September 16, 2009

How to Buy a Baby Rocker

Introduction to Baby Rockers & Gliders

In the middle of the night when your baby is inconsolable, few things will be as soothing to both of you as a good rocking session. The gentle motion will help turn tears into sniffles into sleep in no time. And just think how much you’ll appreciate not having to pace back and forth with your baby at three in the morning.

But baby rockers are good for more than lulling your child to sleep. They’re also great for the middle-of-the-night feedings, and eventually they’ll become a soothing place for storytime. That said, they’re not essential, but for those with the budget and the space, a baby rocker or glider is a definite nice-to-have.

Baby Rockers Buying Guide Outline:

  1. Your Basic Choices
    1. baby rockers
    2. baby gliders
  2. General Guidance
  3. Features to Look for
  4. Stage Considerations
  5. Lifestyle Considerations
  6. Accessories

your basic rocker and glider choices

  • baby rockers – This is a simple concept that needs little introduction — it’s any chair that rocks. They come in all kinds of styles, from vintage wooden rocking chairs to the latest in cushioned comfort.
  • baby gliders – Most indoor gliders (yard furniture aside) are big, plush, reclinable and specifically designed for parenting. Their gentle gliding motion requires little effort and can be just as soothing as rocking.

general guidance

This varies by preference, but look for a good rocking or gliding motion. Generally speaking, a gentle and deep motion is more soothing than fast and short. Test for how much noise the chair makes while it’s in motion, because a squeaking chair is counterproductive when you’re trying to rock your baby to sleep.

glider and rocker features to look for

  • Generous seat. Remember, the chair will eventually have to accommodate both you and a growing toddler who still wants to climb into your lap for soothing and reading.
  • Good head rest. Make sure the head rest is comfortable and high enough to support your head — something you’ll value during those sleepy, middle-of-the-night feedings.
  • Adjustable leg rest. If your chair doesn’t have one, a foot stool might be a solution, but you’ll need a leg position that’s comfortable for you.
  • Cleanable. Anything that involves a nursing baby means spit-ups and spills, so avoid fabrics that can’t be cleaned. Washable slipcovers are also a popular option.

stage considerations

Rockers are great for the nursing and bottle-feeding stage, but their usefulness doesn’t stop there. They can help with nighttime soothing at any age and live on as a favorite chair for storytime.

lifestyle considerations

space. Gliders in particular can be big, so more streamlined rockers present a better option for the space-constrained. Either way, make sure you measure before you buy.

baby rocker accessories

  • Ottoman or foot stool. Although you should be able to sit comfortably with your feet on the ground, these will help you find an even more comfortable position that alleviates back strain.
  • Equipment bag. Sort of like a “stuff” holder that hangs off your glider, these help keep you from having to get up mid-snuggle. Use them to stash extra burp cloths and binkies, and maybe even a bottle of water or a magazine for you.

This baby rocker and glider gear guide was written by Ali Wing, baby product expert, author of giggle guide to baby gear and founder of giggle.  Follow Ali on Twitter and the Giggle Fan Page on Facebook.