Many of us love them and so do our precious little ones.
They can truly be a blessing when your baby simply won’t settle down.
And, with such features as music, sounds, plush toys and more, they can provide your baby with entertainment keeping him or content and happy while allowing busy caregivers the opportunity to get important tasks done.
But, as with so many other things in life, there are limits and we must find a way to practice moderation even in activities that are vital and give us pleasure.
If you’re concerned that your baby is spending too much time in the swing, he probably is. While there aren’t any absolute rules that pediatricians and other experts all agree on, it is generally accepted that no more than one hour a day is a wise limit on your baby’s swing time.
One thing the experts DO agree on is that short naps can be fine but a baby should never be allowed to sleep all night long in a swing.
We’ve already talked on this page about the problems associated with poor posture in a swing which can interfere with the baby’s normal spinal development and even, in the most severe of circumstances, result in a potentially fatal blocking of the baby’s airway.
But there are other factors at play here that must be considered as well…
Too much swinging (or too fast a swinging motion) can result in dizziness. Moreover, it isn’t natural for a baby to spend long hours in a contraption like a swing. In other words, when Mother Nature set the process of growth and development into action, she didn’t intend for a baby to be so confined and restricted. The reason? A baby must develop motor skills that one day will result in his ability to crawl and “pull up.” Simply sitting in a swing doesn’t allow for that all-important development and maturation to occur.
And there’s more…
Babies naturally crave and love intimate physical contact with people, moms, especially. No device – no matter how pretty, frilly, and sophisticated – can ever be a substitute for that unique kind of hands-on cuddling, coddling, cooing and soothing.
The swing might even “sing” to the baby but that’s no replacement for a loving mother crooning a gentle lullaby. The “bonding” with a baby that we read and hear so much about goes on for a long period of time after birth and continues through the child’s vital formative years.
Additionally, there are danger factors apart from the possibility of a constricted airway. Babies grow and get stronger really fast – parents the world over will attest to this – and they will one day shock you with the physical activities that they are now able to perform, seemingly out of the blue and without any warning whatsoever.
You might not think that your babe is physically capable of trying to climb out of his or her swing restraint and all. But one day it happens and if you’re running around doing household chores, truly bad things can happen. The child can be seriously hurt if he becomes entangled in the mechanism. In some cases, the entire swing can pitch over.
So, if you notice that your baby is going through a growth spurt then it’s clearly time wean him or her off the swing gradually, limiting swing time to short stints that are closely monitored 100 percent of the time.
And it’s a reminder that weight limits listed in the swing’s instruction manual should be followed to the letter – no exceptions! When the swing is outgrown, you get the opportunity to pass it along to another child or family. You could even donate it to a worthy charity.
None of the above is meant to frighten parents.
Swings are wonderful inventions, and they definitely play an important role in helping parents to get through a busy day.
Swings absolutely have their place and we wouldn’t want to do without them. But some basic knowledge, careful consideration, and good old common sense must also be brought into play.