Many people purchase a rocking chair or glider for the birth of a new baby, but these versatile and attractive chairs can complement the decor of any room and are one of the few things you’ll buy for your baby that you can actually use for years afterward. Whether you’re looking for a basic rocking chair or a top-of-the-line baby glider, below are tips for buying the perfect chair for you.
I’ve always wanted a rocking chair for the nursery. Where do I start?
When choosing your rocking chair, start by determining what color you’d like; many come in white or a range of wood tones. Next is the padding. A rocking chair is perfectly functional without cushions, but most people prefer rocking chair cushions for additional comfort. If you have the option of purchasing cushions to go with your chair, it’s a good idea to do so. Because the padding is made for that chair, you know you’ll get a good fit. Also, some rocking chair cushions are made to match crib bedding, which pulls a nursery together nicely. Whether a rocking chair cushion or the fabric on your glider, look for material that’s stain-resistant or machine washable for those inevitable “oops” moments.
A rocking chair will come in handy long after your baby has grown, so if you plan to keep it for a while, select a wooden rocking chair that can be refinished with a different stain and know that you can purchase cushions that can be mixed and matched depending on your decor.
My friends suggested I look into a glider. How does it differ from a traditional rocking chair?
The great thing about gliders is that they combine the back-and-forth motion of a rocking chair with the smooth, soothing movement of gliding. If you’re purchasing a chair in anticipation of a new baby, you’ll spend hours and hours and hours (get the idea?) in it, so you want to make sure you’re choosing the right style for you.
The first consideration is to ensure that you pick a safe model. A locking mechanism on the chair prevents little hands from becoming caught in the glider. This option is, of course, a big benefit over a traditional rocker, as it protects toddlers if you’re distracted or not in the room.
I’ve seen so many gliders on the market. How do I pick a style that’s right for me?
Style is a huge factor with glider rockers If you want it to look like it belongs in your nursery, an oak glider or wooden glider is a good option. If you’re looking for a piece that would feel at home in your living room, perhaps a wingback glider is more your style. A wicker glider makes a bold statement in your nursery or in a common area.
And remember, most rocker styles are available with custom options. Look for one that allows you to customize the chair by sending in your own material that will be made into cushions. Talk about a unique addition!
Consider whether you’ll want to use the glider rocker after it’s done with nursery duty. If so, pick one that can coordinate with other styles in the house. Remember that unlike rockers, where you can easily change the pads to match your decor, the design you choose for your glider is permanent (unless you re-upholster it). That holds true for the cushioning as well. To ensure that the glider you choose will be comfortable for you in the years to come to look for high-quality foam.
The style also includes how you’ll use your glider. Swivel gliders are a good choice if you want versatility in how your chair moves. These chairs come with a mechanism that allows you to choose whether you rock, swivel or glide. This can come in handy when you want to try different motions to soothe a fussy or sleepless baby.
Little things that can make you crazy over the long haul include armrest pads that slip, no place to store small items (your glasses, for example), and a too-narrow fit that doesn’t allow for easy breast or bottle-feeding. There are solutions to each of these annoyances. If the arms aren’t enclosed on your chair, select a glider with arm pads that snap to the wood. Also, look for arm cushions with pouches for storage of small essentials if you won’t have a table nearby. And the answer to nearly every potential size problem with the glider you select is to find out the inner dimensions before you make a purchase. Popular brands such as Angel Line and Dutailier are widely available online and in stores, so browse around before you order.
Do I need an ottoman?
Most people would agree that an ottoman is an essential glider accessory. For the greatest style, look for gliders that come with matching ottomans. The two different types include a gliding or a stationary ottoman. If you select a gliding ottoman, look for one with a locking option. At times, you may want to rock using a stationary surface for better leverage. A stationary ottoman or one with a locking mechanism is also safer when your baby becomes an active toddler and wants to climb on it. Choose from a variety of products like recliner rocker with ottoman, embossed damask glider and ottoman and more.
Additional tips for rockers and gliders
When selecting a rocker or glider, make sure there are no rough edges and that all wooden finishes are non-toxic. With either rocker or glider, sturdy construction is the key. Many must be put together upon delivery to your home and your technique could determine its safety. If you’re unsure of your ability, ask a handy friend to do it for you or hire the job done by a professional.
The Bottom Line
Rocking chairs are a traditional and affordable way to add function to your nursery while being versatile enough to work with the rest of your decor after it’s no longer needed in the nursery. Gliders and ottomans offer the ultimate in comfort, luxury and custom options to complement the style of any room in your house. They serve a dual purpose—they’re great for both you and your baby!
Our Mom Expert
Caron Webber, 37, is the mother of five children, ages 2 to 12.
“I nursed my first three kids with no problem, but all of a sudden with my fourth child, I had a lot of difficulties. I was shocked when the in-home lactation consultant suggested that my positioning was off because of my glider. My husband had surprised me by upgrading my old rocker to a swanky new glider for the birth of our daughter, but he didn’t purchase an ottoman to go with it. But once I had my feet propped up on an ottoman, my positioning corrected itself, and I didn’t have any more problems nursing.”