Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Baby swing woes and triumphs

Today's post is a quick, absolutely honest, non-sponsored shout out to the company Fisher Price after they bowled me over with their customer service today.
You see, baby Boaz loves to sit in a swing as much as any baby. In fact, he loves it so much, I could even put him in it awake, and he would quickly doze off, and stay asleep for a good 2 or 3 hours, predictably and reliably. It doesn't get much better than that, folks. Showers, urgent phone calls, dinner, and other things I used to take for granted B.C. (before children) can all be attained with a good baby swing and a swing-happy baby.
Our last swing before this current one was purchased used, and saw us through 4 babies (Miriam through Stephen). It still works, but the padding has been compressed to being virtually non-existent. Plus, it was always a bit too upright for little babies to comfortably sleep in, even fully reclined.
Because of this, even though the old swing still worked, I decided to buy the "Fisher Price Snuggle Bunny" cradle swing, minimally used, from a neighbor. By minimally used, I mean they only used it for a couple of weeks, and then never again. As the name suggests, this swing cradles the baby and is very well padded, making for cozy naptimes. The swing comes with other bells and whistles, such as plugging into an outlet rather than only using batteries, but that is beside the point here.
All was well until two weeks ago, when I put Boaz in the swing for his usual morning nap and the motor would not turn on!!! Noooooooo!!!!  After a collective use time of not even two months on this swing, I found that rather unacceptable. Even used, we still paid $100 for the swing, since it was like new.
A glance at online reviews quickly revealed that the motor giving out is a very common problem on these particular swings. In fact, I found a popular YouTube video tutorial showing how to replace the motor in the swing with a motor from a $5 air freshener. No joke! It should come as no shock that such a motor will NOT hold up in a baby swing.
Several responses to the reviews on the Fisher Price company site encouraged disgruntled customers to call their Customer Service department, but seeing as I had purchased the swing used, and rarely have time for more than the most pressing phone calls, I didn't bother calling them.
Instead I tried putting Boaz into the old swing for naps. He would stay asleep through me transferring him from my arms to the swing, buckle him, get it all going, but he would wake up within minutes, crabby and tired, but not happy with that particular swing. I tried adding extra blankets to make it softer, but that didn't help. Many days I just carried him in the sling for naps, but that's not always convenient, especially when I'm cooking or doing work outside in the heat.
What to do, what to do? Buy a new $200 swing with an air-freshener-quality motor? Surely not. But that's the only one baby was happy with. Follow the tutorial and replace the motor ourselves? It didn't really look like something we wanted to dabble with. Desperate, I decided to call customer service - maybe they could advise me as to how to fix/replace the motor.
The lady I spoke with was very friendly. She was rather surprised when I mentioned this was our 8th baby, and told me she herself was #9 of 11. I always love talking to people from large families, and finding out what number baby they are! I told her the swing was used and several years old, but had not been used much. She was able to look up our swing by date code and product ID, and even though it was manufactured in 2011 and was never registered, she offered to replace it, completely free of charge. Normally they only send out the top part of the defective swings (a very common problem as they were well aware of), but since our particular model is no longer on the market, she offered to send me a whole new swing, completely free of charge! She even gave me a choice between the "Snuggle Monkey" or "Little Lamb" design. She also mentioned that they have redesigned the motor assembly, and I can only guess they are using better motors to avoid such problems in the future.
Whoa - I was (and am) still shocked! I told her this was the best customer service I had ever experienced, and that I would leave a positive review on their website to let others know about it, since there is a lot of negative feedback regarding the old swing motors out there and the company is clearly trying to get back in customers' good graces. If and when we need a new swing, we will purchase new, and it will be from Fisher Price. I absolutely LOVE good customer service, and will be faithful to those companies for life.
The new swing should be here within a week. What to do in the meantime? Well, my husband had an idea that was as hilarious as it was practical. See if you can spot the solution to the problem?
Isn't he so cute even in his sleep??!?
Yep, that's a piece of string connecting the comfy swing with the bust motor to the old, uncomfortable swing with the indestructible motor. Put baby in comfy swing, turn motor on the old swing on, an voila - we have motion! Funny, no? The kids and I all thought so. More importantly, for the first time since the swing motor broke, Boaz has been happily napping in the swing for a couple of hours and counting.
P.S. If you are a new mom to your first child, and fret over whether or not you should feel bad about baby sleeping in a swing, please let me tell you: DON'T!!! I, too, was once plagued by guilt and doubt as to whether or not sweet little baby Solomon should be "left" in a swing for extended periods of time. After 7 babies that have made it to toddlerhood and beyond, I can testify that the swing did no harm to them. They go from helpless newborn to rambunctious toddler emptying every cabinet in the house in the blink of an eye, so enjoy these rare quiet moments while you can. A happy baby in a safe spot allows mom to take care of other things as well as herself, and makes for harmonious family life all around. Your baby will still be spending hours a day in your arms, especially if you are exclusively breastfeeding and sharing your bed at night. And as the case of the poorly padded swing proves, if baby isn't happy with the arrangement, they have ways of letting us know about it loud and clear! :)


  1. Great story! I also love good customer service, and I love sweet Boaz's little face in that picture. Your husband's idea is quite ingenious! I have a follow-up question on your P.S., though. I, too, love swings for my kids, but I find I have a hard time transitioning them to sleeping without motion once they are too big for the swing. I need some advice PLEASE!

  2. Fisher Price customer service has always been awesome when I have called them. My oldest is 22 and when he was about 2 he left his Fisher Price Little People school bus outside in the neighbor's driveway and she ran over it and squished it. He was devastated. I called Fisher Price, told them what had happened and asked how much a new bus would be. They sent him a new one free of charge even though it was his fault it was ran over. That alone made me a loyal Fisher Price customer over the next years of raising kids. Enjoy your new swing and your adorable baby boy.
    ~ Traci

  3. My eldest lived in his swing....it was a FP (my 2nd one? not so much....she would tolerate it for roughly 10 minutes) I have always heard wonderful things about FP's customer service. They don't care where you bought it or acquired it. They just want their customers to be happy. Why? because they want you to buy their products. If they have outstanding customer service (like you experienced) you are more apt to buy their toys and other baby items in the future. Im glad what they say is true about FP.

  4. I too agree that great customer service just makes you feel happy! Seeing that there still is people out there that care for other people and their situations even if they are minor. One thing I have learned is that as long as you are honest and friendly to others on the phone working in big companies like Fisher Price, Graco,....etc is they will always give you what you want and need. I too recently had an issue with a baby product and they sent it to me right away free of charge. (Graco) The majority of the time all you have to do is call and ask, no matter what product it is, being friendly and honest will get you what you need for little to no money.

  5. We have the snuggle bunny swing for JT too! We got it because it plugs in. And I have heard that about Fisher Price customer service, that is great!!

  6. My third ALWAYS slept in the swing. It was soooo wonderful! I was just given this same swing from a friend for our new baby and I have yet to get it out and use it. However, good to know Fisher Price is so great to work with. :)

  7. Wow! That is such a blessing to get a new swing for free! God surely does provide for His own! =)

  8. I used a swing with all of my 3 children! I loved it! They slept so good in it!

  9. Szerintem nagyon ötletes. Az meg borzasztó hogy túlparáztatják egymást az emberek (főleg a nők...) gyereknevelés terén. A legelviselhetetlenebb aspektusa a szülői létnek a többi "anyuka" az okosságával. Akármit csinál az ember az valakinek nem jó. A van sapka, nincs sapka esete... nem lehet (és nem is kell) megfelelni.
    Van erről egy jópofa írás: mindenki sz*ranya, csak nem tud róla. http://divany.hu/poronty/2010/04/24/mindenki_szaranya_csak_nem_tud_rola/ (Elnézést azért az egy profanitásért.) Nekem tetszik ez a hintaágyas ötlet. A károgókkal meg nem kell törődni, mindig az kiabál a leghangosabban akinek ég a háza :P Szép nyarat!

    1. The swing "bed" IS awesome, and I do wish parents could be kinder to one another. The swing is a great way to keep a sleeping baby safe for a little while.

    2. ITA Debra... parents should display a much more supportive attitude towards each other. I think the ones that bully other mothers the most are the ones who are totally insecure about their parenting ways. And if everyone could just mind their own business and only give advice upon request, this world would be a so much better place!

  10. Thanks for the reassurances about the swing. I'm so reluctant to leave my baby in it for convenience but she fusses all the time and I'm tearing my hair out, not getting a shower til my husband gets home, living on sandwiches made with one hand etc etc.

  11. I love your post! I encourage all moms to get an FP swing. I "discovered" the virtues of the swing with my 3rd (fussiest) baby. Since then I have been happily using a swing.

    My theory is that babies struggle with adjustment to day and night because while in mom they were rocked all day (as mom moves through her day) and still all night (while mom sleeps). I found that the swing helped me transition my babies to our schedule by rocking my baby all night, except when nursing (right next to my bed) and keeping baby still during the day (nursing and holding with occasional naps in the swing).

    Moving the baby out of the swing hasn't been a problem. As my babies grow, I put them in the swing and start it to get them to sleep and then turn the swing off and let them sleep in the swing without the swing moving. Eventually, I can put them in the swing and not even turn it on and they will still fall asleep. Finally, I begin putting them in the crib periodically during the day to get used to it and even take a nap. Soon they are sleeping in the crib all night and the swing is packed away to await a new arrival. :-) (Renee, I hope this helps you.)

    I'm so happy for you and your family! Congratulations on your precious little bundle and happy swinging to little Boaz!

    Mrs. E.

  12. SWINGS ARE AWESOME!!!!!! My 6th child was born May 1st. :) Our babies are almost the same age. Another thing about the swing is the protection factor fron overly~loving siblings (toddlers especially) .

    For mamas worried about swings, bting 'em on! If baby can sleep well and consistently go for it. I too worried about it but after 6 kids I git over it. :)

  13. I had an experience with FP about 22 years ago. We bought a car seat for my daughter, and it included a coupon for a free bottle of baby shampoo, but the coupon was expired. I sent the coupon to the company, along with a letter suggesting that perhaps the coupons should not have an expiration date if included with something like a car seat. They sent me a CASE of baby shampoo. I never had to buy a single bottle for two kids until my youngest was about three. AWESOME company!


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