Out of pure desperation for more sleep, I placed my 4 month old in the swing to sleep at night. He went from sleeping 2-3 hour stretches to 6 – 8 hours. It is 4 weeks later. With a few unsuccessful attempts to have him sleep in his own crib, I find myself just placing him straight into the swing at night to sleep.
Question: What are your thoughts on infants sleeping in swings for long periods of time? Am I doing any damage other than prolonging his ability to learn to sleep without motion??
I doubt you are causing your son any harm, but he clearly cannot sleep in his swing forever. Depending on the type of swing and the size of your son, swing use usually ends around 6 months. At this age, my son who loved his swing learned to hold and stop the swing. He was large enough that his rapid movements made the swing unstable.
Ideally, you should begin by gently transitioning him to a crib after he has fallen asleep. Will he sleep any other way? Even a small variation would be a step forward. What happens if you stop the swing? Does he sleep in his car seat or stroller?
While a slow gentle transition sounds simple, I predict you are in for a struggle. All children need to learn to fall asleep on their own and settle themselves down when they wake up. This is essential for long term health. Read about teaching your child to fall asleep on his own in Sleep for 6 month olds and “crying it out”.
Return to sleep information - sleep for children
Written April 2011
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician
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