With your due date nearing, you may have started the nesting phase. You've stocked up on onesies and diapers, and you've ordered a carseat and stroller. Next up? Choosing a baby swing. Technically, you don't need a swing but you've heard it can be a parenting lifesaver and that sounds pretty awesome. But with so many options to choose from, you might be asking yourself: what kind of baby swing should I buy? The decision can be overwhelming, but with some careful research you'll soon find the perfect swing for your baby.
About 2.7 million infant swings are sold in the United States every year, reported the American Baby Group, so you're in good company if you're on the market for a swing. When you begin your search, there are a few factors to keep in mind, including the size and type of the swing. First and foremost though, consider the safety features. "When you're looking for a safe swing, make sure that it has a strong, wide base that has non-slip feet. It should also have a headrest to support your child and a three to five point harness to hold them in," says community safety consultant Sarah Brown in an interview with Romper. You should also look for a swing that's low to the ground so that it won't tip over if your baby leans too far on one side, suggested Baby Center.
Once you've whittled down your choices, think about what size swing you want. Some swings can take up a lot of space, which shouldn't be an issue if you live on a grand country estate. (Don't we all have grand country estates with a chef and butler?) But if you don't have a ton of room to spare, you may want a more compact swing versus a full-size version.
Next, consider the type of swing you'd like to buy. Some swings are battery-powered while others plug in to an outlet. Some swings rock from side to side while others move from head to toe. "The side-to-side motion may be more comforting when a child is younger because of the way you naturally sway with your child," points out Brown. "When they get older, they may prefer front to back." If you're unsure about which type of swing to get, you might want to put away your credit card until after your baby is born. That way, you can try out different versions at the baby store.
Finally, before you make your decision, be sure to check out the recalls on the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website. Babies can get injured while using a swing, and you want to keep your little one as safe as possible.
When I set out to buy my first baby swing, I agonized over the decision. (Thank you, pregnancy hormones.) Funnily enough, my daughter never really took to her swing, preferring to snuggle in my arms as much as possible. Still, I'm glad that we bought one because there were days when it really came in handy. While choosing baby gear can be daunting, with a little research and a few test drives, you'll be sure to pick the right baby swing in no time.