Once you become a parent, sleep always seems to be on your mind in one way or another. From the lack of sleep you are now getting to making sure your new baby is getting enough, it can be a completely overwhelming topic that never goes away.
Parents will do almost anything to get their baby to sleep for even a short amount of time. This is so they can catch their breath, catch a shower, or even take a nap themselves, and using a baby swing is definitely a go to method for a lot of families.
With so many options out there, how do you know what to choose?
What extra’s do you absolutely have to have, and what can you do without?
How Do Baby Swings Work?
Baby swings are a go-to for many families, and they are known for being a great tool to get baby to sleep, but how do they really work?
Simply put, swings create the same back-and-forth motion that a baby feels in the womb and then feels when in the arms of a parent. The rhythmic back-and-forth, or side-to-side motion is soothing to babies and comforts them, especially in the first three months after birth. Parents report that most swings can be used up until around 6 months.
Baby swings are a great way to get your baby to sleep, they are pretty much foolproof if you get a good one (stick to name brand), and they make a great transition stage in getting your baby to sleep in their crib or bassinet on their own without crying.
Find a baby swing that comes with multiple speeds so that you can set it according to your baby’s preferences and age.
Baby swings are very simple to use, and many parents say that it is their go-to method for calming a fussy baby, and is the next best thing to being in your arms.
There are many studies as to whether a baby swing will interfere with your child learning how to self soothe. If you are sleep training, or planning on sleep training you will become very aware of items that can inhibit your training, and a swing will be high on the list.
It really is up to you and your family to choose the baby products that will be most beneficial to you in those early days. Perhaps sleep training could wait until baby has out grown the swing, and a little more independent. That way you can have the best of both worlds.
Not every family will choose to use a baby swing, and it is important not to judge any other family for their parenting choices. Just because an item works for you, does not mean it will work for another.
Dangers of Baby Swings
Although baby swings are guaranteed to get your child to sleep, they are not certified as a safe sleep space for babies. It is important that you move your baby to a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet after the baby swing puts them to sleep.
Sleeping for long periods of time in a baby swing can increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) as the angle that the seat is in can allow the head of baby to slump forward before they have enough neck muscles to hold their head up. Thus making it hard for them to get enough oxygen.
Find a swing that has a more laid back or adjustable seat to help prevent this.
Placing your baby in a swing for long periods of time can also lead to them developing a flat head. For this reason, it is recommended that baby spend the maximum of one hour at a time in a baby swing.
This amount of time, paired with tummy time that an infant needs will ensure there is no flat head on your baby.
Try to avoid swings with bright lights, and loud noises. Depending on the age of your baby this can over stimulate them and work against you in trying to get your little one to sleep.
If you do choose a model with lights, just use them appropriately for your baby’s age and developmental stage.
Types of Baby Swings
With all of the baby products on the market these days, how do you know what you need and what you don’t?
Should you buy a newborn baby swing, a portable swing, or one that plays music? All of those are great options depending on what and where you plan on using your swing.
Portable options are great if you plan to move the swing from room to room as you need it. In this case, I also suggest one with a battery option as well as a plug in option. That way you can use the baby swing wherever you like and not have to worry about access to plug-ins.
A music or white noise option can also be a great add-on. They can help lull baby to sleep along with the rocking motion.
You really don’t need all the bells and whistles on a baby swing for it to do the trick. It is essentially the constant back and forth, or front to back motion that soothes them and works very well at getting the job done.
Always be sure to read the instructions on how to use your baby swing safely, and always strap your baby in with the safety harness.
Stick to name brand options such as Fisher Price or Graco, and make yourself aware of the recall lists in case your model happens to turn up on it you can be alerted right away.
A baby swing is a definite item to put on your baby registry, so shop around beforehand so that you can find a model that will work well for you and your living space.
Most baby swings on the market these days do require some assembly, and this is an item that you definitely want to have up and ready to go before your newborn arrives, as it will really be an extra set of hands for you in those early days.