As I placed my baby in the swing for the third time that day, I wondered if it would cause him any harm. However, seeing as it was the only way to get him to fall asleep, I figured the need for rest outweighed any negatives.
No need to feel guilty anymore. It turns out the baby swing may actually help your baby’s motor development.
How does a baby swing promote a healthy brain?
It’s no secret babies love rocking, swaying, jiggling, and other repetitive movements. But studies have even shown that these movements can bring positive impacts to the part of the brain that controls a baby’s development of reflexes and motor skills.
Along with touch, the sense of movement and balance, the vestibular system, is one of the earliest senses to mature in a baby. It’s responsible for the development of the reflexes the doctor checks your baby for when assessing her neurological health, and it contributes to a person’s balance and sense of spatial orientation.
The swing offers vestibular benefits that you might also give your baby through carrying her in a sling, rocking your baby, letting him play in a bouncy seat or even pushing her around in a stroller. Even letting your baby sit up (a change in position) brings benefits to the development of the sense of motion and balance your baby is developing.
Since a baby’s mental development is cumulative, the vestibular function can impact other sensory and motor abilities, which then also impact the development of higher emotional and cognitive abilities down the road.
When a baby is being carried, rocked, swung, etc., he or she usually becomes quietly alert. It helps calm a baby into the mental state where they do some of their best learning. If the stimulation goes on for some time, they naturally drift off into sleep (which is just as blissful for us as it is for them sometimes).
I certainly don’t advise using your swing as a surrogate parent. But isn’t it great to know that the swing not only calms your baby but also helps her mind grow when she’s in it?