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Since many parents continue to use infant swings to lull their babies to sleep, they even wonder if a baby can sleep in a swing all night, without any problem. There are certain development issues that can result due to the overuse of swing. But even before that, sleeping in a swing is not a natural way of falling asleep.
Should Your Baby Sleep in an Infant Swing?
While many children tend to fall asleep in an infant swing easily, that isn’t a good habit to be established. It’s fine occasionally, but it shouldn’t be a regularity in any way.
Drawbacks of Using Baby Swings
While your baby might have a gala time on the swing, using it for long durations and repetitively is not good. As a risk of a baby sleeping in a swing, SIDS is just one of the issues regarding its usage. There are a few others as well.
1. Deprivation in the Development of the Child
Babies need to spend time by themselves and be given the chance to explore the space around them. If you continue to keep your kid in the baby swing all the while, this restricts movement as well as limits the way he would use the space around him. An absence of trying out even the basic movements such as crawling, rolling, and walking can lead to major developmental problems.
2. Lack of Sleep and Risk of SIDS
If a kid does not sleep in the right manner, there is a huge risk of him falling prey to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. The positions in the swing can make it difficult for him to get oxygen while sleeping. Similarly, the lack of stability in the swing can cause the baby to wake up frequently at the slightest movements.
3. Reduced Safety and Increased Chances of Injury
Quite a few babies tend to experience harm in the form of bruises and bumps, while an unlucky few might even experience fatal entanglement due to the swing straps, ending in suffocation. If the material of the swing itself is not up to the mark, it can break and lead to further injuries, too.
How to Break the Baby’s Habit of Sleeping in a Swing
If you are looking for ways to change the habits of your little one, you are in for some good news – it’s not too late. There are some simple ways that can help you break that habit and allow your baby to sleep properly in his crib or the bed without worries.
1. Continue With Nap Transitions as Often as Possible
It is quite common to observe your baby sleep peacefully in the crib or the bed as well as take a couple of naps whenever he spends time in the swing. Therefore, a baby might feel weird to nap in the crib as well and try to resist it. In such cases, wait for a while and try transitioning after a few days.
2. Place the Child in the Crib No Matter What
Your baby may resort to crying and might want to observe something else or look in a different direction while he sleeps. Most of the times, this continues for about 15 minutes or so, following which many babies do fall asleep soundly.
3. Keep Your Baby Awake in a Stationary Swing
Let your baby be awake when you place him in the swing. As the necessity of movement fades away, he will begin to fall asleep in a stationary swing. All that remains then is the transition from the swing to the crib itself.
4. Reduce the Speed of Swinging Day By Day
Some babies may resist being put into a stationary swing when awake and would want the swing to be rocked back and forth. Well, you can continue with that but try to keep the swinging motion lower than before. As your baby starts getting used to it, you can reduce it further every time until he gets used to sleeping totally motionless.
5. Place the Swing Alongside the Baby’s Crib
Many mothers tend to keep the swing closer to their own bed so that they can rock the baby easily. This also tends to create a mental distance between the baby’s own crib, alienating it in a way. By placing the swing closer to the crib, the baby will begin to accept it sooner and it will be easier to transition a sleeping child to the crib as well.
6. Begin With Bedtimes Before Transitioning Naps
If your baby absolutely loves to nap in the swing, he would also prefer to fall asleep in the swing first during bedtime as well. This is also the time when a baby is quite tired and would readily fall asleep. Take advantage of this to transition the bedtime to the crib first. Once that becomes a normalcy, you can start tackling naptime, too.
7. Let Your Baby Understand the Signs of Sleeping
One of the major reasons why babies have problems switching to cribs from a swing is because they begin to interpret those actions as a routine for falling asleep. A light air and rocking motion automatically begins to lull them to sleep out of habit. Therefore, take help of other sleeping cues like lullabies, a gentle fan to help the baby sleep in the crib. This will take some time, but it will definitely work.
8. Transition to the Crib Once the Baby Falls Asleep
Some babies might be too stubborn and react strongly when coerced to sleep in the crib. They tend to have a very strong bond with the swing itself. That, too, can be used as an advantage. If your child is refusing to sleep, place him in the swing but avoid rocking it. He will wonder for a while and then fall asleep, after which you can shift him to the crib. Slowly and surely, your baby will get used to the feeling of the crib.
Alternatives to Swings
Since the baby sleeping in a swing is bad for the spine as well, there are a few alternatives you can make use of.
- Rocking the child while in your arms
- Playing natural white noise sounds such as rain, wind, and so on
- Check with your doctor if any illness is making it difficult for him to fall asleep
Parents do have a few common questions since baby swings tend to be an inseparable part of their lives
1. Can a swing help soothe my fussy baby?
While your baby sleeping in a swing for naps would be more common, swinging can, at times, help in soothing down a fussy child as well.
2. How long can I let my baby stay in a swing?
If your child is older than 6 months, you should have already begun weaning him off the swing by now.
3. What if my baby can’t live without her swing?
Use the swing only as a means of letting the child fall asleep. The moment he does, shift him to the crib.
There are drawbacks for a baby sleeping in a swing chair throughout infancy. By understanding where this habit stems from and taking the corrective action early on, you can help your baby develop the right sleeping habits.