You’d love to hold your baby every moment of the day, but that just isn’t practical.
You have to put them down at some point, whether it’s to work, rest your aching muscles, sleep or grab a quick shower when you can.
But for some babies, the screaming starts the second you put them down. Thankfully, having the best baby swing can make that screaming a thing of the past.
Your baby will be relaxed and happy and you’ll be able to get a few things done while they hang out safely in their new swing.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Baby Swing Picks of 2020 Read Full Reviews
Are Baby Swings Necessary?
You don’t have to have a baby swing. It’s not a necessity like a crib, car seat, and diapers are.
But while a swing isn’t a necessity, if your baby does like the motion of it, it sure does make parenting easier, both mentally and physically.
My first baby didn’t like sleeping unless she was in my arms. It didn’t matter if it was day or night when she was napping, she wasn’t content if I put her down in her crib. I’d put her down and tiptoe out of the room, only to hear her crying a few minutes later.
I couldn’t get anything done. The kitchen sink would be overflowing, the floors would desperately need vacuuming, and I would be so exhausted, all I wanted to do was put myself down for a nap.
Not knowing what to do, I ordered a swing. I wanted a recumbent one that she’d be able to nap in. My theory was that she just liked the movements she felt when I was holding her. A swing could do that while giving my arms a much-needed break.
The first day when the swing arrived was like my emancipation day.
My baby happily settled into the swing for a nap, and I was able to fold some laundry. It felt like I’d recovered just enough of my independence that I could have a small sliver of my life back. I was finally able to get some sleep and finish some basic housework.
I admit I didn’t always do this. When you have a fussy baby, you’ll do anything to let them get some sleep.
So while the baby swing wasn’t a necessary purchase, it was one of the best buys I’ve ever made.
How to Find the Best Baby Swing
These are a few things you should consider before buying a baby swing:
- Seatbelt: Any swing you buy should have a seat belt — either a three-point or a five-point harness (1). This helps your baby stay safe and secure in their seat. You should always use it, even in a reclining swing. It’s something you should get in the habit of always doing for safety.
- Swing height: Swings come in different heights. I always felt more comfortable with a recumbent swing that was close to the ground because I wanted to minimize the risk of falling.
- How many swinging speeds you want: Some swings will have more speeds than others. If the speed options matter to you, look for models that have more.
- Portability: If you want a swing for when you’re traveling or going to grandmother’s house, you’ll want to find one that isn’t much trouble to take with you. Some fold up well, while others will be a nightmare to get out the door.
- Power source: Swings can run on battery power or via an AC adapter, while some swings have both options, which is helpful if you’re at home and don’t want to run down the battery. But if you don’t have an outlet where you want the swing, battery power comes in handy.
- Ease of cleaning: Whether your baby has a spit-up incident or a diaper blowout, they’ll get that swing filthy at some point. Ideally, you’ll find a swing that has a cover you can take off quickly and throw in the washing machine.
- Comfort: Because your baby may be sitting in this swing a couple of times a day, you want it to feel comfortable. You’ll want the material they sit on to be thick enough that they won’t object every time you put them in.
- The seat position: While my children and I loved the reclining swing we had for them for the first several months of their lives, they didn’t like it as much when they got older. The seat wasn’t adjustable — it was always recumbent. Once they got big enough to sit up on their own, that swing was given to another family.
- Whether you want a timer: Some swings have a timer. When the time runs out, it stops swinging.
- Frame construction: You can get plastic or metal frames, but you should always keep in mind that metal is much sturdier. If you go with a plastic frame, you should make sure you feel comfortable that the swing will hold the weight. You should also look for a frame with a wide base, so it doesn’t tip.
- The extras: Swings do more than offer motion — some have vibrating seats, toys attached and play songs.
Full-Size Swing or a Portable?
This will be one of the biggest decisions you have to make. Let’s look at each type of swing.
If you have a specific room in mind for your swing and you don’t have any plans to move it, consider buying a full-size swing. But first, make sure you have the room to keep it there, since they do require a fair amount of space, and aren’t easy to move.
Typically, full-size swings have the best swinging movement because the motors are placed at the top of the swing, and the swings are taller. They tend to be durable and difficult to tip over. But be prepared to pay more than you would with portable swings.
If you don’t have much room in your house or your budget, opt for a portable swing.
They cost less and don’t take up as much space. But since many portable swings only offer battery power, they can cost more in the long run since you’ll be paying for battery replacements. With full-size swings, you’ll have the option of using the power cord.
If you plan to be on the road a lot, you’ll be able to bring this kind of swings to hotels with you.
The Fisher-Price Auto Rock n’ Play Sleeper has been removed from our recommendations after a recent recall by the company due to infant deaths using the product (2). This product is dangerous and the AAP has urged parents and caregivers to stop using it right away. To request a refund for the Rock ‘n Play, visit http://bit.ly/RockNPlayRecall or call the company at 866-812-6518. Those who have owned the Rock ‘n Play for 6 months or less will receive a cash refund while those who have owned them longer will receive a voucher for a new Fisher-Price product.
Editor's Note:Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC
The Best Baby Swings of 2020
The gentle rocking of a quality baby swing can turn even a fussy baby into a sleeping cherub. For the extra peace and quiet, it’s worth spending some time finding a model that will really work for you. Here are our top picks for 2020:
1. Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle 'n Swing
Bring your little one into the modern age with this innovative baby swing. It takes standard features and enhances them with high-tech upgrades.
For example, it doesn’t just rock back and forth. Complete with six speed and four motion settings, you can customize how the baby swing moves to fit your baby’s needs and preferences. It also has 16 different songs and three nature sounds to choose from.
Our favorite feature is the “Smart Connect” technology. You connect the baby swing to your mobile device and you can then control all of the features with the tap of a finger. It works from up to 164 feet away, so you can start the rocker, change the motions or the speed, and activate the sounds without ever having to disturb your little one.
If your baby has a favorite soothing tune, you can even take it with you and play it right from your phone or tablet.
- Connects to your mobile device for one touch control.
- Play your baby’s favorite songs anywhere.
- Numerous motion and speed settings help in every situation.
- Depending on the setting, you may hear noise from the motor.
2. 4moms MamaRoo Infant Seat
With newborns, you never know if you’ll get the most content baby on the planet or one that never seems to stop crying. It’s best to cover all your bases while ordering a swing before your baby is born. Find one that has everything you might ever potentially need to soothe a crying baby.
This seat looks more like a work of art than a baby swing. It also has five specific motions that mimic what babies are used to — a car ride, kangaroo, rockabye, wave and tree swing.
This swing goes high-tech: it’s Bluetooth compatible so you can control the motion and the sound. You can choose from the four sounds that are built into the swing, but if you want to be in control of the playlist, you can also plug in your MP3 player.
The seat adjusts into a full reclining position if you want it to and the mobile has reversible toys to keep your baby working on their motor skills as they reach for them.
The cover on the seat can be removed and put in the washing machine. The swing holds up to 25 pounds and comes with a power cord so you won’t burn through a lot of money buying batteries.
- You can play whatever music you want.
- It’s Bluetooth enabled.
- The swinging motions are ones your baby will be familiar with.
- It’s expensive.
- The swinging motions are gentler than some other brands, so it may not be enough to soothe really fussy babies.
3. Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny
If this swing doesn’t help a colicky baby even a little bit, I’d be surprised. It has two different rocking motions to settle your baby: side to side or front to back.
It can recline into two different positions and has three adjustable seat positions — either to the center, facing the left or facing the right.
It has six different speeds, white noise to soothe your baby and 16 songs. Moms who want their finicky babies distracted should also like that it has a mobile that’s run by a motor. The mobile has a mirrored globe where your baby can look at themselves and three soft toys attached to it.
Moms who don’t want the noise of a loud motor should be pleased with how quiet this one is — you can still hear it, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming for you or the baby.
- Putting together is simple.
- It comes with an AC adapter but can use batteries.
- The seat is comfy and deep.
- This swing only holds up to 15 pounds.
- Bigger newborns won’t have much room to spare in this swing.
4. Graco DuetConnect Swing And Bouncer
If you want to get two pieces of baby gear more or less for the price of one, you can buy a baby swing bouncer combo. You’ll get the added perk of a bouncer and you won’t have another piece of equipment to trip over when you walk through your house.
This machine has a swing seat you can remove to turn it into a bouncer. The bouncer can hold babies from 5.5 pounds up to 18 pounds, and the swing up to 30 pounds.
It has two speeds of vibration to keep your baby quiet and happy, plus six swinging speeds.
With a big seat to stretch out in, this swing also has enough head support to keep babies comfortable. It can play 10 songs and five different nature sounds, plus they’ll be entertained by the three toys hanging from the mobile.
You can choose from three different colors for this swing, and they’re all neutral enough to blend into your decor. To power it up, you can use either battery power or a plug-in cord.
- The five-point harness will keep your baby safe.
- You’ll get both a bouncy seat and a swing.
- It has two reclining positions.
- The swing makes a clicking noise.
- The vibration function only runs on batteries.
5. Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing
Many baby swings run on batteries. While this is a great option when you like to move it around the house, the money spent on batteries can add up fast. Plus, you don’t want to run out of batteries right when you need your baby swing the most.
That’s why we like this plug-in option. It also takes batteries, but the plug means you can avoid wearing out those batteries. It also has a smaller frame, which means it will be easier to fit the baby swing in the nooks and crannies where most power outlets are located.
It features a gentle side-to-side swaying motion to soothe your little one and comes with multiple speed options. You can also choose from 15 songs and sounds while your baby enjoys the three soft plush toys on the hanging mobile.
If you’d like the option to use batteries, but not rely on them completely, this simple little swing is a great option.
- Save money on batteries by using the plug adapter.
- Small and compact frame is great for tight spaces.
- Includes soothing sounds and a plush toy mobile.
- Cords and plugs can be dangerous. Supervise your baby at all times when you use the plug-in adapter.
6. Ingenuity Cozy Kingdom Comfort & Harmony
This swing uses true speed technology that will keep the six-speeds of this swing going as fast as they ever did, even as your baby begins gaining weight.
It has six songs and volume control so you can turn it up if your baby can’t hear the music over their cries. It also has an automatic shut off, which moms who have accidentally left things on in the past will appreciate.
The toy bar is wrapped in foam which is nice in case you accidentally bump your baby’s head on it while you’re putting them in or taking them out. Plus, the bar pivots so you can move it closer so they can play with the two soft toys.
The seat reclines into two different positions and comes with removable head support. If the seat pad gets dirty, you can simply put it in the washing machine.
- It’s super affordable.
- The pivoting toy bar is nice because your baby won’t get as frustrated if they can reach them.
- It’s highly portable.
- It only runs on batteries.
- The knob that changes the swing speed is loud.
7. Graco Cozy Duet Baby Swing
As a new parent, you’re going to find your baby’s stuff takes up more room than yours does. If you’re living in tight quarters that can become a real problem. To save as much space as you can, look for a swing that can fit into the small spaces you have.
The nice thing about this compact baby swing is that it’s a real space saver, which moms who live in small apartments or houses will like. It has a carrying handle with a removable rocker to make it easy to keep baby in the same room as you.
This swing has adjustable speeds to keep your baby moving along at the speed they like. The overhead bar has two soft toys that dangle down a little. The removable rocker also has a vibration option.
It also has a five-point harness for safety and head support that can be removed once your baby gets older and no longer needs it.
- Putting together is easy.
- It doesn’t take much space.
- The removable head support is nice to have.
- You can’t plug it in.
- The swing is pretty noisy.
8. Fisher-Price Take-Along
When you love to travel, it’s best to have a swing you can pack up and take with you so your baby will still feel the comforts of home when they're in a hotel room. Look for a swing that folds up easily and compactly. You’ll want to stay away from full-size swings.
This cute swing has a fun rainforest animal design that kids will love to look at. It’s also portable and folds well, plus it has a handle you can use to cart it around.
It has six different speeds to soothe your baby, and can convert to a stationary seat that makes vibrations instead of swinging.
Your baby should be enthralled by all the extras this swing offers. Two attached animal toys that hang down in your baby’s line of sight, plus, it includes two nature sounds and 10 songs to keep your baby entertained. You’ll be thankful there are so many different songs so you don’t lose your mind after hearing the same one repeatedly.
The seat is padded so your baby will feel comfortable, and the shoulder harnesses will keep them safe.
- It holds up to 25 pounds and is suitable for up to 6 months of age.
- The swing is in a reclining position, so your baby doesn’t need to hold their head to use it.
- The padded seat can go in the washing machine and dryer.
- It only runs on battery power.
- Some moms have had issues with the swinging motion stopping while the music still works.
9. Little Tikes Snug ‘n Secure
If you want to show your baby how great the outdoors can be, you need to introduce them to something they’ll think is fun. Just make sure you watch the age restrictions on the swing you buy because newborns will need more head support than outdoor swings provide.
This outdoor swing scores high marks for its safety with a hinged t-bar that lets you easily put your baby in and take them out just as quickly. To keep your baby safe, it also comes with shoulder straps.
The ages that can safely use this product range from a low of 9 months all the way up to 4 years old. When they get old enough that they don’t need the t-bar and the straps, they’re both removable, which greatly extends the lifespan of this swing.
The swing can hold children up to 50 pounds. And if buying American-made products is important to you, you’ll be happy to know this swing is made in the U.S.
If you don’t have much outdoor room, this swing can also be used inside. If you plan to use it outside, you can hook it up to a swing set or a tree — whatever you have available will work.
- It’s affordable, long-lasting fun for your child.
- This swing holds up well outside, even through rain and snow.
- It’s easy to install.
- It doesn’t include any anchors.
- The straps are hard to adjust.
When Should I Start Using One?
Most swings can be used as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital. I used one for my second baby the day or two after they were born.
You aren’t going to use a swing that requires a sitting motion for a newborn, as they won’t have the strength for it. But if you have a swing that reclines, as I did, it’s fine for newborns.
How to Use a Baby Swing
Using a swing isn’t difficult at all, but there are some things you need to know and precautions you should follow.
The first thing to know if you aren’t a handy type of person is that you’ll need to do some assembly when your baby swing arrives.
I asked my husband to do it because my baby was a newborn when we got ours. On a typical day, I get frustrated by putting things together. The thought of doing it was overwhelming at that point because I was tired and was still fighting pregnancy hormones.
The assembly had my husband muttering a few choice words, but it wasn’t as bad as some other baby gear assemblies he’s endured!
Before you use your swing, there are a few things you should note about safety:
- You need to pay close attention to the weight and age guidelines for that particular product. Don’t guess. The manufacturer guidelines are there for your baby’s safety, so use them.
- Even if your baby falls within the weight limit and age limit on the manufacturer’s guidelines, you should still keep an eye on them to make sure they’re safe. If you notice your child starting to wiggle free, it’s time to get rid of the swing.
- While this next safety tip should be common sense, it’s worth mentioning: you should never set the swing on an incline or a table. The threat of falls is real, so you want to follow all the safety instructions that come with your swing.
- Finally, it’s okay for your baby to take naps in the swing occasionally — mine certainly did, and it was blissful. But you shouldn’t use it as a crib or bassinet replacement (3). It’s also not designed for safe overnight sleeping for your baby.
The Bottom Line
The 4moms MamaRoo swing is an excellent pick if you love having the latest technology in your baby swing. That’s not a big deal for us, so our favorite pick is the Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny swing.
If you have a baby that is tough to soothe, this is one of the best baby swings you can find. It can rock from side to side or front to back. That may seem like a small distinction, but it could mean the difference between a crying baby or a happy one.
It has 16 different songs so you won’t be stuck with the same ones running through your head all the time.
If you have a finicky baby on your hands, your swing just might become your new best friend.