I have swing guilt also. When I was pregnant I wanted to avoid buying 'baby containers' once my baby was here, my instinct just told me to avoid them. Later I learned what came natually, babywearing (carrying), breast feeding, co-sleeping actually had a name 'Attachment Parenting'. I carried my baby everywhere. Then about six weeks into a new baby, I was begging for a swing. I was exhausted by constant swaying, bouncing and rocking! My neighbor, very conveniently, was getting rid of a swing and my husband gladly accepted it for us.
I called my Le Leche Leader and asked her opinion. She said it's not as if you are going to be using it constantly, you wear your baby everywhere! Just use it when you really need to and try to minimize the time he spends in it.
So I did.
It was a life saver! Even now at four months of age he spends a few minutes in it here and there, he naps in it occasionally also.
I worry about his eyes also, as do you.
I have been reading quite a bit about vestibular stimulation and how it effects the baby's developing systems. There are three vestibular bones and they are intertwined, actually an amazing sight. I recall viewing these at the 'Bodies' exhibit a while back (it toured major cities).... I digress.
The motions that help develop our babies through vestibular apparatus stimulation are up/down, side to side and front to back. All of these are needed for proper development. A baby experiences these movements naturally when worn on mother's body (or carried). The book I am reading explains how American babies (I am American, not sure if you are) usually do not get enough of these and tend to meet milestones later than babies who develop faster in other parts of the world due to being carried much more than American babies. Whereas American babies tend to go in strollers, bouncy seats, cradles, Pack and Plays instead of on mother's body.
I also read this last night in The Vital Touch :
(talking about a wide of variety of movements when carrying a baby leads into this next paragraph)
|But when kept in an infant swing for long stretches, babies experience ongoing repetitive and monotonous motion. This can overwhelm some infants and force them into a stress sleep as their only means to shut down unrelenting stimulation.
So I suppose it depends upon the infant. As I recall in the "Happiest Baby on the Block" a swing can be a very helpful tool for some babies (like yours and mine!). Yet, my instincts tell me to minimize it's use and apparently, the old fashioned way of wearing our babies, is still considered the best.
I suppose we just need to balance it's then. Use the swing when we really need to.