Many people consider a rocking chair to be a key part of a baby nursery. If you're looking for the perfect chair to rock your baby to sleep, take a look at the suggestions below to decide on a traditional rocking chair or a newer style glider chair, and how to choose the best glider or rocking chair for your budget.
Traditional Rocking Chair or Glider Rocker?
Traditional rocking chairs have a timeless look, and have no moving parts to wear out. Older children or pets playing on the floor by a rocking chair could have arms or legs pinched beneath the rockers, though. Many parents prefer the smooth movement of a glider rocker, though the hinges and slides could rust or wear out over time. This choice really comes down to which look you prefer and which type of chair is most comfortable for you.
Choose a Sturdy Nursery Rocking Chair
Whether you choose a rocking chair or glider, be sure to choose a nursery chair that is well built. If the sample chair in a store has become rickety or squeaky from many uses, it might also do the same thing in your home after lots of late-night rocking. On gliders, check to see if the gliding movement is smooth all the way through the range of motion, with no sticky spots. Check any spindles, glued joints or potential weak spots to see if they withstand basic shaking, rocking, leaning, etc.
Nursery Rocking Chairs Should Be Quiet!
If you think a little squeak in a chair won't bother you, that opinion might change when baby is unable to fall asleep for the noise, and you've had to listen to that same squeak over and over again every night. I know this, because I had a squeaky rocking chair in my daughter's nursery. In addition to checking for noisiness during rocking, find out if the chair squeaks or groans when you're sitting or getting up. Having baby wake up as you stand up won't be pleasant for either of you.
Can You Use the Rocking Chair Easily?
How hard can it be to use a rocking chair? Well, the actual rocking isn't too difficult if you've chosen a decent nursery chair, but you also need to be sure your chosen glider or rocking chair is easy to sit in and easy to get up from. Remember that you'll probably be holding a wiggly or crying baby when you sit, and hopefully a sleeping baby when you stand, so practice sitting down without looking at the chair and practice standing up with your arms full. Choose a rocking chair that doesn't move out from under you when you sit down or move in such a way that it's difficult to stand up.
Cushions for Rocking Chairs and Gliders
Most glider rockers come with cushions of some sort, while rocking chairs can be found with and without cushions. Find out whether cushions are included with the models you're browsing so you can compare prices equally. If cushions are included, are they attached permanently to the chair or detachable? If they are attached, you may want to look at darker colors to hide stains or have a professional stain treatment added. If the cushions can be detached, find out if they are machine washable, or if the covers can be removed for washing. Nursery items do get dirty, so be prepared to clean the chair you choose.
Footrests and Ottomans
Many nursery gliders in baby stores come with a matching footstool that also has a rocking mechanism. You should try rocking in the chair with your feet on the footrest to see if you like the way it feels. I never liked the rocking footrest, and preferred something stationary. If you have to buy your footrest separately, try out a few different varieties to see which is easiest for you to use. If you're on a budget, a simple wooden footstool may be a good option.
Hinges and Glides Should Be Covered for Safety
If you choose one of the popular glider rocking chairs, be sure to check the rocking mechanism to be sure it is covered or hard for little fingers to reach. As baby grows and crawls or pulls up, his or her tiny hands will reach into almost any little space for mischief. Choose a chair that presents few or no opportunities for cuts or pinches.
Nursery Rocking Chair Colors, Patterns and Styles
New parents often coordinate their new baby's nursery down to the last color and pattern on every piece of furniture. Keep in mind that you may want to change the nursery decor as your baby grows to toddlerhood, or that you may want to re-use the glider or rocking chair for a second child. A classic wood chair with solid color cushions might match more nursery themes, or you could choose a chair that can easily be re-finished to match another room. Non-toxic paints and slipcovers can change the look of a rocking chair easily, as long as you've chosen a chair with removable cushions and easy-to-paint surfaces.