Swing is a nursery glider that comes with vibration and swing function that can be adjusted according to six different settings. The glider also comes with sounds consisting of 10 classic melodies and a removable toy bar with two bear toys. The product is designed to be a space saver, taking up as much as 40% less space compared to other products within the same price range. The power comes from an AC adapter or 4 D size batteries.
The Graco Glider LX is sturdy, with the main base being made of metal and tempered plastic, which ensures that it can handle heavier weight. The downside is that it is priced at a premium compared to other gliders of the same size.
Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing, Starlight
The Starlight Papasan Cradle Swing is a baby cradle and swing combo that offers a choice between front to back or sideways swinging motion, which can be automated using a motor that runs on 4 D sized batteries or the included AC adaptor. The swinging motion’s speed can be controlled and the seat’s position can be adjusted to what’s comfortable for the baby.
The Starlight, as its name implies, features an overhead mobile with star-shaped toys, which should keep the baby preoccupied when she’s not asleep. The product also comes with toggleable lights, and 16 sounds consisting of 8 daytime melodies and 8 soothing night time sounds.
Graco DuetSoothe Swing with Rocker
The DuetSoothe is an infant swing seat that can also function as a rocker. Like most of the baby swings on this list, the DuetSoothe has a motorized swing and vibrate function with different speeds, designed to gently rock a baby to sleep. What makes this one stand out among the rest is its versatility. It’s an excellent infant swing seat, but the carrier can be removed and turned into a rocker, which means that the DuetSoothe fulfills the services of two products at the same time, justifying its somewhat steep price point.
4Moms Mamaroo Bouncer
The 4Moms’ Mamaroo Bouncer is a motorized bouncer with a unique design. Instead of a kid-oriented aesthetic, the Mamaroo has a post modern structure that would fit in even outside of the nursery. The name comes from the fact that one of its unique motions mimics that of a Kangaroo bounce. The other motion settings include a car ride, the rock a bye, and the wave. Each of the motion settings is designed to appeal to different babies’ needs and will do a great job of mimicking a parents’ rocking and cradling. Another unique feature of this bouncer is support for an mp3 player, greatly expanding the available music and sound settings, as well as support for Bluetooth controls via any compatible android device.
The Benefits of a Baby Swing for Parents
There are a number of benefits that a baby swing can bring to a parent. The first has already been mentioned earlier in the article – a baby swing helps tremendously in caring for the baby because it means the parent doesn’t need to constantly carry and cradle her offspring. Not only will this minimize the hassle and stress, but also allow the parent to multitask while keeping a watchful eye over the baby.
Another benefit is that it provides a safe, familiar place to put the baby in. Baby swings are stable and secure, there’s no risk of a baby ever falling down or wandering somewhere else. The same can’t be said for simply placing the baby on her stomach on the floor or on the bed.
Finally, many babies are very fussy and can be difficult to calm. Most baby swings are designed to help in this regard, as they come with various features that help calm down a baby as well as gently put her to sleep. They also come with various toys and extra features that can keep the baby preoccupied in case it’s not yet time for napping. In many cases, a baby swing can be the difference between a stress-free child rearing experience and a tiring exercise in futility.
How to Pick the Best Product
With the sheer amount of choices available, choosing the best product can be difficult, especially for parents who have never shopped around for a baby swing in the past. If you belong to this category, here are the steps that you need to take in order to find the product that suits you and your baby best.
- First, don’t be too stingy. It’s okay to want to save as much money as possible, but keep in mind that we’re talking about a product that your baby will use. The baby’s needs and safety should come first, not your budget. That is not to say that you should always pick the most expensive swing. There are inexpensive yet decent swings out there. You just need to find out why it’s cheap and decide whether the reason is fine with you. It could be cheaper because it lacks certain features or because it’s smaller than the average cradle. Both are perfectly fine reasons, but if it’s cheap because there’s no warranty or it looks like it was made out of flimsy materials, avoid it.
- Check for the safety features – a swing should have a harness in order to prevent the baby from slipping out of the seat, and you should check the manufacturer’s recommendation on the maximum allowed weight. Make sure it’s at least ten pounds outside of what your baby weighs, in order to give some allowance when she grows heavier. As cradles and swings become more complex, you should also check if there are sharp points or protruding edges that could be uncomfortable or even painful for the baby. Manufacturers take this into account, but they can’t account for all the body types and shapes possible, so you need to check on your own.
- Check the features versus your needs – do you need a motorized swing or not, or do you prefer one powered by batteries or an AC cord. Or possibly both. What about toys and sounds as well as the ease of use. You need to check these first before deciding on a model that you want.
- Find out how easy it is to clean – it’s going to be used by your baby, so you can expect the swing to get dirty. You don’t want a swing that is difficult to clean and maintain. Ideally, get ones with removable seat and the insert, and check if they’re machine washable. A baby swing that is easy to clean means that you won’t get bogged down by unnecessary cleaning chores every time the baby drops the bottle or spills her food.
- Finally, test the swing with your baby – different babies have different temperaments. Some babies might not notice the faint humming noise that motors emit during the swinging operation, but there are those that can be easily bothered by it. So you need to test whether the baby swing can actually pacify your baby before committing to it. Many manufacturers offer returns and refunds, but many don’t, so that could be a possible factor that will affect your purchasing decision.
Tips for Using a Baby Swing
- A baby swing is designed to alleviate the hard work that comes with rearing a baby, but it’s not an excuse to leave your child alone for long periods of time, so make sure you’re still keeping a watchful eye on the baby even if she’s safe and secure on the swing. If you want to watch the TV or do some work while the baby is in the swing, move the swing itself near your desk or seat.
- Check how comfortable it is. Make sure the seat has a nicely padded cushion and look at its ability to recline. Different babies are comfortable with different reclines and sometimes, your baby will change her preference as she grows older.
- Keep it clean and well maintained, especially if it’s the kind of baby swing that has motors and different movable parts. It’s got various nooks and crannies where dust, bacteria, and insects could get in if you don’t clean it regularly. You have to ensure that it is well taken care of if you want it to take good care of your baby as well.
- Monitor your baby’s weight. Manufacturers take a baby’s tendency to grow heavier into account when designing their baby swings, so their products can usually handle it even if your baby grows or puts on weight fast, as long as you’re still within the recommended weight limit, but they can’t account for the comfort level on the baby’s end. You should make a point to check if your baby is still comfortable or whether she’s already too big and heavy for the swing, even though it still holds up well.
- Extra features are always good, but you should target the baby swings that are versatile in this regard. For instance, if it has an overhead mobile or a toy bar, try to find ones that are removable because that will make it easier for your baby to get on the seat, and will also allow you to remove the toys in case the baby grows tired of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What kind of batteries will the baby swing need?
A: Different swings require different batteries. Some don’t even use batteries and rely on an AC cord for power. It is always best to check the product page as it will usually contain specific info on the required size of batteries as well as the type.
Q: The motor’s noise bothers my baby. Is there any way to fix it?
A: All motors emit a faint sound while running, but if the swing you have is so loud that it disturbs the baby, you should contact the manufacturer to verify if it’s normal or if you have a defective product.
Q: Are baby swings safe for a newborn baby?
A: Yes, but you have to check the product description first as it will always indicate whether it will accommodate a newborn or not. Be mindful that there are baby swings that are meant for toddlers instead of newborns, while there are ones that will accommodate both but require adjustment.
Q: How long do the batteries last?
A: It depends on the product, but if this is a big concern, you should opt for baby swings that have an AC adaptor instead of relying on batteries.
When buying a baby swing, it is best to remember that there is no single product that can really claim to be the best baby swing, because whether a specific product is best will depend on the needs of the baby and the parent that’s going to use it and whether those needs are met. Make sure you look at all the products on this list and make educated comparisons before choosing the right one, and remember that it’s called a “baby” swing, not a “parent” swing so put the needs of your child first before your own.
We also have reviews about comfort and harmony portable swing as well.