What everybody ought to know about baby swings

Baby swings. Some are great. Some are ineffective. And some break easily. Sure you could drop $160 on a baby swing that doesn’t help your baby sleep and breaks three weeks after you bought it.
But let’s face it – you just had a baby. You’re going to need that money for Starbucks and takeout.

What You Care About

A safe, reliable swing with enough motion to help your baby sleep.

What You Don’t Care About

Toys and music. We’re using the swing as a sleep-aid which means we’re NOT going to use it as a baby amusement park. Also we know that white noise helps babies sleep better so we don’t care which swing plays better music. And finally most baby swings produce music/white noise on a timer which means your baby swing will likely NOT be your source for white noise (unless your baby takes 7 minute naps in which case you’ve got bigger problems than picking out the best baby swing review 2016).

Travel Baby Swings

Pros

They’re small. If you’re living in a 500 sq ft apartment in lower Manhattan, then a full-sized swing may simply not be an option for you.
They’re cheap (about 50% less than a full-sized swing).

Cons

They don’t tend to help babies sleep as well as full-sized swings. Bigger swings result in more swinging motion which tends to be more effective for helping babies sleep.
Swing timer = FAIL. Travel swings often only swing for a set amount of time which means both you and your baby will be waking up every 45 minutes all night long when the timer shuts off.
They’re very low to the ground. While the weight limit is 25 lbs (roughly the same as that of a full-sized swing) if you have a tall baby you may find their heels dragging on the ground within a month or two.
Bottom Line: In general I don’t recommend travel swings for baby sleep. If money is really tight you would probably be better off finding a lightly used recent-model full-sized swing on Craigslist.

Full-Sized Swings

Pros

They have the good full-range swinging motion which is most effective to help babies sleep.
No timer on swinging. Yay!
Some models are available with electrical plugs which spare you and the environment the pile of batteries you’ll be producing otherwise.
They can safely and comfortably hold a baby from birth to 8+ months of age.

Cons

They’re loud(ish). Having a baby swing swinging full-bore inches from your bed will take some getting used to. Using loud-white noise will help.
They eat batteries (if using batteries). If you’re the swing full-time, expect to replace 4 D-cells every 7-10 days. Rechargeable batteries won’t work.
They’re heavy-ish. If you just had a C-section, you won’t appreciate having to move this around.

Which Brand is Right for You?

Graco

Graco baby swings have the advantage of a 5 point harness and the highest weight limit (30 lbs) of any swing on the market. However they also have notoriously underpowered motors which are prone to burn out. I have found that Graco customer service will send you a replacement motor (they’re surprisingly easy to swap out) for free. However if your little one needs a swing to sleep, waiting for your replacement motor to show up in the mail can make for a rough couple of days.

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