I was flooded with a torrential downpour of sympathy from my family back east when I told them I was expecting again with baby Asena. Besides asking if it was an accident or how many more kids I planned to have, all they could talk about was how much work taking care of a second baby would be and how full my hands already were with three dogs and Reila. Politely, I reminded them our sweet Rei of Sunshine is now a toddler – not a baby.

My Nana insisted children are babies until they’re three years old. Whatever, Nana. When I picture a “toddler,” its a child between the ages of one and maybe four years old. But there was no point arguing with someone who successfully raised four human resources of her own to adulthood and has lived long to meet her great, great grandchildren. Respect your elders.

Surely, I thought, Reila will be walking by the time the baby comes along. But I was wrong. Although she is fully capable of walking after taking her first steps with no assistance in December during a visit from her Aunt Tate and Pops, Reila knows there’s someone capable of her picking her up all the time and thus chooses not to walk on her own. Her Pops and I are both guilty of doing the same thing when we were her age. With enough coaxing, she’ll walk to you or down the hallway to an object that intrigues her, but not in public. And because of that, going out with both her and the newborn is an incredible amount of work requiring two adults – one to carry Reila while the other wields the baby carrier.

But not much has changed otherwise since Asena’s debut into the world. Well, besides there being two (well, three at the moment) sets of diapers to change, me breastfeeding again and Reila having a little sister to stare at and give kisses to all the time. Spennie and I knew what to expect with our second baby plus we had all the clothes and accessories stored away in the nursery from Rei’s infancy. As we pulled things out in anticipation of Asena’s arrival, we came across what I believe is the most helpful item to every new parent: the baby swing.

Here’s an almost three-month-old Reila enjoying her baby swing the first time we ever put her in it. It was love at first rock. I believe this is one of the higher rocking levels (4 or 5, maybe) and we had the heartbeat sounds on to soothe infant Rei.

It took us almost three months after Reila’s was born to buy a baby swing and boy oh boy was it was a life changer. The best part was we got it brand new for only $60 online. I’m not in any way affiliated or paid by the maker of this baby swing but it has been so helpful for my family, I guess I don’t mind giving them some free advertising.

Although there are tons of fancy-pants baby swings on the market, we didn’t want to pay more than $100 for something we were worried would break or only be used once. But the Graco Glider Lite™ Baby Swing matched all of our criteria including being under budget and safely gets the job done. We went with a design pattern called Zuba featuring monkeys, gorillas, lions and giraffes to match our jungle-themed nursery. If you somehow manage to burn the motor out, I’ve heard Graco will replace it for free although we’ve had our baby swing for almost two years now with no problems of any kind.

For anyone concerned about positional asphyxiation, this baby swing doesn’t sit upright which drastically lowers the risk and also features a harness so baby won’t fall out or get picked up by a curious toddler sibling. Another great component is that it can be operated via outlet or rechargeable battery. We only ever use the outlet but if we wanted to take it somewhere and, say, forgot the chord, we’d be really glad to have that battery.

The Graco Glider Lite™ Baby Swing has 5 nature-sound settings like a rainforest and waterfall but also includes the sound of a heartbeat (which you can hear in the video above.) A second sound setting features 10 classical songs including Beethoven’s Für Elise for baby to enjoy. Like other baby swings, this one has six different gliding levels from slow to fast to help baby fall asleep. For our newborn, Asena, we generally keep it on a super low level, like one or two. You can also set it on a timer or let it swing and play music indefinitely.

Working from home, I’m lucky enough to spend all day with my girls and not have to pay for daycare. But sometimes, it’s easier to get work done – especially housework – with two free hands. Enter the baby swing. If I need a minute to switch the laundry, run to the bathroom, cook or simply enjoy a moment of my workday without skin-to-skin contact from a tiny human, it’s there for me. I keep it right next to where I’m working so I can keep an eye on it (regardless of how safe it is, I’m too paranoid to leave any newborn unattended.) Simply harness the baby into it, choose a glide speed and baby will be fast asleep in no time – even big babies.

I love how she folds her hand just like she did as an infant.

When we set the swing back up last week, Reila crawled into it as soon as I pulled Asena out to feed her. Now, Reila can operate the buttons on her own to control the glide speed and soundtrack to her baby swing experience. She turned on the classical music and then pressed the big number six so the glider rocked back and forth as fast as it possibly could. After only 10 minutes of swinging, she was fast asleep and stayed in the swing for nearly two hours. I’m fortunate Reila still loves naps.

This model can hold little people weighing up to 25 pounds according to the manufacturer. Currently, Rei is 23 pounds so she won’t be able to enjoy it for much longer. It’ll be a rough day when she finds out she’s too big for her beloved chair – perhaps even rough for me since I’ve enjoyed two hours a day without the usual toddler mischief.

Now, if you are expecting your first child, I have news for you: babies are easy, toddlers are tricky. Newborns sleep, drink milk, poop and repeat. But with toddlers every drawer is open, toys are thrown, whatever was on the table is now on the floor – even the ones stubbornly refusing to walk! They discover by creating chaos wherever they roam. So when my 18-month-old hopped into the baby swing and fell asleep, I knew I owed some praise to this great invention and could help other parents by sharing my story.

If only they made a gliding swing like this for adults. . .

“Whoever said taking care of two babies by yourself is hard clearly didn’t have an electric baby swing.” I texted my sister-in-law with the above video attached. Although we didn’t have a baby swing listed on our registry, it sure is nice to have – and we didn’t have to drop loads of money, either! Whatever model you’re interested in, you can always check out your local Craigslist or yard sales to see if someone is selling a gently used one for cheap.

What do you think about baby swings? Do you own one and use it with your babies? Share your experiences, reviews and thoughts in the comments below!

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