Weaning Baby Off the Swing

Weaning Baby Off the Swing

For most babies, the swing is a handy tool to help ease the occasional disruption of teething, growth spurts, and days when naps just aren’t happening. For about 15% of babies, according to Dr. Karp, the baby swing will be a crucial newborn survival tool.

You will know you are the parent of one of these babies because the thought of your baby outgrowing the swing will cause you to break out in flop sweat.

Baby Outgrowing the Swing?

This comes up a lot, so lets pause briefly to consider the reality that your child will NOT outgrow the swing.

The average US baby weighs 7.5 lbs at birth and will hit 21+ lbs by their 1st birthday. Modern Fisher Price swings have a weight limit of up to 25 lbs and Graco swings can handle babies up to 30 lbs. This means that your baby will have outgrown their need to swing far before they need to physically vacate the swing. So you can stop Googling toddler swings because I promise, you won’t need one. Honest.

When Should Baby be Out of the Swing?

Most babies will only need the swing for a short time and will be happily sleeping without motion by the time they are 3-4 months old. Some babies need extra soothing and might be in the swing for as long as 6 months. A very small group of babies (those who have reflux or who are just extra sensitive) may need to stay in the swing until they are 8-10 months old.

There is no obvious litmus test to know that your baby is ready to move into their crib. You simply try to dial down the speed now and then and see where that gets you. If your baby takes a 2 hour nap when the swing is on speed #4 and a 20 minute nap when the swing is on speed #2, then you know it’s not time yet. One day soon you’ll put your baby in a non-moving swing, the door will ring, and while you’re signing for a FedEx package, your baby will fall asleep sans-swinging. And voila!

But just in case FedEx doesn’t come to your house at naptime, you can also wean your little motion-junkie out of the swing the old fashioned way.

The 8 Step Process to Successfully Weaning Your Baby Out of the Swing


Put your baby into the swing AWAKE.

The swing is a powerful tool to help your baby learn to fall asleep without you (bouncing, rocking, feeding, etc.) them to sleep. However if you’re still (bouncing, rocking, feeding, etc.) your baby to sleep and THEN putting them into the swing, you’re not taking advantage of this capability. Yes you’ll be able to slip your already sleeping baby into the crib and feel like a huge success. But that leaves you navigating the treacherous waters of “putting baby down awake” on your own. While this can be done, it’s generally a lot easier with the swing. So take this opportunity to work on “put baby down awake” IN the swing, BEFORE you start weaning OFF the swing.


Give baby lots of great sleep cues.

Ideally your baby is sleeping in the swing with a great wind-down routine, tight swaddle, loud white noise, and possibly a pacifier. Thus when you remove the swing from the equation, you still have 3 other wonderfully soothing sleep cues to work with. If you’re just plunking your sleepy baby in a swing without additional sleep cues, removing the swing leaves you…nothing! Even if your baby is sleeping just fine in the swing without any additional sleep-aids, the swaddle and white noise will be your friends when it’s time to transition to the crib.


Start weaning with bedtime.

Almost all babies transition to the crib more easily at bedtime than they do for naps. Once you’ve mastered crib sleeping at bedtime, move on to the first nap of the day.


Move the swing NEXT to the crib.

For most of you, the swing has been next to your bed. Now it’s time to move it so that it’s next to baby’s bed.


Progressively decrease the speed of the swing.

Continue to put baby in the swing awake. Start decreasing the speed. Note: Despite my love of Fisher Price Baby Swings the only issue is that the difference between the highest and lowest speed is, well, negligible. The bottom line is that you want your baby swinging on the lowest speed possible, with a swaddle and white noise, NEXT to their crib.


Put your awake baby in a non-moving swing.

If it helps, you can manually swing the swing a little bit to help them fall asleep. But you want to do this as little as possible (or minimally decrease the amount of swinging each day). The goal is for your baby to sleep in a motionless swing. Once your baby is falling asleep in a motionless swing…


Put baby in the crib.

I can’t promise you a tear-free transition. Sometimes there is some mild complaints about the change of scenery. But generally it IS mild (<20 minutes on night #1).


Repeat the process for naps.

Note: sometimes swing-loving babies are sleeping happily in their crib LONG before they make the transition to naptime. It’s not at all uncommon to have a 4 month old night-sleeping in the crib but napping in the swing until they are 6 months old. So if the nap transition isn’t happening for you today, take a break. Try again in a week or two. There’s no rush.

Start With Step #1 – put baby in swing awake is the most important step in the process! If you aren’t putting baby in the swing awake you’ll likely find yourself with a baby who takes short naps and wakes frequently at night once you transition to the crib. AND you’ll have to climb Mt. Put-Baby Down-Awake later. Only now you will have removed the swing from your arsenal of powerful soothing tools.

Anybody have any experiences they would like to share? Stories from the trenches?

{Photo Credits: Mike Liu and Mpisti}


  1. What do you suggest for a 6 month old for sleep training.

  2. Alexis – you saved my life!! Your post on sleeping in the swing has been my saving grace with my daughter who has reflux and gas issues. She was waking up every 45 minutes in her cradle at 3 months old and she would sleep in the swing for naps but I was nervous to let her sleep in the swing at night because I didn’t want to go against the recommendations for newborns! I started to put her in the swing for naps and at night (I know you say miracle blankets in the swing don’t work but I’m proof that swaddling with her legs out in the miracle blanket DOES work!). I followed your advice and kept lowering the swing speed every couple of weeks – flash forward 2 months and she now sleeps from 8pm-5am in the non-moving swing! She eats and then goes right back to sleep – sometimes she falls asleep nursing, other times I put her down awake and she falls asleep on her own. Hoping to make the transition to the crib within the next few weeks and then we’ll work on ditching the swaddle but just wanted to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!! I was feeling like a failure for not being able to put my baby to sleep “drowsy but awake”…I was rocking and holding her for 30 minutes before every nap and at bedtime and she was waking up constantly! Now I swaddle her, put her in the swing and she fusses for less than 5 minutes and falls asleep!
    I know you say losing the swaddle should be no big deal but I’m having anxiety over it! Would you recommend transitioning to the crib BEFORE we lose the swaddle or should I get her sleeping in the non moving swing with no swaddle first?

    • Ok – I think we’ve hit the 6 month growth spurt – after a week of great sleep with only one night waking for feeding, she started waking up one more time and needed me to give her the paci or soothe her back to sleep. Then she got a cold and we have had a rough week of fighting naps and multiple night wakings. Last night she woke up at 11:30pm and nothing I did would get her back to sleep. She finally gave up and fell back asleep at 3am once I turned the swing on (she’s been sleeping at night with it off for several weeks) but I’m afraid all the progress we made a few weeks ago is lost! Once she is feeling better I’m planning on trying to make the transition from the nonmoving swing to the crib and I’m hopeful that she will get back on track — any advice? I plan on keeping her in the swaddle in the crib and weaning her out of that next. Any experience with the Merlin sleep suit? I have one and am not sure when to try it (I know it can’t be used in the swing).

  3. Thank you so much for this blog. I was feeling guilty that the only place our 4 month old falls asleep is in her swing or the car seat in the car. I used to be able to nurse her to sleep or rock her to sleep. But, a few weeks ago everything stopped working as she became more curious and alert.

    Your blog helped me to realize that the swing is okay – my husband already had accepted that. The swing used to be in the living room and I would only use it in dire circumstances – such as if she hadn’t napped all day or I had tried rocking her for 20 minutes and she would not fall asleep.

    For the past 3 weeks, the swing has been in her room. At her nap time and bed time I put her in the swing, turn on the hairdryer and shut the door. 90% of the time she falls asleep within 10 minutes. I set a timer for 20 minutes and rarely need it. On a few occasions she starts crying hard so I sit in there with her and then she falls asleep. Sometimes she fusses but only for a few minutes. I’ve realized she only cries and/or fusses when she is overtired so I’m trying to get her in the swing within that 2 hour window.

    Once she falls asleep I turn off the hairdryer and turn on our sound machine. I was turning down the swing speed too, but think I’ll wait to play around with speeds until after the holidays as we’ll have family in town. She’ll need her sleep with all the visitors!

    Our used swing that was gifted to us died 2 days ago. I considered all day whether we should just wean her off the swing or buy a new one. Needless to say I ended up at Walmart at 8:00 pm purchasing a new swing. I felt like a horrible parent. But, she slept like a champ in it for all her naps yesterday – about 5 hours total. And is sleeping soundly right now for her first nap of the day.

    At bed time we are able to use the swing to put her to sleep. Then about ten minutes after she falls asleep I move her to her crib. She’s small – 13 pounds – so this is doable. Once in her crib she sleeps 8-11 hours without waking up. I feel better she’s not sleeping in her swing at night. She moves around a ton at night and I feel she needs this time to move. I hope I am able to continue this night time move. We’ve been doing it for awhile now.

    Thanks again for your blog. I feel like a much better parent. Yesterday I read every single comment on here as she napped. I am so happy to hear that I do not have the only baby who is a motion junkie. I know now she’ll transition to naps in her crib when she is ready!

    • Hi Meghan,
      Do you mind updating your situation? I have a similar situation like you and wonder how you finally (1) transitioned your then 4 month old from the swing to the crib for naptime (and when you did it) and (2) whether moving her from swing to crib after asleep for nightime continued to work (and if so, when / how did she finally sleep in her crib without being put on the swing first). Thank you!

      • Yes! Embrace the swing! It is a magical sleeping device.

        At about 6.5 months we started putting her in her crib at bedtime. Since then, she is a year on Saturday, she has fallen asleep in 5-15 minutes 99% of the time. She continued to sleep through the night as she had since about 5 months.

        Naps took a little bit longer. I probably could’ve lowered the speed faster but I didn’t want to mess up her naps too much. She was out of the swing for naps by 8.5 months. At the same time she transitioned to 2 naps and went through milestones, standing in crib, crawling, etc. so we definitely had some days where naps took 45 minutes but, she napped.

        Around 8.5 months she started to reject the swing too. She’d arch her back when I tried to put her in and moan.

        Just follow baby’s lead and you’ll know when you’re both ready!

        Hope this helps!

  4. Hi Alexis,
    We are currently trying to wean our 19wk old off of swaddle, rocking to sleep, and eventually transition to crib. He’s currently for night time in an automatic rock n play, swaddled, and being rocked to sleep. For naps he is in the swing, not swaddled, and put in sleepy but awake. So, Lastnight we tried the sleep suit, rock n play, lay down sleepy but awake…and it went horribly. He slept for a couple hours initially, but then woke up three times through out the night and cried for an hour each. An hour seemed like forever and once he fell asleep a free an hour but the second time we had to calm him down, the third was at 5am, so we let him cry for an hour then got up for the day and fed him. My question is…what are we doing wrong? Should we do anything different? What do we do tonight when he cries again for an hour???

  5. Also, he has reflux, so trying to ease him into the lying flat position.

  6. My son is now 11 months old (2 weeks til a year) and we are now trying to move him into a crib. I know it sounds horrible. He had really bad acid reflux when he was born and was on two meds until he was 6 months. Plus we moved from Texas to England when he was 6 months old. Then my husband deployed and I couldn’t get him to sleep in the crib. Now that my husband is back we are trying to get him to sleep in it together. We are starting him on the “no swinging” swing. It wasn’t an easy falling asleep, but he has been asleep for almost an hour now.

    We tried getting him to nap all day in the crib but he would just stand and cry. We tried for an hour. He cried for an hour. How can we get him to nap without making it feel like we abandoned him?

  7. At 2 months old , my baby girl has been sleeping in her swings until now (4 months old now). She does not want to sleep on arms or any other method except in her swing . Same goes while drinking her milk . We have not been taking her out for long because of her sleeping habits . I would like to know how to pull her off her swings . We have tried many ways to make her fall asleep outside from her swing . But she kept on crying wanting to sleep in her swing . And she has her swaddle on still or else she could not sleep as her hands and legs will move around and have yet to control by herself .

    • I just wanted to tell you we are in the same position. Our baby is 4 months and only sleeps in the swing. Not our arms, carrier, car seat just the swing. I feel I’ve made a big mistake letting her get in the habit. Have you tried lowering the speed? I have no answer but I hope you figure it out. We are going to keep trying to lower the speed until 6 months. If we can’t by that time we will do some sort of sleep training.

      • Hi Heather ! Yes we did lowering the speed . At night when she’s in deep sleep in her swing , we will take her out and place her on the baby cot . I guess its an improvement . Maybe you could give it a try too . But , we still fail putting her to sleep away from her swing . All the best mummy ! I hope our child can kick the swing habit soon .

  8. Hi, I followed your article to a T. My 6 month old son would sleep wonderfully in his swing in the living room with us, tv on and all. He was going in awake, after his bottle, with his teddy and binkey. I decided about a month ago (at 5 months old) to do as you said and slow the swing down. We made it all the way to 1 and he still slept great. We then moved the swing into his room beside his crib for naps. He was sleeping 10-12 hours a night with only 1-2 feeds in his crib (I couldn’t ask for more!). Then within a week he started to cry when I would put him in his swing and wake every hour crying at night in his crib.

    Now he wouldn’t nap during the day because he was moved and the only way he would sleep at night would be in his swing. I know that he is teething and might have some separation anxiety, that and he has also learned how to crawl early. However, after 3 weeks of this we have now moved his swing back to the living room. He has been seeping great again. Napping for hours durning the day, but in his swing. I’m still working on getting his night time routine back on track.

    I am at a loss on how or when to transition him to his crib for naps. It seemed like the minute the swing was in his room that he needed to be in it to sleep even at night.

    Any help or suggestions would be great!

    He will be 7 months in 2 weeks.


  9. Our baby is 4 1/2 months old now. She has been sleeping in her swing since 2 months and will not sleep anywhere else but the swing. I had been lowering the speed and had gotten it down to a 2 at night. As well, we were putting her down completely awake and she would go to sleep. ‘We got this’, I said to myself. Ha! Suddenly, at about 3 1/2 months she started screaming at bedtime. Not naps, just before bed. She would be happy and cooing while having a bath, drink her bubba, and then swaddle and start crying. The crying doesn’t stop and escalates to screaming. It goes on for up to two hours until we give her another bottle. She now needs a bottle to go to sleep and a speed of…6! I’ve tried changing her diaper and bouncing her a bit but she will stop and start up again. Plus, I’m so tired at this point I just can’t bounce her like that.
    We are talking CIO because it seems to be worse than ever. The swing doesn’t even give her chunky naps anymore although she does go in wide awake for them.
    Should I just abandon the swing and CIO? She needs her sleep and she is missing two hours at least every night from the crying. My husband and I DREAD bedtime and its sad.

  10. Love your site. Love your wisdom. Love your wit. So here’s my current challenge…

    My almost 6-month-old has been sleeping in his swing for two months for naps and nighttime. He goes to sleep on his own in it and it’s been wonderful. We have always used white noise, the swing has always been next to his crib – which he did successfully sleep in from 2 to almost 4 months (sleep regression). He sleeps from about 730 until about 630 and only wakes two times to nurse now. However he is 22 pounds already so we only have 3 pounds left on the swing’s limit (yes one of those healthy chunkers that outgrows EVERYTHING – don’t get me started on the pain in the arse switch to the non-removable convertible car seat coming very soon!) Plus the swing has started making a groaning noise and we don’t know if the motor is about to give out. So we decided to follow your guidance, dial down, and it went great up to where he slept normal a couple nights without the swing moving and fell asleep on his own. Now last night it was time to put him in his crib and…OMG. Because he is turning over onto his tummy and cannot turn back over onto his back yet it took two hours and three additional nursing sessions to get him to finally fall asleep on his own at 930. Then he woke every hour and a half to two hours. Finally at 3 AM I put him in his swing and he slept three hours until the morning. Also I should add the turning over thing is a nightmare because he got his leg caught between rails and that’s part of what kept him up in the beginning. (I’m sure this is a completely separate issue and perhaps a future post for you but what in the world are you supposed to do with turning babies surrounded by traps in such a small space??!!) It feels to me that this is not a moving swing addiction issue. I think he likes the sitting up snuggled in a soft seat sleep position. When he sleeps in the car I can stop the car and he’ll continue to sleep sometimes for two hours in his car seat with white noise. I can’t seem to find anywhere on your site what you suggest to do if the dialing down transition once in the crib does not work. Do I go back to putting him in his nonmoving swing for a while? If so when do I try again? Again I don’t feel like I have much time because he is growing fast. Or do I persist and accept the inevitable sleepless nights until he gets used to laying flat? I anxiously await your response! Thanks for your time!

    • Is it the snuggly thing or the flipping and getting stuck thing?

      Some people have had success putting rolled up blankets under the sheet to keep the snuggle feeling thing going. Honestly I CAN’T recommend this because it’s unsafe AND double unsafe if he’s potentially flipping over on them 🙁

      Another option which is sadly $100 would be to pick up a safe-T sheet which is essentially a fitted crib sheet that has a velcro wrap that keeps kids from flipping and feels snuggly. Not what you were hoping for in terms of advice but I think it’s either that or back into the non moving swing while he practices his flipping ninja skills.

      • So here is an update almost 3 months later. Still. In. The swing! Both naps and night. Now he really is too big and we have to transition to the crib. I tried it the last two nights and he woke every single hour. Around 3 o’clock wake up he was inconsolable so we switched to the swing and of course slept four hours. I’m just really confused on how to make the crib seem as cozy as a snuggly seat. It seems all the advice out there completely stops at…now move the baby to the crib. What then? Do we continue this every hour wake up until something clicks and gets it? And for how long? He is such a happy joyful baby I can’t imagine letting crankiness take over our days because he suddenly is not getting sleep. He is now rolling and scooting so any kind of mattress elevation or rolled up towels or swaddling are not possible because he is so mobile. Some of the wake up times he’ll roll around and play which is great but then all of a sudden stops and be like ” OK mom and dad I’m done. I want to go back in my snuggly”. It seems like many that tried the transition have this issue so what do we do?

        • My son is 3 months old so we haven’t transitioned yet but he also loves his swing and HATES sleeping flat (hated bassinet, would only sleep in rock n play or propped up on my arm in our bed before swing) and he does not have reflux we checked with his doctor. Anyway, I have thought long and hard about this because I am going to start weaning him in a few weeks by dialing down the speed. Our friends (who are Japanese) used this little box in their bed (traditional in their country) which is basically like a small padded bassinet/cosleeper and when they wanted to get their daughter into the crib they just put the box in the crib til she got used to being in there and then took the box away but left the padding (which wasn’t loose it was kinda like a wedge I guess but with a sheet over, probably not safe according to the US Ped standards but whatever it worked for them) and then eventually they took that away. I cant remember what the swing seat looks like unassembled and if it would sit up by itself but maybe unassemble the swing and put him in the whole seat inside his crib until he gets used to the new digs and surroundings, then try taking away the seat?

        • Hi Heather, can you give an update. What did you do, is kiddo now sleeping in a bed. We are in the same boat with our 7 Mo. Old and I have the same questions you posted here. I sure hope you get this and can share some wisdom. Thanks in advance.

          • Well let me see – that was 7 months ago when he was 9 months old and now at 16 months he is still not sleeping through the night so I hope my groggy mind can remember for you. I believe my son got sick shortly after my last post so I kept him in the swing to help him sleep through that dreadful period. And sorry but we kept him in a few more months so that doesn’t help you. But I did get him in the crib before 1 year (geez!) and just stuck it out and it took about a week for him to sleep his “normal”. He still wakes every few hours so he is just one of those waking babies. Also I am still nursing and it is usually easy to nurse him back to sleep so I don’t have any other advice on techniques to get lo sleepy enough to transistion. Honestly it is the only reason I am still nursing. I am too worried about finding other ways to soothe/comfort. Now…we have accomplished nights but naps…um…he is still in nonmoving swing! I have a video monitor so I haven’t worried about that until now. It has been so nice to have 2-3 hour naps so, again, I am scared to move forward with crib naps and lose my daytime me time! But I will be trying this week. If anything works for you I would love an update too. Never know what may help naps or other off nights. Or for me EVERY night as I am going batty still without sleep. Hope this helped. Good luck!

            • Hi heather,
              Thank you so for replying.
              Ok so it basically sounds like when we are ready to commit we will have to just bare with it for a bit. He is only ~17+ lbs so we have time. He has been sleeping in a non-moving swing for a long time. Also within the past weekish he has started waking only once for a feed (very different was every three hours until now). I did stop breast feeding about a week after he turned 6 mo roughly 3 weeks ago. Honestly being able to make sure he is taking in enough calories during the day has helped. The last two days we have started in the bed but he wakes early screaming (reflux we are thinking), so we switch back to the swing and he then sleeps the rest of the night. Anyway keep me posted and I’ll do likewise. Thanks again so so much. It’s just nice to have someone to discuss it with.

            • Hi Heather and Lisa! Do either of you have updates on getting your babies into the crib? I’m trying to plan for my almost 5 month old daughter. She’s in a non moving swing for naps and the pack n play bassinet which she is too long for at night. We tried the crib at night a few nights ago and she was up at least every hour if not more. She puts herself to sleep (except for a paci) without motion, she’s in a swaddle, dark room and white noise. So I’m pretty sure for us it’s a comfy seat issue (plus the paci when it falls out). Any update would be much appreciated!

  11. Hello.
    I tried everything you laid out. I have no trouble with night waking, but my 14 month old son still takes crap naps, if he naps at all. He goes to bed at 7:30pm and sleeps for 11-12 hours a night with an occasional fuss, after which he usually gets himself back to sleep.
    I did the swing method for naps and I can leave the room with him in the motionless swing and he sleeps for exactly 30 minutes, which is how long his naps were before trying this method. I always give him 15 minutes to see if he’ll fall back asleep, and 3 out of 10 times he may fall asleep for another 30 minutes.
    I worked on this for over three months. I was patient and didn’t try to rush through any steps. I absolutely cannot get him transitioned from the motionless swing to the crib for naps. He just loses his mind in the crib and no amount of soothing or crying time results in sleep. He’s just not taking naps anymore, or if I’m lucky a 30 minute nap in a motionless swing that he’s too heavy for once a day. Also, it doesn’t matter if I try two naps a day or one, he just won’t do it. And if he does take a nap that doesn’t finish by 3pm then getting him to sleep at bedtime becomes a nightmare because he not tired at 7:30, so he’ll be up till 9pm.
    I am so exhausted with this.
    I have spent at least four hours of EVERY day for the past seven months trying to get my son to sleep. I am out of mind and never get a single minute to myself, except when he takes a 30 minute crap nap, which only allows me to do basically nothing.

  12. Hi,
    I just wanted to share my story about my daughter. When she was born last June, she had some tummy troubles and also had a pretty wicked witching hour for about 6 weeks until she was closer to 3 months. She did not sleep well at all – whether day or night. It was a very crazy time for us being first time parents, and we would basically do anything just to get a couple of consecutive hours of sleep. The swing became our saving grace! Up until 2.5 months, she was sleeping in the swing in the living room (we basically slept on the couch) and was up every 2-3 hours. I was on the brink of returning to work and could not imagine functioning on 5-6 hours of interrupted sleep while being at work. I decided it was time to get her into the nursery. We set up her swing and positioned the camera to face the swing. I turned on a white noise machine and left a small night light on all night. She would normally get tired around 7:30/8:00 so we would start bedtime routine an hour before that (no tv/electronics, pajama time, quiet play in her nursery, read a book, etc). The first night we tried this she slept 12 hours! We could not believe it. Putting the swing in her room was the best decision we ever made. But we did not think this would also open the door for a new battle. At 4 months we tried to transition her to her crib for night time. She would have none of that! The minute her body touched her “cold” and vast crib, her eyes would pop wide open and she would start crying and sometimes screaming to get her out of there. During the day time she napped in the crib without a problem (although her naps were always very short – 30 min to 1 hour), but at night did not even want to see her crib. She loved the “scooped” feeling of the swing (we were able to tilt the swing back so she was laying back, but still nestled in the swing). Every month that went by, we tried to get her in the crib, but without success. We tried all of the steps mentioned in this article, but our daughter was determined to have her way. With us both being full time working parents, we were just too tired to compromise on sleep and would just put her in the swing when she would fuss about the crib. Our pediatrician never shamed us, but highly encouraged to keep trying. CIO was not really something I wanted to do, so I would just keep trying every few weeks. And then something happened. At 7 months, she decided on her own she needed more room. She was rolling around a lot during play time and when she figured out she could do that in her crib, she began sleeping on her tummy all by herself. Again we were shocked. One thing I added while she was in the swing still was a lullaby machine with star projector. I figured if she could find a common thing (the music and stars) between the swing and crib, it would help. And it definitely did. Now if she wakes up in the middle of the night, I just go in and give her the pacifier she lost and turn the lullaby back on for a few minutes and she goes right back to sleep. I guess the whole point of my story is that babies are much smarter than we think and they have their own preferences. As long as there is no harm to the child, be patient and keep trying. Being as sensitive of a sleeper as she is, I thought she would be 12 months and still in the swing. But she finally figured out on her own that she needed more space and the transition happened on it’s own. I will say that the swing saved us from the beginning, and maybe even assisted with promoting longer sleeping during the night. Even in the crib she sleeps up to 10 hours. Good luck to other parents going through the same thing – don’t stress because it will all work out in the end!

    • Bravo! And thanks for sharing your story with others, because I’m sure this will help many panicking parents relax a little bit 🙂

    • This gives me hope! We “transitioned” my 5 month old to the crib but she wakes up at least every 2-3 hours, some nights more. Now she has a cold & is teething and would only let me put her down in the swing last night. Annnnd she slept all night like a champ. Now I’m scared she will never be out of the swing! Maybe we’ll let this cold/teething pass and then try the crib again. You are right that they have their own ideas!

  13. Hello,

    Thank you for all the advice, baby is 10 months old and still falling asleep in the swing, we want to eventually put her with a sitter when me and hubby are back at work full time and we cant have her swinging, even the thought of going away, I always think, what about the swing? how will she sleep?
    She does have her naps, usually about 2 hours and then she is in the swing for about an hour before we move her to her crib at night. The swing is next to her crib in her room, we do have white noise going, she takes her bottle in the swing to fall asleep, she does not take a soother tho. For the last week or so, we are having an issue moving her to her crib, she will wake up and cry and not go back to sleep. Which usually ends up with her back in the swing 🙁
    I would like to get rid of her need to swing to sleep, I know it will be a process. Some people have told us to just let her cry in her crib. We wont and cant do that, she works herself up into such a state that she will puke up all her milk.
    We will try (tonight) to lower the speed of the swing and eventually having her not swinging and also put her in there awake. It seems like such a simple concept, that I have not thought about. Fingers crossed that we make it through this 🙂

  14. Alexis,

    Thank you a million times over for all of your time and wisdom! You are a blessing!

    I have a beautiful 18 week old daughter. Since she was 8 weeks old, she has been sleeping in her own crib in her own room for 6+ straight hours. She started dropping the night time feeding around 12 weeks. So now she sleeps from 7:30pm-6:30am, give or take 30 minutes. Bedtime routine looks like this: bottle at 6:30, bath time 7, white noise machine on, lotion, lights out, in crib with arms out of swaddle (in the midst of transitioning out of full swaddle now), turn mobile on, read shorty story, say prayers, leave the room. She talks to her mobile for a while and is typically asleep within 15-20 minutes with minimal fussing. She has been “putting herself to sleep” with the mobile for a couple of weeks now. Before mobile, we were giving her a bottle. She would almost always fall asleep on the bottle. Then we would place her in the crib and she would sleep all night. We wanted to start weaning her off of the bottle to sleep, insert mobile + put down awake. Night time routine seems to be working! YAY!

    Naps have been our biggest challenge thus far! She loves napping in her swing. Every week since she was 8 weeks old, I have attempted to place her in crib for naps. Until this week, she has been a screaming mess. She actually fell asleep in her crib for two naps today; however, she only slept for 25 minutes each nap. When she is in the swing, she will sleep for 2+ hours. I never keep her awake longer than 1.5-2 hours in between naps. I place her in her swing awake, white noise machine on, without swaddle. She goes down and stays down without a fight. When I place her in crib, I swaddle with arms out, and turn mobile on. Twice today, she fell asleep within 5-10 minutes, but would not stay asleep. When she woke up, I gave her 30 minutes of talking in her crib to make sure she wouldn’t put herself back to sleep. She eventually started to fuss a bit, and she was due to eat, so I went in and got her. She did not wake up happy after her second nap so I decided to try the swing for nap #3. She has been sleeping for almost 2 hours now.

    My question for you is: how should I proceed forward with weaning naps in the swing? Her swing is in her room, next to her crib, we have room darkening curtains, white noise machine on when sleeping. Should I continue to let her nap for 25 minutes at a time and enforce the crib, or succumb to her love of the swing and allow naps to happen there? I know consistency is key for napping, but I don’t want a cranky baby (who is already usually cranky in late afternoon/early evening due to witching hour). I was thinking maybe gently wean from swing, ie allow 1-2 naps in crib daily, and then 1-2 naps in swing-so she doesn’t become a total mess. Will this method confuse her more?

    SO GRATEFUL for your advice! =)

  15. Update! It took about 2 full weeks of consistently putting baby girl in her crib for naps for her to grow comfortable. The past couple of days, we have put her down for naps completely awake without the slightest fuss or fight. She sleeps any where from 1-2 hours each nap. Thanks to you and your website (and all of the wisdom shared by others), we have successfully weaned from the swing for naps. We have ourselves a full-time crib sleeper! YAY! Thank you to everyone!

  16. HI Alexis-
    Love your site, it saved us at the 4 month sleep issues and we put our little one into the swing. We are now at 5 months old, he puts himself asleep in the swing- naps in the swing on the lowest speed with white noise, no swaddle in 1-2 hour chunks. At night, swaddled still and white noise and swing was off for 4 nights and he slept in 3-4 hour chunks, bed by 8pm, waking at 11pm, 2:30am and then up for the day at 6am (which is when we have to get up for the day anyway).

    So, we tried him in his crib for nights (last 5 nights) and he goes down awake and puts himself to sleep but then wakes up after about 2 hours and cries like he is in pain from there after whenever we try to put him back down. He is also farting a lot when picking him up so we are worried it is gas/ some sort of digestive issue, but no amount of gas drops etc. seem to be helping. He does not really spit up much and is almost exclusively breastfed so we have never thought about reflux. We put him back in the swing and he did better but was still fussier than usual.
    After this long explanation, I guess my question is how can you tell the difference between a medical issue and a sleep issue? He is not a crier at all so the instantaneous crying the minute he lays prone is unusual for him. Is he just not quite ready for the crib so back to the swing for a bit or should we be trying to do things to alleviate possible digestive issues? Or both? Thank you in advance!

  17. Hi Alexis,

    We recently transitioned my 5 month old from the swing to her crib (about 2 weeks ago). She sleeps ok, but wakes up anywhere from 2-4+ times a night and needs to be soothed back to sleep. I usually nurse her because it’s the easy way out… Recently she has (yet another) cold and we think she’s also teething so she started waking up hourly. Thus, we put her back in the swing and voila she slept the WHOLE night! I actually woke her up at 3 to nurse for my own comfort and she went right back to sleep until 6:30. I know you said eventually they won’t need the swing anymore but she sleeps SO much better there I’m about to revert back to it nightly. Mommy & Daddy need sleep too! Should we just let her sleep there for another few weeks and try the crib again? Any tips for making the crib seem cozier (safely) aside from swaddling? She sleeps in a zippadee zip because she started fighting the swaddle when we put her in the crib. I’m about convinced she’ll be in the swing until she’s two!

    • Do you have an update? I’m in the exact same boat and would love to know if you were successful and what you did.

      • Hi Jenna,

        We were able to transition her out of the swing. At about 6 mos she stopped sleeping any better in there than she did in her crib so we decided that was our cue to pack it away. That’s probably not the most helpful “advice” you were looking for but it’s how it happened for us. She’s working on dropping a nap right now so I broke it out again to try and get her to take an early evening cat nap (since she will fall asleep in her car seat on the way home from daycare sometimes I figured motion might be the trigger) but she won’t fall asleep in there now. Too busy! To be honest I think I worried about it too much. I would work on getting her to sleep in there without motion and then keep trying the crib. Eventually he/she will take to it! My LO started wiggling and rolling a lot so she wanted the extra room to move around.

  18. Hello,
    I love your gentle approache and advice. My 6 month old had been feeding (breast) to sleep since she was 3 months old. In the last month I have been putting her down awake in her bouncer and bouncing her to sleep for her naps to stop the feeding feeding to sleep. Sometimes I still have to feed her to sleep and then put her down. At bed time I try to move her to her cot from bouncer when she’s drowsy and almost asleep and sometimes it works and she fusses a little before falling asleep and sometimes it doesn’t and I dont move her until shes fully asleep. During the night she wakes a lot and I feed her but always put her back in her cot awake and she fusses a littke before falling asleep. I am now starting to try and move her from the bouncer to the cot when she’s drousy for naps, if she cries I put her back in the bouncer to sleep rather than feed her. Is there a way I could be doing this better? Im aiming to have her fall asleep in her cot and once she can do that then deal with the many night wakings (3/4/5 a night).

    • Do you have any updates on this? Just curious how it worked out for you as we are in a very similar situation right now. Thanks 🙂

  19. We did the swing method and it was great! But my now almost 8 month baby will not move to his crib. He has been going down awake into a non-moving swing for almost two months now but it’s like he doesn’t know what he is supposed to do in the crib. He has his same routine, darkness, white noise, and lovey but we’ve given it up to two hours and he won’t go to sleep. It took him less than 10 minutes in his swing. He keeps trying to stand up instead of sleeping. Any suggestions?

  20. Hi! I have sort of a unique situation. My six month old is only sleeping in her swing, and we are about to move to a location where we can’t bring it along with us. She’s also going through separation anxiety as well, so she really needs that extra comfort is there anything you can suggest I do for when she gets brought into her new environment? I’m wondering if I should hold her till she sleeps at first or just try putting her in a crib as soon as we move.

  21. So my little one is nine months old and still using the swing. I do notice that he has reflux And he is definitely a very sensitive. We currently use the swing only for naptime. He will sleep an hour to two hours in the swing. I can get him to sleep in the crib. But he only will sleep for 30 minutes. We do not use the swing for bedtime. He sleeps in bed with us. And seems to do OK most of the night. Until he wakes up with reflux issues, teething pain or gas. Every night before we go to bed, I nurse and rock him to sleep. Then I bring him into bed with us and nurse him again back to sleep. The reason why I am doing a message here is because I would like him to be able to do his crib at least her naptime. And sleep as long as he does in the swing. But it has not happened. I feel guilty using the swings still for naptime. I have tried a week of just using the crib hoping that he would start to sleep longer. But he doesn’t. I have to go in and then rock him back to sleep. But then I’m unable to lay him back down he will always wake up. I want him to be weaned from the swing and use the crib for naptime. I really want him to sleep in his crib period and not in bed with us. I am struggling on how to transition him to the crib and stop using the swing for naptime. I noticed that if he does not get his long naps he does not sleep well at night. I would love some help and wisdom!

    • I would also like some advice on this topic!! My baby is 10 months old and still napping in the swing. CANNOT get her to nap in the crib. She sleeps through the night in her crib without a problem. What is the deal???

    • Have you followed the steps in this article? Meaning you put the baby FULLY AWAKE in a non moving swing and then they nap 2 hours? Because if you’re rocking to sleep or they’re used to falling ASLEEP in a non moving swing and you skip ahead to the crib you’ll have a rough go of it 🙁

  22. I have a 4-month old that has slept in her swing since 2 weeks old like a champ. Now all of the sudden she is having hard time going to sleep in her swing and cries. It took me over 2 hours to get her to go to sleep in her swing last night. Is this my cue to transition to crib even though I haven’t had a chance to slow down the movement on the swing yet. Thank you!

  23. I have an almost 8 week old who has been sleeping at night in the auto rock n play. He’s been there pretty much since birth. We didn’t start running it all night until maybe 3 weeks. He’s sleeping great, 8:45-4:40, up to eat and back in until 7-8am. The other night it started making a terrible noise and we had to shut it off. He was up every 1-2 hours. we’ve really been working on putting him in drowsy but awake at bedtime and getting him progressively more and more awake each night before he goes in. I’m now terrified for the transition of turning off the rock n play. All other books I’ve read (healthy sleep habits, the sleep lady), say they shouldn’t be sleeping with motion. I know Alexis says you can transition around 3 months for most kids to no motion. I’m thinking I want to start sooner as I don’t want him to get more and more used to it, making the transition harder. Although he’s 8 weeks he is developmentally more like 10 weeks because he was born 2 weeks late, and he’s about 13 pounds. We’re thinking of turning if off next week, and just going for it. Potentially going to try “graduated extinction” letting him cry and checking on intervals if it doesn’t go well. Advice??

  24. I have had great success with my daughter in following these steps! She has slept exclusively in her crib for the past week with no problems! Thank you!
    My daughter has just turned 4 months and is rolling over from her tummy to her back – and is very close to rolling from her back to her tummy. With this in mind, do you have any suggestions for removing the swaddle as it will no longer be safe? We have tried having her go to sleep without it but she never has, her hands are much too busy. Any tips?? Thank you!

  25. My 4mo will cry and cry when we put her in swing awake. We end up having to pick her up and rock her to soothe her, which of course defeats the entire purpose of putting her in the swing awake to begin with.

    She’s starting to try to roll over in the swing, so I know we need to transition ASAP! Any tips or similar experiences?

  26. What age do you recommend starting to put them down fully awake? I have a 6 week old who is giving us 5 hour chunks at night in his swing at full speed, but he will only nap for longer than 20 minutes on me. Curious if he’s still to young and just needs mama and when this method may be appropriate.

  27. My daughter, almost 12 weeks old, absolutely loves the swing! A part of our sleep routine is to swaddle, rock and sing to her for about 5 min, and then put her in the swing awake (sometimes she’s pretty drowsy but still awake). We are to the point now where I can put her in the swing without turning it on, I just give it a gentle push and then leave the room and she usually puts herself to sleep within 5-10 minutes without any fussing. She typically takes 1.5-2 hour naps and only wakes up once during the night (even though this past week we did have a couple nights that she slept the whole night without waking up!). We are wanting to transition her to the crib, especially since we have some travels coming up, however our first attempt at this did not go well. This past week we tried transitioning her to the crib at night (her bedtime is 7/7:30) wearing a Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit instead of a swaddle and she hated it. The first night she cried for over an hour (we comforted every 20 minutes) before we decided to reswaddle her and put her in the swing (I made the mistake of trying out the crib for a couple of her naps that day too). The second night we let her cry for about 30 minutes before comforting her; she did this for about an hour, slept for 30 minutes, woke up crying (I fed her since it was close to her dream feed), and then she cried for just a little bit and then slept the whole night without waking. I had high hopes for the third night, except she cried for over 1.5 hours without seeming to get close to sleeping, so we moved her to the swing (again, she slept through the whole night once we did this). Then last night we decided to change our strategy a bit. We put her in the swing for bedtime and then was going to make the transition to the crib at the dream feed. However, she was so worked up that we decided to put her back in the swing after 20 minutes of extreme crying. I know staying consistent is key, but she is also only 3 months old so I’m not sure how long we should be letting her cry it out. It seems like she should easily make this transition since she is sleeping well in a non-moving swing, but the hours of crying make me hesitant if this is the right time to sleep train or if we are moving too fast. Do you have any thoughts with getting through this?

  28. Alissa Beuerlein

    I’m so grateful for this post! This made me feel like I wasn’t a bad mom letting my baby sleep where he felt most comfortable (the swing). And I’m really glad you shared that it tends to be easier for babies to sleep in the crib at night before they are ready to do naps in the crib. We have had two nights in a row where my 3 mo old has slept through the night in his crib. He won’t do long naps there, so I switch him over to his swing for naps. But I’m just glad he will sleep at night in the crib!

  29. I’m so grateful for this post! This made me feel like I wasn’t a bad mom letting my baby sleep where he felt most comfortable (the swing). And I’m really glad you shared that it tends to be easier for babies to sleep in the crib at night before they are ready to do naps in the crib. We have had two nights in a row where my 3 mo old has slept through the night in his crib. He won’t do long naps there, so I switch him over to his swing for naps. But I’m just glad he will sleep at night in the crib!

  30. My sweet girl has been sleeping in a swing since 2 months. She is now 5 months. She naps on my bed or her crib throughout the day. ( no swinging durning the day) But when we try to put her on the bed, crib or pack and play at bedtime she cries uncontrollably. I give her about 35mins to try and self soothe. But to no avail she still cries. Where do I begin?;(

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