Updated July 2018
In the early weeks and months of parenthood, you’re going to be up a lot at night feeding your baby, then getting him back down to sleep. You can do this in your own bed, but eventually you’ll want a comfy seat for nursing/bottle feeding, snuggling, and rocking your little one, especially if he has his own room. A comfy upholstered club chair will do the trick, but most babies are more easily calmed by staying in motion. Here’s our rundown, from inexpensive to pricier options, of the best gliders and rockers for you and your little one.
Wooden rockers have been around for ages, but gliders have recently taken their place as the favorite because of the more subtle, backward and forward movement. Plus, your butt will prefer sitting on a cushy, upholstered chair rather than on wood or cane for long stretches of time. Thankfully, many gliders nowadays look like regular living room chairs and can be used as such after your nesting days are over.
The one must-have feature of any rocker or glider, in my opinion, are arm rests. Arm rests will support your elbows and thus, the weight of the baby. Trust me, your arms will get tired VERY quickly unless you have something bolstering them up. I mention this because many of the fancy-pants, modern-ey chairs for nurseries don’t have arm rests. (Apparently, having sore arms must be en vogue.)
As with any new piece of furniture, gliders and rockers can be pretty expensive, so be prepared for sticker shock. Remember, if you can’t afford a new one, many of these are readily available for sale second-hand on Craigslist and such (seriously, that’s how I got mine).
Many of these gliders come with optional ottomans that glide along synchronously with the chair. If you have the space, I highly recommend getting the ottoman as well, especially if you’re breastfeeding. At the very least, get a nursing stool that will help position your body ergonomically.
Top 7, by price
We asked 84,000 of our closest friends what their favorite nursery rocker/glider is. Here are the results:
$ — Ikea Poang Rocking Chair ~ $79
This sleek-looking rocking chair from IKEA is the favorite in the budget category. Tried and true, this rocker has a nice, high back for you to comfortably rest your head (and doze off, you will). The cover is also easy to clean, which is great for spit-up. Best yet, it’s great for everyday use once your baby (or babies) graduate/s from nursing. There is a foot stool available as well.
$ — Shermag Glider Rocker Combo ~ $209
Also in the economy category is the Shermag rocker/glider. A step down from Dutailier (below), this seat has nice, padded arms (which I love) and a matching, gliding ottoman. I personally own this seat. My only complaint is that the ottoman is a bit top-heavy and will easily fall over on your older children (if you have any), who can’t seem to resist jumping and playing on it. This seat glides along on ball bearings, although a few readers had problems with the gliding or claimed it was too noisy (mine was not, FWIW).
This chair glides or locks in a stationary position; the locked position helps you get in and out of it without falling on your ass.
*A cheaper knock-off of this chair is the Stork Craft glider.
It seems this swivel glider was made with parents’ comfort in mind. It comes with arm rests, an ottoman, and has a tall back and a lumbar pillow for extra upper and lower back support (especially helpful for taller moms and dads). The DaVinci swivels a full 360 degrees, and glides smoothly (and quietly!) back and forth (yay for not waking sleeping babies). While the majority of reviewers really love this chair and ottoman, some say the chair is stiff and somewhat uncomfortable, and that they wish the ottoman wasn’t stationary and glided along with the chair.
$$ — Baby Relax Mikayla Swivel Gliding Recliner ~ $299
Baby Relax, a company owned by Dorel, is stepping out with an array of rockers and gliders that parents are absolutely loving. The Baby Relax Mikayla Swivel Gliding Recliner is an inexpensive, stylish and highly-rated rocker that swivels, glides and fully reclines. Bonus: it has armrests and a built-in footrest, and comes in a variety of colors. While overall the reviews are positive, some dislike that the Mikayla only reclines when the footrest is up, and that it’s difficult to pop the footrest out and back in again (lever takes strength to push/pull). Note: this chair is tall and deep. If you’re on the shorter side your feet may not reach the ground, which will make it difficult to rock your baby.
$$$ — Dutailier Gliders ~ $443
Look familiar? The Dutailier is the Cadillac of “regular” nursery gliders (Shermag, Stork Craft, etc.). Parents who own this chair love it and there are very few complaints. By all accounts, it is a higher quality chair than the Shermag, with an ultra-smooth gliding system and a six-position adjustment. Some models recline (others do not). This chair is generously apportioned, so there will be room for you, your babe, and your favorite nursing pillow.
$$$$ — Crate&Kids – various ~ $799+
Crate&Kids, previously known as Land Of Nod, makes a few favorites that are well-liked in the modern department. These include the Marguerite, Milo, Joya, and Toby (pictured below). These chairs fall into the $799+ price range, but will last forever.
$$$$ — Pottery Barn Kids Comfort Swivel Rocker ~ $850+
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a sucker for PBK. Their expert color coordination and overuse of monogramming tugs fiercely at my Southern heartstrings. The Comfort Swivel Rocker is a reader favorite in the “pricey” department. Side note: Actually? High-quality club chairs tend to cost this much on a normal day. Just visit any department store or furniture store and you’ll see what I mean.
This beautiful, traditional upholstered chair is custom made to get just the look you want. For an extra $400-$550(ish), you can purchase the matching ottoman as well (might as well, yeah?). These chairs swivel 360 degrees, so your older children will have a blast spinning each other around until they throw up (speaking from experience).
Tip: If you register at PBK, you can get a 10% completion discount for anything you add on your registry (even if no one uses it…).
Happy rocking, gliding, and swiveling!
~ Meg + co.
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