A swing is actually the #1 product in survey of moms favorite products for the first year as conducted by BabyCenter. And in the world of infant swings there are surprisingly not tons of choices. The overwhelmingly popular model is the Fisher Price Cradle n Swing which comes in several different styles which are really just color and motif choice. The overall function is the same although some may have an extra feature or two. We have the My Little Lamb which is one of the more natural patterns as is the Snugabunny. There are also more vibrant Rainforest or Zoo patterns available which could add a fun touch to your decor. As I mentioned, we have this swing and I am going to try to weave in our personal experience along with the facts and research so I hope it flows well enough to give you the details you need to make an informed decision. So why is a swing so popular?
The Cradle ‘n Swing (“CS”) works from day one as safe and cozy place to let your newborn rest while also giving you a chance to brush your teeth, use the restroom, nap or any other mildly important thing you need to do! The CS has two swing options – side to side or head to toe. This is a nice option to have to change it up for your babe or to configure better for your space. The seat has three positions and two recline options which again, is a nice feature to allow you to adjust to a more upright position as your little one grows. There are six speeds of swinging motions and we put Eloise in the swing on day three or so of being home from the hospital, on the slowest speed and she hated it. Like big time hated it. Screamed her head off. That was enough for me to not try the swinging motion for many more months. We did however continue to use the other features of the swing.
Generally speaking all models of the CS have an overhead mobile with mirror to provide entertainment as well as encourage tracking development (the mirror helps with self recognition). You have the option of turning the mobile off if your little one is napping or simply not interested. Along with the mobile there is the option of soothing nature sounds or lullabies so effectively you can choose a combination of swinging, sounds and mobile. A great feature is volume control of the sound! As I mentioned, our little lady was not a fan of swinging but we did use the swing itself as a backup to the infant seat as a cozy place to sleep. The music is the same as most all the other Fisher Price toys so it can get a little old but it is pleasant enough to tolerate.
Also included on the CS is a detachable tray with a few little toys. We did not use the tray until about month three or so when Eloise was ready to start grabbing for things. The toys on the tray are pretty boring but provide a good place to attach some more exciting toys.
The seat has a secure harness which obviously a necessity and great and all but one of the issues we had with the harness at the newborn stage was the fact the harness + a swaddled baby don’t mix. I know, I have seen people that configure the harness in such a way that you can get a swaddled baby secure BUT I wouldn’t recommend it and really prefer to use products how they are designed. Call me overprotective but I would never leave a baby in a swing to nap without being secure. This issue is one of my bigger issues with the swing and sleeping. It helped that Eloise was cozy elsewhere, too. However, you can easily have your little one in a footie and securely tuck a blanket around the harness and the swing and have a safe and cozy baby. Swaddling just doesn’t really work.
Swings have been proven both in research and parent feedback to tremendously help soother fussy babies, babies with colic and/or reflux. I have friends and have read countless reviews of parents who say they could not have survived the first few months without a swing and specifically this one.
Specifically, the CS has a pretty large footprint and is not great for urban environments or small spaces. We live in a pretty small space and the swing has taken up a good chunk of it. The CS runs on batteries but does have an option to be plugged in to save on batteries. This is a helpful feature but given the overall size of the swing you may not be moving it around all that often but when you do, it is nice to not have to lug a cord around.
One major downfall is that parents complain that the motor dies around the six month mark. We have barely used our swing so I can’t confirm this from first hand experience but be warned… for over $120 it is expensive to have such a short life. BUT if your baby has reflux and/or loves to held $120 for six months of an extra set of hands may not be so bad!
A few other things I don’t much like about this swing:
– it’s pretty loud when swinging
– it is not easy to move from room to room (barely fits through doors)
– I think it swing really FAST, too FAST (but maybe I am just conservative?!?)
– the music stops after 15 minutes which has been known to wake a baby and there is no option to leave it on
Eloise did come around to the swinging around the four month mark but never really loved it. We have only used it about ten times. So would I recommend this product to someone? YES. Was it the perfect product for us? NO but that is the tough thing about some baby products – what works for one isn’t the best for another.
Bottom line, if you are in the market for a swing the CS is one of (if not the) best on the market. Think about saving your receipt and maybe hold off setting it up until you know you may need it. The best place to start in the world of baby seats and soothers may be an Infant seat like the Snugabunny from Fisher Price.
ps, I hope our experience didn’t make this review seem negative… this product was just a no go for us. The CS is a great swing!