What are the types of baby swings? What are alternatives to baby swings?

As a parent choosing gear for your child, it’s important to understand the types of baby swings available. This post will help you make the right decision for what works best for your family! 

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Types of baby swings

First, let’s talk about the different types of baby swings. Some swings may fit into more than one category! 

Baby swing vs glider

The Graco Simple Sway Swing is an example of a baby swing. Image courtesy of Amazon

What’s the difference between swings and gliders? A swing is essentially like a swing at the playground. It goes back and forth with a jerky motion. And a glider moves back and forth smoothly, like a glider rocking chair.

The Graco Soothe My Way is an example of a glider. Image courtesy of Amazon

Babies enjoy both types of motion! Gliders tend to have smaller footprints than swings. 

Related post: Is a baby swing necessary?

Full size baby swings

The Fisher Price Cradle n Swing is an example of a full size swing. Image courtesy of Amazon

Most people think of full size baby swings when they hear the phrase “baby swing.” 

They typically have a somewhat large footprint. That gives them a large,  smooth swinging motion. And they’re usually the most comfortable for babies and have lots of features, like toys, vibration, or sounds and music to soothe babies. 

Some full size swings are small enough to move around your home, but they aren’t truly portable. 


  • Comfortable 
  • Large range of motion 
  • Many features such as toys, vibration or sound
  • Easy to operate


  • Large footprint 
  • Not portable 

Portable baby swings 

The Fisher Price Take-along swing is very compact and portable! Image courtesy of Amazon

Small, portable baby swings are perfect for people without a lot of space. Or parents who want to move the swing from room to room. Or if you plan to take it to other people’s homes- like grandparents or babysitters. 

Since they have such a small footprint, portable swings have a smaller range of motion. And they usually lack advanced features like vibration, music and toys. But not all of them. Read about the different options for small, compact, and portable baby swings here!

The Graco Small Spaces swing is a fairly large portable swing. Image courtesy of Amazon


  • Easy to fold and store
  • Easy to transport
  • Small footprint 


  • Lack advanced features like toys, vibration, and music 
  • Less swinging motion 

High tech swings

You might think full-size swings have lots of features. But high tech swings have even more capabilities! 

The 4moms mamaRoo is pretty high tech! Image courtesy of Amazon

For example, the 4moms mamaRoo4 has five different motions and speeds! It can bounce up and down or sway side to side. And parents can use bluetooth to control the swing from their phones or play their own music.

The Graco Sense2Soothe is one of the highest tech swings on the market. Image courtesy of Amazon

And then there’s the Graco Sense2Soothe swing. It has a microphone to see if your baby is crying. Then it tries a different speed, swinging motion, vibration setting, or sound. It has eight different motions, three swing speeds, two vibration settings, and fifteen songs and sounds!

Plus, the swing detaches from the base to become a portable rocker. 


  • Many swinging options to soothe your child
  • Several other options to comfort and entertain little ones


  • Has many complex features 
  • Usually not portable 
  • Most expensive type of swing

Alternatives to baby swings 

What other choices do you have besides a swing? There’s bouncers, rockers, and swing- rocker combos.

Baby swing vs bouncer 

The Fisher Price Bouncer is a great example of a basic bouncy seat! Image courtesy of Amazon

A baby bouncer, like its name suggests, bounces to soothe and entertain your baby. They often use batteries to bounce or vibrate. 

And since they just bounce up and down, they don’t take up much room and are very portable. 

Many are battery operated, and don’t plug into the wall. And a few are “baby operated” and only move when the baby moves. 

Some come with toys and music as well. 

Of course, there are even high tech baby bouncers too! Image of ComfyBumpy Bouncer courtesy of Amazon


  • Small footprint
  • Very portable 
  • May have toys and music
  • Less expensive than a swing


  • Fewer movement options than a swing
  • Often require batteries 
  • Some only bounce when the baby kicks

Baby swing vs rocker

The Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker is an example of a typical rocker. Image courtesy of Amazon

A rocker rocks your baby to soothe and entertain them.

Similar to a bouncer, rockers have small footprints and fewer features than baby swings. 

Again, they are easy for parents to move from one place to another. And easy to store when not in use.

The Fisher Price 2 in 1 Glider doubles as a rocker. Image courtesy of Amazon


  • Small footprint
  • Very portable 
  • May have toys and music
  • Lower cost than a swing


  • Fewer movement options than a swing
  • Often require batteries 
  • Some only rock when the baby kicks

Baby swing rocker combos

The Ingenuity Simple Comfort Swing Rocker. Image courtesy of Amazon

If you aren’t certain which option you or your baby will prefer, swing-rocker combos are great!

In most cases, they have the features of a full size swing. Like many different swinging motions, music, toys, and a nice, comfortable seat.

And then parents can remove the seat so that the baby can sit and rock. Since the seat is portable, you get the benefits of a swing and rocker while only buying one product. 


  • Many useful features including different swinging motions, toys and music
  • Comfortable 
  • Large range of motion 
  • Easy to operate
  • Includes separate portable rocker 


  • Large like a full size swing
  • Swing isn’t portable
  • More expensive than a full size swing

Why do babies like swinging or rocking motion?

Swinging and rocking motions remind babies of the movement they felt in the womb. They find this soothing and comforting after birth. 

If you have a baby who is crying even though they are fed, have a clean diaper, and are at a comfortable temperature, swinging or rocking can help calm them.

And if your arms get tired from rocking or you need to free up your hands, a swing or bouncer might be the perfect tool for your parenting toolbox

Wrap up 

types of baby swings

Now you have a great background on different types of baby swings and their alternatives. 

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