Baby Bouncers vs Baby Swings: What Are the Differences, Pros & Cons?

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A mother kissing a newborn baby

If you have a new baby on the way, chances are you won’t be able to hold it in your arms 24/7.

(As much as you might want to at first… Trust me, it gets tiring!)

That’s why there are products out there like baby bouncers and baby swings, specifically designed to simulate the movement your baby feels when you hold him — without you actually having to do it!

Placing your baby in a bouncer or swing is a safe, comfortable way for both you and baby to be happy while you attend to other things.

But which one is the safer, better choice?

In this article, I want to break down the differences between baby bouncers vs. baby swings and help you decide which one is right for your budding family.

The main differences between bouncers and swings are their movement, the source of their movement, and portability. 

Baby swings are usually operated by a motor that allows them to swing from side to side, back and forth, or both, depending on the model. Baby bouncers, on the other hand, are activated by self-generated movement; they are designed in a way that allows them to bounce and jiggle as your baby wiggles and kicks.

Swings are larger and meant to remain in one location, while a bouncer can be moved around and even placed on top of a table. 

Now let’s take a little bit of a closer look at this comparison.


Baby Bouncers Explained

Baby in a bouncer on table
Jason White/Flickr

Bouncers are basically a reclined chair for your baby. Baby bouncers give your infant a place to be comfortable and safe while you tend to other tasks.

Bouncers are designed in a way that enables them to move and bounce as your baby moves, or you can even gently bounce them with your foot.

(We used to place our daughter in a bouncer while we ate dinner and take turns bouncing her.)

Baby bouncers come in many different styles and designs, and some even include additional features like vibration, adjustable recline positions, and a toy bar. Some bouncers are even collapsible for easy transport and storage.

The main uses of baby bouncers are:

  • To provide a soothing motion for your baby
  • To provide a comfortable place for your baby to relax
  • To provide a portable, safe solution to keep your baby close as you tend to other tasks

Baby bouncers can be easily moved from one place to another, even with your baby in them.

You can also place it on your table or bed as you do your work so your baby can observe and engage with you. Just remember to never leave your baby unattended if her bouncer is on a high surface!

Baby bouncers do not require electricity or batteries (unless they have vibration or music features); they have a natural bounce that is activated by your baby’s motions or by you gently rocking the bouncer. 


Pros and cons of baby bouncers

Pros

  • Natural motion: Since baby bouncers are activated by natural movements, you never have to worry about running out of batteries, changing batteries, or always needing to be near an electrical outlet.
  • Portable: Baby bouncers tend to be on the smaller side and lightweight, making them very easy to move around. Plus, many of them fold up for even easier transport.
  • Easy to use: There’s not much to using a baby bouncer; just sit your baby in it and you’re done. Your baby’s movements will do most of the work for you.
  • Quiet: Although your baby might not actually mind the noise, you might have a different opinion. In a baby bouncer, there’s no motor activating the motion, so it’s nice and quiet.

Cons

  • Outgrown quickly: Most baby bouncers are only for babies up to six months old, and many babies outgrow them even sooner.
  • Limited motion: Depending on your baby’s personality, a bouncer may not provide enough motion to help your baby fall asleep. In this case, bouncers may be great for playtime, but not so much for calming a fussy baby.

We went with the Bright Starts baby bouncer (Amazon link) and got a TON of use out of it.


Baby Swings Explained

A baby in a fisher price baby swing
Howard Cheng/Flickr

Baby swings have long been a staple of new parents everywhere.

Babies love to rock and swing, but since you can’t always hold your baby, baby swings stepped in and offered a solution.

Baby swings use a motor to propel them from side to side or back and forth. Some swings need to be plugged in, others use batteries and some work with either.  

Baby swings usually come with several different settings that allow you to adjust the speed and intensity of the motion.

The ability to increase the power of movement can be very handy when it comes to calming a fussy baby. Many swings also come with features like vibration, music, and a toy mobile.

(There were some nights my daughter refused to sleep unless we placed her in the swing and cranked it up to near maximum power!)

The main uses of baby swings are:

  • To provide a comfortable and safe place for your baby to stay if you need to do something else
  • To provide an extra set of hands, so to speak, to rock your baby and even help him drift off to sleep

Baby swings come in an almost endless selection of styles, shapes, colors, and patterns.

They are usually outfitted with a safety harness and removable cushions and pads for easy cleaning.

Depending on how many bells and whistles a swing has, it can be anywhere from $125 to over $400.


Pros and cons of baby swings

Pros

  • Self-Moving: Swings operate by a motor, so you don’t need to rely on your baby’s motions. Plus, once your baby is asleep the motion continues, reducing the likelihood of her waking early.
  • Lots of features: Baby swings come with lots of options (toys, music, vibration) to keep your baby entertained, comfortable, and calm.

Cons

  • Bulky: Baby swings tend to be on the larger side and heavy, making them cumbersome to handle.
  • Not portable: Due to their size, swings are not easy to move around and offer no portability.
  • Noisy: It might not even be an issue for your baby, but the motor in a swing can make quite a bit of noise.

The mamaRoo swing (Amazon link) is hugely popular with parents. It’s on the pricier side but super quiet and saves a ton of space.


Wrapping Up

That about sums it up when it comes to baby bouncers vs. baby swings!

The biggest differences between the two are the way they move and their portability. Baby bouncers work with natural movements and can be moved easily from place to place. Baby swings are activated by a motor (for a larger range of motion) and are bulky and difficult to move.

In my experience, swings are better for getting a fussy baby to sleep or relax, while bouncers are a more convenient place to quickly set the baby down so you can do something else.

Ultimately, your baby’s personality will determine if a bouncer or swing is best. You might even find you want both because one is great for when your baby is awake, while the other is perfect for sleepy time.

I hope this helps, parents, and good luck with your search!

And before you go, don’t miss more Baby Stuff Explained like:

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