Baby Swings

Parent Reviews

Hi! I know your post is a bit older now, but I just wanted to put in a plug for the good-old-fashioned baby swing! I didn't see anyone else mention it, but gosh, it was awesome during that 4th trimester when baby just wants movement to sleep. I'm sure you could find one used. We had a great one that could either swing back-and-forth or side-to-side (both my boys loved the side-to-side) and it would play white noise... they took MANY a nap in the swing. Best of luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

18 Month Old Still Naps in Swing! Help?

April 2008

My almost 19 month old (!) ''baby'' still naps in his swing (the poor, old creaking thing!), and I'm wondering where we can go from here, other than him soon giving up naps altogether unless driving. I've tried nursing him to sleep on the bed, but once he's had his fill he's up and ready to play. And, he has only been nursing at night for a while now, so I don't really want to go back to day nursing at this point. Yes, he will fall asleep in the car sometimes but then wakes back up if I try the transfer, and I'm so done with 2 hour nap rides in the afternoon (which were all too regular with his older sib!!). He doesn't have a crib, we are co-sleeping until he's ready for a big boy bed, and he has an older sibling who's 3, who gave up naps by the time he was 2 for the most part, so I can't lay with the younger one to help keep him coralled for long as the other will be unattended.. Has anyone else been in this predicament and found a solution that included an afternoon nap? (I know all you parents who wrote in about their five month old still napping in the swing must be cluck-clucking at this one!!) If they sold bigger swings, believe me, I'd buy one!! Need the nap fairy

Just put the swing away. I just did for my 4 month old. I didn't think he'd nap without the swing, but he does! Get a pack-n-play (you can get them cheap on craigslist) and set it up near your bed but not so close that he could climb out. Get a stuffed animal and tell him that it's only for sleeping and leave it in the pack-n-play. Put him down ever afternoon at the same time. Put a blanket over the window so it's dark in the room. Play some quiet music. Tell him it's nap time. Shut the door and leave him in there for an hour, even if he just plays or even if he cries the whole time. You might want to take him to the park or zoo in the morning so he'll be really worn out by the afternoon the first few days. Believe me, he will sleep eventually. Driving around for two hours to get a kid to sleep is too much, especially with the price of gas these days and the environmental impact. Naps are important, don't give up on them. anon

4 Month Old Sleeping in Swing

April 2008

I'm curious if anyone else out there has successfully transfered an infant from sleeping in a swing for night sleeping to the crib. Or had significant trouble with transferring from swing to crib sleeping?

We started putting our 4.5 month old in a sideways swing at about 6 weeks for night sleeping when he had serious acid reflux and would wriggle in pain if set down. Now, months later, he is still sleeping in the swing becuase he loves it and sleeps a good long time (5-7 hours) during his first stretch at night. I'm trying to figure out how aggressively we should move to get him into the seems like there are two camps -- he'll get addicted to motion and we should stop ASAP or do whatever it takes to sleep. So, I'm curious what acutal experiences people have had with this scenario.

We have started weaning him off of of the swing slowly by turning off the swing for the majority of the evening and also putting him in the crib for naps. He'll sleep for 30-90 minutes in the crib for naps.

Thanks for any reports from the field! Swinging For Now..

Our daughter slept in the Amby Baby Hammock (which is suspended from a giant spring, rocks & bounces gently, similar to swings) from the time we brought her home from the hospital until just recently. She is now 8 months old.

We've successfully moved her into her crib in the past several weeks. I believe a major factor in her transition to the crib is that she naps in a crib at daycare during the week. Try moving your baby over to the crib just for naps - use a sleep positioner to mimic the incline of the swing he's so used to. There are also vibration devices that hook on to the underside of cribs that might give the crib the same ''mechanical'' feel that the swing has.

For us, it took a few days of letting her cry it out in the crib to really get her adjusted to it. She's now sleeping 100% in her crib, through the night (7pm to 6am, no night feedings), wakes up well-rested, and happy as can be.

Whatever method you choose to make this transition, commit to it. Wavering back and forth will only confuse your baby, prolonging the inevitable and making it harder in the end. Good luck!

My now 2 year old sleeps through the night in his big boy bed with no problem, (ok, no problem until 5:00am, but that's a whole other issue!) had a serious swing sleeping habit until about 7 months old. He took his entire 3 hour afternoon nap in the swing and slept some of each night in it as well. In retrospect I really think I spent much too much time worrying and feeling guilty about this, time I should have spent sleeping! I would wake up in the middle of the night and try to transfer him into his crib etc. Which was pretty much a waste of time. He was so happy in the swing we really worried what we would do when he grew out of it. All this angst was unnecessary. Right around the 6 month mark is slowly stopped working for him, and we transitioned to the crib. Happened naturally, just like he grew out of needing to be swaddled around 4 months or so. I know many babies our done with being swaddled after a few weeks and done with the swing by 3 months or so, our little guy happened to need the ''creature comforts'' a little longer.

You're so lucky they have those plug in swings now. We spent a mint on batteries at Costco!

I say let him sleep where he is most comfortable, you'll all be better rested and happier during your waking hours. Jenny Jenny

Our daughter (now 17 mo) slept in a swing until around 4.5/5 mo. as well. She is our only child and I was very anxious that she would never transition to her crib, as I didn't know anyone whose baby slept in a swing. She had her rough patches for several months, but feel that between now and then much of it had to do w/all kind of developmental issues (teething, learning to crawl, then walk, etc.). We tried some crying it out mixed w/other methods, but her sleeping honestly was never great until after she turned a year & learned to walk. She now sleeps pretty good most of the time and enjoy it while it lasts. Good luck.... anon

Our daughter slept in the sideways/cradle swing from about 6 weeks to 4 months. We then transferred her to a crib for night-time, but she napped almost exclusively in the crib until she was about 8 month and so darn big that even on the highest setting, she barely budged!

I had the same fears or concerns--that she'd never adjust or other problems would grow from it. Instead, we just put her in the crib when WE were ready for her to be there, and it ended up working out fine. And we let her nap in the swing until it just wouldn't move anymore--milked it! And spent a fortune on D batteries (we couldn't get the rechargeable ones to really hold their charge).

I ran it by our pediatrician who didn't have any concerns about allowing it to continue. Hope our feedback is helpful and that you choose whatever feels best for parents and baby. Another Mom of a Swinger

I missed the original post, but my daughter would nap ONLY in the swing or the car or attached to my body (moving, usually) until she was clearly too big for the swing (around 2 yrs old). I spent a lot of time fussing about how I'd ''ruined'' her for napping, but in retrospect I think I did just fine. Like her mother, she was truly a lousy napper, very stimulated by everything around her, and able to stay awake indefinitely if there were people around or interesting things going on--but she really needed a nap. It was absolute pure torture for her to nap in a crib, which she did no more than a dozen times, and never after 4 months old. But that swing! I could schedule conference calls, and be confident that she would sleep if I put her in the swing just before the call. She slept great, she was a fabulous night sleeper. Bottom line is this: if it works for you and it works for your kid, it's the right thing. And you'll know when it doesn't work. I know there are those who swear that they can train a kid to sleep in a crib, but it really didn't work for us. And I will add that my non-napping daughter napped at daycare in a crib or on her nap mat, but she NEVER did this at home, and she NEVER went back to sleep once she woke up, even from the car or the swing, and even if it was a 2-minute nap. And if you can't find anything that works for you, then keep in mind it's not forever, even though it seems like forever at the time. 

14-week-old wakes up when swing stops

Nov 2004

Has anyone else been in this situaiton before.... and resolved it?? My daughter is 14 weeks old, but was born 4.5 weeks early. So technically she is only 9.5 weeks old. She needs LOTS of movement to stay calm. She has been a very colicky baby, confirmed by my doctor, my doula, as well as my own sanity (or lack of it). The only way to get her to sleep at all for naps and all through the night is her swing. As soon as she is deep asleep and we stop it from swinging, she wakes up screaming. I am aware that she isn't getting the restful sleep she needs because of the motion, but I don't know what else to do. She is constantly exhausted and overtired, even though it seems like she is sleeping a ton, she isn't getting the QUALITY sleep she needs to wake up rested. Any suggestions?

We were fanatics about the book HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK. We are the only ones in our circle who followed it to the letter the only one without a fussy baby. I recommend you buy it and follow the instructions exactly. We have no way of knowing if our baby is a ''good'' baby or not, but we do know if we followed the ''5 Ss'' the longest he ever cried was 30 minutes and he was sleeping through the night by 3 months. We eventually were able to not swaddle anymore but on occasion through his sixth month, we would still swaddle if he seemed to work himself up into a tizzy.

People are very freaky about the method. My mom felt we were stifling his freedom. Friends would say ''we tried'' it didn't work, but when we asked further, they were not following the method. It stems from ancient parental wisdom. It completely makes sense.

In a nutshell, if baby sleeps while swinging, baby is getting good sleep. You need to keep her moving. I think eventually she'll be ok, but keep her moving or get a vibrating seat. Also, first and foremost, swaddle, swaddle swaddle. We even had blankets especially made because the ones on the market were too small.

I think this method is especially effective with premies. You can't do enough to swaddle, ssssh, swing, ah, hell, i forgot the other two. Just do it.

Also, buy the cd called ''FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.'' Our baby really loved, as we called it, ''the dishwasher song'' and the ''hairdryer song.'' We also would swaddle and jiggle under the hood of our stove and he'd go to sleep. At one point, we just kept it on all the time.

And, start a routine asap. Even if it isn't successful at first, we pretty much do the same routine every night and our 8 month old goes right to sleep. Good luck. Sleep is important. A Sympathetic Mom

We haven't had your problem with our baby, but Dr. Sears promotes swinging/motion as a good way to help colicky babies sleep. Perhaps a bed designed specifically for this purpose would help? Dr. Sears recommends the Amby Baby Motion Bed. Check it out at:

If you can shell out the dough (or get one on ebay....) try the Amby Baby Motion Bed. Your situation is exactly what it's for. It really works. well-rested mom

My daughter was also about a month early and had bad colic as well -- I think it goes with having an underdeveloped digestive system -- for the first couple of months she could only nap on me, though luckily she slept in the bassinet at night. At about 9 weeks she had one of the screaming colic attacks at the doctors and was prescribed colic medicine. (Previously I kept saying that the baby was crying a lot and seemed to be in pain, but until the doctor actually saw her in the middle of the attack, I don't think she trusted my judgement.) In any case -- your baby because of the prematurity is more like 10 weeks (or maybe even 7-8 weeks). The good side is that it does get better. THe colic medicine allowed her to sleep better. By the time my daughter was 6 or 7 months she caught up developmentally (i.e. eating, sleeping, etc. -- she caught up cognitively around 3 or 4 months, but digestion took a long time.) By the time she was a year she had caught up in size and was indistinguishable from kids who were full term. So good luck & have a lot of patience for yourself and the baby -- the solutions for full term infants don't always work for premies. Carol

No worries. Our child slept exclusively in a swing for several months. It was the only way we could get her to sleep for more than 1-2 hours. We just invested in rechargeable batteries and a recharger and changed the batteries every other day. Eventually she grew out of it and started sleeping in the crib. Honestly though, the swing was worth its weight in gold for us. fisher price aquarium wonder fans

Both of my sons slept in their baby swings from the age of 6mo until they were around a year old. (Our swing was bigger and rated for a higher weight limit than a lot of the currenct ones on the market.) They slept really well in the swing... much better than in their beds at that point. I think it was the combination of the rocking motion and the ticking of the swing. They were/are good car sleepers and I think the swing was a lot like that. With my first I felt guilty the nights we let him sleep in the swing. It seemed like cheating to put the baby to sleep that way since it was so easy, but it was the only way we both could get a good long stretch of sleep in at night. By the second time I decided that if we both were sleeping well, then the location/position didn't matter... giving up the guilt and getting more sleep made me a better parent. Sure, they eventually had to learn to sleep in beds. Sure that was a little hard, but those changes would have happened anyway because crib or swing, eventually they had to move out... at least we were all able to sleep longer during the teething months. I love the swing

oh- I was in your shoes once... my daughter slept in a swing for naps until about 4 or 5 months, then we started putting her in her crib to sleep, with very little drama. your baby is so young- really my advice is to do what works for you & your baby. you are not engraining habots that will never be broken. we were told by many many people that letting our baby sleep in the swing for naps would set us up for a childhood of rocking her to sleep, lots of waking up, etc. but found that to be totally untrue.

also, it sounds like you read happy sleep habits, healthy child with your comment re: ''movement = not restful sleep'' please remember to take what weissbluth says with a grain of salt- these are his IDEAS, not the gospel. if your child seems overtired, maybe try putting her to sleep earlier, more often, etc. or it could just be a byproduct of the colic. once the colic clears you will have a new lease on life, which might be a better time to try some new techniques. hang in there mama! virginia

Two messages in one week about babies only sleeping in a swing! Music to my ears, actually. My second daughter, now eight months old, was eleven weeks premature. When we brought her home from the hospital, she was colicky and still had some trouble breathing and only slept comfortably and for longer periods in a swing. That went on for some time and I was assured by the doctor and nurse practitioner that it was okay to continue to use the swing. Then at some point I discovered that she slept even longer and more peacefully in her car seat!! So there she sleeps to this day ,much to my guilt and embarassment. Every time I have attempted to get her to sleep on her back in her cosleeper, she fusses and frets until about three a.m. when I finally give in to exhaustion and put her back into her carseat where she happily falls soundly asleep. I think I would have probably bitten the bullet by now and endured a week's worth of sleeplessness to cure the problem except I also have a three year old who wakes twice a night and keeps me pretty ragged even with a full night's sleep! All four health care professionals I've confessed my guilty secret to have shrugged their shoulders and seemed pretty unconcerned about the long term effects on my daughter. One said to be sure she got plenty of time on her back and stomach during the day, which I try to do. Another said, ''Eventually she'll outgrow the car seat and then you'll have to deal with it.' I empathize with your concern and your dilemma. I guess I'm either waiting for her to outgrow the car seat to face the music or I'm waiting for that mythical low maintenance week when I can afford to go without sleep until she finally learns how to sleep all night on her back. Best of luck. I am eager to read other responses. anon

Transitioning 4-m-o from sleeping in swing - hates back!

Nov 2004

My now 4-month old baby had problems since birth with gas and spitting up when laying on his back. He would spit up and choke and writhe and get milk up his nose, no matter how long I held him upright after breastfeeding nor how successful I was at burping him. At 6 weeks, it got so bad that he could only sleep 20 to 40 minutes at a time AND he couldn't even play comfortably on his back for more than about 5 minutes (e.g., while enjoying his mobile, etc). At that point, desperate for sleep, I put him to sleep in a bouncy seat, and kept his play time on tummy and back limited to 5 to 10 minutes at a time (although he was clearly uncomfortable with this play time, really). Elevated, he could sleep for 1.5 to 2 hour intervals in the bouncy seat at night. Two weeks later, we discovered that he would sleep 6 to 8 hours straight in a swing (which held him in an even more comfortable position semi-reclining position, and the swinging was probably soothing, too). So, for 8 weeks now (half his life!), he has slept beautifully in a swing. For the last 3 weeks, it doesn't even swing any more (he cries if he is trying to sleep and it is swinging!), so it is not the swinging that is keeping him asleep and enabling him to get back to sleep through his sleep cycles for 6 to 8 hours. At 4 months old now, he is all of a sudden clearly much more comfortable laying down when awake, so that difficult part of reflux/choking seems to have passed finally, and it seems it would be wise to transition him to sleeping laying down. Also, I think he is probably getting too big to sleep long hours in the swing safely [The swing is about 1 foot from my head and my bed so I have felt it is safe enough, as I hear every peep from him through the night and I know when he is starting to wake up and stir; but he is getting bigger and stronger and I worry about him getting strong enough to catapult himself out of the swing, even though he is of course belted in with the 3-point harness.] So, now we have the problem of getting him used to sleeping laying down. Any one with any experience making such a transition? Any suggestions to help? Just this week we have been able to get him to take a 1/2 hour to 1.5 hour nap in the crib during the day, and he has slept up to an hour at night for two nights this week. However, after that, he is quite inconsolable, and I find myself just putting him back in his comfy swing. Some nights this week I have not been able to get him down at all in the crib. For several nights, I have also tried getting him used to sleeping laying down in our bed (so I could pat him back to sleep, etc.), but all he wants to do is nurse and he doesn't settle down into a deep sleep (I have experience co-sleeping with our first son, who didn't have these reflux problems, but I really don't like nursing all night long -- I can't sleep well that way at night even though it makes for a great daytime nap). So, am I up for a big struggle? Am I putting my baby in danger still having him in a swing? Will this transition go more smoothly than I am worried about? Words of encouragement one way or another would help, in addition to any specific advice, as it's difficult to anticipate starting to lose a lot of sleep again as I ponder this transition! a worried mom

I don't know if this will help, but our baby couldn't sleep on her back either. She had a floppy larynx and when she lay on her back it flopped over her airway and made breathing difficult. So the doctors said, you know what? Forget the back sleeping. Put her on her side or her tummy. I was so freaked out about putting her on her tummy I couldn't do it, so we put her on her side, helping her stay in place with rolled towels or one of those store bought holder gizmos. She slept fine. A four month old may get up every hour or two anyway, though. And whenver they transition to a crib or new sleeping arrangement they have to adjust, so it may not have anything to do with the former issues (even once she was sleeping okay it took awhile to get her into a crib at 4 months). Just do the transition slowly. Start with naps or with the part of the night where the baby sleeps the most deeply and gradually work your way towards full-time cribbing. If you can find a cradle that rocks it might help too (or jiggling the crib). Good luck. It will happen. a mom

try buying one of the foam sleeping blocks and having him sleep on his left side on an elevated (head end) mattress. this helps reflux problems quite a bit as there's pressure on the sphincter. also, lying down may be exacerbating the reflux so you may need to try medication--we did, and then my son slept fine.

Our daughter started sleeping in a swinging swing all night. Then we weaned her to a still swing. And I was convinced she would be in that swing well past the recommended weight limit of 25 lbs. She was six months and 20 lbs. and still couldn't sleep in a crib for more than an hour. What we did and learned: she transitioned when she was ready. About once or twice a week we put her down to sleep in the crib (already asleep in our arms) rather than the swing. And usually she was up crying inconsolably after an hour or two. Finally, one night she slept for four hours. Then we just started putting her in the crib more and more often until she was a regular crib sleeper who woke up only 2x night. Now she sleeps in teh crib (she's 17 months) and wakes up 1x night. You can't force it, but need to just keep trying to provide the opportunity to learn to sleep in the crib. no longer a swing state

I know no pediatrician would ever tell you officially that you could do this...but what about putting your son to sleep on his tummy? We started to do this around 10 weeks with our son...we just made sure he had a warm enough sleeper and put *nothing* else in the crib with him. He *immediately* started to sleep for much longer and also he slept more soundly. Jennifer

Bouncer or Swing?

April 2004

I'm a new mom and I'm considering buying either a bouncer (that vibrates) or a swing for my baby. Which one of these calms a baby best? Since our small apartment will only fit one of these things which one would you recommend we buy? On the fence

Hi, I have a 9 month old and we had both. She's too old to use either of them right now, and outgrew the bouncer first. If I had to do it over again, I'd buy a bouncer/rocker instead of a regular bouncer, and I wouldn't buy a swing. First off, the swings are huge. They take up a lot of space. There are new rockers on the market that can be used even up to age 3. I looked online and Combi, Chicco, and Fisher Price all make these rockers. They have little toy bars on some of them. To answer your question about soothing the baby, I think it depends on the child. Our daughter never really fell asleep in the bouncer, but she did sometimes in the swing. Good luck and congrats! Hannah

I have two small children. If I had to pick between our bouncer and our swing, I'd go with the bouncer. The swing doesn't work for every child. Both of my children have loved the bouncer and I can move it with me from room to room (including the bathroom so that I can shower)! My daughter liked the swing, but only for a limited amount of time. I found that she could be in the bouncer for extended periods of time and not complain. My son does not appear to like the swing at all. However, he loves the bouncer. It's also nice because I can sit on the floor and talk/play with him while he sits in his bouncer. I hope this is helpful information. Good luck with your decision. And remember, all babies are different. Though this makes your decision difficult, your baby might love the swing. Shoshana

I would recommend a bouncer. I teach the New Mother's Workout and have a bunch of bouncers for the babies. I think they would serve you for a longer period of time. Also they take up less room. Get the vibrating kind. They really sooth the baby. Also when they get older there is a toy bar that can keep their interest. Karen

Congrats on your little one! We had much better luck with a swing. Overall, they take up more space and aren't as portable (although I've seen a smaller portable swing which I'll seriously consider if we have another baby), but our daughter would swing happily for good lengths of time. She never took to a bouncer. Beth

Bottom line: get a vibrating bouncy seat with a toy attachment. My daughter liked both the swing and the seat, and for the first couple of weeks we used the swing a lot. However, my son is not interested in the swing but loves the seat. The swing can take up a lot of room and is more expensive than the seat. So I'd recommend just the bouncy seat. Liz O.

I would get both because they are both useful. I bought a used swing that is called a's about the size of a nice bouncer and it has worked as well or better than the bigger swings that have long legs and trays. Also, we are still using our bouncy chair as a highchair because my daughter has begun eating rice cereal but can't sit completely upright yet. Both devices have given us all much relief and pleasure! anon

It's impossible to say whether a bouncer or a swing will calm your baby best, because different babies have different preferences. And some babies hate both! It sounds like your baby is already here, so the best thing to do is to actually try out some different things, at friends' homes or in stores, and see what your baby seems to prefer.

We wore our son in a sling more or less all the time for the first few months; the ONLY thing that ''calmed'' him was to be held/carried. We also used bouncy seats, especially after about 3 months when he began to tolerate being in it for longer stretches of time; they're small, inexpensive, and relatively easy to move around the house, so there isn't much reason not to have at least one. Once our son could sit up on his own, rendering the bouncy seats unsafe, we used an exersaucer when we wanted to support and/or contain him. We also had a swing -- a free hand-me-over from a neighbor -- which lived in the dining room. Our son could take or leave it, pretty much; we usually put him in it while we ate dinner, until 6 months when he started solid foods and we got a highchair; we never used it as a calming thing.

And if by ''bouncer'' you mean one of those doorway jumping things, I can't comment -- we didn't have any appropriate place to put one, and they freak me out anyway as seemingly unsafe. :- ) (Note that this is not a judgment of anyone who uses one; I have no idea what the actual safety statistics are. It's just a personal reaction, never investigated because I had no reason to do so.) Holly

I'm sure not all babies are alike in this regard, but the swing was indispensible to us, and still is at 5 months. It calms my daughter and helps her fall asleep for naps and at night, and we even leave her to sleep in it when she is too restless in the crib or bed. I would recommend a full-sized swing; we had one of those little fold-up portable swings too, but she outgrew it by 3 months, and it didn't really have enough ''juice'' to provide much motion as she got heavier. The big swing is still going strong, and I dread the day she outgrows it. Evette

If you got one of those smaller, portable swings, you might be able to have both! My sons both lived and died by the swing, BUT I found the bouncy seat invaluable as a place to stash them during the day, for them to just hang out and later to bat at their toys. The vibrating aspect did nothing for them, but it's really handy to have several 'stations' to move them to (a blanket on the ground with toys, then 20 minutes later, on to the bouncy seat, then the gymini, then into the swing for a quick nap, perhaps?!) I relied entirely on the swing for the first 5 months as the ONLY way my son would nap. If it were up to him, he'd say forget the vibrating seat, give me some serious motion. But they are all different and they are all pretty adaptable. Many never even try the swing and live to tell the tale! Best of luck. Christine

I had both. I found that the vibration of the ''bounce'' chiar did nothing for my son, but he loved his swing. We have the portable fisher-price swing. It was great because it was small enough that I could take it every where including our tiny bathroom so that I could take a shower. I only wish that the weight limit was more than 17 lbs. There are now other smaller swings that may have higher maximum weights. So check them all out first. If you are still on the fence then go to a store where they have working models and feel the vibration of the bouncer....I found it to be not comforting at all. The vibration is to fast, it needs to be slower and more like the car or dryer. Congrats on your newcomer. I vote for the swing!!

If you're choosing between the bouncer and the swing, I would pick the bouncer. For one, it's a lot less space (I know what you mean about the small living space!) and for another babies tend to appreciate being put in those more than the swings. 'Not to say that swings don't work for some babies, but in general, I suspect you'll have better response with the bouncer. Plus, they're easier to move from room to room and spot to spot. Have fun! Bouncy Seat Believer

I would recommend the bouncer. It's easy to move around your house and it travels well when you need to take it to visit friends and family. Patty


What features are good for a swing?

July 2001

Seems like this item is one of those must-haves. What kind did your child like? Is there a feature set that seems important? Thanks.

My friends gave me their old baby swing (circa 1995) and it helped me keep my sanity during those first months!!! My daughter would nap in it and it would lull her to sleep on difficult nights (e.g., after I'd been rocking her for two hours). It was a simple battery-operated Graco model with only one speed, but that's all we needed! (I only used one set of batteries the whole time Jenne

Just one note of caution before you assume that this is a must have item and run out and buy one. My child thought the baby swing was interesting, but only for about five minutes and only if I was entertaining her at the same time (luckily, I had borrowed the swing we used). So, if you want to have a baby swing so you can put your baby in it while you cook or do other things (in the same room, of course) or to prepare your baby for sleep,you might want to borrow a swing first to see if your baby takes to it. For us, the swing was just a big space waster. Stephanie

We have a Graco Swing N' Meals. I hated the idea of getting a big bulky piece of baby furniture that would only be used for a short while but this one also converts to a highchair and the conversion really isn't hard to do. It also can be a booster seat when baby is ready to sit at the table. So I feel really good about this investment. We got the swing because our at the time two month old would no stay asleep when put down. The first time I put her in the swing she slept for two hours and she was a happy baby and I was a happy mommy. Life has been great since then. While she takes her in the swing nap I can rest, clean, cook, organize and now that's its summer spend that time with my older daughter. Overall, a wonderful purchase and worth the money. I got it at Toys R Us. Liza

With Baby Number One, quite a few years ago in the days of wind-up swings with front-entry only, our swing was the only thing that kept our collicky baby quiet long enough for us to eat dinner. It was the single most important baby accessory for the first 6 months of that baby's life. You will sometimes hear parents say You definitely need a baby swing. I am one of those - without that swing our lives for the first 6 months would have been colic inferno.

Baby Number Three is 7 months oldnow, and is much more mellow, but we have really used our baby swing a lot with this one too, from the time he was a few weeks old. Sometimes he swings so mommy and daddy can cook dinner or do laundry, and sometimes he takes his nap in the swing. I think it is really useful.

I can't recommend any specific brand but I do have some specific recommendations about what to look for in a swing.

I recommend not getting the high-end swings with all the bells and whistles. They can be hard to operate because of all the different modes and settings, 90% of which you will never use. Personally, I just want to put the baby in and turn it on, and not have to press button one three times and turn switch two to the left to make it go. Our low-end swing has two speeds only - fast and slow. We really only used one speed - fast.

Most swings nowadays probably are battery operated. This is a big improvement over the old days when you had to run back over there every few minutes to wind it up again, praying that the baby wouldn't wake up during the process. Also I think most of the new ones don't have a bar across the top, so you can slide baby in and out easily. It is 100 times easier to get the baby in and out of a top-loading swing than the front-loading ones, so look for that too. If the front tray swings open easily, that's even better. (Note: some friends of ours didn't realize the front tray on theirs would open, and they spent 6 months wedging that baby in and out behind the tray until one day we visited and they watched us take our baby out the easy way. Just goes to show you - read the manual if you have one, or if it's a second hand swing, spend a few minutes examining the underneath and back of the swing to make sure you know how it works!)

Some of the fancy swings play music or vibrate. You probably will never use this - the swinging action is the point of having a swing and the other stuff is just fluff. I would recommend getting one that has a seat that reclines all the way back so baby can sleep without pitching forward. (Again, READ THE MANUAL! Or if you have a used one, look behind the back of the seat and figure out how far it will go back - some other friends of ours never used their swing because they didn't realize the seat would recline!)

The swings with the tray on the front with little toys and things are in my opinion pretty useless. In our case, by the time our baby was big enough to reach out and grab a toy, he was too big for the swing.

If you have a choice in the matter, you also might want to consider the swing's appearance. It's big and cumbersome and is going to be a major feature of your living room for a chunk of time - can you stand looking at it day in and day out 24 x 7? I couldn't deal with bright happy pastels and Winnie or Micky greeting me every morning over coffee so I was happy when I found a boring navy blue plaid.

All in all I would say: battery operated is good, reclining seat is good, top loading is good. But other options don't matter that much -- the simpler, the better. Also I recommend borrowing one, or buying a used one, because really there are only a few months when you'll use it. Ginger