As an expectant mother, I dreamed of holding my baby girl in my arms 24/7. Once she was born, however, I quickly learned that holding her for hours on end (while yes, a wonderful feeling) resulted in my arms turning to jelly and nothing else getting done. If I set her down, she would cry almost instantaneously. Fast forward to 3 days postpartum when I’m frantically sending my husband on an emergency trip to Buy Buy Baby to bring home anything that would soothe our inconsolable baby. Finally, after testing out a few different baby swings, we found one that our little one loved.
In retrospect, I completely understand why my daughter wanted to be held constantly. Newborn babies spend 9 months bouncing around inside a warm and cozy womb, only to be suddenly (quite literally in most cases) pushed out into the much colder, harsher world. For my husband and me, our baby swing was the answer to our prayers. Not only do they do a great job of soothing, comforting, and entertaining babies, but the best baby swings also provide a safe place for your little one to hang out and relax while your arms get a much-needed break, or while you get things done around the house.
Carry on reading or jump straight to my number #1 pick here.
Table of Contents
- Types of Baby Swings
- What Should I Look for in a Baby Swing?
- Here’s How I’ve Determined the Best Baby Swing
- Our Top Picks for the Best Baby Swing of 2021
- #1: Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle n Swing (Best Overall)
- #2: 4 moms mamaRoo 4 Baby Swing (Best Splurge)
- #3: Fisher-Price Everything Baby Deluxe Take-Along Swing & Seat (Best Portable)
- #4: Graco Slim Spaces Compact Swing (Best for Small Spaces)
- #5: Ingenuity ConvertMe Swing-2-Seat Portable Swing (Best Combination)
- Safety Tips
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Verdict: The Best Baby Swing
Types of Baby Swings
Larger and somewhat bulkier, these swings generally provide several different features such as a variety of swaying motions (front-to-back or side-to-side, for example), a few musical or nature sounds, and some form of entertainment (such as an overhead mobile, hanging toys, or mirrors). They are best for families who can accommodate the larger piece of equipment in their living space. Note that most of these full-size swings are powered by AC adaptors, but some can also be battery-charged.
The name says it all – these baby swings are easy to pack up for travel, or easy to move even from room to room if you need. Different varieties provide different features (some are more compact, some are more easily foldable, etc.), but the bottom line here is that they can easily be brought with you and your little one wherever you go. For me, more often than not, having my daughter in the bathroom, secured in her portable swinger and bouncer, was crucial to letting me squeeze in a decent shower!
Built with comfort in mind, these swings are specifically designed to mimic being cradled in someone’s arms by offering a soft, soothing environment. They generally have a deep interior, lined with some form of protective and soft padding, meant to comfort your little one while they are awake. Some varieties offer swing motion as well, and some offer music, nature sounds, and vibration settings.
These lightweight baby swings are stationary and allow your baby to feel the gentle bounce created by his or her own movements. Options range from simple manual bouncers to bouncers that offer musical or nature sounds, overhead mobiles, soothing vibration, etc. These are best for families who don’t want to invest in a heavier baby swing that may require an electrical plug-in or battery power (although some bouncers do have these features), and that will allow their baby to soothe with their own gentle movements.
These baby swings provide a motion similar to what you would feel while sitting on a nursery glider or rocking chair, two classic devices used to soothe babies. These baby swings are best for babies who are best soothed by the gentle back-and-forth gliding motion, as it reminds them of being held in their parents’ arms. These types of swings can vary in size, but generally require an AC adaptor or battery power.
More classic than the rest, these baby swings can be powered either mechanically or manually. The rocking motion can be started by a gentle nudge from mom or dad and can be really soothing for babies. Like glider swings, rocker swings tend to remind your little one of being in the womb. They are readily comforted by the feeling of being swayed in the arms of a caregiver, a sensation mimicked by the gentle rocking motion.
While babies do enjoy being bounced, they also like some variety. These swings provide several of the above-mentioned features (cradle, bouncer, glider, rocker, etc.) in one piece of equipment, kind of like a one-pan dinner. It provides the best of both worlds: versatility and the assurance that your baby is never bored. From my experience, my daughter enjoyed the swaying motions of a swing, but she sometimes preferred to just sit and observe the room from a baby bouncer. A combination swing provided me with both.
What Should I Look for in a Baby Swing?
Criteria #1: Safety
As a pediatrician, this will always be my number one criteria. Luckily in this modern world, most (but not all!) of the best baby swings must go through rigorous testing and certification to make sure they meet standard safety criteria. Because of these standards, parents today tend to focus more on other swing features that are important to them. That being said, you should always make sure the baby swing meets standard safety guidelines (including, but not limited to: a five-point harness, secure device frames, and adequate head and neck support).
Keep in mind, however, that per the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), almost all baby swings are not approved for safe sleep. The reason for this is that while swings are OK while babies are awake, once babies (especially newborn babies) fall asleep, their heads can flop forward and obstruct their airways. This is called positional asphyxiation, a situation in which they can no longer breathe. Many products have the word ‘sleep’ in their name or feature a sleeping baby in their photos, and this can be very misleading to new, exhausted, and oftentimes desperate parents. So unless the product specifically states that it is “Approved for Safe Sleep,” unsupervised nap time and overnight sleep in most, if not all, baby swings is a big no-no.
Criteria #2: Sounds and Motions
The particular sounds and motions in a perfect swing are often dependent on what your baby likes to look at or listen to. Some babies enjoy a gentle rocking motion while listening to classical music, while some prefer to bounce themselves! Not all babies love being swayed from side-to-side, and some hate the vibration provided by other swings. It all comes down to what your baby’s preferences are. Your baby may hate the vibrating swing you just bought her and instead would have a better time in a swing that moves smoothly and gently. Have fun experimenting with what your baby likes, and remember to keep those receipts!
Criteria #3: Seat Incline and Comfort
A seat or swing with an adjustable incline is very useful so that it can change to accommodate your growing and developing baby. Newborns often require more of a cradle-like, automatically-powered swing that lies flat, whereas older babies might enjoy more of a seated, upright position so that they can look around to see what’s going on! Comfort is also key here, as a swing is supposed to provide a soothing environment for your little one. Some baby swings are more soft and padded than others, and many seats offer additional newborn inserts, which are sold separately.
Criteria #4: Portability
This is important, especially if you’re frequently on-the-go for travel, or even if you have to move from room to room throughout the day. These swings tend to be more lightweight and compact. As I mentioned before, portable swings can be very important in allowing yourself a full shower while also keeping your baby close by! Full-sized swings tend to be bigger, clunkier, and don’t travel so well. It’s also important to note that not all portable swings are powered by an AC adaptor; some are only battery powered.
Criteria #5: Easy to Clean
As I quickly learned early on, having a swing that is easy to clean is an absolute necessity. After all, a diaper blow-out in the baby swing is bound to happen sooner or later! After your first experience with this, you’ll be glad you went with a swing that has removable parts that are easily cleaned and are machine washable!
Criteria #6: Affordability
It’s always important to maintain some kind of a budget (all those toys and clothes can really add up!). Many affordable options in today’s market can provide your little one with all the features she could ever want, while on the other hand there are more expensive options that are considered luxury brands. Some parents decide to buy a cheaper option to save up for something else in the future, while others want to splurge right off the bat. Either way, the choice is up to you!
Here’s How I’ve Determined the Best Baby Swing
There are so many different options out there that it can make any new parent feel frustratingly overwhelmed. With all the competing brands — from Graco to Fisher-Price to 4moms (and the list goes on) — it can be a little daunting for parents to decide which baby swing is truly the best baby swing for them. And while nobody can soothe your baby better than you can, sometimes your arms just need a little break!
It should be noted that my husband and I bought 3 different types of swings before finding the right one that worked for us. After using our own swing for months now, as well as a good amount of product research and talking to other, more seasoned, moms, these experiences have helped me determine what is the best overall swing in 2020. Additionally, I want to mention that the best swing for my baby might not be the best swing for yours, so it’s important to keep an open mind and consider each individual swing.
What I’ve learned, though, is that the bottom lines in choosing the right baby swing are the criteria listed above: safety, different songs and nature sounds, motions featured, comfort, portability, ease of cleaning, and cost.
Our Top Picks for the Best Baby Swing of 2021
#1: Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle n Swing (Best Overall)
Recommended Age: birth until child can sit up unassisted
Weight limitation: up to 25 lbs.
Speed settings: 6
This is my top pick for baby swings because it leads the way in versatility. It’s a swing that will have something for every baby, and it offers more unique features than any other product.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: It’s packed with different features
This baby swing has a rotatable seat, offers 2 different swaying motion options (side-to-side and back-and-forth), 16 soothing songs and nature sounds (including white noise for hard-to-soothe babies), 6 smooth swinging speeds to adjust to your baby’s preferences, 2 reclining positions (one flat, one reclined), a 5-point harness to keep your baby safe and secure, and an automatically motorized mobile with 3 plush toys and a mirror to engage your baby’s interaction. Not only that, but its SmartSwing technology senses your baby’s weight as she grows, to keep the swing speed consistent. Finally, this baby swing is much cozier than some other swings on the market, with its deep plush, puppy-shaped seat and soft padding meant to soothe your little one.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: It’s easy to clean
This baby swing is very convenient when it comes to cleaning. It comes with a cover that is easily removed and machine-washable. With the puppy-shaped seat meant to soothe babies, the removable body insert also supports your little one’s head and neck.
Reason #3 to Choose This Product: It’s affordable
For all the features provided in this baby swing, the price can’t be beaten. Neither the cheapest nor the most expensive baby swing on the market, this moderately priced swing definitely packs a punch for its price.
Overall, the Fisher-Price Cradle ‘n Swing is a time-tested classic that will be sure to have something you and your baby will love. While it does have its drawbacks, including its large size and heavier weight, it is definitely the most valuable as it provides more swing motions and speeds, sounds, and entertainment features than any of the other listed products at its price.
#2: 4 moms mamaRoo 4 Baby Swing (Best Splurge)
Recommended Age: Birth to 6 months of age, or until child can sit up or climb out; whichever comes first
Weight limitation: up to 25 lbs.
Speed settings: 5
Moms, dads, and caregivers alike love the 4moms mamaRoo for a reason. While it doesn’t have quite as many different entertainment features as the Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle ‘n Swing, the high-tech mamaRoo provides 5 unconventional, non-linear swaying motion settings (car ride, wave, kangaroo, tree swing, and rock a bye), which is unlike any other product and sure to soothe your baby.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: It’s high-tech with all the bells and whistles
In addition to the features above, it has a Bluetooth enabled control so you can adjust the setting, speed, and vibration if and when you are unable to get up and push a button on the baby swing (I can think of a few times when this would have been useful during a pumping session!). The entire seat reclines to multiple positions and comes with many built-in songs and nature sounds to soothe your baby as well. It also comes with multiple vibration settings. And because it is is Bluetooth enabled, you can connect the baby swing to your phone and play your own favorite lullabies or other soothing sounds. Finally, this swing also features 3 overhead toys to further your baby’s entertainment!
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: It’s sleek and portable
For all the features provided in the mamaRoo, this baby swing is much more lightweight than expected, weighing in at 19 lbs. Because of this, the baby swing is much more portable than you would expect by looking at it, easily carried from room to room. The 4moms mamaRoo 3 Baby Swing does have to be plugged into the wall, and this can be both a pro and a con. While it does make it harder (but still possible) to be moved from room to room, you won’t be running out of batteries with this baby swing.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: It’s easy to clean
The padding and seat liner is completely removable and machine washable. Being a hospital favorite, these baby swings must be easy to clean. Another bonus: you can buy extra seat covers from 4moms in case one gets dirty or ruined.
Overall, despite its hefty price tag, the 4 moms mamaRoo is one of the sleekest and best baby swings out in today’s market, with multiple unique and soothing motions that are guaranteed to comfort almost any baby. I know from experience that this particular baby swing is a favorite that is used in hospitals to soothe even the most uncomfortable babies.
#3: Fisher-Price Everything Baby Deluxe Take-Along Swing & Seat (Best Portable)
Recommended Age: Birth to 6 months of age
Weight limitation: up to 20 lbs.
Speed settings: 6
If you travel a lot, this is the baby swing for you, weighing in at only 12 lbs. And as a new mom, I know how scary it can be to be caught somewhere without a way to easily soothe your baby. This is why the Fisher-Price Everything Baby Deluxe Take-Along Swing & Seat has got you covered.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: It’s compact and portable
Like the Graco Slim Spaces Compact Swing below but with more features, it easily folds flat, allowing you to travel with and stow away in your trunk, in your stroller, or at Grandma’s house without having to sacrifice all the features of a full-sized baby swing.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: It’s still full of features
While it may not have as many features as the Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle ‘n Swing, it still has plenty to keep your baby entertained on the move. It doubles as both a baby swing or a seat for when your baby wants movement or just wants to relax on-the-go. It has 6 soothing swing speeds, 12 different sounds and songs, and comes with 2 overhead toys for your baby to interact with.
Reason #3 to Choose This Product: It’s affordable
While not the cheapest product on our list, it is certainly far from the priciest! For its price, the Fisher-Price Everything Baby Deluxe Take-Along Swing & Seat definitely gives you the bang for your buck!
This is the perfect baby swing and seat for traveling families. Small, portable, and compact, this swing will ensure that your travel plans go unhindered and as smooth as possible!
#4: Graco Slim Spaces Compact Swing (Best for Small Spaces)
Recommended Age: up to 4 months of age
Weight limitation: 5.5 – 25 lbs.
Speed settings: adjustable knob lets you fine-tune speed
Slender, compact and designed specifically to save space, this baby swing is perfect for families living in apartments or smaller homes.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: It’s compact and portable
Like the Fisher-Price Everything Baby Deluxe Take-Along Swing, weighing in at 13 pounds, this baby swing is lightweight and travel friendly. The swing with the smallest footprint on our list — coming in at less than 2 feet by width — this baby swing offers an efficient carry handle and can also be easily folded up and stored away when not in use.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: It’s affordable
This baby swing is one of the most affordable swings on the market and the lowest cost baby swing on our list. Despite its lower price, it provides most of the features offered with some of the more expensive swings, such as front-to-back swinging motions, 3 adjustable speeds, and 2 hanging toys to engage your little one.
Reason #3 to Choose This Product: It’s easy to clean
The makers of this product surely had simplicity in mind, especially when it comes to cleaning! The plush pad is removable and machine washable.
While the Graco Slim Spaces Compact Swing may have some drawbacks, such as a loud motor and being battery operated only, this product is still worth it for those who require a small, slender, space-saving baby swing that still has the features needed to soothe their baby.
#5: Ingenuity ConvertMe Swing-2-Seat Portable Swing (Best Combination)
Recommended Age: birth to 9 months of age
Weight limitation: up to 30 lbs.
Speed settings: 5
Sometimes your baby wants to be rocked, and sometimes your baby wants to do the rocking! Unlike the other swings on our list, this baby swing converts to a fully functioning baby bouncer that the baby can control his or her own movements with.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: It’s versatile
The Ingenuity ConvertMe Swing-2-Seat Portable Swing easily goes back and forth between a soothing baby swing to a bouncer with vibration settings, all with the push of a button to keep your baby happy at all times. Its versatility makes it the best baby swing when it comes to combination swings.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: It’s customizable and full of features
Much like the Fisher-Price Cradle ‘n Swing, this baby swing is particularly customizable. Like many of the other swings on the list, it offers 5 different swinging speeds, 8 different songs, and 3 nature sounds that will soothe even the fussiest baby. Additionally, unlike other baby swings that have a standard mobile, this baby swing offers detachable plush toys and 3 additional ring sets, so you can pick and rotate which toys your baby is playing with.
Reason #3 to Choose This Product: It’s portable
Like the Graco Slim Spaces Compact Swing and the Fisher-Price Everything Baby Deluxe Take-Along Swing, this baby swing is easily folded up in a single motion, making it very convenient to travel with or stow away.
The Ingenuity ConvertMe Swing-2-Seat Portable Swing is perfect for the baby who enjoys both gentle soothing motions as well as the playful bounce that this seat provides.
Use a five-point harness. Always make sure your baby is securely fastened in the baby swing’s five-point harness. Whether you can believe it or not, soon enough your little one will be more mobile than you can imagine! The safety belt is a key feature in any good baby swing device.
Don’t leave your baby unsupervised. Never leave your baby in the swing unsupervised. Leaving baby safely harnessed while you are close by going about your chores is one thing, but letting your baby sleep unattended in a baby swing is a big no-no. Little ones are not able to communicate when they are uncomfortable or unable to pick up their heads fully, for example, so be sure to stay within close range to your baby when he or she is in the swing.
Weight limitations. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s weight and size recommendations before placing your baby inside the baby swing. Many baby swings swing back and forth safely only up to a certain weight, so be sure to verify that your baby is within the baby swing’s recommended weight range.
Reclining feature. Newborn infants have not yet developed the head and neck control to sit upright; therefore, make sure your baby swing has reclining features to accommodate these little ones. Because newborn infants are too young to be able to fully bring their head to the upright position, you should wait until your baby has developed adequate neck strength before putting them in a seated position.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Baby Swings Really Necessary?
As a new parent (or even an experienced parent!), you’re probably wondering if baby swings are really all that necessary. I, for one, was on Team “I-Can-Do-Without” for my entire pregnancy. Deciding on what’s needed and what’s not is something that can be difficult for any new mom to determine. Baby swings, without a doubt, provide the convenience of a safe device for your little one to be in while you get things done around the house. They are, however, one of the “bigger purchases” a parent will make for their baby, and they don’t take the place of a safe-sleep device, such as a crib.
So, do you really need to purchase a baby swing? The truth is that it all depends on your baby! Even the most experienced moms say that while one baby loved the swing, the other baby wanted nothing to do with it. That’s the beauty of return policies.
Are They Good for Babies?
Again, it depends on your baby! When used properly, baby swings are wonderful devices parents can use to give their arms a much-needed break. They can provide soothing sounds and relaxing vibrations to calm even the most colicky baby, as well as fun and interesting overhead toys to engage your baby’s interaction. It is only when used inappropriately (such as unharnessed, unsupervised, against the manufacturer’s recommendations, etc.) that baby swings become a hazard.
When Can My Baby Start Using a Swing? Can a Newborn Use One?
Your baby can start using a swing as soon as you want! For newborn babies, just be sure to verify that your chosen baby swing comes with a reclining feature so as not to have the newborn in a seated, upright position. As I mentioned earlier, newborns do not have the head or neck control to maintain their tiny airways, so they need a swing that will adjust to recline or lay flat.
At any age, remember to always keep your baby securely harnessed in the baby swing, and keep the baby under your supervision while he or she is enjoying their time in it.
How Long Can I Leave My Baby in Their Swing?
There are no exact rules for how long you can leave your baby in a baby swing, but the swing certainly should not replace other activities that are essential to babyhood, such as play and exploration. Some experts recommend leaving the baby in the swing for no longer than 1 hour at a time, others recommend no more than two 30-minute sessions per day. This is because babies still need to spend time doing activities to develop their gross motor skills outside of the swing — activities like tummy-time — that will eventually lead to skills like rolling, pulling up, cruising, and walking.
One more thing I would like to add is that, while it’s perfectly fine to leave your baby in the safety of his or her crib while you go and take a shower, this does not apply to baby swings. I wouldn’t recommend leaving your baby harnessed in the swing in a different room while you’re in the shower, because this does not provide adequate supervision. If you’re really worried, you can always bring your little one in his or her car seat or portable swing into the bathroom with you!
Should I Get a Full-Sized Swing or a Portable?
This depends on you and your baby’s needs. For example, if you’ll mostly be at home with your baby, a full-sized swing could be the perfect fit. However, if you’re someone who needs to be on-the-go and/or away from home frequently, then a portable-sized swing might be a better fit.
Both full-sized swings and portable swings have their pros and cons, as mentioned previously. Full-sized swings tend to have more added features for entertainment, while on the other hand, portable swings still usually have plenty of features, and they also have the added bonus of being able to be moved wherever you go.
Verdict: The Best Baby Swing
So the question is, which baby swing is the best? Here are my overall recommendations for you to find the best fit for you and your baby:
If you want the best value for your money, pick the Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle n Swing. Safe, affordable, and packed full of fun features for your little one, this swing is a time-honored classic.
If you want to splurge, pick the 4 moms mamaRoo 4 Baby Swing. With its unique swaying motions, caregivers swear by this luxury brand for a reason!
If you need to travel, pick the Fisher-Price Everything Baby Deluxe Take-Along Swing. Lightweight and easily folded, this swing can be brought wherever you go without any hassle.
If you want to spend under $75, pick the Graco Slim Spaces Compact Swing. Compact, portable, and at a lower cost than most other devices, this swing is perfect for keeping within your family’s budget.
And there you have it, my top choices for baby swings in 2020. Keep in mind the different features for each one, and make sure they’ll be what works best for you and your baby. Ultimately the choice is up to you, but as long as you are informed and keep it safe, the right swing for you and your baby is out there!