The Ultimate Baby Swing Sleep Guide For Swing Hating Babies

Newborn baby in jammies sleeping in swing

Studies show babies sleep better in cute jammies.

Step 1: Buy baby swing.
Step 2: Assemble swing.
Step 3. Put baby in swing.
Step 4: Turn swing on.

What, it’s not working for you?

But My Baby Hates the Swing

I have never failed to get a baby to fall asleep. Contrary to what you may have heard, I do not do this by reading my blog posts to babies.

I use baby swings.

Most of you live too far away for me to show you in person how I get babies to fall asleep in baby swings so I’m going to do my best to describe my no-fail baby swing sleep technique here. If you have a newborn baby (0-6 months old) and are struggling with sleep, short naps, etc. I would give the swing a try.

Start with the basic baby swing steps:

  • Run it by your pediatrician. I’ve found they almost unilaterally will support your decision. But best to make sure first.
  • Put the swing where your baby currently sleeps (or sleeps most often). This is probably in your own room and it’s OK if it’s not currently THEIR room (we can easily move in that direction once we’ve mastered the swing). This is our new “sleep spot” and for the next few weeks, the baby should generally sleep in that location, in the swing, round the clock. (It’s OK if a few car/stroller naps sneak in there, it happens.)
  • Make your sleep spot a dark place. Room darkening blinds work great for this. However you can temporarily create a dark space by simply taping aluminum foil to the windows with masking tape. Sure it’s a little ghetto but it works great!
  • Put something in there that will create loud and continuous white noise. White noise will help your baby sleep and (assuming the sleep spot is YOUR room) will also help block the sound of the swing so YOU can sleep.
  • Set up your baby monitor.
  • Move whatever other sleep supplies (swaddling blankets, pacifiers, books, chair for nursing/feeding, etc.) you need so that it’s relatively close to your new baby sleep spot.
  • Put your swing into the sleep spot.
  • Use your swing on the highest speed setting available. For newborns, faster is better.

Put the baby in the swing, strap them in, turn it on, and voilà – baby sleep nirvana!

For some babies, it may be just this simple. If so, congratulations and I hope you are currently enjoying your victory nap. In fact everybody should try to put your baby awake into the swing, turn it on, and walk out of the room. Wait a few minutes (literally – use a timer and don’t go back for 3-5 minutes) and see what happens. Your baby may surprise you.

Or maybe not. In which case we move on to what I like to call the Varsity Sleep Swing technique. We’re going to slather your baby with so much soothing that they will literally be incapable of staying awake. It’s like when I have 2 glasses of wine and then try to watch Masterpiece Theater, only modified for the younger set.

Varsity Sleep Swing Technique

All of the above PLUS:

  • Swaddle your baby. Remember swaddling is all about the arms, having the legs wrapped up doesn’t add anything. So it’s totally fine to leave the legs loose so you can safely strap your baby into the swing with swaddled arms.
  • Put something that smells like Mom near baby’s face. Like that t-shirt you’ve been living in for the past month because you’re too tired to deal with laundry. Cut off a small piece (~6″X6″ nothing large enough to become an entrapment hazard) and put it in the back of the swing near the baby’s face. When not being used for naps/sleeping keep this little piece of t-shirt tucked into your bra during the day so it always smells like you/milk.
  • Use a pacifier. Some babies don’t take to pacifiers but if yours does then by all means use it.
  • Jiggle their head.* Put your swaddled pacifier sucking baby in the swing in the dark room with the white noise. Crouch down behind the swing so they can’t really see you. Push the swing with your arm (the motor is off for now). If your baby is not calming or falling asleep, jiggle the back of the swing left and right WHILE you are swinging it back and forth. The goal here is to have your baby’s cheeks wiggling like a bowl of jello. (Here is a good video example of baby jiggling). You can also shoosh loudly (I know you are rocking the white noise already but for some reason the added shooshing seems to help). Keep it up for 2-3 minutes or until your baby starts to look tired. A great visual cue to look for is the sleepy blink – your baby starts to blink more slowly as though their eyelids are getting heavier. When you start to see sleepy cues turn on the swing motor.
  • (Optional): Nurse baby to sleep while swaddled THEN put them in the swing. NOTE: This is fine to do for younger babies (<4 months) or if you’re struggling to get them to fall asleep any other way. My advice is to play around with other methods to help them fall asleep IN the swing but this is a valid fallback tactic to use in the short run.

*About head jiggling. This is what it sounds like – a jiggle. Shaken baby syndrome is an act of violence that requires forceful slamming motion. It is almost impossible to achieve this level of stress with a baby cradled in a swing but I want to be very clear that we are talking about jiggling vs. violent shaking.

Note: Your baby may be crying/complaining while you are swaddling her and strapping her into the swing. That’s OK. This probably means she’s a bit overtired – she may be short on sleep in general or maybe she was just kept awake a little longer than she could handle. Unless she is hungry this is a really good sign that she needs sleep so take a deep breath and continue to help her fall asleep in the swing.

Short-Term Sleep Swing Goals

I know some of you will feel like the swing is a detour because what you REALLY want is that peanut sleeping in his own crib. But the swing is going to solve two critical short-term issues:


Increase the Total Amount of Sleep

Babies sleep better and longer while moving. There is a reason most babies fall asleep seconds after you start the car. In general, babies will take slightly longer naps (+20-40 minutes) in a swing and newborns who are waking up a lot at night (4+ times) will often drop one of their night feedings after being put to bed in a swing.


Help Baby Learn to Fall Asleep.

Like potty training, getting the straw into the juicebox, and spitting, falling-asleep is a skill that you will need to help your child develop. Early on we help babies fall asleep primarily by rocking and nursing. However as your baby gets older these techniques will start to fail you (I’ll be writing a bunch about this later). If your goal is help your baby become a happy toddler who is capable of sleeping through the night then at some point you will have to help her learn to fall asleep. This can be a real challenge to do without any crying. Unless you use the swing in which case it’s really really easy.

Long-Term Sleep Swing Strategy

  • As your baby gets closer to 6+ months of age you want to gradually wean off the swaddling, pacifier, and swinging. To wean off the swing, simply start turning the speed down. If naps & night sleep remains the same then continue. If she starts waking up more often, she’s not ready and the speed needs to stay up where it was. Wait a week or two, then try again. There is no rush.
  • When you’re ready, move the swing next to the crib so that baby gets used to sleeping in that location.
  • Eventually you’ll find yourself putting baby down for naps/bedtime in a non-moving swing. When you get to this point, the transition to the crib is relatively painless. The first time you put your baby in the crib there may be some “hey this is new?!?” complaining but it is generally mild and ends quickly.
  • If your baby was happily sleeping in a non-moving swing, they SHOULD sleep just as happily in the crib. If, however, after a few “getting used to the new digs” nights you find that the crib-sleep is markedly worse than when they were in the non-moving swing then you may want to investigate the possibility that your child may have reflux. Swing sleepers who have mild reflux may sleep just great while held upright in the swing but terribly when placed on their backs. If you have concerns, definitely talk to your pediatrician.

Anybody else have any ideas on how to get those swing-hating babies to sleep in the swing?
{Photo credits: Bart Cicuto and Pat David}

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  1. Great topic.

    Couldn’t have come at a better time with an 18 month old and another due in three weeks.

    Consider yourself bookmarked!

  2. *I* was never a fan of the swing – especially the big ones. I used “Baby Wise” and “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” books as references and they worked for me like a charm. Baby sleep on her own since she was 2 months old. Thankfully she did not have any obvious physical condition to not allow us that.

    I would like to add, for the “two critical short-term issues:” to become three. The 3rd one is “to solve parent’s sleep deprivation issues”. Doing anything – swing, rock, go for a ride, anything against the principles of teaching babies to learn on their own – is okay when parents need to sleep. Parents need mind clarity, energy and happiness to help them with the day to day stuff, left alone dealing with crankiness. Parents need that “sleep” too to avoid sad situations like the “shaken baby syndrome” or any other abuse on babies. This is a critical short-term issue.

    Great post.

    • I agree with you 100%. I haven’t had time to go into it yet but there is so much research that supports the fact that when parents are tired EVERYTHING gets harder – we drive poorly, we parent poorly, our brains shut down, even the way we process sugar get’s thrown off (hint: this is why it’s so hard to loose that baby weight when you’re sleep deprived). So it’s definitely not just about taking care of the baby’s needs, it’s taking care of ours as well.

      Thanks for visiting!

      • Couldn’t agree more. If life is getting on top of the parents, life will be getting on top of the kids too.

        Make sure you can get as much sleep as possible. Pregnancy takes it out of you, labour takes it out of you not to mention breastfeeding.

    • My daughter is now 12 weeks old. Well she has been sleeping in her swing since about 3 weeks old. Recently she will not fall asleep in the swing at all and I have to rock her like a mad woman about 4/5 times a day, then set her in when she is finally asleep. She also will not sleep for longer than an hour each nap. So you could say I’m pretty exhausted. Is it ok to use CIO in a swing with a 3 month old? Also, it has been a nightmare to take her anywhere in public because she will not sleep for more than 15 minutes without the constant motion of the swing, even in her carseat with the car moving or in her stroller. I’m all out of ideas so any would be appreciated!

  3. So glad I stumbled upon this today, whilst doing my daily internet google searched re: “baby won’t nap in crib at 2 months”, “baby napping in swing” (as I type this of course lol).. this has alleviated some of my guilt caused by reading my sleep book which tells me strictly “by 2 months old your baby should be napping in their crib” – argh, ya right!

    Thanks for the laughs, and info!!

    • So glad to help!

      You know most everybody is working towards getting their kid in the crib eventually. But very few kids are sleeping well in there at 2 months. Ask your pediatrician and they’ll tell you about all the places most 2 month olds are sleeping: car seat, strollers, in bed with Mom, swing. RARELY is it a crib/co-sleeper.

      So I figure, yeah you can shove your baby in the crib now and nobody will get any sleep. Or you can give them the extra soothing they’re literally begging for, and wait a few months to make the crib thing happen.

      Good luck with your swing!

  4. WOW! Thank you for writing this post! I feel SO LESS GUILTY and SO MUCH BETTER! We just discovered a couple weeks ago that my now 8 week old will take at least 2-3 marathon(2 1/12-3 hour)naps in her swing during the day! After her 3rd late night nap in the swing, I will take her out and place her directly into her crib where she will stay asleep for 3 hours at a time at night. I’m hoping those 3 hours at night will start to extend soon, but maybe she’s still too little to go without being fed for that long of a time?? So- right now she currently is “awake” for about 5-6 hours in a 24 hour period…IS THAT BAD or somewhat normal? (I should add that when she is awake, after feeding, she is cooing and smiling up the yinyang…for a certain amount of time,though, then she starts to get really fussy and cry-so I assume she’s tired and I put her in the swing and she’s out)

    • Hey Amber,

      If she’s not waking up then she doesn’t need to eat! Seriously, sometimes if there are special circumstances (super preemie, failure to thrive, low milk supply, etc.) your DR will recommend waking to feed. But otherwise – nope, she doesn’t need to eat that much at night.

      If she is only awake 5-6 hours a day then she is sleeping on the high end of the range (18 hours a day). But if she’s happy, gaining weight, etc. then YAY for you! Trust me, about 99% of Moms would GLADLY trade with you…

      Give a small prayer to the Goddess of Sleeping Babies and enjoy it :)

  5. I could not have come across your site at a better or more desperate time! Our little boy is 6 weeks old and we are having trouble with his sleeping- he is definitely not getting enough sleep throughout the day which leads to fussy baby and fussy mommy! BUT he is currently asleep in his swing!!!! Granted he fell asleep while nursing but he is staying asleep which is a huge victory- We will try out the swing tonight also. Thank you!

    • So glad to help! And seriously at 6 weeks please do NOT worry about nursing to sleep. Just worry about getting the sleep part 😉

      6 weeks is literally the HARDEST time and it only gets better from here on out. Maybe at 3 months or so he’ll be ready to sleep in a crib/co-sleeper/whatever. That’s also a good time to work on not nursing to sleep.

      At 6 weeks it’s just about getting through the night as best you can :)

      • One question…should the swing and white noise stay on the entire yime baby is asleep? Or can we/should we turn it off?

        • Leave it on all night. If your swing white noise is on a timer (which most are) use something else (radio, white noise machine, etc.). You’ll want to use it whenever she sleeps for at least the first 3-4 months.

          You can read up on all the white noise goodness here:)

          • What do you suggest we do if baby is obviously sleepy but wont fall asleep for a nap? I have tried the ‘varsity techniques’ but he starts crying instead of falling asleep. Its not happening every time he’s sleepy but I want to make sure he gets some sleep.

        • Sara,
          Well I don’t know EXACTLY why he won’t sleep but my top guess is this – he’s TOO tired. Tired babies have a hard time falling asleep. Keep track of how long he is awake – at 6 weeks he may not be able to stay awake much longer than 1-1.5 hours TOP.

          My second thought is that if it’s just occasional (1-2X a week?) then you may need to have a default method (carry in Ergo, go for car ride, stroller, etc.) that can be used when desperate for a nap but it isn’t happening.

          Hope that helps?

          • Thank you Alexis! I found that if I nurse him again he settles fine- I think Im having a supply problem- but thats a topic for another blog! Thanks!

  6. Hi – I’m loving this website. My son is 2 months old and I feel that the last 2 weeks he has gotten worse at sleeping instead of better.

    I have a question about the type of swing. I see in your pictures above that you have the nice cushy swings in the pictures. Ours is the Fisher Price just sit in it not all the comfy swing (it is 5 years old). Does it matter? He didn’t like it when he was younger, but I also didn’t know about this website. We’ll be getting it out again tonight. Should we go buy one of those cute cushy swings though?


    • I’m not sure what sort of Fisher Price swing you have but it’s probably just fine. Really none of the swings are THAT comfy (go check them out at the store – the padding is thin and not particularly soft). So I doubt that what you have is markedly less comfortable than a “new” swing. I am impressed the motor is still functional after 5 years so Yay Fisher Price!

      Many kids go through a sleep regression/growth spurt at 6 weeks so it could be that yours is particularly bad. Although frankly after 2 weeks I would expect to see things returning to normal. How MUCH worse have things gotten?

      • It has gotten MUCH worse. 2 weeks ago he would go 5 hours between feedings at night and sleep in the crib (would only sleep in our arms during the day). Then, about a week ago he started waking up every 3 hours, but still sleeping in the crib. For at least 3 nights in a row he won’t sleep more than 10 or 20 minutes in the crib. We tried the swing last night and it didn’t work, he woke up and cried. We rotated the swing to swing in the other direction tonight and put him in it with a pacifier and a really loud white noise. We’ve had to put the pacifier back in his mouth a couple of times, but it has been the longest he has slept outside of our arms in while. I am hopeful that we can continue to get him to sleep in the swing tonight (and for many more nights to come).

        Do you know anything about the Fisher Price Rock N Play Sleeper. Someone recommended it to us and I just wanted to know if you are familiar with it.


        • He went 5 hours between feedings last night! We didn’t even turn the swing on until 5:30 this morning (he has always had a rough time sleeping at 5:30 – but he’s definitely not ready to be awake).

        • We have an 8 week old who LOVES the Rock n Play Sleeper. It is the same angle and cradles him on the sides like the swing. It is a godsend. In his Rock n Play he can sleep 5-7 hour stretches at night. We tried to move him to a flat bassinet and he could only sleep 2-3 hours. Back to the Rock n Play he goes. And I can easily reach out and rock him a few times if he stirs in the night. I have many friends who have also had success with the Rock n Play. Seriously, best invention ever.

          Some of the older Fisher Price swings don’t have a reclined or “cradle” position for the seat, they only sit up. I would recommend a newer generation that has two positions and tilts back so that the baby is lying back instead of sitting up. Also, get one with an AC adapter. We didn’t and we have to invest in a battery charger. Those batteries get low really quick when they swing for 6 hours a day!

          • Honestly I don’t know why they don’t all come with AC adapter – it’s not like you’re taking them camping after all 😛

            And yeah I don’t like any old swings. They look like high chairs that move. It’s worth it to invest in new gear ESPECIALLY when it comes to safety and sleep. Thanks for the tip on the Rock n Play!

  7. My 3 month old naps the best being worn (up to 2-3 hours sometimes). It has gotten to the point where it does prevent my husband and I from getting some stuff done, but we suck it up because we want him to nap. I tried your swing technique for his first nap yesterday and we left him in it awake and he fell asleep on his own without crying!!! It lasted about an hour. We tried for this next nap and he woke up after 30 minutes. Then, we tried it again in the afternoon and he just kept crying (maybe 5-10 minutes of fussing and then crying) so we took him out and went on errands and he fell asleep in the car (which he rarely does, too). Today, we tried the swing for his first nap and he fell asleep after 15 min of fussing and crying, and slept for 40 minutes. Any suggestions? I don’t want to be bound to the carrier forever… but don’t want him to be overtired!! Thank you!

    • Here’s my guess as to what is going on…

      For 3 months he’s gotten used to sleeping one way – being worn. Which is great but as you say, limiting. And also, not a viable long-term solution.

      Now you’re switching things up on him so it’s totally understandable that his naps may be a little shorter than they were while being carried. If you’re REALLY worried you can still carry him now and then. However here is my advice…

      Try to stick with the swing for 7 days. See what happens. I think once he adjusts he’ll start taking longer naps there. Not only does this free you up, but as I mention in the article, the swing gives you a really nice, gentle way to help him learn to sleep alone so that someday you can transition him into a crib of his own.

      Baby carrying is great. But it doesn’t give you that nice transition path. And regardless of how much you love babywearing, EVENTUALLY he’ll need to sleep in a crib. So even if his naps are temporarily a bit shorter than they used to be, this is a key step towards helping him learn to fall asleep and getting him into the crib. (ps. Check the post below for a better understanding of HOW IMPORTANT teaching him to fall asleep without you really is.

      Hope that helps!

      • Hi Alexis,

        We are on day 7 and we’ve put him in the swing for the morning nap every day this past week. The first day he slept for 90 min (OMG!) and then every day after that was 30 min on the date. He’d wake up crying… To get him some much needed sleep, we did wear him for one of his naps each day in the Moby. We also get him to nap by rocking him and then putting him down on his tummy. He sleeps for 30 min this way as well. What is going on with this 30 min business?! When we wear him, he sleeps 90 min to 3 hours….. Please help…. Thank you again.

        • Oh! We are continuing with the swing FYI. I’m still hopeful he will start sleeping longer in it. But in the meantime, I wanted to know your thoughts.

        • Why don’t you drop me an email so I can ask some questions? (alexis at troublesometots dot com).

          The short answer is I don’t know but lets talk about some possibilities and see if we can’t come up with a plan. I have no beef with him sleeping in the moby now and then. I do have a beef if it’s the only option.

  8. Definitely helps. We will keep at the swing! Do you think wearing him for one nap a day in case he is overtired will undermine our swing efforts?

    Also, have you heard of the Mamaroo?

    Thoughts on it?

    • It’s been ages – I hope things are going well with your sleep efforts?

      I DON’T know the Mamaroo. It looks lovely but also quite expensive ($240?). So I just wonder if it works substantially better than your basic $100 baby swing. Or put another way, I would hope that it works a ton better than a regular swing for $240 ;P

      • I received the Mamaroo as a gift and am using it instead of a traditional swing. Works just fine for these purposes. White noise is pretty loud.

        • Well loud white noise is a bonus. The Fisher Price swing mysteriously turns off after 7 minutes (seriously, who determined that 7 minutes was the magic number?).

      • As an alternate perspective…we also got a Mamaroo as a gift. For our child, it didn’t work at all—the speed is too slow and the motion to controlled to soothe him to sleep. He’s happy to hang out in it when he’s in a good mood, but as a sleep aid, we went back to the Fisher-Price swing friends had handed down (that, fortunately, we hadn’t passed on yet!) Much clunkier and louder, but my husband hypothesizes that the motion (the swing cradle actually physically tilts the baby) is better for our particular kiddo than the Mamaroo, which keeps the baby in the same level position while moving him up and down or side to side. We were really bummed, partly because the Mamaroo plugs in while the F-P swing eats batteries for lunch, so it would have been so much better to use it!

        So for anyone who wants a Mamaroo, I recommend getting it after you have the baby so that you can return it if it doesn’t work for your child. Ours is unfortunately a very expensive toy basket now.

        • My kid didn’t like it either – we felt like pretty big suckers after buying it.

          • Well that’s 2 votes against the Mamaroo which seems pretty compelling. I’m still stuck on the price tag. For $250 I would expect it to also change diapers.

        • Actually some colors of the Fisher Price swing do come with ACDC adapter. But it can be hard to figure out WHICH ones.

          Also I have tried the rechargeable batteries with baby swings and they DON’T work. Which seems super unfair after I spent all this $$ on rechargeable batteries and recharger 😛

          • Just wanted to let you know that it is possible to make an adapter for the batteries-only swings. Obviously you need to find a reliable company because of safety issues but it can be done. I know because my dad runs a business where they make adapters and power supplies and UPS’ and similar stuff and he promised to make one for me :)

  9. Well, my baby surprised me. It’s only our first go-round but she’s sleeping! This is a baby that I can’t ever put down while she’s awake, and she was wide awake (though tired) when she was put into it. It’s just her, a blanket and a pacifier. Amazing! Now I’m sitting here worrying that swinging all night can’t be good for her little body. It’s always something as a first time mom, isn’t it?

    • Being a first time Mom is super stressful. Was talking with some friends about how I wouldn’t go back to first time momhood for all the tea in China. Second kids are so much easier because you’re far too tired to sweat the small stuff. Or the big stuff for that matter.

      She’ll be fine in the swing – she was swinging in your belly for months. And it’s temporary!

      • Still going strong! I haven’t graduated to night use yet, but the swing is great for naps. She slept 4 hours in it yesterday evening, and I got a much needed nap that I swear I’m still feeling the benefits of more than 15 hours later! I know you didn’t invent the swing or talk babies into using it, but without this site I never would have attempted a swing for my, “swing hating baby”. Thank you!

  10. Oh man, that Dr Karp jiggling technique is so awesome…and kinda fun to watch. Wish I knew about that (I don’t recall it being one of the five S’s).

    • The head jiggle is just part of the “swing” for the 5s. Do you know I met Karp at a pediatric conference AND he responded to an email I sent him a few months ago? I figure that practically makes us BFFs :)

  11. My son is 4 and half months old.He always sleeps in crib, wakes up everyday at 5:45, takes 3 naps of about 45-60mins each (following 2-2.5hrs of interval)and goes to sleep each evening between 6 to 7. There are 2 problem
    1)He goes to sleep only at breast while feeding or if we walk him in our arms(which sometimes takes about 30-45 mins)
    2)He wakes up frequently at night every 1-2 hrs.

    After reading your articles yesterday I tried to put him to nap in swing…it worked well but he woke up crying which is unusual. Also for night sleep it didn work.Can you please guide me how to overcome these problem.

    • Are you also using a swaddle and loud white noise? At 4 months he may be done with the swaddle but some kids respond well to it for even 6 to 9 months. Have you tried offering him a pacifier? Also, what do you do when he wakes up every ~1 hour all night long? Are you nursing him hourly through the night? Giving him a bottle? Rocking him for 45 minutes?

      I don’t think there is an easy answer here. I think basically you have a kid who is “used” to falling asleep a certain way and now you’re switching up the game on him. I never said it would be EASY, I just said the swing is the EASIEST way I know (ie easier than other methods). I would continue to work with the swing for 4-7 days and then see how things are going. Anytime you’re making a big change things are generally going to be a little rocky for a while.

      But I do know that rocking him to sleep (especially for 45 minutes – your arms must be TIRED) will eventually start to backfire on you. So this really is a great time to dig in and work on some other methods (like the swing) to help him fall asleep. With the ultimate goal of putting him down awake by ~6 months of age.

  12. I’m curious about my Graco (that my 5 week old baby boy hates). It clicks, pretty loudly. I’m wondering if this is waking him or bothering him at all? And also it’s battery powered. It sounds like you recommend to keep him swinging full powered the entire time he sleeps. Should we buy stock in Duracel? Or is there some way we won’t be blowing through expensive C batteries?

    • How does your now 6 week old baby let you know that he hates the Graco? Is he tweeting at #ihategracoswings?

      I also think they Graco is loud. I doubt that is the problem for your baby though. You can help dampen the effect with loud white noise. Also sometimes the swings rock a bit so you may want to play around with putting a heavy book (telephone book or something) across the bars on the base to reduce the mild rocking.

      And yes you will create your own baby landfill of batteries (unless you buy a swing with AC adapter). If it makes you feel any better, you’ll be continuing your landfill battery waste as they get older (trucks, flashlights, light sabers, etc. – it doesn’t get any better). Conspicuous battery consumption is just part of being a parent. Welcome to the club!

  13. My 3 month old is currently asleep in her swing. I didn’t know what else to do. Glad to know that this isn’t frowned upon. I felt like a crappy mom because I just couldn’t get her to sleep. Sooo glad I found this website. There is a ton of useful information!

    • I’m so sorry you felt crappy. If I had a dollar for ever Mom who struggles to get their baby to sleep I would be a trillionare. Seriously, you aren’t alone. Glad you are feeling better about the swing!

      • This is night 3 of her sleeping in her swing. I’m totally okay with this. That first night (and last night) she slept for a little bit over 6hours. That’s the longest she’s EVER slept for! She actually woke up all smiley and she doesn’t have all of those dark circles under her eyes anymore. I’ma happy mama now!

  14. I agree that swing sleeping can be a wonderful thing. Truthfully, it was th only way I got sleep for awhile. I would just like to caution others on letting the swing sleep carry on too long.

    Our son got so used to sleeping in his swing, he WOULD NOT sleep in his crib. Keep in mind, that he woke up 2-3 times a night until he was 10 months old – so we were still sleep deprived and clung to the swing longer than we should have because we were desperate for sleep. Regardless, the transition to crib was not relatively painless as described. Once we took the swing away, we had days of no naps and major crying. We checked for reflux, but that was not the case.

    He in now 18 months old, sleeping in the crib through the night and now even sleeping in later since we upped bedtime to 7:30. But, a word to the wise, do not let the swing carry on too long or it’ll make the crib transition much more difficult.

    • I wonder if there was not some contributing factor going on with your son? Reflux is immensely difficult to rule out as are other tummy issues. Usually kids who really struggle with transitioning out of the swing have something else going on that makes crib sleeping a challenge for them.

      I speak from experience with lots of refluxing babies, most notably my own two. My youngest (just weaned of Prevacid at 2.5) was in a non-moving swing for 13 months. He needed the incline so gravity could keep his stomach contents IN his stomach. It was a bit of a nightmare and I’m glad he is over the reflux and happy in his crib. But your story makes me think there might have been some small, hard to diagnose source of discomfort that complicated your transition.

      Glad to hear that he’s doing great now!

  15. My baby has been sleeping all night since she was 2 months & we have also used the swing. And was just wondering even though she is almost 4 months old, is it still ok to do this, or should I be making the transition into her crib in her own room? Tried last night & failed miserably! :(

    • I would do one thing at a time: wean off the swing OR get her used to sleeping in her room. Don’t change too much at once or it will go poorly.

      Try moving the swing to HER room and get her used to sleeping in a familiar bed (swing) in a new location (her room). OR start lowering the speed of the swing. Once you get her used to sleeping in a non-moving swing then the transition to her bed shouldn’t be a disaster. But transitioning from a moving swing to a non-moving crib tends to go a bit rough 😛

      Good luck!

  16. Thanks so much for all of the research and effort you’ve put into this and all your posts. I’ve been reading a lot of them and find them very helpful.

    I’m a bit at my wit’s end at the moment with my 12 1/5 week old. I don’t know what to do exactly and am feeling frustrated, tired and sad. (Honestly my biggest trepidation about having a baby was lack of sleep and it is bearing out to be founded!) So my little girl has been a very good sleeper, with at least one 4-6 hour stretch a night followed by 2-4 hour stretches, but as of a week she has been shortening that first long stretch (tonight I put her down at 7 and she was up every 20 or so minutes until almost 9) and shortening the subsequent intervals as well. (Last night she was slept 7-10:30; 11-2; 3-4; 5-6; 6:30-7:15; 8-9; 9:30-11. . . )

    I have been semi-successful in putting her down semi-awake in her crib (with white noise and a (sometimes) a pacifier), and have even had a couple of occassions when I’ve timed it just right and gotten her swaddled and in the crib to have her fall right to sleep. My husband is a big fan of the vibrating chair and I have loathe to use it because I don’t want to form a habit. However, she seems to be falling OUT of the habit of being a good sleeper. Do I now introduce the swing? Do I stop trying to use a pacifier? Do I move into her room so I don’t have to move her into the co-sleeper in my room at night (so I don’t have to get up a million times a night to nurse her in her room?) Please HELP!

    Also, thank you so much for having this blog. I don’t feel so alone. :)

    • Also, she naps about 3-4 times a day for 30 min to 2 hours (if she isn’t happy to see me when she wakes up I put her back down to sleep some more). I try to make sure she is up no longer than 2 hours between naps.

      If she starts crying when I put her in her crib after swaddling I wait around ten minutes and try again. I never try to CIO. She would only escalate and I think she is probably too young.

    • Kim,

      Sorry to hear you feel you are moving in the WRONG sleep direction but babies are often like that (they don’t just get easier in a linear fashion – there’s lots of back and forth for the first year).

      It’s not immediately clear to me why your once-good-sleeper is now not sleeping. But here’s a few thoughts:
      1) She would be QUITE young to have developed object permanence but she wouldn’t be the first baby to surprise me.

      Read this (the WHOLE thing) – do you think that could be what is happening?

      The behavior of waking up constantly could be explained here. If you believe this is what is happening then yes – it’s probably time to loose the pacifier. And any other potential surprises at bedtime that may be messing up her ability to sleep (timed devices and such).

      2) She is slightly older for a swing but I’ve put even 6 month old babies who weren’t sleeping in a swing with great success. The swing isn’t a hard habit to get out of so if it helps her and you sleep better then I’m all for it. Personally I’m a bigger fan of the swing than the bouncy chair. But presumably your husband seems to believe it would help?

      Sounds like she’s napping great so the problem is really at night. My gut says maybe she’s just figured out object permanence really early but I don’t have much to go on.

      Let me know what you think and how things work out!

      • Thanks Alexis. I had already read it, and I just re-read it. I’m note sure if that’s the problem yet . . . but she does seem to notice when we are gone . . .

        She’s been vacillating from terrible to great sleep. I’m wondering if it is a combination of a growth spirt and travel/holidays changes.

        This past weekend we took a 2.5 hour drive to my husband’s parents house and she was tired after the drive and woke up every hour but one, and woke up multiple times in one hour a couple of times. HORRIBLE. After I fueled up with caffeine the next day, I took the 40 minute drive into town to buy a travel swing.

        PRAISE the SWING! – That night she slept from 9-2:15, 2:30-4:45, back to sleep at 5:00 up at 7:45.


        So now we are home and I’m hoping that things mellow out. I make sure that when we put her down, in the swing or not, we do not hang around for her to see us. I make sure that she doesn’t rely on us being there, because that baby tracks us like no buddies business! And when she is crying and I come back in she always stops, at least initially, until I don’t figure out what she wants! :)

        All and all if I put her in the bassinet and she can’t fall asleep, and is crying, I put her in the swing (with or without the pacifier depending on her desires) and it works – assuming she is ready to sleep.


        Thanks again!

        • Wow! I mean “no buddy’s business.” I used to be able to write the English language!

        • Travel makes a mess of things. Generally. However the alternative is to never leave the house. Also not so fun.

          It sounds to me like she is telling you that she needs the swing. For now. So personally? I would embrace it!

          Consistency helps so I would just go 100% swing for now. Over time you can test her to see if she needs it (turn down the speed, see if it makes a difference, if not turn it down some more).

          When something works for your baby USE it. Trust me, she’ll be out of there before you know it!

          • Thanks for the support. I don’t know why but I am REALLY struggling with this. Right now we don’t have a swing that will work past an hour without our turning it back on . . . And she is varying with how she does it with it. Sometimes she sleeps for 9-10 hours with only one feeding, and tonight she’s woken up 2x between 7:30 and 11, but we just put the swing back on (for 20 minutes) and she’s fallen back asleep. . . it’s been over an hour now and my husband and I agreed that the next time she wakes up we’ll feed her. (Last night she ate 13 oz between 12 and 7:30!)

            I really hate being a new mom right now, I have to say. I feel like I’ve been told that after 3 months things get easier, but I don’t really see it. I KNOW this won’t be like this forever, but at the moment I can’t see the forest for the trees.

            I know you can’t give me answers, but I have been consistent in that when she goes down to sleep we put her in the swing. We have been lowering the speed, and it turns off after 20 minutes, without her waking up. I suppose you think we should keep on trucking as is, or do I have it stay on? . . . I’m sorry to keep on bugging you, but I’m really struggling here.

            Funnily, I have no trouble with white noise. . . I think it’s because that can be accommodated at any age, but finding a bed that moves for an adult (or a toddler for that matter) is not in the offing at the moment.

            Thank you in advance for your wisdom and kindness.

            • 1) Babies are REALLY REALLY hard! This is how nature convinces us not to have too many. Because parenting a newborn baby is a TOTAL GRIND. Trust me, it’s not just you.

              2)Waking up 2-3 times a night is totally normal for a 3 month old. It’s not a party, but it’s normal.

              3) Things DO get easier. Just in itty bitty increments. You don’t wake up one morning and find out that everything is cupcakes and roses. So maybe things get 1% better each week from here on out. By the time she is 1 you’ll be rocking the parenting thing. But you’ll also look back on the first few months and shudder, “How did we get through THAT?”

              4)Can you get a new swing? One that doesn’t shut off all night long? Even if you only need it for another month or two it sounds like it would be a good investment….

              You’re not alone. It get’s better. And frankly it sounds like she’s doing great!

  17. Mary Margaret Jackson

    We are big fans of the swing in my house. My son is an unqualified success story when it comes to sleeping in his swing. But we know it can’t last forever. I’m hoping others out there can share their stories – what worked, what didn’t – about transitioning their child from a swing to the crib. My son is already swinging to sleep on the lowest setting, but it still seems relatively fast, especially compared to not moving at all. Is it really as easy as “he’ll do it when he is ready?” I’m mostly nervous about it because he gets overtired really easily. He’ll also be going to daycare in another four weeks where he won’t get his darkened room with his swaddle and white noise in his swing for naps, hence the anxiety in this family! Any thoughts from post-swing readers (or transitioning to daycare!) would be very appreciated!

    • So how did the daycare transition go? Generally babies shock everybody by sleeping like champs at daycare (I hope yours did ;).

      Well nobody chimed in with THEIR swing stories but I have lots and lots. The lowest setting IS pretty fast but generally turning off the swing entirely is not such a big deal. Transitioning from a non-moving swing to the crib can involve a few tears but it’s generally pretty minor (15 minutes of complaining then boom done).

      Sometimes babies will transition happily to their crib for night sleep but still nap in their swing. Which is totally OK. So if you’re worried, I would start with the night time and continue to use the swing during the day for a while.

      Good luck!

      • Mary Margaret Jackson

        It actually worked just about like you said it would! We stopped the swing, held our breaths, and . . . nothing. He was fine! And then after another week we tried taking one arm out of his swaddle for a few days, and that wasn’t going so well. So we went back to the full swaddle and put him in the sidecar sleeper instead, held our breaths again, and . . . nothing! He has spent three happy nights sleeping flat! I’ve even had him flat for a few of his naps, and it has gone pretty well.

        The daycare transition has just started this week. He’s going a few hours a day and then I go back to work next week. He took a mini nap today in his carseat, and that was the first time he slept for them this week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he gradually gets better at napping for them. Today when I picked him up, he was so tired that he fell asleep in his carseat before I even started the car! Given how vigilant I’ve become about napping, it is very hard to cede control and resort simply to hope that they will put him down for naps regularly before he gets overtired and that he will nap! But I do hope …

        • I wish I could push your comment up to the top so other people could see it. People freak out about getting out of the swing when rarely is it a big deal at all. Yay for you!

          Napping at daycare is a pretty stressful thing. Although generally they’re pretty good at getting babies to sleep (and frankly they’re REALLY motivated to get kids to nap so they’ll keep working on it). It may be rough for a week or two but my guess it that you/they will find a method that keeps him well rested at daycare eventually. Good luck with everything!

        • Mary Margaret,

          Can you tell me how the daycare thing went? My 4 month old is about to go into daycare in 3 weeks, and I’m terrified that he’ll never sleep there. I’ve got a doctor’s note for him to sleep in an ‘infant carrier’ (read: swing), but I’m not certain that they’ll feel motivated enough to use it. Not to mention the lack of utter darkness and white noise.

          So, please, give me hope? :-)

    • Hi Alexis!! Firstly WOW what a useful tool I stumbled across when finding your website. You’re amazing and such a great source of information for this first time mum! So THANK YOU!
      Mary Margaret touched base on this but I just wanted to expand on it a little for my own situation! I have a 5 week old bub using a Fisher Price Baby Studio Swing currently. It’s day 2 of day and night usage and things seem to be going well. She is settling to sleep so much quicker than my previous methods (which included nursing to sleep, rocking to sleep, falling asleep on me and then transitioning her to her bassinet etc). Day time naps today are down to only an hour (usually they would be between 2-3 hours but I’ll put it down to an off day) and Night time sleeps are still the same (waking at around 10:30, 1:00, 3:30, 5:30) but I’m hoping as time in the swing continues and she gets a little older that this increases. I know 6 weeks is generally growth spurt time so it might take a little time to see some changes.
      My biggest concerns are that the lowest speed of the swing still seems pretty fast compared to no motion and also wanting to know if 3 months of age was approximately a good time to start trying to transition her to the crib given that we are swinging away now at 5 weeks or if i find that she is getting to sleep easily with the fastest speed to start slowing things down sooner?
      Have you had any parents mention that when transitioning from the slowest speed on the swing to the stationary swing they have had unhappy babies? Would you recommend if I did have troubles to wait another week and try again? Or do you have some brilliant ‘other’ suggestion I could try?
      Thanks again!

  18. Our oldest daughter was a swing napper, though she did sleep in her crib for night time. She started daycare at 12 weeks old. What I can tell you is that your daycare provider wants your little one to sleep as much as you do! While the conditions won’t be exactly the same, they will take their cues from you and try to do whatever they can to get him to sleep. And, heck, in another four weeks, your sleep situation may be completely different! I know that’s not lots of help, but maybe a little reassurance about the daycare piece. Good luck!!

    • Babies often shock their parents by how much they sleep at daycare. Babies often sleep better for babysitters too. When my oldest was 9 months I had a wonderful neighborhood babysitter come over for 3 hours a day to give me a break here and there. For me I was lucky to get a 1 hour nap. However every time this 16 YO girl showed up he was guaranteed to sleep practically the full 3 hours she was here. I hated paying her to sit on my couch and text her boyfriend but whatever, it worked!

  19. Hello and thanks for the great website. I am trying your swing technique to get my 10 week old out of my bed and hopefully sleeping for longer than the 45 min to 1.5 hour stretches she’s always done. Since birth she’s been what we like to call fiesty (others may call her difficult), but now that I have read your posts on reflux I realize she has many of the symptoms and I’ve got an appointment booked with her doctor to check into it.

    Here are some questions for you:
    My girl fights going in the swing and also returning to the swing after a night waking. How many attempts should I make each time? What I mean is, if using all of the varsity techniques, my baby still degrades into hysteria, should I pick her up, calm her down then try again? How many times can/should I repeat? I don’t want to create a bad association with the swing but I also want her out of my bed ASAP.

    The same goes for when she wakes and becomes hysterical 10 – 15 minutes after she falls asleep. Do I soothe her and put her back in or call it quits for that round?

    Thanks for your help. I’ve been trying the Elizabeth Pantley method for about a month but I really haven’t seen much improvement. Probably because I am too exhausted to follow through most of the time. My baby will only nap in her carrier while I am walking with a steady rhythm. These past 10 weeks have felt like a military boot camp at times. On the plus side I’m back in my pre-pregnancy clothes! All of those moms with good sleepers can eat their hearts out!

    • So what happened with the reflux? IF you have reflux that complicates everything. But it’s been a few weeks so if you DO have a reflux baby hopefully things are significantly improved?

      Most babies will not fall back asleep after a 10-15 minute nap. It sucks when that happens and you’re welcome to TRY to put them back to sleep, it just rarely works. Basically if she’s slept for 15 minutes you’ve just had a crappy nap. Fini.

      As for trying to put her back in the swing, I would generally keep trying. If not the swing then what would you do – bring her into bed with you?

      Also if she is only 10 weeks old maybe you rock, nurse, etc. her to sleep – FULLY asleep – and THEN put her into the swing.

      If she has reflux ( maybe) I would definitely work with the swing vs. co-sleeping as the angle should help the reflux a ton.

      Hope that helped?

      • Hi Alexis, thanks for checking on me!

        My daughter does have silent acid reflux and has been medicated for 2 weeks now. The difference is astounding. I feel like I’m just meeting her for the first time – she is so smiley and chatty and fun to be with, completely the opposite of when she was hurting from the stomach acid. Thanks again for the great website. We probably would have figured out there was something wrong eventually but it helped to have all of the symptoms spelled out for us.

        Her sleep has improved quite a bit (she actually slept 4 hrs then 3 hrs then 3 x 1 hr one night!) but she still doesn’t consider the swing to be a suitable place to fall asleep. She has been sick with a cold for the past couple of days and has been very clingy so is back to going to bed with me then going to the swing after the first night awakening. As soon as she is better I will get back to putting her in it every night to try and fall asleep. In the end I decided that 2 attempts or 15 minutes of complaining on the first attempt was appropriate for this age. If it goes longer than that I let her fall asleep in bed with me and sneak her into the swing. I figure with dogged persistence she will eventually come to see the swing as an acceptable sleeping place.

        Thanks again, Kathryn.

        • P.S. I just wanted to say that we have found white noise to be absolutely fantastic. Both my husband and I downloaded a whitenoise app. onto our phones which we use all the time. If we are out and she starts fussing we just whip out the phone and turn on the ‘airconditioner’ setting and it calms her right down. It is great, a pacifier for a baby who won’t take a pacifier!

        • Had the same “is this the same baby?” experience with reflux meds. I would only encourage you to keep with the swing because the upright angle is so helpful. When babies are older and flipping onto their stomachs they tend to do well in the crib but sleeping on their backs is the worst position for refluxing kids :(

          Also at her age it is TOTALLY OK to do whatever until she is 100% sleep and THEN sneak her into the swing. That’s just an option if you want her out of your bed. Especially given your recent diagnosis of reflux I wouldn’t be too stressed about putting her down awake just now (although yes you definitely need to get there eventually…)

          Good luck with your newly happy baby!

  20. I have a five-week old girl and have been struggling with keeping her asleep in the pack and play bassinet she’s been sleeping in since birth. Just a few days ago I discovered that she will sleep WONDERFULLY in the swing my aunt lent us! The problem is, I am scared to let her swing without supervision, which means that I can’t let myself sleep while she’s swinging. On top of that, the swing is old–it’s a Fisher Price Smart Response swing. Is that swing even safe to use anymore? And how can I alleviate my fears so I can finally get some rest?

    • P.S.: I should mention that the swing is ten years old.

    • Oooof. I love hand me downs.

      Except when it comes to safety. Cribs, car seats, and swings should all be bought new. If you had a swing that was 9 months old, sure. But a 10 year old swing? No.

      I would not suggest you use any safety item that is that old full stop. You can get a new Fisher Price swing for about $100 on Amazon and it’s absolutely worth it.

      • My instinct was that we should buy new. I feel that if we get a new swing, I will feel much better about leaving her in it while I nap.

        Just found your site yesterday and I have found it extremely helpful so far! Since right now my daughter is going down for her long stretch of sleep at about 10 AM after staying awake for almost the whole night (with nothing more than short naps from about 8 PM to 8 AM), I know I’ll probably be posting many more questions in the future!

  21. Hi!

    I have a Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Swing (It’s basically the FP Luv U Zoo Cradle Swing) . My baby is 6 1/2 weeks old and doesn’t need it for reflux, but he is SUPER gassy and struggling against the swaddle wakes him up. UNLESS he’s in the swing…so even if it wakes him up, he is soothed back to sleep because of the swing motion.
    Right now, the swing is in the living room. he sleeps in it the first part of the night 7:30 ish – and goes 6-7 hours feeding to feeding for this first part of the night. Dad sleeps out on the couch right next to him. Dad will change him and reswaddle him before bringing him to me to eat. I’ll lay him back down in his pack n play newborn napper attachment, and he NEVER sleeps that long, or he wakes back up pretty quickly. My questions:
    1.) This is a regular buckle, not a five point harness. I’ve seen him slump forward before and have been worried he’ll fall out. I like to be able to see him, BUT I would like to put his swing in his room at night (I read your swing sleep guide!!) and set the monitor, but how safe is it really??
    2.) He’ll nap okay during the day in the swing unswaddled and in bright daylight. Should I be keeping him in his room for this too?
    3.) Is it safe to swaddle them AND leave them alone with a monitor?
    Thanks, as always!!!

    • Wow – lots going on here but OK…

      1) At 6.5 months it’s really time for him to sleep in the same place all the time. Consistency is now your friend (newborns can sleep wherever but you’ve got a big grownup baby now).

      2) Daddy shouldn’t need to sleep on the couch anymore! Seriously, poor Daddy’s back must be killing him!

      3) I would talk to your pediatrician about the swing and safety. I’ve never had a baby fall out of the swing on me but that doesn’t mean that it’s entirely impossible. My oldest was in the swing for 13 months (literally a world record). I shared falling out fears with my pediatrician who told me, “Babies fall out of swings, bouncers, and what not all the time. They get a little bump on the head and life goes on.”

      4) It’s really hard to fall out of a 3 pt harness. I sometimes suggest the Graco for older babies (refluxers often need to stay in there a loooong time) due to the 5-pt harness, but even a 3 pt harness is hard to get out of.

      My only concern with an older baby who is unswaddled in a 3 pt harness is that they can’t reach anything that they might put in their mouth. Some swings have dangling toys (why exactly?!?!) so you want to make sure that he can’t reach anything that might pop off.

      So I would definitely work on having him sleep in his room and let Daddy come back to his. I’m not overly worried about him falling out. I would make sure he can’t reach anything that might be put into his mouth. Talk to your pediatrician. But falling out has never been a major problem in my experience.

      • Thanks. I should mention that my baby is 6 1/2 WEEKS old – not months. Trust me – I will have this kid sleeping in his own crib by 6 months FOR SURE!!

        And haha! Daddy is used to the couch – he slept there almost my entire pregnancy b/c he woke me up with his AWFUL snoring all the time.

        The swaddle seems awkward in the swing, but we do it anyway. The last few mornings I’ve been leaving him in his room in the swing for several hours until morning. he seems to be doing okay.

        • Am a lot less worried about your 6 week old falling out of the swing :)

          And let Daddy come back to bed! It’s been almost a year, he’s probably lonely out there 😉

          • I just keep laughing about Daddy in bed. We never had this issue before kids, even though he still snored like a freight train…I guess I just slept through it.

            I’ll talk to our ped next week at our sons 2 month check up.

            We did buy the Snug a Bunny Swing b/c we needed another one anyway. It’s cute, and last night I nursed him around 7:30 and put him in the swing at 8:00. He fell asleep, woke up at 9:00 (ish) and talked/lighted fussed for a while and went back to sleep until 4:00!!!! How exciting, but I still woke up randomly around 2:00 and wondered if he was okay!

            I’ll give a shot at letting him sleep in his swing in his room and I’ll let you know how it goes!

  22. Hi Alexis,

    LOVE your blog! Thank you thank you thank you for your easy to read, matter of fact advice on all things sleep. We so appreciate it!

    We have a four month old who was sleeping just fine (going down for 4 naps okay @ aprox 55mins… and sleeping 11 hours at night in her crib with sometimes one short feeding around 2am) until about 3 weeks ago, when everything went wacko!

    Suddenly, she needs us to rock/jiggle to sleep and will sometimes wake up after 10mins multiple times for naps. Nighttime sleep hasn’t been as consistently miserable as daytime, but it has definitely gotten worse (2-3 wakings and much more difficult to get her back to sleep w/ or w/o feeding).

    We’ve blacked out her room, continued to swaddle, expanded her crib (it was a tiny bassinet size before), but still things weren’t really improving. That’s when we found you!

    We’re only on day one of naps (2nd nap of the day) in the swing and so far it’s going great. She’s currently still sleeping after 1.5 hours! She needed us to stay in the room and sing to her a bit while she fell asleep, but she did so in about 10 mins without ANY crying!

    We were hoping to be able to continue putting her in the crib for nighttime sleeping semi awake. Last night she only needed us once while going down, and my husband was able to get her to sleep with just a little jiggling and belly rubbing (without picking her up). She slept from 7pm till 2:30am, had a quick snack, and went back to sleep with more belly jiggling (not in our arms, and not fussing), and slept till 6am. This is pretty much where we were a few weeks ago before extreme nap time fussiness set in.

    We feel like she is so close to being able to put herself to sleep, what do you think? Should we do full on swing at night too? Or are we far enough along in the whole process to necessitate that? Also, what do you think about setting the swing on a timer to turn off after a while?

    Again, thank you! From the bottom of our sleepy hearts!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your kind words:)

      See the link below (sleep regressions) as this is probably what blew up on you a few weeks ago.

      It sounds like you’re actually pretty successful with the crib at night so maybe you just stick with the swing for naps and the crib at night. The swing is great if night sleep is a disaster but your managing to put baby down semi-awake and she only wakes up once, and you can’t really ask for much better than that :)

      And sure – you can always test the swing timer. If she still takes awesome naps – GREAT! If she wakes up in 30 minutes then you know the timer isn’t a grand idea.

  23. Hi,
    I love this blog! I had been reading it in the middle of the night on my iphone when I saw this post about swings. I thought my 6 week old baby hated her swing until I tried your suggestions. Now she takes 2 hour naps and sleeps for (2) 4 hour stretches at night. Thanks! I do have some concerns/questions and I wanted to hear your thoughts:
    – Will my baby get flat head from always sleeping in the swing?
    – Until what age can I safely let her sleep in her swing?
    – Is it bad that her legs are scrunched up when she sleeps in the swing?
    – Do you think she is TOO cozy to wake up to eat? I don’t want her to start losing weight because she’s now sleeping so much better. (The past couple days she has slept about 14-15 hours a day, vs. only 11 or 12 in the past weeks.)
    – Should I wake her up to eat during the day? She could really sleep for 2-3 hours in the swing and I worry that she’ll miss calories. I am breastfeeding exclusively.

    Aside from those concerns, the swing has been a godsend! I have some time to rest, get chores done and just breathe! Thanks for this creative and informative blog!

    – Elisabeth K.

    • Hi Alexis, A couple more questions about safety:

      Because I needed to sleep more peacefully, I moved Lila’s swing into her own room last week and started sleeping with the monitor on. Do you think it’s safe to have her swing in her own room while being watched through the monitor? I did this for naps last week too (and it was nice to have the breaks!) but I started to feel nervous and like a bad mom for leaving her attended only by the monitor.

      Also, Lila is small enough (7 weeks) that I am not currently strapping her in. Is this bad? I use the miracle blanket and like you mentioned in a post, it doesn’t work with the leg strap.

      Sorry to bombard you with questions but as a new mom I am constanting second guessing my decisions based on worry.

      LOVE your blog!
      Elisabeth K.

    • Hey Elisabeth,
      I’m glad you are finding helpful stuff here!

      – I wouldn’t worry about flat head. Seriously.

      – Technically she can stay in there until she hits the weight limit (usually 25 lbs) or becomes so active that she can’t safely be left in there (usually 9+ months)

      – I’m not worried about her legs although I can’t imagine how scrunched a newborn could really be?

      – If your baby is still growing, producing wet diapers, and there is no medical cause for alarm, then you can assume she will wake up when hungry get enough food. If you have concerns talk to your pediatrician but as a general rule, once babies have figured out eating (it can take a few weeks) they’ll manage their own intake just fine.

      – Baby is probably OK in her own room but I do prefer to co-room (have newborns in YOUR room) when they’re little. Just because you’re more aware of what is going on in your room vs. on a monitor.

      – I would probably start strapping her in. You never know when she’ll be strong enough to flop around and while this probably won’t happen for another month or so, why risk it?

      PS. Stop worrying, everything is going to be OK :)

  24. Would you suggest attempting varsity swinging techniques for a week or two at age 5.3 months? We are coming up on that critical 6 month point and darling stinkerpants still has not mastered falling asleep on his own. We have made great strides in the past two months, and he now falls asleep being rocked in my arms next to the crib without nursing (yay!) but I have no idea how to make that last step.

    He has never, ever once fallen asleep in his swing, but I am willing to try harder. He’s already outgrowing the damn thing as well–18 lbs and 28 inches tall. Any ideas would be extremely welcome. I very much hope to avoid landing in CIO City in 2 months. THANKS for your wonderful blog!

    • More info: I can set him down in the crib without incident while he is barely asleep–in the first minute or two. Big progress from “hold me for 20 minutes and then I will still scream the second you try to set me down.” But not good enough yet. He takes one longish nap in his crib 2 hours after getting up in the morning and 2-3 irritating micro naps later, sometimes in the crib and sometimes in the ergo. At bedtime he goes into his crib, where he stays for about 3 hours with 0-2 wakings before I take him to bed with me around 10:30. I intend to cosleep a while longer but once we’re ready for night weaning I’m hoping to keep him in his crib all night.

    • Update: We’ve been using the swing for a week with modest success. He does often fall asleep in it when we use ALL of the varsity swinging techniques (except pacifier, he has always been anti-pacifier).

      Nighttime: He has been sleeping 2.5 hours after he first falls asleep at night, which is an improvement. Before, he often woke up after only 40 minutes. 2.5 hours coincides well with my bedtime and he sleeps in our bed after that.

      Naps: Even after falling asleep in the swing, he often naps for only 40 minutes. We got one glorious 2 hour morning nap, but that is all. My husband is home with him for naps 2 and 3, and he has had a much harder time getting him to fall asleep in the swing midday and afternoon. So they are still doing quite a few ergo naps.

      Thoughts? Should we keep it up? His feet hang off the edge of the swing and I feel so silly swaddling him when he’s so big. He’ll be 6 months in less than 2 weeks. I really, really wish we had started this 2 months ago or more.

    • Argh. Mama and Daddy want longer naps! Varsity swinging is working well, but STILL most days his naps are so short that he ends up needing a 4th one late in the day to avoid a 5:30 bedtime. Isn’t 6 months way too old for 4 naps? He does not do well with a wake time even slightly longer than 2 hours.

      At night he is trying SO HARD to learn to fall asleep on his own. I leave him in the crib while he tries, sometimes for 10-15 minutes before he starts to get upset and then I comfort him and go to the swing. His methods (I peek from where he can’t see me) are hilariously ineffective. He flails about, rolls around, moans loudly, attempts to latch onto the crib rails, rubs his blankie furiously on his face, etc. He seems genuinely frustrated that none of this works. It makes me want to cry at the same time as I am laughing at him.

      Sorry for the long string of rambling updates. :-) I really love this blog, and I am hopeful that my peanut will figure this out soon.

      • Hey Kate,
        So sorry I’m behind on comments (especially as it seems you’ve left FOUR while waiting for a response ;).

        So you have a happy healthy hearty 6 month old baby now right? Who sleeps sometimes in his crib, sometimes in his swing, sometimes with you, and sometimes in the ergo. (Ergo is my favorite babywearing device also as it doesn’t brutalize your back). Don’t worry – NOT JUDGING – I totally get how you can fall into a pattern like this. But this is part of the problem – no consistency. Totally OK with a newborn, not so great now.

        Also when he sleeps with you, when you rock him to sleep in your arms, or carry him in the ergo, you’re teaching him that cuddling with you is the way to sleep. Which is great if you’re going to co-sleep. In fact I suspect he would probably take decent naps if you co-slept with him for naps too?

        Usually the weight limit on a swing is 25-30 lbs so I suspect he’s not outgrowing them (there is no height restriction) but yes swaddling a big baby is hard.

        I’m assuming you’re using loud white noise too? Swing is in a dark room? (Older babies don’t sleep well in the living room anymore).

        I have no magic answer for you. But you DO have to choose ONE spot for him to sleep. If you want to still co-sleep then that’s the spot. If it’s the crib, good luck (maybe CIO is the answer and if so, godspeed). Personally I would probably work the swing angle just because it most closely recreates the carrying that he seems to enjoy. But you need to pick one and sort of commit.

        Once in a while if you want to put him in the ergo after a day of short crappy naps, of course you should. But consistency (or lack thereof) is currently working against you.

        The short nap thing could just be where he’s at. If you’re putting him in the swing awake then you’re doing all you can do. Some babies just take longer to take mongo naps. It starts gradually (a long nap here or there) and then slowly happens more often. Usually by 6 months but sometimes slightly later.

        Again lack of consistency is not helping you get longer naps from your happy boy.

        So where is he going to sleep? Would love to hear what you choose and how it goes. And again – terribly sorry for the late response 😛

        • Thank you Alexis! The place of choice is definitely the swing now that we’ve got that working. He takes his naps there and falls asleep there at night. The ergo is now used only for those short 4th naps when his Dad has had enough of fighting him to fall asleep in the swing, so they go for a walk at 3:30 or 4 pm or whatever. Usually those naps are only 20 min. long.

          He does not sleep much in the crib now, but I have been doing “crib practice” near the end of his bedtime routine in hopes that he can learn to fall asleep on his own without full-blown CIO. Maybe I should stop doing that and just stick with the swing, which is where he ends up when he inevitably does not fall asleep in the crib.

          Cosleeping: I thought starting him out elsewhere at the beginning of the night would help us make a gradual transition to him sleeping on his own all night. I can’t cosleep with him for naps because I am at work, “working” (i.e. obsessing about his naps from afar.) And I don’t want to give up cosleeping entirely because it’s still working really well for us, at least during MY sleeping hours. To be honest, I would be really sad to see my baby for only an hour in the morning and an hour after work, before he goes to bed. The nighttime is special for me because I miss him so much during the day.

          Sigh. So basically I guess we suck at consistency right now. I’ll get more militant about it if things get worse I guess. Right now we are getting better, not worse, thanks largely to your genius swing method.

          • If co-sleeping is where you want him at night then great! I think I sound more anti-co-sleeping then I really am. As long as you and your partner are happy, I’m happy.

            Does putting him in the crib for a few hours help you? Hmmm…possibly although my guess is “not much.” Course it doesn’t really hurt you either. So whatever you choose (before you bring him to bed) is probably OK).

            He’ll probably need to come out of the swing in a month or two (getting big there no?) but hopefully it’ll give you a great way to help him learn to sleep without you so that when you transition him to napping in the crib it’ll go smoothly. I assume you are putting him in the swing awake at naptime yes? (If not you now have some homework to do 😉

            Good luck with everything!

            • Totally non-swing related update: Kiddo is now almost 8 months old. The swing was so good for a few months but he’s pretty much done with it now. He started freaking out in the swing because he wants to be on his side or his back and obviously that’s not real doable in the swing.

              So, after a couple weeks of major backsliding on naps and more night wakings as we attempted to switch to the crib, I finally gave up and started Ferber last night. One shot cry it out was simply not an option for me and I was fairly heartbroken going to Ferber. But I finally decided to go for it for 2 reasons. 1. I do NOT want to do cry it out with a 14 month old who can climb out of his crib, which with this child is where I fear we would be headed if he doesn’t learn to fall asleep on his own, and 2. My instincts just told me he was ready and really really wanted to learn to fall asleep without my help.

              Night 1: he fell asleep in 34 minutes. Still had several night wakings which I treated in the usual way (nurse to sleep), coslept starting at about 11:30, which has been our routine for a while. Hoping as we keep doing the ferber method at bedtime and reducing length of time nursing on the night wakings, he will sleep longer stretches and ultimately NAP better during the day.

              (P.S. No question here but comments or suggestions very welcome.)

            • Oops I mean side or his BELLY, not his back. He won’t sleep on his back anymore for anything.

          • Replying to the CIO stuff below (can’t “nest” any more comments below!)….

            So 34 minutes if FANTASTIC! I know it doesn’t feel fantastic but trust me – it is. You’ve probably have already seen it drop to under 10 minutes or maybe you’re already to the “few minutes of grumbling then asleep” phase. So YAY!

            And you are right to worry about him climbing out of the crib. So good job listening to your instincts!

            What do your instincts say about the co-sleeping stuff? Because the same argument applies here. If you want your 14 month old sleeping in your bed then that is totally cool. However if that is NOT in your plan the now would be a great time to get him used to sleeping in his OWN bed. Largely for the same reason but also to create greater consistency in his sleep environment.

            You’re effectively trying to teach him how and where he sleeps. Only there is a bit of a mixed message because at bedtime you are teaching him to sleep one place but then later, he sleeps in a different place. And each location has it’s own set of sleep associations.

            Again not a huge issue if it’s working for you but if you don’t want him in your bed until he’s 3 (or even later) now might be a good time to work on the crib.


            • Trust me, I know 34 minutes is awesome! The first night was hard but I was so relieved it wasn’t much much worse. I think he was very ready for it. When we did short experimental fuss-it-out sessions in the last few weeks, it was like he was TRYING to CIO if that makes sense. He wasn’t reaching for me or trying to nurse, he was just flailing all around, rocking on his knees, etc. He was happy enough to nurse to sleep when I offered, and he would then go to sleep quickly, but oddly it didn’t seem to be what he was after.

              Anyway, night 2 was 8 minutes (actually more like 3, then quiet for 3, then 2 more, then done). Tonight he cried out once when I walked away and then appears to have just collapsed into deep sleep! :-) So I am a very happy mama!

              We don’t mind if he part time cosleeps for a long time. I suspect that he will gradually stay in the crib longer and longer stretches so that eventually maybe he’s waking up once to nurse at like 4 am and just spending the last few hours with us.

        • So we have now been using the swing for almost a month. Dark room, swaddled arms, lovey, loud white noise, the whole bit. And hallelujah, it really works! I cannot thank you enough.

          So now about getting him OUT of there, since he’s 6 months and not getting any smaller . . .

          I have tried backing off on some of the soothing and it just simply has not worked. He won’t go to sleep with one arm out of his swaddle. He won’t go to sleep with the swing on a lower speed. He will only rarely go to sleep without additional bouncing or jiggling of the swing or without me/husband shushing until our heads are spinning. And the worst part? Even falling asleep in the swing, he STILL often wakes up after 40 minutes. We have discovered if we pat him on his belly, and I mean really patting the hell out of him like he is a drum or something, he will go back to sleep for another 40 minutes. But most of the time he doesn’t make it through that transition without the patting.

          Help? Should we just keep on keeping on and resign ourselves to the possibility of several more months of swing naps? We did research which swing is the BIGGEST (answer: Graco Lovin’ Hug) and bought one on craigslist, and it fits him much better than the fisher price we were using.

          Thank you thank you thank you for your time and for sharing the genius of the swing.

          • P.S. The graco swing we found is pink and purple. The lady who sold it to us was like, “um, isn’t your baby a boy?” and we were like, “yup, a boy who is going to SLEEP in this thing, in his room with the black plastic on the windows.” :-)

  25. Hi Alexis,
    Our son is fourteen weeks old. We have been soothing him all the way to sleep and want to transition him to soothing himself to sleep. We also (secondary goal) want to lengthen his naps. We tried out the swing this weekend and on day three are having very very limited success – just wondering if you have any tips. Here is a little more about what we have been doing:
    At night, we co-sleep (always have – it is by choice, not through desperation). He goes to bed at around 10pm, sleeping between 8.5 and 9 hours each night (with two wakings to eat.) We will transition him out of the co-sleeping a little bit closer to six months, but for now are working on the self-soothing for naps. (We often put him down not quite asleep during the night and he goes to sleep, so maybe just our presence is soothing enough then.)
    During the day, up until this weekend he has napped in his crib. He is a cat napper; he only sleeps between 25 and 45 minutes, but usually around 30 minutes. (Even if we hold him, carry him, etc. He also hates the car and will cry for up to thirty minutes in the car and often never falls asleep there.) We are diligent about only keeping him up about an hour (and never more than an 1h 45m), but I think he does get more and more tired as the day goes on, so that it is hardest to put him down at around 8pm, the nap before bed time. Up until two weeks ago, we always put him all the way to sleep by bouncing and shooshing during the day and then put him down. It has become more and more difficult (like he is harder to put down without waking up – like he is almost resisting sleep? Hypervigilance?)
    Starting two weeks ago, we started putting him down about 85-90% asleep in his crib. Sometimes he would stay asleep for his 30 minutes and sometimes he would wake up right away and we’d soothe him back to 90% or all the way down at those times. However, it didn’t really feel like we were making much progress towards self-soothing and his naps stayed short, so we decided to try the swing.
    We are on day three of using the swing and every subsequent day and every subsequent nap he has been more and more angry and resistant to being put in the swing. The first time I put him in he fell asleep with no crying. Second time, cried for two minutes and feel asleep. Then four minutes and I went in and shooshed from behing until he fell asleep. Another like that and then that night we couldn’t console him in the swing (we’re using all the varsity methods anyway, except pacifier which he can’t keep in his mouth), so we picked him up and soothed him all the way down and put him back in the swing. The length of his naps did not really increase, staying between 25-50 minutes. Next day the first nap was more like the second nap of the first day and then each subsequent nap was harder and harder. Today, he will cry the full five minutes each time, we have to shoosh him down to sleep and then he wakes up after 10-15 minutes and cries again and doesn’t stop, so we go in and pick him up and sooth him all the way down.
    It seems like we just have to let him cry it out, which we aren’t ready to do, and if we were going to do, why bother with the swing in the first place? Do you have suggestions or is this common and what do you suggest? He’s not even getting his normal 30 minute naps at this point (though we let him sleep on us once today and he slept for 1.5 hours, which he never has done before.)

    • Hi Alexis,

      We’re still really struggling and wonder if you have any tips. We’re willing to try the swing again, but it was getting to be like he was screaming at the top of his lungs for a full five minutes and it took so long to console him that it didn’t seem worth it after four days of trying. However, he is really hard to soothe to sleep (especially around 8pm, when he resists and cries and cries, no matter what we do) and we really want to help him.

      How would it look to do the “gradual” training. It seems like if we even put him down not quite asleep now, he wakes up upset. Currently we (with swaddle, white noise and darkness) bounce and shush him to sleep.

      Probably relatedly, it is hard to have a bed time routine because he is a cat napper and it isn’t always clear which time we put him down will be the time he sleeps more than 30 minutes (always sometime between 8:30 and 10pm).

      We really want to train him to put himself to sleep and I feel like a shitty mom because he’s either resisting sleep and crying and I’m crying too or we’re putting him all the way down. (Often all three! Joy!)

      Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


      • Hi Lexi,

        Well I’m not sure if I have an answer that you are looking for but here are my thoughts…

        – At 3.5 months it’s not a parenting failure that you can’t get your baby to soothe himself to sleep! He may not be there yet. Remember our goal is to put him down sleepy but awake by ~6 months (give or take) so you’ve got time. And HE’S got time. It’s a process. He’s still pretty little so my best guess is, “He’s not ready yet.”

        What to do? Soothe him 100% asleep, and try again in another week or two.

        – How to fix short naps? Check the post I link to below for more on my thoughts on that. Nap consolidation at 3 months does occur for some babies. But not most. Lots of 30 minutes naps sounds pretty normal for a 3 month old baby.

        – Sounds like you’re trying to put him in the swing awake (see above). What about soothing him totally asleep and then putting him in the swing. Does that improve nap duration?

        – Are you doing any sort of consistent bedtime routine? Where is the swing? In a dark room with loud white noise? Just a though as sometimes babies who are more alert need to be in a sensory deprivation chamber to sleep (super dark, no distraction, LOUD white noise).

        – You say you are putting him down after being awake only 1 hour and that seems a bit on the short side for 3 months. Perhaps he needs to be awake slightly longer? Timing of naps can be a tricky business to nail down. But I suspect that something is just slightly off with “when” he goes down and then a little detective work on your part might help out.

        – Napping at 8:00 seems a bit odd for a 3.5 month old. I would work really hard towards getting this to be his bedtime. Do a LOOONG soothing bedtime routine (luxurious baby bath, infant massage, books, songs, feed, etc.) and put him down. If he wakes up 30 minutes later I would work really hard to put him BACK down. Keep the lights low, no play time, no TV, reinforce the idea that this is BEDTIME. If he won’t go back to sleep then it’s quiet time in a dark room until he IS ready. It may take a few days to get the 8:00 bedtime working but I think it’s a worthy goal.

        At 8-9 hours of sleep at night he’s definitely short on sleep. And probably this is working against you. I’m not blaming you for this – God knows getting baby sleep sorted out is hard! But my guess is that his night is too short so he starts the day over-tired which results in short naps all day which feeds into short naps. Thus you are stuck in a vicious cycle of tired baby (probably you AND he are feeling a bit sick of this cycle by now).

        So to break the cycle you need to do something different. I would put him in the swing fully asleep to see if that helps with nap length. And I would work on 8:00 PM bedtime (vs. naptime)

        Let me know what you think & how things get sorted out, OK?
        PS. If you haven’t already – check this out:

  26. I have been trying this for 9 days now. I’m pretty good at following directions, but this just isn’t working for my 8 week old. He’s still a little colicky and very gassy though so maybe that has something to do with it.

    Tonight it took me 2 hours to get him to sleep after his bath and feed. All the soothing techniques left him blinking at me and fussing->crying in the swing. I have to bounce him to sleep and then maybe he’ll stay asleep in the swing. But 9 times out if 10 his eyes pop back open. I’m minding his sleep times too so he isn’t overtired at the beginning of bedtime but he sure is by the time I get him down.


    • If he is only 8 weeks and bedtime is a long arduous affair then maybe what you are grappling with is really the dreaded witching hour? Seriously most newborns have a long window of awake time usually in the early/late evening where they are super fussy and won’t sleep. It’s pretty miserable for all involved so you just soothe as much as you can and wait for them to outgrow it.

      Anyhoo….that’s what it sounds like to me.

      • You’re absolutely right. He was colicky from Week 2 to Week 9. This is baby #2 and nothing prepared me for it. Thanks for the response.

  27. Thanks for the great website!! My baby (7 weeks) falls asleep fine in the swing for naps by himself (if we get his sleep window right!) but wakes early (around 30-40 min) and can’t put himself back to sleep in the swing. I end up rocking him, wearing him, or he is up, crabby, until his next nap. At night he sleeps the night through in his bassinet. Any suggestions? Thanks again!

    • While some newborns will take huge naps MOST will do what you describe – wake up every 30 minutes resulting in 6 short crappy naps all day long. Also baby fussiness peaks at 6 weeks so you are in the thick of the fussy non-sleeping baby window.

      So while you are looking for a magic solution all I can really say is, “Well it’s a tough patch for sure but sounds pretty normal.”

      Actually if I had a way of making newborn babies take long consistent naps I would sell it.

      Check out below – might be helpful?

      • Thanks so much for the reply :) This is baby #3 for us and I am trying to put him down more instead of wear him in the backpack all day like I did with my other 2 (which resulted in sleep issues around 4-6mo that we had to sleep train them out of!). I am so happy I found your site! I have been putting him in the swing drowsy but awake and after 5-10 min he will fall asleep on his own, sometimes with the pacifier sometimes without, and usually only after a little fussing. Naps range anywhere from 20 min to 3 hours – gotta love babies! if he wakes early I left him fuss for a few minutes and usually he will go back to sleep. It’s a learning process for everyone, for sure, and I’m sure once we figure everything out baby will change on us like they usually do! Thanks again for this great website!

        • Sounds like your little guy is well on his way to sleeping GREAT (excellent naps anyway!). Plus the occasional backpack nap is OK too (especially with 2 other kids, sometimes you just gotta get OUT right?)

          So glad to hear things are going well for you!

  28. Hallelujah- I am SO glad I found this blog!

    For the past 3 months of my sons life I have only been successful getting him asleep in my arms, at my breast.
    He has been co-sleeping with my husband and I since birth and the lack of mommy-daddy activity in our bed is driving my husband insane.

    Every time I have tried putting him in the swing he starts fussing within a few minutes.
    The swing has been in the living room.
    After reading your tips, I just brought the swing upstairs in his room, closed the curtains and found a radio!

    It’s been 44 minutes so far and he is still sleeping!

    Thank you Mamma!

    • Do you know what is REALLY amazing? That you are so keen on mommy daddy time (and really GOOD for you!). When my guys were 3 months old any spare second I had was spent either sleeping or thinking about sleeping. If I was in bed, it was because I was SLEEPING in it. (Clearly your husband is a far luckier guy than mine is 😉

  29. Is it safe for babies to sleep in the swing so much. It seems like their airway could be constricted. I know I’ve heard so many times that sleeping in their crib flat on their backs is the safest way. I always let my daughter nap in the swing when I was awake, but never at night when I was sleeping. Please advise.

    • Certainly the crib is generally the goal (unless you are a long-term co-sleeper which is also cool). But I’ve never found any research that suggests that the swing is unsafe. As always – if you’re concerned I would suggest you run it by your pediatrician.

      I WILL say that old swings (never use old baby gear – in my opinion) are scary as they’re basically chairs that move. Modern swings (Graco, Fisher Price) recline almost fully so that they are barely elevated. So yeah – never use an old swing.

  30. I was really excited to try your ideas to get my little guy to sleep. We even had him nap in the swing yesterday and he slept 2 hours. It was great! But then when I was researching the safety of sleeping in a swing, I found this:

    Can you give me some insight on your thoughts about any safety concerns? At this point, I don’t feel comfortable letting him sleep in the swing at night–I don’t think I would get any sleep because I would be so worried! Is it okay just to let him sleep there for naps or will it not be as effective?

    • As always – when you have a concern, run it by your pediatrician! Talk about what is going on and see what their perspective is. (You know I’m not a doctor right?)

      I would say looking at the pdf you shared that while it’s always good to be cautious and make sure your baby is safe:
      – the research cited by the article was almost exclusively specific to premature babies in car seats
      – one of the articles cited was actually relatively positive :
      – The recent research on SIDS (abstract is here: – I have read the full version, does not highlight swings as posing any significant risk (although to be fair that was not the goal of the study).

      Personally I’m comfortable with putting a healthy full-term baby into a fully recumbent swing because I don’t see their bodies getting squished or their necks bobbing down to their chest. However if you had a preemie, or an old seat-form swing, then I might wait (or wait until they are a little bigger).

      Or you could just talk to your pediatrician about it :)

      • Thanks for those links. I know you’re not a doctor, but you definitely have a lot more experience with this than me!

        My pediatrician actually recommended letting him sleep in the swing or car seat for naps if I couldn’t get him to sleep any other way, but I think I’m just overly paranoid! Like I said, naps seem okay to me, but overnight, when I’m sleeping and not there watching him makes me nervous. Of course, I’m also nervous when he’s sleeping in his crib…

        Our little guy is 12 weeks old, so I’d like to learn how to get him to sleep on his own pretty soon, before he hits the 6 month mark like you recommend. The other annoying thing is that he has reflux, which just makes sleep that much harder! We just started him on Prevacid, so hopefully that will help things a bit.

        • If he has reflux then the swing may be really key for a while (because of the angle). But it can be a really effective tool to help him sleep on his own and is MUCH easier to get out of then, say, a baby who can only fall asleep while nursing or being held. So really you aren’t backing yourself into the corner with the swing. Like white noise – its one of those baby sleep aids that isn’t all that difficult to get out of when the time comes :)

  31. I have a dilemma – our almost 4 month boy is getting better at falling asleep by himself and has been sleeping and napping in his crib for almost a month. We’re gradually easing off the settling techniques but it’s not always possible and we find we need to rock or bounce or use the dummy for a few minutes to get him really drowsy. He averages 12 hours sleep in a 24 hour period, usually with 1-2 night wakings and naps never longer than an hour (really difficult to get him to nap in the afternoon so often he just has 2 45 min naps in a day).

    SO the big question is, are we on track (ie will he just keep getting better at self soothing and nap for longer) or should we get a swing so that he can get more sleep and then transition him back into the crib?

    Thank you for a great resource!

    • Hmmmm….let me peer into my baby crystal ball and see what the spirits have to say about it.

      Spirits say, “indications are positive.”

      It SOUNDS good? Hard to say really but it does sound positive. However if he has 2 short naps a day at 4 months then there has to be a long stretch of awake time somewhere in your day right? One option would be to try to use the swing JUST for naps and see if they get longer. Or you could try the swing for the 3rd nap of the day to break up that long window of awake time I’m assuming exists. (You could also try a stroller walk, car ride, babywearing, etc.)

      Or you could listen to the spirits 😉

  32. My 6 week old son sleeps fine at night in the play pen we have set up in our giant master bedroom closet (so I can shut the doors to sleep but still hear him when he wakes up in the middle of the night and crys). His first stretch of sleep has been reaching 5 hours, I feed him and then he goes right back down to sleep for another 3 – 4 hours. I usually always put him down drowsy but awake.
    My dilemma is this during the day he takes his first nap in his swing for about 2 – 3 hrs hours. His second nap in the late afternoon, I am trying to get him to take it in his room in his crib, so eventually he will take them all in there. He goes down for about 30 to 45 minutes like clock work, wakes up and crys. (Using white noise)
    He gets so fussy after only taking a short nap and then rest of the day is not good. So my question is should I be consistent and keeping trying to do one nap in his crib to get used to it? Or should I just let him always sleep in his swing for naps during the day, or should I put him in the place where he sleeps at night for naps?
    Love your website, your advice has helped alot!

    • Honey! For starters, 6 weeks is nothing – he’s still ITTY BITTY newborn! You don’t need to sweat about consistency at 6 weeks. Also? 6 weeks is when fussiness PEAKS. So for now just do what works, OK?

      Personally I would ABSOLUTELY use the swing for naps at 6 weeks. Full stop. I wouldn’t even bother with crib naps at this age.

      Also? The later naps are ALWAYS harder than the morning naps. So if you were really committed to your crib plan your best bet would be to try it in the morning. Although it might cost you your 3 hour AM nap.

      My only concern is the playpen. Is this a safe approved place for a baby to sleep or is it legitimately a playpen? If the latter I would put the crib in your room and start there (you can always move it to his room in a few months). Even if your room is super crowded, it’s a temporary condition which blends “him in his crib” with “near to you.”

      Anyhoo…there are a bunch of options to work with!

      • Hey thanks for response!
        After I wrote you I put the LO in the crib for his bedtime that night and he has been sleeping in there ever since. He sleeps great in there about 7-9 hrs a night. As for naps he is taking most of then in his crib as well, they last for about 45 minutes to an hour, some days he will take 2 hour naps. He does however sleep much better in his swing for naps so occasionally I let him sleep in there… I don’t understand why this would be, he sleeps fine in his crib at night but not for naps.. :(
        As for the playpen, what I meant to write was pack-n-play with the bassinet. Which we have successfully retired since he is in his crib now. Thank you!!!!

  33. I read this article and decided to try it right away since my 7-week old baby is a movement junkie and won’t nap unless we’re carrying her around. She has been quietly in the swing with her pacifier for 20 minutes now but I see on the video monitor that she is still sucking like crazy on her paci. Is that considered sleep already? Or does the sleep “start” once the paci falls off? Thank you.

    • I think I just answered your comment elsewhere and suggested you do just this 😉

      If she’s in there happy and busily self-soothing with the paci then I would leave her in there and see what happens. Is she asleep? I don’t know – are her eyes open? I’m not a doctor but basically the way I determine if a baby is sleeping is I look to see if their eyes are open.

      (I am making myself laugh right now :)

      Sleep starts when her eyes are closed. The paci isn’t really relevant to sleep as some babies can sleep with a paci in their mouths. Hope that helps!

  34. So I thought my 10.5 week old hated the swing and I was about to give it away until I read this post. I decided to try the swing today for his first nap using all of the varsity techniques. He’s been a crappy napper from early on so I thought what the heck…the worst that could happen would be another failed catnap. Well, the little bugger has been in the swing WIDE-EYED for 20 minutes. WTF?!?

    • What about putting him to sleep (whatever technique works for you) and THEN putting him in the swing? A good swing can do two things for you:
      a) Help baby fall asleep (wide eyed is not ideal obviously but it sure beats crying so I’m not entirely convinced this can’t work for you)
      b) Extend naps. Because of all the soothing motion babies who take 20 minute naps will often nap longer in the swing.

      Again no promises but when you have a crappy napper it’s probably the best tool at your disposal. Good luck!

  35. Dear Alexis,

    Thank you for all your tips. I’m a struggling father with a newborn (4 weeks old) who has a lot of trouble sleeping. I have read and attempted to digest hundreds of pages of articles while my wife has been taking the brunt (on the front lines so to speak) with our little one. Both of us are trying our hearts out but nothing seems to work more than once or twice.

    One thing we have not yet tried is a swing. I want to it. I’m an Australian living in Germany and have no idea which swing to buy. Could you recommend some brands or models which you have found to work well?

    One store located nearby is BabyWalz, which has an online store here: I can’t seem to find anything which looks much like a motorised swing there however. And people around here sure haven’t talked to us about a swing before when we’ve asked for advice! (The countless sleep-deprived meetings with midwives, doctors, well-meaning friends, etc etc…).

    Thanks for any help,

  36. Alexis!

    So happy to have found your site (yes, through googling how to get my baby to sleep on her own!) I admire the care and thought you put into each of your responses :)

    When I saw the title of your article about swings for babies who hate them, I was thinking “I thought my baby was the only one!” and after reading it I knew this is the route I wanted to take. For some reason everyone else thinks I should let her cry it out :'(

    My daughter is 15 weeks old. I remember a time when I would put her in her bouncer swaddled with the pacifier and she would sleep for 1-2 hours. Once I even heard her cry and by the time I got to her she had already put herself back to sleep and once I was in the kitchen and watched her do the heavy eye blink and fall asleep on her own. If I had to guess when this was (sleep deprivation has got the best of my memory) I’d say between 8 and 10 weeks.

    Now since that great moment in time she started the whole 30-45 min naps, waking every hour to nurse at night, needing to be bounced near the faucet to sleep, etc. I blame this on her over tiredness due to the fact that family was in town and we were keeping her out late (11pm) skipping naps and probably overstimulation as well.

    In a desperate attempt to get my daughter to catch up on sleep I decided to do whatever it took to help her fall asleep and stay asleep (which includes nursing, bouncing, and holding her while napping so that I can extend her naps) All of which I know are big no-no’s. It has been about a month of doing this :(

    Her sleep pattern at night seems to be that of a baby who has developed object permanence but this seems too early?

    The waking up every hour to bounce her back to sleep, then hold her standing up for 10 minutes to make sure she’s asleep is killing my body!!! She’s over 15lbs already!

    Anyways I was so excited to try the swing this morning but I think she was overtired from only sleeping an our at a time last night. So she would get to the point where her eyes were practically shut then started screaming unconsolably I had to pick her and nurse her to calm her down. Then bounce her near the faucet to get her asleep (for some reason this is the only “white noise” that does the trick for her) I really want this to work and I know it can.

    Should I keep trying or wait until she’s more well-rested to increase the chances of it working?

    If she has developed object permanence is it too late for this technique to work?

    Any other tips for an overtired baby? (and momma…lol)

    • Also wondering about silent reflux….my baby will have wet coughs and burps often and sometimes gasp for air or sound like she’s wheezing, doc said it’s all normal…

      • The mark of silent reflux is not the coughing, spitting, or wheezing – it’s the CRYING. If baby is miserable, especially after eating, sleeps terrible, is difficult to console, then you may be on to something. But most babies will have wet coughs, burps, etc and it’s nothing to worry about. The gasp for air is what happens when the spitup comes up her throat – her lungs are closing (this is a good thing – it keeps her from aspirating on her own vomit) and when the contents go back down into her stomach her lungs open back up and you’ll hear a gasp or big breath of air.

        I get that it sounds a little scary but it’s all totally normal!

    • Well waking hourly does sound like object permanence. But she’s almost 4 months old and the 4 months sleep regression is a DOOZIE so that could be what is happening too:

      I would definitely keep working with it because you say she’s a motion junkie. Also I would try to find some white noise that works, other than the faucet, just so you can keep it going all night (worst case you record the faucet and put it on a loop?!?!?).

      It may be that if you’re in the middle of the sleep regression NOTHING will work right now but in another week she’ll be over it and a bit more amenable to alternatives.

      To start I would put her completely asleep and THEN put her in the swing. Your goal is to work on using the swing to PUT her in the swing but to start, do whatever bouncing, etc. you normally do and the put her IN the swing.

      This might also help lengthen her naps for you although 45 minutes is not horrendous for 4 months (not ideal but pretty common).

      So it’s been about 2 weeks since you wrote – has the sleep regression passed & if so are you having any success with the swing?

  37. Quick update: She has put herself to sleep in the swing for most naps during the day (HOORAY!!!) but always wakes up after 45 minutes and will fuss for a few seconds, then cry, then scream…I always have to take her out and then she gets sleepy in about an hour and I repeat the varsity swing technique for the next nap.

    At night she falls asleep in the swing and then after 45 minutes she’s up again and I bring her into bed where she nurses back to sleep. Her nighttime sleep is getter better but when she stirs I stick the boob back in to soothe her back to sleep because I don’t want her to fully wake :/

    Any advice to get her past the 45-minute mark in her swing?? And hopefullyI am just so happy that I no longer have to physically hold her while she naps!!!!

    • I’m not sure how old she is but it may just be that 45 minutes is where she is at for now (sleep consolidation is a developmental milestone).

      As for the night thing it sounds like she’s basically sleeping in your bed at night while attached to your boob. Is that where you want her? That seems like a bigger issue than the short naps because it’s hard to wean off a baby who only sleeps with you with your boob in her mouth. I mean it’s totally OK if you’re OK like that and are comfortable with her sleeping with you like that for the next year or so.

      But if that isn’t what you want to have happen, what about really working with the swing at night? Is that an option?

      • She’s 17 weeks old. I don’t mind co-sleeping I just think that she would sleep better in her swing/crib. (Daddy moves A LOT and snores really loud…lol)

        But I am soooo Happy to share that everything is improving!

        She had a late bedtime the night before last so I gave in and nursed her to sleep. She didn’t stay latched on as long as she used to (just on and off) and she slept for a 5-hour stretch!

        Last night put her to sleep in the swing and she stayed asleep for 2 hours…hubby and I came in to go to sleep and he accidentally kicked a book of the bed. Baby woke up screaming and I couldn’t calm her down in the swing so had to bring her into bed again…and another 5 hour stretch!! I just wish it was in the swing and not next to me…I was mad at the hubster but had to remind myself that he didn’t do it on purpose and it wasn’t the end of the world…although it felt like it…lol

        My white noise plays for about 5 hours so I’m thinking that may be causing her waking…gonna edit the track to make it longer and see what happens tonight!

        Naps are still 40-45 minutes. If she wakes early for some reason (like after only 20 minutes) I will nurse her back to sleep and she’ll sleep for a good hour or so. Glad to know that this is developmental…hope she reaches the “nap consolidation” milestone soon :)

        Thanks for your awesome-ness!!

  38. If baby sleeps in the swing all the time, what kind of sleep association are you teaching them? If baby needs to swing all the time, then why would he/she expect any different? Try going going to bed with no blanket or pillow tonight and see how you sleep without your usual routine of having them. Swings are great for naps and baby meltdowns but he/she needs to learn the crib and bedroom environment before its locked in that they needs motion to sleep. Just think of it like this. Whatever you do to put her to sleep, make sure it’s always available when they self wake in the middle of the night. Swings are nice but they don’t make swings for 3 year olds.

    • Hey Dad,
      I completely and utterly disagree with everything you said.

      Babies have numerous sleep associations that they don’t maintain until they are 3. Swaddling, white noise, pacifiers, nursing to sleep, and swinging are all things that babies need and benefit from. As they get older, their brains develop so that they don’t need as much soothing so you gradually wean them off these things. Most kids are done with swaddling and swinging sometime between 3-6 months. And unlike other baby soothing techniques (pacifiers for example) the swing provides an excellent mechanism to help a baby learn to fall asleep AND you can gradually and gently wean them off of it by decreasing the speed until you have a baby happily sleeping in a nonmoving swing. At that point they are old enough to not need the motion anymore and the transition to the crib is relatively painless for all involved.

  39. I’m sure you get lots of ‘At first I was skeptical but it totally worked!’ comments but I’m going to have to add to the list. My 6 week old generally hates everything but our arms or our bed but I followed your steps and she slept in the swing for two hours.

    I also just wanted to say how thankful I am for your site and realizing my little girl isnt the only baby this way. I try to talk to my friends with babies about it, but the way they suggest things – albeit with the best of intentions – is like the IT guy asking if I’ve tried restarting my computer. Yep, been there, done that.

    Thanks again!!!

    • No no – I LOVE “at first I was skeptical but it totally worked” comments!!!

      “Did you reboot?” Um….no. This is the first time I’ve ever used a computer and so the idea of rebooting hadn’t even occurred to me. Thanks for the tip.


  40. Hello, so I didn’t read all the comments but I read a lot of them…. My son is now almost 8 months old. He slept for about 3 hours at a time at night up until about 7 months.
    (At five months he moved into his own room and it didn’t seem to change his sleep habits at all.)
    Now, for the last month, he wakes up every hour for the first four or five hours of sleep… then I give up, take him into our bed and he may sleep for three hour chunks! Do you think this is gonna work for him? We’re not opposed to putting him back into our room as he’s currently in our bed again. I usually have to feed or rock him back to sleep right now. Oh, and he doesn’t nap well at all either. !!! we’ve tried, no-cry sleep solutions, letting him “cry it out” and having my husband soothe him back to sleep but it doesn’t seem to matter.

    • Have you read this?

      It sounds like a sleep association/object permanence issue. How do you get him to fall asleep? Are you rocking him to sleep now? If so that’s the issue (it would explain the constant waking and the crappy naps too). Check this post as I’m pretty confident that it explains the root cause of your sleep problem.

      Would the swing work? Possibly but he is a bit on the old side. At this age however it’s probably worth a go because, regardless of your previous experience, you’re starting to run out of alternatives that don’t involve crying. If you can afford a good swing, I would be curious to know if you have any success with it? You might want to start with naps (although feel free to do night sleep in there too)!

  41. Hi Alexis,

    I have to say I am in love with you! I discovered your site late Monday night with baby asleep in one arm and googling with my iPhone on the other trying to find a way so I didn’t have to hold him 24/7. He doesn’t fall asleep with anyone else at the moment, not even my husband. I love cuddles from my baby, but my arm is falling off and he is only 7 weeks. I bought a sling wrap a few weeks ago thinking that was the answer, which he loves to sleep in, but it’s impossible to do that 24/7 also because it still hurts after a while. I also didn’t think he was getting the best sleep.

    So going forward to today (Thursday) and he had the best sleep last night. He slept from 9:40pm to 2:50am, I breastfed lying down and then we co-slept from 3:10 to 6:30am.

    Your sleep chart is my bible and so is the rest of your articles at the moment. I do it all, swaddle, white noise, darkness, swing, except the pacifier (dummy down under in Australia) as he doesn’t take it.

    So at this point I bounce and pat while holding him to get to sleep then put him in swing after holding him for 10 minutes. Sometimes after a while he will start crying (about 10-15minutes) and I know it is because he wants me because as soon as I pick him up he is back to sleep. But other times he will sleep through in the swing. I know he isn’t crying at that point because he cycle has started again. His day sleeps range from 30 minutes to 3 hours. I would love to ask a few questions.

    1) my baby was born 3 weeks early and have been told by my paed that I should adjust his development stages from his due date, so technically he is 4 weeks adjusted. Going by your sleep chart do I follow his actual birth date or due date?

    2) I have tried the varsity technique when he starts crying in the swing (shaking the swing from behind whilst swinging and shushing) but doesn’t seem to work. I’ll admit I only do it for about a minute before picking him up because I don’t want him to cry for long. So at this age, should I pick him up back to sleep and put him back in swing, or should I try varsity technique for longer? This is my biggest problem as I am too scared to leave the room once he is the swing.

    3) When should I start putting him in the swing to fall asleep? Is it after 12 weeks? And should he be calm and tired when doing it or is it ok to do it while they are crying?

    4) Our bedtime routine is feed, bath, massage, songs then sleep. But have only been doing the bath every second day as I didn’t want to dry his skin out. Is this ok? Or should we be consistent and do a bath every night?

    I also have to say that the double swaddle is amazing. I have several swaddles for dummies. And I do the arm swaddle first then put the woombie on top, because he can bend his arms without the arm swaddle. I’m not sure what you have in the US but in Australia there are a lot of “swaddle” products but a lot allow movement in the arms. Your the first place I have found that said there should be no arm movement at all.

    Thank you for all your time.

    • 1) I would consider him a 4 week old baby and use his adjusted age since sleep stuff is largely developmental so that’s probably a better gauge.

      2) He’s still pretty small but I would give him more than a minute. How about 3-5 minutes tops? I know that can feel like an eternity but it’s worth trying a few times. If it isn’t working this week – wait a week and try again. Babies are developing SOOO quickly at this age what didn’t work last week will work the next!

      3) When do you put him in the swing awake? Well it depends on how things are going. 12 weeks is a good goal (adjusted age right?) but 3-6 months is really when it’s TIME to help him learn to fall asleep without you. So if you can put him down awake at 12 weeks that’s AWESOME but don’t consider yourself a failure if it’s not working yet because you still have some runway to work with.

      If he’s totally crying then the swing may not work to help him fall asleep. But like everything with babies and sleep it’s worth testing now and then. At 4 weeks he probably won’t go from crying to asleep in the swing. Try again 2 weeks later and who knows, maybe he’ll surprise you!

      4) I love baths with no soap. Babies love baths too. So if you want to do daily baths just don’t use any soap. They don’t really need it anyway – you could literally wash him with water and only use soap 1-2X a month. At this age you don’t have to be consistent so if you don’t WANT to do nightly baths it’s no biggie. But if you do, take the no soap option.

      PS. I love little naked babies so I think I’m just really into baths myself 😉

      Every country has it’s thing but yeah here the swaddle is all about keeping their arms from flailing about because it’s the flailing that wakes them up. Why are things different in Australia? Who knows!

      I need somebody to buy me a ticket to Australia so I can go investigate 😉 Actually my husband did his post-doc in Australia and DESPERATELY wants to go back. So please let me know if there are any wealthy Australian celebrities – I can offer free sleep consultations in exchange for 4 round trip tickets….

  42. Thank you so much for your quick response! I was expecting a lot longer, really appreciate your detailed answers.

    Well you just need to get your name out there, if you can get on the news some how, then all the Australian celebrities will want you!

    He is now 8 weeks (so 5 weeks adjusted) and seems to fall within the categories at the moment so good to know he doesn’t need to be quite at 6 weeks yet.

    I love my baby when he is naked so cute!

    The way you explain information is amazing, to the point, practical and funny. Certainly makes my night times more enjoyable. Thank you again!

    • Naked babies are the BEST. Although babies in jammies are a close second :)

      Please pass my name along to any Australian celebrities you know. Am absolutely in love with the (inappropriately young for me) Hemsworth brothers so if you see them please drop my name :)

      (For real – do you know how Spanx became a billion dollar business? Gwenneth Paltro talked about how she always wears them on the red carpet.)

  43. Hi Alexis! I’m so thankful to have found your website. I have a 6 week old who last week started the 45 minute nap, and then progressed to some 15 minute naps!

    She sleeps great at night in her bouncy seat (has done 6-7 hour stretches multiple times) but we’ve been rocking her to sleep first.

    She still will take good naps every other day or so, mainly in the bouncer. She has previously shown zero interest in the swing, so I’m glad you said to keep trying – she just took an hour nap in it, even after falling asleep in the car for a few minutes!

    A few questions:

    1-I’m wondering if we should switch from the bouncer to the swing at night – I’m guessing you would recommend that? Could we apply the same strategy to the bouncer as far as putting her down awake in it and her learning to fall asleep on her own that way?

    2-If we follow your guide for nap time in the swing, is continuing our normal nighttime sleep undoing the work at nap time?

    Thank you so much!

    • 1) I like the swing better than the bouncer because bouncers can get bounced over. Literally babies (generally older than 6 months but still) can bounce them hard enough to have them fall over. So while your 6 week old is unlikely to be strong enough to pull off this maneuver eventually she will. So yeah I would probably switch. If she doesn’t need the motion to sleep great then maybe you don’t turn it on (or turn it on for a very low speed)?

      2) Not at all! For starters, at 6 weeks you are welcome to switch things up, try out different tactics, etc. because they are too young to frankly have ANY established sleep associations. Secondly the part of the brain that manages day sleep is different from that which manages night sleep. So it’s totally OK to do one thing for naps and another at night.

      Although really at 6 weeks you could be all over the map and she wouldn’t notice 😉

  44. I am SO HAPPY I found this article! My son has been sleeping with the help of a swing for a long time. From 1 to 3 months he preferred his naps in his swing. From 3 to 4 months he was napping well in his crib, but then he LEARNED TO ROLL and has been DOING IT IN HIS SLEEP NONSTOP. (6 months next week.) Awful for me, as he could not take nice restful naps in his crib. He takes almost every nap in his swing. I turn it off after he is asleep but he is strapped in there all snuggly versus sleep-turning in his crib.

    We also quite often move him from crib to swing at night if he wakes up from flipping and not hunger. He is hard to put back down in his crib after this. (He was waking once to feed during the month he couldn’t flip, now it is sometimes 3-6x a night in the crib. )

    I was SO fearful that I have been developing horrible habits for him, but I believed the need to sleep was greater. If I try to put him down for a nap, even in the big bed with me, its tears and fussiness usually. In the swing, he takes his bear and his binkie, turns his head to the side, and it is eyes shut in 3 seconds.

    Thank you!!

    • Sweet!
      The rolling phase can be frustrating. Helping your “stuck” baby 4,000 times a night as they flop around like a fish? No thank you. Hopefully with tons of practice time when he’s playing he’ll get over his flipping fascination and can happily go back into his crib :)

  45. Hi there!
    We have 7 week old baby boy who started the 30 minute naps at 5 weeks. Before then he took long naps in his cosleeper. He currently needs a lot of soothing to fall asleep and stay asleep… Walking, bouncing, and sometimes pacifier. Yesterday I tried the swing for one of his naps and he fell asleep peacefully then woke after 30 minutes. I tried again later ( although this time he was fussy when I put him in) and he needed his pacifier to settle to sleep. If I replace the Pacifier at the 30 minute mark he will often keep sleeping. So my question is…. Is it bad for him to be sucking on a pacifier for the entirety of all of his naps? Assuming he took long naps this could be up to 5 hours. The alternative is to allow him to wake at the minutes and do lots of short naps Hoping they eventually lengthen on their own. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!!

    • At 7 weeks NOTHING is bad as long as:
      a) it’s safe
      b) it works

      You have a newborn. THIS is the age where pacifiers are great. When he’s 5 months old the pacifier won’t be so great anymore.

      Are you saying that he’ll take 5 hour naps with the pacifier? If so then that may be too long. He’s a newborn – he needs to eat eventually, yes? But if the paci helps your 30 minute naps become 1-1.5 hour naps then go for it!

  46. Hi – we have a 6 month old who sleeps pretty great in his swing; he falls asleep in his room on his own in the swing beautifully for nap time and will now sleep for 45 min-1 hour for naps, which seems ok for 6 months (though I think he’d prefer to be a 1.5-2 hour napper and feel more rested). And he sleeps in the swing at night, but getting him to sleep at night is harder. But, we have a few challenges that I would love to get some feedback on:

    1) He doesn’t fall asleep well at night in his swing (we have consistent bedtime routine, dark room, white noise, not nursing to sleep, early bedtime, etc.) but as soon as I leave the room (which I do for naps and he falls asleep on his own after a little babbling), he gets very worked up. I usually go in and “swing his swing” (like the jiggling you mention) and that often helps him, unless he’s become to worked up, in which case I take him out and nurse/soothe/bounce again. But, I think he’s getting used to seeing me in his room at bedtime so when he wakes up or is aroused from a sleep cycle, he cries and carries on and won’t go back to sleep without nursing. I keep trying to leave his room before he falls asleep to deal with the object permanence issue, but I am wondering if it’s better to just swing his swing until the’s mostly asleep and then sneak out so he doesn’t get so worked up. He eventually falls into a longer sleep from swinging the swing or getting him drowsy holding him and then sleeps in his swing all night, waking up 2-3 times, at which points I nurse him and put him back in his swing.
    2) We think it’s time to transition to the crib before he gets much bigger, but this kid really likes motion! When he’s upset, he doesn’t even necessarily need to nurse; he just needs to be vigorously bounced! I tried turning down the swing today at nap time and he just wouldn’t settle until I went in and jiggled him. So, I guess I’m wondering how long it usually takes or how gradually we need to turn down the swing? We’re also spending more quiet play time in the crib to get him familiar with it during the day.

    So, I have a couple questions:
    1. When transitioning from swing to crib, is it better to work on nap time or night time? His napping is pretty good in his swing, but nap time is also the time of day when I have more energy to put into training him to sleep in his crib.
    2. Or a related question is, when making sleep transitions, is it better to focus on getting good naps so it’s “easier” to work on nighttime sleep? Thus, I should focus on transitioning him to the crib at night and leave the naps for now?
    3. Finally, any other advice or comments from folks who have transitioned an older infant from swing to crib?


    • Just thought I’d piggyback on Dayna’s post since I have a related issue. My daughter is only 10 weeks, but has been sleeping beautifully in her swing at night (anywhere from 8 to 11 uninterrupted hours a night, consistently, since she was 7 weeks (naps are another story, but that’s a problem for another day…). However, she needs a lot of “swing-swinging” to fall asleep, generally, both at naps and bedtime… A lot of jiggling and additional shushing, on top of the white noise we’re already using. Before we even think about weaning her off the swing, we need to wean her off of our extra over-the-top heroic measures and let just the swing put her to sleep. Any advice as to how we do that, or is it just her age and we need to sit tight and hope for a different story in a few weeks?

      • Well I hear you about the heroic efforts (I’m assuming it takes a while too – which is probably a grind as shooshing while crouched behind a baby swing is not where you want to spend hours each day). But I would probably lean towards the “sit tight and see what emerges in a few weeks” side of things. 10 weeks is still a newborn and lots of newborn need Herculean efforts to sleep. Somewhere between 3-4 months hopefully things will open up a bit. Which is not to say – BAM – she’ll fall asleep on her own in the swing. But gradually you should be able to lessen the swinging, the effort, etc. If she were 4 months old I would be more concerned about how much effort you had to make. 10 weeks? Meh.

        Hopefully your crouching and shooshing days are soon(ish) to be over. I know that is faint comfort since I’m not the crouched shoosher 😉

        • Thanks, Alexis… I was afraid you might say that. Should we just keep trying to give her opportunities to do it herself in the swing before we intervene? For now, we only let her fuss a few minutes, but I think as she gets a little older, we can try to let her go a little longer and see what she does – and we’ll hope for some magic!

          And thank you so much for this blog! It sounds really hokey, but you’ve made a huge difference in my brand new family’s life. Your advice is not only spot-on, but it’s also really human and comforting. So, really, thank you and please keep it up!

    • TRADITIONALLY….most kids don’t really need the swing by 6 months (at least for night sleep, lots of kids stay in the swing till 6-9 months). So it sounds like your son unusually into the whole motion thing. However I’m not sure if that’s a problem yet. My general philosophy is that when they don’t need IT (it could be swaddling, swinging, etc.) anymore, getting rid of IT isn’t such a huge deal. It sounds like loosing the swing would still be a huge deal for your son. So even though he is a bit long in the tooth (ha ha – he may not have teeth – see what I did there?) maybe he just needs a little more time? Anyhoo it’s something to ruminate on.


      TRADITIONALLY kids do better moving to the swing at night and sticking with the swing during the day as TRADITIONALLY long swing nappers become short crib nappers. That being said, it sounds like your naps are going pretty smoothly and it’s night sleep that is a struggle so yet again, he may just be slightly different. OK maybe you go with that and work on transitioning his naps first?

      As for question #2 – it’s really a chicken and the egg question. If his naps are a nightmare, night sleep will generally be a struggle. If his nights are a nightmare, you will generally find naps to be a struggle.

      If you move him to the crib for naps and his naps go to hell in a handbasket you need to make a decision – which is more important to me, him being in a crib or him sleeping? Granted you may need to give him 2-3 days to get used to the new nap scene to really know how he’s doing. But you make him sound like an uber-motion-junkie so if after 3 days of napping in the crib, naps are going poorly you’re back to making a decision. If it were ME I would probably go back to swing naps for NOW and try again in a few weeks.

      The bedtime problem is really related to your being there. I would probably bite the bullet and work on him falling asleep without you in the room. Not to say this is easy but it really HAS to happen. Because as you’ve noted, continuing to stay is just resulting in lots of night feedings. And it’s not going to magically get better on it’s own so you’re left having to take some action. Maybe you gradually work towards the door so he can still see you but each night you’re a step farther away?

      It does sound like he’s getting unusually worked up at bedtime – is there any other factor working against you? Is bedtime too late? Are you using loud white noise? It could be that some modest schedule changes might help too.

      Generally transitioning out of the swing is a pretty smooth thing when baby is ready. As I said generally they’re ready a bit earlier but I’m not really worried. He’s not going to be in there forever even though it may SEEM like it :)

      • Thanks so much for the thoughtful, quick response! It doesn’t bother me horribly that he’s in the swing and I feel like you say that when he’s ready, he won’t need the motion any more. But, I also know that various people have said that it’s easier to transition before he gets much bigger/older. But, I don’t really care if he sleeps in the swing until he’s a year old if that’s what works for him! I figure, at least he’s in his room and most of the time can fall asleep on his own. May not work for vacations, but most of our time is at home!

        So, in your experience, you’d just suggest gradually reducing the motion and see what happens? If sleeping is still good, then he’s ready for less; if not, keep up with the motion and don’t worry that he might be in his swing a while longer?

        For nighttime, I know my presence is an issue, but I think it’s also related to the extra motion/swinging I do. He won’t settle if I’m just sitting there, but he will when I really start jiggling the swing. Maybe I should re-position the swing so he can’t see me but he gets the motion and see if that helps? I cannot figure out the bedtime thing because we do everything: early bedtime (starting at 6pm and in swing by 6:30 or 7), dark room, consistent routine, lovey, not falling asleep nursing, no major pacifier use, loud white noise, etc.).

        So, if we were to try tackling a transition to the crib for nighttime sleep, since it’s not going that great anyway, what’s the best approach? Get him to fall asleep in swing, then try the crib when he’s sleepy after his first feeding? Or, try the weaning techniques you suggest of less motion/swing by crib? Or?? Sorry for the all the questions but we’re grasping for ideas!

        Finally is it normal for babies to be able to fall asleep on their own for naps and not at bedtime? What gives?? Thanks!!

        • Well different parts of the brain handle day vs. night sleep. That’s why you’ll see different behaviors for day vs. night. It’s also why it’s totally OK to have one routine for naps and another for night. So lots of kids nap like champs in the swing and happily crib sleep at night.

          Usually night goes smoothly FIRST so your son is unusual. But babies are like snowflakes so there you have it.

          If he’s sleeping poorly (or at least bedtime is a struggle) in the swing I don’t see things going BETTER in the crib. Some people DO move to the crib in the middle of the night and babies do fine with that so you’re welcome to give that a go. But I think if bedtime is still a struggle (you’re there, object permanence, lots of crouching going on) then what are you really accomplishing by having him in his crib for a few hours?

          But to be clear – go ahead and give it a go for a few nights. No harm done either way yes?

          But regardless you’re going to have to start gradually reducing how much involvement there is at bedtime. The GOAL would be to put him in the swing, turn it on, and leave. Once THAT is happening then you move to the “lower speed” to the point then you put him in a non moving swing (awake) and leave. At that point the transition to the crib is relatively painless.

          Short term I would try your idea of repositioning the swing and creeping behind it to hide from him. Obviously that is not where you want to be but for a few days it may help get over the object permanence hump. Then you start to jiggle less. Try to work towards no jiggling at all. Give yourself a few weeks – this is not a race. He may surprise you!

    • My son is 7 1/2 months old and has transitioned, for the most part, from a swing to a crib, so I thought I’d share my experience (believe me I was scouring this blog a couple of months ago looking for any advice about this transition). I started sleeping him in his swing swaddled at 4 weeks thanks to this great blog. He has a bedtime routine – nurse, book, lullaby, with white noise (loud fm static) in a dark room. He normally gets pretty agitated at bedtime…it’s probably my presence that gets him worked up. That or he’s overtired. Depends on how well his afternoon nap went at daycare. Bedtime starts around 6:30 and it’s lights out at 7pm.

      I used to always nursed him to sleep, but right at 6 months finally got him to fall asleep on his own and break that nurse-to-sleep association (still sleeping in swing). There was some short crying involved but always less than 20 minutes. About a week afterwards I felt he was ready to try the crib. At this point he had been sleeping in a non-moving swing since at least 5 months if not earlier. I’d been slowly decreasing the swing’s speed until I never bothered to turn it on.

      The first couple nights in the crib I did nurse him to sleep. I felt like I had to calm him down somehow! Then I started letting him cry, which was not bad since it was only about 15 minutes each day. For the first week he would wake up around 9pm stuck in the corner of his crib or with an arm stuck through the slats (I don’t use a bumper). That problem went away though.

      Since then he’s MOSTLY slept in his crib. During sleep regressions, teething, or sickness, I have to go back to the swing as he just screams at bedtime. We had a few rough days recently but he’s back in his crib tonight.

      He has always napped in a crib at daycare so the crib at night isn’t too much of a leap, but it still felt like an accomplishment to get him to sleep in the crib at night!

      My son still wakes up once a night to eat, and my next goal is to wean him off that!

      • Thank you so much for sharing your story! People think it will NEVER happen. Presumably they imagine they’ll have to make some giant moving bed for their 16 YO kid to sleep in. But the truth is that when they’re ready it’s not such a huge deal. And then – HAZZAH! – baby is in the crib. Finally :)

      • Thanks Laur! Over the past week, my son seems to have lost any ability to fall asleep on his own, even at nap and requires vigorous swinging to get to sleep. Maybe it is teething, maybe separation anxiety, maybe bad habits….not sure how we will both get sleep (for him and us!) and teach him.

  47. Hi Alexis,

    I have a quick question on how to swaddle a baby and put them in a 5-point harness swing?

    My son is 9 weeks old and I am going to try your Varsity Sleep Swing Technique starting this week as he didn’t take to the swing on it’s own, and daytime naps are getting a bit tough.
    I bounce him to sleep on the exercise ball (5-15 mins) then hold for another 20+ mins till he’s gone back into a deep sleep phase and I can put him down in his moses basket. But it’s 50/50 as to whether he stays alseep for another 20-30 mins max or wakes up within 5 mins.
    I am also hoping it will help extend his naps to 1-1.5 hours as he can go that long if he’s sleeping on me.

    Weirdly enough, his night time sleeps don’t seem to be affected by bad daytime naps, he actually seems to sleep for longer if he hasn’t had enough naps or long enough naps during the day! Not sure what that is about, but I am not complaining.
    He also nurses to sleep when he wakes for feeds at night (2-3 times, it would be tough to keep him awake!) and goes back into his moses basket easily without waking, so that’s great at the moment, though I know I’ll have to work on it later.


    • Whenever somebody has a numb-butt from bouncing on the exercise ball my big piece of advice is to put that baby in a swing because YOUR baby is a MOTION JUNKIE.

      Use the varsity techniques – use white noise, swaddle, and possibly a bit of t-shirt that smells like you (since he likes sleeping on you, you must smell nice ;).

      At 9 weeks I wouldn’t be too stressed about the nursing to sleep but this is probably a good window to start tweaking that.

      You basically only need to swaddle his arms – that leaves his legs/bum free for strapping in. Personally I like using the velcro options here:

      Super easy to do with legs out, simply don’t put his legs IN to begin with. If you’re using a blanket with the traditional “du-du” method you just modify to wrap around his body but not below his legs.

      There’s no value to legs being in the blanket, other than warmth, so swaddling is all about the arms anyway. Good luck with your motion junkie!

  48. Hi Alexis,

    I really enjoy your blog and love this post. The strategy outlined above convinced me to buy a plug-in Fisher Price last week and my daughter, now 9 weeks, has been happily swinging away since I first strapped her in. I can put her down tired but awake and she’ll usually drift off to sleep. There was not a chance she would do that in her cot. Occasionally she protests but I then swaddle her and she’s happy again. So a huge success.

    I now have a problem I wasn’t prepared for. The swing is so great that it has conquered the dreaded witching hour which was pretty horrific in our house. So far so good. However, now she goes to bed between 6.30pm and 7.30pm, has a BF between 8pm and 9pm – depending on when she went down and a dream feed about 11pm but then wakes up btw 2-3am, then again btw 4-5am and wants to get up at 6am and go back down for a sleep at 7am. Previously, because evenings were so dreadful, she would only go to bed between 10pm and 12am after a feed and then have her 6 hour sleep, wake for a feed and sleep until btw 7am and 8am. Is there anything I can do to improve the night time situation or do I just need to wait for her to grow out of it? These last few nights have been exhausting.

    Just for info day time naps are pretty good with her sleeping between 45mins and 2 hours in the swing. She has 4 naps a day and I put her down when I see the first sleepy signals, yawning etc. She only likes to be awake for an hour / one hour 15 mins.

    Have you come across this before? I’d love some guidance if you have.

    Best wishes,

    • Claire,

      Um…you’re probably not going to like my advice but it’s this.

      She’s doing MUCH better now.

      Previously her night was a scant 7-9 hours long. Sure she had less feedings (she was probably cluster feeding during the witching hours) but her night was really short. Also her late wakeup of 8:00 am was really due to the fact that her bedtime was REALLY late.

      So now she has a much better bedtime and her night is 11-12 hours long. Just think about that. Her night is now 2-5 hours LONGER than it was.

      And she’s feeding 3X a night which is totally normal for a 9 week old. You’re making it 4X by inserting a dreamfeed which may not be doing much (I’m guessing if you skipped this, nothing else would change much, in fact I encourage you to try for a few days – what happens?).

      3X a night is totally normal for a 9 month old. Sure you’ll want to work on shifting that to 2 in the nearish future. But look at how much MORE sleep she is getting? And you’re not power nursing/soothing a cranky baby till MIDNIGHT!

      In theory your strategy would be to feed her at 8:00ish PM and then go to bed so that you could get a good chunk of sleep from 8:00 pm – 2:00 pm (this is temporary but it really is your best strategy). OF course you’re up watching the Olympics (damn you Olympics!) so you “dreamfeed” at bedtime which is 11:00 pm which means you never get more than a few hours sleep during the night.

      So my advice is to accept that this has been a HUGE success, go to bed at 8:00pm (for now), and work on gently weaning off one of the night feeds when she’s a little bit older.

      • Hi Alexis

        Thanks so much for your response. Things have hugely improved. Last weekend we went to my in-laws – I was dreading it as I couldn’t bring the swing. Rae stayed awake in the evening but wasn’t cranky, went to bed about 10pm and woke up at 6.45am!! This week she has slept to between 6.30am and 7am everyday apart from one when she slept until 5.45am but then settled back to sleep quickly. At the moment, I get her ready for bed by 7ish and put her down in the swing. She wakes up about an hour later and feeds until 10pm when we put her back to sleep in her cot. No dream feed, which as you suggested hasn’t made a difference. So her night is sort of 12 hours long except for a 2 hour awake period in the early evening which I hope will gradually get less and less. Not sure if this strategy will work but right now I’m loving the sleep.

        The swing works brilliantly for her naps. I use the same routine each time and put her down awake. 50% of the time she cries a little – under 5 minutes and 50% she just drifts off to sleep. I’m going to stick with the swing at a middle of the range speed for another couple of weeks and then see if she notices me decreasing the speed and working towards getting her in her cot for naps. I have a family wedding in Brazil in October and won’t be able to take the swing – I live in London – so I need to try and ween her off it by then!

        Thanks for your support,
        Best wishes,

  49. Hi Alexis,

    I love love love your site. And I seriously can’t believe you are giving away all this advice for free! We have already paid a sleep consultant $150/hr for advice that has been OK, but not as good as this blog! You should at least package your blog up into a book and sell it. There, now I have made you rich. You are welcome.

    So…onto the free advice part. My daughter is 15 weeks old, and we have just started the swing sleep a few days ago. And for the record, I thought she hated her swing. Because when I stuck her in it in the middle of the living room, she wouldn’t go to sleep in it. Sounds kinda dumb, now that I say it…she will go to sleep in her swing now, but we are using white noise, a super swaddle, a pacifier, a jiggle and pushing the swing faster/harder to get her to sleep. We leave the swing on the highest setting while she sleeps.

    It did feel like a step backward to put her in the swing, because she was sleeping in her crib at night. She was doing around 3 and a half hours, followed by 2 then 2 or 1 hours at night. She is already 14lbs though, and could sometimes sleep for up to a seven hour stretch, so I just wasn’t buying it that she really needed to eat that often. The week before we started with the swing, she had been up 5 or 6 times each night, and we were losing hope. Now, in the swing, she has only been waking up once per night, and sleeping from around 8pm to around 6 or 7am. She has been diagnosed with reflux too, so I wonder if that was part of the problem? Assuming she’s part of the 2% and not the 25%…

    Anyways…we are wondering what to wean first. The pacifier saved us from the worst weeks of rocking and walking and doing ANYTHING to make her sleep days. I got to the point where I could lay in bed with my daughter and hold the pacifier in her mouth, and she would eventually sleep without crying. I was able to do this while half asleep myself, which was a huge improvement over the repeated middle of the night 45 minute rocking I’d do before she slept for best-case 3 hours, or worst-case 5 minutes. (Uggh, do people really have a second on purpose??). My daughter has never been able to keep the pacifier in her mouth. She goes suck-suck-suck-soother squirts out of her mouth-she squirms then cries till it’s back in. She does eventually intentionally spit it out, but that looks different than when it falls out. So now, with the swing sleep, we get to hold a pacifier in her mouth while her mouth is attached to a moving body. And, this also means we are not able to leave the room while she falls asleep. She will eventually sleep without the pacifier in her mouth, just won’t fall asleep that way.

    We would like to stop the pacifier, stop the faster/harder swinging/jiggling, and eventually turn down the speed of the swing, and stop the swaddling (all long term goals). She likes to suck on her hands and thumb when not swaddled, so I’m hoping if we stop the pacifier, we could replace that with her thumb if her arms are free. What do you think we should start weaning first? Do you think the magical hand that reaches into the swing from behind her to replace the pacifier will be a problem once object permanence begins? Oh, and one more related question – we can get her to sleep longer during her morning nap (but not successfully with any other nap) if she wakes up at the 45 min. or 1.5 hr. point, if we put the pacifier back in her mouth for a couple of minutes. Should we stop that too? Now? Later?

    Before I had our daughter and hit a sleep crisis point at 4 weeks and so read every single sleeping book ever written, I really believed that babies would just sleep when they needed too. I had no idea about this needing to soothe them to sleep thing! It all just seems so complicated, and I had no clue people did this all the time!! Ah well, I guess it IS getting 1% better every week…

    • Carolyn,
      Thank you for making me rich! I’ve longed to be rich and now it will happen. All I need to do is take down all this free content from the internet (cuz people don’t take kindly to paying for stuff that is already free) and put it on Amazing and wait for the royalty checks to roll in. I can’t wait!


      (Seriously I am going to put up a donation button which probably nobody will ever click on but it costs me about $400/year to keep my site up and while I don’t need a vacation home in Aspen it would be nice to break even! )

      Do you think you’ve got a handle on the Reflux? Medication? Go off dairy?

      Because it sounds like she’s using a TON of soothing at an age where babies start to relax about that a little. Which makes me wonder if things have gotten “better” but aren’t “ALL better” quite yet. Although 1X a night waking is awesome. And it could be just a matter of time – I’m not sure how long she’s been in the swing (which helps with reflux AND sleep deprivation). It could be that she’s still a bit sleep deprived and that 2 weeks from now she won’t need such mammoth efforts to help her fall asleep.

      But none of this answers your question. Yes you want to loose a pacifier because this beloved pacifier which has gotten you through some seriously rough patches will soon become your frenemy.

      Pacifiers are great for refluxing babies because they’re SUPER soothing and they promote the production of saliva which is a natural antacid.

      But they cause TONS of object permanence problems (anytime now) and it sounds like it’s preventing you from using the swing to soothe her to sleep. You could continue to use it in case of emergency here and there if it keeps a short day of crappy naps from developing, but it will have to go away soonish fullstop (probably by 5.5 months).

      Then you could try swaddling one arm out to see what she does with it. If her arm is just slapping her in the head and waking her up you go back to full swaddle. Otherwise leave her one arm out for a while and then try ditching the swaddle all the way.

      Keep in mind that refluxing kids (even when it’s treated/managed) need soothing longer than non-refluxers. So it’s likely she’ll be swaddled and in the swing longer than your neighbors kid.

      I hear you about the sleep crisis – been there done that. That was how my prodigious baby sleep library started – desperation reading 😉

      • Thanks for the response! I would donate to you if you put a donate button up, btw. And even though it’s all free, if you packaged every entry of this blog into a book, I’d totally pay for it!!

        So we now no longer need to swing harder, but can just use the pacifier and the highest swing speed. That pacifier is officially a frenemy though, you are right. And, for the last 2 nights my daughter has started to wake at the 45 min, 1.5 hr, and/or 2:15 minute mark for us to put the pacifier back in her mouth. This is the start of something fun, I can tell.

        How do we stop the pacifier without needing to use CIO? Just have her stop cold turkey and try the extra hard swinging? Could I still use the pacifier for morning naps? When we have a rough night, one guarentee is that 1.5 hours after we get up, I can bring my daughter to bed with me and get 2.5 hours, as long as I stick the pacifier back in her mouth (in my sleep) every 45 minutes. I’m terrified to quit the night time pacifier AND the naptime pacifier. I am absolutely sure, at least in the short term, that morning nap would go from 2.5 hrs to 45 min, leaving a tired and grumpy baby to hang out with a tired and grumpy mommy all day.

        And as for the reflux – no, I’m not sure it’s under control at all. She doesn’t seem to be in pain, except for crying for a minute when I burp her. And she spits up A LOT. I haven’t tried no dairy yet. Maybe I should…honestly, I eat a lot of dairy, and I’m exhausted and so sick of trying things. But I know I should try no dairy.

        • Yes to all of this.

          Yes you need to ditch the pacifier. You are telling me that you pull her into bed and reinsert the paci every 45 minutes. What could be worth than that? Honestly!

          I would turn the swing up and use other soothing options but no paci. Sadly the paci is pretty binary. It’s either on or off. I suggest you stop at nights FULL STOP. If you want to wait to tackle nap paci use for a while that’s OK. But popping it back in every 45 minutes all night long?

          Sometimes I think things get so bad that people are afraid to change anything because they fear it will get even worse. Well I’m telling you – you’re already AT worse.

          Spitup doesn’t really tell you anything. 98% of babies will spit up. It’s the pain/discomfort that is the key. And older babies will seem oblivious to the pain when there is fun stuff going on. But when it’s night time all of a sudden the distraction goes away and the heartburn makes it all but impossible for them to settle and sleep. So not sure if you are struggling with that but it’s definitely a strong suspicion.

          YES go non dairy. The key is milk protein which is in EVERYTHING. Read labels – casein, cassenate, etc. If milk is in it you can’t eat it. Most bread, crackers, salad dressing, etc. No lactose free products (lactose=sugar and you are looking for milk protein which is not the same). Commit to 2 weeks and see what happens. It blows because most of what you WANT to eat will have milk protein in it. But it’s totally worth it if baby sleeps better.

          I know a woman who had a baby with so many food issues that she could only eat chicken and veggies for ~6 months (she was REALLY committed to nursing). So think of her when you’re bemoaning the fact that you can’t eat a bagel 😉

          • I guess the thought of losing dairy was motivating…because I really got serious about sleep starting a couple of days ago. You are sooo right that sometimes it gets so bad that I’m afraid to make it worse. It’s like being cornered by an animal and being terrified to make any move for fear it will attack (except in this case, the animal is endless nights of no sleep).

            So I know some of this is against your advice, but here are the three things I decided to do: 1) try cry it out, even though she is just turning 4 months tomorrow. I really think she’s developed object permanence very recently (explains the 45 minute pacifier issue?). And, lately when my husband or I rock her or put her in the swing or try anything to soothe her that doesn’t involve the pacifier, she cries quite a bit anyways. And as you pointed out, the pacifier is no longer working (why does it take someone else saying it for it to suddenly become so obvious)? 2) try completely unswaddling her, because she seems to be soothed so well when she is awake by sucking her thumb, and it might serve as a great replacement for the pacifier and 3) have her sleep on her tummy – because when unswaddled on her back she still startles or hits herself in the face and wakes herself up. Also, she is soooo close to rolling over on her own and has such good head control, that she is close to choosing tummy sleep herself, I think. I know, I’m justifying ignoring “back to sleep” recommendations…but weighing the risks and benefits, that is what we have chosen.

            So. The results? Freaking amazing!! She has probably cried less the last 3 nights than when we have tried to soothe her to sleep lately. AND because it worked so well, I got brave and tried it with naps too, and those went even better!! She’s cried as little as a minute for each nap, or up to 10 minutes of off and on crying/fussing/whining. I don’t think I really even have been using CIO (except for last night, which was a little rough – extinction burst?). I think I’ve essentially been putting her down drowsy but awake. And I KNOW this is something she must just recently have become developmentally ready for, because I have tried all of those things before with the result being a panicky scream that doesn’t end (I’ve never tried CIO before, but no swaddle, tummy sleep and putting down awake I’ve tried a few times in various combinations, with the result always being a panicky horrible scream that only escalated).

            Her naps have been AWESOME too. Suddenly my 45 minute napper has become textbook, with a 1.5 -2.5 hr morning nap, same for an afternoon nap, and a short 30 min evening nap. I’ve had to get up 2 times each night to feed her, but I’m not worried about weaning night feedings yet, now that I can feed her for 20 minutes and put her back in bed without holding a pacifier in her mouth for up to an hour for her to fall asleep. I have gotten SO MUCH done around the house, now that I don’t spend naptime glued to the monitor, running in with a pacifier everytime she cries. And in the evenings, I can actually relax because if she wakes up and cries, it’s her job to put herself back to sleep now, not mine. The thumb sucking has been key, I think.

            I feel a little guilty that I haven’t taken much of your advice from this specific response. BUT, I have taken much of what I tried from your other blog posts, so you have helped a lot, I promise! Thanks so much for respoding to my questions. Now, I’m going to go enjoy a glass of wine, watch some trashy reality TV, and dream about cleaning my bathrooms tomorrow during the morning nap since I won’t need to sleep beside my daughter a) for her to get any sleep and b) because I’m so sleep deprived from a night of pacifier replacing hell. 😀

            • Oh man this describes my almost 4 month old so well! I have been going through almost the exact same thing. I had her in the crib since she was 6 weeks (napping in the swing at 8) and around 3 months she finally started sleeping a 3-5 hour stretch and then up every 2-3 hours. Starting a month ago she even did that when I’d put her down drowsy but awake as long as she was swaddled and had her paci (that would fall out and I watched on the monitor as she wiggled to sleep a few minutes later). In the last couple of weeks she’s gone back to waking up 5-8 times after I put her down between 7 and 7:30. She would wake up with her arms busted out of the swaddle and rolling around the crib. She seemed to be fighting the swaddle so much For the last three nights I tried putting her on her tummy unswaddled (yes, I weighed the SIDS risk), but she spent forever scratching at the sheets, seeming to fall asleep, then 10 minutes later fussing and shifting again. I just sat by the crib and waited till I thought she was asleep. Sometimes I had to put the paci back in but most of the time she kept it in. She slept for maybe 45 minutes and then was up every hour to two hours until she wakes for the day at 7. Normally I end up nursing 3-4 times a night when I can’t get her to calm back down.
              Last night at 3am I gave up on the crib and put her in the swing with both arms swaddled again – she made it almost 3.5 hours! She also only ate twice last night, so I am hoping she can continue to only eat a few times. She’s still been getting a 2 hour and couple 30-45 minute naps in the swing with the nanny.
              For now I’m planning on continuing to try the swing at night to hopefully get some sleep. I’m terrified to try dropping the paci since I fear even worse nights – she really wants to suck her thumb but hasn’t yet gotten to the point that she can fall asleep doing it.
              Could she be going through the 4 month regression early? I’m afraid I’ve hit the perfect storm with her learning to roll, getting more frustrated with the swaddle, approaching 4 months, and I think she may be teething early as well. If I do have success with her in the swing at night, how long would you generally wait to start trying the speed easing? I hate to give up having her in the crib but I am beyond exhausted. Thanks!!!

  50. Hi Alexis,

    I am so glad I stumbled upon your website while google searching. I am on day 3 of using the swing for naps. I totally thought my 11 week old hated the swing, but after I read this I put it in her sleep spot and decided to give it a try. A few questions for you:
    1.) I currently use a swaddleme wrap or a blanket to swaddle my daughter. However, this leaves me unable to strap her into the swing. Any recommendations for swaddling that works with the strap?
    2.) she is an excellent night sleeper! Thank God, but daytime is rough with catnaps. She will usually nap 45 min on the dot and is tired quickly after her nap. Any ideas on how to lengthen her nap? I really feel she needs a longer nap to get better quality sleep. (I am keeping her in her Fischer price rock n play for night time because it works so well at the moment).
    3.) how long do you find people using the swing? A few weeks or months? I am anxious to get her in her crib before I go back to work 6 weeks from now.

    Thank you for all the wonderful tips! I am so worried about sleep and know how incredibly important it is. As a new mom, I don’t want to stress and over think every detail though. I just want a happy girl!


    • 1) Use the swaddle me but keep her legs out (the “leg” portion will just be flapping free behind her butt). Then you can use the safety straps of the swing. And really swaddling is all about the arms so having her legs in the pouch isn’t really useful except for warmth.

      2) If you are using loud white noise, block out blinds, swaddle and a swing you’re doing just about all you can. The only other thing is to make sure you aren’t keeping her awake TOO long.

      If you’re doing all these things and still only getting 45 minute naps then it’s just where she’s at for now (she’s only 11 weeks old so she may not be capable of consolidated day sleep yet).

      3) How long varies a ton. Most babies are out of it for night sleep around 4 months but some will continue napping in the swing long after (till 6-8 months). Every baby is different however.

      Depending on the daycare environment you may WANT her napping in the swing. Some babies nap like rock stars at daycare. Other babies don’t nap at ALL at daycare (too bright, too much noise, care takers don’t have enough time to soothe babies forever, aren’t responsive enough to baby individual schedules, etc.) If yours is in the latter camp (and I hope she’s NOT) then bringing your swing to daycare may be a blessing in disguise.

      Good luck with work!

  51. Hi Alexis,

    I have a 5 week old son. He has always slept like a trooper in his co-sleeper overnight (prob about 10 hours between 10pm and 10am either in 2 or 3 chunks, one of which is long) but he has never fallen asleep in the day without being held. And then he does not stay asleep unless he continues to be held or you push him around. Put him down and BAM he awakes.

    I am a small person, he is a big baby, I had concerns about the constant carrying, plus the fact that I don’t really want to be attached to him ALL day. To solve this so far involved my husband who works from home not working that much! And me feeling anxious and a bit miserable.

    Anyway, bought a £13 travel swing second hand yesterday (for trial purposes, as have already spent quite a lot of money on sleep aids – including “Ewan the sheep” – do you know him?!). Yesterday we tried a bit half heartedly but today….

    ….put him down at first yawn, in his swaddle pod, in our room with blinds drawn and white noise on, swing on maximum. 30 mins not a peep from him then he FELL ASLEEP ON HIS OWN!! Admittedly only lasted 30 mins until we worked out the swing turns itself off after an hour. Got up, fed, played (he was super happy when he woke up), yawn, down again – 15 mins then he FELL ASLEEP ON HIS OWN. And he has been asleep for over an hour now.

    I am SO happy!! I am also paralysed with fear it will only work today. But I got to make my own lunch, skype my mum to share said achievement, finish and post a letter and now type this. Happy days :)

    Maybe I will have to do housework now though?!



    • Why are you paralyzed with fear? 5 weeks is an awesome time to play around with swings for naps. And yes babies only get bigger and heavier so having an option that doesn’t involve your body gets really handy really quick :)

      PS. You don’t have to do housework. I certainly don’t! 😛

      • As a first time mum I am pretty much paralysed with fear about everything!

        Thought I would update to say that the swing has made an ENORMOUS difference to us. Been using it properly for 6 days now and he prob naps in there on average 5 hours a day (in chunks) – sometimes more willingly than others but only with a little bit of re-settling usually.

        I am a new woman! And we bought your recommended swaddle which is great too. Basically, I have now been telling everyone about Alexis my sleep “guru” :)

        Am I right in thinking from your site that I can relax as long as this continues until about 3 months and then start trying to turn the swing speed down and unswaddle one arm etc and see how it goes? Until we get to an unswaddled still sleeping baby?

        Also, the only problem with this new miraculous discovery is that I don’t really want to leave the house with him as he won’t nod off in his buggy or car seat and if I do rock him to sleep when out he won’t stay down in his buggy without motion or being in the sling. So it is much easier to be at home! Guess I just have to suck this up and rock the buggy with my foot whilst having a coffee? I thought I could try swaddling him and taking his white noise (we have downloaded a free app on the iphone called “simplynoiselite”) to see if that helps?

        If this is the only issue I have I know I don’t have many issues – just thought it was worth a check to see if you have any ideas?

        THANKS THANKS THANKS for this website!


  52. Hi – I posted before about our son who needs serious swinging to go to sleep, but I’m hoping for some additional encouragement, suggestions as I’m getting to my wits end! Thanks so much for all your helpful info. Here’s a recap:

    We have a 7 month old baby who is seriously addicted to motion. He’s been sleeping in his swing for naps and nighttime since he was little infant. It used to work great for putting him down awake, turning it on and walking away, but that ended several months ago. We went through a rough sleeping period a couple months ago (waking up frequently) and I resorted to sitting next to the swing and jiggling it vigorously to get him to sleep. That helped but I think he got used to seeing me next to the swing, which is a problem.

    So now we are working on weaning him from seeing me in the room; we’ve moved the swing next to the crib and I can sit behind it where he can’t see me. I think this is helping, BUT, our problem is that he doesn’t stay asleep very well. I can jiggle him to sleep (previously where he could see me, now where he can’t) but when I gradually transition from jiggling to actually turning the swing on, he often wakes up! He has been doing ok with minimal jiggling to fall asleep at night (around 6:30 or 7pm), but then he often wakes up after a couple hours. If it’s earlier in the evening, I try to just jiggle him back to sleep, if later in the night, I nurse him, he usually falls back asleep and I put him back in the swing and jiggle/turn it on. But, lately after nursing, he’s been waking up when I put him in the swing (or wakes up a few minutes after I crawl back into bed), then I have to vigorously jiggle the swing and he goes right back to sleep BUT he often wakes up as soon as I transition to turning the swing on. I’ve spent 30 minutes in the middle of the night jiggling his swing, only to turn it on and have him wake up as soon as I get into bed, which is so frustrating!! Any suggestions?? I don’t mind nursing in the middle of the night, if he would just stay asleep when I put him down! Nothing like sitting in a cold room, jiggling a swing at 3 am! And I spend so much daytime jiggling his swing and reading George Eliot novels on the kindle – I’m getting swinging muscles I didn’t know existed!! Finally, is it a problem he’s still in the swing? I feel like we need to tackle the extra mommy jiggling before trying to transition to the crib.

    So, any tips for how to get the swing to do it’s work so mommy doesn’t have to? If he falls asleep ok with minimal jiggling, why does he need it later? Two other maybe important things to note are:
    1) We just got back from 10 day vacation where, though we tried hard, sleeping definitely wasn’t great (he’d often end up in bed with us by 4 am cause mommy was tired of jiggling the swing). So, maybe he’s not staying asleep after night wakings because he’s over tired?
    2) He’s close to learning to crawl and seems to be more unsettled and moving more

    Other helpful info:

    Bedtime routine: dinner (solids), washdown or bath, jammies, book, song, nursing, another song, in swing. Usually starting around 6 or 6:30 and sleeping around 7 or so. He rarely falls asleep nursing. But, he does nurse right before he goes to sleep.

    Thanks for any tips!!!

    • Dayna,
      Well this is pretty unusual but basically you have a sleep association problem….with head jiggling. The common sleep association problems are pacifiers, nursing to sleep, or being rocked/carried to sleep. So your baby is pretty unique but that is essentially where you are.

      I bet if you sat there and jiggled the swing he would take huge naps and sleep like a champ at night. You would have huge biceps and would quickly work your way through every George Eliot book every printed. But that sounds pretty exhausting so I’m not advocating this strategy.

      When he was little the swing/jiggle worked great because he was too young to remember that it was happening so that was “back in the day when the swing was your friend.” However at some point he connected the dots and now is requiring his sleep association to be repeated constantly which is why his naps are short and you’re arms are muscular.

      I would play around with a little fuss it out. He may surprise you. Do your great bedtime routine, put him in his swing, turn swing on, and leave the room for say 15 minutes. You didn’t mention it but if you aren’t already, try some loud white noise too (always when babies are sleeping).

      Wait 15 minutes and don’t go back in (if you have a night vision monitor it’s helpful). What happens? Is he freaking out? Complaining here and there? Talking to himself? Asleep?

      If he’s pretty mellow but NOT asleep after 15 minutes, leave well enough alone. If he’s in full freakout mode go calm him down but try to do so without jiggling. Then repeat the process.

      The key is to get OUT of jiggling. Once that has been tackled step 2 is to wind down the swing speed. You want him sleeping in a non-moving swing before you move him to the crib so that is the interim step.

      Once you can put him awake into a non-moving swing and leave the room you’re in a good position to move him to his crib. Does that make sense? When you’re ready transition him to the crib at night (generally nights are easier than naps).

      But really on every level the head jiggling has to stop so I would really come up with a 5 day plan so that you are DONE with that. Also once you are done with the jiggling you ARE done. Yes?

      • Hi Alexis,

        Thanks so much for the response and the encouragement. Yes, the jiggling has to stop! I’ve been figuring, at least he can’t see me anymore and isn’t used to being held, but he is used to being jiggling! So, sounds like the best transition/strategy is to get him back used to just the swing speed (the slowest speed that works) and then gradually reduce the speed to get to non-moving swing and then into the crib.

        If we leave him at bedtime and he does freak out, do you recommend picking him up to calm him down, then putting him back in the swing? I was relying on the jiggling to avoid picking him up, thinking that was better, but clearly now we’re addicted to jiggling. And, you recommend not trying the crib until he’s in a non-moving swing? I keep thinking he needs to get out of the swing, but he’s still safe and under the weight limit… Thanks so much from the Nightly Swingers…..

        • I would leave him for 15 minutes. IF he’s FULLY freaking out then pick him up and soothe him but DON’T JIGGLE (you’re trying to stop that completely). When he is calm, back in the swing he goes for another 15 minutes.

          I’m hopeful that the great consistent bedtime routine, loud white noise, and soothing swing will help this go relatively smoothly and freakout free. If he DOES freakout and you have to go back in repeatedly for a few days (3-4) then it may be time for a different plan. But I don’t think this will happen – I think he’ll grumble, maybe cry a bit, but fall asleep within 15-30 minutes. Fingers crossed :)

          • Thanks! There is also part of me that thinks we need to get him in the crib before he can pull up in the crib and so I worry that gradually reducing the swing will take too long and we shoul just go to the crib now, either with gradual soothing in the crib or cry it out. Sigh….. in your experience, how long does it usually take to get a kid used to a non moving swing?

        • Hi – I also meant to ask: what about jiggling at nap time? I know in other posts, you recommend doing whatever it takes to get good naps so the baby is more rested to work on night issues and that sleep associations are different for day and night sleep. So, are we ok to still jiggle to get good naps and then focus on ending the night time jiggling association and then work on naps? Or stop jiggling at nap time too? Thanks!

  53. Progress! My 5 month old just slept UNswaddled last night for the 1st time in his non-moving swing. We weaned the swing speed around 3 months but went back temporarily while 1st 2 teeth came in at 4 months. One might wonder why he is still in a non-moving swing several weeks later but we haven’t transitioned him to the crib because he was still swaddled and he can roll over. So I wanted to wean from the swaddle before putting him in the crib.

    Over the past 2 weeks he was put down for naps with one arm out of the swaddle. Typically he takes three 45 minute naps in a rock and play at my moms. Occasionally one of those naps will be longer. Times stayed about the same with one arm out.

    For one week we did one arm out at night and it didn’t seem to make a difference either so we had faith in ourselves and in our little one and tossed the swaddle to the side last night. Basically sleep was the same which was so surprising for us.

    However, we still have 2 dilemmas…

    1) How do you move him from a cozy basinet cradle swing to a flat crib other than just do it? I guess my worry is that we will soon have wakenings from his new freedom to roll over.

    2) Early morning awakenings…He is asleep typically at 6:45pm and used to wake around 6am with 2-3 nighttime feedings depending on the week. Not ideal so lately I’ve committed to only nursing 2x in the middle of the night and it works. But after his 4:30am feeding, he canNOT go back to sleep without a great deal of rocking, amped up white noise, picking up, putting back down etc. all by daddy. We are exhausted because at this point my husband and I are up for the day and lost a final hour of sleep. He sometimes wakes every 15 minutes for the final 90 minutes that he used to sleep. Other times he gets back to sleep until his wake up time so I know he still needs the sleep. White noise is still on. Still dark outside. Suggestions other than re-swaddling and swinging him which feels like giving in/up? Also, should we wait for the early morning awakening to resovle BEFORE attempting to move him to the crib?

    • Is he definitely flipping over while swaddled? If not I would use the swaddle to transition to the crib. However if he IS then yep – no swaddle in the crib. So….

      Yes you just do it. When he is sleeping unswaddled in a non-moving cradle swing he’s ready. Ideally that swing is next to or near his crib so the “move” is actually quite small. You do the same bedtime routine only instead of going into the cradle swing he goes into his crib. Ideally you might want to play with him in the crib a few times prior to this move so it smells familiar, he’s seen it before, etc.

      There may be some mild complaining but generally it’s not a big deal. Start with bedtime first as it’s the easiest.

      And LOTS of babies struggle with early morning wakings. I would make your move to the crib for sleep. But when he wakes up at 4:30 and won’t go back down, slip him in the swing and turn it on. Swaddle him also if it helps. No it’s not consistent so I get your hesitation (but I need him to sleep in the same place all the time!!!). But many many babies do stuff like this at 4:00 am and will only go back to sleep on Mom’s boob, co-sleeping, or in a swing.

      So you can fight for consistency (it sounds like you are loosing this battle) or accept that for a while, at 4:00 am he’s going to need some extra help to extend his night and be able to sleep until a more reasonable time of morning.

      No I wouldn’t wait for the AM thing to go away before moving him to the crib. I mean you can if you want to but you don’t NEED to. Crib or swing – he’s likely to wake up at 4:00 am regardless so it’s not really a factor.

      Good luck with your soon to be crib baby!

  54. Hi Alexis,

    I read through all these comments and fear you may have answered my questions in pieces so apologies if I’m making you repeat yourself- but I’m in a sleep deprived haze and having trouble assembling it all. :)

    I have a 15 week old. We love the swing- he sleeps there great at night and we’re starting to try to do all his naps there now starting…today. My question is this:

    He currently is going down completely asleep- and I mean COMPLETELY asleep as in I have to nurse him for 30 minutes until he’s asleep then sit with him for at least another 30 rocking him before moving him into the swing. If I try when he’s in a lighter sleep stage he wakes and starts to freak. We repeat this in the middle of the night, 2X. SO- even though he’s sleeping great in his swing, far better than he was previously co-sleeping or in his bassinet which was an all out disaster, I’m still spending at least 3 hours getting him into the damn thing! At 15 weeks we really want to encourage him to learn to sleep on his own and hopefully cut back on the amount of time I’m spending lulling him into it.

    Here’s the environment: completely dark room, loud white noise going. No paci, no swaddle (he has never had either of these things- despite our efforts many times in the beginning to introduce them. Now he’s almost to the age where he’d be weaning off anyway so I’m hoping this isn’t too big an issue). He sleeps pretty well during the day right now- at least 3-4 hours usually of napping, sometimes more between 3 main naps, the last usually ending just an hour before his bedtime.

    When I put him into the swing really drowsy or even asleep but not in a deep sleep, he just starts to flail around, which then escalates to whining, which eventually escalates to crying and then hysteria. I shush, I pat his tummy, I’ve tried just leaving the room…. not sure where to go from here. Wondering if I should try a PU/PD routine with him in the swing? Do I let him cry for a while and see what happens? Should I leave the room- or should I stay in there with him? Sometimes I feel like my presence is more distracting that it is truly soothing but I don’t know for sure :/.

    Basically I’m desperate to get this kid to sleep without me- because while he is sleeping great I’m still spending my whole night putting him down! And of course want to give him the tools he needs to put himself to sleep so I’m not doing this until he goes to college.

    Any thoughts you have will be so greatly appreciated! Love this site!!!


    • “When I put him into the swing really drowsy or even asleep but not in a deep sleep, he just starts to flail around…”

      I hear what you are saying – he’s almost 4 months old so you don’t want to introduce sleep aids you want to wean OFF them. And that is a valid rational argument. But let me give you a different valid rational argument.

      Your 4 month old DOES have a huge sleep aid and it’s YOU. Basically he’s nursing for 10-15 minutes and then he’s using your body, boobs, and rocking for 45 minutes to fall asleep. In fact I would probably consider this part of his naptime. After he’s been sleeping for almost an hour he is deep enough asleep to let you transition him off his body.

      You say he’s napping 3-4 hours but my guess is that he’s actually napping even more because I would probably count the rocking/suckling time in there too.

      So he does have a sleep aid you’ll have to wean off. It’s you!

      But as you’re noticing – having you be the sleep aid you have to wean off is a huge grind. Also? Weaning him off you isn’t such an easy thing to do.

      So I’m going back to this statement: “When I put him into the swing really drowsy or even asleep but not in a deep sleep, he just starts to flail around….”

      I would really really consider the swaddle. Yes this is a sleep aid you will have to wean off but I think it’s much easier than weaning off you. If I were you I would change his diaper, read some books, swaddle him and nurse him in a dark room. Then when he is content I would put him into his swing with the loud white noise on and leave.

      I doubt he would freak out in this scenario – there may be a bit of crying but I think it would be manageable.

      Sure you could try other things but I’m not a huge fan of the PU/PD routine and I think it’s really hard for him to self-soothe with those flailing arms batting him about the head.

      I would do the same thing at night because that 1 hour of suckling/rocking has got to be a grind at 2:00 am right?

      I know people are always skeptical about the swaddle especially for older babies but really – he’s not THAT OLD! Dr. Karp suggests swaddling MINIMALLY till 4 months and some babies are swaddled long after that. Also even if he protest when being swaddled the point is that getting his flailing arms out of the way will make all the OTHER soothing you give him (nursing, white noise, swing) THAT much more effective.

      Give it a try for 3 days OK? Then you can come back and tell me if I am genius or totally full of crap 😉

  55. Hi there – it’s the Night Time Swingers again….yeah the ones with the 7 month old kid who needs serious jiggling in the swing to fall asleep. So, we are wondering if we should just bite the bullet and try the crib with a little check/console CIO. You suggested we try turning on the swing (no jiggling) and see what happens, which we haven’t tried because we were going on vacation and didn’t want to try something new until we are back. But, we wondering, if he’s going to fuss/complain with the change in routine with the swing (no jiggling), should we just make the grand move to the crib and avoid fuss/complain in swing (once we stop the jiggling) and fuss/complain again when we go to the crib? I’m worried that doing a more gradual transition to the crib could take a while (how long usually?) and he’ll just get bigger, maybe be pulling up in the crib and it could make the whole transition harder. Or are we crazy to think we can go from serious head jiggling in the swing to lying in the crib with just a little CIO? We’re not sure what’s realistic to expect (he has never slept in the crib)?? Anyone have any experience? I think we’re just getting antsy that he’s still in his swing at almost 8 months and since the normal swing motion isn’t working anyway and he needs to learn to fall asleep without jiggling, is it time to just go to the crib (we think we’re ok doing check/console CIO if needed)? Or do you recommend the more gradual approach and there’s no urgency to get him in the crib? Thanks for any advice!! We love this site!!

    • Hello Swingers,

      Listen – I really hate to be the one to make the go/no go decision on CIO. This is a lot like telling somebody to cut off all their hair. The best case scenario is that they love it and feel fabulous and are so glad they did it. The worst case scenario is that they look like a dude, LOATHE it, and spend the next 5 years growing their hair back out while cursing your name every time they pass a mirror.

      So…..what I’m hearing is that you’re back from vacation, feeling frustrated, and you really want the quickest path to “enough of this jiggling business.” Which is the quickest path? Hard to say.

      I have yet to develop an accurate method of CIO prediction. So I’ll say this – if he’s sleeping well (good long naps, 11 hours at night) and is well rested, then generally CIO is not too bad, lasts 3 nights and then you are done. This would be a relatively short path to “enough with the jiggling business.” And it circumvents all the gentle weaning that would need to happen (which may or may not go smoothly for you).

      The gentle weaning approach has the upside of being potentially cry-free. But the key word there is “potentially.” Most babies transition out of the swing without much fuss (worst case is 10-20 minutes of complaining then they’re done). But these are babies who are already falling asleep on their own in a non-moving swing which is a far cry from where you are. So while the tear-free option is preferable, yours may NOT be tear-free. It may be long, involve tears, and be frustrating for all involved.

      Or maybe he’s ready and would make the transition without much fuss and you’ll all go, “Wow that wasn’t nearly as hard as we thought it would be. Who knew!”

      Take a walk around your neighborhood without your baby (leave with Dad). After you’ve had 20 minutes of solitude and fresh air, ask yourself what you think the right strategy is. Whatever answer seems most right to you at that moment is what you should go with.

      To go back to the haircut analogy. I think you would probably look really cute with a short pixy haircut. But if you get it you can’t get mad at me if you decide you hate it later 😛

      • Hi, thanks so much for your response! It is sooooooo helpful just to know someone is out there to listen and offer advice. Thank you!

        W are so done wih jggling the swing and we know there is going to be protesting regardless, so we are gearing up for the crib move later this week. Will let you know how it goes!!

  56. Love this blog, but I still feel like nothing is working! Amaya was napping great in the swing for about 4 days (meaning 1+ hour naps, no fussing). Now she’s back to the 20-40 minute naps and screams when we put her in the swing. Nothing has really changed. But now we are battling nap times AND bed time.

    • Well I still maintain you are possibly facing a sleep regression because it sounds like naps and bedtime all went to hell in a handbasket all at once. And you know me – there is nothing I love more than swaddling babies. I swear if there were a baby swaddling olympic event I would totally win. Even with those, “But my baby HATES to be swaddled” babies. I would consider it really strongly!

  57. Update! I put 3 mo Amaya in the swing – swaddled + white noise + highest speed for the last 5 days. She now associates the swing with sleep, and I can set her in there awake and she falls asleep in 2-3 minutes. I have been tracking her naps the last few days to see any patterns that are starting to emerge (though I know they probably won’t stick), and it seems that her morning naps are the longest ones (2-3 hours) and the afternoon ones tend to be under an hour.

    We still put her in the crib at night, but swaddle just her arms (she was kicking out of the swaddle otherwise). Last night was the first night that she slept the entire night in her crib – usually I pull her into bed after her 2-3:00 feeding because she has escaped her swaddle and I don’t want to wake her up by re-doing it. Last night, though, I nursed her on one side and then I re-swaddled (she had popped one arm out) and then nursed on the other side. She was pooped and went down, woke up fussing after about 15 minutes, and then went back down after a bit of soothing until 8:00.

    You were so right – consistency is key!!! Our house is much happier now, and I dont’ feel like such a complete and utter failure. Thank you so much for this blog and your helpful and timely feedback.

    • You felt like a complete and utter failure? Gheesh Louise, we ALL start out fumbling like idiots. All I know is that if you’ve got your 3 month old taking huge chunky naps and sleeping like a champ in the crib AND you’re well on your way to “put down awake” that there is NO way you are a complete and utter failure.

      So cheers :)

  58. Hi Alexis,

    I am so glad I found your site, since I have been using the swing for my little guy’s naps since he was 2 months old, and I feared I would need it until he went to college ha! He is now 4 months old, but I wanted to ask your advice on exactly how to transition him to the crib for his day time naps? He sleeps great in the crib at night. However, he won’t sleep in his crib during the day. The swing is right by the crib, and I’ll make the room dark and turn on the white noise machine (essentially the same condition as the night time sleep.) I read in Weisbluth’s blook that motionless sleep is the best, so early on I started turning off the swing after he falls asleep, and he’ll continue to take long naps no problem. However, when I try to put him in the crib during the day, he won’t fall asleep. Do you think at 4 months, he still wants to motion to fall asleep for his daytime naps? Any advice? Thank you so much!

    • Well you didn’t ask but I don’t agree with Weissbluth on this issue. He basically says, ” I don’t sleep well on airplanes so motionless sleep is best.”


      So I wouldn’t sweat it. Lots of babies are still napping in swings far after they’ve mastered the crib at night.

      I think the issue is that he still needs motion to FALL asleep. At 4 months I’m inclined to let sleeping dogs lie and continue on as you have been. Eventually you’ll want to have him FALL asleep in a NON moving swing but maybe he’s not quite there yet. Try again in a month!

      Once he is falling asleep in a NON moving swing, I think he’ll be able to fall asleep in a crib.

      My 2 cents…

      • Great – thanks so much, Alexis! Once he can fall asleep in a non-moving swing, how do I transition him to the crib? How much complaining/crying do you usually expect before they fall asleep in the crib? Thanks again!!

  59. Hi – it’s the Swingers again – here we go; tonight is the night we move to the crib and teach this little guy (8 months old) to sleep on his own – no more jiggling! Wish us well!

  60. Hi Alexis,
    Our little boy is 10 weeks old & I’m so glad that a friend directed me to your blog, I’ve been reading it non-stop while baby naps – ON MY CHEST! He sleeps great in his crib at night (routine of bath, boob, & miracle blanket), he usually gets anywhere from 5-8 hours a stretch, then he’ll eat & go back down in the crib for another 2-4. The problem we’re having is duration of naps. If I let him sleep on me, he’ll nap for 2-3 hours, which is great when I’m trying to watch a movie, but when I put him down in his crib for a nap, we’re looking at 30 – 40 minutes tops. I read your post about the short nappers, & thought maybe I have a short napper, but when he wakes from his 1/2 hour nap, it’s obvious that he is not rested. When he sleeps on me for 2-3 hours he wakes up as prince charming.
    Would your suggestion be to try him in the swing? To keep at it with the crib? Or to make sure my Netflix queue is full?

    • Well Netflix IS key. We also got TiVo with baby #1 because daytime TV is a punishment I wouldn’t inflict on anyone.

      Here’s the deal – it’s awesome to have a baby sleep on you. Super cute cuddly baby sleep is really fun. HOWEVER at a certain point baby needs to learn to sleep elsewhere, or else you’ll end up with a 10 month old who only sleeps on you and frankly that’s generally a big mess.

      Now really is the time to work on helping baby learn to sleep elsewhere. No he’s not a short napper because if he was, his naps on you would be 30 minutes long also.

      At 10 weeks I would give TONS of soothing:
      – dark room
      – loud white noise
      – tight swaddle
      – swing on high speed
      – paci if he’ll take it

      Basically he gets tons of soothing on your body and can sleep just fine if he gets enough soothing. The crib is not soothing enough thus he wakes up 30 minutes later, still tired. The answer? MORE SOOTHING.

      Also if you go this path – COMMIT. Don’t try once and give up – make this your new nap routine for 5 days. He’s spent his entire life learning how to nap ON you, it’ll take a bit for him to learn to nap in a new way.

      It’s OK to put him fully asleep in the swing for now. Once you’ve mastered him napping not on your body THEN you move on to “put down awake.”

      Good luck!

      • Thanks for your reply Alexis!
        Swing is in position & I am mentally preparing myself for the next week. I’ll check in & let you know how we do. Thanks again!

        • So day 1: baby didn’t sleep longer than 45 minutes for any nap & currently is miserable & can’t fall asleep for bedtime (I’m assuming because he’s overtired from his short naps today) I’m hoping this is par for the course..?

          • Day 2: Ugh. No naps longer than 28 minutes & it took twice as long to get him to bed. Can this be the way it works?

          • Hey Laura,
            Did you do the full boat (swaddle, loud white noise, swing on high speed)? If so I’m surprised you didn’t have any better luck. I’m also guessing from your post on Sept 20th that you’re ditching this whole plan. Which I understand. BUT….

            If I could go back in time and respond to you on the 20th I would tell you to stick with it for naptime.

            Look – your baby sleeps like gangbusters ON you. That is wonderful and cuddling with babies is probably one of the best thing on the planet. Unless it’s the only way they can sleep in which case it’s a dead end road. It’s also effectively teaching him that the way to nap is to lie on Mom. When they’re newborn that’s a fine way to teach him to sleep. But your baby is outgrowing being a newborn and becoming a full grown baby. So if it’s today or next month, sometime soon you need to teach him to sleep that doesn’t require you to be there.

            Because really that IS a dead end road.

            I’ve found the best way to teach a baby to not sleep on you is with the swing. You don’t have to use it if you feel it’s not a good tool for you. But almost ALWAYS you’ll have better luck than sticking with the crib for naps.

            Regardless, teaching him to sleep NOT on you really is your homework. And when you’re changing things up it’ll take a few days for him to sort out the new plan. He’s been sleeping the old way his entire life. It’ll take a few days for him to adjust to the new plan (whatever that new plan is).

            Depending on if you use crib or swing, his new naps may BE shorter than they were ON you because neither of these locations is as soothing as Mom. I believe the swing to be far more soothing than the crib and thus over time you’ll get better naps more quickly there. But I can’t claim that swing naps will be the multi-hour monsters you’ll get ON you because really, nothing can compete with Mom.

            But think about a plan to teach him to nap a new way. Because this isn’t going to get any easier as he gets older. And CIO for naps can be an ugly business. So really, now is the time to get him off you at naptime.

            PS. There is also the possibility that the 4 month sleep regression/growth spurt is tripping you up. Trying to find the perfect time to make changes (growth spurts, teething, illness, ear infection) can be an impossible task, but there is a good chance the growth spurt/sleep regression is making things extra hard for you right now.

            • Hey Alexis,

              I appreciate you following up. The “swing week” was a tough one. I committed & stuck with it, but it just didn’t work for us. Turns out this baby is no swinger. What I came to realize (horror of horrors) is that my baby is a stomach sleeper. I can’t blame him, it has always been my sleep position of choice & actually one of the worst things about my pregnancy was saying goodbye to sleeping on my stomach & learning to sleep in another position.

              Of course I have a lot of anxiety & guilt about putting my beloved baby “at risk” for SIDS, but as I sit & type this he is snoozing peacefully in front of me (for the last 2 hours!) So I will comfort myself with the fact that not so long ago our parents put us on our tummies to sleep & once this kid learns to roll over, all bets regarding sleep positions are off anyhow. Until then I’ll just watch over him as he naps, not on me, but on his stomach.

              This was also an important lesson for me as a first time mom, that it’s important to try new ways to do things, and to keep in mind that all babies are different.


  61. Former Swingers here: Well folks – we are on night two of no more jiggling! Our 8 month old is in his crib for the first time ever- 30 minutes of crying the first night and 20 minutes tonight, with two checks by me and my husband last night and one check tonight. He cried off and on last night (never more than 10 minutes) and I fed him at 1:30pm and he went right back into his crib asleep. Came into bed with us at 4:00am (I know, need to get him back in his crib at 4am), but overall, a success! Let’s hope he’s a quick learner and not just letting us get comfortable! I definitely feel he was ready and it was time. He was a sweet, happy boy today, we worked on good naps and I can attest he was not emotionally scarred. Only hiccup was I found him totally stuck in the slats of his crib at 1:30am and poor guy had been crying off and on for someone to rescue him. But alls well that ends well! Thanks Alexis for this blog and all the helpful info. Everyone, trust your instincts to know when is the right time (to move them, teach them to fall asleep, etc.) and try it out – your little one might surprise you! Will update later on how things are going!

  62. Just had to write and thank you. This website has been a godsend. My 13 week old son has been waking up within 15 minutes anytime I put him down after he fell asleep since he was 3 weeks old. He will only fall asleep and stay asleep while being held – usually only while nursing. Out of desperation, I began sleeping sitting up, with him asleep on my lap after nursing. We have been sleeping like that for all naps and nights for 10 weeks. Any time I lay him down awake to try to teach him to fall asleep on his own he screams hysterically within 15 minutes. (He also has reflux, which is the source of many of his sleep issues I am sure.) I was a total swing skeptic – we have a Graco carseat that snaps into a swing base and he has always hated the swing. After reading your site, I got a used fisherprice papasan swing this weekend. Last night, I tried to put him in it sleepy and he would not have it. Tonight, I nursed him until he was very sleepy and laid him in it. When he began stirring I used your jiggling technique and he fell asleep!!! Without anyone holding him!!! I am going to sleep now myself. Thank you thank you and thank you some more.

    • Woo hoo! Congratulations on your success. And yes reflux will make everything much much harder.

      PS. Did you read this? It’s what I learned given our own travails with reflux…

      When moving into a swing your primary goal is to get him used to sleeping in there and obviously KEEP him sleeping (vs. waking up 15 minutes later). Once he’s had a week or so to settle into the swing THEN you can noodle on putting him in there awake and getting him to fall asleep.

      The swing is also extra helpful for refluxing babies by keeping them elevated. I’ve always found the car seat to be a little too squinchy for their bellies so lots of refluxing babies hate the car seat, spit up more in the car seat, cry in the car seat, etc. The Pampasan swing seems to do a much better job of keeping their tummies happy.

      Good luck with your little refluxer!

  63. Hi, I have a 4 week old who hates naps. We started “crib training” him from the day we brought him home, and now he actually sleeps pretty well at night in his crib, 2-3 hours stretches, from ~9pm-5am, plus a couple extra 1 hour sleeps tacked on until 7-8am. The problem is, it is so difficult getting him to take a nap in his crib, and when we do, he rarely sleeps more than a 10-30 minute catnap. He will take a nap in the car, stroller, or in our arms, but it sure would be nice to put him down somewhere at home for an hour or two. I used to be anti-swing, thinking of them as “robo nannies” taking the place of an attentive parent, but now that I’m the proud parent of a crappy sleeper, I realize how important it is to do whatever is necessary to get your kid the sleep she or he needs. That said, I’m worried that if we use a swing for naps, and he likes it, it will screw with his nighttime crib sleeping. Do you think this is just paranoia? Or should I keep working at the crib-naps and avoid introducing the swing? He is currently getting between 10-12 hours of sleep per day, about 8 of which is at night, and most of his long (1 hr+) naps are out of the house.
    P.S. Love the site!!

    • Hey Jen!

      I just wanted to give you my experience in the hopes that it will encourage you to try the swing for day time. My son is 12 weeks old, and we started the swing at around 3 weeks for all sleeping. Ever since about 7 weeks, he’s been sleeping in his bassinet at night but still uses the swing in the daytime. I’ve read on here that there’s different brain functioning that affects daytime sleep vs. nighttime sleep. So what works during the day may/may not work at night and vice versa.

      Use the swing during the day!! My son is now sleeping 6-8 hour stretches at night and the swing allows him to take 1-4 hour naps throughout the day. I got over the mommy guilt after a few days thinking I wasn’t doing enough for him. Now I know he needs to sleep during the day, that I can’t rock and hold him for 12 hours, and it’ll be easier to train him to sleep in his crib during the day if he’s well rested and not used to falling asleep with me 24/7.

    • Robo nannies? Which would make the crib a what, non-robo nanny? 😛

      I just wanted to chime in and say that everything Anna says is totally right. I hope you’ve taken her advice and gotten some better naps for your baby AND a few free moments for yourself?

      Also when your baby is just 4 weeks old the answer to pretty much all problems is – more soothing. Swaddle, swing, white noise, etc. He’ll outgrow many of these things by 3 months but there is no rush.

      Also? You are neither the first nor the last parent to have certain beliefs about parenting that went out the window once baby actually arrived 😉

  64. I cannot thank you enough. I had written off the swing for my 7 week old, then read your posts and thought I’d try again with him swaddled this time. Sure enough, it worked like magic, both last night and for his first morning nap today! I am SO grateful. I just had a couple questions:

    He has been going to sleep at the beginning of the night (between 7:30-9) in his co-sleeper pretty well. It has been the part of the night after he first wakes, usually between 12 and 1:30, that has been problematic, with him waking up every hour or less and me nursing him back to sleep. What do you think about continuing to start him off in the co-sleeper and then transitioning him to the swing after his first waking?

    Also, we had been swaddling him in Kiddopotamus but switched to Miracle Blankets because he kept breaking out. The Miracle Blanket is working pretty well but we had to switch him last night to put him in the swing. By any chance do you know of any other options that might be more Houdini-proof than the Kiddopotamus but also able to work with a swing?

    Again, thank you so much. We are forever in your debt!!! :)

    • There is no problem at this age with moving him to the swing after his midnight feed. I would also be curious to know if it helps at all to simply put him in the swing AT bedtime? You don’t need to but it might be a good experiment to try out & see what happens.

      You can use the miracle blanket with legs out. Just don’t put his legs in the little leg pouch. When you put him in the swing there will be an extra flap of miracle blanket behind him but it’s not a big deal to just move it so that it’s not bunched up and then strap him into the swing. Does that make sense?

      So glad to help you get the swing working for your baby!

  65. Hi Alexis!
    Your site and your research/knowledge has been a godsend. I discovered it the first week my son was born, bookmarked it and had read the entire 0-3 section the first few nights I was awake. And then read and re-read it. Thank you for all you’ve invested into this!

    I’ve been following your steps for swing transition. My son wasn’t sleeping for more than 20-30 minutes the first 2 weeks until we switched to the swing *and* shortened his wake times, and he’s been an excellent sleeper since then. He’ll do 3-4 naps a day, avg 2 hours and will sleep 6-8 hrs then another 4 hrs at night.

    He is 9 weeks old and my ped rec’d we started working towards crib transition sooner rather than later. I started by cutting the speed down, and then eventually turning it off and he hasn’t protested or shortened his sleep. So then I made the move to the crib and it has gone pretty horribly from there. For about 8 days, I’ve tried to put him down for both naps and night sleep in the crib and it usually takes about an hour of soothing before he’ll (sometimes) sleep and then the sleep is very short. I’ve ended up putting him back into the swing and cranking it up to get the sleep he needs. Now I feel like I’m confusing him with the back and forth.

    Based on your experience, am I starting too young with the crib transition? Should we continue with the non moving swing sleep for awhile longer and then try the crib again? I would like to get him there in the near future because we’ll be traveling at the holidays and he’ll have to sleep in the pack n play… but I don’t want to force the switch too soon at the cost of him getting good quality, long sleep.

    Thanks for your advice – and for the great community you’ve created here with your readers!

    • I should add that I also put the crib on an incline in case there was a reflux issue… that hasn’t seem to resolve anything. (But obviously even an inclined crib isn’t as upright as the swing is. Or as cozy!)

    • At 9 weeks I’m not worried about confusing him by changing things up. He’s still small enough that consistency is less of an issue then it will be when he is 4-5 months old. I DO think that he’s telling you that he’s not ready to be done with the swing.

      If our pediatrician feels strongly that this needs to happen then I don’t want to disagree. Most pediatricians aren’t that concerned about newborns sleeping in swings so I haven’t had an issue with a line being drawn in the sand at 3 months. And I suspect that if you went back to your pediatrician and explained that swing=great sleep and crib=no sleep, that they would agree that you should stick with the swing a little longer.

      Most babies are out of the swing first at night and later for naps. So that might be an option to consider as well?

      As for traveling, most babies sleep poorly when traveling. It’s really really common to have babies accrue a pretty significant sleep debt when traveling. So when you get back from vacation you find yourself with a miserable overtired kid who sleeps like crap. I don’t mean to scare you but to suggest that IF your baby loves the swing and IF you’re going to be traveling somewhere where you could bring a swing (or get a cheap modern used one there to use), it may be worth considering the use of the swing while you travel?

      Because basically when you travel the best way to handle sleep is to do WHATEVER you can to maintain the same sleep environment/schedule you had at home. Which is super hard because everything about travel works against that goal.

      Still travel is really key to your sanity and is well worth it. Just throwing out that a cheap gently used travel swing might be a worthy investment….

      • Thank you so much for the reply. I think we’ll continue to try and gently introduce the crib when he’s sleepiest (maybe at night?) but not get hung up on it happening now and rely on the swing to keep him getting solid sleep & stay on our schedule.

        I hadn’t thought about finding a used/cheap swing, but a quick search on babies r us for their cheapest swing made me feel a little better. $60 for a week of sound(er) sleep would definitely be a good investment for everyone.

        I’ll keep you posted on the transition… thanks again for your thoughts & experience!

  66. Hi Alexis,

    You are still the saviour of our household with regards to day time sleep! My son is now approaching 3 months and I was just wondering about our general plan to wean him off motion sleep (I am a planner. It doesn’t fit particularly well with motherhood so far ;)….

    He uses the swing for day time naps. There is no regular pattern. I put him down when he is tired, he goes off very quickly usually (within 5 minutes) and then might sleep anywhere from 30 mins – 2 hours. But not the same pattern every day. He probably has 4 naps a day on average. It is all very stress free and he does not seem over tired (he definitely was before the swing).

    Do you think I should wait until there is a more regular pattern of naps before I start decreasing the speed of the swing? Or just decrease the speed and see if it seems approximately the same as before? When he sleeps in the buggy he still wakes up almost the second I stop the wheels turning. Makes for some interesting trips around the supermarket trying to pick things off the shelves whilst keeping the buggy moving!

    Thanks for any help re timing. I have read through the comments and couldn’t see one similar.

    And thanks again for your lifesaving advice in general!


    • Step 1: Put awake baby in swing, turn on swing. Leave room.

      So make sure the swing is helping him fall asleep before you try to wean. If you’re still rocking/nursing him to sleep and THEN putting him the swing, start at step 2.

      Step 2: Start dialing down speed of swing. If he continues to take naps that are 45 min- 2 hours in roughly the same frequency as before then GREAT. Keep going. If the 2 hours go away and they’re all 45 minutes? Dial speed back up.

      Step 3: When you are putting an awake baby in a non moving swing, leaving the room, and baby takes a decent nap, you’re ready for crib-time!

      If he’s in the swing at night and naptime, you’ll probably have better luck getting him out of the swing at night first. Good luck!

      • Thanks Alexis,

        His night time sleep has gone a bit downhill for the past two weeks (just as everyone told me “oh, when he hits 12 weeks he will start sleeping better at night”) so think we will not mess around with naps too much for now. But will implement your suggestions when either we are more on track again (or more likely I have just accepted the night time change!).

        I just wanted to say a bigger and most sincere thank you for your help to families on this website. Do you even get paid or sponsorship or anything? You should! Either way, when I put my son in a swing at 5 weeks old it seriously made an enormous difference. I’m pretty sure I have some post natal depression/anxiety since he was born and your advice has been a major factor in enabling me to start feeling better. A non napping baby is exhausting for a very anxious mum.

        So, thank you.


  67. Hi Alexis,

    First of all, THANK YOU for all of this. It is so helpful, just the honesty and humorous tone alone. Second, I would like your opinion on something. My baby is 3 months old now. Before 2 months, we had him sleeping in the carseat at night b/c the pediatrician said it was okay and he “hated the crib”; he was napping in my arms or in a sling. At about 1-1.5 months he was sleeping at night 6-8 hours uninterrupted consistently: from about 8pm to 2-4pm, then again until 6:30 pretty much on the dot. I was nursing him to almost sleep (really drowsy but still awake). Then the pediatrician said to move to the crib at 2 months. So we did. He slept worse of course, every once in a while 7 hours but more like 4.5-5 in a row. He would not nap in the crib at all, or would startle himself awake at 20 min, so I continued to hold him for naps. I saw all your posts and started to think I really should not be nursing him to almost sleep as much as I am or holding him for naps during the day. So I began to experiment with loud white noise, the swaddle, and the swing — just for the past 7 days. I have started nursing him before the bath rather than after at night, and I put him down when he gets tired for naps (1-2 hours between, like you say). He slept for 3 hours one time during a nap, but has since gotten back to about 30 min naps in the swing. Here is my predicament. Crib or swing? For both, I swaddle arms and have loud white noise.

    1) The Crib – he will sleep at night here, and fall asleep on his own with the pacifier I reluctantly give him to calm down but then pull out before fully falling asleep. But he doesn’t sleep as well: he slept about 5 hours (7pm-12), then 3 (up at 3am) and 3 (up for good at 6:30). Is this too many night wakings for feeding at this age? I don’t want to get him hooked on them. For naps he usually just usually won’t fall asleep in the crib, even with the pacifier.

    2) The Swing – he will sleep at night here, and fall asleep on his own with me rocking the swing really fast and then turning it to the highest speed. He sleeps about 4.5-7 hours straight, but not necessarily the first sleep time (for instance, he could go to sleep a 7pm, wake at 12, but then sleep until 7am). The point is, he sleeps more consistently for a longer stretch at some point during the night, sometimes with one less feeding than in the crib. And he actually naps here, albeit still usually for only 30 min at a time — that 3 hour one was a miracle, and it was followed by some equally rare 1 hour and 45 min naps. But then it went back to about 30 min. The longest he’s ever napped in the crib, by contrast, is about 45 min when he was exhausted.

    Any thoughts? Basically trying to weigh the pros and cons of 1) swing (more uninterrupted sleep usually for night and naps, but then I have to try to ween him off it eventually) vs. 2) crib (right place for the long-term, but pacifier use could become a problem as well as more frequent night wakings for feedings). I guess there’s also the potential of 3) doing naps in swing and night in crib. What do you think of these three options?

    I know that’s a lot. I’d appreciate any guidance. Thanks. (And also I’ve read ALL your posts, so you can reference any of them.)

    • Sarah,
      You read ALL my posts? Wow. That’s a first – thanks :)

      So you have a 3 month old who gets up to eat 1-2X a night. This is TOTALLY normal. Also? Don’t be surprised if the 4 month regression/growth spurt means baby wants to eat more like 3-4X a night (for a week or so). But 1-2 is normal, or even slightly better than normal.

      What I gather is that if he goes to bed in his crib, # of feedings = 2. If he goes to bed in the swing, # of feedings = 1.

      And you’re asking what I think, yes? Well I could argue either way so it’s really up to what YOU think. What I care most about is that you are inching towards “he falls asleep alone” and it sounds like you’re doing great with that. He’ll be sleeping at night in his crib eventually, and personally it doesn’t matter to ME if it’s tonight or next month. So it really comes down to how YOU feel about it and how inconvenient the night feedings are. If it’s a quick 10 minute feed and he’s back down and you feel better when he’s in his crib – that’s totally cool! Great!

      If you feel really beat up and are resentful of the night feedings then maybe the swing, for now, is the better choice!

      Most babies are in the crib at night BEFORE the figure out how to sleep in there for naptime. Also there is no problem in having him nap in the swing and sleep in the crib at night.

      I also don’t care if he naps in the swing. However if the choice is napping in the swing for 45 minutes, or napping in your arms for 1.5 hours, I would choose the swing. EVEN THOUGH THE NAP IS SHORTER.

      Why? Because it’s MUCH easier to gently wean a baby out of the swing. If you teach your baby to only nap on your body, what is your exit strategy? Not only do you have no exit strategy, you have no free time to yourself. Which at 3 months may not seem so bad but trust me, eventually you WILL start to care.

      So I’m not sure if that answers your questions or not? Hopefully it points you in the right direction :)

      • Thanks so much! That really put me more at ease. I’m going to do crib at night and swing for naps. He seems to be going good with that, as far as more easily falling asleep and staying asleep. If I put him in the crib during the day, he just cries and doesn’t nap but maybe 10 minutes or so at a time (it’s pitiful). Also great point about him not sleeping on me. I totally agree and am finally getting him to NOT sleep/fall asleep on me or nursing. I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s getting better! Thanks — you are pretty incredible for answering everyone’s posts, by the way. I guess you enjoy helping people through what can be very difficult times! I’ll be sure to ask you any more questions as they pop up.

  68. I just wanted to add our story for those that might be concerned with the swing. Our baby was not sleeping well in her bassinet and when she was sleeping it was very restless which made me restless. We had a swing but I had never thought of letting her sleep in it. When I found this website I gave it a try and bam we had a good sleeper. It was the small travel type swing that turned off after an hour. That worked well for about three weeks then all of a sudden we found ourselves turning the swing back on every hour. So, I went right out and bought one of the wall plugins because I was not going back to poor sleep for nuthin! We had worked our way down to medium speed by 3.5 months. Like others on the site we were unsure how we were going to get to the ultimate goal of the in crib. One night at close to 4 months we had swaddled her, the room was dark, the white noise was loud, and the pacifier was in but she would not settle down to sleep. We kept trying to sooth her and eventually I just thought “she sounds uncomfortable” so I turned the swing off and she went to sleep! It took me two more nights of trying to put her to sleep with the swing on to actually believe that she wanted to sleep without it. So the very next day we tried napping in the crib which went great and that night sleeping in the crib was great too. She is 4.5 months now and sleeps in her crib from 6 to 6. We have a couple of big hurdles still (swaddle and pacifier are still very needed) but she hasn’t missed the swing a bit.

    • WOO HOO! I love success stories. They make me sound like I’m not just making stuff up 😉

      And 12 hours a night at 4.5? You must be the envy of all the other new Moms you know :)

      PS. I wouldn’t sweat the swaddle. But you may want to stop using the paci before it blows up on you. You’ll know you’ve hit that point when your new business cards arrive and they read “Kendra – Pacifier Reinsertion Specialist.”

      • Your pacifier post was very well timed for us and my husband and I have been discussing it alot. We do not want to loose our rockin sleep record :)

        Our big hesitation right now is the fact she started teething. The pediatrician mentioned it looked like she was starting to chew her fingers like teething and then bam … drool and fussiness all over the place. Her motor skills are not the greatest right now so the pacifier is the easiest thing for her to hold and chew effectively to relieve that icky pain. It is a really tough decision right now …

  69. Hi Alexis! I love your site! Here is my issue: My 9-week-old is not a swing-hating baby; on the contrary, he loves sleeping in his swing, will easily fall asleep alone in it, and will take 2-hour naps in it. (He sleeps fine in his crib at night.) BUT. I am a little concerned about the transition out of the swing because for him, it isn’t the falling asleep that’s the problem, it’s the staying asleep. He’ll fall asleep in his crib just fine too (as long as he has a pacifier — that’s a whole separate issue), but he’ll always wake up at the dreaded 40-minute mark and won’t settle back to sleep on his own in his crib even if I go in there and rock him around; I always end up resorting back to the swing. In the swing, he’ll zonk out and stay out for hours. (Actually, sometimes he’ll wake back up, gaze around for a while, and fall back to sleep — which he can’t do in his crib.) So as far as decreasing the speed of the swing, is that something I should do anyway to wean him and hope that he is able to sleep through the speed decrease? At what age do you think I should start doing this? We already do swaddle and white noise and I am thinking about trying to darken his room further since he’ll sleep fine in the crib at night but not during the day.

    His swing also has a “vibrating” setting which I usually turn on also — should I start leaving this off so that I won’t have to wean him off that later too?

    • Rachel,

      I’m reading your post thinking, “Yep, yep, yep – ALL normal stuff for a newborn.”

      Basically your baby can take long chunky naps if given enough soothing. If you take away some soothing by putting him in the swing he can’t navigate a sleep cycle and fall BACK asleep and whammo – you’ve got a 45 minute nap on your hands.

      If your baby was 9 MONTHS old, I would say you have a problem. At 9 WEEKS? Nah….I would roll with it.

      Check the post below. He’ll probably be ready for this crib at night soon. Turn off the vibration, it’s probably not making a huge difference anyway. And gradually start decreasing the speed. See what happens.

      The darkening of his room probably doesn’t make a difference – there are lots of biological factors that help him sleep at night. So you’re welcome to try but don’t be surprised if it makes no difference – it certainly won’t hurt!

      He’s still really little so I wouldn’t sweat ANY of this. Personally I would work on ditching the paci before the swing but whatever feels most comfortable for you is fine. The rational for the paci first, though, would be that it’s harder to wean off the paci than the swing so best to do the hard part when they’re younger.

      Anyhoo I think you’re doing great – good luck!

  70. Hi Alexis. Firstly great post. My husband and I have just started using this method on our 5.5 month old (we’ve been using it for about a week). At first it went ok, but now he cries as soon as we put him in the swing. We then have to jiggle the swing to reduce the crying (and put him to sleep) otherwise he escalates and we have trouble getting him to calm down and go to sleep. Any advice on this? I think he has gone through his six month growth spurt (he was early for all the rest of them as well). We really don’t want to use CIO methods if we don’t have to, but are not sure that the length we are going to get him to sleep in the swing means it’s going to be successful. Thanks

    • Katherine,
      Hmmm….that’s a toughie. So I’m guessing that the swing is a bit of a last ditch effort to navigate “put baby down awake” yes? Don’t worry you are NOT alone. And it’s definitely a worthy effort to make, especially if you have a swing handy and it’s working at least a little.

      So IS it working? I would say yes-ish. Presumably you used to have a different method of getting him to fall asleep (nursing?). So you’re working on gradually getting him to fall asleep with less intervention from you.

      You are right that if you jiggle jiggle jiggle forever, you’ll have just swapped nursing for jiggling and yes he’ll need you to jiggle forever. However you JUST started. I’m wondering if you can’t gradually reduce the jiggling over time? Jiggle till he is drowsy but not quite asleep?

      Because at 6 months your options are limited and I do think that gradually decreasing the jiggling is probably your best tear-free option at this point.

      Also I would practice a little with fuss-it-out. Jiggle until he gives you the “sleepy blink” then stop jiggling. I know it’s scary because you fear he’ll freak out and the nap will go south on you. But test the waters every few days and see if you can’t make baby-step progress that way.

      Otherwise as you’ve already figured out, if you continue jiggling ALL the time, it’ll just be a new sleep association you’ll be stuck with and the swing won’t really have solved the problem.

      Let me know how things go!

  71. Hi,
    My first post too…
    Just two questions…I hope they haven’t been addressed above already.

    Does the type of swing matter? I am borrowing one, the Fisher Price Luv U Zoo swing, and it doesn’t have a recline option, it’s just a bucket…I heard that too much lying upright can be bad for their development? Other expensive swings look like they recline much better so this wouldn’t be an issue for them.

    Also, I want to sleep while my bubs sleeps and don’t feel confident while he is sleeping in the swing to do so…again maybe if he were more reclined?


    • No bucket swings.

      I know newer swings are expensive and generally I prefer NEW swings. But maybe you can find a good newer swing on Craigslist or at a local resale shop? Often a nice-condition Fisher Price will go for $40. On amazon you can get them for $100.

      But you don’t want to use the bucket swing because yes – they’re all slumped over and it’s not a good idea and yes, it’s a safety concern.

      Sorry :(

  72. Thank you for your amazing blog. It’s making me feel a lot better that we still feel like we’re in survival mode.

    Our little man is 9 weeks old and his sleep is all over the place. We might get a 7 hour stretch or stay up all night. We started a bedtime routine and he goes down well for his first stretch between 730-830 in his crib. On average he sleeps 4 hours in that first stretch. However he won’t go back to sleep AT ALL. He’ll doze on me, but as soon as he’s back in his crib he’s up crying again. Naps are very short. It takes longer to rock him to sleep then the actual nap. We’re ready to embrace the swing, but just wondering if we should give up putting him in the crib for that first stretch or keep a good thing going.

    We have a lot of trouble with getting enough sleep during the day having a busy 3 year old at home as well.

    So basically our question is if we should give up the crib or use it at the times it’s working.

    Thank you so much!

    • Kirsten,
      Of course you are in survival mode – this is what newborn babies are all about! It’s HARD to parent a newborn. I think this is how life keeps us from overpopulating (well worse than we already are) the planet. You can only muster the courage to face the newborn phase so many times. Usually after 2-3X through the gauntlet, people realize that 2-3 kids is enough 😉

      It’s fine to be inconsistent about where baby sleeps at this age so if you want him in his crib for the first 4 hours that’s fine! I would however, test him in the swing to see if you get more or less than 4 hours at that time. Maybe he sleeps 2 hours – then great, you KNOW the crib is working for you! Maybe he sleeps 6? It’s worth playing around with a little but, just to see.

      Good luck – as you well know this is temporary!

  73. Thanks for your blog. To me the swing sounds like the only reasonable goal we can achieve with our little guy (13 weeks old). He is a motion junkie during the day. Driving or being bounced vigorously in a bouncy chair is the only way he’ll go down for naps. Typically he wakes up after 30 minutes. Naps are rarely longer than an hour. Night time he doesn’t need motion, instead he falls asleep on the breast. He’ll sleep anywhere from 3-5 hours the first chunk and then every hour or two after that till 7. So on average its 3-5 times a night… hot mess right?
    I’m starting to worry because he’s NEVER had a longer than five hour stretch of sleep. I’m sure it has a lot to do with naps, but I’m beginning to think he’ll never sleep. Is starting the swing transition at this point too late? I’m not a big fan of cry it out, but I know it works for some. I think it’s too early for that anyway.
    Logistics: Very consistent bedtime routine, goes to bed no later than 8.
    Naps are unpredictable but we follow the EAS(Y) schedule. So he eats every three hours.
    I tried getting him in the swing a few days around the 2 1/2 month mark, he would sometimes last 20 minutes then scream bloody murder till we grabbed him. When I try it again, I will do it for a week consistently, but what should I do if he screams bloody murder?
    Can you tell I’m operating from desperation and deprivation? Oy vey.

    • NO it’s not too late for the swing! It definitely might help with naps.

      But you know what else might help? Loosening up on the EAS(Y) schedule.

      I won’t go on some long rant about how I hate this, so the short form is: I hate this.

      The idea is to use this method (grrrr) to help babies NOT develop this huge eat=sleep association and hopefully “learn” (really?) to go longer periods between feeding.

      But the TRUTH is that:
      1) You’re teaching your baby to sleep somehow. By using the EAS(Y) method you’ve removed nursing from your list of options. But now you’re stuck with bouncing on the yoga ball. So you haven’t really solved the issue so much as chosen a different issue.
      2) By feeding him FIRST and THEN putting him down for naps you create this 3 hour window. Some babies can roll with a 3 hour feeding window. Many CAN’T. The result? We don’t know if your baby is waking up from naps because he’s hungry because he hasn’t eaten in 3 hours. We also don’t know if he’s waking up so often at night because his feedings are so spaced out during the day.

      Lots of newborn babies eat CONSTANTLY during the day. It’s not a party for nursing moms. But it TOTALLY beat having them eat constantly all night long, right?

      You didn’t ask but I would really suggest you think about the EASY system and how it may or may not be working the way you hope it is.

      But back to your swing question….start by getting him used to sleeping in the swing (bounce him first and THEN put him in the swing). Once he’s successfully sleeping in there at ALL, work on putting him in there awake. Also make sure you’re using other soothing too – at 3 months I would strongly encourage you to use swaddle + white noise.

      Hopefully this is helpful advice. I know it can be hard when you’re feeling desperate :(

      • Thank you SOOOO much. The swing is working and with little to no struggle. I was so scared of trying anything new or re-trying it because of how awful it went the first time, but it worked and it worked quick. Not to mention I bought a new swing which swung way more than those janky swings you find on craigslist. I decided to let him cry for no more than 5 minutes, just to test the waters and every time he starts to fuss or cry a little bit, it always stops before the five minutes is up. Thank you for giving me the courage to try these new things. We nurse or bottle, swaddle, put him down semi-awake or fully awake in swing and he typically falls asleep in ten minutes or less. Although, he still wakes up every 30 to 40 minutes (on the dot) fusses a little then goes back to sleep. Naps are one hour to two hours long three times a day.

        Also, I stopped the EAS(Y). I think that helped also. Good call.

        Here’s the kicker…
        I thought napping would increase his sleep time at night. It hasn’t yet. Instead he’s gotten worse. WAY WORSE.
        Here is his deal:
        730-830 bedtime
        First we have bath time, sing a little, nurse, swaddle, put down in bassinet.

        This is very consistent and for about a week I have been doing the dream feed, however his sleeping problems have been around for a little longer. But at this rate, I’m stopping the dream feed because is hasn’t extended his sleep one bit.

        He sleeps anywhere from 2-5 hours the first chunk (five hours is VERY rare), after that it’s usually up every hour or less. He wants to either be nursed or rocked back to sleep and if he doesn’t get picked up he screams bloody murder.
        We try putting him in the swing, but he does not take it to it lightly. We used to bring him in my bed, but he wants to nurse constantly, but he is unable to do it without throwing up everywhere.
        My husband and I want to stab ourselves with a butter knife. Not really, but really. He is almost 16 weeks. Should he have longer stretches of sleep by now? We’re not expecting all the way through, but maybe some longer stretches? He’s pooped too.


  74. Hi Alexis,
    I just came upon your website recently and feel like there is hope for my almost 7 month old. You offer lots of great advice so I’d love to get your opinion on our situation. My daughter has been nursed to sleep since day one. She never took a pacifier and was not swaddled because she was breach and we were told not to swaddle (due to possible hip problems). Around 3 months she started sleeping 9 hours! This was amazing! I’d nurse her to sleep then place her in the crib after she fell asleep. Problems started around 4 months when she’d wake up once, then twice to feed. Lately it’s been at least 3 times (sometimes more). Some nights she can sleep until 4:30am (she’s asleep by 8:30pm), others she’s awake at 12am, then 2:30, then 3:45, then 5:30…and so on. She’s not always hungry but just needs to nurse to get back to sleep. I had started to unlatch her when she was younger but the last few months she’s been quite needy and doesn’t go to sleep easily anymore. She also wakes up before 5 am and i have the hardest time trying to soothe her back to sleep. She freaks out if my husband comes in and tries to soothe her, or if I just hold her or rock her. She instantly calms down with the boob. I’ve noticed that her first tooth is slowly coming out. What would you recommend as the best way for her to sleep without nursing? Is it too late to use the swing? I just really need some uninterrupted sleep! Thanks for your advice!

    • Hey Agnes,

      At 7 months there is no easy solution to this. She’s got a really strong nurse=sleep association so really what you need is a 2 step program:
      1) Put down awake (no more nurse to sleep)
      2) Separate nursing from sleep time by at least 20 minutes

      Nothing is going to get better until both of these things happen. If you HAVE a swing lying around you are welcome to try but I’m not super optimistic that it will work for you. If a baby isn’t used to swing sleeping by ~4 months, generally that ship has sailed.

      You’ll still want to use loud white noise. Your best bet (other than CIO which is definitely something to keep in your back pocket just in case?) would be the method described in the link below for the paci. Only YOU are the paci so its all about the boob.

      Read the post, give it a try. She may surprise you!

  75. Hi Alexis,

    first of all thank you so much for your blog. You see a lot of information in books and on the Internet but most isn’t as detailed and age-specific as yours. Plus you are funny :)
    So, we got a swing a week ago because I was going crazy and my baby is not even one of the really difficult ones. He is 10 weeks old and from day one would only be nursed to sleep. He sleeps quite well at night waking up every 4 hours to nurse. He sleeps in his crib which is right next to our bed and I do not plan to move him to his room before I wean him so crib in our room is not a problem. I swaddle him when he falls asleep because when awake he fights the swaddle like crazy.
    At 3 weeks old he decided that naps were overrated and started catnapping – 30 to 45 minutes. So I spend most of the day putting him to sleep because he gets cranky (I watch the clock so as not to make him overtired). His day naps are quite inconsistent – sometimes he will go down in the swing, sometimes only if I nurse him in the bed, sometimes in the pram (he only started accepting the pram when he was 8 weeks old). I try to put him in the swing as much as possible (after nursing him till he is drowsy) so that he gets used to it but sometime he just refuses to be there so I don’t push it. When in the swing/pram he has a paci. He doesn’t seem to sleep longer/better in the swing but at least I don’t have to bounce him for 20 minutes.
    My goal is to teach him to fall asleep on his own (specifically without nursing). What is the timeline here? I know we should gradually start decreasing the speed but how long do you usually stay on one speed? Since he doesn’t really sleep longer in the swing will I be able to tell if he is ready to go down on the speed?
    Also am I rushing it at 10 weeks? Should I go really slow? I know you wrote somewhere that we are free to do whatever the baby needs till he is 3 months old but I am scared he will never learn to fall asleep without boob :) And how does weaning him from the pacifier play into this? Do we first teach him to fall asleep on his own and then deal with the paci or do we do that at the same time?
    Many thanks!

    • Katka,
      I’ve written about weaning off swing and paci. At 10 weeks it’s not panic time but this is a good time to start noodling on putting him down awake.

      If you’re bouncing or pushing the pram for 20 minutes he really likes motion so I would work with that + swaddle + loud white noise to try to get him to fall asleep THAT way vs. nursing. Sure you’ll have a rough day here and there where you need to nurse to sleep just to get by. But make that your new homework.

      Only AFTER he can fall asleep IN the swing (vs. being nursed asleep and then snuck INTO the swing) would I start trying to wean OUT of the swing. In fact if it were me I would do this order:
      – Get him falling asleep IN swing (not nursed to sleep).
      – Get him falling asleep IN the swing WITHOUT a paci (wean off paci)
      – Dial down speed of swing
      – Put in crib

      Hope that clarifies!

      • Hello,
        I have an update: so, after the first few days baby decided that, nah, I don’t like this swing thing anymore and that was that. I had some success with not nursing him to sleep but instead nursing him a little in my bed and then popping a paci in his mouth, holding his hand and stroking his forehead till he fell asleep. Sometimes I would manage to move him to the crib still drowsy. Progress of sorts but still, the swing served as a place to put all the blankets away.
        So today I decided to get serious again and reread the post and comments and some re-arranging moved the swing to the one room that can be made totally dark. The problem was the swaddle. He is really big and very strong for 14 weeks but he is not ready to be unswaddled because he is a bit hyperactive. So I put him in a regular sleepsack but with his arms tucked in. He can still move them but cannot put them up to his head and wake himself up. And voila, baby is having his second nap in the swing today after maybe a grand total of 5-10 minutes of grunting (not even crying). It’s crazy how a little detail like the type of swaddle makes a difference.
        He still only takes 30 minute naps but I don’t have to spend 15 minutes stroking his forehead and then lying next to him for further 15 minutes so that he doesn’t wake up when I get up.
        The next big thing will be the pacifier but we’ll get there. The funny thing is sometime when he wakes up at night and won’t go back to sleep instead of putting him back to the crib I put him in the swing and just leave him there because I’m too tired to replace the pacifier after the first 3 times and I go back to bed. I wake up 3 hours later and he obviously was asleep and had fallen asleep without the paci so he can do it.

  76. I have an additional question. I was reading comments on one of your posts (I read the whole site and keep rereading certain posts :)) where a mommy described my situation – when I put my baby to sleep at night I nurse him and he falls asleep on the breast (I know, I know, heading for a disaster) and then I have to hold him for 20-30 minutes until he is in deep sleep because if I put him down earlier he wakes up immediately (even if it seemed he was asleep, limp limbs etc). What with him eating for 20-30 minutes and me holding him for 20-30 mintes we are up for an hour with every feeding. He goes down at 8PM, then wakes up around 12PM/1AM and again at 4/5AM. When he wakes up at 4 I usually take him to bed with me because he is up in about 2 hours and if I hold him for an hour I miss out :)
    I decided to try a new approach last night. We never used paci for night sleep because I am scared he will ask for it all night long. So last night instead of waiting 30 minutes I put him down, he woke up, I put a paci in his mouth and then shushed and stroked his forehead for about 15 minutes and he fell asleep after some fussing and I took the paci out of his mouth. It seems he doesn’t really need it for sleep, just to fall asleep? My question is – is this a good approach? I know the falling-asleep-on-breast+waiting-for-30-mintes is going to blow up on us. Is this better? At least he was awake when he was in the crib even though he needed me to shush and stroke his forehead? Should i continue doing this and then wean him from the paci? I read all the comments by desperate parents who have to get up every 45 minutes to reinsert the paci, but I guess since he slept fine without it till now he really just needs it to fall asleep not to stay asleep? I am not realy breaking his suck=sleep association but at least he is not on the breast? What do you think? What is the best way to break the association for night sleep?
    Thank you!

  77. First off: THANK YOU.
    I have a wonderful 6 week old girl who was born sleeping beautifully at night. Currently she goes to bed in her bouncy chair at 8:30 after nursing, sleeps 6-7 hours, eats, 3 hours, eats, and another 3 hours (until about 9am). Never a problem at night.
    But, during the day, she would only fall asleep when being worn in a sling after a 10 minute walk (where she would take 1-3 hour naps 3x a day). This is all well and cute, but unpleasant when it’s raining/snowing and kind of constraining for mom. We tried the swing, but she would cry about a minute after being placed in the swing.
    I came across your website today and decided to try it for her afternoon nap. The jiggling didn’t work for her, so I tried swinging her super hard/fast for 5 minutes and she calmed right down. Then I turned on the motor at the highest setting and she was asleep in another 3 minutes. I can pee by myself! Don’t know yet if she’ll sleep long or if this will be consistent, but I’m very hopeful. Thank you.

    • WOO HOO!

      Yes babywearing is an awesome thing when it works for Mom. But when it’s every day? Exhausting. Plus the whole “nap when baby nap” option is out the window.

      Congratulations on your success today – hope it continues!

    • Heehee, I know how you feel…… Going to the bathroom with a baby strapped to you is not so glamorous :p our now 5 month old is a motion & body- contact junkie with an addiction to comfort nursing, so we are now gently but firmly introducing her to the swing (with jiggling) before we move to the cot… Even one 30 minute nap in there is heaven for me…. They say it gets better over time….good luck!!!!

  78. Thanks Alexis! We have a long way to go towards great sleep but your blog has given me hope!

    I’m going to try to give you all the important info without this being a novel.

    My son just turned 4 months old. He is a motion junkie. Until two weeks ago the two ways to get him to fall asleep (nap or night time) was:
    A. nursing until asleep and then holding him for 20 min until he was really asleep and them putting him down (I usually only did this at night because after the 20 minutes of holding his cat naps were practically already over!)
    B. wearing him in the Moby AND bouncing him vigorously for about 15 minutes until he was asleep.

    After reading this post I decided I needed to give the swing a real try.

    He now takes at least 2 out of 3 of his naps in the swing and starts in the swing at night. I put him in the swing awake (swaddled, dark, loud white noise, he refuses ever pacifier). Sometimes he requires extra soothing (jiggling, singing) but that is becoming less and less. It is an amazing feeling to get to play with my older son without worrying about waking up a sleeping baby that was strapped to me! Thank you!

    Many days I have been letting him nurse to sleep for one nap and then holding him and letting him nurse throughout. This lets me get a nap (!) but my main reasoning is that this allows him to get 1 long nap (2-3 hours) since his other naps only last 30-40 min. (Yes I know this is developmentally appropriate). I read your post that says that nap sleep is regulated differently than nighttime sleep so I was hoping this nursing wouldn’t cause a nighttime sleep association but now I’m worried it is…

    Ok. Here’s the question. Parker is still waking up every 1 or 2 hours all night. A few months ago he was sleeping 5-7 hours for the first stretch. A few weeks ago (when we first started the swing) the first stretch was 4-5 hours. But now a 3 hour stretch isn’t even happening. He wakes up, I nurse him, he falls sleep nursing and I return him to the swing. I know this is probably a sleep association but since I’m not nursing him to sleep at the start of the night I’m not sure what to do. I’m happy to feed him 2 or 3 times a night without a question. But every hour is too much :)


    Ok….it became a novel! Sorry!

    • Do you have a partner in the house you could send in for that first wake up? Maybe a no-milk-allowed visit would be successful, with extra swing jiggling, patting, singing, whatever. My husband did this for quite a while when I set a no-feeding-before-10pm rule. Usually after a few days of this, kiddo would stop waking before the appointed nursing hour. The problem recurred 3 or 4 times over the months, but a few days of evening daddy visits did the trick each time and now it’s been ages since we had a pre-10pm wakeup.

      Also make sure he is getting a very good bedtime meal in, with a 15-20 min gap before going into the swing. This can take some creative effort depending on how distractible your little guy is, but it will really help with night wakings and maybe hopefully help you avoid cio in the future.

      Good luck–sounds like you are making great progress!

    • The lovely and gentle Kate offers some top notch ideas. The other thought is that a) this is the 4 month sleep regression/growth spurt or b) he still has a food=sleep association that is biting you in the butt. Kate’s idea of separating food from sleep time by a good 20 minutes will help resolve B. So definitely start there and see if that doesn’t vastly help things. And yes – sending somebody else in is also great advice for everybody!

  79. It worked!!! My baby is two months old, I could not leave him in the swing, he would stay max 5 minutes or so, I read this today and it’s been 1/2 hour and he is napping :) Thank you!

  80. I would really appreciate some help, if you have any advice to give. My almost five month old has been having sleep regression issues for nearly two months. It’s progressively gotten worse to where he will not sleep more than two hours at a time at night, often less. I found your baby swing sleeping guide and decided to try it. I was desperate. I put him in and he cried for 30 minutes but went to sleep and for the first time in weeks slept one 4 and a half hour segment, then one 3 and a half hour segment in one night. I was afraid he would not adapt well to the swing because he seems to prefer sleeping on his tummy, but he surprised me. The next night I put him in the swing, he cried for 5 minutes, fussed a little, then fell asleep for 2 hours. when he woke I fed him (he is used to being nursed to fall asleep at night every time he wakes up). He woke up 2 hours later again. Being exhausted and just wanting to sleep, I nursed him again and put him back down. He then slept for an hour. After that he was awake an hour and a half, clearly miserable and tired but wouldn’t settle down to sleep. I knew he couldn’t be hungry so I did not nurse him. The swing did not work to put him back to sleep, so he pretty much screamed for an hour and a half. I’m almost certain he wanted me to nurse him again; that’s what he’s used to. I finally nursed him again 2 and a half hours after his last feeding, after which he fell asleep and slept for about 5 hours on his belly on the floor.

    Needless to say, I feel horrible about him crying for an hour and a half. I’m afraid he’ll hate me now. On the other hand I can no longer handle nursing him all the time and him demanding to be attached to my boob so much of the night, with me getting no sleep. I want to keep on with the swing, but after last night I wonder if it’s worth it. Am I doing everything wrong or do I expect too much of my baby or me? Is it the swing he hates, or is it my decision to not nurse him when he’s not hungry that he hates? I don’t know what to do, I am bleary eyed and depressed, and really really want some help. His naps during the day aren’t awesome, but they’re halfway decent, lasting 45 minutes to an hour, sometimes 2 hours. He’s used to being bounced or nursed or walked to sleep most of the time. He’s a very sweet and contented baby otherwise. It’s just the whole putting himself back to sleep after waking up that he’s so challenging in.

    I love your website. It’s the best thing I’ve found so far concerning baby sleep, and believe me, I’ve looked everywhere. Thank you and God bless.

    • Hey Sarah,

      Well I’m sorry you’re struggling. You aren’t alone in this. Everybody talks about the joys of a new baby (and really they ARE a joy). But nobody wants to stand up and talk about the exhausting grind of a new baby. How relentless the whole thing is. So if nothing else, this is a safe place to share that sort of stuff 😉

      Here’s my thought. I know some people claim growth spurts last 2 months. But I don’t believe it. I have no medical evidence to back me up on that but I’m a bit suspicious about the 2 month thing. I’m thinking that 1 of 2 things is going on.

      1) Baby has HUUUUUGE nurse=sleep association and simply REFUSES all else. Often the issue is that Mom hasn’t offered many other soothing alternatives so it’s nurse or nothing. Thus you end up nursing all night. (This is not you BTW – just a general observation).

      2) There is a nursing issue throwing you for a loop. I’m all for nursing. I nursed my kids and strongly encourage all nursing Moms to find some excellent help so they too can be successful. I am NOT however a nursing expert. However there are many things that can lead to this problem. The three most common are:
      a) Fast letdown. Your baby is constantly drinking the watery foremilk and not getting the more meaty hindmilk. Thus he’s legitimately hungry and in this case, eating all night long.
      b) Slightly low supply. He’s growing and thriving, producing wet diapers. But maybe every feeding is .5oz less than he wants. So he makes it up by feeding all night long.
      c) Too distracted to nurse during the day. The day is FUN. Who wants to stop doing whatever to really eat? So they eat JUST enough to get by and choose to tank up at night.

      I wonder about a nursing issue as you had one AMAZING night followed by another where he demanded to eat constantly. Almost as if he was making up the calories he was short from sleeping the night before.

      I think it’s time to find a good IBCLC and get a 1:1 consult about it. At least I would start there if only to rule things out.


      Your baby won’t hate you.

      Seriously. He’s not going to turn into a resentful 10 year old who hates you citing, “I wanted to love you. Really I did. IF ONLY YOU DIDN’T LET ME CRY THAT ONE TIME WHEN I WAS A BABY!!!!”

      Personally I would stick with the swing and work on put down awake and separating nursing from sleep time. Both of these are critical at this age AND will help rule out the possibility that THAT is why he is waking up.

      Also? Thanks for your kind words :)

      • I just have to say, thank you for your advice! I can’t believe it took me this long to get back to you. You were right, my milk letdown is very fast, and so I’ve had to work with that, which means sometimes nursing on one side for two feedings so he gets the hind milk from that side. But anyways, what i was meaning to get to was this; my baby (now 7 months) puts himself to sleep! I lay him in his crib and sometimes there’s some fussing, sometimes not, but in the end he’s asleep for a good chunk of time. He has one and a half hour long naps during the day and recently dropped his third feeding of the night, so now it’s down to two nursings a night. Which, to me, is heavenly. It took lots of baby steps, and me being content with little improvements every week, but the past two months haven’t really been so bad even with all the sleep training. And now that I have a good handle on this, I feel more equipped to handle future curve balls. I know you get a lot “horror stories” on here, so I just wanted to give you a positive story from my side. My husband said to me not too long ago after I put the baby down for the night, “Wow, I feel like we’re newlyweds again!” LOL. Thank you again. You made a difference for us. BTW, I still use your blog as a reference when new things come up as LO gets older, and have also recommended it to friends.

  81. Hi Alexis,

    I just wanted to leave a positive note here (for once) instead of yet another request for assistance…. (that will follow shortly on another post, no doubt)….

    We applied your varsity swing technique to our now 5 month old about a week or so ago. Up until now she has been fighting naps like the plague, screaming on and on unless attached to a boob or bouncing in a sling (or both), and it got to a point where neither my husband nor myself could sit and eat a meal at the same time- we had to take it in turns because one of us always seemed to be trying to force her into a dreamlike state.

    At first, before we figured out the technique, she was so enraged at being stuffed into a swing that she repeatedly tried to hurl herself out of it. Now, she naps like the Queen of Napland. We swaddle her, switch on the white noise, hold her for a few minutes so she has time to register that it’s nap time, then pop her in and jiggle ever so slightly, and VOILA! Within minutes she is sleeping!!!! At this point I hardly recognize this docile sleeping little creature!

    Since we co-sleep at night, she has not quite accepted night-time swinging with the same ease (unsurprizingly AWFUL nurse-to-sleep association) so our goals are now:

    Reduce nurse-to-sleep association
    Get her in the swing at night
    Reduce the swing speed and
    Into the cot!

    And we’ll be using all your techniques to get there! THANKS!!!

    • WOO HOO! Excellent progress :)

      Just a small note of caution – as babies get older, the swing becomes less of a “can’t miss” tool because they frankly outgrow the need for motion. So if it’s your goal to use it for night time then I would get on it ASAP before your window of opportunity closes.

      But don’t let that come across as discouraging because you guys did AWESOME! Breaking out of a bad nap pattern is no small feat so congratulations to you both for getting to eat a meal together. YAY!

  82. Omg Alexis. I really, really love you right now. My two month old is going on hour three of napping in the swing, swaddled, with what I now refer to as ‘white noise surround sound.’ (Naturally, the baby white noise machine was not sufficient so he has his own iPod and dock that plays his favorite song, vacuum, on repeat.) Prior to a few recent breakthroughs of this kind (thanks to finding this site) he would only take a good nap on someone or in the beco baby carrier. We haven’t mastered getting >1 good nap per day yet, but I’m being persistent. One is better than none!

    Anyway I have a question. We currently put him to sleep in his crib and have been doing this since he was born. He does ok, one three to four hour stretch, then up every two hours a couple of times. I’m wondering if he would sleep longer in the swing but I don’t want him to ‘regress’ since he is doing ok in his crib. Or, maybe try him in the swing for part of the night? He is starting to go to bed earlier at this point, so we are trying to come up with a strategy as we figure out how all this is going to work. We are clearly over zealous first time parents.

    Any advice appreciated!

    • Oh and to be more clear, his naps have been alllllll over the place (mostly on people)–so that’s what I’ve been trying to correct. But obviously I’d love to have nighttime sleep be better, too. But am I being too greedy?! Would I regret moving him out of the crib?

    • Hey Caitlin,

      White noise surround sound? Wooo – classy :) It sounds like you’re doing all good things and your baby is doing what 2 month old babies do – they’re all over the place with sleep. Sure this IS a good time to start putting your house in order, so to speak, but don’t sweat the occasional “nap on your lap” because this is the time to enjoy that stuff :)

      1 Good nap a day is fantastic for a 2 month old. Plenty of parents of 6 month olds aren’t getting that so YAY!

      So he does a good stretch at bedtime and then is up every 2 hours after that, I’m assuming, to eat? That’s actually normal-ish at this age. But you could try putting him in the swing after the first 4 hour stretch to see what happens. It may make no difference or it may make your 2 hour feedings into 3+ hour feedings.

      Would you regret moving him out of his crib? Unlikely. Either you’ll see no difference – go “meh” – and put him back in the crib. Or you’ll see a huge difference and then have to decide – embrace the swing or go back to up all night? However the truth is that most babies don’t really struggle to get OUT of the swing (see post linked below).

      The other thing is that his “eating every 2 hours” thing should also organically get better. If he’s still doing that at night by 3 months you may have reason to be grumpy about it. But you’re probably in the last few weeks of him not going for longer stretches at night.

      So how tired ARE you? Personally I would be pretty tired and would want to at least give the swing a go just to see what happens. But it’s either way is totally fine, yes?

      • Alexis,
        In the time it has taken to respond to this more problems have arisen! We had a few good naps in the swing but the past week baby won’t nap past 25 minutes, period, on the dot. Crib, swing, bouncy seat, white noise…doesn’t matter. I think he wakes up from a sleep cycle at that time, starts crying and cannot resettle. Going in and trying to resettle with a pat or popping the paci back in works about…10% of the time. Sometimes if I pick him up I can rock him back to sleep and put him back down asleep but I’m really trying to get out of that habit as I want him to be able to fall asleep on his own. If he’s in the swing ill jiggle it and all that…to no avail. He starts spitting the paci out and seems to get more and more agitated.

        This worries me because I think he is getting overtired. The wake times are all screwed up too because after I’ve spent 30 minutes trying to resettle him, it will be nearly time to feed again and I’m confused how long I should even let him stay up at that point before we start the whole process over.

        I’m unsure what to do with these completely useless short naps. I tried ‘wake to sleep’ and my husband now refers to that technique as ‘sleep to wake’…although maybe I’m not doing it right. I have let him cry but never more than five minutes. He has never gone back to sleep within five minutes and often just escalates during that time. I feel like he’s too little to let him cry much more than that. I’ve been trying to be flexible and just keep putting him down four times a day but four 25 minute naps is totally not enough and man, is it frustrating to feel like I spend my whole day trying to get him back asleep!

        Any ideas? How should I work schedules and awake times if he continues this way?

        FYI he goes down in the evening around 630 to 7. Sometimes he wakes up after one cycle but its more variable and he is usually easier To resettle at bedtime. So feed around 630, then dream feed at ten, then wakes to eat around 2, 4, 6. Early morning wakings can get a little excessive recently and I wonder if this has to do w him being overtired….

        Thanks so much!

        • You know, I’m just gonna relieve you of having to respond to that novel. I was reading weissbluth today who makes the sort of duh assertion that you can’t force sleep onto wakefulness. If he’s gonna catnap he’s gonna catnap. Hopefully he grows out of it sooner rather than later (please god…please). On a positive note, it’s getting much easier to get him to fall asleep in the swing. So if he’s gonna take 30 minutes naps, well then, he’s gonna get five or six of em in the swing and that’s just how it’s going to be!

          In other news, his bedtimes have been kind of a circus. He was going down consistently for the night at 630 to 7 and the past few nights it just hasn’t happened. Last night he went down easily in the crib at 7 but only for 30 minutes, woke up in a very bad mood, and cried and fussed until 1030. It took three feedings and several shifts for the husband and I (tag, your turn!) before we could get him to sleep. I have to admit we have been pretty blessed with the night sleep until now. I would rather have nap issues than night issues any day. Seems now we have both! Woohoo!!!

          We just switched him from Zantac to Prevacid so I’m wondering if that has anything to do with it. Considering having him sleep the whole night in the swing tonight to see what happens. It just makes me nervous to take him out of the crib when he was doing so well before. Any thoughts on swaddling in a miracle blanket and using the five point harness? He always does nights in the miracle blanket and I can’t seem to wrap my head around that one. Too sleep deprived.

          Man, babies. They are so darn inconsistent, that’s what kills me!!! I like nice, straightforward goals and observable progress. Clearly having a newborn is beating that out of me. :)

  83. hello,

    i placed my 4 week old into the cradle swing 4 days ago, and he napped for 2.5 hours after some looking around. However, he has not done it again since. He would fall asleep for 10-15 minutes, then wake up, and get really upset when he’s about to nod off again. If I keep on soothing him, he will manage to sleep another 10-15 minutes – basically I can’t help him transition to deeper sleep. I give myself 2 hrs of this for the last 3 days – have you encountered this problem before? Falling asleep is not a problem, staying asleep is…

    • Hi,
      Are you using the FULL boat of soothing? Swaddle, white noise AND swing? Most newborns (4 week olds) will sleep longer than 10 minutes if you layer on enough soothing. If he’s hungry or has gas then perhaps it won’t work. And typically the best way to help baby-can’t-stay-asleep babies is to swaddle. Are you swaddling?

      • yes yes and yes. On about 4 occasions during this past week I was successful with longer naps. the baby sometimes looks around and falls asleep in the swing, but he just cant seem to transition to deeper sleep. I also tried to place him there once he’s asleep, and 30-40 min after his deep sleep cycle ends, he wakes up, tries fusses for up tp 30 min while dozing on and off before getting so frustrated and starts to wail…. I’m pretty sleep deprived that I’ve read about 80% of your 0-3M section on this site… I love it

  84. My daughter is now 12 weeks old. Well she has been sleeping in her swing since about 3 weeks old. Recently she will not fall asleep in the swing at all and I have to rock her like a mad woman about 4/5 times a day, then set her in when she is finally asleep. She also will not sleep for longer than an hour each nap. So you could say I’m pretty exhausted. Is it ok to use CIO in a swing with a 3 month old? Also, it has been a nightmare to take her anywhere in public because she will not sleep for more than 15 minutes without the constant motion of the swing, even in her carseat with the car moving or in her stroller. I’m all out of ideas so any would be appreciated!!

    • Chelsea,

      For starters let me say that a 1 hour nap at 3 months is actually pretty awesome! YAY! And also? Yes as babies get older they are less mobile. Newborns could nap in the car seat while you had a nice visit with your buddy at Starbucks. Now your baby is no longer a newborn and will no longer take a 2 hour Starbucks nap. I can’t fix this – it is what it is.

      Part of this could be the 4 month sleep regression (times are approximate so she could be hitting it early). Or it could be just one of those mysterious things babies do now and then. But I don’t think CIO is the answer. Personally I do believe it’s too young. I’m not judging anybody but you asked for my opinion which is – 3 months is too young. Also the “rocking like a mad woman” thing to me sounds like she is seeking more soothing.

      So the answer is not to necessarily give NO soothing. But you might think about how you could give her more soothing in a way that isn’t so exhausting. Are you using a swaddle and loud white noise? I would start there. Also at 3 months you’ll want to do a nice wind-down sleep routine now. Is the room REALLY dark? Again – newborns don’t care but babies do. It’s time to have her sleep in the SAME place ALL the time with a consistent soothing routine. Tape aluminum foil over the windows where she sleeps – that may help more than you think.

      Play around with the “more soothing” idea and see if that doesn’t make a difference. Good luck!

  85. Hi,

    LOVE your site! It is so helpful. Question:
    I have a 15 week old baby who is sleeping in a crib in his room (yay!).
    I feed+rock him to sleep at bedtime and at night wakings (usually 2 wakings). I know I need get him falling asleep on his own ASAP!

    Would you recommend the swing method even though he’s already in the crib? Or is that going backwards at almost 4 months?


    • Hey Nicole,
      Hmmm…that’s a toughie. At 4 months he’s probably a little long ini the tooth for this. If you HAVE one and want to try you’re welcome to give it a go. But I don’t know if I would want to spent $100 on a new swing?

      The GOOD news is that it’s easier to gradually wean off rocking to sleep than it is nursing to sleep. So given where you are at, do you think you could separate nursing FROM bedtime and put him down just with rocking? If you can get THERE, you might have quite a bit of luck gradually weaning off the rocking (less rocking, more awake – jiggle the crib if he complains when you put him down).

      So I guess both are options – the swing or the “gradually less rocking” way. Good luck!

  86. I went to check on the 5 month old in the wee hours of the morning to find she had kicked off the blanket, wriggled out of the TIGHT swaddle and unbuckled the swing harness…… how the hell did that happen?! The swing was at speed 5, too, so one lunge and she would have been on the floor!!!! Am now afraid to put her in there at night again, but can’t very well dump her in the cot because she is still clinging to 100% soothing….

    What to do?! Perhaps titanium mits to stop those little exploring fingers??

    • I found some titanium mits on Etsy for only $7 – PROBLEM SOLVED!

      OK not so much.

      That is astounding. I’m really having a hard time believing that your 5 month old has the manual dexterity needed to open the buckles. Frankly I’m not sure my 3.5 YO could manage that. So I’m wondering if maybe they weren’t “locked” in – know what I mean? Like you buckled her in but they didn’t “snap” shut? If that happened she would be able to just bust her way out pretty easily.

      Also the full-sized swings (Fisher Price/ Graco) also have trays that snap down OVER the buckles. So that would give you a two-pronged security method!

      Good luck!

      • I have wondered over and over if I just neglected to shut it properly, but I am positive I didn’t because every time I put her in the swing I retighten the straps, and if the buckles are secure, tightening is impossible. At this point the swing routine is so fixed that I think I would do it in my sleep…. Then again, who knows when you’re exhausted?!

        I’m not actually that surprised because she is constantly pressing, scratching, squeezing everything she can reach. I look like I’ve been mauled by a cat each evening (she draws blood) as a result of those fingers. She is frighteningly strong. All that is really required is a squeeze of the button, and the rest would be just wriggle work…..

        Anyway now I try to get to her ASAP when she wakes in the morning so she doesn’t have time to do it again…… And maybe we will pop the tray table back on!!

  87. Hi! I have a 5 1/2 month old son who is amazing, but I feel so exhausted that I can’t even enjoy him half the time :(

    He’s always been tough to put to sleep — we would have to wear him the first few months for him to nap –, he hates the car (screams the entire ride), and the last time I checked, he also hated the swing (he seemed to get sleepy but once he started dozing he’d wake himself up with hysterical crying… we’re talking red-faced, choking crying).

    A couple of weeks ago I realized he wasn’t taking naps throughout the day (I would keep him up for too long and then he’d be a fussball), so my partner and I started working on paying attention to his tired signals and putting him down for naps throughout the day. He’s much happier when he’s awake now, but I seem to have made more questions for myself since starting… I really hope you can help me out, as I’m totally at a loss for what to do!

    1) I should start by saying that I’m very grateful that he sleeps decently throughout the night. He goes to bed around 7, we dream feed him at 10ish, he wakes at 2 (we feed him and he falls right back to sleep), and then wakes again around 4:30, then is up for the day around 6 usually.

    2) For naps, I try to rock him (sometimes I lay down with him), and it takes anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes (sometimes I give up after that) for him to fall asleep. I keep his arms swaddled (we live in Hawai’i, so it’s hot!) but he tends to wake up after about 20 minutes and just PLAY (babbling, etc.)… So I go get him after a few minutes, and five minutes later (or 30 minutes later) he’s zoning out and rubbing his eyes again. It’s SO frustrating and means that I spend ALL of my day, every day, doing nothing but trying to get him to fall back asleep. Sometimes his arms get out of the swaddle and when I get to him, he’s making signs and talking with his fingers.

    3) This afternoon my partner and I tried the “controlled crying” method… my hubs sang to him, rocked him, and put him down sleepy… and the babe was HYSTERICAL. We waited 5 minutes, went in and sang a song and patted him and left again, and repeated that for 25 minutes. The entire time he wailed =(. We went back to our rocking routine, and he fell asleep for about 20 minutes, then woke back up crying…

    People have said that he’s probably accidentally waking himself at the 20 minute mark and that he needs more sleep, but after taking so long to get him to sleep and only getting 20 minutes, am I meant to then start the 25 minute process ALL over again to get him back to sleep??

    I would REALLY appreciate any help or tips you can give me and my husband. We’re at the point where we’re ready to try the CIO method, but I donno if he’s too young… if we should focus on the swing first (is he too old for this?)… or if my child is the only child in the universe who can’t figure out the sleep thing, lol.

    • Haley,

      This is would I would do at 5.5 months….

      Use the swing for naps, consider CIO for bedtime.

      I know you say he doesn’t love the swing but what I’m hearing in your question is a baby who is really tired, probably overtired, and having a hard time settling to sleep. Swaddling is great (even if it’s hot! – muslin swaddle blankets can be great in warm climates) even if he’s almost 6 months old. LOUD white noise, DARK room, and a consistent routine (maybe you do a diaper change, read a few books, sing a song every time he goes to sleep).

      CIO for naps can work but it’s a little dicey. Bedtime is far less so. Which is why if you’re headed to cryitoutsville you generally want to start at bedtime.

      “But he doesn’t love the swing.” I hear that a lot and I totally get it. He’s tired, he’s not open to change, you’re tired, everybody is frustrated.

      Here’s the sequence of events to think about:
      – Get him sleeping in the swing. Thus it’s OK to start by ROCKING him to sleep and THEN putting him in the swing. Once that has been mastered…
      – Work on having him fall asleep IN the swing.

      When he’s already semi-used to sleeping IN the swing, getting him to FALL asleep in the swing will be a whole lot easier.

      I hope that helps – your child is NOT the only one in the universe who can’t figure this out. You guys will totally get it!

  88. Thanks for your blog and especially this post! My 4 week old has slept terribly since birth and I was going crazy. Last night, I put her in the swing to sleep ( after nursing to sleep), and she slept from 8:30-10:30, 11-2:30, and 3:30-5:30. Couldn’t get her back asleep after that until 7:30, but this is all a huge improvement! I hope it continues!

  89. WOW! your site is amazing!! my 3 month old was sleeping in her swing for 8-10hrs a night and all her naps…then she just seemed to be waking more during the night. it may have been the 3 month growth spurt but hubs and i figured if she was going to be waking up might as well put her in the bassinet at night. not. going. well.
    any advice? thinking about trying the swing again since i think the spurt is over…when do i turn it down? throughout the night or do i need to start it at a slower number each day?
    also when do you think we have to get her into the crib full time? thanks

    • Hey Malissa,
      Have you seen the post below – weaning baby off the swing?

      You test turning the swing down – if all goes well – YAY! If it doesn’t- she’s not ready yet. So basically she’ll tell you when (trust me it’ll happen ;).

  90. THANK YOU! Our 11 week old screaming, reflux baby is swaddled tight and sound asleep in his swing as I am typing this. This is the most relaxing 30 minutes that we have had in 11 weeks! (Note: We thought he HATED the swing until 30 minutes ago…wrong!!!!)

    • Oooof – well that IS rough. Been there done that – screaming reflux babies are a bit of a slog. Hopefully less so now that you’ve found a new way. Best of luck!

  91. I have an 11 week old that we are just starting on the swing with. She’s great at sleeping during the night, but doesn’t want to do her daytime naps anywhere but my lap.

    I’ve managed to get her to sleep in the swing a few times (using EVERY part of the varsity techniques) but most times she actually wakes up more when I put her in the swing. She’ll look like she fell asleep then be awake but quiet 10 minutes later when I go check on her. I’m not sure if I should be soothing her a back to sleep again or what.

    She used to be a great napper. Now if I try to move her to the swing or bouncy seat from sleeping in my lap she immediately wakes up and doesn’t go back to sleep.

    I’m doing everything I can to get her to take her daytime naps but I feel like its a slow process of getting overtired that makes her more fussy in the evenings.

    • Well yes that’s true – when naps aren’t working out she’ll get progressively more tired and then be a big fusspot in the evening.

      However the lap-napping (while adorable once in a while) can’t continue forever because let’s be frank – the road of exclusive lap-napping almost always leads to cioville. And CIO for naps isn’t such a smooth process so best to be avoided if possible.

      If it were me I would continue to work with the swing and all the varsity goodies – dark room, white noise, etc. If she’s calm but awake in there I would leave well enough alone and see what happens. It’s a new thing so it will take some time for her to sort out how to sleep in there. If she’s waking up after you transition her, maybe she needs to fall asleep IN there.

      Think of this as a great science experiment. You may find that you’ll have best luck with the first nap of the day. So maybe for week #1 you work with the swing for the early AM nap and then go with lap naps the rest of the day. And then gradually work up from there.

      Good luck – you can do this – one morning she’ll surprise you in that swing. Promise!

  92. What would you recommend if your baby does not get drowsy when tired on her own or won’t maintain the state once put in the swing? She is 7 weeks old and I try to put her down for naps as soon as she yawns, usually about an hour after getting up. However, she does not become drowsy on her own. I have to bounce/jiggle etc to get her to where her eyelids seem droopy/fluttering and then her eyes fly wide open when I put her in the swing. Jiggling the swing before I turn it on does not seem to do it. Please help!!!

    • Hey Katrina,

      Newborns don’t generally give you good sleep signs until they’re TOO tired. My best guess is that if she’s yawning at 1 hour, she actually needs to go to sleep at 45 minutes. And yes you DO have to do all the work for them at this age so getting babies to sleep involves LOTS of soothing – bouncing, swaddling, white noise. Make sure you’re doing ALL of it. Try a little earlier. See if things don’t start to work a little better.
      – Alexis

      • Thanks Alexis! I have started trying earlier and picked up on some earlier sleep signs and can get her down and to fall asleep in the swing with lots of coaxing. We do all the varsity techniques except the pacifier because she won’t take it. Now the big issue is getting her to stay asleep. She wakes up 5-10 minutes later screaming. She is clearly still tired and we repeat the process over and over. Sometimes it will result in a longer stretch, but mostly just lots of frustration and a really cranky baby because she is so overtired. Any suggestions on getting her through that hump of active sleep, so she can take a longer nap?

  93. Alexis,

    Here in the uk health visitors advised that babies under 3 months are not reccomended to spend more than 2 hours/day in a swing or car seat as it can lead to spinal problems. I have a baby girl who is nearly 4 weeks old and does not like her swing although I would like to try it so she can nap longer during the day (she sleeps ok in the moses basket overnight but not during the day)
    Could you please express your opinion on the above as it is rather concerning as well as a bit dissapointing as I was really glad to have found your site and your pro swing approach. Many thanks in advanc

    • Hey Tammy,
      I guess you should talk to your pediatrician about it. We don’t have the same advisory in the US. The only issue here is for babies who are premature they may need to wait until they’re a little older to sleep in a swing. So I can’t really comment on what the advisory is in the UK sadly.

      Often pediatricians have tons of experience and will make suggestions other than what the official party line is so check in with yours and see, OK?

  94. Hi Alexis!
    I love your site…it has been a godsend!
    My almost 4 month old does all sleeping in her swing…and she used to love the swing. i could put her in and within a few min she would be out. Now when I put her in (only for naps and night sleep in her room) she cries. We’ve tried lots of your suggestions before but left her to cry for 10-15 min because we didn’t know what to do and she fell asleep. Now we always let her go for the 10-15 min and she almost always falls asleep on her own. I guess my question is is that ok? It doesn’t seem to be getting any easier 10-15 min of crying and alseep…should time cry time be getting less? we wanted to do the gradual crib move soon but though maybe we should just try it since she is crying anyway?? I am really starting to feel like a terrible mother:(

    • Malissa,
      For starters, you could be dealing with the dreaded 4 month sleep regression which would make falling asleep for her a bit of a challenge. And secondly I actually think this is AWESOME.

      Look – helping babies fall asleep on their own is a HUGE HURDLE. Some babies take ages to figure this out leading to all sorts of chronic sleep deprivation, frustration, PPD, etc. Yours is 4 months old and she’s doing this.

      So what if she cries for 10 minutes! Let me tell you a secret – some babies need to blow off a little steam when they go to sleep. It simply is what it is. That’s how they are. This is the baby version of a 4 year old who complains, “But I don’t WANT to go to bed!” every night.

      Is she ready to sleep in the crib? Maybe – maybe not. Check the post below and try it out. But the don’t loose sleep over a tiny bit of protest at naps.

  95. Hi! Thanks for the excellent content! Quick question: after buying a swing that had great reviews (the Ingenuity Coo Sway seat) we found out it turns off after 90 minutes. This is our first night using and it worked like a charm — baby fell asleep quickly and didn’t wake up when the swing stopped swinging. However, I feel we should ask if this guide presupposes we’ll
    use a swing that’s on all night along. If so, should we get another model?

    Secondly, should we make it a point to wake baby up for a night feeding or two? (He’s a month and a few days old.) We’re concerned the swing will
    work so well, he’ll “forget” to take up. We’re breastfeeding by the way.

    • Hey Alain,
      I pretty much hate stuff that turns off on it’s own – swings, sleep sheep, you name it. Let ME worry about the batteries, you just stay on till I TURN you off.

      So you have a crappy swing – well no worries. Baby is sleeping like a champ! And he’s a little guy. So I wouldn’t worry about buying a NEW swing because maybe this one will do the trick for a month or so, you’ll use it to help him learn to fall asleep solo, and have him in the crib before the “turn off feature” becomes an issue. And IF it becomes an issue you can always get a nice Fisher Price on Amazon for $99 (backup plan).

      At some point your pediatrician should have told you that you didn’t have to wake your baby to eat anymore, right? If your pediatrician hasn’t said this then maybe you need to ask explicitly. But usually after 1-2 weeks, your pediatrician will conclude that baby is eating, pooping, peeing, and growing according to plan. Generally at this time you don’t have to worry about baby not waking up to eat anymore.

      Also newborns often sleep like GANGBUSTERS the first few days in the swing (probably they’re a tad overtired) and then once they catch up, go back to more normal sleep patterns. So you could be eating your words in a few days ;P

  96. Hi Alexis,
    I have a 4 month old lil boy that has sleep issues. Here’s what I’m dealing with… Daytime: He doesn’t go to sleep unless I rock/nurse him. I then lay him down, unswaddled in his crib. (He hates being swaddled) I would like to know what I should do regarding the rocking/nursing. I want him to fall asleep on his own but he loses it every time I lay him down groggy, but awake. Shall I start with the swing in my room and then start moving towards the crib? Next issue… Nighttime: He sleeps with me in my bed, he wakes EVERY 2 hours to nurse. I’m so tired. He weighs 18 pounds so I know he is NOT seriously this hungry. My question for nighttime is, do I start getting out of bed and rocking him to sleep instead of nursing to break the habit of waking to eat every 2 hours? I think it’s too early to let him CIO and I don’t think I can emotionally handle it. Thanks for all your advice!!! I’m so desperate for a good change.

    • Hey Adria,

      Well he’s 4 months old so some of this “must eat CONSTANTLY” stuff could be the dreaded 4 month growth spurt. But I’m going to assume from what your saying that this is the norm and not just a phase or anything. So….

      Baby has a huge suck/food=sleep thing going on. But he also digs rocking. Here’s the deal – it’s a whole lot easier to gently wean off rocking than it is to wean off sucking. So for naps I would definitely work with the swing and see if that helps. First put him in the swing ASLEEP. Get him used to napping in there and THEN worry about putting him down AWAKE.

      At bedtime I would try to mix up your bedtime routine so that you aren’t nursing right AT bedtime. You’re homework is to try to break the suck=sleep association and see if you can gently help him fall asleep without your boobs. Use loud white noise. As you are co-sleeping perhaps you could try gently patting his belly like a tom tom, rubbing his head lightly, etc. The goal over time is to do less and less of whatever works but for tonight, it’s to help him gently fall asleep sans-boob.

      Does that make sense?

  97. Hi Alexis,
    I love this website. Thank you so much. It has helped bring me peace about my baby’s sleep/nap situation.

    In fact, I’m not sure I have a situation, but you tell me. I’m a first time mom of a 15 week old. She sleeps well at night (she gets 8oz at night around 7:30pm and goes down anywhere between 8:15pm and 8:45pm). She falls asleep after this feed, but wakes up briefly when I burp her. In fact even if she does fall asleep after I feed her at night, she wakes up a little anyway because we have to lay her on her side (silent reflex issue, dr orders). But she goes right back to sleep. She will wake up about 2 to 3 times at night, but will go back to sleep if we reposition her and or give her a pacifer. Because of the formula she is on, she doesn’t wake up hungry for nightfeedings.

    It’s naps that we are currently struggling with. She will fight me when I try to put her down after about an hour and 15 mins of being awake. I will rock her with a pacifer and that will work for a while (about 5 mins), and then she will fight me some more. Yesterday after two hours of being awake, I swaddled her (but made it so she had access to her hands, rocked her till she was calm and then laid her down awake. I only had to go in there once to calm her, and she slept for about an hour (not complaining). But this was the first time attempting the “put down awake”. All the other times I put her down for a nap with the pacifer in her mouth and felt extremely guilty about it. She sleeps in a Pack n’ play.

    Should I go back to the full swaddle for afternoon naps? (I use a “SwaddleMe).

    If she is fighting me to go to sleep after only being awake for 1 1/2 hour, does this mean I am putting her down too soon?

    We have a swing and use it a lot, mostly all the time during “The Witching Hour”. She will at times fall asleep in it, other times not.

    Am I understanding correctly that in order to use the swing to help her fall asleep on her own, that I need to put her in the swing awake and allow the swing to help settle her, and eventually put her to sleep?

    Is using it during “The Witching Hour” confusing for her because I don’t use it for the afternoon nap?

    If further attempts to putting down awake do not work should I go forth with the swing, or is she too old?

    Thanks. Sorry for all the questions, or if I confused you.

    • If she’s got reflux I would definitely test out the swing for naps because it could really solve multiple problems. She’s definitely not too old – refluxing kids are often napping in swings WAY longer than non-reflux kids. Because your kid has reflux you have to adjust the time scale of everything, it won’t go like your friends non-reflux kid :(

      I think if she’s fighting you to sleep she’s probably been awake TOO long. I would probably dial back to 1 hour 15 and see if that doesn’t work better. Or on a rough day maybe even 1 hour.

      And yeah I would probably go back to swaddling. TONS of babies need to be swaddled till 6+ months so I think generally people are unswaddling TOO early. Thus my feeling is when in doubt, swaddle.

      And yes if you want to use the swing your eventual goal is to plunk her in there wide awake and have her fall asleep IN the swing. But you don’t need to do that on day #1 :)

      • Thanks for advice and reassurance.

        Interesting thing about the swing. My daughter likes the swing, but only on her terms. She has now been in it for ten minutes, on its highest setting, swaddled, awake, and complaining. Also, I don’t think having the hiccups is helping her to relax.

        How much complaining and fussing in the swing is normal before it seems like I’m torturing her with it?

      • Okay, I just read this over again and I can see where I went wrong. *facepalm*

  98. Hi Alexis,

    First off, like everyone else, thank you so much for this site. I think I’ve done everything on it–to the point where if you published an article on how doing headstands would aid with sleep, I would be upside down before you said boo!

    Anyway, I have 4 month old boy who also has reflux (treated with Zantac and doing much much better after that). With your suggestions, we were doing white noise, swaddle in a Rock n’ Play, which helped, but thought we could do better, so we bit the bullet and bought a swing. Seriously, it’s been really great! Usually bedtime is between 8 and 8:30 and he doesn’t need to eat until 3am and then he sleeps until 5:30ish, when I do another feed just so I’m not getting up that early. He’s always napped pretty well and continues to do so in the swing.

    Here is the issue: Though he won’t eat until 3am, he will kind of wake up and complain before 3am. Usually I’m in a deep sleep, so I end up giving him the pacifier and he falls right back asleep. He hasn’t been needing the pacifier to fall asleep and our bedtime routine is usually a bath, then a bottle of pumped breast milk, then books, then bed. I’m wondering if he has a suck=sleep association. I’m thinking of switching the bottle with the bath, so the bedtime order is bottle, bath, books and bed. My main question is should I be letting him fuss a little when he wakes up before his 3am feed? He’s in our room, so I’ve tried a bit, but he tends to just get increasingly mad and with my husband already back at work, I’m trying to minimize the middle of night noise. Should I keep going with the pacifier for now? I just feel like he might eventually start waking up way more once he gets a little older.

    Your thoughts would be so appreciated. Thanks again for everything o this site!

    • A small update…so we revamped nighttime routine a bit to bottle, bath, books, bed to separate the bottle and bedtime. He has since started waking up screaming about an hour after we put him down. I have no idea why this started–he used to go at least 4 or 5 hours before. I’m not sure if it’s sleep regression, but I’m not sure what to do. Do I let him cry a bit? I’ve tried and he just gets more and more upset, so I’ve been calming him down and then putting him back down. He will go back to sleep, but then will wake up sort of shortly after, I will give him a pacifier and he will sleep for another 4 hours at which point it’s his usual night feed.

      So for example, last night bedtime was at 8pm, he woke up at 9pm screaming, complained at 11pm, ate at 3am then woke up around 6am.

      I’ve also noticed he takes a lot of long naps during the day–usually at least a 2-2.5 hour one and then two 1 hour naps, which is making me wonder if he’s not sleeping well at night. He is still currently in our room, so I’m wondering if he sleeps better when we’re not there?

      The screaming thing is really bothering us though–he gets really mad! I’m not sure what to make of it. Any thoughts would be really helpful!

  99. Hi Alexis!!
    I can’t believe I have just stumbled upon this site now!! So much great advice and it’s so awesome to know that people out there are actually willing to suggest a ton of different sleep techniques without making people feel guilty about what they choose! Thank you thank you thank you!!
    I just have a few quick questions and I apologize if you’ve answered them before.
    1) My daughter is just under 4 months old and night time is pretty okay (we had some gas issues but we’re working through that) but nap time is always a battle. Thanks to your site I learned that I was letting her get overtired so we’re working on the 2 hour thing now :) We are using the swing method as my daughter is a motion junkie. Right now she’s semi swaddled, on full speed, with a paci and noise. Is it the speed that I should be reducing first? Or should i work on no paci at hogh speed etc? And how quickly should I be reducing? Like every few days or every few naps?
    2) We live in a small apartment and so I can’t fit the swing in her room :( Is it still okay to try this swing to crib thing? Or am I just going to run into problems when we actually make the switch?
    3) How much time do you try one method before switching to actually get a nap in? (20 mins, 45 mins? Etc)

    Thank you so so so much and seriously you should add a donation button!! I bought 3 books and you are so much more helpful then any book!!!!!!!

  100. My baby is now 11 weeks old, and the swing has been great for getting her to sleep. Although she still sleeps great in the swing at night and for most naps, we are starting to have an unusual problem. When she goes to bed (between 6-7 pm), she wants to fall asleep in a non moving swing now. If you turn it on, she cries, but if not, she just grunts and tosses her head for 5 minutes, then sleeps 5-6 hours! Great!

    The problem starts after she wakes up about midnight for a feeding. When I put her back in the swing, she wakes up and then won’t sleep unless the swing is on. But about an hour later, she starts to fuss and cry in her sleep and begin to wake up. If I then turn OFF the swing, she will go back to sleep for about another hour at which point I usually have to turn the swing back ON to keep her asleep again. This goes on all night (with another wake up for feeding about 3-4 am usually), and then she gets up at about 6 am. Overall, her night sleep is great for her age, and so much better than it was, but the constant turning swing on/off is confusing to me and disturbs MY sleep even when she doesn’t fully wake up. The swing is right next to my bed, so it’s not too difficult to keep doing, but I would still love to stop it.

    I tried moving her to the crib also since she seems to prefer a non moving swing (at least sometimes), but that was a disaster and she wouldn’t sleep at all!

    Also, this sometimes happens during naps as well. She usually wakes after an hour but if I turn the swing off, about half the time she will go back to sleep for another half hour or hour.

    She also sleeps swaddled (at night but not usually for naps) with white noise and a paci (at naps only-doesn’t seem to need it at night, so we are trying not to use it then if we don’t have to to avoid losing it later!).

    Anyone else had a similar situation or any advice?

    • Last night I tried turning the swing around so it swings side to side instead of front to back (we have a Fisher Price Snug a Bunny swing, so not all swings may be able to do this), and just turned it on the slowest speed and this was more successful at keeping her asleep. She still slept from 6:30 pm – midnight without it moving (yay!!), but then slept from 1 – 4 am and 4:30-6:30 am with it moving side to side, and I didn’t have to turn it off/on during that time. She also went back to sleep much faster than usual after those 2 feedings, so I think I have discovered that she prefers that kind of motion to the standard front-to-back swinging motion (assuming that this continues and was not a one night event!!). She seems to just like a little gentle motion now to sleep so hopefully we are moving towards no motion all night and then to the crib!!

      I just wanted to put this out there as a suggestion for those of you who have babies who don’t seem to always like the swing. Play around with different types of swing motion and maybe you can find one that your baby will prefer.

    • Hey, I have the same swing and am wondering how you buckle your little one in while she is swaddled. Last night I swaddled my bebe for the first time in the swing and he slept great BUT I had to stretch the between the legs strap to one side to buckle him in and it was really tight against his waist-also this wont work for long because he is growing so fast (also 11 weeks)

      • After trying swaddling with legs out (didn’t work well – she could wiggle her arms out more easily this way) I actually did something that might not be considered completely safe…so use at your own risk. I cut the bottom of the between the leg strap from the swing so it now just wraps around her and doesn’t go between her legs. I still strap her in pretty tight and although it might be possible for her to wiggle out under the strap, it doesn’t seem likely to me while she is swaddled and then strapped in so tightly and it has never been a problem for us. She is sleeping about half the night now in a non-moving swing, so I am hoping to have her out of the swing and into a crib before she gets big and strong enough where this becomes a problem!

        Also, side-to-side swinging is still working great for us. 3 nights this week she slept from 7:00 pm – 3:00 or 3:30 am without waking at all (and then slept again from about 4-6)! Last night, she woke about midnight again, but still, we are seeing definite progress and I am pretty excited about it.

  101. My daughter was born 11 weeks premature. Her adjusted age is now 7 weeks and she weighs just over 10lb. I found this website last week and now know te biggest midtake I made in her early days was not soothing her to sleep. I discovered a few weeks ago that she will only sleep during the day if she’s held. I bought a sling to make this easier for myself. She sleeps a really long time during the day in the sling 3-4 hours. Too long maybe? She always sleeps in her bed at nite from 1am – 10am with a feed at 6am.
    I got a graco swing from a friend a few days ago and thought mh life had changed! She napped in it all day for the first 2 days for 2 hrs at a time. But day 3 (yesterday) she stopped. She falls asleep in it immediately but wakes after 20 mins crying a lot. I’ve tried swaddled and unswaddled, different volumes of white noise but she won’t stay asleep in it. I haven’t changed anything from the 1st 2 days.
    I will admit I have turned down the swing to no. 1 a few times when she has fallen asleep because I am afraid all that fast swinging isn’t good for her or will make her tummy sick. Is it really ok to leave a baby swinging fast for hours?

    • I just wanted to clarify, she sleeps for 3-4 hours at a time during the day in the sling. Is this too much? Should I wake her after 2 hours? Also I was turning the swing to no. 1 on the first 2 days after she’d fallen asleep and it didn’t bother her..

    • Hey Mary,
      For starters I would talk to your pediatrician about sling and swing because preemies often need extra careful sleeping conditions so make sure both are OK with the pediatrician who knows you and your baby, OK?

      Do you want your preemie napping for 4 hours in a row? Again I would ask your pediatrician. He/she may want you to feed your baby more frequently during the day so may want to set a limit of how much time between feedings.

      I would ALWAYS swaddle your preemie. There are so many benefits to swaddling and that goes DOUBLE for premature babies. Swaddle and loud white noise whenever she is sleeping. The graco swing speed is pretty much the same “speed” regardless of if it’s at 1 or 6 so if 1 feels better for you then go with it. No I’m not worried that her tummy will be sick.

      Her body is going to take more time to regulate because she came a little early but she’ll GET there. Use all advice based on her ADJUSTED age. Do everything here:

      Try not to let her get overtired. How long can she stay awake? Who knows – maybe no more than 45 minutes? If she naps for 20 minutes then that’s the nap. Some days that happens. Don’t panic and write off whatever you’re doing saying “I guess she hates that.” She’s a newborn – things are going to fluctuate.

      The volume of white noise should be 50 dB which is roughly the volume of somebody taking a shower.

      This isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon. Don’t give up because 1 day it didn’t work. Talk to your pediatrician, formulate a plan, work with the plan. Sound cool?

  102. Hello
    My little guy is 2 and a half months. Since he was born he would only sleep for more than about 20min if he was in bed with me or in my arms for naps. Even co sleeping he wakes up about 5 times a night.
    Last Week I bought a Fisher Price Cradle n’ Swing to see if it would help us sleep better.
    His first sleep of the night is much longer about 3-4 hours, but after that he wakes up every hour or so (and eats) until I bring him into bed with me-then we might get a 2/3 hour stretch.
    Today he napped in the swing for the first time for about an hour. I always put him into the swing when he is asleep.
    I have the white noise, and the swing is on the fastest speed. I cant swaddle him and buckle him in safely. Also he does not take a paci.
    Any advice for me?
    Loove your blog

    • Last night I swaddled my bebe before putting him in the swing and it made a huge difference. He only woke up 2 times! With this style of swing there is a buckle that goes between his legs that isn’t adjustable, two buckles coming from the sides, and two shoulder straps that all attach to one one between his legs.
      The PROBLEM is that to buckle him in while swaddled I have to stretch the between-the-legs one to one side of his body and buckle the strap from the other side into it. It is super tight across his waist and I prob won’t even be able to make it work in a few days because he is growing so fast.
      How would you deal with this?

    • Easy – don’t swaddle his legs. Honestly the benefit of the swaddle comes from the arms being swaddled. Leave his legs free and then use the buckles as they should be.

      This is super easy with a swaddle me velcro (keep his legs out of the “sack” part). But you can do the same thing with a swaddle blanket too.

      Good luck – sounds like you’re really on to something there!

      • When I use the swaddleme without the feet (even with a muslin blanket swaddled underneath it) my son can wiggle out it because the feet/sack part isn’t keeping the swaddle down.
        My swing (Graco Silhouette) has an activity tray with a plastic piece that goes between the legs. I use this to hold by son in the swing while swaddled. I understand that this might be seen as not safe enough for Alexis to recommend but it works well for us. (And my son is over 20lbs at 6 months old and a really wiggly boy but it keeps him safe)

  103. I really loved this article. But I have been struggling with my 2 mo old. She seems to calm in the swing but I cannot get her to stay asleep. She is swaddled up and all. It is kind of nice that it will mostly soothe her down for me but it will not seem to keep her asleep. It’s like she fights the yawns back. I can see her yawning and closing her eyes but after being closed for like 5 minutes they open back up and shortly after she is squirming and then onto crying.

    I’ve had such high hope for the swing because she seems to be a catnapper and 30-40 minutes just does seem to be enough for her to be calm and happy. So any extensions would be good. Any ideas how to keep her asleep? I’ve been trying to tinker with lower settings but to little avail.

    • Three small suggestions: 1) Track awake times to make sure they are not too long; 2) Try the swing for at least a week and use the varsity technique (maybe you have already done this?) to see if she settles in; and 3) Then maybe try the vibrating bouncy seat. We had both and our daughter preferred the bouncy seat. With the swing she would hang out happy for about 5-10 minutes then get twitchy/upset (didn’t get better over 2 weeks). And maybe she is just a short napper for now and you ride it out the best you can until she hits that sleep consolidation developmental milestone. Between about 2.5 and 5 months our little girl would rarely sleep more than 30 min at a time during the day. Looking back I wish I had just rolled with it and not worried so much: more of a “Well this is a bummer but we’re doing the best we can so it is what it is” approach. The good news is that your little miss will start to get more easily distractable with toys and play and so if she’s a little cranky from short naps it will be easier to manage :) Good luck!

  104. So, so happy to have found this website! My LO is 9 weeks old and has been having good days and bad days in regards to naps. Most days he would nap twice…one nap would usually be short (25-45 minutes) and the other would last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours (Once he’d reach the 3 hour point I’d wake him to feed him and to make sure that he didn’t confuse his days and nights). Other days he would fight every single nap that I tried to put him down for. For each nap I would place him in a sleep sac, turn on the white noise, and rock and sing to him to get him to fall alseep in my arms. Then I’d place him in his crib (where he’s been sleeping since the day we brought him home)and sometimes he would remain asleep while others he would wake up 5 minutes later or would immediately wake up screaming. The inconsistancy was beginning to drive me mad. I also knew that he wasn’t getting the daytime sleep that he needed. This website pushed me to try the swing for naps…and it worked!! He took three naps today :) The first was 2.25 hours long, the second was 1.5 hours long, and the third was 1 hour long :) Here’s the problem though. He usually has no issue sleeping in his crib at night. After I feed him, he goes down from 7 to 10. We give him a “dreamfeed” at 10 and then I feed him again when he wakes around 3. Tonight he absolutely freaked out when we tried to put him in his crib at 7. After continued attempts by my husband and I to help him fall asleep in our arms, I reverted to putting him in the swing. He was out within 10 minutes. Though I’m thrilled about what happened during the day, I feel like I’ve destroyed what I had in place at night :( Thoughts or suggestions from anyone??

    • Hi Erica,

      Thanks for your post. My daughter’s (11.5 weeks) napping was also driving me insane. She would only nap for 10-40 minutes unless I held her, in which case she would sleep up to 2.5 hours. After researching I came across this blog, bought a Fisher Price cradle swing, and today my daughter has napped in it 3 times for about 1-1.5 hours each time! She has gone in with minimal complaining and as long as she is swaddled and there is darkness and white noise, she will put herself to sleep .

      I too am worried about whether her nighttime sleep will be negatively impacted by all this swing sleep. Right now she sleeps in a cosleeper in our room and we can put her down drowsy but awake 50 percent of the time and she will put herself to sleep and wake 2-3 times at night to eat.

      The only thing I am wondering is whether your baby was less sleepy than he normally would be at 7 pm since he got better daytime sleep. Maybe that was why it was hard to put him down? But then again he fell asleep in the swing. What time did he finally fall asleep? Maybe it was the swing but maybe he also needed to be put down a bit later than usual?

      Alexis, I know you said that swings for naps should not have a negative impact on babies who are already sleeping well at night in cribs/cosleepers/other nonmoving sleep places. Is this always true, or do you know of anyone who has experienced more difficulties with nighttime sleep after introducing the swing for naps? If so, what would you advise?

      Thank you for such an informative site:)

    • Hey Erica,

      I don’t know exactly what happened and the truth is – sometimes babies have rough bedtimes. This is the way of babies.

      I DO know that you’re telling me that he normally takes 2 naps a day (1 short 1 long) – this tells me that for a newborn at some point this baby is up far longer than his little body can comfortably handle. So I’m guessing that by bedtime he’s probably a bit overtired.

      Note: I’m not judging you here, this is THE MOST common mistake parents of newborns make so it’s not specific to you at all.

      Then you put him in the swing and he napped for 5 hours during the day (vs. 2-4 norm) which is at least a 50% bump in day sleep.

      I also know that for most newborns a 7:00 PM bedtime is really early. A typical newborn bedtime might be closer to 9:00.

      So while I’ll never be able to tell you what really happened my guess is that your baby has been a tiny bit sleep deprived. In the swing he got WAY more sleep than he was previously getting. And thus when you went to put him down for bedtime he wasn’t ready yet. (This is actually a good thing – the early bedtime WAS working because he was overtired – follow me there?)

      But when you put him in the swing the soothing of the swing was enough to push him over the hump and thus he fell asleep.

      My guess is that you are trying to early and now that he’s getting more day sleep his bedtime needs to be adjusted back for a while. If you get push bedtime back a bit he’ll be tired enough and will go back to crib sleeping for you.

      • Thank you Sonal and Alexis for your thoughts. Alexis, I think what you initially said about babies sometimes having rough bedtimes must have been the case for my little guy the other night. As for being awake longer than he should be, I honestly have tried not to make that happen since the very beginning. I’ve tried to follow the EASY plan that I’ve read about…where the baby eats, has some activity time, and then goes to sleep. Therefore he is normally awake for 1-1.5 hours. I do sometimes have trouble with keeping this established as night time rolls around though. And looking back, I think the evening in which he was a terror he had been up for close to three hours prior to falling asleep…definitely too long for him. I’m happy to report that yesterday went much more smoothly. He again took three really good naps (all in the swing). I actually had to wake him from each of them so that he didn’t end up sleeping too long. He then went down at about 7:15 much more easily then the day before…and in his crib too! Then…the best part…when we gave him his dreamfeed at 10 we decided to try swaddling him. We had done this earlier but on a visit from my mother-in-law she felt that we were placing him in a “straight jacket” and that he couldn’t explore with his hands like he should be able to. At that point we stopped swaddling him. When we ended up going back to it last night he slept from 10 pm until 7 am! I was floored! I know that this is not likely to be the norm for him yet but I was still happily surprised :)

        On another note, he had his two month appointment today. He weighed 12 lbs 8 oz and was 24 7/8 inches long. He also had his shots so we may be in for a challenging afternoon/evening. At least I know why today!

        Thanks again!!

  105. Hi Again,

    I just wanted report on our experience with the swing (Fisher Price Snugabunny) so far, which we’ve tried using to improve my daughter’s napping and to extend her sleep a bit in the morning.

    During the day, it is hard for her to stay up for more than an hour at a time. Before we got the swing, I would try to get her to nap in her cosleeper, swaddled with white noise, which would result in “short crappy naps” as you would say, Alexis. She would need 4-5 short crappy naps to get through the day. Slowly she stopped sleeping at all in the cosleeper for naps and I was stuck with holding her (sometimes she would even resist the carrier and I would literally just hold her). She can sleep for longer naps in my arms but of course I don’t want this to be the only way she naps.

    We tried the Snugabunny swing starting Thursday. Thursday it worked beautifully and she took long (1-2 hours naps) in it, going down awake with minimal (<5 minutes) of fussing/crying. She was swaddled, it was dark, and there was continuous loud white noise going.

    Friday, she still went down for her naps, but they were shorter (45 minutes). By the evening she was kind of over the swing I if I remember correctly (the days are blending together) we resorted to holding her for the last nap.

    Saturday was rough. She woke up at 4:30 am pretty awake. After 45 minutes of trying to get her to sleep in co-sleeper, we gave up and put her in the swing where she slept from 5:30-9:15 am:) After that we had no success with the swing. She would fuss/cry. We would try shushing her while she was in it on top of the white noise. We would also try just walking out and shutting the door. The longest we waited to see if she would settle herself was 7-8 minutes. It seems like once her crying gets to a certain level, it's very hard for her to calm herself back down. So for each of her naps, after trying the swing, we would resort to holding her. At the end of the night she even fought us holding her and was awake from 3:30-8 with only one 20 minute nap around 5. This morning, she awoke at 7, nursed, and since she seemed pretty awake we put her in the swing and after talking to herself for a while, she fell asleep with no crying/fussing.

    So, I guess my questions are:
    1) Any guess as to why the swing works well sometimes (it often works better earlier in the day) and not others? Is this typical when baby is first getting used to the swing? Should we just keep trying for every single nap? Is it possible she is overtired already and that's why it isn't working? I would find this hard to believe since she is rarely up for more than an hour (sometimes less) before we start putting her down for the next one.

    2) Are certain swing motions more effective for most babies? For example, the snugabunny goes side to side as well as forward and back. We've only done the side to side motion. Is it worth trying the forward/back motion to see if she likes that better?

    3) Any advice on what to do if she is crying pretty hard for 5-7 minutes after being in the swing? I know you have said CIO for naps is not very effective.

    4) The only aspect of the Varsity technique we have not tried is the jiggling of the swing from the back… it didn't seem necessary at first, but maybe it is worth trying since she sometimes resists?

    Thank you so much for any advice you have. I really appreciate it!

    • Hi Sonal,

      Though I can’t really give you advice, I can tell you what I’ve experienced with my little guy. In regards to your second and fourth questions…We have the same swing and we had only been using it with the side to side motion. It had been working perfectly…even to the extent that we could put him down awake and he would fall alseep within 10 minutes each time. If he ever fussed, the motion of the swing would soothe him to sleep relatively quickly as well. Then yesterday, he was quite upset after being placed in the swing and it wasn’t just fussing. I knew that he somehow needed to nap so I turned the swing so that it would swing back and forth. I got behind the swing and attempted the jiggling of the swing while pushing it myself. It worked within a few minutes. He was out and took a great nap :) So I would suggest trying both the back and forth motion and the jiggling. Maybe it will help! I hope it does!

      • Thank you Erica! I just tried the jiggling/pushing it myself when she woke up early from a nap and it put her back to sleep, at least for now. I am going to try the jiggling when I put her in and it’s more than just fussing. I think the side to side motion once she is sleeping is better for her too:)

        • PS After only jiggling for a few naps, the darn swing is making a creaking noise! Argh. Hope I am not damaging it in any way. Is yours holding up ok?

          • I’m glad that the jiggling is helping a bit. Like you, I’ve also had to do it when he woke up early from a nap…and it worked! He slept for another hour! As for the creaking noise, I haven’t heard anything yet. I guess I better be sure to only jiggle lightly and to keep my ears open for any creaking. Oh, the things we do for our little ones!

  106. Hey, I need a little advanced advice even beyond the varsity swing technique. My 4 1/2 mo daughter is a tough nut to crack on the sleep front, both naps and bedtime are an emotional screaming nightmare.

    I’m trying the jiggle method until she is calm and drowsy but as soon as I stop jiggling and start the motor she starts screaming again. Tried waiting a few minutes but the screaming got worse not better, went back in, jiggled again, more screaming. The swing is basically the only place she will sleep but only if we bounce her completely to sleep first. With the varsity method should I just keep going in and jiggling every 5 or 10 minutes until she conks out or do I employ CIO in the swing?

    Also, she wakes every 1-2 hrs at night. sometimes bouncing will put her back to sleep. Usually she wants to nurse indefinitely in the rocking chair where she will just play with my nipple while she sleeps without actually eating much, but if I put her back in the swing or crib she’s back up immediately screaming.

    We’ve tried so many different ideas from books and blogs and friends but we haven’t s slept more than 3 hrs straight since October and we’re starting to truly unravel around here.

    During the day she is mostly a happy smiling baby (except at nap time) she usually has about four 30-45 min naps with no more than 2 hrs waking at a time and bedtime routine starts at 7 w bath. We can get her to nap longer sometimes if we go in and bounce her back down after the initial wake up, other times she screams until I nurse her and then falls asleep on my boob for up to 2 hours sometimes.

    Please give us some guidance, anyone!

    • Hey Adrien,
      I’m wondering about the screaming thing. Sometimes when you have a baby who seems to need “more than average” amount of soothing my spidey sense starts to tingle. Why does she need SO much soothing? The general answer is, “Some babies are just super sensitive.” Thus she can sleep on your boob (human pacifier) or if you bounce her (uber motion). OK great. But not for you. And frankly being a human pacifier just leads to cryitoutsville.

      First – what happens if you go dairy free for 1-2 weeks? Seriously, maybe she has a mild milk protein thing that makes it hard for her to settle without lots of extra soothing.

      Second – are you using a swaddle plus LOUD white noise?

      Third – what happens if when she wakes hourly at night you DON’T go to her? What happens if you wait 20 minutes?

      • Hi Alexis,

        She does seem to be a bit of a sensitive Sally,but she has taken to falling asleep on her own with the swing both for naps and bedtime. Yay!

        To answer your questions

        1) I have been off dairy entirely for months…and beans and broccoli and egg whites.

        2) we always swaddle with the Loud white noise…we were using a sub woofer when she was really little but we’ve pulled back in the last few months to shower volume. It used to be jet engine loud 😛

        3) at night if she wakes before 11 we have started letting her cry and she will almost always go back to bed. Unfortunately it doesn’t work the rest of the night. If she wakes between nursings at 130 and 3 we let her cry and she will fall back asleep after about 10min but she will wake up again in 5 min. She can’t seem to get back in the zone without a feeding. The bouncing doesn’t work anymore either, she does the same fall asleep wake up 5 min later thing.

        Overall things are much better just having a comfortable routine for falling asleep without the hysterics. I think we are ready to tackle putting her on a more limited night feeding schedule. I think its best to do this while she is still in the swing to make it less stressful for her. Does that seem like a good idea to you?

        On a normal night she gets fed at 11, 1:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30. Last night she ate at 1130 and 3 which was lovely but then she was up at 3:45, 4:15, 5, 5:30, 6…basically from 3 on it was up and down with Boobie and bouncing. I know you said it’s less effective to let them cry in the early morning hours because they aren’t tired enough together back to bed. What do you suggest we try next for the crazy 3-7 am hours?

        And again, I can’t say enough how great the simple suggestions you made for falling asleep awake are. So easy for mom and baby. Her swing screaming only lasted 2 naps and since then we’ve only heard consenting grumbles from the babe :) thank you!

  107. Hi Alexis,
    I know you get a lot of comments/questions, but I hope you are able to respond to this one. Here is the short version: My 11.5 wk old (7.5 wks adjusted b/c he was a preemie) doesn’t mind the swing and will sometimes sleep there, but it seems to make him throw up more than normal. Do you think this is just a matter of waiting until his digestive track matures a bit (as in hopefully by the time he’s in that 3-6 mo window)? Any advice for other ways to teach him to fall asleep on his own? He’s a motion junkie (loves walking, rocking, etc) so the swing is a brilliant idea if he didn’t throw up so much. We’d really love to use your advice to help him sleep on his own and avoid CIO…

    Here is the long story: sleep has been rough, as it probably is with most preemies. At some point, he started doing 4-5 hours for his first stretch of the night (bedtime is 7 or 8pm). Then after that, he woke anywhere from every 30 minutes to 2 hours to eat. At some point about 2 weeks ago (I suspect related to the 6-wk growth spurt) he started sleeping no more than 3 hours at a time. Then the last couple of nights it’s been worse than normal–he wants to nurse all of the time, doesn’t want to sleep when he’s not being held, extra fussing during the day, etc. Do you think this is the 8-wk sleep regression? He almost always falls asleep nursing, being rocked, or being worn in the ergo (and has all along), so I know we are going to have to break these sleep associations at some point. Naps are OK–not on any type of schedule but I do my best to put him to sleep (nursing, wearing, etc) once he’s been awake for 90-120 minutes. I just feel like I’m running out of steam and whatever has been making the sleep worse these last couple of weeks is wearing me thin. Any ideas for getting him to sleep longer now or start transitioning to falling asleep on his own without the swing? Is it just too soon for him to do that?

    Thank you so much!

    • Hey there,
      Preemies are a ton of extra work so I’m not at all surprised you’re struggling. I would swaddle and use white noise WHENEVER he sleeps. Great for all babies, extra important for preemies. I would also treat him like his adjusted age vs. birth age at least until he is 1. Which technically means he’ll be a “newborn” longer and newborns are a GRIND. Fussy, short naps, need tons of soothing. Sorry about that :(

      He also probably has mild reflux. SUPER common for preemies. I’m guessing that the reason he throws up more in the swing vs. ergo is that he’s more reclined in the swing (so gravity is less good at keeping his stomach contents in). You may want to talk to your pediatrician bout the possibility of mild reflux.

      But personally in the long run I would keep working with the swing. If he’s spitting up in the swing I’m guessing it would be way worse in the crib. But it’s a great option to help get him off your body so YOU can get a break, shower, eat, nap, etc. And as long as the spitup doesn’t bother him, it doesn’t bother me. And if it DOES bother him, then it’s time to look at managing the reflux :(

      Good luck!

  108. What type of baby swing do you recommend? I was reading through all the comments (just trying to get further insight into why my daughter was still waking up every 45 mins even in the swing (it was the speed).

    However, while I was reading I noticed you said “No Bucket swings” when someone asked about the Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo swing. Our swing is the FP Ocean Dreams space-saver seat and swing. It was a hand me down from friends. She does kind of slump over to the side, but because she was so tiny I would put her in it at an angle so she wouldn’t slump.

    Should I get a new swing? I’ve been looking at the new Graco glider swings. Would that particular one be better than what we are currently using.

    • Here’s my “which swing is right for you” post:”

      Small travel swings generally aren’t awesome unless you have a 400 square foot apartment and it’s the ONLY option. The gliders aren’t usually as effective either because their range of motion is limited. So if you can swing it (ha ha see what I did there?) I do like full-sized swings even though they’re bigger and run ~$100.

      • Haha, yes, I see what you did there 😉

        Well we ended up getting the new Petite Graco glider and so far it has worked great for her. We still the occasional sucky short nap, but it’s not all day, like it was before we got the glider. On days like that I just have to remind myself that, babies aren’t linear. :)

  109. Is it to late to start my 5 month old on a swing? She was sleeping well and in her crib in her own room from 2-3 months, but was never a good napper during the day. When i went back to work at 3 months, everything sleep related turned chaotic. After about a month, she adjusted to our new routine, and we had one good week of sleep… then hit 4 month sleep regression, and a series of other set backs (introduction of rice cereal = constipation for a week, skin infection = cranky baby, antibiotics that made her poop 24/7 = awaking baby in the middle of the night), which all made sleep very, very difficult… Now my 5 month old is healthy and happy, but now in the habit of being either nursed/held to sleep or put in an Ergo carrier (and i walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes) to get to sleep. She fights sleeping and has no clue how to fall asleep on her own. She wakes up at least 2 times a night – most nights lately it’s around 5 times. I’ve tried letting her cry up to 40 minutes a couple times, but she doesn’t settle down and just gets more an more amp’ed up. And i’m just holding out until she turns 6 months old to really try the CIO method. But in the time being, i’m wondering it I should try the swing or just wait until 6 months to fully try the CIO method. Thoughts? PS, my husband disagrees with trying the CIO method any sooner than 6 months; so i’d rather not try it any earlier than that. Thanks in advance!!

    • It’s definitely worth a try. Can you borrow one from a friend? She is on the old side so I would hate for you to spend $100 and then find it’s not going to work. But given how much she digs the motion I think it’s worth working with to avoid cryitoutsville. Commit to working with it a few days (ie don’t try once and give up) and let me know what happens – OK?

  110. Hello,

    Thanks so much for this blog! I have found it extremely helpful!

    My son is almost 5 months and having a really hard time at night. He used to sleep a 5.5-8 hour chunk at night, wake up to feed, and then sleep another good-sized chunk. Now, he’s sleeping a 3-4.5 hour chunk,feeding, and then waking every hour or two from there. He usually seems hungry when he wakes, so I feed him most times. I’m EBF and he sleeps in his pack n play next to the bed until after the first or second waking and then I bring him to our bed so I don’t have to get up as much. At first I thought it was a regression, but after a couple weeks I realized it wasn’t. It has been about a month now since the issues started. His sleep changes coincided with a trip to another state (and first airplane ride). I hoped they would resolve once we got home, but instead they are worsening or staying about the same.

    After reading your posts, I have been using the swing for naps, just for a few days so far. Today I swaddled him and did the jiggle and white noise and he slept for four hours (noon-4)! VERY unusual. I think maybe he was really overtired after several weeks of poor sleep.

    I am working on getting him to fall asleep on his own at night, as opposed to nursing to sleep. Up until the last few weeks, he has pretty much always nursed to sleep. Also, he has started to break from the swaddle and either wake himself up after freeing himself, or wake up because he couldn’t get out. So at night we are using the merlin which has not been a miracle tool, but does muffle the startle. Only problem is that he tries to get his hand to his mouth and can’t and sometimes wakes up as a result.

    So far, some nights have been better than others. Tonight, however, went really well (as far as falling asleep goes, we’ll see about the rest). I bathed him, fed him, read a story (which he cried through), and then put him in the merlin’s suit with one arm out and into his pack n play with white noise. I also left a breastpad I’d been wearing in the corner and jiggled the pack n play from behind. He started to nod off and I quietly left the room and I haven’t heard from him since! It’s been about 15 minutes.

    So, I am wondering if you have any other advice to give, especially if he doesn’t start sleeping longer soon! My husband and I are both getting pretty tired!


    • Oh! And I forgot to mention that for him the legs need muffling almost more than the arms. If his legs aren’t in the suit, forget about sleeping! He wiggles them constantly and eventually wakes himself up.

    • Not much – you seem to have identified the issue (more soothing, more sleep) and he’s napping a TON. I agree with your idea that he’s catching up. Overtired babies sleep poorly so just having him napping better will probably help a ton. Getting him falling asleep on his own at night will also help.

      So I think you’re headed in the right direction on all fronts!

  111. I am starting to think my 5 month old baby is broken, when it comes to sleep. Admittedly, we have only been attempting the ‘swing technique’ since last night (and for 2 naps so far today). After some crying, and soothing by me, she fell asleep in the swing last night after only about 20-30 minutes (dark room, white noise, swaddled, pacifier). However, as she always does, she woke up just 40 minutes later, and was unable to put herself back to sleep. Again I went in (because she was crying, not just fussing) to comfort her, and after another ~20 minutes, she fell asleep for only about 5-10 minutes before awakening again. Again, inconsolable. At this point, she did not want to be comforted by me (or my husband) and refused the pacifier (as is typical when she is upset). I went to bed because I was exhausted due to her extremely poor sleeping habits the past week (well really, the past 5 months) and my husband took over. It took another ~1 hour of him trying to comfort her (both in and outside of the swing) when finally he strapped her in her swing, turned off the white noise and de-swaddled her arms. After about 10 minutes, she went to sleep.

    However, during her two naps today, she has again become inconsolable and I have been unable to comfort her, despite my trying several different ways to comfort her (including with/without white noise, with/without pacifier, with/without swaddle). Eventually (because I don’t want my baby to cry inconsolably in the swing for more than 5 minutes if I am unable to comfort her in the swing) I end up taking my baby out of the swing and rocking (or jiggling her) to sleep. What gives? I am tired, and I was hoping that this would work – I know it is a process, but it doesn’t seem to be going any better than her typical 20-30 minutes of yelling at me while I rock her to sleep every night (and 10 minutes of yelling at me as I rock her to sleep at naptime). For naps, I only wait 2 hours inbetween naps, so I don’t believe the cause is that she is overtired. I’m really confused and don’t quite know what to do. It also doesn’t seem to matter whether she is upright or in cradle hold when I rock her, so I don’t think it could be a reflux issue based on that (unless she just fears sleep because of that alone?). Eventually she did go to sleep in the swing last night and slept 7 hours in one stretch (amazing for her, really incredible!). However, I am worried that now she is going to have a bad association with the swing since I can’t get her to calm down in the swing at all and have to resort to rocking again (which she also hates, but at least she will eventually calm down enough to fall asleep in. Any advice?

    • Hi, obviously I’m not Alexis, but I wanted to share my experience with you. I have an almost 5 month old and her naps were tanking even after the dreaded 4 month sleep regression, and she was still waking up 3 or 4 times a night. Because she has terrible reflux I switched to having her nap in the swing since an upright position is best, and I figured if she was well rested during the day, she wouldn’t be so overtired at night. It wasn’t easy transitioning her to the swing. She fought me. The first time I put her in the swing it was for a mid morning nap. I had to rock her to almost sleepiness and then place her in the swing. She woke up 3 times every 20 minutes and each time I was there behind the swing shushing with the paci. My favorite was when I would be trying to rock her before putting her in the swing, she would arch her back, and turn her face away, therefore putting all her weight on my arm. I switched to placing her over my shoulder and patting her back. She still complained a bit, but at least she wasn’t arching her back.
      The swing does take work and consistancy. Try not to get too discouraged if things aren’t improving quickly. On day 5 of swing napping her naps started tanking further and were only lasting 30 mins each. On top of that, I realized that I was keeping her awake too long in between these 30 min naps. Sure the charts all say a 4-5 month old can stay awake for up to 2 hours, but if they are already overtired, like my daughter, putting them down for the next nap was only going to get harder and harder.
      On day 6 the 30 min naps were continuing and because it was a Saturday and we had no plans, I made it my mission to not have her be awake more than an hour between naps. She had 5 30 min naps that day. We also bought a new swing (the one we were using was handed down to us by a friend and was a Fisher Price Portable swing n’ seat – bucket style – a no, no). I’m not saying go and buy a new swing, but for us we felt this type of swing was not helping her sleep.
      Today is Day 13 of swing napping and day 7 of napping in new swing: My daughter loves the new swing but still fusses a bit before putting herself to sleep in it (this is what you want). Her range of fussing can be anywhere from 3 min to 20mins, which is normal and not bad at all, it just depends on if I’ve put her down at the right window of tiredness (which is still only 1hr 15 -30 mins). She isn’t crying hard in the swing anymore, which is nice. I can even put her down in the pack n’ play awake at night and she falls asleep (so far I’m 4-2).
      I know you are probably wanting to give up on the swing, but try to stick it out for at least a week. Maybe only do naps in it, that is what we are doing. Keep the LOUD white noise going AND swaddle, swaddle, swaddle!
      Something I have to constantly remind myself is that there are going to be setbacks. You will get the occasional 45 min nap in the early afternoon at a time when you need her to sleep longer. That is okay, just don’t keep her awake for too long.
      Hang in there.

    • Yes – ditto to everything that Jonelle said. DIT. TO.

      Also you DO need to commit to a plan. It sounds like you’re trying every possible combination under the sun. Listen she’s not a newborn anymore so you’re going to have to TEACH her how to sleep. This means doing the same thing ALL the time for a few days, maybe even a week.

      Also I would ditch the paci. It’s probably not helping you and is probably leading to the “freaks out when wakes up” thing. Sorry – sad but true :(

      And lastly – if she’s yelling at you for 20-30 minutes while you rock her, why not let her yell for 20-30 minutes in the swing? I mean I would definitely try a few times because as you say, it’s happening anyway right?

  112. We have been afraid to let our son sleep in the swing due to the supposed SIDS risk. Do you know anything about this? Are there some swings that are safer than others?

    • The AAP official safe sleep statement says babies should only be in cribs. But there is no real evidence that modern swings (not the old bucket swings) pose any sleep risks. I would definitely talk to your pediatrician about it. Most are really supportive. Dr. Karp (Happiest Baby) talks about babies in swings in his excellent sleep book Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep.

      I like the Graco swings best:

      Good recumbent feature so babies aren’t slumping over (slumping is really the issue when babies sleep) and the motors are reliable.

  113. Hi! I have a 5 month old baby girl exclusively breastfed. I have a couple of questions since it is my first baby and guinea pig . We do our bedtime routine which includes dark room white noise and the swing. I have tried just putting her in the bassinet but she can’t get herself to sleep so I have been puting her in the swing awake and pushing it manualy until she is drowsy and slowing it down to a full stop right before she fall asleep. Then I wait until her next feeding and mover her to the bassinet located in the same room that the swing is.

    Should I put her back in the swing after the feeding eventhough it is not moving when she falls asleep?

    Is it ok to use the swing to just get her to learn to fall asleep on her own they way I am doing it or am I making a mistake using it this way and not keeping it on the entire time?

    Any thoughts would be appreciate it.

    • I am not an expert but just read the object permanence post and it seems as though you want everything to stay the same the whole time your baby is sleeping. IE if your baby falls asleep with the swing going, she should wake up to it moving or she’ll freak out-maybe not yet, but when that developmental piece kicks in. Did you see the post on weaning from swing sleeping? That sounds like the approach alexis recommends for ditching the swing sleeping.

      • Thanks Amanda!

        I remember that now. I was probably half asleep when I read that. I will put my baby girl back on the swing after feeding her in the middle of the night. I just started using the swing on Monday since I have been nursing her to sleep and wanted to teach her to fall asleep on her own. I just use the swing to soothe her and turne it off right before she falls asleep . That way I don’t have to wean her from the swing as well. So far it seems to be working. This is our 5th night and she was asleep 5 min after I put her on the swing and I didn’t even had to turn it on. I am hopping that after a few nights of a routine and her falling asleep on her own I can just put her down in her bed without her fighting because she can’t get herself to sleep.

        When baby wakes up in the middle of the night to eat is it ok to feed them until they fall back to sleep or do you have to wake them back up and put them down? She is pretty sleepy during the night.

        • I am not Alex either, but I did read on this site somewhere, that it is OK to feed baby until they fall back asleep in the middle of the night. When you begin to night wean, then reduce the amount of time you are feeding baby by one minute each night until feedings are eliminated altogether. But to answer your question, I think you want to avoid CIO in the middle of the night.

          • Cool that’s what i thought but i was not sure. It’s like i get to all the info by clicking around and then i dont remember where i saw it.Thank you Joanne

  114. Hi.

    I am so happy to have found your site (if nothing else than for a midnight chuckle). My daughter is 4 months next week and we have been doing the swing thing for 2 weeks. I am still having to do the full Varsity slather on the soothing method and am wondering if you have any advice for transitioning from Varsity to being able to walk away with her awake. Actually, maybe we are Junior Varsity as on occasion I can leave her drowsy and on others once I leave her those eyes pop back open then she goes down again. She does not like being put in her swing – starts crying when I take her over to it and when I put her in the swaddle. If I just leave her in the swing she usually escalates into full out trembling upset crying. I then pick her up, soothe her, give her a quick nurse then put her in awake and return to Varsity. She’s pretty much self-weaned off the paci, so what she really responds to is my super shushing behind her. The whole process generally takes about 10 minutes, though like I said, it varies. Evenings generally worse as she still hasn’t gotten completely over the whole “4th trimester” thing.

    Based on the advice here I have been carefully watching awake time. Going for 1 1/2 hrs awake time now as 2 hrs was tough to settle her down. Truth be told, she’s not much better at 1 1/2 hrs so maybe I should try an hour. Her naps are generally only 30-35 minutes after which she wakes up unhappy and clearly not fully rested, but I haven’t had luck soothing her back to sleep in her swing. Every couple days she’s conk out for 3+ hrs for one nap (could be at anytime of the day). Her bedtime is between 7-9 (though at 7 or 8 she could just do a 30 minute nap) and she’ll usually have a 5-7+ hr stretch after which she’ll nurse and then go back to sleep happily in her swing for another couple hours (this is the only time she doesn’t cry going into the swing). I’m not complaining about that at all, as this is phenomenal compared to my 3 yr old who never slept more than 2 hrs at a time until he was over 18 mos. And while I’d love longer naps, I’m ok with their length too, what I’d really like is to progress on the getting herself to sleep bit. Especially as we are traveling end of April when she is 5 1/2 months and I’d like to have her in her crib before then and definitely before 6 months!

    Any advice from anyone appreciated!

    • Well the 4 month sleep regression is probably working against you. And I’m guessing that 1 hour 15 min or 1 hour 30 min is where she is (2 hours is more something you see at ~6 months).

      I would maybe add a bit more of a routine. Like maybe you go into her room, swaddle her, read a few books, sing a few songs, and THEN put her in the swing. Some babies need more of a transition than “swaddle, swing, sleep.”

      I would really try to gradually dial back on the varsity method. Maybe instead of jiggling you shoosh. The varsity method is GREAT long term but can actually cause object permanent issues for you (baby wakes up all night and you have to run in and jiggle). I wasn’t aware of that possibility until it turned up in comments (it’s rare) so just a heads up?

      Also using loud white noise? Not running in when she wakes up? Giving her a little time to see what happens? I’m also wondering if nursing right prior is the issue – what happens if you don’t nurse JUST prior to naps?

      It’s a tricky age. THey’re not quite newborns, they’re generally having a huge sleep regression, so the answer may simply be, “Wait 2 weeks, try again.”

      Good luck!

  115. Your blog makes me chuckle. It is great to find someone who admits that maybe the baby sleep books dontwork for all babies.
    I have a question and am hoping Alexis you or yourwise fans can help.
    4.5 month old cannot be swaddled (just call him Flipper) and needs rocking and holding to sleep (bad nipple addiction which we are in the midst of breaking…) If he is held for long enough and we try enough times and the wind blows in the right direction and no spiders pass gas near him he can sleep in his crib at night and for naps. The battle is getting him in there. Itried the swing (yes just a few times) and he screamed and screamed.
    If he naps in the swing or bouncy seat it can be short but in the crib it can be for Upto 3 hours. *cue happy dance *
    Do we aim for the crib or the swing given both involve screaming.
    2) if the swing then do we swaddled again or give him his hands to suck on.
    3) is this the stop for cryitoutsville ( we’re trying at night and it is breaking my heart).

    Our typical day involves several nap attempts that are not on me, maybe one short one will be achieved if down asleep. I have one chronically overtired baby.

    • So if the wind blows from the north and the blue jay is sitting on the tree branch outside your window and you quietly hum Ava Maria you can get him to take a 3 hour nap in the crib. And the problem is???

      So if I understand, you rock and hold and nurse to sleep and getting him to FALL asleep takes a long time, but once you GET him asleep he’s taking mammoth naps (yes 3 hours is mammoth at 4 months). And he’s taking 3 hour naps unswaddled.

      I love swaddles so almost unanimously my advice is – put him back in a swaddle. However if he’s taking these mammoth naps unswaddled then probably it’s not a big deal.

      I think you have 2 potential exits before the road dead-ends at cryitoutsville.

      1) What happens if you do the huge rocking, cuddle to sleep thing, put him IN the crib, then wake him up a little bit. I think I might go down that route. More on this technique as soon as I get my Karp videos posted but you can watch up on it here:

      2) If you want to try the swing you keep on with your huge rocking to sleep bit and THEN put him into the swing (asleep). Get him USED to sleeping in there before you move on to putting him AWAKE in the swing. If you go the swing route I would probably go back to swaddling because it never hurts. This would be a nap strategy – usually at this age most kids are happy in the crib at night.

      So I would start at option #1, see what happens and if you’re feeling frustrated, consider #2.

      ps. I don’t allow farting spiders at my house. Sure we live in the country with many MANY spiders. But farting spiders are quickly shown the door.

      • The blue Jay….. THAT’S what I am missing!!!!! 😉 Thanks for the reply. You are right. Three hours unswaddled. (Of which i spend three hours doinga play by play recollection to figure out what worked). I weaned him once he could roll both directions which he does all the time (and clunks his head in the process).

        He seems to have a mom radar which beeps as noone as my grip is releasing on him. Its like he KNOWS. :/ We have tried holding for 10, 20, 45, 90 minutes to ensure asleep… and then he goes miraculously to being as limp as the vegetables in my salad drawer to surprisingly active. And mad. Getting him in the swing or crib can be successful but only after trying and trying and trying and then throwing some begging in there. I have just tried today’s nap and each attempt at laying him down was an epic fail met with a pouty face and tears (you decide whose). So I have sat here for over two hours just holding him… and not making dinner. -hence sad limp vegetables.

        So option one of waking him is kind of done for us often. And hr is having none of it. I even tried daytime cosleeping for naps and that darn mom-dar went off to alert him I was contemplating moving…. I also tried then calming him with stroking his hair while he flailed his arms, turned beet red, and wailed with those big fat guilt inducing tears….

        We endured wonder week 19 (he is now 21 weeks according to during date)… I’m beginning to think that I will still be sat in this chair holding him when he is 7…

  116. Hi there – Alexis, I love your site. It makes me feel a little human and I am soooo tired (as many are) I don’t feel too human most days. I have a 4 month old, to the day. For the past few weeks I’ve been working to get him to nap anywhere but on me, using your site, and especially using the 2-hour interval thing. We managed some decent naps in the swing (always nursing to sleep.) And at night…well….he mainly sleeps in the little rock-a-bye cot thingy. And the most he’s ever gone is 5 hours. And that has happened twice. I’ve tried him in the swing, and it is the same. We had a few decent nights (ie, waking 2-3 times to nurse to sleep) and then are spiraling down into the abyss again…waking almost every hour at night, and napping is not happening any more. Like, I cannot get him to sleep for more than 10 minutes in the swing. Could this be the 4-month regression? We were never doing so great, so not sure how much we can actually regress…But anywho. I was feeling like I would survive this, but now it seems we are headed back to even worse sleep. My husband wants to let him CIO, but I am not on board for that. Yet. Any advice would be soooooooooooooo appreciated. Thanks for all you do!

  117. Oh – and forgot to mention that I always swaddle him (he spends the day swaddled practically since all I am doing is trying to get him to nap!!) and always at night too. Using white noise also. The little bugger can wake up through anything!!

  118. Hi Alexis,
    I love your site and it has given me so much hope in the past couple of months, but at this point I feel like I need to fulfill my fantasy of 2+ months of legitimately asking you for help, as opposed to just trying to do everything your posts recommend. Literally, everything (I think… unless I missed a post or maybe am not realizing I’m screwing up). Long story short: 4.5 month movement junkie who might just be a swing hating baby (I refuse to believe this and am hoping you will second that). 30-45 min naps, up every 45min-1.5 hrs at night but feedings only at 11:30p, 3a, and sometimes 6a, wake time between 45 min-1.25hr during the day and we’re up to nap/bed as soon as he looks glazed, yawns or sucks his thumb. Bedtime routine: boob, diaper/pjs, massage with song, swaddle, loud white noise, black out blinds (with night light), swing, SCREAM, despite the jiggling, singing, shushing, varsity techniques. Nap routine is the same, except optional feed and diaper (feeding and nap schedules don’t gel because of the screwy napping, but I make sure he hasn’t gone more than 2 hours without feeding before I put him down for a nap since he usually eats at 3+ hr intervals), and shorter massage and different song than bedtime. I feel like I’m slathering on the soothing, I cut out the paci (my left pinky) cold turkey DURING the 4mo regression (that came at 3.5mo, so I figured it was the no-paci that he hated, but it was the regression in hindsight, because suddenly he was fine with no paci) and I’ve been using the swing for naps and night for 9 days. The first few days I rocked him to sleep, then put him in the swing and was able to then put him in awake with success for a day where he caught up on sleep (naps of 2hr, 1.5hr, 1hr, then 45min, before a relatively calm night of sleep), but since then it’s gone to hell again with the exceptional long nap to catch up for all the crappy ones. I’ve jiggled etc for 45 minutes a few times and he continues to scream with a few moments of respite mixed in, so I’ve eventually broken down, taken him out and he will immediately calm down, even fall asleep on me like it was before when I was stuck bouncing for hours on end. Yesterday was the worst because he not only screamed for 45 minutes for a “nap” and when I took him out was fully awake and calm (so we skipped that nap, really long wake time, ugh) and he did the same thing at bedtime too, getting 2 hours less sleep that usual. HELP! This almost feels like CIO but without the progress :( I actually DO live near you, so I’m very tempted to invite you for tea, crumpets, and swing-goddess advice, but then I remember that you have a life now that your babies sleep!

  119. Hi Alexis,

    A friend just pointed me to your site because we are having difficulty with our 7 month old (6 months adjusted age) waking every 45-90 minutes overnight. We have not taught him how to fall asleep on his own, so we are probably “headed to cry-it-outsville”, as you put it. But we thought we would give the swing a try as a last ditch effort. Unfortunately, he screams when we put him in the swing as well.
    We haven’t swaddled since mid-January, which I realize now was probably too soon to stop. But since he has been without it so long, and he is rolling over, I figure it wouldn’t make sense to go back to that. He gets very upset at the final stages of his bedtime routine (pjs, white noise, etc.) So I know he has anticipatory anxiety about bedtime.
    I could go on with more details and questions, but my main concern – if the screaming continues in the swing – is whether we should just move directly to the crib?

  120. Hi

    My 6 month swaddled and pacifier loving non sleeper wakes every hour or more at night :( He is happier cosleeping but still wakes just as often and I can’t get comfortable. He naps very well durig the day in his pushchair (not pram). It is reclined but not completely flat. He has reflux and I’m wondering if this along with the snug feeling (he’s not swaddled in the pushchair) helps him to sleep….and he is pushed (rocked) to sleep. Do you think it would be ok to see if he will sleep overnight in the pushchair? Or would that be bad for his back or something. And also be just another bad habit to break! Any advice much appreciated!

  121. I am a new parent to a beautiful baby boy who is 10 days old. So far, he is a very good sleeper and will only wake up when he is hungry – usually between 2-4 hours. However, we have him sleeping in a few different places. He naps in his swing during the day or in his crib. I use white noise when he is in his crib and a white noise that is built into the swing. He tends to sleep better during the day and is seemingly harder to get put down at night. Should I be putting him down in the same place (either specifically only the swing or only the crib)so that his daytime naps and his nighttime naps are the same?

  122. We had great success using a swing in the early days of our baby sons life. However, when it was time for him to sleep in the cot we used the “vibrating-baby-sleeper” which generates vibrations throughout the mattress as well as creating white noise.

  123. The swing has saved us! In fact, our twin girls loved it so much we had to buy a second one so the y could both swing at the same time! It calms them so much and does help them nap. They will actually sleep together in their crib after their 12:30 am feeding until the morning but almost all naps are in the swings and if they can’t get to sleep after eating at 9:30pm they get in the swings. We followed all of the directions – swaddle, white noise (radio static or the vacuum cleaner sound) – set the swing to its highest level nd our 9 week old girls are so happy! I can’t believe we dint get the swings earlier!!!

    • Ok, so brief update on the swings. Is it possible the girls only like one of the swings? The second swing we have is not the same brand and swings a bit differently and sometimes the girls fuss when they get into that swing. On the other hand, when they get into the first swing they are super happy and never cry or fuss. The second swing was one I bought used for $25 so it’s not a huge loss, but I’m just wondering if it’s possible they just like one over the other…

  124. My baby is already sleeping in the crib, but wakes up every 1-3 hours. When I put her to sleep swaddled in the swing, she’ll sleep 7-9 hours straight (e.g. 7:00-3:00) then not making up until morning (6 or 7).

    She takes maybe 1/4 of her naps in her crib, too, but most in the swing!

    Would you say that its worth switching over to the swing permanently for now (she’s just over 2 months), to get her used to sleeping longer (i normally try putting her in the crib first, until she fusses).

  125. Hi Alexis!
    We got a new swing that seems to be working out, but there are still some night time issues…. My little guy will be 4 months next week.

    Naps generally last anywhere from 30-45 minutes, I might get lucky and squeeze 55 minutes out of him. Yesterday was the first full day with the swing. He fell asleep completely on his own for every nap, and for bed time, using the highest level speed, vibration and the classical music (plus white noise machine- is that over kill? Lol). Today, not so lucky. First nap in his swing he cried as soon as I left the room. I also have a 2 year old I had to tend to, by the time I was done and was going to see the little guy, he had fallen asleep. Less than 5 minutes. Second nap, again with the crying. I let him go for 2-3 minutes but he escalated to a higher level. Went in, hid behind the swing, shushed and pat his belly, out in less than a minute.

    Nights he usually sleeps 4-6 hours, but then he’s up every hour – hour and a half after that! What can I do for this! His bed time is generally around 8, depending on when he wakes up from his last afternoon nap.

    To note: we swaddle, use the swing, white noise, soothing music (only for naps- and he sleeps the 4-6 with out the noise on the whole time) and he doesn’t take a pacifier (he would rather use me as a paci and I really try not to let that happen).

    • Also, the long sleep chunk followed by hourly wakings has been going on for some time now. I don’t believe it is swing related. We quit the swaddle due to rolling in the crib, and not breaking out of the swaddle! Started off alright, about a week into it we couldnt lay him in his crib anymore or he’d cry on impact. Bought a new swing, started the swaddle again, naps and chunk have returned to his normal pattern (30-45 min naps, 4-6 hr chunk at bed time)….

      I got lucky night before lastand had the first real good night in the history of this baby. 6 hours, nurse, 3 hours, nurse, 2 hours, up.

  126. Hi, I would like to ask u about what swing should I get for my 8 month old son? He do not like his crib and he wakes up every 1-2 hours/night. We have swing but he’s legs are hanging.. He is a little tall and he is 25 lbs. The swing slow down because he is a little too heavy on the swing. He sleeps a little longer on the swing compare to a crib. I keep on searching but I could not find a swing that fits my son (he is 24″long). Please help what and where can I buy a swing for my 8m old son. Thank you!!!

    • Hey Julia,
      The biggest swing around is the Graco which goes up to 30 lbs and has a very powerful motor. No swings have a height limit so his length isn’t an issue – it’s the weight. He’s technically outgrown anything made by Fisher Price so if you’re really committed to a swing, you would need a Graco.

      That being said, I’m not sure if you need one. Why is he waking up 1-2X a night? I’m not sure. But generally at 8 months babies are fine in cribs unless they have a medical complication. I’m guessing the night waking is about other issues – sleep associations, night feeding habits, etc.

      I can tell you’re scared that things will crumble to pieces in a crib but I think it’s worth a go. Commit to a week. See what happens. Diagnose the root issue. It’s scary but you can totally do this. Honestly!

  127. Hi Alexis,

    I’m loving your website! So helpful and informative though I never thought I’d need it since up until a couple of weeks ago, my little girl who is 3 months and one week slept like an angel. She would go to bed at 7 pm or so and not wake up until 3 am or so for her first feeding. Then she would sleep again until 6 am, breastfeed again and then sleep until 8 am and then we’d get up. I was then making sure she always slept with 90 minutes all day. It was great and I thought I had gotten lucky!

    Unfortunately, now she is really tough to try to get to sleep at night! I’m really trying to stay on top of her naps, but she continues to fight bedtime. I usually nurse her then either rock or bounce her until mostly asleep, then put her to bed, all while swaddled. She just keeps waking up and the process repeats, sometimes taking a couple of hours or more. Then she wakes almost every two hours. I just breastfeed her and put her back down and she sleeps (no crying). She sleeps in a small crib in our room at night and naps during the day in her big crib in her own room.

    Anyway, I thought I would try using the swing as suggested to teach her how to fall asleep by herself, but my question is: is it weird to put her to sleep all night in a moving swing when she normally sleeps well enough -after the initial fight – motionless? According to weissbluth, motionless sleep is the best. Especially since I’ve never used a swing until now. Is there a way to use the swing until she sleeps and then transfer her to her bed? Also is it bad that she sleeps in our room at night, but naps in her own room? She also used to nap 2 hours or more and now only an hour.

    Anyway, I feel like a human pacifier and both my and my husbands backs are killing us from bouncing on the yoga ball. I also don’t like the idea of CIO at only 3 months, so I’m really hoping your swing solution works for us.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond!


  128. Hi Alexis,

    I’m loving your website! So helpful and informative though I never thought I’d need it since up until a couple of weeks ago, my little girl who is 3 months and one week slept like an angel. She would go to bed at 7 pm or so and not wake up until 3 am or so for her first feeding. Then she would sleep again until 6 am, breastfeed again and then sleep until 8 am and then we’d get up. I was then making sure she always slept with 90 minutes all day. It was great and I thought I had gotten lucky!

    Unfortunately, now she is really tough to try to get to sleep at night! I’m really trying to stay on top of her naps, but she continues to fight bedtime. I usually nurse her then either rock or bounce her until mostly asleep, then put her to bed, all while swaddled. She just keeps waking up and the process repeats, sometimes taking a couple of hours or more. Then she wakes almost every two hours. I just breastfeed her and put her back down and she sleeps (no crying). She sleeps in a small crib in our room at night and naps during the day in her big crib in her own room.

    Anyway, I thought I would try using the swing as suggested to teach her how to fall asleep by herself, but my question is: is it weird to put her to sleep all night in a moving swing when she normally sleeps well enough -after the initial fight – motionless? According to weissbluth, motionless sleep is the best. Especially since I’ve never used a swing until now. Is there a way to use the swing until she sleeps and then transfer her to her bed? Also is it bad that she sleeps in our room at night, but naps in her own room? She also used to nap 2 hours or more and now only an hour.

    Anyway, I feel like a human pacifier and both my and my husbands backs are killing us from bouncing on the yoga ball. I also don’t like the idea of CIO at only 3 months, so I’m really hoping your swing solution works for us.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond!


  129. Hi, I just found your website today and found your advice on using a swing to get baby to sleep. I have a 10 day old baby boy who I am having a terrible time getting him to nap and I have two older boys to take care of some I am very intrigued by the idea of putting him in the swing and walking away. Right now I keep his wake times short — 45 minutes but then when I go to sooth him asleep it takes another 45 minutes before he will fall asleep and I can lay him down. So today I brought out our swing, which is the Fischer price type you recommend and put him in it wide awake. I swaddled and put him in the swing (moving side to side) on high and it still took him forever to fall asleep (50+ minutes) and there was a lot of fussing. Is this going to get better with time? Am I forcing the impossible? I need time back in the day to be with my older boys as they are feeling severely neglected. Any advice is appreciated.

    • 1) Try front to back vs. side to side
      2) He’s 10 days old! For now, forget putting him in there awake. Put him to sleep first (try nursing or what seems to work for you) and then put him ASLEEP into the swing.

      “Put down awake” is a worthy goal and the swing is a powerful tool. But for now your goal is to help your baby not cry, get sleep, and fit into the new enlarged family unit. So help baby sleep and then give baby lots of soothing so he stays asleep.

      Also don’t sweat carving out time for the older boys. I get the guilt – it’s hard. Your family is adjusting on all fronts and you MISS your little guys. But you’ve done this before so think back to last time – it sucks for a while but then you find there is room for everybody in there :)

      • Thanks for your quick response Alexis! When can I expect my son to be able to put himself to sleep in the swing? Just curious as to what your experience has been.

        I will work on putting him in the swing after he falls asleep for now.

        • Hi again, so I have been putting my lo in the swing after he falls asleep but he doesn’t want to stay asleep. He will wake up about 20 minutes later. Does that mean he doesn’t like the motion?

  130. Unfortunately I had to pull him out if the swing because he started screaming so I never got him to fall asleep in it. I guess I will try again during next nap. Again any suggestions for getting him to nap in the swing is appreciated as I want to spend the time while he in napping with my older boys and I only have a few more days to figure it out before my help (parents) go back home.

  131. Hello Alexis! Thank you so much for your reasonable advice and seeing the humor in childrearing:)
    My son is 2.5 months old and we are working on trying to put him to sleep in his swing drowsy but awake. I do my best to make sure he doesn’t get over tired and use the “varsity method” every time I put him to bed. But my question is there are days when no matter how much shooshing and head jiggling I do he will fuss and then cry and then scream. By the that time he’s probably overtired and then I end up nursing him to sleep. What am I doing wrong? He’s crying so much his paci doesn’t stay in his mouth, but the room is dark, the white noise is loud and his swaddle is tight.
    Should I pick him up when he cries or just let him cry in the swing? When I do pick him up the only thing that stops his crying is nursing anyway- rocking, patting and shooshing used to work but is becoming less effective (I.e. two hours of this to get him to sleep.) please help! I have no idea what to do.
    Thank you!!

  132. Hi, Alexis,
    I was wondering if you had some advice for me. I am attempting to find a sleeping spot in my small apartment. I currently have 3 month old baby’s snuggabunny swing in our family room. I like to have it there for when he is awake and he can entertain himself sometimes by watching the ceiling fan, etc. If I move the swing to my room or his nursery and only use it for sleep, where will I put him when he is awake? Maybe it’s silly to ask and it would be better for all parties involved if I just used the swing for sleep time.

    He currently has the habit of nursing to sleep, so I’m trying to figure out how to change thwt , too. I’m afraid if he moves to the nursery I’ll just end up sitting up all night in that room.

  133. Question. I’ve been using the swing technique now for 2 weeks and it still seems I have to use the jiggle technique every night. Especially after the middle of the night 2 am and 5 am feeds. When do you think or how long does it normally take for one to be able to drop the jiggle?

  134. Question. I have been using the swing technique on my 4 month old for 2 weeks now and it seems I am having to use the jiggle technique every night especially after the middle of the night 2 and 5am feedings. Works great. Only question is, how long should it take for him to not require the jiggle anymore? He sleeps well until about 3 am then he is up every hour or so….

  135. Hi!

    My son sleeps great at night but a horrible 40 minute napper. He will sleep a 6hr stretch then wake up every 2-3 after that. Sometimes he will sleep for 7 or 8. The last 2 nights he has only woken up once! He is 12 weeks old and will be 3 months on August 17th. Right now he needs bounced to sleep. We then sit and rock/hold him for all naps (gasp) and hold him through the first sleep cycle at night.

    He has pretty significant reflux requiring two medications, and sleeping on his tummy with an apnea monitor. When I lay him down for naps in his crib he wakes within 1 minute and sometimes I am able to get him back to sleep and other times I can’t. If I hold him for about 30minutes he will last 8-10 min in the crib. Which makes sense bc he only naps for 40minutes. Sometimes I can get him to nap for two hours in my arms If I pat/rock/bounce him through a sleep transition into the next cycle. This only works if I’m holding him. I am about to start the swing sleep training so he can learn to fall asleep on his own. But what do I do at night? I don’t want to cause him to lose his ability to sleep in his crib (in his own room).

    Thank you in advance!

  136. Hi Alexis & other readers:

    My wife and I have a 2-week old, our first, and we are struggling with getting her to sleep without us holding her. She does well if we hold her, especially during the day, and she will sleep for 2 hours at a time until the next feeding. But as soon as we put her down — anywhere: crib, bassinet, swing — she starts fussing. We have been trying the varsity swing method but she wont stay asleep more than 20-30 minutes before waking and getting fussy. Do you guys think she is just too little to expect more, or are we doing something wrong? This blog and the happiest baby on the block DVD are helpful, but just makes us feel worse because we do these things and don’t get the happy results everyone reports. Advice from anyone is appreciated!

    • Hi Mike,
      Even in the swing my daughter never slept through more than one sleep cycle for naps until she was 3.5 months old (being held she could sleep longer). I suspect many babies go through a napping on parents phase. I would suggest that you keep trying varsity swing with the first nap of the day and do whatever it takes for the rest. One day our daughter just slept longer in the swing. We also went through a phase where to get her to sleep a long chunk at night she had to be physically on or near us for the first 3 hrs, then we could put her down and she would keep sleeping. Using a newborn carrier like the Moby (or Baby bjorn w the adapter) saved us because we could carry her through her naps and be hands free otherwise. When she would stir as if she was going to wake up, I would do squats and lunges to soothe her through her sleep transition. Good luck! Also, just saw a onesie that said Vino Bambino: superb now and just gets better with age – its so true! So hang in there.

  137. Hi, I’m really struggling. My son is 8 weeks old and is a terrible sleeper. He is either breastfeeding or crying and will only fall asleep for 5 minutes at a time. I’ve tried everything I have found and nothing has been successful. I know he is terribly overtired but I just can’t seem to get him to sleep, rocking, shushing, swing, vibrating seat etc. pat/shush worked once (way too labour intensive, I have a 2 year old as well!) he is super noise sensitive, jumps at everything. Occasionally he will fall asleep on me while I’m breastfeeding but wakes as soon as he is put down whether in swing/Moses basket/crib etc. we are only getting through each day by co sleeping, he sleeps next to me but wakes every 2 hours at least. I’m so exhausted and starting to be resentful of my friends with their perfect sleeping babies. I just don’t know what to do any more. I thoughts first baby was difficult until I had him!

    • I would swaddle him and nurse him IN a dark room with loud white noise (2 YO can quietly enjoy Thomas the Tank for a little bit right?). Once he’s asleep on boob I would move him to the swing and possibly offer him a paci. Forget pat/shush right now – or any other “put down awake” technique. It sounds like you have enough challenges getting him to sleep AT ALL so you need to tackle sleep first and “put down awake” second.

      Lastly? If you’re REALLY struggling, have you considered food sensitivity? Dairy is a common issue – about 10% of babies have a hard time with it. It may be time to cut out dairy and soy for a week and see if that helps cut down on the crying.

      • Thanks for the quick reply, I have tried that but he was awake before I’d even left the room and was screaming. I thought about food intolerances but wouldn’t that show in other ways (spitting up a lot?!) I LOVE milk/chocolate/cheese/all dairy almost more than I love sleep so it would be a really big thing for me to give up, in fact I think I could give up breastfeeding easier!! My husband is around to help me quite often with 2 year old but he feels pretty helpless with 8 week old as do I. Not sure if hot weather not helping him as he must be quite hot in the swaddle wrap!
        Thanks again for reply, helps just to get it out!!

        • “I thought about food intolerances but wouldn’t that show in other ways (spitting up a lot?!)”

          Not necessarily. Sometimes there is obvious blood in the stool but it’s not a reliable indicator. If you really love cheese more than sleep then game on. But anytime you have a really intense baby with no clear reason the #1 piece of advice I have for ANYBODY is to cut the dairy and soy for 1-2 weeks. Usually the change is obvious and dramatic.

          PS. I don’t normally respond this promptly. I’m just supposed to be writing and am jumping on excuses to blow it off 😉

  138. Hello,

    being a new mum (lo in 3 months) i’m thriving on all your topics and am wishing that i had stumbled on this enormous resource ages ago!

    My baby naps only for 45 minutes to 1 hour . Typically has 4-5 naps each day. i struggle to make sure she has 4 hours (min) of nap time during the day. At evening she settles down by 7pm. Nighttime wakings are usually as follows: 11pm; 2am; 4 or 5am (i’m not going to fight the 5 am feed as you suggest).

    (Where’s her questions??!! you ask ?)here it is:
    1) Will i benefit from buying her a swing even though shes already 3 months? will her naps/nighttime wakings improve?

    2) Do you have a personal favourite swing that you could recommend?



  139. Hi Alexis,

    Love your site! Very informative!

    I have a question about my 4 month old and getting her to fall asleep. She sleeps great at night. We usually put her down between 7 and 8pm and she will sleep until 6 or 7am getting up once, maybe twice to eat. I’m happy with the way her night sleeping is going. However, her naps are terrible and the main issue we are facing is getting her to fall asleep on her own.

    For naps, if she is nursed to sleep and sleeps on me she can go 2 hours. But the second I move her she wakes up and cries. I’ve tried putting her down drowsy but awake, yet she wakes up and cries but doesn’t settle. Same thing happens when we put her to sleep at night. She has to either be rocked or nursed to sleep. If she is put down and doesn’t wake up she will sleep 45 minutes max. A note about her temperament: she is a sensitive baby, I tried to put her down in her crib drowsy but awake once hoping she would fall asleep. I went and took a shower. When I got out she was freaking out crying with huge alligator tears. She gets herself really worked up so I don’t think letting her “fuss” a little works because her fussing turns into hard crying.

    My question is this: are there any other ways to teach a baby to fall asleep on their own without using CIO or the swing? I’ve tried the swing and she really doesn’t like it (I use white noise and jiggle her head. I don’t swaddle anymore because she can roll over. Every morning I find her sleeping on her stomach in her crib). She also is doing great at night sleeping so I don’t want to rock the boat with putting a swing into the mix. So are there any other ways to teach a baby to fall asleep on their own? OR any advice?


  140. Hi Alexis,

    Writing from Australia here, my partner and I have a 5 week old little girl and have decided to try out our swing as suggested above.

    First night just started and we’ve placed her in the swing about 15 minutes after feeding and she was quite calm. We jiggled the sing for a few minutes before seeing the eyes closing just a little a put the swing on full speed (side to side).

    We’ve been in every 3 or so minutes for the first 10 minutes and have had regular crying so decided to use her pacifier.

    She’s now been in the swing for 30 minutes. Eyes are closed but every time the pacifier falls out we have more crying until we replace it. Every time we replace it it takes another minute or two for her to latch onto the pacifier and calm down.

    Couple of questions for you:

    How long would you recommend persisting for?
    Would you put the swing on a timer, or keep it running continuously as she sleeps?
    Any other tips, perhaps we’ve gone wrong somewhere?


  141. Thanks for this! My 12 week old falls asleep on her swing fine, but wakes up screaming after 30 minutes on the dot. Sometimes if I cuddle with her in bed, she’ll go back to sleep for another 1.5-3 hours. We were using the pacifier but switched to the swing because she would wake up as soon as it popped out (usually in twenty minutes). She’s also waking up 4-5 times a night, often staying up for 60-120 minutes. I’m keeping awake time to under an hour, and at my wit’s end. I can barely tell the difference between night and day in her last sleep chart!

    What do you recommend we do when she wakes up early? It’s been going on for three weeks and we are soooo tired.

  142. My daughter is just shy of 4mo. old — is it too late to introduce the swing? She definitely likes to move. I bounce to get her drowsy and she’ll last one sleep cycle in her Rock n Play for naps and then insists on being bounced/held for the second half of the nap. (Allowing her to wake after the first 45 minutes is bad news for all involved.) Sadly, and somewhat regrettably, we’ve turned to co-sleeping at night to avoid the bounce routine after every one of her many feedings.
    Did I miss the swing window? Do I need to just continue as is for a few months until she can handle CIO? But if I can do the swing, should I still be assisting her in transitioning to the next sleep cycle or should she A. wake up and deal with short nap syndrome or B. let her CIO? And, just to be clear, we’re talking swings for day and night, right?
    I truly appreciate this site, by the way. It has a refreshingly honest and relatable voice after weeks and months of gimmick-ridden, guilt-driven, “you’ll never reach the unattainable glory of perfect sleep at 8 weeks like I did, but here’s how you can try” blogs. I wish I’d found you sooner. I’d’ve saved myself a lot of stress.

  143. Hi Alexis,
    I really appreciate your website! I want to start the swing technique to teach my LO (5 1/2 months old) to fall asleep on her own.

    Her sleep, in general, is not bad. I put her down each night around 7:30pm. She’ll wake up between 1-3am for a feed (I’ve recently dropped her 10-11pm dream feed), then sleep until 6-7am. She takes 2-3 naps a day, ranging from 30min-2 hours.

    My issue is that to get her to sleep I need to rock and hold her until she’s pretty much asleep before I can put her down. If she fusses/cries when I first put her down, I let her fuss/cry a bit and then I pick her up to soothe again. Usually when I pick her up her eyes are shut and she’s still fussing but I think she’s almost asleep.

    My question –
    1. When I start her on a certain speed for the swing, do I keep it at that speed for the duration of her sleep?
    2. Since she generally sleeps ok right now in her bassinet, is it ok that I turn the swing speed down slower and slower once she’s asleep until it’s not moving? (I guess that’s kind of hard since that means I’ll have to be standing over her or coming in and out of the room during her sleep.)

    It’s like what you said about the put baby in the swing being counter-intuitive but that it’s a means to an end.

  144. Hi, I have a few ques for you. First just want to say that I’ve found your blog extremely helpful. I have a 10 week old baby boy; I started swaddling, using a sound machine, and a swing when he was 4 weeks, and it took us from waking every 2 hrs and waking 5 min after laying him down ( every time!) to sleeping longer stretches, and now often being able to put down awake. I started giving him a dream feed and that made an even bigger difference and he started sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night, he usually gets up once per night and he sleeps a total of 12 hours every routine at night is too feed him, and then when he’s done eating change his diaper and walk him around for like 10 minutes just to give him to a change to let him know what’s coming next and after that I take him into his room and sit down and rock him for a couple minutes with the sound machine on and then I lay him down. he usually goes down pretty easily but occasionally he fusses and whines and if its for a nap I usually end up giving him the pacifier even though I don’t want to. At night I just jiggle the swing and keep going in until I’m able to get him to sleep because I don’t want to use a pacifier at night. the last few nights he has started waking up at night half an hour after I lay him downwhich he didn’t do for the first few weeks but now he’s getting more difficult.I do not jiggle the swing as long as he’s happy even if he’s wide awake only when he fusses. so my question is is jiggling him going to become a problem and I’m going to have a sleep prop that I’m going to have to get rid of or is it okay to do it only when he fusses and he’s starting to cry? and is it a bad thing to use a pacifier for naps but not at night? Usually he will wake up from a nap half an hour into it and I give him the pacifier and he goes back to sleep for another hour and a half so I know he’s tired, and usually I don’t have time to jiggle the swing and get him back to sleep that way.
    when should I start working on transitioning him to his crib? Should I wait another 2 or 3 months and wait until he’s very consistently sleeping through the night and going down awake, or should I wait until he’s usually going down awake and still getting up once per night?should I work on transitioning him to the crib first or transitioning him out of the swaddle first? what is an appropriate amount of crying for a 2 month old? I know I shouldn’t just grab him the moment he starts fussing but how much crying is okay?

  145. Hi, I have a few ques for you. First just want to say that I’ve found your blog extremely helpful. I have a 10 week old baby boy; I started swaddling, using a sound machine, and a swing when he was 4 weeks, and it took us from waking every 2 hrs and waking 5 min after laying him down ( every time!) to sleeping longer stretches, and now often being able to put down awake. I started giving him a dream feed and that made an even bigger difference and he started sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night, he usually gets up once per night and he sleeps a total of 12 hours every routine at night is too feed him, and then when he’s done eating change his diaper and walk him around for like 10 minutes just to give him to a change to let him know what’s coming next and after that I take him into his room and sit down and rock him for a couple minutes with the sound machine on and then I lay him down. he usually goes down pretty easily but occasionally he fusses and whines and if its for a nap I usually end up giving him the pacifier even though I don’t want to. At night I just jiggle the swing and keep going in until I’m able to get him to sleep because I don’t want to use a pacifier at night. the last few nights he has started waking up at night half an hour after I lay him downwhich he didn’t do for the first few weeks but now he’s getting more difficult.I do not jiggle the swing as long as he’s happy even if he’s wide awake only when he fusses. so my question is is jiggling him going to become a problem and I’m going to have a sleep prop that I’m going to have to get rid of or is it okay to do it only when he fusses and he’s starting to cry? and is it a bad thing to use a pacifier for naps but not at night? Usually he will wake up from a nap half an hour into it and I give him the pacifier and he goes back to sleep for another hour and a half so I know he’s tired, and usually I don’t have time to jiggle the swing and get him back to sleep that way.
    when should I start working on transitioning him to his crib? Should I wait another 2 or 3 months and wait until he’s very consistently sleeping through the night and going down awake, or should I wait until he’s usually going down awake and still getting up once per night?should I work on transitioning him to the crib first or transitioning him out of the swaddle first? what is an appropriate amount of crying for a 2 month old? I know I shouldn’t just grab him the moment he starts fussing but how much crying is okay?

  146. I am mom to an 8 week baby boy. This is not our first time at the rodeo- we have a 2 year old daughter- so we were determined to do things differently than last time. With our daughter we followed weisbluth as well as happiest baby. 5’sing our daughter to sleep every time led us straight to cry-it-outsville because we were holding and bouncing her to sleep every time. I’m glad to see in his new book, which wasn’t available at the time, Dr. Karp expands on how to put baby down awake. Anyway, I digress as a sleep-addled mom is wont to do.

    We started putting our son down drowsy but awake in his crib or bassinet from the beginning and had a lot of success- for those first super sleepy weeks. When that stopped working, as we guessed it might (when he became more aware) we started putting him down awake in the swing (pats self on back, we thought of this before we found your site) thinking that might still avoid CIO, our ultimate goal (in addition to awesome sleep of course).

    However, the swing seems to have stopped working. This is typical scenario for nap: swaddle full dry baby, turn on loud white noise, dim lights, insert binky and hold him for a couple of minutes, put in swing awake, leave room, quiet for 10 to 20 min, presumably asleep or close to it, binky falls out somewhere in there. Wakes up, wait a few min before going in, crying escalates, try to reinsert binky, jiggle swing, everything I can to get him to fall back asleep, crying escalates. Pick him up, rock and hold until he falls back asleep. Put in swing. He either immediately wakes up or does so 20 min later.

    What to do? Is it time to get rid of binky even though he is so young and finds it so soothing?he just cries if we put him in swing awake without binky.

    Nights are usually better. He goes down around 8, wakes up to eat about 1030 (sometimes skips this one), 1am, 4am, 6:30am, up for day around 8. He often goes back down in swing without too much trouble.

    Suggestions, especially for nap issues? By the way, he naps great strapped to me in the carrier and so usually gets at least one pretty good nap that way.

    By the way, he does have milk/soy allergy (blood in diaper) but I have eliminated from my diet and he now has normal poop. He’s not a spitter and not an especially fussy baby.


  147. What is the solution for when the baby wakes up after 5-10 minutes and starts crying (again)?

    She’s been fed and her diaper is clean but she desperately needs a good nap…but is fighting it so bad.
    My shoulder is aching something fierce from jiggling the swing…but sleep doesn’t come easy in the swing and it doesn’t last.

    do you have a suggestion?

    • I find that if I do nothing, my baby will go back to sleep. Even if the nap has been up to 30 minutes, if I just don’t go in, after a few minutes, she will go back to sleep. Sometimes it will take no real crying and sometimes about 15 minutes, but she goes back to sleep, which is great because if I get her up she would be crying anyway from exhaustion.

  148. Hello,
    I have a few questions about the swing.

    My daughter is now 11 weeks old, until she was 7 weeks she was a champion sleeper (3-4 hours at night, 2 hour naps three times a day). When she was 6 weeks old we moved, 3 hour time change and three days of traveling (car and plane = falling alseep in our arms or her carseat).

    At the 7 week mark she stopped going to sleep on her own when I would put her down (awake) in her bassinet, so being unprepared, I started rocking/nursing her to sleep, and waiting 20 mins until she was in a deep sleep to put her down, this worked for 3 days.. then she started waking up every 45 minutes around the clock.. I started napping her in her swing.. perfect! Back to 2 hour naps, but at night in the bassinet still she woke every 45 minutes! :(

    Another 3 nights later and I was at my wits end (and super sleep deprived)… I started putting her in her swing at night, when she was already asleep (mostly I was concerned about her lack of sleep and that she was going to reverse days and nights). So it has been a few weeks of this, and now this is where we are at… I finish bedtime routine at 8 pm and put her to sleep in her swing, 45 minutes later she wakes up and is fussy, goes back to sleep around 11 or 12 and sleeps 4-5 hour stretches (2) and then another 2 hours and wakes up around 930 am.. during the day naps are 45 minutes.

    Ok so these are my questions
    -does she actually need the motion if she didn’t need it for the first 7 weeks?
    -for 2 days I have been putting her in the swing awake, sometimes she does fall asleep on her own, other times she just sits there for hours and does not sleep.. ( she rarely cries, and will stay awake in he bassinet or swing or bouncy seats for HOURS,not crying and not putting herself to sleep) should I continue doing this or just cut the swing cold turkey?

    We have been using the white nose on the swing and I just ordered an actual machine, and I started swaddling her just today (she fights having her arms in, has since night one.. came out with her hands beside her face and liked them there ever since.. but I am trying to convince her to like the swaddle)..

    any advice would be appreciated! TIA

  149. Help! I have an 11 wk old (7 wk adjusted) who won’t sleep anywhere but my arms/breast ALL day. I return to work
    Nov 1. And I work all different shifts including evening nights. I’m panicked! Worried what will happen to her sleep if my sitter and husband can’t get her to sleep. I’ve tried the swing a few days swaddled white noise head jiggling. Have gotten 1 nap a day as short as 30 mins to 1 hr. the next attempt I make at placing her in swing is met with Much resistance and today she wailed for 15-20 mins the rest of the day has been a constant effort of soothing in the bjorn while chasing my toddler around. Wondering does this mean the swing won’t work. I just need some guidance re how often to try how long let her cry. Try all day at once? Please help!!

  150. 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?

  151. Hi,
    Great website!!!
    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?


    • hey I have a 8 week old baby now. and she is almost the same. at night she only wakes up once. she has done 10 hours without waking (maybe she wakes a little but she is in her own room) twice, mostly 8h in a row. she is swaddeled, white noise, swing. But day time naps are 30min to 45min. sometimes during the active sleeps at nap time, she openes her eyes every few min. its not like the paci fell out. I have no idea why she does that. same with me rocking her. she will forcefully wants to wake up. my first child did not do that. It is super weird!. Maybe Alexis has some tips?. I havent made the room dark at day time yet, maybe that is where I am failing..


  152. What I haven’t seen exactly here is what do you do when they pop awake too soon in the swing to get them back to sleep. Jiggle the swing? Take them out to settle them and put them back?

    • Sabrina,

      I tried putting her in a dark room, in mamaroo with white noise on, when she initially wakes up I would crawl up to her, so she would not see me and give her a picifier, she may be quiet for 5 mins with a paci, but then starts crying. Taking her out of the swing and putting her back to sleep does work sometimes, but if hold her in my arms, if i put her back in the swing she wakes up. I was thinking may be try a different swing? Can you recommend a very good swing? :)

      Thank you!!

      • i could’ve written this post about my 5.5-month-old son. any advice?? he used to sleep well in the mamaroo but recently he’s been waking up soon after being put down (barely asleep) in it. all naps are 35 minutes or less, and he’s often overtired. he’s always been notoriously gassy, but i don’t think that’s what’s going on here…

  153. So, I bought the swing today for our 3.5 month old who has never been a good sleeper, but used to give us 3-4 hours at a stretch about a month ago, and the last four weeks have been a return to waking every 30 min to 1 hour hell… He won’t sleep anywhere but in my arms, against my chest. I put him down in the swing this eve for bedtime, drowsy, calm, not fussing, swaddled, with white noise, and left the room. He fussed for a couple minutes then progressed to full blown crying, so I rescued him after 5 or 6 min. Nursed him to sleep and then put him back in only to have him wake up and start crying 30 min later. Should I attempt a daytime nap instead when I’m in the room? Should I keep trying to get him fully conked out and try to strap him in again? He wakes so easily and it’s hard to get him clipped in without stirring him. Would love suggestions! Thank you!

    • Hey Kristin,
      Our 3.5 month old is currently in a similar place with sleep that your son was back when you wrote your comment back in October. Any suggestions for me about what worked eventually with your son (or didn’t work that I should stear clear of)?

      • Hi Amanda –

        Looking back, we must’ve been in the middle of the 4 month sleep regression, so a big part of it was just waiting it out. He spent 6 weeks where he only wanted to sleep on me. :( I think we introduced the swing too late – he never did take to it, so we finally sold it on craigslist. Our little guy had some reflux issues, so getting him on Zantac helped a lot, but he still refuses (at nearly 10 months) to be put down on his back. I don’t know if he still associates that with discomfort, or what, but right around 4 months, we realized he’d let us put him down on his side. It’s not as recommended as being on his back, but it’s better than his tummy. He’s still not a great sleeper (we’re just coming out of the 9 month regression, another doozy), but we’re getting better. He’ll usually do a 5 hour stretch at the beginning of the night, and we’re really trying hard to keep putting him back in his crib all night, but sometimes I’m just too tired! I honestly think so much of it has to do with their temperament, and much less to do with anything we try…so we’ll get there eventually. I’m just not comfortable with CIO… Best of luck to you!

        • Thanks Kristin. That’s all really helpful. We’re in the midst of the 4-month sleep regression, I think, too. Trying hard to balance not creating ‘bad’ habits we’ll have to face once this has passed with keeping our sanity. He woke last night about 10 times. Tonight our coping strategy is to a) go to bed at 7:30pm ourselves and b) tell ourselves that once he’s gone back to sleep, we’ve got *hopefully* a solid 45 minutes to an hour to get some peaceful sleep. Then, cross our fingers he’ll get through this quickly. Again, thanks for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it. And, congratulations on making it to 10 months. :)

  154. Only day 1 of trying the swing with my 4 month old 45 minute napper. He does fall asleep within 10 minutes in the swing after being put in there awake, and so far its after a bit of mild fussing. Was falling asleep within that same time frame for naps previously in the bassinet, but we’re struggling with bed time (can take up to 2 hours) so I was hoping to be able to use the swing technique for bedtime. Used to be easy to put him down until I really started to worry about putting him down awake. Dad was the one to put him down for bed and always rocked him to sleep first because it was easier for him, despite me begging him not to. I finally flipped out, showed him an article on this site, and he apologized that he was doing more harm than good :) Awww. Wish I’d enforced the awake-but-drowsy rule way back. Anyways!

    Today in the swing he’s only napping 30 minutes. So LESS time; not a full sleep cycle. Interesting…? Just a change of scenery for him that we need to ride out? The swing is beside his bassinet where he was napping before. Same old sleep tricks as before too.

    I waited until he’s asleep and then I turned the swing off because I don’t want him dependent on the motion whilst sleeping. From reading this article, I’m supposed to leave the swing on??? I also am trying to put him down for naps before he gets overtired, which I thought was the reason for his 45 min naps in the first place. Now he’s just sleeping less, which can be due to being undertired??! I can’t win! I’ll keep at it for a week. And then I’m going on vacation, which I know I’m going to pay “the iron price” for. Grandma is babysitting and she’ll indulge the crap out of him so I’m not looking forward to the sleep monster she’ll create when I get back.

    Anyone have any advice/stories for a 4 month old 45 minute napper? He is sleeping through the night. 10-11h straight with no feedings except a 11pm dream feed so I guess he’s getting most of the sleep he needs then. And he does wake occasionally, a couple times a week that I notice anyway, which require mother’s intervention — holding the pacifier in his mouth (he can’t keep one in his mouth himself, even for a few mins), shhh/pat, and usually he’s out in a few mins till morning. So maybe he doesn’t have the ability to self-soothe at all which could be the reason for his short naps, or it could be that he just doesn’t need to nap long because he’s sleeping through the night and eating frequently during the day. So confused. Should I even be concerned about his short naps? The reason I AM concerned is that he usually wakes cranky/crying from these shorter naps during the day which apparently isn’t normal for a well-rested baby. And I do try leaving him for several minutes upon waking but he goes from sleeping to freaking out pretty pronto after waking up so there’s zero chance of self-soothing. He’s eating every 2-2.5h hours in the day so that he has enough calories for the 24h period, which I believe helps him sleep through the night. So these short intervals between feedings don’t really allow for much nap time, but at least one hour naps would be my favorite ever. Then at least I could get a short nap in myself! If we’re on a walk in the stroller he’ll sleep more than 45 mins. He might wake, but he puts himself back to sleep easily. I, and his physiotherapist, are against letting him sleep in the car seat longer than a walk or car ride. He’s got mild torticullis.

    He naps 4 times a day usually so the waking up cranky and the wind-down from that is getting tiring for me, and it can’t be fun for him. (At least we can make it up with a full night’s sleep!) He ALWAYS wakes up extremely happy and playful in the morning at 8am so I crave that for the rest of the day. By the later afternoon he’s Mr. Crank Pants and I am counting down the minutes until Daddy gets home to give me a break.

    Today after the 30 min naps he was NOT waking up cranky, or crying. Just a bit of noise, and then hanging wide-eyed till I went to get him. This is new. So less sleep but more of a happy baby. I’m stumped.

    Love the site. The design is pretty pimp too.

    • Wow! Most of this is exactly what I’m going through too. My LO sleeps most of the night, eats every 2-2.5 hours, wakes up happy and each hour brings on more crankiness as the day progresses. We are just starting to experiment with the swing but we rock her to sleep for every nap and bedtime but only bedtime sticks. Naps start at 30 minutes and decrease as the day goes on decreasing her happiness.

      Please let me know if you find something that works…I think we are going to try the swing idea from this site I’m just nervous of changes the nighttime routine and not getting that sleep :)

    • the ‘iron price’ lmao, awesome.

  155. I wanted to ask the collective opinions of other moms about crying in the swing. My son just turned 4 months. We have rocking/bouncing him to sleep the whole time. We used to be able to put him down but now he wakes up immediately. Based off this post we have been trying the swing for 5 days but he cries (not full meltdown but definitely crying) and still does not sleep. I have been picking him up when he cries after attempting about 5 minutes of “shhhing” and then rocking him to sleep and holding him. I spend about 5+ hours a day rocking so he is not overtired.
    My question is ….
    Am I supposed to let him cry in the swing? How long? If 4 months is often thought to be too young to CIO how is crying in the swing different? With each passing day I become more willing to let him cry but don’t want to be inconsistent or not be age appropriate. Any advice would be much appreciated. I have now joined the fellow souls of the 3:00am pleas for help!

    • This is the exact question I would like answered…my son is 5 months old and cries like a maniac in the swing. I have just spent an hour crouched behind the swing where he is swaddled (which we had stopped doing when he started rolling over so it is new) has a pacifier (which he doesn’t normally take so he can’t keep it in his mouth) dark room with darkout curtains, white noise machine inches from his head, my shirt tucked above his head…and jiggling the swing and he is crying hysterically. How is this not crying it out????!?! I thought he was too young for this? And he doesn’t seem to get tired. On a car ride he once cried the entire time between feedings.

      • Booooo. :-( I feel your pain, both of you. We were in exactly this boat in the 4-5 month range. My son is 2 now so my memory is foggy but I can tell you it took a LOT of persistence to finally get my son falling asleep in the swing. Some thoughts based on what you’ve written:
        -There’s a balance here between sticking it out long enough to give it a chance and using your mama intuition to say, “this is just not going to happen, try again next time.” Stick with it longer than 5 minutes, but I think a lot less than an hour. If you are doing full on varsity swinging with the white noise and the jiggling in the dark and the whole shebang, and baby doesn’t fal asleep in say 10-15 minutes, I think you have a seriously overtired baby on your hands. Overtired babies sometimes simply cannot fall asleep. I’d suggest setting some sort of time limit–maybe 15-20 minutes of your very best varsity swing efforts, and if no luck, take him out and rock/nurse/whatever to sleep so you get that nap to happen.

        But MOST CRUCIALLY, you may need to start this swing process earlier than you are. I remember being amazed by how short the first wake time was in the morning. First nap came EARLY, and waiting too long was always a mistake. When we tried earlier, we had better luck.

        You will get through this! Hang in there, don’t give up on the swing until you’ve given it at least a week or even two of fully committed effort. And I promise that one day and one way or another, your little person will learn to fall asleep without your help and it will be magical. :-)

        • I am doing exactly that now. I will try as I just did. at 20 minutes I nursed him to sleep and put him in the swing he woke briefly so I ducked under the swing and he fell back asleep…a nap is a nap, for now. Nightime is a different ballgame but I am trying. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts, it makes a difference as I really was desperately trying to find out if/when/how long he should cry. My friends babies love the swing! Mine never has! He hates the car too, go figure- everyone suggests car ride the minute you say they can’t sleep.

          • HAHA I totally hear you. I remember people saying “oh, just take him out for a drive!” and I was like, “clearly you and my child have not met.” I actually took a picture the first time he fell asleep in the car and posted it on facebook with the caption “Simon does impression of regular baby.” I think he was 9 months old!

          • Hey Karen,
            Our 3.5 month old is currently in a similar place with sleep that your son was back when you wrote your comment back in December. Any suggestions for me about what worked eventually with your son (or didn’t work that I should stear clear of)?

            • Amanda,
              My son does not like motion…He is almost 10 months old and he has only slept in the car and the swing ONE time each, despite numerous tries when he was tired and exhausted. It will be different for you I am sure, but once my guy started rolling over..he ONLY slept on his belly. H still does and now we just put him down on his belly to save time. He didn’t like tummy time so I didn’t think he would be a belly sleeper. He is. Back is best..but back doesn’t work for all babies, I learned the hard way. I tried to force it. Also, I don’t think he liked being strapped into something…he moves around a bit. When he was smaller, I couldn’t recognize sleep cues, or he was just exhausted all the time I don’t know, but once he was 6-7 months old I started to pay CLOSE attention per a new pediatricians instruction and red eyes mean he is TIRED…no eye rubs, no kid is tricky! Red eyes=right asleep following nap or bedtime routine (start one and stick to it- it gets easier and makes more sense later once they recognize it) The key was honestly for me to find the sweet spot of when he is the right amount of tired. too little and it is a fight so I go back downstairs wait 15-45 minutes and start routine again. Too tired and he is just a fussy mess.

          • Thanks for the feedback about what was helpful for you and your son. I’m trying to get as much from others right now as I can in hopes to find out what will end up working best for our little guy. Thanks for taking the time to give me an update!

  156. Hello,

    I wanted to thank you for this blog – its saved my sanity in one night! My 4.5 month old daughter has always been a challenging sleeper, but has loved since day one to be moving (motion junky) and will easily sleep in the swing, carseat, stroller, etc. I’ve been trying unsuccessfully for weeks to transition her to her crib from cosleeping. She naps so well in her swing, but I was reluctant to let her sleep in it all night. A few weeks ago I moved her swing to her nursery so all naps would be in her room with the same white noise. This worked great. However trying to get her to sleep in the night in her crib was pure torture. Yesterday I found your blog, and reading it made me feel comfortable enough to let her sleep in her swing at night for the first time. Guess what – she went from 1hr wake ups from dusk til dawn, to get this – ONE wake up to eat in a 12 hour period. Yep, astounding! We already have been using the swing for naps on the lowest setting and ahe is always put down awake swaddled in the swing and we leave the room – she drifts off by her self 95% off the time. So I think with time it won’t be hard to move from the swing to her crib. Next step is weaning from the swaddle. Anyways – thank you! My family will surely be getting more rest now and I feel this gradual transition is much easier on my daughter and us sleep deprived parents then cold turkey to the crib.

  157. Hi Alexis!

    I love your site and have been trying to apply your swing technique. My problem is, I think I’ve created a jiggle-junkie. He won’t fall asleep in the swing unless I jiggle him first, even if I leave him in there for 20 minutes or more. I can tell he’s trying to sleep – making groaning sounds and rubbing his swaddle on his face (can’t keep him in that well) but he won’t sleep until I jiggle him a bit. The good news is I only have to jiggle him for one round of a lullaby and he’s out. I know the goal of the swing is to have him fall asleep on his own. Any advice?

    Thanks for any response!


    • Hi Michelle,
      I have the same issue with my 3 month old. She will only fall asleep if I giggle her in the swing, as soon as I stop she starts complaining. Any advise for me? Did your son eventually grow out of it or did it become an issue later on?

  158. here’s our scenario… our little man is 3 months old. he sleeps fairly well during the night in his own room in his crib. We rock him to sleep and put him down asleep. he wakes 4 hourly for feeds. sometimes he will stretch up to 6 hours. so all we need to work on for the night is to get him to fall asleep on his own! Yes thats all!

    The day time naps are a complete disaster! He will never sleep more than 10 min if you put him down in his crib but if you hold him your arms he will sleep for hours.

    My thinking is to try the swing for his day time naps, but what would you suggest we do for the night time sleep? I dont really want to move a step backwards there and put him to sleep in the swing if he sleeps ok in his crib. The problem is we rock him to sleep.

    Your advice will really be appreciated!

    • Ok, let me start by saying I am expecting my second baby and I would give my left arm to have this next one sleep as well as yours. Ok, maybe not the WHOLE arm, but definitely several fingers. :-)

      With that off my chest, I think the answer to your question is absolutely nap in the swing. I’m guessing it will work beautifully for you, and it shouldn’t mess up your lovely nights since day and night sleep are totally separate. IF he starts sleeping less well at night (fingers crossed for you that won’t happen) it is likely 4 month sleep regression coming and NOT anything you do or don’t do for naps. In that case you might try the swing at night for a while to get back on track. Good luck to you!

      • P.S. The swing is an excellent gentle transition out of “rock to sleep” so I wouldn’t consider it a step backwards if you start trying that at night. Rather, a step FORWARDS towards falling asleep on his own, which is the ultimate baby sleep holy grail.

        • Ditto. Although honestly at 3 months babies are fairly flexible (I know you don’t think so but honestly you can get away with WAAAAY more with a 3 month old then you can with a 9 month old who is savvy to your sneaky parenting ways). The swing would be great, but if you’re keen to keep him in his crib, what about putting him down drowsy but awake and then jiggling the crib to get him to fall the rest of the way asleep IN his crib. Either are great ideas to work with!

      • Thank you Kate for your advice! This little one is also my second child. The first one is 4 and sleeps from 8 – 8 12 hours non stop but it took us a year to get him to sleep through!!!

        Do you leave him to sleep in the swing chair the whole night?

        • My first is 2 now (and just very recently started sleeping 9 hours at night omg finally). But back in our swing sleeping days, he usually spent the first half of the night in the swing and the second half in bed with me. We worked and worked on reducing the motion to make a smooth crib transition but I think we were too late and we ended up with a sad CIO situation. :-(
          Since yours is already a happy crib sleeper, I think Alexis’s suggestion of working on falling asleep in the crib with some jiggling/patting whatever is a great one!

  159. How is an hour of crying in a swing for a 5 month old different than crying in a crib for crying it out??!?!? Please help me understand. My son cries and cries and I don’t know when to take him out of the swing. It is almost time to have another nap each time and he still hasn’t taken the first one.

    • It is different I think because you’re right there with him. But still, I agree with you that an hour of crying in the swing is way too much for him and you! As I wrote above, try (1) shorter wake time; (2) 10-20 minutes of really committed swing effort. If you hit his sleepy timing right, I predict it will start working for you. But if he’s too overtired, just call it and do what works for you and try again next time. Good luck!

      • I guess I can’t figure out his sleepy time. If I see an indication of tiredness (fussy, yawn are all I ever see no ear/hair tugging or eye rubbing) I am on it in two seconds, and mind you I am with him just about every second minus a couple bathroom trips a day.

        Today he woke at 7:07 and I saw no tiredness but at 8:45 I started the process…at 9:30 I nursed him and put him back in the swing, he finally screamed himself to sleep at 10:18 and woke at 10:53.

        I just started nap 2 at 12:30 he screamed 20 minutes, I nursed him to sleep and put him in the swing- he woke for a second and I ducked under it, and he went to sleep. I am trying!!

        • I do think you are on the right track! I consulted Alexis’s sleep chart on wake times and it says 2 hours for his age but I remember at the time my kid couldn’t do nearly that long, especially for the first wake time of the day and maybe not the second either. So if he’s being tricky and not showing you any sleepy signs, just start experimenting with the clock. Maybe tomorrow start your nap process closer to 8 if he wakes around 7, with the goal that he’s ASLEEP at 8:30 or 8:45. Wake times then get progressively longer through the day. If baby’s not helping you out, watch the clock instead and keep tinkering until you find the magic time when he’ll fall asleep easily, or at least easier!

      • Also- thank you very much LOL I should say that! I appreciate you taking the time!

        • You are very welcome. I remember what you are feeling so well! My second is due in May and I’m optimistic that maybe I know what I’m doing this time, but of course probably this kid will be totally different and I’ll have to start over.

  160. Hi, our LO is almost 6 months old and up until 14 weeks was a great sleeper (could daily go 6 hrs without waking, quick feed and off to bed before waking at about 7) and eater. After then, until today, he’s been waking every few hours during the night- we’ve comforted him, lulled him back to sleepy and put him down- at which point he’s woken up again.

    I’ve been attempting to use this method for a few days now. Nap times are great as it’s extended his sleep from about 30-45 mins to 90-120 mins…

    Bedtime is another story. We have a consistent routing which starts at the same time each day (8pm) and by 8.45, baby is out like a light in the swing. We think ‘woohoo, we’ve done it this time’ but victory is short lived as only 2 hours later , LO is crying for us. We go in, use calm words and pat him and if that doesn’t work, we take him out, calm him down and try again.

    I’d like to know what we’re doing wrong- he’s still waking up a number of times- regardless of whether he’s in the swing or his cot. I don’t want him to negatively associate the swing/cot with sleep. we only attend to his cries when we know that he is properly crying and not whinging, this giving him a chance to settle by himself…


    Thanks in advance!


  161. Alexis, please help! Our 7 month old has been using your swing method very successfully for the past month. That is until we decided to go on vacation out of town over Christmas. At 3 months old he began sleeping 9 hours a night in his crib. Then, prior to starting the swing method, at about 4 1/2 months he quit napping more than 30 minutes to an hour during the day and had to be held the entire time. At night, I was nursing to sleep and then he would only sleep in the crib for anywhere from 5 to about 45 minutes. I would pick him up and he would fall imediately back to sleep. After 20 minutes I would put him back down in the crib and repeat.

    Long story short, at 6 months we found your blog applied EVERY aspect of varisty swing technique and it worked. We started with nap time one day and it stuck. He now takes 2-3 2 hour naps during the day and sleeps from 8-8:30 pm until 6:15-7:15 pm. Or at least he did until last week. While we were away, our brother in law brought their swing from home, which is the same as ours, just for us to use. I brought all the same items he normally has to try to duplicate the experience he has at home as much as possible. The first night there were no issues, each night after became progressively more of a disaster. But he stuck to his nap schedule and California time. He seemed well rested and I put him down as soon as he showed signs of tiredness, but every night he would refuse the swing, arching his back and screaming like the world was ending.

    When we got home 3 nights ago I put him to bed in his swing with all the ecoutremants and he went to sleep with out issue. Naps were great, and so was the second night. But now he is fighting both naps and bed time. Is he simply too old for this method or are we missing something? I’m so lost right now, please help!

    • Christina, did you try weaning him from the swing yet? At this age they are developing so fast that he might be ready for less stimulation at bedtime.

  162. What do you do when your baby wakes up the moment the swing stops? My swing only runs for an hour. Help!

  163. If my almost 7mo sleeps only 40min each nap and is now very attached to nursing to sleep, night feedings and cosleeping – Should I try the swing or is he too old? I need help. I want to try gentle approaches but eventually get him to fall asleep on his own.

  164. My 5months old just slept in the swing after a little complaining…20 minutes complaining, fell asleep then woke up and started crying…I’ve nursed, dressed, buckled her in, turn on the swing, turn on the bathroom fan, turned off the light stepped outside. She’s in our bedroom…where she normally sleeps….now she is making similar cries to what she did when we tried the crib…she was a perfect sleeper in a cradle next to me, put her down drowsy and shush her till she sleeps…suddenly hit a road block while traveling and had to do a lot of rocking and walking…came back and transitioned back to normal…then Christmas hit and we seem to hit a sleep regression…its been a month…I finally bought the swing today…tried the crib…she’s slept in it on her own without fuss a couple of times then she wouldn’t have it anymore…now she is hysterical… I’m not sure if I’m supposed to comfort her or hide?! (swaddling and pacifiers aren’t her thing…it worked briefly as a newborn…)

  165. HI Everyone,

    I wanted to say this website really helped me feel better about my almost 7 month old who sleeps in his swing for naps and at night. He had colic till 4 months and has reflux and allergy to milk. Sleeping was always a challenge, sometimes still can be, but much better with our swing. We have the fisher price Zen Swing and my son LIVES in it! He naps on weekends in it and sleeps all night in it. Laying him down is a nightmare with reflux, the swing is a lifesaver. I am trying not to stress about weaning him to crib, we tried a couple of times but I could here his reflux coming up, waking him and then the screaming began. He is on two medications and they wnat me to take him off at nine months, they think it will be gone by then. That is when I plan on weaning to the crib. I can put him in it awake but sleepy and he will go down without an issue at night. Naps take more effort but once he is down and I can get usually 2 hours. During the week while I am working he is at daycare and the sitter was at her wits end because he won’t nap for her. I suggested the swing in a room away from all the other kids playing and its getting better for her too.

    Wishing everyone good luck with the swing, it has saved my sanity!!!!

    • Hey there! Just curious if you’ve made the transition to crib yet? My lo is 5 months and has reflux as well and I’m dreading the transition. He sleeps so well in the swing. 12-13 hours with 1 feed at 6am. Naps are recent too. But I can’t see him doing that in a crib…

  166. Just wanted to give a little bit of feedback. Our first child was a terrible sleeper – we tried everything, including day stays and week-long stays at sleep training type facilities. Everything, that is, except a swing! Baby number two arrived in December and I was already anxious about whether we’d have another bad sleeper on our hands. Whilst she has been better than #1 she was still waking at night every 1.5-2.5hrs and only catnapping during the day- argh! Almost three weeks ago I stumbled across your site and, although previously resistive to the idea of a swing (because I thought baby would become “reliant” on it), after 48hrs of toying with the idea i sent hubby off to buy us one. You seemed so convinced it would work that you talked me into it! Initially I only used it for day naps, and bub did nap better, so i then trialled it at night. Hurrah! Suddenly I was getting a 4hr stretch out of her followed by three 2-2.5hr stretches :-). Unfortunately, with the improvement of her night sleep, her day naps have reverted to approx. 45min 1-2x daily (plus catnaps), regardless of what I try & do to resettle. So, a big thank you for talking me into the swing! Plus a question: I swaddle & use noise with the swing – should I be hoping/trying for longer stretches at night and during naps at this age? Or is she doing pretty well as is? I never rock/pat to sleep unless resettling, she always is put down slightly awake, evening bedtime is 7.30, and she is EBF. Thanks ever so much in advance. A huge swing convert!!!

    • Hey Swing Convert!

      2-3X feedings at night at ~3 months isn’t bad for an EBF baby. It could be better but you’re definitely in the “normal” range.

      1-2 short naps is not enough for a 3 month old. Meaning if she wakes at 6 AM, takes a tiny nap at 8 AM, then another tiny nap a 11 AM then….you’ve got a huge stretch of time there. So either your baby is awake too long between naps or she has a long stretch of awake time somewhere during the day. But regardless, if her naps are short-ish she should be taking more than 1-2 a day. So I’m wondering if you’ve got an “awake too long” issue on your hands?

      See post below – it might help.

      Good luck swing convert!

      • Thanks for the prompt reply Alexis. I do put nun down for a nap every 90min or so, which fits with her sleep signs, and although I do occasionally get a 90-120min nap from her usually it’s two 45min naps interspersed with some 10-20min naps, regardless of my attempts to resettle. She generally is not grizzly or unsettled, and I will leave her at times to have a bit of a squawk & attempt to resettle herself, but I’m not sure what else (apart from the usual pat, shoosh, etc) to try. Should I try putting her down a but earlier at night & see if more night sleep eases things by day?

  167. Forgot to add that little miss is 11wks old! Thanks again :-)

  168. Alexis…not sure if Ull see this or not but wonder if you can reassure me. I’m on baby #2 and he has reflux. My dd did not and transitioned to the crib at 5 months. My ds is still in the swing at 5 months and I don’t feel he can transition yet. He’s on meds and it’s sort of controlled but I’m still afraid to lay him flat. How long we’re ur kids in the swing at night and naps? I’m getting pressured by my ped and family to transition to crib and I know u say 3-6 months is easiest time. I feel like there is the ticking time bomb hanging over my head…

  169. Holy cow this works!!

    Not that I don’t think you’re awesome Alexis, but tricks like these don’t usually work with my almost 5 month old… But exactly a week ago we tried your swing method and it worked! To prep, we put the swing next to the crib, tilted the baby monitor camera to make sure it’s zoomed on the swing & put Mom’s sweater in the swing. We now put our son in it after nursing (weening off this sleep association is next project) and strap him in. He fusses for a few min 2-5 min and we keep the swing on plus rock it a little extra for head jiggle. Then he just FALLS ASLEEP! He now sleeps longer and soothes himself to sleep. Only wakes 1-2 per night. It’s amazing and such a huge change.

    Thank you!!!

  170. Hey there,

    So I am just looking for a little clarification about using the swing to teach my little man (he will be 18 weeks in a couple days) to sleep on his own. He is a fantastic sleeper at night (generally 6 hours straight with no wake ups!) but napping during the day has always been an issue. He generally naps for 20 minutes – 45 minutes is a long nap for him, and it really happens only rarely, usually if he falls asleep in his car seat or sleeps with me. He also needs a LOT of motion to fall asleep – usually bouncing on a ball for a while, or in our arms. Lately he has been a lot harder to put down – he will often wake up the second we set him down, and need 2-3 bouncing sessions before he actually falls asleep. I am thinking that the short naps and increased difficulty going to sleep are telling me that I have a motion junkie who is in desperate need of learning to self soothe.
    So, my questions for clarification to make sure I am doing this right is this:
    I know you leave the swing on during naps and slowly decrease the speed as tolerated. Do I start the next nap at the newly tolerated speed then? So for example, I had him in the swing and he fell asleep with it at level 6 speed. I was then able to put it down to 5 and he stayed asleep. Do I start the next nap at 5 and keep working down from there so that he is eventually falling asleep in a non-moving swing?
    Also, what would you recommend at bedtime – right now he sleeps most of the night in his crib, is it better to move night sleeps to the swing, or to have him fall asleep in the swing and then move him to the crib once he is out?
    Sorry if these questions seem silly or obvious, and thanks in advance for the help. I am hoping that I might be able to avoid CIO or at the very least feel as though I have done everything I can first.

  171. Alexis,
    Can you tell us more about sleep safety in the swing? In Karp’s book he says the swing needs to be fully reclined and a 45 degree recline is not enough. you mention in a reply here that the swing is good for reflux because it is more upright than being sleeping in a crib. But how upright is safe?? My 7 week old naps like a champ in the swing and not well anywhere else so I want to keep using the swing but I’m worried about her head dropping forward and restricting her air passage. I have the Fisher Price snugabunny and have the seat on the more reclined setting but even that seems like it’s just over 45 degrees reclined. Are there swings that recline more than the snugabunny?? Is it safe to allow a baby to sleep in the snugabunny or any swing that does not recline flat? Thanks much from a worried first time mom!

  172. Hello – I’m new to this site. I don’t know where to post my question but maybe the swing will be our answer. I’ve been looking at a lot of guidance on sleep but so far this site has been most realistic.

    I have an 8 week old boy. I had EBF but now give mostly formula. While BFimg I got into holding my baby to sleep. He would fall asleep nursing but would wake up when I tried to put him in a bassinet in our room. The swaddle seemed to small for him then and he would get free or go per his face. Now he will not sleep unless he is held except in a car seat. I was sleeping holding him in a recliner until a few nights ago now he’ll sleep swaddled next to me in bed. I have a tall mesh cosleeper that I hope to get him into then transition to bassinet in our room them crib. He sleeps for pretty good at night-in chair with me rocking around 8 then to up to bed around 11 when he wakes and eats but then sleeps until 4 when he eats then sleeps again til about 7. During the day I’m tied to the chair holding him while he naps. We have to walk him sway him or rock him. If I put him in anything while asleep he wakes up instantly and cries. The snaps from the swing would wake him. I can’t get him comfortable in slings or carriers either.

    Napping in a swing during the day would be a great way. We returned two nice ones and now have a basic swing. He did sleep in it after being in car seat but woke up after 10 min. Any tips?

    My problem with some of these strategies is that our bedroom is upstairs and we are downstairs most of the time. I don’t feel comfortable leaving him up there by himself and he would really panic if I left him alone when he woke up. This issue affects bedtime routine naps etc.

    I’m very concerned because I start work on Monday and don’t know how we are going to get a routine going or anything done when I’m home.


  173. I’m glad I found this because I was feeling like a bad mom for letting my 3-month-old nap in the swing. Turns out, I’m a good mom! Score! One question, though–what about when you don’t have access to the swing? I’m thinking about family parties and vacations. If I want my baby to be able to nap outside the house, do I just need to wean her from the swing now? Or do you think she’ll adapt and just nap wherever in those situations? I hate to take the swing away if it’s actually helping her learn to self-soothe, but I also don’t want to sabotage my chances of eventually leaving the house for more than 2 hours at a time.

    Also, I have her sleeping in the crib at night. Is it bad to do naps in the swing and sleep in the crib?

  174. When do I actually start using the swing? We’re going home tonight fr thw hospital and can’t wait to try out the swing!:)

  175. Please help! My 3 week old sleeps great from 9pm to 8am – gets a solid 8 hours between feedings and then DOES NOT NAP during the day. At all. We have a great swing. I change her, feed her, swaddle her, stick the pacifier in, turn on the white noise, and say shhhhhhh. After 8 min her eyelids get heavy and I get hopeful. A few minutes later her eyes are more wired than before I put her in and within 20 min she starts screaming. This is after her first daytime feed and she’s been awake 45 min so she isn’t overtired. Please help! She is so cranky by noon that she cries most of the day from 12pm until 9pm! I”m so desperate!

  176. Elise-(me too!) 8 hours at 3 weeks is amazing! My little guy still wakes up 1 time MOTN sometimes and he is 8 months! Congrats on a great sleeper :) I’m sure naps are driving you crazy though. Have you tried Alexis’ Varsity Method? It really worked for my swing hater. Is your crib in a dark room removed from distractions? I originally had ours in our family room where I could keep an eye on him (FTM clearly) we also saw an improvement once I moved it to my son’s nursery. If I were you I would focus on that first nap of the day, I know you said you put your daughter down at 45 minutes but if 20 minutes later she begins crying you now have a baby that has been up for over an hour and could possibly be overtired and throw off your whole day. Do whatever you need to do to get her to sleep at this point: rock, wear, go for a walk etc. 3 weeks old is much to young to worry about bad habits.
    Try putting her in the swing and using the jiggling technique in the article, if the swing alone isn’t doing the job then you may have to step in for a while. We only had to stick with the Varsity method for a week (maybe 2) before we could put him in it and walk away.

  177. Our gorgeous, much-beloved and generally very happy five-month-old still wakes up every 45 minutes unless she is being held (and even then, at times). She’s done this since she was about 2 weeks old. I’ve learned all about sleep associations and the need to teach her to fall asleep on her own, which she doesn’t do yet (I now spend most of my waking hours reading about sleep, ironically…), but it seems like most babies can go at least a couple of hours before they need to be resettled. (I read these comments from parents that go “Help, my baby is waking every two hours!” and think “If only…”.)

    I can cope with the short naps, and the co-sleeping; it’s the evenings that are killing me. She goes to bed around 7, and from then on until we give in and go to bed ourselves, we’re up and down the stairs all evening, soothing her back to sleep. I do try to leave her a few minutes when she wakes to see if she’ll put herself back to sleep, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    Is the ‘waking after every sleep cycle’ thing something she’s likely to grow out of, or is sleep training the only solution? She seems very young to be considering CIO, and though we bought a swing last week (I know, I know we should have got it sooner!) I haven’t managed to get her to fall asleep in it, despite swaddling and white noise, which we’ve been doing since she was born.

    Any advice?!

  178. Hi, would you recommend swinging the baby from side to side or back to front?

  179. My 2 month old has slept in a crib since birth. He falls asleep after some rocking and shushing (sometimes a LOT of it) but when I put him down in the crib he wakes up, flails his legs and arms (even in the swaddle). I have to literally pin down his legs and sometimes jiggle him when hes lying down to get him to sleep. Then he wakes himself up again 5-10 minutes later and keeps that up a few times. During the day is the hardest.

    Today, I put him in the swing for naps. He cried when I put him in but hummed to him and he fell asleep. He definitely sleeps much better in the swing and is not flailing like crazy after 10 minutes. Do you think he has reflux or is just very soothed by the moving motion? Thanks.

  180. I’m writing to say thank you. For the past 2 weeks, my 3 month old has refused to nap anywhere but on me. His nighttime sleep is pretty good, but naps had turned into a nightmare. I was holding him 5 hours a day just so he could get some sleep, which is very stressful on a mom who wants to pee, eat, or see sunshine. I bought the Fisher Price swing you recommended out of desperation, and using all the varsity swing tips (except the jiggling–haven’t needed it), my boy is now napping well in the swing. It took a couple days, but now I can actually “sleep when the baby sleeps” and do things like unload the dishwasher or check my email again. This new freedom has truly changed my life!

    So far, he still falls asleep in my arms and then I can transfer him in the swing. I’ve tried letting him fall asleep in the swing on his own with no luck, watching for sleepy signs and all that. It feels critical to help him learn to fall asleep more independently at this age. Any tips?

  181. Hi,

    We have 12-week old baby. The swing worked great yesterday, but today…not so much. I put her in, arms swaddled, white noise going, 1h15 mins after she woke up from last nap. She was yawning so I figured I was good to go.

    She was content for 3 (glorious!) minutes, after which she started crying. I popped her paci in, hoping for the best. More crying. Tried the varsity technique…paci popped out, baby now screaming bloody murder. I’m looking at the clock, realizing she’s getting overtired and crankier by the minute. Ask my hubby to check if I’m doing it right, he says yes. Baby’s still screaming. I take her out for a “reset” (and check for a burp) and try again. Nope, screaming. I take her out, throw her over my shoulder and pat her back till she’s asleep. which she is now! :)

    Questions: What to do if baby’s overtired? Still try the swing, or comfort her however and try the swing next time ’round?

    Also, she sleeps well in her crib at night (usually!). After nursing, she falls asleep and I put her in her crib and she’s good. The initial “put her to sleep” part is sometimes a challenge though… Anyway, do you suggest the swing overnight too?

    I EBF and I feel as though right after she feeds, she’s awake for 30 seconds and then it’s time for a nap…no time for “play/ tummy time” or anything else. Am I missing something?

    Thanks for the help!


    • At that age, in addition to all the soothing you are giving, I rocked my baby till he was allllmost asleep and then put him in the swing for the varsity technique. I was not able to just swaddle and put him in. I think they need a wind down routine, and we are now at the point where I just rock and sing a few minutes before putting him down in the crib, so there’s a lot of hope there!

      Also I would not worry much about play time at this age, plenty of years for that coming. At that age my son pretty much ate, got carried around while I did chores one handed/visited with people/took care of stuff, ate, and slept, repeat, all day. I enjoyed the sweet simple days, each stage has it’s own joys.

  182. Instead of cutting up a shirt, you can also take off the swing seat cover (assuming it comes off; many do so you can wash them) and then sleep on it for a night or two. That seemed to help get my smell all over it :)

  183. So I t old my pediatrician that my almost 3 month old naps Ina swing and he told me that i should stop that and put her in a crib and let her cry it out otherwise she will never learn to sooth herself back to sleep

    • Hey Milana,

      I’m going to respectfully disagree with your pediatrician. If you use the swing the right way (put them in it awake) then gently weaning off the swing is generally a pretty benign process. As always choosing where your child sleeps is entirely up to you, but if your hesitation is “baby will never learn to soothe herself” then I would suggest that the swing is in fact a great tool to help teach a baby to learn to sleep.

      Good luck!

      • Thanks Alexis. I will continue to use the swing and follow your instructions on how to wean her off. I was just shocked that he objected. I tried the CIO in a crib at 4 month with my 1st daughter and it didn’t work so well for me, she cried for 2 years every time I left her in a crib. Hoping this experience will be better.

  184. I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my exhausted, exasperated, new mom heart, Alexis. Because of this blog post, my five week old daughter has FINALLY started napping throughout the day. I’ve struggled for the past two weeks, at least, with an incredibly irritable, fussy, screaming infant. I knew the issue wasn’t whether or not she could nap for 45+ minutes at a time, it was why she wouldn’t do it for me – during the day, in her bassinet. She was so overtired that she’d scream for hours, driving me and my husband batty because nothing would soothe her. As soon as we’d get her in the ‘sleep zone,’ and we’d put her down in her bassinet, she’d wake up and scream more. I had self-diagnosed her as ‘colicky’ because I didn’t know what more I could do to get her to sleep. When she would nap during the day, it would be for 20-40 minutes (maybe), and only then would we get a couple of naps at most out of her.

    Then, one desperate night a few days ago, I stumbled across your blog while perusing my iPhone with one hand and feeding her the bottle with another. I was semi-skeptical of your swaddle-soother-swing-white noise business, but the next day I was at wits end and tried it. My daughter slept for 3 1/2 hours straight – I was worried that she wouldn’t sleep through the night, so I woke her up at three and a half hours to feed her. As soon as she finished feeding, I noticed her rubbing her eyes and yawning, so I swaddled her back up and plopped her in her swing, and she slept for another hour.

    We haven’t had any issues with her sleeping at night – she’ll sleep happily in her bassinet at night. But last night she slept for five hours straight (for the first time), and putting her to bed after her two daytime naps wasn’t nearly the nightmare that it’s been since she’s been born. As soon as I swaddled her, she was out.

    I have become a swing believer! You’ve given me my days back – I actually have time to nap, or get stuff down around our house. You’ve made me LOVE my daughter, because she’s actually nice to be around when she’s not overexhausted. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Hey Rebecca,
      That is great news – thanks so much for sharing :) Figuring out how to get a newborn to nap is tricky. And generally exhausting. So glad you’ve gotten some time back to recharge your batteries and enjoy spending time with your nugget.

  185. My little one loves the swing, but he is soo cold in the morning. We put him in a onesie and a sleeper and he wakes up cold. It is 72 deg at our place, but the swing is kind of like a backwards fan too. Any suggestions?

  186. Hi Alexis,

    We bought the Fisher Price Snug-A-Puppy Swing 3 weeks ago and they must have made some changes to it because the lower speeds are definitely WAY slower than the faster ones (and level one is barely swinging at all). So that’s good. What’s NOT good is that the swing itself must be on a timer because it shuts off after around 5-6 hrs. I haven’t timed it exactly yet but if I don’t restart before I go to bed I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to a non-moving swing (and sometimes an awake baby). I can’t find anything on their website about this. Have you heard of this possibly new “feature”? I have e-mailed Fisher Price to ask them about it.

  187. Hi Alexis!

    I want to say thank you so much for your site. My five month old has always been a crappy napper, but an incredible night sleeper. She was sleeping from 7:30- ~2:30, nursing and then sleeping again until ~5am every night, and even falling asleep on her own at bedtime! She went from a bedside co-sleeper to her crib in my room at night, and for naps we were doing everything imaginable(except using a swing) to get her enough day sleep…then she turned four months old and the sleep regression hit. It hit really hard.

    Before long my amazing night sleeper was up every 45 minutes, would only sleep in bed with me, dad was on the couch, etc. You know the drill. I studied up, hoping that one night a switch would flip and she would go back to her previous self, but things were getting worse so quickly and it became clear that not only was that not going to happen, baby was now so perpetually overtired that ABSOLUTELY nothing I was doing was going to get her enough sleep. So, ~four weeks in, I bought a swing. I wasn’t against them before, but I didn’t really want to buy one if I didn’t have to. We were making it work.

    It didn’t go well the first few tries(sooo overtired), but we stuck it out. Last night I put her in it at bedtime and let her fuss a little longer than I was comfortable with. Her dad pointed out that she was fussing really hard, but not full on crying really hard. So I waited. After about 45 agonizing minutes she fell asleep. Then she slept her exact sleep pattern from previous to the regression. WHAT?!

    I got more than two consecutive hours of sleep for the first time in days and she woke up so happy! For her first nap today it was the same, ~40 minutes of fussing, but now my crappy napper has been asleep an hour and counting.

    So, at first I was asking myself, how is this not CIO? But after discussing it with my partner, we agreed that a) she isn’t used to the swing and the crying will likely improve, and b) the intensity of the crying now is minimal to what it would be in her crib one or two months from now, and c) WE SLEPT.

    So THANK YOU. Thanks for creating a non-judgmental space for people to seek compassionate AND practical advice that truly helps. I feel like we are on a good path for the first time in four weeks.

    Also, please tell me you’re a Dollhouse fan. I think it’s so underrated.


    • An update:

      She fought the swing quite a bit the second night too, but she had taken only a tiny late nap (grandma was visiting). This morning for her first nap, she squawked for less than three minutes before calming and eventually falling asleep with no crying.

      I am so thrilled by this development. During the sleep regression she became utterly dependent on being nursed to sleep, then that wasn’t even working and I was so helpless.

      If anyone is reading this comment and you are hesitant about picking up a swing, I say TRY IT. The absolute worst thing that could happen is it won’t work for you and you’ll have to resell it. The best thing is that it could really turn things around.

      Thanks again!

  188. Under your great advice I am using the swing for all naps and some nights where my 7 week old has trouble sleeping (he is in a bassinet next to my bed for night time sleep). I always put him down wide awake in the swing and he puts himself to sleep within 10 minutes. I do this because what you say about naps during the day makes for a better night sleep is so true for my son. Which brings me to my question, do you or any mums have some tips for what to do when I’m out of the house and it’s time for a nap? I live in Australia and its coming into summer. Our home gets very hot in the afternoon (no aircon) so we use the local shopping centre (poor mans aircon I call it) plus I like to get out of the house every now and then! Short of walking the shopping centre for 30+ minutes making sure I don’t ever stop I can’t get him to nap long enough! Perhaps I will have to just suck it up until he is older and be thankful I’m getting adequate sleep at night?! Love to hear anyone’s thoughts. Happy sleeping!

  189. Hi Alexis-
    This has been really helpful, thank you! I have an almost 7-week old that totally fights sleep. She does have a touch of reflux, and does not sleep well in the bassinet. She sleeps really well in her car seat, but I know that’s not a long-term option. We’ve tried out the swing for the last 2 days with limited success. I am committed though, but have a question. This morning I put her down after a feed after I noticed signs of sleep. I got her to fall asleep after about 20 minutes. She’ll sleep for 20 minutes, but then wake back up. Do you recommend shushing, jiggling, and trying to get her back to sleep again? Or should I just try at her next nap time, and call it a 20 minute nap?
    Thank you,