Most swings include speed controls, activated sounds, seat belts, and baby toys that hang from the seat frame. All of these things combined with the back and forth motion of the swing can help babies stay entertained and soothed, sometimes for long periods of time. In fact, many parents swear by them to help keep fussy babies happy. The biggest downside to a swing is that it may be a little too heavy to move from room to room, so if you’re going to be moving around the house a lot, you’ll want to use a more lightweight option. And keep in mind that even though your little one might find that rocking motion soothing enough to fall asleep, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that babies shouldn’t snooze there. So if Baby does get rocked to sleep, you should then move them to a safe – meaning firm and flat – sleeping surface.
Baby bouncers are lightweight chairs that babies can either stay still or bounce in. Some even vibrate! A huge benefit of bouncers is that they are light and can be moved easily from room to room, so Baby goes wherever you go (staying seated the whole time, of course). Make sure the one you buy has a sturdy base and a belt that fastens around their waist.
The baby gym, that is! Baby gyms are small open play-places, consisting of a mat and plastic arches that dangle colorful plastic toys over babies’ heads. Sometimes the gyms even have buttons that play music too. You can usually switch what toys are hanging and you can put Baby on their stomach or back, whichever better suits the moment. Either way, Baby will get lots of practice turning their head to look at everything. It’s important to make sure they toys are securely attached to the baby gym, and won’t fall, but as long as the gym is safely set up, it can be a stimulating way for them to stay entertained and explore the world without wandering off too far.
Not recommended: the walker
It’s understandable that parents put babies in walkers, because this is one of the easiest ways to keep babies contained and occupied. But in 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement confirming that walkers are actually dangerous for babies. They allow babies to move quickly away from their parents towards dangerous parts of the house like stairways, space heaters, and pools. There has also been research that suggests that walkers slow walking development in babies.
Which device you choose for Baby all comes down to you and Baby’s specific needs, and how long you want Baby out of your arms. So it’s different for every parent, situation, and baby. For lots of parents, it’s hard enough to step away from the phone, let alone to step away from their precious infant cargo. But remember: a change of environment is good for Baby, and anyway, your arms could use the break!