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.

baby in swing taking a napThere 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}

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  1. What do you do if your swing dies and you can’t buy another one??? Do you just try the baby in a non moving swing with a swaddle and cross your fingers?

    • It depends!

      If baby was close to being done then the “finger crossing” technique might work gangbusters. Otherwise you can call the manufacturer for a new motor – they’re really easy to swap out and sometimes they’ll ship you one free or super cheap. If none of those are options then maybe Craigslist?
      Alexis recently posted..Bedtime: Everything Starts HereMy Profile

      • Thanks for your reply :) our swing died yesterday morning during the first nap of the day which resulted in a short nap. We tried our 5 month old in the non moving swing yesterday for both naps and bed. We still used white noise and a tight swaddle. I just pushed the swing super slow a couple of times and within 4 minutes, our little guy was asleep. He slept 1. 5 for the 2 nd nap and almost 2 hours for the third. He fell asleep in 10 minutes that night and fussed a little overnight. I just tied a long blanket to the swing and would give it a pull if he started to fuss. He slept until 745am in a non moving swing!!! Usually he is up between 6-7am so I wonder if he was ready to ditch the motion?

  2. Hi there,

    My baby won’t sleep anywhere comfortably except for the non-moving swing. My question is when should we transition him to his crib? His swing has always been in his room and he goes into it like butter! He will be semi-awake but as long as he is cushioned into the swing seat he is happy. We tried a few times to put him in his crib and they were total fails. We are totally okay with this, but I just want to know when we would ideally transition in from non-moving swing to crib. He is almost 5 months old.


    • Probably never although you’re in luck, there are some people on Etsy who are making toddler and even big=kid swing molds so you can keep your child happily swing sleeping until college.

      I KID!

      Personally I would focus more on the “semi-awake” part and move to “fully wide awake.” I’m guessing that getting MORE awake will get put you in a better position to get him into the crib.

      Good luck!
      Alexis recently posted..Bedtime: Everything Starts HereMy Profile

    • Hi Julie,
      I was just wondering how getting your baby in the crib worked? My daughter id almost 3 months old and sleeps in a non moving swing. Last night we tried crib and she was not happy. Kept giving her a pacifier and at midnight gave up and put her back in swing. Got her to fall asleep in my arms and after she’s on her back for awhile she wakes up.

  3. Hi,

    My baby is 13 weeks old, and he loves his swing. I have tried the crib several times and he doesn’t even sleep for 5 minutes. Few weeks ago he began to make noises as if he was uncomfortable in the swing, as a result I put him on my bed (because he totally hates his crib and I do not feel comfortable having him out of our room just yet), totally flat, on his back, and he slept for 3 hours, then he began to make the noises of being uncomfortable again, and I put him back on his swing, and he slept for 4 hours. My question is if it is okay to make these transitions during the night? is this normal?
    Nika recently posted..Bedtime: Everything Starts HereMy Profile

  4. So I have the opposite problem, a 4 month old who will nap in her crib but won’t sleep at night. Lately she’s been sleeping next to me, but the last few nights she’s been sleeping in her swing (after lots of time cuddling, nursing and everything else to try an get her to sleep). The first night she slept for 7 straight hours and I had to wake her to nurse or I was going to explode, and then she slept for 4 more hours. I’d love any ideas.

  5. I wanted to follow up on my post about weaning from the swing. I want to say, it’s been very successful! Baby is now officially 5 months, and doing all sleep in crib! I have to stay, this kid used to not be able to put himself to sleep for the life of him. The swing was my savior. For all of us who were panicking about baby not being able to sleep out of the swing…please do not. They will transition themselves out of the swing when they are ready with YOUR help. I had baby sleeping in a non moving swing (at night) for 3 weeks. Then the first night he slept in the crib, it was rough for the first 5 minutes. Just make sure to use plenty of the sleep cues. My son has decided to rollover in crib as well, so I had to get rid of the swaddle immediately. I sort of panicked about that too…but he proved to put himself to sleep by talking to himself.

    For all of us parents (I’m a second time parent), the panic is real when a routine works and then all of a sudden it changes. But we have to remember that babies are adaptable! Our babies are growing up!

  6. Found your blog after Googling Toddler Swing. LOL

    Thanks for the info!

  7. Can you gradually decrease the speed of the swing during one nap session? For example..can you have it on speed #3 at the beginning of the nap, then gradually decrease the speed every 1/2 hour or so, or should you have it at one single speed for the whole nap and then try it on a different speed on a completely different nap session/day?

  8. My almost 4 month old boy loves the swing so much. He always sleeps in it day and night. He totally hates the crib. When he was 2 months old, he would sleep with me in my bed for half of the night, but he doesn’t even do that anymore. When he wakes during the night, I pull him into bed for feeding and he falls asleep while feeding. Then he just wants to nurse for comfort. I try to give him pacifier after that but he fusses then I finally have to put him back in his swing. I have tried putting him in the swing when he is awake but it doesn’t work. He wants to be rocked in my arms to sleep or wants to sleep while nursing and then has to be put in the swing. I sometimes worry when will he be able to sleep on his own in his crib.

    • I wouldn’t worry about the crib just yet but I WOULD worry about teaching him to fall asleep in the swing. I know he wants to be rocked to sleep in your arms but I would really push the swing (because you know he loves it). What happens if you put him in there and leave for 20 minutes at bedtime? What happens if you put him in the swing awake, don’t turn the motor on, but rock him manually in there? Or maybe try this with your hand on his belly (gently of course ;)? I would commit to him falling asleep IN the swing AT bedtime for 3 nights. There’s nothing you can’t handle for just 3 nights right?

      See what develops with that route. Once he’s falling asleep IN the swing you can start worrying about your plan to gently wean him into his crib 😉
      Alexis recently posted..Weaning Baby Off the SwingMy Profile

  9. Hi,

    My son is 5 months old and has been sleeping in a non-moving swing for the past two weeks at nap time (he has been sleeping in the crib at night since 5 weeks old and has no issues there). I have tried putting him in the crib for naps this week but he fusses/cries for at least 10 minutes no matter how tired he is and once he falls asleep he only sleeps for 45 minutes max. He has not been swaddled for a month or so since he can roll over now. Everything else on the list checks off – he is in a dark room, white noise, has had a naptime routine since 2 months – but he won’t take the same long naps he was taking in the still swing just last week! Is he just not ready for the move to the crib? I really want him to nap in the crib but I am not sure if I should just keep trying or go back to the swing and try again later. Help please!

    • This sounds exactly like my situation. Did you find a solution? My 4 mth old baby girl will nap in her swing for hours if I let her, but will only nap 45 mins max in her crib…fussing for at least 10-20mins before falling asleep. When she wakes at the 45min mark she sometimes will fuss for another 10-15min and fall back to sleep for another 30-45min. So I know she’s not ready to get up, but can’t seem to stay asleep.
      I’m hoping you found a solution you can share!

      • I did! I took the swing seat off the swing and put it in the crib and let him sleep in the seat in the crib. I had to prop it up with pillow to get the angle right and strap him in to make sure he would not roll out :) After about two weeks, I tried putting him in the crib without the swing seat for his first nap and he did great – 1.5 hours! Now he is sleeping all three naps in his crib. It was the slow and steady approach but it worked for us :)

        • I am trying this same approach today with my almost 7 mths old daughter. She’s been going to sleep from awake in a non moving swing for at least a couple months now. But when I place her in a playpen she has no idea what to do it seems. I thinks she’s addicted to the coziness of the swing seat. So we are trying the slow approach too.

          • Melanie–did the “swing seat in the crib” trick work for you? My LO is 5 mos and only sleeps in a non-moving swing. Whenever I put him in the crib his eyes pop open and he goes wild kicking his legs and squealing because he thinks its a game or something, then eventually it turns to crying because he’s tired of course. I really want to get him in the crib, so I’m thinking of putting the seat in there so he is confined to the chair and starts to get the concept of sleeping in the crib. Would love to know how it worked for you!

            • Hi Lenore, yes it did work for us! I can’t recall how long we did it fo. I think a couple of weeks at least. Then she was able to associate the crib as her sleep space and we successfully got rid of the swing seat. Btw, I used rolled up bath towels under the sides and back of the seat to keep it stable in the crib.

  10. Alexis,
    My son is over 11 months old and still naps in his swing. He has slept in his crib at night since birth and is a wonderful night sleeper, sttn very early. He’s a very active baby and when I’ve attempted to transition to crib for naps he just cruises around it for a while (10 minutes or so) and then the screaming starts. He has never successfully fallen asleep in it. We’ve given it 30+ minutes a few times before giving up and putting him in the swing. Typically he will complain and not sleep, and after 20 minutes we go in and tell him he needs to go to sleep and always after we leave after going in he gets and stays pretty hysterical, so going in definitely does more harm than good.

    So your suggestions about decreasing the swing speed are great and we’ve started doing that, but since he goes to sleep seamlessly in his crib at night I wonder if something else could be going on with the naps. Sometimes I think his urge to move around is stronger than his need to nap and that it’s the fact that he’s strapped into the swing rather than the motion that he needs.

    He’s a very small baby (17 pounds) so we aren’t in danger of outgrowing the swing but as we close in on a year (and have upcoming vacation) I’d like him to be more flexible! On camping trips he’s typically been able to fall asleep but naps are very short. In the car he’ll sleep well too on the occasions that we have to travel and time his naps in the car, I think because he knows there is nothing else he could be doing so he sleeps.

    Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • I think it’s as simple as this – the part of the brain that manages day sleep vs. night sleep are different. Just because he’s figured it out at night doesn’t mean he can translate that “skill” to naptime. Also the biological compulsion to sleep at naptime is a lot more weak so it’s “harder” to fall asleep during the night. Can you put him to down awake in a non-moving swing and have him happily fall asleep and nap in there? If no – THAT’S your nap homework. Keep slowing the swing till you get to that point. When that’s happening routinely put the swing next to the crib for naptime. Get him used to that location. Then move him to the crib. Let me know how it goes 😉

      • Transition to the swing without motion was no problem (did not change how quickly he fell asleep or length of nap), and we had normal naps for 2 weeks that way. Then tried to start moving to crib. First day he slept in the crib twice but only for 20 minutes at a time – he would wake up and immediately stand and cry at the rail. We kept trying and after a few days we were getting naps longer than an hour in the crib.

        It’s been about 3 weeks of regular crib naps now. Nap length varies wildly though, sometimes just half an hour and occasionally 1.5 hours or more. I feel like he’s still not totally used to the freedom of being able to pop up when he wakes and so sometimes that causes him to stand and demand attention right away (I’ve watched this on a video monitor – going from fast asleep to up and screaming in a blink) whereas in the swing he might’ve gone back to sleep. Even at 12 months he’s still taking 3 naps on a typical day, he’s always had really short wake times and his sleepy signs are very obvious. He’s a very active kiddo and hopefully he’ll start to get used to allowing himself to go back to sleep during transitions! If you have any suggestions now that he’s falling asleep easily in the crib but not necessarily staying asleep as long as he needs I’d love to hear them!!

        Thanks for your help and site Alexis!

        • I think you answered your own question – he struggles with freedom. At 1 year I would not lean towards putting him back in the swing although that’s an option to consider. I would probably lean towards how to gently take away his freedom. What about a sleep sack or even better, a zipadee? Something to recreate that feeling of containment but in the crib.

          Also if he can sleep for 1.5 hours or longer I might experiment with stretching his awake times even if he’s giving you sleepy signs. At 1 year your goal would be to focus more on sleeping on a schedule (napping at the same time every day) vs. following signs. And stretching his awake times might get you more consistent longer naps. Lots of people have success with the 2:3:4 schedule at this age.

          Good luck and tally ho!
          Alexis Dubief recently posted..When Your Kid Won’t Stay in BedMy Profile

  11. Hi! So I’m hoping you have some advice! My son is almost 6 months old. He’s been napping and night sleeping in a swing since he was a newborn. It bought me some descent naps and the periodic 4 hour stretch at night. That was pretty temporary though. He naps for 30-45 minutes at a time every 2ish hours. He wakes at night every 1.5-3 hours. Nap time and first initial put down for bed I put him in the swing awake. The other wakings in the middle of the night he nurses and falls asleep. My problem is (other than being a zombie from no sleep and having two under two) is that the swing is the only thing (other than nursing) that can put him to sleep. The reason I need the swing to come to an end is bc he is beginning to really squirm and twist himself in it when he wakes up and gets ansy for me to get him. I need help a. Getting him to sleep in his crib and b. Maybe gaining even one extra hour of sleep. Please help!!!!

    • They nap thing is may not be fixable – that may just be where he’s at right now. But for bedtime my advice is to not nurse him when he wakes up 1.5-3 hours later. What you do at an early wakeup can set you up for an association you’re trying NOT to develop. Confused?

      You don’t nurse at bedtime because you don’t want to establish a nurse=sleep association. But nursing 1.5 hours after bedtime can do exactly that (and I’m pretty confident it IS happening). So no nursing 1.5-3 hours after bedtime. If he wakes up you could ignore (recommended) or send partner in. But no nursing early in the night. Try that out for 3-5 nights and see what happens. I’m pretty confident you’ll see a dramatic decrease in the requests to nurse at night.
      Alexis recently posted..When Your Kid Won’t Stay in BedMy Profile

  12. I’ve been freaking out that my 4 month year old only sleeps in his swing…this post and comments give me hope! I made the mistake of telling our pediatrician he sleeps in swing and she made me feel like a horrible mother!

    • Whew! Glad I’m not the only one! Sleep is so valuable (especially when nursing) you just do what you have to do! My little girl is 10 weeks and you can see the relief on her face once she’s put in the swing! I was panicking for a little while about her love for the swing, but thankfully found we are not alone and will be trying the 8 steps before I go back to work in a couple weeks!

      • Jen,
        My LO sleeps in the swing and I’m worried about his transition to daycare. How did weaning her go for you? Did you have her in her crib before she started? Mine is only 11 weeks and hasn’t been a great sleeper until the swing (we’ve been using it for about three weeks). I feel pressure to wean him off since he won’t have the option at daycare, but we are finally getting naps and I don’t want to give that up. Did you have success? Any advice?

  13. Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve screwed something up in my second sons napping mojo. He sleeps in his crib at night, falling asleep on his own. But for naps (especially with another napping almost 3 year old), I used the swing. And it worked beautifully, he’d go to sleep on his own, nap for at least 1.5 hours, often more. Until it didn’t. I’m sure I used it for too long (he’s almost 1), and now I have no idea what to do. He just cries and cries in his room. Sometimes falling asleep 40 minutes later, sometimes I give up and retrieve him (yes, I know this is not the answer either). The swing isn’t really working either because now he just sits up in it and it stops moving. I know that I need to transition him anyway. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  14. Good afternoon. I am wondering if anyone has some advice with regard to swing safety. My almost 8 month old has been sleeping in the swing for naps and bedtime since 4 months. He has acid reflux. Recently, he has started to slump over in his swing. He has a graco swing and sleeps in it non moving and fully reclined. He is also swaddled with legs out. It has a 5 point harness. I notice he ends up slumped to the side when he tries to adjust himself during sleep. Is it time to transition to the crib? I am a little apprehensive to do so due to his reflux. This will also mean that I will have to unswaddle him as he can roll while swaddled. Any advice would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • How slumped is too slumped? Personally I would ask your pediatrician about it. If his reflux is under control maybe the crib wouldn’t be as big a deal as you fear. That being said my own refluxers where swing sleeping for 10 and 13 months respectively so I totally understand how sometimes you need to keep babies upright for a while. Generally the slumping issue is a concern with very young babies or preemies. But I would definitely run it by your pediatrician.

      PS. Lots of swaddle-loving babies do great with a merlin sleep sack in the crib so that might be another direction to consider if you DO feel that the slumping is a concern.

      Good luck1
      Alexis recently posted..When Your Kid Won’t Stay in BedMy Profile

      • Thanks for your reply Alexis!I guess by slumped i mean that he somehow manages to twist and arch his back so that he is at an angle. Diagonal really. Then his head slumps forward over the harness. I really don’t know how he manages that position. It do not want him to choke and his safety is my biggest concern. I wonder if unswaddling might help him in that he can get more comfortable ?

  15. Thanks for your reply Alexis!I guess by slumped i mean that he somehow manages to twist and arch his back so that he is at an angle. Diagonal really. Then his head slumps forward over the harness. I really don’t know how he manages that position. It do not want him to choke and his safety is my biggest concern. I wonder if unswaddling might help him in that he can get more comfortable ?

  16. Hello,

    We decided to try the swing yesterday with our 10 week old and it went pretty well, but I have a few questions. Do we keep the swing moving all night or turn it off once she is asleep? And our swing is not a flat swing, she is probably 50% inclined (Fischer Price) and seems to be fine with that, her head does not come forward, she is in a little V shape sort of. But I watched the video you had with the Dr. from The Happiest Baby, and he said the swing should be almost fully reclined. Should we be worried?

  17. My baby is just 5 months with reflux and the swing has been a life saver. She was a premie and because of the reflux I have to feed her a small amount more often so we have yet use the 4 hr shut off! The trouble is she is already 24.5 pounds.
    Any suggestions for a swing that has a greater weight limit?

    • Wow – that is a HUGE kiddo at 5 months and doubly so for a preemie. We’ll at least you don’t have any questions about him thriving and growing – yay!

      The Fisher Price swings max out at 25 lbs. Not because it’s a safety issue but because it’ll blow the motor (meaning the motor will die, not that it will actually blow up or anything scary like that). So if she’s in the swing but doesn’t need it to move you might just wait it out in the one you have.

      Otherwise you could invest in a Graco which goes up to 30 lbs. They’re a bit more expensive but if you think she’ll need the inline for a few more months (refluxing kids often do) it’s probably worth the investment. Good luck!
      Alexis recently posted..When Your Kid Won’t Stay in BedMy Profile

  18. Hi there,

    My DD is that super sensitive 10 month old that you spoke of. She has never slept in her crib. Every nap has been in her swing(which has been by her crib for several months months now) and we use a sound machine with loud white noise (sometimes 2 of them. We originally used the vacuum.) At night we bed share. In the early months she would sleep in a rock in play swaddled. Then I started getting too tired and was afraid of falling asleep and dropping her while nursing at night. So, I just started to pull her into bed. She used to sleep till 3 am. Now she wakes all the time and basically has to be latched on. She hates pacifiers. I had to stop swaddling because she hated her arms being trapped. But she loves to nurse to sleep in the ring sling (which I do before every nap and then ease her into swing). So I wonder if I can swaddle her and leave her arms out if she would like it? Or one arm out? She never rolls over. She can(I have seen her do it) she just doesn’t.
    When my DH is home with the kids and I’m at work, he puts her in her swing awake for naps. He says she maybe fussed 10 mins tops if she does at all (it used to be much longer and it was screaming. She ran off all options we had for child care my first 2 weeks back to work because she would scream the whole time I was gone. Sometimes she would stop.if she was being held). I always nurse her to sleep then ease her in. I’d like to end up with her in her crib for naps and maybe the first part of the evening (I use bed sharing and night nursing to keep up my supply).
    She wakes all the time. Sometimes I will nurse to sleep at night and put her in a moving swing (only on notch 2) but she will only sleep a couple hours and then it’s like she is wide awake again and We end up staying up for a while.

    I guess I need to start putting her in the swing awake? I really don’t know how to do this gently. She is the 21 pound baby with the swing that has a 25 pound weight limit that you joked about. Hahaha.

    Please help.if you can.

  19. Hi there!
    I have a question, but I’ll give some background first. My little girl is 4 months and 1 week old. She has been sleeping in her crib at night (fairly well most nights) but naps in her swing in the day. Her swing has always been on the lowest setting, never higher….but never off either. I have moved her swing into her room next to her crib about a month ago. We have always put her into her swing and crib awake…..she won’t fall asleep in our arms even if we wanted her to!! She usually fusses for 10-20 mins before falling asleep, occasionally longer at night. I keep trying to nap her in her crib….starting with the first nap of the day. If that nap doesn’t go well it’s right into the swing for subsequent naps just to make sure she gets the day time sleep she needs. In her crib she will only nap 30-45mins then wake….unable to get herself back to sleep. At that point I give her some time, usually 20min,to see if she will go back to sleep. If she doesn’t, I go up and put her in her swing. I do this because I DO NOT want her to miss a nap entirely. This little miss becomes a vicious monster if overtired…impossible to console or settle. She needs 3 naps a day, at least 2 hours each. So in desperation to make sure she sleeps I move her to her swing. Am I jepordizing progress by doing this?? 30-45min nap in her crib, and if unable to go back to sleep, move to her swing to “finish” her nap?? I’m hoping one day she will just surprise me and go longer then 45mins. At night, she tends to squirm/wake at this 30/45min interval also, but almost always falls back to sleep on her own. I don’t know if what I’m doing is “ok” and if not, what can I do to make her crib naps last longer. She would literally sleep for HOURS in her swing sometimes if I let her. I’d LOVE to be able to put this darn swing away!

    • Hi there. I just wanted you to know you are not alone. My DD becomes a vicious little monster too. But at least you put yours down awake already. If I do that she will be a monster then as well. And she sleeps terribly at night. But we bed share. Is seems like she tosses and turns all night long. I would LOOOOVE to put my swing away. My LO is 10 months.

    • Hi there! This is my exact situation, but my little guy is 3 months old. He goes to sleep in bed by himself at night. He will even go to sleep by himself for the first nap of the day, but only sleeps for 45 min in crib….and will sleep 2+ hours in the swing. Seeing as this post is old, just wondering what you did and how it worked for you?! Thanks!

  20. Hi there. I have a 2 month old who loves his swing but hates the swaddle. He will fight and struggle once swaddled to break free. The sad thing is, when we have been able to swaddle him when he’s drowsy (which is a challenge to do without waking him) he sleeps so well! But he wales when he wakes up and realizes he is swaddled! I really want to transition him to the crib soon and love the idea of having swaddling as a tool when I finally do so, but I wonder if there are infants that just hate being swaddled? Any suggestions? Please help!

  21. I’ve just transitioned my 6 mo. old out of a mamaroo swing into her crib for her 3-4 daily naps. It went really smoothly, I always put her down awake, and she falls asleep fairly quickly on her own with no fussing… HOWEVER, her naps that used to be 1-2 hrs. in the mamaroo have turned into 20-30 minutes naps. :( How do I get the longer ones back!!! Her twin brother is still in the mamaroo and napping wonderfully, so now I don’t want to transition him….multiples and sleeping in the same room has its own issues. Anyway, suggestions on how to get those long naps back?

    • Andrea,

      We are in the exact same boat! I just transitioned my 6 mo. old to her crib for naps and although she falls asleep on her own, her naps are only 30 mins. In the swing, she slept 1-2 hours. I would love to hear if others experienced this issue and how they resolved it!

  22. I have a mamaroo and had used when my baby was a new newborn, it was hit or miss on the sleep then. He is 3.5 months old now. And needs to be rocked/nursed to sleep every time. He now doesn’t like to be put down for naps and rather wakes up when try to so I let him nap on me just so he will . For bedtime he lets me put him down after he is asleep in the rock n play next to his crib. He will sleep there for a little stretch 30mins-2hrs depending, and then I bring him into bed with us for the night after he wakes up around the 10-12am time because it has been far easier to nurse and go back to sleep.
    My question is do you recommend start to use the swing again if we haven’t been at all and where to start with that? There is no chance he remotely seems interested in falling asleep on his own and he doesn’t even like being consoled after I lay him down. So laying him down awake anywhere he just cries. He is also swaddled and uses white noise, no pacifier.
    Thank you!
    Carlie recently posted..Weaning Baby Off the SwingMy Profile

  23. Hi Alexis!

    First of all, THANK YOU. I found your blog when my LO was almost 3 months and my arms were about to break off from carrying him while he napped. We were co-sleeping at night, so the only time I really had a break from my sweet son was when I put him in the swing as a last resort (he’d immediately dose off). I had no idea I was keeping him from sleeping by waiting for his overdue sleep cues! Once I found your blog, I put his swing in his room (video monitor on), established a good bedtime routine, and began offering him regular naps…and he turned into a completely different kid! So happy!

    So, now my happy little guy is just over 4 months and I’d like to start the transition to his crib at night. I have him on the lowest swing setting, so the next thing to do will be to put him in the stationary swing. My question: since the swing is already in his room, do I still need to move it so that it is right by his crib? And if so, is it important which way the swing is facing (like, facing the wall he’ll face in the crib)? Right now the swing is facing his crib, across the room, and I’m not sure how detailed these associations go.

    Also: would it be a bad idea to start sleep training the same time as transitioning to the crib? I leave the room when he is in the swing now, so he is used to putting himself to sleep (aside from the rocking of the swing, of course). About a month ago I tried to skip the stationary swing step and just put him in his crib for the night…and he woke up crying every two hours. If that happens again, I want to be prepared with whether I should go in and comfort him or just go with CIO.

    Would love any advice you might have!
    Erin recently posted..Preparing for Your Second Baby: The Crib DecisionMy Profile

    • I am wondering the same thing about the position of the swing in the room. What did you decide to do, and how has it worked out? Would love to hear.

    • And I’m also in the same boat you were in with about to transition to stationary swing & leave the room. Have you made the transition? Would love to hear your update all around!

  24. Our baby starts the night off just fine in his crib. At 3.5 months we got him down to 2 feedings a night and I was finally getting enough sleep collectively. However, starting somewhere during month 4, he has a hard time falling back asleep in his crib after his feedings. I usually resort to dumping him in his motionless swing – which immediately quiets and comforts him.

    Last night I was determined to keep him in his crib all night. (He is 5.5 months old, in the 99% height and his head is skimming the fabric top. it is TIME). Well he woke up at 1:30a for his feeding, was put down and cried his little heart out (Husband and I took turns trying to comfort him every 30 minutes to no avail). At 5a, (neither of us had slept at all since 1:30a) I finally relented and dumped him in his swing and he quieted and fell asleep.

    Should I have kept him in his crib even though he had already cried straight for 3 hours?? Or does this mean it’s time to end the night feedings so he isn’t awakened so much by it? (I can’t blame him, it’s hard to fall asleep when you have a few hours of sleep in your belt and you’re awake for 30 minutes or so to feed!)

    I’m desperate. someone, anyone have and advice or similar experience?

  25. Hi Alexis! My baby is 12 weeks old and we’re trying to transition her to sleeping in her crib in the next two weeks because we’re going to be going on a trip and she’ll have to sleep in the pack ‘n play. She’s been sleeping in the non-moving swing for at least a month. She was sleeping from 10:30pm to 4am and then until 8am pretty consistently in the swing. We moved her to the crib Monday and now she’s waking 2-3x instead of once a night. We tried putting her in a sleep sack because the first night she had kicked off all her swaddle and blankets every time she woke up. The sleep sack kept her warm, but didn’t decrease the wakings because her arms aren’t swaddled. We think she sleeps better when swaddled. So last night (third night trying the crib) we just swaddled her instead of using the sleep sack. She only woke up twice (2am and 3:30am). I still only feed her once in the night no matter how many times she wakes up because we know she only needs one night feed. After the night feed, I’ve been putting her in the swing so that she’ll stay asleep until 8 or 8:30am so I can catch up on sleep. I’m afraid if I put her back in the crib she’ll keep waking up every couple hours. My plan is to continue to start her out in the crib every night (swaddled) and keep doing that until she can sleep through the night. Do you think she’ll just gradually get used to sleeping in the crib and go back to sleeping from 10:30pm to 4am after a while? Or is there something else I should do to help her with the transition? One of my friends talked about making a “nest” under the crib sheet with a blanket or towel so she’s supported on the sides and feels more snuggled in the crib like she does in the swing. I may try that tonight and see if it helps. I appreciate any ideas you have. I’m writing because my situation is a little different than the situation in your post – she’s been sleeping in a non-moving swing for a long time. So it’s not the motion she likes, it’s the position (upright and snuggled). I think…..

    • No nest (it’s not a huge issue but it’s a mild SIDS hazard). Sounds like she wants to be swaddled! I would totally swaddle her. Most 3 month olds are still swaddled (as are plenty of 6 and 9 month olds). As long as she’s not flipping over she can be swaddled in her crib. So 100% swaddle vote from me!
      Alexis recently posted..Is Sleep Training Child Abuse?My Profile

    • Natalie, what ended up working for you? I’m in the exact same position. My 13 week-old will only get up once at night or sleep through the night in the non-moving swing but will be up every two hours in the bassinet. She’s swaddled in either location.

      • Hi Paige, it just took us about a week to get her adjusted. We’d start her out in the crib at night and when she woke up in the middle of the night I’d try putting her in the crib after bottle but if she wouldn’t settle then I’d put her in the swing. At first she woke up multiple times but night after night it got better. She eventually went down to one wakeup per night and would go in the swing after. And then the second week of that we didn’t use the swing at all. All this was in preparation to sleep in a pack ‘n play on vacation so we gave ourselves 2 weeks for her to get used to it. She finally adjusted and she did really well in the pack ‘n play too. Now we don’t need the swing at all. She’s 15 weeks now.

        • We still swaddle her every night. Now that she’s able to roll on her side sometimes it takes her longer to settle but eventually she does and if she happens to come unswaddled, that’s usually when she wakes up, so the tighter the better. Eventually we won’t need to swaddle her but she’s still under 4 months, so she still likes it.

  26. This is the most reassuring information I have ever read about weaning off the swing.
    I have twin girls. One falls asleep pretty easily and doesn’t need the swing as much.
    The other will not fall asleep on her own for anything. Once you put her in the swing though, she is out like a light in no time.
    All naps are happening in the swing with motion and without motion for a few minutes before its time to get up.
    At night she falls asleep in the swing, I move her to bassinet, feed her and she sleeps in bassinet the rest of the night. She falls back asleep in bassinet pretty easily at night.
    The swings are in the living room and I feel like we have restricted use of the living due to this.
    My girls are 15wks old. When should I start to wean off the swing and where do I begin? I think they would be ok sleeping in cribs once we are ready to have them in their and out of bassinets. We would like to wait until they are sleeping longer stretches before doing this.
    Should we just wait for now and revisit in a few weeks?

  27. I’m really hoping you can help me. I am a first time mom and I wish I had started this process earlier, or even looked into it earlier. My baby just turned a year old. She is small for her age but I know that she needs to get out of the infant swing ASAP. She has no problem sleeping in her crib at night. We don’t put her in the crib awake though. We usually rock her to sleep (which only seems to work at night). She has never really liked pacifiers and she does have a white noise maker by her bed. She will not take a nap during the day unless she is in her swing. We do put her in it awake and she normally is out in about 5-10 minutes or less. We have a fisher price swing so I know that the weight limit is 25 lbs and the lowest setting doesn’t seem to be any different from the highest setting. I am at a loss of how to get her out of the swing. She gets really upset if she is put in her crib awake. I’ve even tried letting her cry for a few minutes but she just gets more and more worked up. Help! I don’t know what to try next?

  28. When you put baby down awake in the swing, how long do you give him to fall asleep on his own? My 11 week old son will sit in the swing happily at bedtime or naptime with eyes wide open and babbling in the dark, alone, for a long time. So after 10 minutes (of watching him on the monitor) I feel compelled to go in and bounce him around in my arms to get him to sleep. I feel like because he’s still little that he may NEED more soothing from me to sleep. But I want to start to transition out of the swing and into his crib. Should I just leave him to fall asleep on his own even if it takes 20 minutes or a half hour or more? I worry that the more time he spends in there awake, the farther he gets from all the calming/sleep cues I gave him from bedtime/naptime routine (nursing, diapering, cuddling) and the more over tired he’ll get. Plus, this happens in the middle of the night after his feeding and its impossible for me to sleep next to him when I know his little eyes are wide open and he’s randomly announcing baby babbles.

  29. Hi Alexis,

    My daughter is almost 6 months old and it has gotten to the point where she takes all of her naps and night sleep in the swing. (She’s #4 and life here is crazy!) She will not go to sleep by herself in the swing – usually she takes a bottle in there and requires some singing and jostling to get to sleep. She takes 2 or 3 good naps during the day if the swing remains on (1-3 hours each) but will typically wake after 45m if we turn it off once she is asleep. Same if we turn it off at bedtime unless she has been asleep in there a few hours and then we will often get a 4-5 hour stretch. Typically she wakes once or twice/night (but sometimes remains awake for a full 2 hour wake cycle – yuck). As you can probably guess, I’M LOSING MY MIND! Obviously we need to get her 1) out of the swing into the crib and 2) putting herself to sleep after being put down awake, but in which order would you recommend we tackle that? Also, night time before nap time, or vice versa? Thanks so much.

  30. My 6 month old is breastfed and starts every night in his crib. At night we give him a bottle and he then puts himself to sleep. However, naps are an issue. He was napping in the swing, and doing pretty good, but naps have been shorter and shorter. It’s also taking a long time to fall asleep. He’ll be up for 3 hours sometimes and sit in the swing for another hour and still not sleep. I would really love to transition completely to his crib because I have a house full of kids during the day. Any tips or pointers?

  31. I just finished using this protocol exactly with my TWINS. It was pure magic. When transitioning to naps, we started with the first nap of the day in the crib only and then progressed to all over the course of a few days. Fantastic post, thanks so much!

  32. Yes, I love the idea of a slow progression! We are using the same philosophy when removing other sleep cues like transitioning from a swaddle to a sleep sack, etc. The best part of this slow transition is that we haven’t had to use CIO like we did with our first child. The twins had the time to learn at their own pace and are so relaxed. It’s really awesome! Thanks again, your blog has been superbly helpful :)
    Sonya recently posted..Learning to Sleep Over TimeMy Profile

  33. My baby just turned 5 months old and is 28 inches and 20 lbs.. Should I try to find a larger swing or just start putting him on the couch with me? He just uses it during the day when he is done playing.

  34. Hi Alexis, Thank you for this website and your articles. It has made me feel a lot better about even considering CIO for my 6 month old. I’m guilty of the biggest sin of not putting my baby down awake. I rock, nurse, sing, pat (just about anything!) to put him to sleep. It didn’t used to be so bad but since he turned 5 months he got progressively worse.

    He catnaps during the day (usually 30-45 mins), 4x a day. He goes to bed between 7pm and 8pm (in his cot but after rocking) depending on when his last nap was and wakes every 1-2 hours and I have to nurse him back to sleep and he eventually ends up in bed with me til morning.

    Anyway my question is, is it too late for me to try a swing? He only just turned 6 months this week. So far he is only able to fall asleep on his own in the pram without fuss (this started happening in the last month too).

    Thank you so much!!

  35. Hi Alexis,
    My son just turned 7 months and has slept in his swing (cradle swing for naps and night time sleep) for about 5 months. I’ve tried to get him to sleep in a pack n play and to co-sleep, but he absolutely refuses. He’ll go into the swing, awake, without one issue but anywhere else the tantrum and tears begin, even in my arms. I’d love to transition him to a more spread out sleeping environment as well as I have just read the impaired breathing can cause developmental delays, and I’m terrified I’m harming my son. I’m also expecting my second son 9 days before my swing baby turns 1, so to get him into a better sleep environment would be great for us all and I would really love some transitioning advice! Thank you greatly!!
    Alex: bad decisions first time mom

  36. Hi there,

    Thank you for your website, my husband & I really appreciate the advise.

    My 5 month old will only nap in his swing. His naps last for 30-45 mins, every 2 hrs. My goal is to get him to nap in his crib for longer periods.

    As per your advise, I have moved the swing next to his crib & put him down awake. I start on speed#1, as he falls asleep I stop the motion. What should my next step be? How many days should I wait until I transition him to his crib? Will he ever nap longer? I also use white noise & pacifier.

    Thank you,

  37. Hi Alexis!

    My LO is 4 months and is sleeping (naps and nighttime)
    In her swing (side to side swinging). I toned it down to level 1.
    I am really looking forward to trying the 8 steps to wean her off it.
    But here is the thing. We are going on vacation in 2 weeks.
    My husband wants to disassemble the swing and bring it
    Along. (It’s not a travel swing). There is no travel swing
    Swinging side to side. Can I transition her into stationary
    Sleep in 2 weeks or just start after we get back?

    • Hi Bea,
      Would love to find out what you ended up doing. We’re in the same exact predicament you were in – heading to vacation soon and thinking about dismantling the swing to take it with us!

      • We succeeded in having her sleep in the stationary swing and half the time she goes to sleep awake.
        But then we chickened out and basically took the swing along. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. (Dissembling it). When we get home, we will put the swing in the nursery and go from there. I better have her ready by September because I sure can’t take the swing overseas :-).
        Good luck!

  38. Hi there, we have her sleeping in the cradle next us @ night and the swing during the day. She slept in the crib great during the day for 2 weeks until 16 weeks then back to swing or else she won’t nap. Awake when we put her in there On the lowest speed. Been trying again for naps in crib now that she’s 19 weeks and it’s not working. Are there signs I should be looking for to try the crib again, or just keep trying with the first nap? you’ve mentioned 5-6 months in the swing is also ok. That seems long. Please help.

  39. Dear Alexis

    I think I have waited toooo long, I have 14 month old and boy she wont sleep without the swing.. sometimes she even fights the swing and doesnt want to sleep at all.. I just got a new one graco little lounger.. worked twice but now she cries and will not sleep in it.. I feel helpless at this point.. she is 22 lbs and I just wish she would sleep on her own. Another thing she sleep side-carting in her crib next to our bed due to night time nursing.. when we tried to transition her to closed crib we gave up..

    All i can say is Help
    martyna recently posted..The Monumental Guide to Short Naps AKA Everything You Need to Know to Vanquish Crap NapsMy Profile

  40. Alexis, my son is 4 months old and will go in the swing wide awake but will only fall asleep with jiggling. How do I wean him off the jiggle? By the way I’ve only survived this long thanks to your varsity swing info!

  41. THANK YOU! I have returned to this website for #2, because her sleep issues are the total opposite from #1! #1 was a catnapper, #2 I have to wake from naps! #1 hated the swing, #2 is sleeping only sleeps in her swing! Alas, neither are early STTNers (it took #1 18 months and I’m still recuperating!)

    We place our 15wo awake with light in her Fisher Price snuggabunny swing and after turning off the light, with much aggressive swinging and shushing (we now use a shushing machine), she falls asleep in 10 or so minutes. I’d love to do the dial it back thing, but when we leave her in the swing on highest speed (and with shushing machine), she either just looks around for 2 hours then starts crying (and by then is totally OT) or she quickly cries to hysterics (at which point we aggressively swing and she falls asleep). The issue is she IS outgrowing the swing (16lb at 15weeks so still room to grow there, but mainly she is 99th% height and her feet already dangle / her head almost hits the top; and we are having trouble closing the harness which is too tight). Also she keeps trying to sit up which makes her head slump forward in a way that makes us uncomfortable. So if it will require some crying in swing to slow the speed, I’d rather have her cry in my arms and transition her to crib. What is your advice? THANKS!

  42. Hi Alexis,

    I really like your methods and want to use them for my 4 month old son. He turned 4 months this week and he’s been sleeping in his crib for a little while now (probably about the last 6 weeks). We don’t really have any problems with him napping and sleeping through the night. Although he’s not consistent every night on his timings yet, he is sleeping for good long chunks of time (at least 30 minutes in day time naps with morning ones sometimes as long as 2 hours and he does one stretch of 6 hours at night normally) but we do have to bounce him to sleep every time. I’ve been trying to put him down in his crib fully awake for this last week and he’s been screaming the place down and not settling. I wonder if the swing would be a good transition for him as he likes to bounce to sleep but I don’t know if I should leave him in the swing when he’s asleep if he’s already sleeping so well in his crib once we get him there? I understand he needs to have everything be the same as when he went to sleep but I’m afraid of creating an attachment to the swing when we’ve already got him sleeping so well in his crib for all naps and night time sleep.

    I would so appreciate any thoughts you have on this as I’m wanting him to be happy going down in his crib but also want to stop bouncing him to sleep each time! Or maybe I’m just wanting too much too soon?! Thanks!

  43. We have twins and last month I finally broke down and told my husband that we need a second swing. The whole nursing and rocking both of them to sleep and then sliding slowly out of the rocking chair, leaving one baby precariously in it while I take the other baby to bed and then come back for the second baby only for them to take a 45 minute nap was killing me. And when they were in the swing they would generally take at least 90 minute naps. Fast forward to this week. They are finally sleeping in their cribs (just shy of 6 months) . It started out at 2 out of 3 naps in the crib and by the end of the week, 3 of 3 naps for both babes in their cribs! Thank you so much for the encouragement that the swings weren’t going to damage their sleeping habits forever.

  44. Hi,
    We have recently successfully transitioned to the crib from the swing and it was certainly in large part thanks to this website! At around 7 weeks there was nothing that I could do to get my lo to fall asleep – bouncing, rocking, singing… nothing was working! He would basically pass out from exhaustion at around midnight after 5 or 6 hours of nursing (of course, I didn’t realise this at the time and thought the problem was with my milk supply). After a while of this, my husband ran out to buy a swing to give me a bit of time during the day to get things done and we realised that, miraculously, he fell asleep in the swing like magic! He also had long naps and slept great at night in the swing!

    At around 3 months he mostly didn’t need the swing to be on (it was by accident that I realised this – similar to the FedEx scenario described above). However, he wanted nothing to do with the crib, even though the swing had been next to his crib for weeks and we were using many other sleep cues. At 5.5 months, we decided to transition. Night #1 was really tough, he basically “broke” us and at 3am, we put him in the swing. That was the last time he spent any time in the swing at night. Night 2, he cried 8 minutes and fell asleep in the crib and followed his usual nighttime schedule and night 3 he only cried 2 minutes.

    We waited until he was almost 7 months to transition for naps (I did not want to make him cry unless necessary!), but to my surprise, there was no crying at all. He is now 8 months and we have no issues (for the most part). He will even sleep at my parents’, which we only tried for the first time when he was 7 months.

    Thank you so much Alexis – the information you provided was invaluable! I felt like such a terrible mother for relying on the swing, until I found your site and saw that I was not alone!!!

  45. Looking for a sample schedule for weaning baby off the swing for naps. For example, an estimate of how long (how many days/naps) to drop to each speed.

    Here’s what we are doing now:
    Currently, LO sleeps in the crib for bedtime from 8:30pm-4:30am so nighttime sleep is not an issue. Naps in the crib are not happening. We tried for a few days and he would just cry or take 5 minute naps. Rather than let him get overtired, he sleeps in the swing. With the swing at 4 (out of 6 speeds), he naps 1.5 hours per nap. We have a nap/bedtime song that plays first along with white noise and he is put down (in both swing and crib) awake. Goal is to move him gradually off the swing and into his crib for naps.

  46. Hello,

    My 5mth old son used to only nap in his swing and sleep at night in the crib. Now he doesn’t want to nap in the swing OR the crib. Night time crib sleeping is still fine. Any suggestions to get him sleeping in the crib during the day would be great!

  47. My baby is 4 months and huge (approaching 20 lbs.) so I am feeling like we might need to move him out of the swing pretty soon. He sleeps amazing in the swing at night (5-6 hours at a stretch). We have been trying to transition him to the crib and we’re able to get him to fall asleep but now he wakes up every 2 hours. As soon as we put him back in the swing – back to long stretches of sleep.
    We could probably get him back to sleep when he wakes up from the crib if we gave him a bottle every time, but we are trying to avoid him being totally dependent on the bottle. Any ideas on how to get him out of the swing but keep making progress in sleeping through the night without depending on milk?

  48. My baby is 11 months old. Sleeping in swing, off, in sleepsack, for naps and bed and sleeping great. Refluxy baby on medications. Has outgrown a milk/soy allergy recently. We just tried nap times in crib this week, thinking that would be the easiest place to start, and it’s going terribly:( 30+ minutes of crying. Wondering if we should start with night time in crib first? Or just buy bigger swing LOL. We do put him down asleep, so I guess we need to put down awake like you suggest? swing and crib are both in his room with white noise. Pacifier, night light, lovey are in use too. I hope he’s not too old for this transition, aghh! Either way I think we are going to take a few nights off to rest and regroup before trying another strategy. Thanks for this blog:)

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