Is it OK to put a newborn in a swing?
Is it OK to put a newborn baby in a swing? Yes! We recommend that an infant under six months old should not be left unattended in the swing due to potential risks of suffocation or choking on vomit. This is not an exhaustive list of safety risks for a baby in a swing. We recommend getting more information from your doctor or medical professional. Keep in mind that babies are exposed to everything around them. If you take the time to read through all the articles and listen to parenting podcasts, you will know that this is not an uncommon risk. The major concern is creating a habit of putting your baby in a swing. In time, this can lead to children who do not want anything but a swing during the day and spend their nights sleeping with a stuffed animal or pillow.
What are the benefits of placing my newborn in a swing?
The benefits of placing my newborn in a swing include:
- Swing babies to sleep: Babies are at their most alert while awake and bathed in sunlight. So when they get tired, they will want to sleep. Many parents place a child in a swing for an afternoon nap. This can be helpful as it allows you to get some things done.
- Swing babies to eat: Babies are born with the instinct to breastfeed. If your baby is fussy and does not want to eat, then he might need soothing first by being swung gently or bounced on your knee until he calms down.
- Allows parents to get other things done around the house: Some parents use their baby swing as a time-saver in the house. They just put the baby in while they shower, prepare a meal, or do other chores.
- Modify your stress level: Swinging is a relaxing activity for many people and some find it helps to lower their stress levels. Having an infant swing is an easy way to keep your baby happy while you stay busy with other tasks.
- Gives baby a familiar, safe space: The swinging motion helps baby to feel at home in the swing, which can help him sleep more soundly at a later age. He may associate the swing with comfort and safety.
- It’s comforting (familiar space): It’s likely that your baby will feel more comfortable and safe in the swing he/she’s been spending time in. The swing is a familiar space, which can help the baby sleep at night. As an infant grows, it becomes harder for them to fall asleep at night time without the swing—they get used to falling asleep in it. Babies may not want to sleep anywhere else, but they will be able to go from the swing directly into their crib when they are older without a problem.
- Helps bring down baby’s fever when placed softly in the swing: Put a soft blanket underneath your baby, and put him/her in the swing. The gentle motion plus the rhythmic sound of the swing helps most babies feel comforted. If the baby is fussy or irritable, try giving him/her a bath first before putting in the swing. The motion, sound, and heat from the steam will help the baby to relax enough to fall asleep.
- Helps babies who are fussy eat better and sleep better at night (social space): Your baby will probably sleep better and eat better when he/she is in his/her swing. This is sometimes simply because the baby feels more secure and isn’t distracted by other noises. Babies who are fussy for no reason may want to rock themselves, which is a natural motion. The swing can mimic this motion during sleeping hours, giving the baby a sense of comfort and familiarity.
How to break the habit?
When babies start to grow older, and they choose not to sleep in their swing, you can put them in a bassinet. It is generally recommended that babies not sleep in a swing after 3 months of age (though many continue until 5 or 6 months). This will help the baby get used to snoozing somewhere else and will also avoid the risk of your baby becoming dependent on his/her swing for nighttime sleeping. A good time to help your baby learn to sleep through the night is during nap time, so make sure that you don’t have a lot of other distractions at this time. You can also trade in the swing for a co-sleeper (or even a rocker).
What are some disadvantages of putting a baby in a swing?
Here are some of the disadvantages to placing an infant in a baby swing, but this is not an exhaustive list.
- Parents can get too attached: Some parents find the swinging motion so soothing that they like to put their baby in it, even when it is no longer needed for soothing or feeding purposes. This can become problematic as babies grow older and begin to dislike that type of motion.
- Some babies are comfortable in it, but others are not: Some babies simply aren’t comfortable in the swing or simply don’t like it as a place to sleep. Don’t force your baby into the swing if they are crying or fussy.
- Swings can be costly: Swings often require batteries to operate and can cost upward of $100+ for one that has good reviews. There are some battery-operated swings that can be found for around $30.
- It’s hard to see if the baby is in distress: Because babies tend to fall asleep in the swing, it can be difficult to know if they are awake or not and need assistance. Herd says, “You should never keep a baby in a swing past 9 or 10 p.m. and when they are slightly older, never past 7.” If your baby or toddler still needs a little extra assistance with falling asleep, try swaddling them for the first few months and if that doesn’t work, Herd says to “swaddle them lightly and then let their arms free as soon as they fall asleep.”