Baby swings, baby bouncers, and baby rockers are to new parents what baby Yoda is to The Mandalorian: Absolutely indispensable. They give you a safe place to put your kid so you can, you know, sit on your throne in peace or catch up on Succession. However, there’s an abundance of vibrating infant rockers and swings on the market, but before you buy one, keep a few things in mind.
First, some basics. Swings are not suitable, or safe, places for infants to sleep. Given that we live in the real world, where babies almost always fall asleep when they’re being gently rocked, they need to be constantly supervised by their parents or caregivers. A swing is not a substitute for a crib, nor should a baby left alone in one, unsupervised, to snooze for hours, even if they’re strapped in.
“You need a flat surface, nothing inclined, a firm mattress, with a tight-fitting sheet,” says Dr. Ben Hoffman, FAAP, Chair of American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. “If you have a baby in a swing and they enjoy it, they’re going to fall asleep in there from time to time. You need to be there and constantly vigilant.”
Hoffman was one of the leading advocates of the recent recall of Fisher-Price’s popular Rock n’ Play model. “I don’t think there’s a safe way that product should be used in real people’s homes. We know what safe sleep looks like. A product that starts with an environment that’s not safe for infants, I don’t know that it ever would have not have put babies in danger. Because they’re sold, there’s this implicit assumption that they’re safe,” he says.
Bottom line, from Hoffman: “Don’t let your infant sleep at an angle.”
Wise words from a wise man. But bouncers, swings, and rockers have a purpose, and that purpose is to calm and soothe your baby. Pick one that has features that matter to you:
- Aesthetics, because some are more understated than others and look like actual adult furniture.
- Size, because trust us, these things get big and bigger and some of the ones on our list are better suited for smaller spaces.
- Output, depending on whether you prefer one that’s battery-operated, one that plugs into an outlet, or one that rocks on its own because it is powered by the baby’s movements.
- Portability, since some of these behemoths need The Rock to lift them from room to room.
- Weight limit, with some swings maxing out at 20 pounds and others lasting into toddlerhood because they convert into chairs.
You get a soothing seat and baby rocker in one.
Pros: This rocker has an adjustable incline, and plays 16 songs and three soothing sounds, plus It has six glide speeds. The rocker is removable and portable; the max weight is 25 pounds.
Cons: It weighs 19 pounds, so get ready to flex those muscles when you’re moving the entire thing from room to room.
This one plays music and vibrates to soothe your baby.
Pros: This rocker has a light-up toy canopy bar. So it’s like baby Coachella. Plus, this rocker vibrates, ostensibly calming your baby down. The max weight limit is 20 pounds.
Cons: It only runs on batteries, so stock up.
As you can tell by the options on this list, it's easy to spend hundreds on a bouncer or rocker. But if your budget isn't quite that expansive, fear not: Bright Starts makes a beloved one that you can get for less than the cost of a few packs of diapers.
Pros: This rocker comes with a full array of features, including a toy bar to keep your kid entertained and a battery-powered motor that can help vibrate your baby into peaceful slumber. The weight limit is 25 pounds.
Cons: This bouncer doesn’t fold down, so it’s not a great option if you want to bring your bouncer on family vacations unless you have room to throw it in the back of your car.
Sweet, portable, and handy, this rocker is easy on the wallet and easy on the eyes.
Pros: This convenient little baby rocker has calming vibrations that can help soothe and comfort your baby, plus a fold-out kickstand for stationary seating. It’s not particularly fancy, but it gets things done. And it converts into a toddler chair, so kids up to 40 pounds can use it.
Cons: This is not a flat surface, so please don’t let your baby sleep in it.
This BabyBjörn rocker has four different positions: play, rest, sleep, and transport (in order from most to least vertical). It's easy to fold down and weighs just a pound, so taking this rocker on the go is a breeze.
Pros: The seat is easy to remove and machine washable, and you can use it as a comfy chair once your kid is able to sit upright, so you’ll be able to use this thing for years.
Cons: There’s no motor for vibrations or swinging; it’s up to you or your kid, when he’s able, your kid to move the cushioned seat that’s designed to provide proper head and back support.
This new baby bouncer folds flat for easy portability, and has a mesh inset in the cover for greater airflow.
Pros: This ultra-neutral baby bouncer is also ultra-portable. It has a three-position recline, a removable machine-washable cover, and a detachable toy bar. It comes with its own carry bag.
Cons: The weight limit is 20 pounds, so your time with this thing is fairly limited.
If you'd rather not have a garish baby rocker heavy on the primary colors, this Cybex bouncer is for you.
Pros: This beautiful baby bouncer is designed to be used from birth until your baby hits 33 pounds. It has a two-position adjustable backrest that lets your tot bounce in the reclined or upright positions, depending on whether your baby is sleeping or awake. It’s self-bouncing, so no batteries required. Even cooler, it comes with a high chair attachment.
Cons: None, unless you’re not a fan of the self-bouncing aspect of this thing.
If you don't have a ton of space, you should take a look at this bouncer. It responds to your baby's natural motions, and has 20 minutes of music, nature sounds and calming vibrations.
Pros: This lightweight baby bouncer is suitable for infants up to 25 pounds. It’s portable, and you can either bounce it manually or set it to auto-vibrate. The insert is machine-washable.
Cons: Babies grow fast, and at a max weight of 25 pounds, it’s not the longest-term solution.
It's a modern, dare we say elegant, baby rocker, that's right at home in your living room without being hard on the eyes. Plus, it's one of the most eco-friendly models available.
Pros: The Bloom Coco lounger is an elegant baby nest. You get seat pads with a five-point harness. This rocker is free of lead, BPA, phthalates, PVC, formaldehyde and flame retardant materials, and has a smooth, self-rocking motion. The rocker is suitable for newborns and babies up to 25 pounds.
Cons: It’s expensive, the seat pads are sold separately, and you have to rock it yourself.
This is a vibrating swaddling cushion (fancy name for a baby rocker or bouncer) created by a mom to keep newborns settled and happy.
Pros: Although the Babocush claims to relieve colic, there is no hard proof that an upright position helps babies do just that. That being said, the Babocush attaches to your rocker or bouncer or can be used on any flat, non-slip surface, and has a gentle vibration that calms babies. It’s also great for tummy time. This one can only be used until your baby is six months old.
Cons: It helps if you have a rocker to attach it to, although it does work solo. And the price is rather, well, steep.
We're huge fans of 4Moms' baby products because they are next-level smart, and this is a wonderful glider and swing for parents with small spaces.
Pros: This swing is one-third the size of most regular (translation: huge) baby swings. It has a back and forth gliding motion and five speeds. The seat is removable, and it comes with an AC adaptor so you never need batteries. You can use it from birth until your baby is 25 pounds, or can sit up unassisted.
Cons: It’s weird. It’s inexplicable. But some babies really don’t like this thing. It’s also not Bluetooth-enabled.
The DuetSoothe does double duty as a hanging swing and a rocker that rests on the ground. Hang the swing seat on the sturdy frame to take advantage of the six different rocking speeds and two vibrating strengths, powered by your choice of rechargeable batteries or a power outlet.
Pros: The DuetSoothe is safe for kids up to 30 pounds (most others cut off at 25), so you can use it well into infancy. You can also use it as an analog rocker simply by grabbing the handle and puting the Duetsoothe on the ground.
Cons: If you can’t plug it in, you have to use five D batteries that only last three hours, which means this thing gets pricey to operate quickly.
Instead of rocking, swinging, and/or vibrating, this baby swing moves in five different patterns that 4moms claims are more like how mothers comfort their kids.
Pros: The mamaRoo 4 comes with interactive and reversible toy balls: one with a rattle, one with mirrors, and one that crinkles to help build motor skills and keep your baby entertained for hours. There’s a built-in speaker and Bluetooth connectivity so you can adjust the music and motion pattern from your phone, though there is also a pretty comprehensive control panel at the base of the unit. It can be used from birth until 25 pounds.
Cons: See above. Some babies simply aren’t that into this swing.
This baby swing from Fisher-Price gives you a choice of two swinging motions, plus a variety of gentle music and sounds.
Pros: You get six different baby swing speeds and the cradle swing actually senses your baby’s weight, so speeds won’t slow as the baby grows. It plays 16 songs and nature sounds. The max weight limit is 25 pounds and the swing can be used from birth.
Cons: It doesn’t take batteries, meaning it always has to be close to an AC power source.
The bizarrely named Snugapuppy is the rare rocker that can both soothe and entertain thanks to its particular feature set. There's the dual motion swing that rocks your baby back-and-forth or side-to-side at one of six speeds, a padded seat with two different recline positions, and a speaker that plays nature sounds.
Pros: That speaker can also play 18 different songs to entertain your baby as she plays with the motorized mobile complete with stuffed animals. It can be used up to 25 pounds.
Cons: Small and subtle, it’s not.
What, you're probably wondering, is cry detection technology? It's actually pretty simple. A built-in microphone detects crying and cycles through eight soothing motions, three speeds, two vibration settings, and 15 different songs until it hits upon a combination that makes the crying stop.
Pros: The swing lifts off the base and also works as a portable rocker so you don’t have to take your baby out of the seat to bring her with you around the house. The weight limit is 25 pounds.
Cons: All of those features come at a price of over $200, and you can get a simpler quality bouncer for way less.
This swing converts into a sleeper, so your baby can sleep in the recommended flat position.
Pros: The swing easily converts from its swinging position to a sleeping position, meaning your child lies flat on her back instead of being propped up. It has six gliding speeds, plays 10 melodies and five nature sounds, and has a built-in mobile. You can plug it in, or use batteries. The weight limit is 30 pounds.
Cons: Parents say that for some reason, it inexplicably sometimes stops swinging.
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