As any new Mom would know, getting one’s household ready for the new addition to the family can be a time of countless nesting preparations. And one item that always seems to crop up in conversation is the choice of nursery rocker or glider, simply because Moms want comfortable seating while having intimate moments of bonding with baby. Rockers and gliders simulate the motion of the womb and have therefore been relied upon for helping to put baby in the mood for relaxation.
There are a number of different rockers and gliders in the market – all for the purpose of providing that ideal seat for Moms as they cuddle with baby during quiet time, nursing, and even helping baby drift off to sleep. With all the choices out there, how does one choose? Here’s the go-to checklist for Moms:
What’s the difference between a rocker and a glider? That’s always a query that pops up, and is thereby the first question to settle. The answer lies in how each seat is constructed – because that affects the type of motion generated. The rocker is a classic piece of furniture, traditionally made of hardwood, and often associated with previous generations or with country décor. The glider, on the other hand, is a more modern take on the traditional rocker. Gliders have the added fabric and cushion for comfort, as well as springs for shock absorption, not found with the traditional rocker. Also, as their names imply, rockers “rock” whereas gliders “glide” by comparison. In other words, gliders move because of a sliding mechanism that is smoother, gentler, and more horizontal, as opposed to the rocker that sways back and forth in a stronger, often louder rhythm. Indeed, gliders slide forward and backward, by contrast to the rockers that rock in an arc.
Should I choose a rocker or a glider? Granted, the rocker is more compact – making it more portable because of its relatively lightweight, simplistic nature compared to the glider. However, modern parents tend to enjoy the upholstered padding that cushions the seat of a glider. Gliders even come with accessories that are convenient for new parents – such as a footstool or ottoman to rest one’s feet, and side pockets for easy access to supplies (burp cloth, wipes, diapers). Besides, the traditional rocker tends to have a knocking or creaking sound that one does not find with gliders, in turn making the glider the preferred choice because of its subtle, quieter, smoother motion. And “quieter” is better when trying to soothe baby to sleep. Moreover, the glider’s sliding motion makes for a more effortless movement that parents find far more relaxing than the traditional rocker. Then, too, there are gliders that have a swivel base (which is absent in rockers); this swivel base allows Moms to easily turn right or left to reach for something, without having to leave one’s seat. Some gliders likewise have headrests, which are great for Moms during those late-night feedings with baby. Similarly, there is added width to the gliders’ upholstered armrests to provide sufficient space for Mom to cradle baby snugly, which is in stark contrast to the narrow wooden armrests of the traditional rocker. All these features tend to give the glider a more peaceful picture of gentleness that helps in providing comfort to Mom as she calms baby for feeding or sleeping time.
How to settle on style? Once you’ve elected to choose between rocker and glider, the next decision to make rests on style. This is a more personal assessment, and involves such criteria as size, comfort, and fashion. The design of a glider can also come into play – for example, ottomans can be separate stand-alone stationary items propped up at Mom’s feet, or they can be attached ottomans that glide along with matching-movement to the glider itself.
Size. It is advisable to measure your nursery room’s dimensions to get an idea of the seat size you can place therein. Something small can fit in a small nursery, for instance. Or, if Mom prefers the seat to be the focal point of the room, then a larger seat can be better suited as the furniture of choice. But another size consideration is that the seat needs to be wide enough for Mom to nurse baby during the first year, and that means well-padded armrests as well as room to fit in a nursing pillow if need be. Both Mom and baby have to be a good fit in the seat, especially as baby grows. And, if Dad will be helping with baby, too, then make sure Dad tests the seat out as well before purchase.
Comfort. Since comfort is key to anything, it is always advisable to try the seat firsthand before making a purchase. Sometimes the firmness of the upholstery affects Mom’s comfort level, and the only way to know is to try the seat out. One wouldn’t want to be left numb in a chair while trying to soothe baby in your arms. At the end of the day for Moms (and Dads who help with baby, too) it is all about the proper support for one’s back and neck, so the ability to recline in a glider is ideal. Furthermore, say you choose a glider with an attached ottoman, then it would be a good idea to test-run it at the store to see that one’s legs are long enough. Then there’s the issue of the angle being comfortable for Mom, as well as having enough room in the seat to change positions with ease and comfort. And, if it comes down to choosing a seat between comfort and “good-looking” furniture, it must be said that hands-down comfort is always given the higher premium. Many a parents forum online has featured Moms who deeply regret foregoing comfort simply because a seat did not look “attractive” in the house.
Fashion. This involves matching the seat’s color scheme or even décor theme with the room. If you have a traditional nursery, then wood elements in your seat can be a good addition to the room. Sleekness of a seat also goes well if you want a minimalist look for your nursery. But, if comfort means having a larger seat, then coordinating the upholstery with decorative pillows in your nursery would help in giving a homely feel to the room. Choice of seat fabric need not just be about color, rather consider also whether the fabric can be easily cleaned (think spills, spit-ups, even diaper overflow requiring a wash or wipe down). Sometimes a removable seat cover is advantageous. Perhaps even a darker-hue for the seat and its cushions would be best to help hide the normal wear, tear, and aging of the seat. Then, too, thinking about the long-term plan for the chair might be a key to deciding on fashion. Sometimes parents think of transferring the seat into another room after baby’s first year – in that case, choosing a seat that is versatile enough to go well with other décor and color schemes besides that of the nursery might be helpful. At times, seats have been designed to be converted once baby outgrows the need for them to be merely nursery rockers or gliders.
Safety considerations. Whether Mom chooses a rocker or glider, safety is high priority. Manufacturers even have accompanying information packets that advise consumers of the recommended weight and age limits for the use of your rocker or glider. Make sure to minimize possibilities of your newborn baby’s fingers, toes, and skin being pinched or worse, especially around the seat’s movable parts. It is best to have gliders that have covered hinges so that they present little to no chances of cuts, pinches, or worse accidents. Sometimes Moms already have toddlers or older children besides the new baby, and that means Mom must be on the lookout for protective locks or covers, especially if the gliding mechanism needs to be hidden from view of curious older children who can get their hands or feet caught in the gliding mechanism. Yet another safety consideration is to ensure there are no sharp edges or gaps in the framework that can become “traps” – that way, baby and older siblings won’t be harmed. Likewise, choose a seat that does not easily tip over, so that Mom and baby won’t be startled nor harmed. It goes without saying that a seat must have a sturdy frame – durability means safety. So make sure to keep durability in mind when checklisting for safety. Durability also ensures that the seat can be reused when having future newborn additions to your family. Then, too, keep your eye out on any recalls. There are sites online that warn consumers if a product has been recalled. It is a good idea to research your chosen seat to see if it is on the list – whether before or even after purchase. Also, another safety precaution is that as you doze off on your seat make sure baby does not suffocate because the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is a reality.
Budget concerns. While choosing a glider might mean a bigger dent on one’s budget, it must be noted that a glider is in fact an investment in comfort for Mom and baby. Even Consumer Reports advises new parents to get a glider because “Gliders are more comfortable, and you’ll use one more than you think, especially in your baby’s first year. They also dominate the market, so you’ll have more to choose from.” Consumer Reports goes on to say that the higher price tag with gliders is a reflection of their solid construction, durability, higher-quality movement system, cushion comfort, and spring-supported seating. While glider pricing might at first glance seem daunting, Consumer Reports allays apprehension by stating “Although you get what you pay for, you don’t have to go whole hog. There’s quality and solid construction in the midrange, too.” If a glider still seems out-of-reach for one’s budget, consider adding it to a wish list or baby registry that you can share at your baby shower so that family and friends can chip in on financing it.
Further recommendations. Test-driving a seat before purchase should also include a check on whether the seat makes noises. While rockers are known to knock or creak, there are gliders that squeak as you glide or groan as you get up. Because keeping a quiet environment in baby’s nursery room is essential to soothing baby, knowing about the different sounds your chair makes is important before any purchase. It is further advisable to have the seat you’ve chosen arrive several weeks ahead of time, in case baby decides to arrive early. After all, some seats require assembly, and assembly of a new seat can take a good few hours, so having it all ready for Mom and baby at the homecoming means less stress for new parents. Besides that, make sure to save your receipt and packing slip, just in case the seat is defective or has missing parts. With an investment like a comfortable nursery seat, having your receipt and packing slip on hand are good ideas should you need to return the item or make an exchange. That being said, find out about the various warranties associated with your chosen seat. Some gliders have warranties for the gliding mechanism or for the bearings, and that can be important for when repairs are required.