No matter if you are a first time parent or a seasoned one, having a baby reminds you of how much you value having free time. Just like you never realize how often you use the muscles in your neck until you wake up with a crick having slept on it wrong, you never realize how much you used to be able to get done in a day until you have a baby that wants to be held and rocked nearly 24 hours a day.
Babies are amazing and fun, but they are a lot of work, and sometimes you just need to put them down for a break or to just wash the dishes. A swing like the Fisher Price Snugapuppy, Snugabunny, and Snugamonkey Cradle ‘n Swing provides everything you need in a swing to make your baby happy for a few hours while you can enjoy being hands free.
There are lots of swings on the market with a lot of great features, but here are some of my favorite features in the Fisher Price Cradle ‘n Swing line.
Whenever you have a baby in a moving device, safety is going to be your first priority. Luckily, the Fisher Price Snugapuppy, -bunny, -monkey line has all the safety features you could want in a swing that will ensure your baby will not fall out and will stay secure. Here are some of my favorite safety features.
5 Point Harness
A five point harness is a feature that a swing cannot be without. The Snugabunny Cradle ‘n Swing secures a baby in place with the harness that is an important safety precaution for many reasons.
The seat of the Snugapuppy is deep enough that you might wonder why a harness would be so important. An infant could really not work him or herself out of it without making an extreme effort to do so. However, the harness protects more than just the baby trying to get out.
Babies tend to have really no posture at all when they are newborns. They are so flexible and their bones really haven’t developed the kind of density that will make it easier to keep their backs straight on their own. Because of this, they tend to slump over if they are at any kind of incline at all. This lasts for about the first four months of life while they are learning to hold their heads up and are developing important muscles.
This might not be such a huge issue, but slumping over like this can cause asphyxiation and they can have little to no oxygen reaching their brains. This is one reason why babies should always be closely monitored while they are in the swing even if they have the harness on.
Protection From Accidents
The 5 point harness can also protect against siblings who have the very best intentions, but are just simply not old enough to be careful with babies. Anyone who has multiple children will tell you that their other child (if they are close in age) has been less than careful around the swing. Siblings may accidentally push the swing much harder than it is supposed to go or even attempt to get the baby out of the swing on their own. The 5 point harness can solve both of these problems. It will keep your new baby safe and secure and also be a barrier between your baby and their sibling who may want to get him or her out.
3 Position Recline
Babies do a lot of growing in the first two years of their lives, and one aspect about a swing that I love is if there are different reclining positions. There are a lot of swings on the market, but there are not a ton of affordable ones that offer three different reclining positions like the Fisher Price Snugapuppy Cradle ‘n Swing.
When babies are newborns, they need to be as flat as possible to avoid asphyxiation, as mentioned above. So the Snugapuppy offers not only a very flat incline that is safe for the smallest newborns, but also reclining options that will let the baby sit up taller as it grows. The baby will enjoy this position in the swing later in life when he or she uses it more for entertainment than for actual naps and soothing.
Another feature that makes the Fisher Price Snugapuppy Cradle ‘n Swing stand out from the rest is the newborn insert that makes the swing more cozy for smaller infants. A 5 point harness is pretty standard in swings, but babies will still many times slump over because the swing seat fits a wide range of sizes. Babies grow a lot in the first year of their life. They typically triple in size, so if you want to have a versatile swing that will last you for the first year of your baby’s life, then it will need to have a wider seat than a newborn needs.
The newborn insert is exactly what it sounds like. It lays in the seat and extends underneath the body and the limbs of the newborn. It holds the newborn securely in place so that he or she will not slump over or slide around.
The Insert also has a headrest that will help to keep your baby’s head from sliding around into uncomfortable positions that probably will hurt their neck. However, the headrest is not super substantial. The insert alone works perfectly for most babies, especially if you recline your newborn as far back as possible. However, if you find that your baby is still bending their neck to the side, then you might want to put in an additional headrest. Most headrest inserts that you use with your car seat will work with an infant swing as well, if you need one.
Another great thing about the newborn insert is that it is easily removable for washing. It covers all the areas that commonly get dirty from blowouts or spit ups, so you can wash it without cleaning the entire seat. Every new parent values the possibility of less laundry.
Why Is Safety So Important?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “In 2014, there were 69 300 emergency department (ED) visits by children <5 years old attributable to nursery products” This is a significant number but it is mostly because children were not supervised while they were using the nursery products.
This statistic is not limited to swings but also walkers, baby carriers, bottles, etc. Most nursery products on the market are checked and double checked by the FDA to be as safe as possible, but even with all the safety precautions built into each product, babies still need to be supervised at all times.
With swings, babies are very safe, but accidents can still happen due to user error or plain accidents. The only way to ensure that your baby is safe at all times in all situations is to be vigilant. It is important to always be supervising him or her even while your baby is asleep.
One really awesome thing about the Fisher Price Snuga- Cradle ‘n swing line is that they are easily portable. The swing itself is pretty bulky, but it has a bar in the back of the swing that can come down and you can fold the legs up for travel or for storage.
You can see how the swing collapses at the end of this video:
Moving the swing around your house isn’t a huge undertaking. If you wanted to take it on the go somewhere, however, it still would take up a substantial amount of space in your car. The legs fold up but the seat does not collapse down at all. It still takes up a large amount of space lengthwise.
If you are looking for a swing that is fully portable, that you can throw in your trunk when you are on the go, this might not be the best option for you, but it is definitely doable.
One thing that babies really enjoy in a swing, along with the constant motion, is the music and other soothing sounds that come with it. Many babies fall right to sleep with the selection of 16 classical songs and nature sounds that Fisher Price offers. Parents might find that they have a difficult time not nodding off themselves.
An absolute must, in my book, for a swing is to have the ability to plug into an actual outlet. Battery power is amazing if you want to put your swing in a spot with no power source temporarily, but the amount of batteries that it can go through could just break the bank. Luckily, the Fisher Price Snuga- cradle and swing line come with both battery and power outlet capabilities.
The swing takes 4 D batteries and also has an AC adapter for the wall outlet.
You might not think that a mobile is any big deal, but Fisher Price really went the extra mile with it’s mobile. Not only does the plush mobile spin, but the actual surface of it is a mirror so the baby can look at the spinning toys or be entertained by his or her own reflection–and if you’ve ever watched a baby, you know how much they love checking out their own reflection.
The swing also comes with a baby toy rattle, which is just a very thoughtful touch from Fisher Price. Of course, you probably have your own toys at home, so it isn’t super necessary, but it serves as a great way to get a baby excited to use their swing–having a toy that is meant just for swinging time.
The Fisher Price Snuga- Cradle ‘n Swing line has a weight limit of 25 pounds. Honestly, your baby may start to lose interest in the swing at this weight, as the average weight of a one year old is about 25 pounds. However, babies only gain 5 more pounds in the entire next year of their lives, so the other leading brands of swing manufacturers who have a weight limit of 30 pounds really have them beat in this area.
One year olds tend to want to be more on the go and the swing might not be as appealing, but when parents consider that they could use this swing for one year or a different swing for potentially two years, they might turn toward the other brand.
Difference Between Snugapuppy, Bunny, Monkey
You might wonder what the big difference between the Snugapuppy, Snugabunny, and Snugamonkey are, and the answer is “not much”. The only differences between these models are in the design of them. You don’t have to worry that you are missing out on some features because of the model that you pick–it is all just the color schemes, the animal insert, and the toy that comes along with it.
Of course the Snugapuppy comes with a puppy insert. It also has a gender neutral gray and white color scheme. The mobile has a plush puppy, kitty, and bunny. It also comes with a few teething toys that you can attach to the harness for baby to play with while swinging.
The Snugabunny model comes with a bunny insert in another gender neutral beige and light brown color scheme. The mobile has three different colored birds and it comes with a bunny shaped rattle.
This model of the Cradle ‘n Swing line features a gray and teal color scheme. It has a monkey insert, three monkeys on the mobile, and teething toys attached to the harness.
Why Are Swings Beneficial?
Most babies love swinging. There is a reason that a mother’s natural soothing instinct is to rock her baby back and forth. Babies enjoy the regular motion that comes with being attached to their mother’s body while on the move. This is probably due to them constantly feeling their mother’s motions while in the womb.
However, parents have other responsibilities, so they cannot necessarily be soothing and rocking their baby at all times. This is why swings are so handy. But why do babies love swinging and how is swinging beneficial?
According to The Inclusive Resource On Sensorimotor Child Development for Parents and Teachers, swinging has all (but not limited to) the following benefits:
- Helps the body become comfortable with a new kind of movement.
- Helps the eyes to learn how to see the world while moving around.
- Rapid swinging, increases the alertness of the individual.
- Slow swinging relaxes and calms the body.
- When engaging with the caretaker in front of the swing, opportunities for eye contact, language and simple motor planning occur.
In a nutshell, babies are constantly learning, and the best way that they learn is through their methods of play and soothing, even at a very early age. Swinging helps babies develop their sensorimotor skills even while it soothes them to sleep or entertains them while they are awake.
Swinging, as long as it is done safely and for short amounts of time of an hour or two each session, is a great way for your baby to develop the skills that he or she will need throughout life.
Activities To Do In The Swing
Most parents use a swing to have a minute to themselves or to get some work done around the house, however there are some activities that you can do with your child while they are in the swing. Here is a list of things to try out while swinging.
Your baby loves to observe the world around him or her as it goes by. Having your baby in a swing is a great opportunity to work on your baby’s eye contact. You can make silly faces at your baby while he or she is in the swing. As your baby watches your face, their eyes will be forced to move along with the motion of the swing. This will help your baby’s eyes develop and can also help you identify any vision problems like lazy eyes that your baby might have early on.
You can talk to your baby in soothing tones and sing songs. Your baby will watch your face and start to pick up on how to use language. This is exactly as easy as it sounds.
Many doctors say that the first child will not pick up language as fast as children who have older siblings. This is mostly because the parent talks to the older child as the younger one is growing. The oldest child grows up in a home that might be fairly silent if there are no other people other than the caregivers present. The more babies hear language, the easier it will be to pick up.
So talk to you baby. Talk to your baby as he or she is swinging or as you are changing diapers or making dinner. Even if it isn’t anything interesting or it seems pointless because they cannot understand yet, they are learning much faster than they can express.
Along with language skills, you can practice even a nonverbal method of communication. Many parents have found that teaching your child sign language early on can lessen the frustration of your baby not being able to communicate. Most children can learn simple signs much earlier than they learn to speak, so it is entirely possible that your baby can communicate his or her needs way before they are able to verbalize them.
It can be frustrating for a child to not know how to express what his or her needs are. It is just as frustrating for an adult to not know what his or her child wants. Signing takes the frustration out of family life and replaces it with clear communication. You can practice signs or even put on a signing time show while your baby is in the swing.
Your swing comes with several options of soothing songs and sounds, but if your baby is wide awake and wants to be entertained rather than put to sleep, use this time as a time for learning. You can play learning songs like nursery rhymes or ABC’s that will teach your child skills while entertaining them.
Babies tend to want to be held a lot of the time, even if they just want to play with their toys. A swing can entertain and soothe your baby, mimicking your movements, while your baby plays with toys. Your baby can develop many skills like tactile development while swinging away.
Many babies, especially ones who are colicky, can be particular about the way that they are rocked. Some directions or speeds might hurt their tummies or just feel uncomfortable. So if you buy a swing that only moves one way, you might be out of luck. However, the Fisher Price Cradle ‘n Swings have the abilities to easily move different directions with the click of a button and a turn. It is able to go back and forth and side to side.
You are sure to find a setting that your baby will like with this swing. And even if your baby doesn’t take to the swing immediately, don’t give up hope. If your baby is unhappy in the swing, try some of these methods below before you give up completely.
How To Introduce Your Baby To The Swing
Almost all parents love the idea of a swing. Having a product that they can put their baby in so they can get a break from holding it sounds like a dream come true. Some babies take to swings immediately, but others require a bit of convincing before they are ready to fully embrace the swing. For these babies, here are some tips to positively introduce them to the swing.
Have Someone Else Do It
There is no easy transition from being held by a parent to suddenly not being held by a parent. If your baby seems to hate a swing from the get go and is very tied to one or both parents, then try to have someone else put him or her in the swing and see if they are more willing to try. If a grandparent or a friend places the baby in the swing, do they object as loudly? The parents may not be able to be in the actual room if this experiment is going to take place.
Put Them Down Tired
Training a baby to enjoy the swing is similar to getting a baby used to soothing him or herself to sleep in their own crib. The experts say that one of the best ways to do this is to put your baby down when he or she is sleepy but not fully asleep. You have to get to the point where they are so tired that they can barely keep their eyes open and they don’t care what you do, they are going to fall asleep. This is a great transition to get your baby used to the swing.
Sometimes babies have separation anxiety and they might become distraught if they feel like their caregiver is leaving them. You don’t have to give up hope if your baby doesn’t like the swing on the first time you try. Put them down in the swing and stay nearby. Let them see your face and hear your voice making soothing sounds or singing songs. Your baby will realize at some point that you put them down but you are not leaving them and they may relax.
Give Them Toys
One thing about the Fisher Price Cradle ‘n Swing line is that they have great mobile and toy options in their swings. Babies love toys, but sometimes their regular toys can get boring. If there is a toy that you only use in the swing like the rattle that comes with the Fisher Price swing, they might get more excited about going in the swing. The mobile on this swing is also top notch. It moves unlike some other brand swings and it has a mirror, which babies love. These features can be exciting if you are putting your baby in the swing while he or she is still not tired.
The Fisher Price Cradle n’ Swing line has proven to be a great swing with some really outstanding features. It is priced affordably, has a variety to choose from, is multidirectional, and has entertaining toys for the baby. The only real complaint that I have with it is that it only goes up to 25 pounds. The competing brands will go up to 30 pounds, adding another year to how long you can use it for. This might not be a huge issue, since your baby might not be as interested in it after the first year, but it is still nice to have the option.