For many moms, baby swings are a lifesaver. The smooth, rhythmic motion is reminiscent of months in the womb and lulls many a babe to sweet slumber — allowing mom to catch some precious z’s or take some time for herself. The upright position is also handy for babies with a stuffy nose or breathing concerns. If you’re in the market for a baby swing, how do you choose from so many? Let’s break it down by looking at what factors are most important to you.
But first, a word of caution: some babies don’t like the motion of a swing, so try it out before you spend a lot of time searching for one.
• Size and Portability
How much space does your home have for a swing? Will you move it from room to room? Do you plan to take the swing when you travel to Grandma’s house? Portable swings, also called travel swings, are much smaller, easier to move, and easier to fit in a car than standard swings. However, the seat is much closer to the ground, which may be awkward for everyday use. Standard, or full-sized, baby swings generally support babies from birth to 25 or 30 pounds.
• Type of Motion
Most swings offer a front-to-back motion, while others rock baby side-to-side. Fancier swings even offer both. Some babies prefer one type of motion over the other, so it’s best to try out both options ahead of time so you know what to get.
• Safety and Comfort
Make sure your baby swing is both safe and comfortable for your little one. Look for padded seats, adjustable seat recline, removable head support, and a good harness system. The last thing you want is for your baby to slide or climb out as he grows older. When it comes to restraints, a five-point harness is best but can be troublesome to fasten. Some swings come with a tray; look for one that swings up for ease of access or that can be removed altogether.
• Power Source
These days, most swings are battery-operated, but a few can be plugged into an electrical outlet. Batteries lend portability but need to be replaced often.
• Other Amenities
Many swings, powered by batteries, offer a slew of extra features to keep baby content. Multiple speed options, soothing music and sounds, and/or a rotating mobile are often included. Before you buy a swing, try out the sounds in the store to make sure you can handle listening to the sounds daily. Any mobiles or hanging toys should be removable or should rotate out of the way to make it easier to place baby in or take baby out of the swing.
Once you’ve selected your swing, try it within the store’s time limit for returns; this way, you can take it back if you or baby doesn’t like it. Be sure to keep the receipt and packaging.