When we had our first child, a friend loaned us their baby swing. Our son loved it. I shared that love because it offered me some opportunities outside of nap time to get things done.
Soon after the birth of our second child, I started shopping for a similar Fisher Price cradle swing. At $120, I was not excited to buy one new, nor was I looking forward to storing it after it was outgrown.
An email to some friends quickly located another loaner swing. Our daughter loves being in the swing, so we were distressed when it started moving more slowly each day. After a week of slowing, the swing stopped moving entirely (though it still made noises like it was operational).
As our daughter was the swing's third rider, it was no wonder that swing might be wearing down. A Google search suggested the problem might be the motor, so I called Fisher Price to investigate.
While the 5 year old swing was no longer under warranty, they did have a replacement motor housing in stock. The part with standard shipping cost $32, a dramatic improvement up on the $120 new pricetag.
A week later, the part arrived. Rather than being a motor to place inside the white plastic housing, it turned out to be a replacement of everything except the legs, swing arm, seat, and plush fish that dangle from the mobile.
With an Allen wrench, I was able to swap the parts to the new motor housing in less than 20 minutes.
We saved $88 in replacement costs (versus buying a new swing), and my friend will get a visually identical, but functionally improved swing in return for her kindness in loaning it.
Related: The bare-bones baby gear guide