How to Get Baby to Sleep Better- Part 2

Baby and Mommy Sleep in Chair While Nursing

I just loveloveLOVE this picture. Been there, done that.

If your baby is Pulitzer prize-winning sleeper who falls asleep easily, takes 1-2 hour naps every few hours throughout the day, and has been sleeping 4-5 hours at a shot at night since he was 4 weeks old, then huzzah! You won the big prize – a baby who sleeps well. Congratulations!

However I’m guessing that is NOT your baby. In fact YOUR baby probably takes naps so short you wonder if they’re really just LONG blinks. YOUR baby is up so often at night you no longer bother putting on pajamas. YOUR baby has never SEEN the inside of his crib except for that one time you tried to put him in the crib only to have him scream so loudly you thought he needed immediate medical attention. And you’re starting to wonder when things are going to get better because you’re so tired you would willingly give up a kidney for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Sleep is like oxygen. You don’t really give it much thought until you can’t get enough of it. Then it’s ALL you can think about.

If you haven’t already done so you might want to swing back around to visit How to Get Baby to Sleep Better – Part 1. If you’re using these techniques and your baby is STILL not sleeping well, it’s time to pull out the big guns. Or shall I say, THE big gun.

Baby Swings Help Babies Sleep Better

Babies fall asleep more easily and sleep longer when they sleep in baby swings.

How do you know the baby swing is for you? Your baby should be sleeping in a swing, 24-hours a day, if she is less than 6 months* old and you answer YES to any of the following:

  • Is it difficult to get your baby to fall asleep at naps and/or bedtime?
  • Does your baby consistently take really short naps (<30 minutes)?
  • Does your baby wake up too often at night?
  • Is your baby older than 3 months AND only falls asleep nursing/rocking/being patted to sleep?
  • Does your baby wake up at night and then STAY awake? (i.e. You and your baby are up from 2:00 – 4:00 am every night?)
  • Is your baby in your bed (and you would like to get him out)?
  • Does your baby sleep like a champ in the car, stroller, or when carried (but nowhere else)?
  • Are you concerned that your baby might have reflux?

* There are some instances where babies OLDER than 6 months do really well in the swing. Babies with reflux or food allergies often need the soothing motion of the swing past 6 months

Why the Baby Swing?

Newborn Baby Asleep in His Swing

Baby swings provide two key elements to help babies sleep. The first is that baby swings simulate a consistent rocking motion which is almost identical to the motion your baby experienced when she was still inside the womb. Before she was born, your baby slept when you were out and about (during the day) because the natural motion soothed her to sleep. It wasn’t until the motion stopped, usually when you lie down to try to sleep, that she woke up and started to party in there. The swing simply provides the soothing motion that (from baby’s perspective) is a perfectly natural condition for sleep.

Secondly the swing provides a really effective way to gradually help baby learn to fall asleep on her own. This is really important so let me repeat that: baby swings are fantastic tools to gently help baby learn to fall asleep on her own. Helping your baby learn how to fall asleep on her own solves/prevents ALL SORTS of challenges down the road (especially if your baby is a troublesome tot). If you’re struggling to get your baby to fall asleep on her own, the swing is the answer.

Also, even fully reclined the swing keeps baby slightly upright. Almost all babies have an undeveloped valve at the top of their stomach, which enables stomach contents (milk, formula, stomach acid, etc.) to get pushed up into the esophagus. Sleeping with the head slightly elevated enables gravity to keep their food IN their stomach. And unlike wedges you put in the crib (which don’t work – babies end up rolling off of them almost immediately) baby swings have straps that keep your baby safely in the upright position.

My Baby Won’t Sleep in a Swing

When I work with families in person they almost always resist the idea of the swing.

  • The babies in the diaper commercials are all sleeping in their crib so obviously I should be able to get MY baby in the crib too!
  • If I put get my baby used to sleeping in the swing what do I do when she outgrows it? Won’t she go to college sleeping in a swing?
  • If my ultimate goal is to have my child sleeping in HER crib in HER room then let’s work on that and forget all this swing ridiculousness!
  • And of course the classic…

  • But MY baby HATES the swing!

Then we work on HOW to help baby sleep in the swing, WHEN to transition your (now) happily sleeping baby to their crib, and then HOW to make that transition happen. And it works. And every family I’ve ever worked with now loves the swing. And every baby has happily made their way into their own crib. When they were ready.

Your Baby Swing Homework


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I’ll be writing more about how to get your baby swings (how to use, how to get out of, etc.) over the next month or so. Don’t miss out – use the form to the right to subscribe to TroublesomeTots or become a fan on Facebook to make sure you get those posts sent to you as soon as they are available!


Ask Your Pediatrician

I’ve never had a pediatrician raise any concerns about the use of a swing. And certainly noted pediatrician Dr. Karp is a huge proponent of the use of baby swings. Still I don’t know the medical history of your baby so just to be safe, a brief conversation with your pediatrician should put any concerns you have to rest.


Get A Swing

There are two primary options for baby swings – Graco and Fisher Price. If money is tight you may be able to get your hands on a recent model & good condition swing on Craigslist. Although generally I recommend getting a new swing if you can. Especially if your baby is a newborn you’ll be using it A LOT.

{Photo Credits: Lisa Stout and Caleb Zahnd.}


  1. Hi, thanks for this great website! My daughter has been sleeping in her swing for naps and nighttime since I borrowed a friend’s swing in desperation when she was 6 weeks old. Within 2 weeks, she was sleeping through the night (9pm-6ish)! But the night before we were going out of town and leaving her with the grandparents, the motor broke! So while she was with my parents, they had her sleeping in the bassinet of the pack-n-play successfully. Now that we’re home with a new swing, I’ve been putting her in the crib rather than go back to the swing. But now, her naps are shorter (about 4 naps lasting 40 minutes) and she’s back to at least one night waking and an earlier start to the day than before. Should I go back to the swing or stick with the crib and be glad that she only wakes once to nurse? She is almost 16 weeks old. Should I be working on putting her to bed awake but drowsy too?

    • Hi Elaine,

      Aaaaag! I get an email asking this question almost every day. “Baby sleep great in the swing! So should I put her in the swing to sleep?”

      It’s up to you. But if it were me, no doubt, I would have that kid in a swing so fast it would make your head spin. Given that she’s 4 months she’ll probably be done with it by ~6 months. So you can take advantage of the swing for ~8 more weeks. Or wake up early and deal with short crappy naps all day 😉

      And yes – awake but drowsy is a good thing to nail down now. Also? Swing is a great tool to get that ball rolling. Check out the post below for more info.

      Good luck!

      • Hi Alexis,
        Thanks for the reply! I figured I should put her back in th swing, but I didn’t want to have to deal with transitioning her back into the crib in 2 months. But I guess since it was relatively painless this time, next time should be as well (fingers crossed).

      • Hi
        I have an 11 week old baby and we’ve been through a lot. We worked from only being able to sleep while being held to now sleeping in her crib or bassinet of pack n play. She has two 1.5-2 hour naps and then another 1-2 naps in the late afternoon lasting +\- an hour. I notice her sleep cues around 7:30-8pm so I have her swaddled and nursed at 8. I also use white noise which added an extra hour of sleep for her between wakings….this saved my life bc I was nursing her every hour! Now we nurse every 2-2.5 hours throughout a 24 hour period…which is more doable but still exhausting. I dream feed at 10:30-11pm, and she still wakes up another 3-4 times in the night for feeding.

        Is your suggestion to bring in the swing for night time sleep only since night wakings are my only misery? Or is this all just part of the 3 month growth spurt? She gets to bed fine on her own (mostly wakes up drowsy after boob and then falls asleep) do I have to be concerned to have her awake/drowsy when putting her down after night wakings?
        I don’t want to make one of those mistakes that causes a big problem later on.

        • How did you get her to sleep in her crib or pNp? My guy is 8 weeks old and will only sleep while being held. As soon as we put him down he wakes.

  2. What about Mom’s transitioning back to work and daycare? Babies can only sleep in cribs there. I am finding this site helpful but I am worrying like crazy about the transition or how much worse going back to work will be when we rock her world when she can’t sleep even upright.

    • Irene,
      Everybody I know panics about starting daycare/going back to work. This is a huge anxiety inducing transition – leaving your baby with strangers, getting out of Mommy mode and going to work, fears that the tenuous consistency you’ve created will blow up, wondering how you’ll function at work, etc.

      Amazingly babies figure out daycare really well. These people know how to get babies to sleep and are really motivated to do so (trust me, they don’t want your baby up all day anymore than you do). If it’s a huge concern you could talk to them about the possibility of them getting a swing to use (most daycare places around me DO have a swing or two floating around for such purposes). Or you could let them work with your baby for a week or so and see how it goes first.

      I understand your concerns. I really do. But I think your baby will surprise you. In a good way 🙂

      • Thank you so much for putting me at ease with this subject, I wish I didn’t have to go back. It seems just as babies and parents become more comfortable, some of us have to get back to work.

  3. Hi Alexis!
    What a great site with many truths about baby sleep, I especially love the info on swings. I’ve tried to transition my 3 month old from his swing to his crib with little success…LOTS of crying and a chronically overtired baby. I read that your child was 13 months old before sleeping out of the swing, so I think I’m OK there, but my question is this: HOW do you get them out? Is it just something that eventually happens as their nervous systems mature, or is there something I actually have to do? Thanks in advance!!!

    • Well my little guy had severe reflux and was in a non-moving swing to basically hold him at the angle. So I’m in NO WAY holding up my 13 months as a suggestion to others 😛

      But 3 months is really young. Generally kids are out of the swing for bedtime before naps. You start dialing down the volume – they still sleep great? Awesome – keep going. They wake up or don’t fall asleep easily? They’re not done – crank the volume back up.

      A 3 month old is still itty bitty – they need LOTS of soothing so I’m not surprised that she still needs the swing. Wait a month and try again, I think you’ll find things change DRAMATICALLY at this age. Start with night sleep. Once that is going well then try swapping out for naps. OK?

      • Thanks for the reply, I will come back and let you know how the transition goes. For now, he’s getting great sleep in the swing, nice long chunky naps and only one or 2 brief wakings at night to eat. Thanks so much for your site 🙂

        • I am so curious to know how this baby is doing! Update? I have a 7 week old who is doing well in the swing. However, as most moms do, I feel anxious about the eventual transition. So I am looking for success stories! I hope you have one! 🙂

          • My son is seven months old today, and at around 4 1/2 months we transitioned him. It was a little tricky and he cried a bit, but only for about 2 nights. It took about 2 weeks for him to sleep as well as he did in the swing. I honestly wouldn’t worry, the only reason I started so soon to get him out was because he was getting so long he didn’t look comfortable. He now sleeps about 8 PM to 7 AM, waking at 5 AM to eat. So not bad. I had to get rid of his pacifier at 6 months old too because that was causing him to wake up, but that’s another story :)He got awesome sleep in the swing and honestly it really helped me to stay sane in the newborn period. Good luck. 🙂

            • Thank you Carol!
              For starters, at 7 weeks this is not your worry. Soothing a fussy baby, healing your own body, etc. THESE are the things you should worry about. Getting your newborn OUT of the swing will come later. If the swing is helping then GREAT!

              There are some things that are tricky to wean off of (pacifiers most notably) but when the time comes, the swing is really not something that will be a major challenge. Plus? You’ve got PLENTY of time to enjoy the swing guilt-free in the meantime!

  4. Hi Alexis,

    Great site and I find a lot of truth in the things you discuss. I have a question for you. My baby is just about 12 weeks old. She has been sleeping pretty well (not many complaints). We put her down in her crib around 7 pm, then she wakes up for her feeding anywhere from 12 am to 1 am. She goes back to sleep easily, and then anytime from 4:30 am to 5:30 am she starts to wake up again. I, like most parents, who want their sleep, get her out of her crib, and put her directly into the swing. Without fail she sleeps in the swing so easily, and she is swaddled in the swing, which I think makes it even better for her. I will usually have to wake her up for her feeding (around 7 am).

    I am nervous that I have created a bad habit by taking her from the crib and putting her in the swing. Is this something I should be stopping now? Should I be weaning her from the swing? She only naps in the swing, and they are not usually long naps, but can range in the chart that you put on your website.

    I try to take every “parenting advice” with a grain of salt, considering that my pediatrician recommended sleep training at 2 months of age…which I was and am clearly not comfortable with.

    The swing has been my godsend, but I dont want it to be the downfall either!

    • At this age I wouldn’t sweat the swing. Lots of babies wake up at 4:00-5:00 AM in the morning and then will ONLY go back to sleep if given a VERY soothing alternative. For some parents this means popping baby on the boob and bringing the into Mom’s bed for another hour or two of sleep. For others like yourself it may mean swapping her into the swing for some additional swing. While you could TRY to skip the swing and just soothe her back to sleep in her crib chances are good that she would simply start the day at 5:00 AM. So which is the lesser evil to you – a few hours of sleep in the swing or starting your day at 5:00 AM? (Hint: the answer is the former).

      Napping in the swing and sleeping in the crib is really common and I’m not concerned about anything you’re doing. 1) She’s only 3 months and 2) getting out of the swing is far easier than getting out of other sleep associations. You can read up here for more hints on how to do this gently.

      • My LO is getting extremely upset by 7 pm or 8. I feel like his internal nighttime clock is 9:30…he only naps for 40 min tops up to 5-6xs/day. He is 3m old but will be 4m early August. Any thoughts? I just started using the swing. He was sleeping in his pack n play ok but started to regress.

  5. Hi Alexis,

    It is so nice to have stumbled across a site that advocates the use of a swing for nap time rather than trying to make a mother feel guilty for using one. My son is almost 7 months old and has been napping in his swing almost his whole little life, since we got it as a gift a few weeks after he was born. The swing was wonderful, and we got in a great routine with it: he would nap once in the morning for about an hour, then again in the afternoon for usually about two hours. We co-slept until about 4 months, until one day I said ‘okay, today is the day that he will sleep in his crib.’ He transitioned wonderfully to the crib and only woke up extra for a couple days before settling into a routine. We start his bedtime routine at 7:15, and he’s usually asleep by 7:45 (we’ve tried doing an earlier bedtime, but he does best with starting it at 7:15, so we follow his lead). He was at the point where he would only wake up once between 3-4am, and then the worst thing happened last week.

    The swing motor died!

    I know that he’s getting old enough now to be able to nap in his crib, but it’s been a very difficult few days trying to get him to transition. The first day, I took the actual seat off the swing and positioned the mobile over his playyard so that he could have that and the music, but he didn’t want to sleep in the living room without the swinging motion (too much going on for him to be able to soothe to sleep), so we started putting him in his room to nap. For the past three days, he’s only taken two 30 min naps a day, and he’s been waking up more at night and having trouble going back to sleep the first time he wakes up at night. He used to be such a great nighttime sleeper, and I just don’t know what to do to help the transition so that he gets better sleep all day and night. His poor little eyes are starting to get dark and puffy 🙁 I would go out and buy a new swing or replace the motor, but he was getting close to growing out of it as it was (he’s in the 92 percentile for weight). Any advice you might have would be greatly appreciated!

    • Just to make sure I understand – he’s been sleeping like a champ in his crib at night but now that his naps have deteriorated he’s not sleeping as well at night either, right?

      That is rough. Not uncommon. But rough.

      Lots of babies end up sleeping great in their crib but still nap happily in their swing. Sadly I don’t have any magic solution for you. The Graco swing has a 5-pt harness and a weight limit of 30 lbs so that might be an option. They aren’t cheap. And at most you would probably only have him in it for another 1-2 months.

      Personally I’m willing to spend $$ because for me, not sleeping is a big deal (I get cranky QUICKLY – ask my husband if you don’t believe me).

      Or you could press on with the crib and see if he improves on his own. You can increase the chance of the crib working however by:
      – making sure it’s DARK in there
      – do a longer soothing wind-down sleep routine – really set him up with a consistent soothing routine
      – use LOUD white noise

      None of this may fix it but it’s really all you can do. Most babies this age are no longer going to be able to nap in the living room (too much noise, light, activity).

      Or you’re back to shelling out $130 for a swing you probably only need for another 4-6 weeks.

  6. Hello,

    DS2 is 6 weeks old and I cannot get him to sleep in his swing for love nor money. DS1 LOVED his swing and it made life considerably easier that he would nap alllll the time in it. So naturally with DS2 I didn’t hesitate to get him in the swing. Well this one does not appreciate it at all.

    He doesn’t have a problem getting off to sleep in it, I swaddle, dummy, white noise and crank up the speed. He goes to sleep but without fail, 10 minutes max he wakes himself up. It’s like a startle without the arms flailing, but with added ‘wide fear eyes’. He looks petrified.

    He will do this a couple times within a few mins, then on the final one will cry / scream and I have to get him out.

    Plleeeeaasseee tell me you have some kind of solution?!

    x x x

    • Is the dummy falling out? Also is the room very dark? I’m wondering if he isn’t super sensitive (some kids are) which is why he needs SOOO much soothing. Sometimes a super dark room also helps. Also if the dummy IS falling it out it may be best to have him fall asleep without it (if the surprise or sensation of it falling out causes the startle reflex).

      I say startle reflex because you describe that. He may also have a very strong startle reflex in which case you may want to use the soothing motion of the swing to help him FALL asleep (perhaps by moving it manually) and then see how he sleeps in a non-moving swing (stop moving it once he is asleep). This is called the Moro Reflex and you can read up more here:

      Anyway I would play around with dark, no paci, TIGHT swaddle (seriously, loose swaddle is the #1 problem with swaddling), and possibly using the motion to help him sleep but then having him sleep in a non-moving swing. I say “possibly” as I’m less confident in this idea – but there is no harm with experimenting a little.

      Hope that helps!

  7. My baby will not sleep in a swing… Put in asleep, wakes up immediately. Put in awake, won’t fall asleep..

    • Molly,
      I don’t know what to tell you. My best advice is in the link below. I have never failed to get a baby to sleep in the swing. But I haven’t tried with your baby so perhaps he would be the one to ruin my otherwise stellar record.

      • Hi Alexis!

        I have been using the swing for the last 2 days and its been amazing. My 7.5 week old baby is less fussy in the swing than when I’m holding him! In fact he hates it when I try to rock him to sleep in the chair, I think he is a “motion junkie” as you call it. But sometimes he just doesn’t nap in the swing. He doesn’t fuss, he just swings away quietly but with his eyes open. Does this mean he wouldn’t have slept in the crib either? It happened for his nap at 12:30 and 3:30. For the 12:30 I eventually transferred him to the crib at ~1:30 where he slept very restlessly for 45 minutes. For the 3:30, he seemed to fall asleep for about 30 minutes from 4-4:30 but was then up, again, quietly just looking around. It should be noted that he doesn’t usually lay quietly in his crib, so this would be an improvement if he were not otherwise sleeping in his crib. Although he would often take 2+ hour naps in his crib before…just not every day, and the rest were often short 45 minute(ish) naps which we would battle with him for an hour plus to get him to take.

        I’m worried the swing is actually keeping him up instead of allowing him to fall asleep. Is that possible? Or is it possible I am putting him down too soon (~1 – 1.25 hour after waking up)?

        Thank you for your awesome site!!


  8. Hello!

    So glad I stumbled on this site…very useful information! To be honest, I was one of those people who hated the thought of putting my baby into a swing…I felt like I was giving up and letting the swing do the mothering (even though I put my son in there so I could have some breakfast for pump!)

    A couple questions I had….my son is a little over 6 weeks old and has difficulty falling asleep on his own, for nap times and bedtime. He fights it so badly, one of us has to be holding or rocking him while he can tell he is tired by his eyes and the yawning. Will putting him in the swing for naps only affect his ability to go to sleep at night? I’m afraid he will become reliant on the swing to fall asleep, especially at bedtime. We have one swing that we keep downstairs, it is a full size one so I’d rather not lug it back and forth upstairs and down.
    Also, is it bad to put him in the swing to get him to fall asleep, and then transfer him to either his crib or a bouncy chair to finish out his nap? There have been times in the middle of the night where he will not go back to sleep, so I wasn’t sure if putting him in the swing (downstairs) at 2am, waiting until he falls asleep, then bring him upstairs. Would I be doing more harm than good?

    Thoughts? 🙂

    • Kelsey,
      Here’s my advice:
      1) I wouldn’t over-worry about things with your 6 week olds. He’s SIX WEEKS OLD! At this age your sleep mojo = lots and lots of soothing. Swaddle+loud white noise ALWAYS.

      2) He’s not fighting sleep. He’s physically incapable of falling asleep (at this age) without your help. If he can’t fall asleep it’s because a) he’s probably a bit overtired (most 6 week olds are) and b) he needs more soothing. If swaddle+loud white noise isn’t sufficient then yes he may need a swing.

      3) Having him fall asleep in the swing and then moving him to his crib is not a big deal although you are missing out on some of the benefit of the swing, namely – helping him STAY asleep. Also the swing is far safer than a bouncy chair so I can’t recommend transitioning him to a bouncy chair, or having him sleep in a bouncy chair ever.

      4) What about moving the big swing upstairs and having him sleep there always? At 6 weeks he can sleep with the light and activity of the living room but soon enough that will work against you and you’ll need him in a dark room for sleep anyway.

      I wouldn’t think of this as affecting his ability to go to sleep at night. I would use this as a tool to work on putting him down awake (a crucial but difficult skill for all babies). I would use it to help him fall asleep and sleep longer. And I would use it with an eye to weaning him back into his crib later.

      The post linked below may be helpful?

      • Thanks for the advice! Hopefully I am still not over-worrying about all of this…I’ve gone back and forth regarding using the swing for sleeping…both for naps and night sleep.

        How long do we continue to soothe him to sleep, without setting up a bad habit? (relying on us to fall asleep…) should going into the swing become part of his bedtime routine?

        During the day we don’t usually swaddle him, we do that at night…he naps, like I said, downstairs in the living room either in he swing or occasionally with us or in his bouncy chair. Should we start having him nap upstairs, in the swing? When do you start putting him awake in the swing, to teach himself to go to sleep?

        Last night he slept (in his crib) from 8:30 pm until 2 am for a feeding…fell back asleep at 3 but was up again at 4:45 (not hungry) but wide awake. I’m guessing this is normal, and could be avoided with use of the swing where he would stay asleep longer?

        • Kelsey,
          I would use the swaddle 100% of the time when he’s sleeping at least until he is 4 months old (longer is OK though).

          I would work on putting him down awake but I wouldn’t SWEAT it if it’s not happening. The swing can be a powerful tool to help with that. Many babies figure it out without the swing. But you’ll want to start practicing “put down awake” so that you’ve mastered it by the time he’s 4-5 months old.

          He doesn’t have to nap in the same place all the time yet but soon. As I mentioned I would stop using the bouncy for sleep full stop. He is welcome to nap or sleep in his swing or crib. However since you were indicating that sleep was a struggle, the swing will likely help. All I was trying to say was that if you use the swing to PUT him to sleep then move him to his crib, you’re really not taking advantage of the swing.

          Personally for a newborn the night you describe above is pretty typical. Would things have gone better in the swing? Possibly. I definitely would have tried it at 4:45. However it’s not unusual for a newborn to start the day at 5:00 am (yes it blows) so I don’t consider that to be a “problem.”

          Moving the swing to where his crib is gives you a) the option to use it if you’re having a rough night and b) creates some consistency on “where” he sleeps (because it’ll always be the same room – swing OR crib). So I’m not trying to sell you on the swing but to suggest that it’s a tool to have in your pocket and it may help. And that it’s probably time to start thinking about some consistency about where he sleeps. And to forget about napping in the bouncy seat.

          Hope that clarifies a bit!

  9. Hi Alexis,

    Boy, am I glad to have stumbled across your site! My almost 12-week old is sleeping so much better and I’m starting to feel sane again! His naps have gone from only a few minutes to at least an hour. As a gift from the baby gods, I even get one long (and I’m talking 3 hours here!) nap per day. We’ve even started developing a nice little predictable routine here. It’s awesome.

    Thanks to your advice, I’ve become a master swaddler, have a white noise machine playing pretty much non-stop in our house, have been using the swing, and am always on the alert for tired signs so that the little one doesn’t stay up too long. It’s all going well, except for once per day: bedtime.

    During the day when it’s time to sleep, I swaddle him, walk him around (usually for about 10 minutes), and put him in the swing with the white noise playing. By the time I put him down, he’s usually either completely asleep or drowsy, and he’ll sleep like a champion for quite a while. Very rarely, after I put him down, he’ll wake up and need to be walked again for a few more minutes, as the swing doesn’t always do it for him.

    However, bedtime is another story. For some reason, even when we do the exact same steps in the exact same order, our tired baby won’t fall asleep for more than 10 or 15 minutes. Tonight, we started the sleep routine at 8:30, and three attempts later, he finally stayed asleep when we put him down — nearly 2 hours later. What are we doing wrong?? I know he’s tired, but I don’t know why it takes him so darn long to stay asleep at night. Any thoughts?

  10. Thank u thank u thank u. I have been o so worried about putting 4 week old in swing for naps and at night. We were doing ok with the pack n play and could get about 3.5-4, hrs a night from daughter before next feed. Daughter has reflux and the worse gas tummy pains ive ever seen. My other daughter was cake and was sleeping all night at 6 weeks. Two nights ago my LO decided to throw a curveball and get a very bad nose congestion and there went our night time sleep. All night we elevated saline nose spray suction. Rinse and repeat. The next morning i was so tired and just wanted to pee. Is that ok? Lol. Put daughter in swing and came back and she was sleeping. Shes just exhausted right???? All day put her in swing and slept great even giving us some 2 hr naps which is a new day record for her. I was scared to put her in swing for last night because then all my hard work with pack n play would be trashed. Saw this and was like ok we can do it for one night. She slept 6 hrs!!!! Husband is feeding her right now then we shall see. 6 hrs!! Was i able to sleep of course not I just knew it wouldnt work. Lol tomorrow her cute diaper butt is going in swing. HALLELUIAH. ok im off to bed now before daughters school. Motherhood.

  11. My little one is 8 weeks old. I started reading this a week or 2 ago and it saved my sanity. Right now his is napping for about 3 hours in my arms after nursing him; he woke up briefly to suckle and then went back to sleep x 2. I have tried on other occasions moving him to a swing or the rock and play after he goes to sleep but he will invariably wake up after 30 minutes. This is with a swaddle and white noise. He is not a fan of the pacifier — have tried several techniques to use it to transition him from the breast as that seems to be what comforts him the most. (I think we are in the paci shuffle as you term it) I don’t feel that motion is overly comforting for him. I haved placed items with my scent in the swing and rnp. I actively work or responding to signs of drowsy — but that includes nursing for him which leads to sleep which is in my arms. I am uncertain of what to focus on as he is getting long sleep this way (although not a good method for transitioning later) or trying to train him for not sleeping on me.
    Thank you so much for your insight and advice.

  12. Hi Alexis,
    I love your website! I’ve tried to implement white noise, dark room, 7pm bedtime, and putting baby down awake BUT she fights it. She is SEVEN months old! If she eventually falls asleep after an hour of crying she continues to wake up every 1-2-3 hours. She wakes herself up and then rolls on her stomach and cries and cries. Naps are a complete mess! The only way she’ll nap for longer than 30 min. is if I nap with her. She has always loved motion though. Is it too late to try the swing? She’s a big baby- 18lbs. and 28 in. I would REALLY REALLY appreciate your advice!


  13. Hi Alexis,

    I’m finding your website super duper helpful – thank you! I stumbled upon it last week and realized that my 4 month old who is a short napper was awake for too long at a stretch. I was having difficulties getting her to nap until I read your sleep posts. I stayed home almost all last week to make sure that she stayed up no longer than 2 hours and although its only been a bit over a week she is happier when she’s awake and less fussy when she’s tired. Her naps are slowly getting longer but she still needs to be rocked off to sleep. She is a champ at night and sleeps 7-8 hour stretches consistently in her crib although it does take a bit of rocking and coaxing to get her to sleep.
    This leads to my question….
    I would like to try the swing method to help teach her fall asleep on her own but I hesitate as I don’t want to have her sleep in the swing all night. She is doing great at night in her crib and I don’t want to mess that up! Do you think I can make it work just using the swing for daytime naps?
    Any thoughts you may have would be much appreciated!

    Thank you!

    • Hey Morgan,

      Well it’s been a while so this is old news but others (below) have the same question so here’s the answer:

      Different parts of the brain regulate day vs. night sleep so the truth is it’s totally OK to do different things for naps and night. LOTS of babies are sleeping like champs in their crib at night and in the swing for naps.

      So go ahead and try it out (well probably not NOW as she’s almost 6 months but…) and see if the swing doesn’t help extend your naps during the day!

  14. Hi I have practically the same question as Morgan above, would be much appreciated for an answer 🙂 My baby is 10weeks this week and sleeps great at night, however I too have to rock her to sleep. Anytime I put her in the basinett during the day she screams bloody murder! I just started trying the drowsy but awake method and she will drift off but then only last 20mins and cries for me again- doesnt scream like she did but still. she normally sleeps on me, in a front pack, on the couch (after falling asleep first).
    I have to go to bed with her whatever time it is- usually 10/11pm depending. but during the day I cant obviously each time she naps as I need to do other stuff. but she seems to want me with her 24/7.
    My quesiton is also should i start to use a swing during the day for naps as I need to give her lots of soothing, including rocking to sleep which she loves. And I dont want to jeopardise her night sleeps too.
    Or is there anything else I could do so that she doesnt want me with her to sleep. thanks

    • Sarah,
      I think that using the swing for naps would be a GREAT idea. Holding babies while they sleep is a delightful thing to do now and then however if it becomes the ONLY way they’ll sleep you’re setting yourself up for some bad times. Plus then you never get a break either so really it’s a loose-loose.

      10 weeks would be a great time to start practicing with the swing at nap time. It’s also a great time to start dabbling with “put down awake.” You still have time to sort it out so no need to panic! But practice putting her down drowsy vs. fully asleep at bedtime now and then. If it doesn’t work today OK – wait a few days and try again.

      Also I’m feeling like her bedtime might be a little late (she’s almost 3 monts old so 8-9 pm would be a great target), not that you asked, just something to think about 😉

      • Hi thanks for your reply 🙂
        Yeah I know she should be having an earlier bedtime -its just that she wont sleep for long without me really close. I’ll work at it though, even if she takes awhile to get used to it. I really don’t want to go to bed at 8pm though! When you do the drowsy but awake thing would you still gently rock the basinet/do patting/ shushing until they fall asleep, or is it best to do a little shusshing then leave them and then come back and repeat if they cry? Im not sure which method would be best. thanks 🙂

  15. I forgot to add that when she sleeps on me or very near to me she naps well, but Im sick of holding her all day!! since reading your website I learnt to not keep her up for too long, but this obviously only helps when shes on me 🙂 thanks.

  16. Hi there! I really love the candor with which you write. Thanks for all of your insights. I am in a sticky situation, and I feel a little guilty. As I write this one-handed, my 7 month old baby is in my arms. It is 7:45pm, and she has napped maybe a total of an hour today. This is not uncommon I’m afraid.

    Some days she naps (almost always in my arms) more than others; after waking up at 6 or 7am, she’ll nap maybe an hour at 9-10, then again for an hour or two at 2 or 3pm, then I lay down with her in my & my partner’s bed for up to an hour while she nurses to sleep. Then, if I haven’t fallen asleep myself, I will sneak out and join my partner in the awake, adult world for a couple hours. She will stir/cry after 30 or so minutes, and I will go back in for 10-15 minutes, as she searches for my boob, but falls back asleep immediately once she has it.

    She is going through a phase (hope, hope) right now where she will ONLY nap in my arms. And she doesn’t want to sleep until 8:30-9pm. And so she gets very little sleep throughout the day, as I simply can’t just sit all day with her on my boob. She will sometimes sleep when we go on walks, or if I do things with her in her Ergo carrier, or being held and swayed/walked with Daddy, or if she eventually stops crying in the car she will sleep for a bit then. She dislikes her crib (and I know it’s bc we did a sad, noncommittal version of CIO a few times in it during the day).

    Weirdly, she is a happy baby. High-needs, but happy. She likes people besides me or her father, and she is active and is on top of where she should be, development-wise. But at night she will only sleep with me, in our bed, and now she will only nap in my arms, nursing. I am obviously attachment parenting, and it has proven to be great in that she doesn’t cry for long when she does cry. She knows and trusts I will come to her when she wakes at night (I mean before I am sleeping beside her, of course – then she hardly ever needs to cry when she wakes).

    The thing is, I am almost ready to have her sleep away from me. I want her to be able to self-soothe. I feel I have done her a disservice, and I can’t help but feel a little embarrassed. What now? I mean, she’s 7 months old. I have a hard time believing that the CIO method will help either of us, because she is so persistent when she IS left to CIO. I am afraid she will go on for days, or die trying. So….any advice? I would really, really appreciate it if you do. Thank you!!

    • Have you seen the post I link to below? Feels like you could have written it 😉

      I have no easy answers for you. Parenting is hard. Now and forever.

      What I’m gathering from your comment is that you have a delightful healthy baby. I also gather that she’s a bit sleep deprived. She’s awake for long windows during the day right? Possibly 4-5 hours between naps when at 7 months it should probably be closer to 2-3. Or maybe she’s taking car cat naps in there so I’m not really sure. But her bedtime is pretty late (she’s sleeping 9PM – 7AM which is 10 hours – not bad but 11 would be better).

      In fact you describe her as high-needs but I wonder if she is just a little tired? I’m not trying to freak you out – I hear about lots of chronically sleep deprived kids. I don’t think she is one of those, just maybe half a quart low.

      And I also gather that the whole human pacifier gig is wearing you out. It is VERY tiring. And the nurse to sleep thing is just not working. She’s not sleeping, you’re not sleeping, so something has got to give, right?

      You could dry with the pick up/put down method (described here:

      This is roughly outlined in a whole slew of books. It can be frustrating but CAN work if you can stick with it. Admittedly it’s harder for tired babies (they tend to get angry with you vs. falling asleep) so if there is any way you can get her to sleep better (ergo carrying is better than nothing!) and possibly slide bedtime up a little it may help?

      I also think CIO is something to consider. The sum of my advice on that can be found here:

      They key for you is to not go down that road unless you are COMMITTED. Dabbling is the worst thing you can do – do or don’t do, there is no try, OK?

      • Hi Alexis!

        So, after I wrote the last post, I realized I had overlooked all of the many posts written in the past, and I probably should have read those first 🙂 However, my partner and I decided to bite the bullet and put her down in her crib, and come hell or high water, we would let her cry. I ended up crying more than she did, I think! She was out in 25 minutes. The next night – 15 minutes. The third night – less than 5 minutes, and now almost as soon as I leave the room, even if she fusses for a few seconds, she almost immediately falls asleep. It’s comical, because it’s like someone hits a switch, and she’s out! There have been some hiccups, as she still wakes up here and there throughout the night, but I only have to get up for one (maaaybe two, on a bad night) of those little episodes. She now sleeps, without me, from 7-8pm until 4-5am! I usually just get up and bring her to bed if she’s up and crying at 4am, and we sleep/nurse until 6 or 7.

        Now, for NAPS. If it’s me trying to get her to go down, she still won’t do it away from me. I either have to lie down with her or hold her, and usually with a boob in her mouth. She won’t sleep if I try to leave her, obviously, and if I put her down tired but awake in her crib, forget it – she howls, for longer than any nighttime sleep. I know naps should be prepared for similarly as with nighttime, but she’s no fool. She knows what I’m trying to do and she’s not buying it. I have no time to myself during the day (which is ridiculous, as I also own my own business with my partner, so I am also trying to run that and manage schedules, all with a baby on my hip). I’m not gonna lie – though she is a delightful and amazing and lovely baby – I’m over it. Thank you!!!

        So, without further adieu…any tips for me?

      • Hi Alexis!

        So, after I wrote the last post, I realized I had overlooked all of the many posts written in the past, and I probably should have read those first 🙂 Thank you for your many insights!

        However, my partner and I decided to bite the bullet and put her down in her crib, and come hell or high water, we would let her cry. I ended up crying more than she did, I think! She was out in 25 minutes. The next night – 15 minutes. The third night – less than 5 minutes, and now almost as soon as I leave the room, even if she fusses for a few seconds, she almost immediately falls asleep. It’s comical, because it’s like someone hits a switch, and she’s out! There have been some hiccups, as she still wakes up here and there throughout the night, but I only have to get up for one (maaaybe two, on a bad night) of those little episodes. She now sleeps, without me, from 7-8pm until 4-5am! I usually just get up and bring her to bed if she’s up and crying at 4am, and we sleep/nurse until 6 or 7.

        Now, for NAPS. If it’s me trying to get her to go down, she still won’t do it away from me. I either have to lie down with her or hold her, and usually with a boob in her mouth. She won’t sleep if I try to leave her, obviously, and if I put her down tired but awake in her crib, forget it – she howls, for longer than any nighttime sleep. I know naps should be prepared for similarly as with nighttime, but she’s no fool. She knows what I’m trying to do and she’s not buying it. I have no time to myself during the day (which is ridiculous, as I also own my own business with my partner, so I am also trying to run that and manage schedules, all with a baby on my hip). I’m not gonna lie – though she is a delightful and amazing and lovely baby – I’m over it.

        So, without further adieu…any tips for me? Thanks again!!!

  17. By the way, I love Joss Whedon as well 🙂

  18. Alexis,

    Our little one has been sleeping swaddled in his swing since birth. He is now 12 weeks. He was sleeping wonderfully, 6-8 hrs at a time and able to fall asleep drowsy in the swing. The past two weekshehas totally regressed…4hrs at night followed by waking every 1-2 hrs. When we put him in the swing he kicks and fusses, getting himself all worked up each time. I’ve tried the bassinet but that is even worse. What to do? Help!

  19. Oh my gosh. My nearly 3 month old DS has been painful with sleeping these last few weeks. We thought he hated swaddling as he’d scream and struggle to get out of his velcro swaddle only to scream some more when he was free. Just read your How to get baby to sleep guide and he is sleeping swaddled, in his swing with a white noise app running on my tablet!

    I will keep reading on

  20. I’m on no sleep didn’t even realize this would be published! Could you delete after you read please!!


  21. To date my 4 week old has only fallen asleep while being held (read rocked) or in the car seat. She sleeps in the swing if she’s already asleep. We’ve tried putting her in the swing when she’s awake or drifting off to asleep, but she fusses. Any advice for how to put her down in the swing. Being a human swing is wearing me out.

  22. My baby is 1 month old and she wants to be held all the time, she will only sleep a couple minutes unless being held, is the swing safe for a 1 month oldto sleep in at night?

    • I would definitely run it by your pediatrician first and make sure you are using the swing safely. Also it might be helpful to check out the post/video linked to below.

      But if your pediatrician is OK with it then you would join lots of other people who have babies sleeping in swings.

  23. Should I keep the baby swing on the whole time she is sleeping?

  24. My little one sleep in a swing very well. Before that, she didn’t sleep well.

  25. My 5 month old only takes naps in his swing and at night tint he falls asleep on the boob or rock to sleep. I want him to fall asleep on his own in his crib. How can I teach him to do that. I don’t want to let him cry it out. How can I break the habit of naps on the swing?

  26. Alexis, what about the belief that motion sleep is not as restorative as stationary sleep? I’m asking because my baby (almost 10 weeks) will nap for 35/45 min. in his bassinet but will sometimes nap for hours in the swing. However, after a nap in the swing he’s cranky and tired after an hour, whereas after a short nap in the bassinet he seems to be able to stay awake happier for a longer period of time (approx 1:30). The catnaps are driving me crazy, as I feel like I’m spending my whole day putting him down for one nap after another, but I’d rather he nap in his bassinet if that’s better quality sleep. As for nighttime sleep, that’s all over the map – sometimes great (only 2 wake ups, sometimes good – only 3, and sometimes awful – 5+ wake ups), but in general he seems to sleep worse at nightnof he takes long naps during he day. Thanks much!

    • Faith,

      I’m almost entirely sure that the fact that by is cranky post-nap has nothing to do with the swing.

      In fact the opposite – I suspect he’s awake longer post short-nap because short-naps result in cortisol production which is a stimulant. So I would say if he takes a 35 min nap in the bassinet or a 2 hour nap in the swing, use the swing. Both for longer naps and to break out of the “I spend my whole day getting him to sleep” phenom. And also to help him fall asleep 😉

      Start with napping in the swing and if he’s taking better longer naps during the day you may see a general improvement at night from that alone.

      Good luck!

      • Thanks for responding so quickly, Alexis!

      • Thanks very much, Alexis, for the quick response. It’s much appreciated!

      • Alexis,

        One quick follow up question. Yesterday we let my son sleep in the swing for naps and at night (since he refused to go to sleep in his bassinet, we just gave up and put him in the swing). He did quite well all day and at night, but today, he’s barely napped in the swing. Is this normal (for them sometimes to take 2 hour naps in the swing and the next day fight to sleep even one hour)? He also now refuses to put himself to sleep in the swing, which is extra frustrating. He just turned 10 weeks old. Just curious as to your thoughts.

        Thanks much!

    • I noticed this sometimes with my baby as well. I would be really interested in what Alexis thinks about the motion sleep quality vs no motion.

  27. Alexis,
    I have a 12 week old who, for the most part, will sleep great at night and I can even put her down drawsy and awake and she will put herself to sleep and sleep all night. Naps are a completely different story. We were doing ok with her sleeping in her crib for naps (even though she would only sleep 45 minutes most days). Well, she started daycare this week and they put her in the swing to sleep and she sleeps great in it (takes long naps,etc) but now she fights naptime in her crib. Even if I rock her to sleep the minute you put her down she wakes up screaming and can’t/won’t soothe herself back to sleep (although she’s great at this at night). Anyways I’m worried about the long term effects of using the swing to nap…when she’s too big for it and fighting naptime in the crib tooth and nail. What’s your advice?

  28. Hi,

    I was wondering if you could help me with my problem. My 7 wk old baby can sleep hours in my arms! Once she slept nearly 5 hours! But if she is put in her bassinet, she sleeps 30-40 mins, and hour tops!! So i am guessing she is having trouble putting herself back to sleep. Firstly, I find it strange, because she is so good at night. She sleeps at around 9 after a bath and nursing, then wakes up to eat around 4 and then 7/8 in the morning. I can often hear her at night wake up, she would speak wale to herself, shuffle around a lot, but go back to sleep..several times at night. So she can fall asleep on her own at night, but during the day for some reason she is wide awake after 30-40 mins. I even tried a fully dark room, with white noise, bassinet jiggling when she wakes up, but no luck!! Same goes for the swing… We have a mamaroo, she falls asleep pretty quickly, but sleeps an hour tops, mostly not even that. White noise/pacifier…nothing puts her back to sleep. And she usually cranky very quickly if she had a short nap, so 40-60 mins is obviously not long enough for her. Any ideas?

  29. Hi Alexis,

    My son just turned 5 months old. He used to sleep okay in the cosleeper then in our bed up until he reached 4 months, but in my arms or the ergo for naps. Since then he starts in his crib, wakes up and nurses then stays in our bed, but flails and cries the whole night getting maybe 2 hours of sleep. I have always rocked him to sleep with a paci and set him down afterward in a cradle for naps and now the crib for bedtime, but of course he wakes up screaming( after only 40 mins for naps).I know the problem is that he needs to be set down awake, but whenever I have tried in the past he screams he moment I set him down. Your website is the first I have found that gives me an idea of what to do, so thank you!

    I started the swing for napping yesterday. He has never been a fan of it, but I am desperate. I put him in it in our room, with loud white noise and blackout curtains. He fell asleep without his paci pretty quickly but woke after 40 min. The rest of the day I put him in the swing about 10 min before sleep cues, and he just keeps screaming and screaming. He isn’t hungry, but definitely overtired. We have not swaddled him for months, but am planning on buying a swaddle sack today. He uses my hair to sooth himself, so I am now trying to give him a small blanket that I keep in my bra, but he seems uninterested. I believe he has developed object permanence as he looks for a toy when we move it…do you have any pointers?

    • Hi

      I know you didnt ask for my opinion but if you dont mind I am going to give it to you anyway. Object permanence is usually developed around 6months of age so you are not there yet and be thankful because sleep training is so much harder after 6 months. Your son WANTS to sleep but he does not know how because you have never taught him the skills and babies are not born with the skills to fall asleep on their own. The bottle, rocking, boob or whatever it is helps them fall asleep. At 5 months the swing really isnt going to work as effectively as for a newborn so its pointless to start now because at most they will give you 4 weeks of help before you have to tackle to real problem (Sleep skills development) Swaddling at 5months is also a bit late. At 5 months it really is best to actually teach your baby sleeping skills which 95% of the time come from the baby actually crying himself to sleep, hopefully not long. He needs a pace where he is always put to sleep, a consistent dark place with white noise, same time every day. Not stroller, not car, same place everyday. When I started sleep training my daughter at 3months old after 3 months of sleep hell (the swing jiggle, put down only to wake up screaming 30min latter, swaddle after she was fighting to get out x 5 times for naps and bed) It was just too much. Keep in mind that at 5months if your baby is in the swing and swaddled, how comfortable do you think he is when he wakes up after his sleep cycle is over? Not very comfortable at all because he cant stretch out and get comfy. At this point I would honestly suggest developing a consistent routine and putting your son down in his crib in a dark room with white noise after he has been awake for 2 hours max. If he starts crying, give it 10min before you go in, comfort him without picking him up, leave. If crying persists, go in after 15min, repeat the steps, then 20min, 25min etc.. Until he falls asleep. Wear earplugs to get through it. Even if he sleeps for 30min at least he learned how to do it on his own. When we first started training, Victoria would nap 5 times a day at 3 months. But for the night she always slept 10-11 hours at night until now. Just keep doing that everyday after your child has been awake for 2 hours max (the wakeful windows will lengthen as he gets older and the last window before bed can be longer like 3 hours) and I promise that within 3 days he will fall asleep after minimum crying and sleep 10 hours + at night. BUT you have to be able to deal with the crying. It is o.k. Its not hurting them. In fact it is hurting them more to be so tired all the time. Lots of crying x 3 days is way less harmful then crying + tiredness everyday x 3 months.

      Hope this helps


  30. Hi Alexis,
    My son just turned 4 months old. He’s been napping in his swing since he was a newborn and does great with it. I do swaddle him as well – otherwise he wakes himself with his arms (still has a bit of a startle reflex). He’s now at the point that I can put him in his swing awake and he’ll fall asleep on his own for naps. My problem is night time. He used to sleep just fine at night in his pack n play in our room. He would do 5 0r 6 hour stretches from about 8 weeks old on. Then we switched him to his crib in our room and he was doing great there also. He even slept 8 hours straight for a week or so. THEN he had his 3 month growth spurt and sleep has been terrible for the past month. He’s up every hour – he’ll nurse for a couple minutes then fall back asleep, go back in crib, wake in about an hour. Nursing or bouncing him are the only things that get him back to sleep. So I started putting him in his swing at night to sleep (usually after a couple tries in the crib, so some nights it’s been from 12am – 7am in the swing. I try to get him down to bed by about 8pm) and he’s been doing longer stretches as long as he’s in there. Is this a step backwards though? He was doing just fine in his crib, but now he’ll ONLY stay asleep in his swing (also swaddled). I’m worried I’m going to make it harder to get him back to his crib. We start his bedtime routine around 7ish and then I feed him and he usually falls asleep by about 8pm. He does also have reflux, but he’s been on Prevacid for a couple months now and is doing great with it. Any help you can offer would be appreciated!!!

    • Just my opinion but I think you’re doing EXACTLY the right thing putting him in the swing at night, especially for a reflux baby! Four months is a notoriously difficult sleep stage and it sounds to me like you’re handling it beautifully. I wouldn’t consider the swing a step backwards. He’ll move on to the next stage soon enough and I predict you’ll have no trouble getting him back into his pack & play if that’s where you want him in the next several weeks, even a month or two would be fine. You could start now gradually reducing the swinging speed and see how that goes?

      • Thank you Kate, that makes me feel better! I’m a FTM, so everything is so trial and error. I used to put his swing on the highest setting, but I’ve been putting it on a medium speed and I think I’ll just slow it down gradually and hopefully get him sleeping in a still swing eventually so I can transition him back to his crib at some point. I was thinking that he was just getting used to have different sleep cycles than when he was smaller and that’s why he can’t go back to sleep on his own in the crib, but the swing helps him fall back asleep. I just want him to get the sleep he needs!

  31. THANK YOU! Thanks to this article, my baby napped for more then 30 minutes yesterday for the very first time! He’s a great night sleeper but at 2.5 months his naps are still a nightmare of 20-30 minutes that he wakes up from still tired and crabby. Yesterday I pulled out the swing and his third nap was 2.5 hours. I couldn’t believe it. He only woke up because I turned the swing off. I actually got a nap myself for the first time since he’s been born. Now I’m trying to decide if I should get a decent one (mine sucks) or if he will be out of it too soon to justify the $$.

  32. An update:10 days later and my continually on-the-edge-of-a-breakdown baby has transformed into a happy, giggling child because hes getting lots of wonderful naps. We no longer call him King Cranky Pants and I’m consistently enjoying my son for the first time, all because of a baby swing!
    Incidentally, his new Fisher Price swing arrives Wednesday and I’m soooo excited!

  33. Alexis, first of all, thank you SO much for this wonderful site!! I just found it and it has been so helpful! My 3 month old has silent reflux, but we were able to transition him from his swing to his crib successfully around 2 months, for both naps and at night. However, in the last week, he has gotten super fussy and refuses to sleep in his crib, so we transitioned him back to his swing. He’s great at putting himself to sleep too; here’s our routine: 1. feed, burp 2. swaddle, binky 3. rock, kisses for a minute 4. Put him down wide awake. He’s able to put himself to sleep, no issue in the swing, and as I mentioned, he was able to do the same in the crib until a week ago. Do you think he’s going through his 4 month sleep regression or a growth spurt? Do you think we should keep him in the swing for a little while longer, or should I try to transition him back to the crib, since we already successfully did? I’m afraid I’m going to miss my window of opportunity, and he’s going to get too used to movement sleep. My first (4 years old) was a champion sleeper and was able to put himself to sleep in his crib starting at 2 months and never looked back. I appreciate your feedback, thanks!

  34. Thank you, thank you! My baby is 7 weeks old (but arrived 3 weeks before her due date so was just on the edge of being full-term) and I had fallen into a horrible habit of letting her sleep on me in bed at night because it was the ONLY way I could get her or myself a chunk of sleep longer than 20 minutes. After a few weeks of co-sleeping I hoped she would grow out of the need on her own and start to be able to sleep in the fancy moses basket we had beside our bed – FAIL. Maybe the pack and play with bassinet feature setup by our bed – FAIL. Maybe she can’t sleep next to our bed and needs her crib – FAIL FAIL FAIL. After a visit from my sister she pointed out an obvious observation – “she sleeps like a champ in her baby swing, why don’t you do that at night?”. Well, I had tried the baby swing to sleep at night, BUT would not turn it on. I felt somehow I would be harming my baby if I left it in a swing mode at night. Why I thought it was okay for her to swing while sleeping during the day but not at night I’m not sure. So, I took to good old google to look for some validation that my baby’s brain wouldn’t be damaged by prolonged swing action, and I found you!!!

    Last night my little girl swinged the night away – we got two 3 hour sleep stretches, which might not sound like much, but are huge wins for us. My husband has a slight fear that we are going to make her dependent on swinging but to me this is better than the alternative of sleeping on me. However his concern is valid, so any advice you have about when and how to wean off the swing would be great, and given that she was born a full three weeks early, when it comes to sleep should I treat her like a 7 week old baby (birth date age) or a 4 week old baby (due date age)?

  35. Hi,

    Thank you so much for your informative website. I’m having my little boy in 3 weeks and I’m learning so much from your site. I’d like to know if you can recommend a swing. There are plenty of them out there and very hard to choose specially after reading some negative reviews about some of them not working properly after a while, are loud, or not safe…etc. I’d really appreciate it if you could give me your opinion. Thanks 🙂

  36. Curious about your opinion on whether swing sleep is as restorative (or close to) as stationery sleep. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child says it is not as restorative, but I’m hoping that it is because my 11 week old takes her naps in the swing. I only let it run for one hour. I shut it off after an hour and sometimes she sleeps a little longer with it off, but most of the time she wakes up soon after I shut it off.

  37. Hello – do you have info on when and how to get baby out of the swing? This article is 2011 and you mention that you were going to write about that..

  38. Hello:) my daughter is 9 weeks old and sleeps pretty good at night time. At least 5 hours initially at night, but most often between 7-9 hours going to bed between 7 and 8pm. She used to be a champion napped during the day sleeping for a couple hours at a time. Now she won’t sleep more than 30 or 40 min at a time and maybe gets one 1 hour nap. She wakes up in a decent mood and other times she will keep waking up and going back to sleep ( no more than a few minutes and gets a bit upset).For naps I have always put her in a swing (on the highest setting) and at night time she sleeps in a bassinet. Is she just having a growth spurt or is she just turning into a short napper? She has been starting to such on her fist a lot more and almost preferring that more than a soother at times.

  39. Alexis,

    I have a 3 week old (my first) who doesn’t sleep. He fights it and stays in a quiet alert phase for up to 3-5 hours without falling asleep. His eyes will bob and begin to close and then shoot open as if he’s determined not to miss anything. This is difficult when he needs to eat every 3 hours because his names end up being super short or he misses them all together. He will put himself to sleep in a rock and play eventually and occasionally if I’m holding him. I’ve tried the swing but he seems to keep him awake. A few questions: 1) can I swaddle him and put him in the swing? 2) Should I maybe put something over the swing so he’s not distracted by his surroundings (i.e. a light swaddle blanket)? Any advise you have on actually putting him to sleep would be so appreciated..I’m worried that he is very sleep deprived 🙁

  40. Hi Alexis, i need your advice. I have a month LO and she sleeps well at night in her noses basket and I try and elevate it so she seems to like that. She’s only just turned 4 months today and I’d like to encourage her to sleep more independently of me so last week I put her in the pram when she was drowsy and sure enough after a little bit of fussing she was fast asleep. I did have to make sure that she had been properly winded, swaddled and pram elevated too. However her naps are very short so on a good day 3 naps but generally 2 and one is forced. I realise now she likes motion and elevation to sleep. My question is for naps as winter draws in I don’t want to rely on my ergo or pram but want to put her down in her room. So I don’t have a swing but I have a car seat type of chair and I also have a rocking thing so could put the car seat ontop of the rocking mechanism and try that for naps. Do you have any advice on whether that would work? Thanks in advance.

  41. Recently new to your site and am devouring everything. But feeling insanely frustrated and almost angry with how things went with the swing last night. I know our nearly-6-month baby not sleeping great right now is in direct response to some of our inconsistencies. I know we’re probably headed toward CIO but with the upcoming holidays and therefore not being in the usual routine of things, we’re waiting a week or so. I thought the swing would be a great bridge for that time. Our baby definitely loves his car seat, stroller, baby wearing, etc.

    We put him in it and he did fall asleep after 20 minutes but it was howling fierce wailing, not general fussiness. Kinda confused by that since it was supposed to help soothe him to sleep not be a trial in CIO. THen he woke in the night crying for about a half hour (in the swing? really?), I fed him and put him back down. He cried for another hour.

    So now it’s like yeah it sucked HORRIBLY but do we commit to it for 4-7 days or do we jsut keep stumbling along for the next week or so until we get to offically doing CIO (which we had done before but think he was too young at the time)?

  42. The swing used to work great for my son until he started sitting up around 3 or 4 months. He’d tip over when he’d wake up, maybe to get out? I’m not sure. We stopped the swing completely when i saw through his video monitor that we was completely hunched over. It didn’t seem safe at all. But now he’s 6 months old and not sleeping well at all. Would you suggest the swing again? It’s in the attic if so. Or would you suggest something else?

  43. Hi Alexis,

    I can’t thank you enough for all your valuable information! I had a very fussy 7 week old, overtired baby on my hands and your swing advice worked almost instantly!
    My concern is that I’ve read that the American Association of Pediatrics warns against babies sleeping in swings due to posture that causes “scrunching” or lung compression and leads to difficulty breathing with the added risk of SIDS and I’m now petrified of this happening. I’m trying to keep in mind, though, that these “findings” were published back in 2011, some 3 years ago!
    Also, The Happiest Baby On The Block DVD recommends sleeping in swings and that man is a pediatrician ( I think).
    Are my concerns legitimate or is the ruling by the AAP outdated?
    On a side note, I tried having her sleep in her crib today and she did very well, waking at 4 hour intervals, but she was fed again at 11pm and woke around 3am for another feeding whereas she was sleeping until 7am the next morning when I had her in the swing. I really want to get her back in the swing but am concerned/afraid about what the AAP (and other articles) is/are saying. Your thoughts?


  44. I know this has been touched on in the comments briefly but I’m wondering what your take on ‘swing sleeping isn’t restorative’?
    I ask because my 3 month old night sleeps and naps in her swing and she seems to be tired almost as soon as she wakes up. She literally yawns and rubs her eyes sometimes 15-20min after waking.
    The thing is.. If I put her in her crib she wakes numerous times a night. So I’m torn.Has anyone noticed their baby always tired when swing sleeping?

    • Anyone have any thoughts? I have now asked my doctor and pediatrician (who is against the swing) and everyone I know with kids. No one has an answer. I spend my entire day putting my baby down after 45 minutes of being up because she is so exhausted at this point she can’t stop rubbing her eyes. She does this right after a nap. I follow this site and read it everyday because the swing has saved a portion of my sanity. I’m trying to wean my baby off the swing but its not working and she just screams in her crib. So I keep up with the swing and hoping what this website says about the swing is true. It just pains me when I see her so tired and the last thing I can think of is that motion sleep isn’t restorative.

      • Keep doing what works and helps you and your baby get the sleep you need. Take it one day at a time. Try not to worry about how she’ll sleep tomorrow. My son sleeps in his crib now and we use the swing occasionally when he’s very fussy or sick. My love and hugs to you.

  45. Hi Alexis,

    Thanks so much for all the great tips. My daughter is 10 weeks old and is being too sleep better at night ( 3-5 hours at at time, in her cot, only waking briefly to feed). My issue is during the day – she only sleeps on me! I still have to feed/rock to sleep and , even if she’s deeply asleep, the minute I put her down she wakes up. I think the swing plan could work, but I’m worried it might start making her want the swing all time ( ie day and night) thus undoing all her progress at night timed. What do you think?


  46. Hi! I am reading everything on your site while currently holding my 12 week old bc it is the only way he will get a quality nap! He sleeps well at night, only waking usually 2, sometimes 3 times to eat. He has never slept in a swing and I am wondering if it is “too late” at this point to at least try for naps? Thanks!

  47. Hi ! My 3 1/2 month old son with reflux loves his swing he will sleep for hours happily in there and the motion puts him to sleep but I was told not to use the swing. I was told that sleeping for too long in the swing can be a SIDS risk and that the swing will cause his head to be flat.
    I now only let him have one nap in the swing because I was feeling guilty and that’s when my problems started. At night he sleeps in his crib in a sleep sack with his arms out and he wakes up 5-7 times a night it’s miserable. He goes down at 7pm with a sleep routine and will sleep till 11pm but then he’s up every 1- 1/2 hours. What am I doing wrong ? Should I let him sleep in the swing? How will I ever be able to transition him from the swing to his crib? I should also mention he uses a pacifier. Any help would be amazing !!! Thank you


  1. Baby Swings Work and I Can Prove It | Troublesome Tots
  2. The Ultimate Baby Swing Sleep Guide For Swing Hating Babies | Troublesome Tots

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