Introduction to Baby Swings & Bouncers


When preparing for a new baby, it feels like there are a million new products you need to learn about and decide whether to provide for your baby. Shopping for a swing or bouncer can be particularly challenging as every baby is unique.

In this guide, we'll round up your top questions about baby swings and bouncers, explore their uses, how to choose the perfect fit for your family.

Consider JoyLet your trusted partner in parenting. Our team is made up of parents and baby gear experts, including a certified child passenger safety technician. We've rented and cared for tons of gear and have seen it all. We understand how real families like you actually use various pieces of gear and how gear stands up to wear and tear over time. Count on us to provide unbiased guidance to help you make the right choice for your family.

Before getting started - a point on safety. When using a baby swing or bouncer, always use the harness provided. Babies can easily slip out of these seats without being harnessed. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against letting babies sleep in swings and bouncers as sleeping on an incline can increase the risk of positional asphyxiation - aka when baby’s chin slouches to their chest, blocking their airway. For baby’s under 4 months (or whenever they get good neck control), use swings and bouncers in their most reclined position. If baby falls asleep in the swing or bouncer, it’s best to move them to their crib or bassinet for safer independent sleep.

Ok, let’s get into it.

An Overview of Baby Swings and Bouncers - What’s the difference?:

While both baby swings and bouncers serve as invaluable tools for soothing and comforting infants, they differ in their mechanisms and modes of motion. Baby swings are (often) motorized seats that offer a gentle swaying motion, mimicking that of being cradled in a caregiver's arms. Bouncers provide a bouncing or rocking motion that responds to the baby's movements or slight push from the caregiver. Additionally, swings tend to occupy more space, as many are suspended from a frame or base, include more entertainment options, and may require a power source for operation. Bouncers, on the other hand, are often more compact and portable, making them ideal for travel, use in smaller living spaces, or for moving about your home while tending to household tasks.

When do baby swings and bouncers come into play during baby’s development?

Most baby swings and bouncers can be used from birth, assuming baby meets the minimum size requirements for the particular swing and can be used up until baby reaches the maximum size requirements, often 25 to 30 pounds. However, babies typically outgrow swings and bouncers developmentally before they reach the maximum size limit. Around 6 months or so, baby will be sitting up on their own and desire more freedom and other forms of stimulation. Some swings and bouncers may offer adjustable features for extended use, but we find that in reality, most families aren’t using them that way based on our data.

How do I decide between a swing vs. bouncer? Should I get both?:

When deciding between a swing and a bouncer, consider the space available in your home, your lifestyle, and baby's preferences. For many of you, you’re currently expecting and don’t yet know baby’s preferences, so it’s best to start with the first two considerations - space and lifestyle. 

Assess your living arrangements and daily routines to determine which option aligns best with your needs. Is space limited and you need a portable solution because you’ll be on baby duty while also getting yourself ready for the day or moving around between various rooms doing household tasks? A bouncer is likely best for you. Do you have more space or spend more time in one room of the home? A swing might work for you. Both of these scenarios resonate? Maybe you want both options!

The kicker is, you won’t really know what will work best until you place baby in the swing or bouncer. And baby’s preferences may even evolve over time. I remember that being the case for us. When my baby was about a month old he wouldn’t tolerate any time in bouncer and minimal time in the swing. He was a velcro baby - just wanted to be held! But by three months old he loved his bouncer, particularly when I attached a toy bar, and would tolerate his swing for a while. You’ll likely find your unique baby likes a particular type of motion, so that can help guide you to the right swing or bouncer.

That’s actually why we love rental solutions like JoyLet for gear like swings and bouncers. Babies grow and develop at a rapid pace, and their preferences for soothing and entertainment may change accordingly. Renting offers the flexibility to adapt to your baby's evolving needs without committing to a long-term investment. Whether your baby outgrows the swing or bouncer sooner than anticipated or you find that they prefer a different form of stimulation, you can easily return the rented equipment and explore other options. Baby gear, including swings and bouncers, can also take up valuable space in your home, particularly if you have limited square footage. Renting allows you to enjoy the benefits of a swing or bouncer for the period you need it without adding to the clutter in your living space. Once your baby no longer requires the equipment, you can simply return it and reclaim precious floor space.

Features to Look for When Buying a Baby Swing or Baby Bouncer:

When shopping for a baby swing or bouncer, consider the following features to make the best pick for you:

  • Motion Patterns: Consider the available motion patterns to find one that mimics the motions your baby responds to when you’re soothing them - like swinging side to side, back to front, up and down, etc.
  • Motion Speeds: Look for a swing with adjustable speed settings to accommodate your baby's preferences for gentle rocking or more vigorous motion.
  • Seat Recline: Opt for a swing or bouncer with multiple recline positions to provide maximum comfort for your baby as they grow and gain more neck strength.
  • Safety Harness: Choose a swing or bouncer with a secure and adjustable harness to keep your baby safely strapped in during use.
  • Entertainment Features: Select a swing or bouncer with toy attachments, music, or nature sounds to engage and entertain your baby while they swing or bounce.
  • Portability: If you plan to move the swing or bouncer between rooms or take it on the go, consider the weight and portability.
  • Easy Cleaning: Opt for a swing or bouncer with removable fabric so that you can machine wash it in the event of spit up or a blow out. Also consider the fabric durability. With frequent washing you want to make sure the fabric holds up well.


A baby swing or baby bouncer can be your best friend in the early months with a newborn. Baby getting fussy? Pop them into their swing. Need free hands to prepare a bottle (or do literally anything else)? Pop baby into their swing. 

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