When you have a new baby in the house, trying to get a minute to yourself is no joke. People always say to sleep when baby sleeps, but what if you have multiple kids or what if it seems like your baby never sleeps?
For babies who want to be constantly in motion and for parents who are just so tired they could scream, a swing and rocker combination like the Graco Duetsoothe is a lifesaver. It keeps your baby moving when you are just too tired to carry on. However, there are a lot of swings and rockers on the market, so what makes this model of swing/ rocker, two in one combination a good fit for you? Here are some of my favorite features and some honest feedback about areas where it could improve.
I think all parents can agree that the most important thing, when it comes to baby gear, is the safety factor. Having a baby that can’t communicate with you about its needs is a huge responsibility, so passing the FDA’s regulations for baby safety is key.
Luckily the Graco brand has been around a long time and has been properly vetted by all requirements, so you know your baby should be safe in the Graco Duetsoothe swing and rocker. However, this swing and rocker combination have some special features that aren’t common in every single model of swing out there, which makes it stick out from the crowd.
Here are a couple of my favorite safety features:
It can be difficult to hit the sweet spot of where your baby should recline to and what is the most comfortable for him or her. The Graco Duetsoothe swing and rocker has two different reclining options that you can play around with. Depending on the age and specific needs, a different angle could be needed at different points in your baby’s life.
For example, many babies suffer from extreme acid reflux, which can make it hard to keep from spitting up, which could eventually lead to aspiration. These babies in particular need to have a slight incline while in a swing so that they don’t choke on their own spit-up. In fact, this may be the only comfortable position for a baby that has severe acid reflux. Though manufacturers and pediatricians recommend that babies do not sleep in their swings overnight, it is an acceptable place for daytime sleeping while being monitored by a caregiver. Honestly, for parents who have children with acid reflux, the daytime swing sleep may feel like the only time the baby actually sleeps. This swing can be a lifesaver.
Appropriate Newborn Position
Infants who do not have acid reflux should be in the flattest position possible to ensure that their malleable bodies don’t slump over. Slumping over can also cause asphysication, so it really a very stressful and full time job to make sure your baby is safe at all times. This is also why babies should be constantly monitored while in the swing.
Then when babies get a bit older, they tend to enjoy the swing as more of an entertainment than a soother, so sitting up a bit will make them most happy. The incline is not so high up that you will ever have to worry about the baby tipping out, especially if you always use the 5 point harness.
5 Point Harness
Many swings and rockers will have a simple three point harness, which makes it easy to get your baby in and out of the device. However, especially for babies who haven’t learned to control their body and sit up on their own, you may find that they slide down to the side if they are not held securely in a 5 point harness. As they grow older, they may not need it as much for stability, but as a newborn up until about five months, they will slide around much more. Once they have a bit more control of their body, you might find that they lean forward to the point of almost tipping out. So the 5 point harness is a great addition for any age.
Prevents Sibling Accidents
Also, here’s a point to consider that other review sites might not tell you; if you have multiple children, there is a good chance that big brother or sister might try to “help” and swing the baby much harder than the machine does automatically. It is nice to have the piece of mind that your infant is securely fastened for life’s “real” moments. And of course, always try to monitor your other children when they are around the baby in the swing.
How To Use Safely
The harness is adjustable, and it should be secured similarly to a car seat harness. It should fit snugly without squishing the baby or digging the straps into the shoulders or hips. This will need to be adjusted as the baby grows, of course.
Many people like to have their baby wear a sleep sack while their baby is in the swing or the rocker, but this can be unsafe if you are using the wrong products. A Wombie or sleep sack with free legs may be safe enough because you can use the bottom portion of the harness, but you will need to keep an eye on your baby to make sure he or she doesn’t start to slump over. This can be particularly easy to do if the baby is in motion.
Removing the Rocker
When I initially watched a video (shown below) on how to detach the rocker from the swing, I thought it looked easy–maybe too easy. Safety is my top priority, so I wondered if the rocker could come out on its own. However, my fears were put at ease quickly. To detach the rocker from the swing there is a release button at the top that you have to squeeze and then lift up on the rocker.
This ensures that the rocker will not just randomly slide out while in use. You just need to make sure that when you reattach it that it clicks back into place securely. I would definitely practice detaching and reattaching first without the baby in the rocker before trying it with the baby, but I appreciate that it is both secure and easy to remove.
AAP Swing Guidelines
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a lot of information about swing safety and why it is important. They claim that between 2009 and 2012, there were more than 300 swing related incidents. It is important that the swing companies not only make the swing as safe as possible, but that parents follow the AAP safety guidelines when using swings. Here is a list of guidelines that the AAP suggests:
- Babies under 4 months should always be seated in the furthest back reclining position to avoid slumping and asphyxiation
- Parents should use the shoulder straps if the baby is at a 50 degree angle
- You should always check the weight maximum before you put a child in a swing and not use it if your child exceeds the limit.
- The swing surface should stay flat while in motion so the baby will not tip out of it
- The swing should not tip over or collapse easily
Should Baby Sleep In The Swing?
It is also important that parents know that swings should not be slept in regularly. Many times parents will use the swing as a place for babies to fall asleep for a nap, but it isn’t safe to have them sleeping without monitoring. Any inclined sleeping surface could cause asphyxiation or SIDS. Babies also are not typically comfortable in this position for more than a few hours.
Though it might be easy to get babies to sleep in a rocker or a swing, it can be difficult to keep them asleep for long periods of time. It also may be easier to get babies to sleep for longer periods of time and help them self soothe if they are used to sleeping in their own bed at night.
Some people do get a bit confused about what the rocker actually is when they first check out this product. Because it has a vibrate setting, like many bouncers, they mistakenly assume that it is a bouncer. The rocker does not bounce at all, but is similar to a carseat that you can rock back and forth, though it seems to be a bit more comfortable and have a wider range of rocking motion.
There actually is a swing that comes with a bouncer instead of a rocker, called the Graco Duetconnect lx baby swing and bouncer that I also reviewed here.
The Graco Duetsoothe swing and rocker also has two levels of vibrating settings, which helps to soothe your baby. This is easily detachable and is perfect for the times where you have the baby swinging or asleep in one part of the house and need to move to another part of the house or even outside without waking the baby. You can set the baby on the ground and rock him or her with your foot while you get stuff done or just set them down and let the vibrations do their magic to soothe the baby to sleep.
The price for the Graco Duetsoothe Swing and Rocker is actually very reasonable. It is on the low end of 2 in 1 devices. It is very affordable and you have the benefit of having two devices in one space instead of two separate devices that clutters up your space and ends up costing more. You can find this brand easily in most stores or online, which is convenient if you have specific gift cards you want to use up.
Ease Of Use
This swing and rocker combination is quite easy to use. There are only a few well labeled buttons on the machine, so there is no way you could mess it up. There is a button for controlling the level of vibration on the rocker, a swing speed button, and two buttons for controlling the sounds and volume. As long as you have it plugged in or charged batteries, it shouldn’t need anything other than manipulating these buttons to work.
Many users wonder if the swing will turn off automatically after a few hours, but it will not. It will keep going indefinitely and there is no timing mechanism.
The most difficult thing about this swing is initially putting it together. Manuals are typically pretty hard to follow, so you might want to watch this Graco video first:
Some things that you should be aware of when using the swing is that there are a few things that can affect them. If your baby is too big or too active, it could interfere with the quality of the swinging or it could just stop moving altogether. It should work for a baby up to 30 pounds, but the motor will likely start slowing down as it reaches the maximum weight limit.
Also, if you have a blanket hanging down, it is possible that that could affect how well the swing can sway back and forth. The wind resistance may not seem like a lot but if it is not performing as you would think it would, try looking for a blanket hanging or any other possible obstacles.
One benefit of the Graco Duetsoothe is that it is incredibly easy to clean. You can remove the cloth part and machine wash it on a gentle cycle, hanging to dry. The rest of the swing is made from plastic or metal and you can easily wipe it down with a safe multi surface cleanser.
This is especially important for any baby carrying device that has a fabric seat. If you are currently a parent, you have probably realized how much babies spit up or have blow outs. Being able to machine wash, and not just spot wash, a cover is vital!
Portability and Size
The Graco Duetsoothe is a 2 in 1 device, so for having a rocker and a swing, it actually doesn’t take up too much room. However, this design does not allow the user to collapse it at all, which means that once you set it up, it is probably staying in the room where it was set up, at least as a swing. You can use the rocker anywhere, but the swing motor and stand would be awkward to carry and go through doors.
Of course, the device is not very heavy, since it is mostly just a stand with a small motor on the top, so you could move it, you just probably wouldn’t want to. It only weighs about 17 pounds without baby in it, but again, it’s not very easy to maneuver through doors, and definitely should not be moved with the baby in it.
Not Portable With Baby
This can be disappointing if you’re looking for a swing that you can take from room to room. However, what you don’t get in portability, you do get in durability. Most portable swings are not as durable or as comfortable as this one. You virtually eliminate the risk of the swing collapsing in while in use (though that is rare in even collapsable swings). Also, this swing is so affordable that you might consider getting two!
It is a wide product and will take up about an armchair’s size footprint in your home, but for being two devices in one, it isn’t too large.
This swing and rocker combination has one of the most convenient features by having battery and outlet capabilities. There are so many rockers that are just battery powered, and if you’re using it a lot, you can burn through them quickly. Having both options available ensures that you have the best of both worlds. You will have the efficiency of an outlet and the portability of battery power.
The unit takes D batteries and if you are using the outlet as well as batteries, it will typically take about a month or two of daily use until you need to replace them.
The Graco Duetsoothe swing and rocker comes with 10 different classical songs and 5 nature sounds.
Here is a list of the prerecorded songs:
- Für Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven
- Hungarian Rhapsody #2 by Franz Liszt
- Pachelbel’s Canon by Johann Pachelbel
- Simple Gifts by Joseph Brackett
- Brahms Lullaby by Johannes Brahms
- Vivaldi Spring by Antonio Vivaldi
- Sugar Plum by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
- Gymnopedie by Erik Satie
- Happy Farmer by Robert Schumann
- Mozart Sonata 11 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The music is about what you would expect from a children’s device. It is obviously not the highest quality sound system or recorded with a real symphony, but it gets the job done and it is soothing to your baby. Some parents look for a swing that has MP3 capabilities so they can play their own music, but you can just as easily leave your phone nearby and play songs off of it, if the music selection bothers you.
So an MP3 would be a nice feature, and maybe in the future Graco will think of adding it, but it is not a make it or break it point for me.
Though it seems that most users were pretty happy with the Graco Duetsoothe, there were some complaints that I found throughout my research and talking with friends. Here are some of the common ones:
Some users complain that the motor whirs and is much too loud for their liking, however, it seems to be a problem that most parents have issues with and doesn’t seem to disturb the baby. Also, in my experience, most swings do have a whirring sound, which makes sense if a motor is being used to rock a baby. The best way to get around this issue is to use the nature sounds or songs that come with the swing or use your own white noise maker. The whirring is very similar to a white noise maker, so it might actually help the baby sleep, especially in the newborn stage.
There are also some users who complain that there is a slight clicking noise when the swing is in use. This can actually be pretty common with most swings, and again, it doesn’t usually bother the baby. But as someone who would go crazy at the noise of a dripping faucet, I can understand the frustration! Again, if you use a white noise maker, it will cover that sound for the most part. It might still be a bit annoying, but it seems to be an issue with many baby swings, not just this model.
Another complaint is that the harness doesn’t have a soft cover over the buckle area. This can rub against soft baby skin and irritate it if the baby isn’t wearing any pants. You may not want to put pants on your baby every day. But you can rectify this issue; you could simply put a soft baby washcloth around the buckle strap. You could also cut the toe off of a baby sock and slide it over the harness. Most parents are pretty innovative with protecting their baby’s skin, and you can easily find something that will work for you and your baby.
Does Not Collapse
As mentioned before, this swing will not collapse. This may make it more durable in the long run, but it can be more annoying than having to move it from room to room in its odd shape or being forced to keep it in one room. It is also a bit annoying if you want to store it. No one wants to take a swing apart and have to put it back together when you are ready to use it again, so this is definitely a downside. However, it isn’t difficult to set up or take down–just a bit of a nuisance.
My Favorite Features
Of all the features included in the Graco Duetsoothe, these are my favorites:
One of my absolute favorite features of the Graco Duetsoothe swing and rocker is how versatile it is. Every baby is different and is soothed by different things. Starting them early in certain devices can definitely help them get used to them quickly. However, there are some kids who prefer certain motions over others. The Graco Duetsoothe offers side to side and back and forth motions in the swing function. The rocker has two levels of vibrations that will simulate the same feeling that a baby feels during a drive in the car. No matter what your baby likes, it is sure to be happy with one of these options.
Having a cover that is removable in a swing is a must have for me. I’m glad that this model ticked off that box, but I also really appreciate the selection of fabric that they used for the cover. There is an insert that serves as a bit of a head support and it is nice and soft for the baby to snuggle up in. Some other Graco car seat products had a more synthetic material for the headrest. The inner area is a bit darker and also much more cleaning friendly. It is more of a synthetic material that you can easily wipe down if there is any small amounts of spit up or that you can remove and wash without worrying about stains for a blow out.
I love that they were mindful of what fabric would work best and where. Now the baby can snuggle up and feel cozy, but you don’t have to worry about staining being an issue.
This might surprise you that it is one of my favorite features, because the mobile honestly is pretty nondescript. However, everyone has different preferences on what kind of mobile they want. It really is a hard thing to make everyone happy. This mobile is definitely not a show stopper. I actually really don’t like how it is three bears upright (so your baby is essentially looking at three white teddy bear bums–not super interesting). But I love that they are easily removable. You can literally just slide the stuffed bears out of the holders and replace it with toys or other aesthetically pleasing objects that your baby will love to look at. I like that the option to remove them is there if I want it, but there is a placeholder there anyway if I don’t.
The mobile doesn’t spin automatically, but you can spin it with your hand. It is a bit surprising that it doesn’t spin. However, maybe a spinning mobile over your baby’s head as it is swinging would be too much stimulation.
All in all, the Graco Duetsoothe swing and rocker is an excellent choice for a combination swing and rocker. It is affordable and gives you all the features that you need. The amount of space that you save having the combination alone is enough to sell most people. The features are what keeps people happy about the purchase.