When it comes time to get a fussy baby to sleep, baby swings can be a lifesaver. After all, baby swings can provide a much-needed break for those sleep-deprived parents of a baby who won’t rest any other way.
Baby swings mimic the womb and can help provide the right balance of motion and comfort for your baby to fall asleep. They can also stimulate your baby’s vestibular system, helping them to develop their balance and spatial awareness when in motion.
However, with all the benefits that come with a baby swing, you won’t be able to use them forever. That’s right – all good things must come to an end, and your baby’s swing time is no exception.
The best time to stop using a baby swing is once your baby reaches 24 months or 30 lbs. The American Academy of Pediatrics, also known as the AAP, recommends not allowing a child to use a swing after they’ve exceeded limits. Even if they haven’t yet reached the limits, the AAP also recommends never leaving a child to sleep in their swing or for more than half an hour. It is especially true for infants that reached enough mobility to try and climb out.
However, even with these guidelines, it can be difficult to know the right time to begin the transition away from baby swings to self-led nap times. You want to reap the benefits for as long as you can without putting your baby into any potentially harmful situations.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide so that you can feel confident making the right choices for you and your baby.
For Younger Babies
You’ll be glad to know that – unlike older babies which will need to be transitioning to more permanent solutions soon – finding the ideal time to stop using a baby swing with a younger baby deals less with moving onto independent napping and more with knowing how much time in the swing is safe for your baby.
Your baby’s swing is a great tool, for both of you. It provides you with a moment of rest all while providing your baby with enough comfort to relax and even fall asleep. However, for all its benefits, a baby swing is a temporary solution, both in that one day your baby will outgrow it and that it’s not meant to be used for long periods of time at once.
However, when your baby appears so happy in their swing, it can be hard to take them away. That’s why you most likely want to make sure you’re doing it at the right time. Here is when you should using your baby swing if your baby is younger:
When Your Baby is Sleeping
Just like your bed, your baby swing isn’t a safe place for your baby to sleep. As a result, once your baby falls asleep, you’ll want to remove them from the swing and take them to their own bed where they can sleep, safe and sound.
Now, we know: you just got your baby to sleep, and the last thing you want to do is move them and risk waking them up. However, baby swings can pose many hazards for a sleeping baby, some you may not have even known of.
The AAP recommends never leaving your baby to sleep in their swing – or any type of incline. This is because the lack of support from the swing could allow them to slouch or slump over.
Slouching and slumping can pose several hazards, but the most significant is the increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). So while baby swings can be a great way to get your baby to sleep, let them rest where they’re safe: in bassinettes, cribs, or other flat surfaces designed for babies to sleep in.
When Half an Hour Has Passed
Even if you’re unable to get your baby to fall asleep, after half an hour in their baby swing, you should remove them. While the AAP recommends never allowing your baby to sleep in their swing, they also recommend that you remove your baby from the swing after thirty minutes have passed. This is because if you were to leave your baby any longer, it could cause dizziness – which can lead to much more severe problems than just a fussy, sleepy baby.
Even if the swing isn’t in motion, you’ll still need to move your baby. Because their skulls are still softer than adults, they’re more prone to influence by their environment. This means that leaving your baby for too long can cause them to develop a flat spot on the back of their head.
When You Can’t Supervise Your Baby
Since baby swings can pose different health hazards, and since you’ll want to move your baby as soon as they fall asleep, you’ll need to supervise them as they lay in the swing. As a result, you won’t want to place your baby in their swing if you won’t be to watch them. This becomes especially true as your baby starts to get older.
For Older Babies
Once your baby is older, it’s time to start moving permanently away from a baby swing. When to start making this transition varies between each baby and depends on many different things, such as their age and weight.
When Your Baby Gets Adventurous
Even if your baby doesn’t yet exceed the weight or age limit, once they start getting adventurous, it’s time to take away the baby swing. Mobility varies from child to child, and your baby could have enough mobility to began trying to crawl out of their swing as early as a year old, if not earlier. No matter what age, or even weight, once your baby does gain enough mobility to start trying to climb out of their baby swing, you’ll need to stop using it.
This is another reason that supervising your baby during their swing rest time is so important. Keeping a close eye on your baby in the swing, especially as they age and began to become more mobile, is one of the best ways to prevent any unneeded injuries from happening.
When Your Baby Exceeds the Weight Limit
Few things are more fulfilling than watching your baby grow up big and strong. However, as your baby continues to grow, you’ll want to make sure to keep an eye out on their weight regarding your baby swing’s limit.
Every baby swing has a weight limit, with most being around 25 to 30 pounds. At around this weight, the swing will no longer be able to support your baby properly. This can increase the risk for not only discomfort but accidents which can lead to injuries.
However, no two swings are created equal. As a result, each weight limit can vary, so it’s important to check, especially as your baby grows. Here are the weight limits of some of the most popular baby swings right now:
|Swing Name||Weight (lbs)|
|Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle ‘n Swing||25|
|Graco Simple Sway Swing||30|
|4moms mamaRoo 4||25|
|Graco DuetSoothe Swing and Rocker||30|
|Dream On Me Sway 2in1 Cradling Swing & Rocker||20|
When Your Baby Exceeds the Age Limit
While there is no age limit for how early you can start putting your baby into a swing, there does come a time when your baby may be too old for swing time. Age limits are beneficial because they condense the first two factors. The baby swing companies assume that by the time your baby reaches this age, they’ll have both reached the weight limit and gained mobility. Most baby swings don’t recommend use after 24 months, but some may have even lower age limits such as 12 or 6 months.
However, it’s important to never go on age alone. Babies grow at their own rates, and your baby may be ready to transition away from their swing before they’ve reached the age limit.
Some baby swings won’t include an explicit age limit but will instead write out both the mobility and age limits. You may find this more beneficial as it is tailored to every baby, no matter how fast they grow. Here are some of the age limits for popular baby swings right now:
|Swing Name||Age Limit|
|Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle ‘n Swing||6 months|
|Graco Simple Sway Swing||24 months|
|4moms mamaRoo 4||Birth until your reaches 25lbs or can sit up unassisted, whichever comes first|
|Graco DuetSoothe Swing and Rocker||24 months|
|Dream On Me Sway 2in1 Cradling Swing & Rocker||N/A|
A baby swing can be great for both you and your baby – but only when it’s used properly. Proper use of your baby swing includes knowing the right time to stop using it. Whether this means stopping use for the time being or stopping permanently as your baby grows up, knowing the right signs is important.
For older babies, the right time to stop using your baby swing is when they outgrow it. This means you should discontinue use once they have reached the age limit, the weight limit, or have gained enough mobility that they are able to try and climb out (whichever occurs first).
For younger babies, you don’t have to worry about putting the swing away just yet. Instead, make sure to only use the swing for AAP’s allotted times to ensure your baby’s safety. Making sure that your baby stays in their swing only for the allotted time and that they’re safely secured is the best way to reduce injuries, all while getting the benefits of the swing that you both love.