The one thing that expectant parents hear a lot about while they’re pregnant are those long and tiring late-night feedings.
One important piece of that nursery equipment that is said to make them a little easier is a good rocking chair or glider. But, do you really need a rocking chair in your nursery? The science says, yes! Not only do rocking chairs help new mothers heal from the ordeal of birth and/or cesarean sections, but they also
Health Benefits from Rocking in a Nursery Rocking Chair
It’s proven that a rocking motion has a therapeutic effect on humans, including sleep quality, memory, and healing.
How Rocking Improves Sleep and Memory Storage
Though many moms can tell you that rocking helps little ones fall asleep if you’re looking for hard evidence this 2019 study in Current Biology, found that, at least in young, healthy adults, rocking reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and reach non-REM sleep, which correlates with better sleep quality. Rocking also helps lessen the number of arousals and maintain deep sleep for a longer period of time.
The study also looked at the influence of rocking to sleep on memory, and found that a night of rocking improves recall memory and helps the processes involved in long-term memory processes and storage.
How Rocking Improves Healing (for New Mothers)
Though it’s a bit dated, there’s also science that shows rocking can help speed up a new mother’s healing from birth. An article published in the Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing in 1990 published a study following women who had cesarean sections. The study showed that rocking mothers had fewer gas pains, walked faster, and left the hospital one day sooner than non-rocking mothers.
Comfort Benefits of Having a Rocker in The Nursery
When I first had my daughter, I thought I could get by with a spare accent chair I had that fit the decor — after a few days I was searching for a glider as comfortable as the one in our delivery room because that non-rocking padded chair sucked!
Rocking chairs have undergone some remarkable improvements over the years and they are not the hard wooden things you saw in your grandma’s home, and for a good reason — you need a comfortable place to nurse your little one!
Rockers today offer a wide seating area, have generous padding, and are very comfortable. Growing in popularity is the glider which often comes with a glider ottoman (the ottoman is worth it, trust me!).
Both modern rocking chairs and gliders are perfect for nursing mothers. They can help make those late-night feedings more comfortable and easier on you and more soothing for your baby. The back-and-forth motion can calm a crying baby, help ease any lower back pain on your side, and reduce the stress associated with interrupted sleep patterns.
When Rocking Chair Shopping, Research Before You Buy
Before you invest in a good rocking chair or glider, go for a test drive if you can, or at the minimum, read a properly researched review of rockers and gliders specifically for nursing mothers.
There’s nothing more frustrating than getting a glider home, possibly assembling it, and then realizing it’s too reclined for comfort or has a limited range of motion. Even worse, is to have a loose rocking chair that squeaks as you rock or even worse when you get up to put the baby in bed!
In the store, sit in the rocker for a while and gently rock like you would rock your baby, then ask yourself:
- Is the seat roomy?
- Do the armrests come up high enough to make breastfeeding or bottle feeding easy and comfortable?
- Is the rocking chair solid and tight? (No squeeks!)
Rocker or Glider? Which Should You Choose?
Rocking chairs have the most limited range of movement but are the simplest option and rarely will break, or seize causing squeaks.
Rockers are made by many manufacturers from all over the world so shop around and be choosey when it comes to quality and workmanship. Look for construction with a sturdy wood frame (either showing or not) with a style that will compliment the decor in your home, so once it has done its time in the nursery it can be moved to another room for many years of enjoyment.
Glider rockers have a glider mechanism rather than runners like a traditional rocking chair. They usually don’t take up quite as much floor space as a conventional rocker, but with all those metal components, they are often more prone to needing maintenance.
Glider rockers give a very smooth back-and-forth motion and in some instances depending on the person rocking, are easier to rock in a rhythmic motion because of the gliding action.
Some gliders and rockers also swivel around, making them a good choice if you need to turn around to reach the crib after rocking them at your nursing setup.
If you’re not sure which will be best for you, check out this full article on gliders vs. rocking chairs for nursing and how to choose between the two.
Should You Get the Matching Ottoman / Nursing Stool?
One final note on another great piece of equipment to consider for nursery feedings and rocking time is a nursing stool, or glider ottoman.
These stools are small and slightly slanted. It raises the legs and lap up just slightly to the perfect height for breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, and yes, even cuddling late at night. For these reasons, the Ottoman is completely worth it in my opinion and you should splurge for it if you can!
Conclusion: Rockers are Worth it!
During those first few weeks at home when stress and fatigue build with each passing minute of the day, remember rest and relaxation are only as far away as your baby and the rocking chair in the nursery. Put on a good lullaby CD and spend time during the day just holding, cuddling and rocking your baby. It will be time well spent for both you and your baby. Who knows, maybe you will beat the current world record for rocking! The current world record for rocking is held by Dennis Easterling of Atlanta, Georgia. He rocked for 480 hours. That’s almost 3 weeks! I bet there are mothers out there who have already beaten Dennis’ record but they’re just too tired to make the call to the Guinness Book of World Records!
With the right nursery equipment, some extra patience, and a positive outlook those late-night feedings can be a time of bonding and enjoyment that a parent would not miss for the world.
No wonder our little ones learn to love it and really fight it when mom and dad decide that bedtime and naptime rocking must stop.
Perrault, A., Khani, A., Quairiaux, C., et. al. (2019).Whole-Night Continuous Rocking Entrains Spontaneous Neural Oscillations with Benefits for Sleep and Memory. Current Biology: February 2019 – Volume 29 – Issue 3 – p 402-411.E3 https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdfExtended/S0960-9822(18)31662-2
Thomas, L., Ptak, He., Giddings, L., Moore, L., Oppermann, C. (1990). The effects of rocking, diet modifications, and antiflatulent medication on postcesarean section gas pain. The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: December 1990 – Volume 4 – Issue 3 – p 12-24 https://journals.lww.com/jpnnjournal/Citation/1990/12000/The_effects_of_rocking,_diet_modifications,_and.4.aspx