Oh, baby swings, bouncers, and baby rockers: What is the secret to your kid-soothing ways? Is it that you replicate the feeling of floating in the womb? Distract from whatever caused the crying and screaming in the first place? Or is it something else entirely? The answer, in the form of another question: Who cares? No matter why they work baby swings, baby rockers, and bouncers are parental godsends that offer soothing, safe spaces for the kid to rest while you sit on your favorite, non-bouncy seat. But which one to buy? Your kid can’t exactly tell you which one they want, so it’s up to you to figure it out.
Our advice: pick a model that has features that are important to you (e.g. lightweight, battery-powered, easy to clean) and has a track record, demonstrated through positive reviews written by real parents, of getting babies to calm down. We picked some baby swings, baby rockers, and baby bouncers that have an array of features we like and consistently positive reviews from parents who’ve used them. The next time you’re dealing with a crying and screaming baby, plot him into one of these bad boys and enjoy the peace and quiet.
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. Grab it by the handle and put it on the ground and you’ve got an analog rocker. The DuetSoothe is safe for kids up to 30 pounds (most others cut off at 25), so you can use it well into infancy.
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 to (hopefully) facilitate a nice nap. That same speaker all plays 18 different songs that can entertain your baby as she plays with the motorized mobile complete with stuffed animals.
This BabyBjörn rocker has four different positions: play, rest, sleep, and transport (in order from most to least vertical). There’s no motor for vibrations or swinging; it’s up to you or, when he’s able, your kid to move the cushioned seat that’s designed to provide proper head and back support. It’s easy to fold down and weighs just a pound, so taking this rocker on the go is a breeze. 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.
Stokke is a company that’s mastered the baby expansion kit (see their bassinet and crib) with modern design. Their baby bouncer is no different. It fits into the Stokke Steps high chair seating system, so taking your kid from eating to a post-lunch and nap couldn’t be easier. There’s also a newborn insert that keeps tiny babies safe and is easy to remove when your kid gets too big for it. The bouncer also folds flat for easy transport and has an arm that let’s you dangle a toy above your kid in case they need a distraction.
As you can tell by the options on this list, it’s easy to spend hundreds on a bouncer. But if your budget isn’t quite that expansive, fear not: Bright Starts makes a beloved bouncer that you can get for less than the cost of a few packs of diapers. This bouncer 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.
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. There’s a built-in speaker and Bluetooth connectivity so you can adjust the music and motion pattern from your phone, thought there is also a pretty comprehensive control panel at the base of the unit. The cherries on top are the 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.
This cradle swing from Fisher-Price checks all the boxes for a solid swing. It has side-to-side and front-to-back swinging motions, a quick release power cord and the option to use rechargeable batteries, a sturdy steel frame that easily folds up, and a three-point harness that keeps kids safe while they swing. The built-in speaker plays eight different entertaining songs for play timeand eight additional lullabies for nap time. The coolest feature? A butterfly-themed light show that projects onto the included canopy. It’s a Pink Floyd concert for infants.
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. You can, of course, adjust those settings manually, but you’ll probably go through some trial and error to get your kid to calm down, so why not let the swing do it automatically? And once you’ve found a combination of settings that works well you can save and recall it with the touch of a button. 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.