TL;DR: The short answer is no.
As I discussed in my earlier post (Swinging your baby. Why it’s a great idea.), all babies are born used to movement so you won’t be introducing them to something different when you start swinging or rocking them.
Why des it soothe them so well?
Because, along with the array of loud sounds in the womb and a tiny bit of light, that’s all they have known!
The vast majority of babies can be weaned off motion as an aid to fall asleep by 6 months, and when the time comes to stop swinging, they adapt quickly – as long as you have a good sleep routine in place. Adopting healthy sleep habits is the best way to ensure your baby (and in turn you) are getting a good night’s sleep.
5 tips to help wean your baby off motion at bedtime
1.Get them into a routine before the 6 month mark
Bedtime activities such as reading a book, bathtime, singing a lullaby, using a dummy and (a couple which we found incredibly helpful with our boys) using a swaddle and playing white noise loudly are all super-helpful sleep cues.
With these routines established, when it comes to wean them off swinging, you’ve still got a whole bunch of cues to let your little one know that it’s bedtime.
2. Let the swing do the swinging and not your arms
This would make it a bit redundant to use a swing right? Make sure your baby is awake when you put them in the swing. There’s a couple of important reasons for this:
- You can’t wean your baby off the swing if it’s not the swing that’s been helping them fall asleep in the first place.
- It’s much harder for your baby to detach themselves from the association of you swinging them to sleep in your arms.
3. Ease off the swinging
There’s a huge advantage in using a parent-powered swing, such as the NiniPod. There’s no gadget that will ever know your baby like you do, so when it comes to slowly and gradually decreasing the swinging, your connection with your baby will allow you to intuitively know whether you’ve eased off too quickly.
If this is the case, you can easily step it up a gear and then bring it down again, eventually to a very slight and minimal amount of swinging.
4. Don’t swing the swing
Put your baby down to sleep whilst still awake but don’t swing your baby. If all the steps above have been followed, this one *should* be a smooth transition.
The NiniPod is great for this transitional period as it comes with a 6-9 month extension. When in this setting the swinging function should be completely locked off. The extension also helps with the transition as your baby is still sleeping in the same cot, on the same mattress.
It’s also a good idea at this point to move your baby into their own room so they can ease into their new surroundings. Remember to continue using the white noise!
5. It’s time for the big boy cot
You’ve now weaned your baby off swinging, got them sleeping in their own room and now is the final step of getting them to sleep in their cot / cot bed. For us, this step resulted in some tears (both for our boys and us), but thankfully not for too long! In fact both times by day four our boys nodded straight off. Day otwone and they cried around 10-15 mins, day three less than 5 mins.
Just a quick note on white noise – there’s plenty of sleep apps out there which play white noise, or you could literally turn on a hoover; we’ve even heard of parents placing them near their washing machine to nap (though I wouldn’t recommend putting your washing machine in the nursery!).
Worth a mention
The NiniPod idea came about after using a traditional Indian swing cot. This type of swing has been used in India (and similar types in other parts of Asia) over a millenia by millions of families.
Now, I don’t know what sleep routines they follow but I do know for certain that as their babies get older they’re not relying on motion to get them to sleep. Although this could be classed as anecdotal evidence, with the huge numbers and lengthy timescale involved it’s difficult to ignore!