Baby swings are essential tools for infants. But parents shouldn’t abuse them as it can create safety issues for their little ones. Therefore, as a parent, you must be aware of when to stop using a baby swing.
Baby swings have been around since prehistoric times, and this is not something new. The use of cotton fabrics to rock newborns dates back to 6000 BC and was discovered in historical sites such as ancient Egypt and Babylonia.
Parenting styles and childcare equipment have evolved: from wooden rocking chairs to comfy sofas, from cradles to modern baby rockers.
With every generation, there’s always something new coming up in parenting style and lifestyle, even when using baby swings. It may sound odd, but you’d be surprised to know people even use baby swings as a “lazy mom tool.
No, it’s not the swing that makes you lazy, but some moms tend to depend on it so much that they don’t bother putting their newborns down.
Today, we’ll talk about why and when should you stop using a baby swing. So grab your cup of coffee or tea, and let’s start.
Baby Swing: What Is It?
A baby swing provides a safe, alternative sleeping space for infants. It is designed to mimic the gentle movement of parents rocking their babies in their arms.
Infants are at risk for suffocation when placed on couches or beds while they sleep, so providing them with a safe place is crucial.
The swinging motion can also help alleviate colic symptoms by providing relief from gassiness and discomfort. Plus, it makes your newborn feel cuddled and loved all day long, which allows more bonding time between you and your child.
Baby swings have built-in toys that can provide visual stimulation and entice your child’s curiosity when they get older. Also, swings come in different sizes, shapes, colors, designs, and price ranges to suit all budgets.
A baby swing can help soothe your fussing baby to provide you some break time or do other important chores while he swings away happily. That’s like hitting two birds with one stone.
It is not surprising that infants love swings because it mimics “arms” movement, which they are used to when their parents hold them close.
The gentle rhythm of swinging also has certain effects on newborns. They fall asleep faster and spend more time in deep sleep compared to when they sleep on their back without moving at all.
The soothing effect of the swing may also improve night-time sleep for babies who wake up often at night.
Why Do Babies Need Swings?
Newborns are like little sponges who absorb everything that happens around them. When you put your baby in a swing, babies will naturally imitate your movements; their muscles and coordination will improve over time as well.
Babies love to fall asleep in the swing as it is a very soothing place for them. You should pay attention to the timing of the sleep in the swing. Sleeping inside the cradle is not dangerous, but too much time can cause harm to your baby.
Babies may even make noises or gestures to show how much fun they are having! That’s why swings are perfect for developing motor skills and speech correction.
Can a baby sleep in a swing?
Yes. A baby can sleep in a swing. Parents sometimes use swings as babysitters to keep their children occupied while taking care of other chores.
However, this does not mean all babies love swinging all the time! Don’t be discouraged if you notice your newborn does not like to swing. You can still use swings as a sleeping aid.
Some newborns do not enjoy swinging and prefer to sleep on their backs. This is perfectly normal because it all depends on personality, physical development, and temperaments! Just let your baby nap wherever they are most comfortable.
What are the age limits for a baby swing?
Baby swing manufacturers will not tell you that your newborn can’t use their product. They do not want to lose business from exhausted parents!
There’s no specific age limit for kids to use a baby swing per se. Most will claim the minimum recommended age is six months or when an infant can hold their head up on their own.
If the baby can sit up unaided, then the baby bouncer or swing is no longer safe. Adults need to supervise and intervene if the baby’s head flops too far forward. Kids can show signs of climbing out from as old as 12 months or as young as eight months.
You should also stop using a swing when you become more active and alert because they need to begin exploring their environment. Even though baby swings are safe, it is still recommended that you not leave your child in the swing for long periods.
What are the weight limits for a baby swing?
You should always follow the weight guidelines set by the manufacturers for maximum safety.
The following guidelines are often recommended by most manufacturers:
- 0-12 Months = 15 lbs (6.8 kg) or less (usually around 10 lb / 4.5 kg)
- 15-25 lbs = 20 lbs (9 kg) or less
- Over 25 lbs = 30 lbs (13.5 kg) or less
However, you should always follow the maximum weight limit per the manufacturer.
When should I stop using a baby swing?
It is best to stop using the swing when your child reaches three months. Before that, they are still at risk from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) if you place them on a flat surface for napping or put them down while they’re still sleepy.
Starting at three months of age, you can start putting your infant to sleep on their back without swaddling, so they get used to the sensation.
If you put them down for naps while asleep, make sure you lay them down on their backs instead of side or tummy position. Also, try not to use distractions like TV or music when putting your child down for napping.
A majority of babies will outgrow a swing by the time they’re 9-10 months old.
When a baby can hold its head up unsupported
When the baby starts to push themselves up on their hands and knees with their tummy off the floor, they can roll over both ways, front to back or back to front.
You should know that all babies are different, so always monitor your little one for signs of tiredness, even if they are growing at their own pace.
When a baby can sit up without support
Around four months of age, you should start weaning your infant out of the swing. However, some bouncers or baby swings designed to hold up to 30 pounds may be used for an additional two months.
You will notice your little one becoming more active and alert during feedings and more aware of their surroundings during this stage.
They might even try to reach out and grab things while playing. At this point, it is time to remove distractions like music, toys, and TV during napping.
Ensure there are no toys on the mobile part and that it’s on the lowest setting. Also, make sure there is nothing around that baby can get their fingers stuck in like strings or loops on stuffed animals or fabrics.
Around the seventh month, their neck muscles are getting stronger, so you should start using a crib without the incline feature. Also, you can stop swaddling at this time because they might roll over while sleeping.
Start transitioning the sleeping environment slowly by taking out one beanbag or another soft object at a time. This will allow them to discover different textures under close supervision, of course!
Put your child down drowsy but awake during nap times and at bedtime. You can use a nightlight to comfort them during this adjustment period.
If your child can pull themselves up, they can transition into a toddler bed with side rails that do not go up. Playpens are okay too.
When a baby crawls unassisted or walks without help
You should stop using the swing completely once they learn how to walk independently because it’s not safe for them to be left unattended in one anymore.
Children must learn to play independently by exploring their surroundings under parental supervision. There may come a time when they want to be left alone in the play area, but that is much later on.
There’s certainly a valid reason why you should stop using a baby swing when it’s time to do so. The American Academy of Pediatrics identifies falls due to baby swings or bouncers as a significant cause of ER visits for babies, either from kids squirming out on their own or from parents and caregivers dropping them as they transfer surfaces.
So, as you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to taking care of your little one. Even though some guidelines say the same thing, every child is different, so you have to familiarize yourself with their developmental milestones.
You should also talk with your pediatrician about any concerns or special conditions your baby might have before making any decisions about infant care.