We have a number of friends who are joining the wonderful world of parenthood this year, so I thought it might be helpful to share information about our favorite baby gear for the newborn phase. I'll be sharing our picks over the next couple weeks. Keep in mind, these are not ranked in any particular order.
swing! Certainly, not every baby will need the kind of constant motion that Lana did (she slept in that thing all night for probably 6 weeks), but it sure wouldn't hurt. If you're familiar with The Happiest Baby on the Block, you know how soothing constant motion is to a newborn and how highly recommended swings are. Our child completely rejected her bassinet, and I couldn't get a wink of sleep if she was in our bed, so the swing was our savior in those early months. Remember, it's important that you get some of you're own recovery time, rather than constantly burning a path in the hardwood by doing circles (like I did around 5:30 every single night until Raf finally walked in the door!)
So, let's talk about swing styles. Our lovely neighbor gave us her old school style swing (like you see in the Happiest Baby DVD). I'm pretty sure it's a Graco. It sits very upright, has very little cusion, and only swings front to back. While this was nice to distract Lana for short periods of time while she watch me cook, or Grandpa fix things...she was NOT going to sleep in it! No way, no how.
The swing we used daily was an older version of the one pictured here. They're nice because they recline super far back, they're very plush, you don't have to have the toy bar installed (which is nice for creating a sleep environment, and because there's no plastic bar between their legs so you can jimmy the restraint system to work while they're swaddled!), it has a variety of white noise options, including a clicking with each swing that I grew quite attached to, and it swings both front to back AND side to side. Lana was definitely a side to side swing sleeper. Also, they get going pretty fast and swing pretty wide, which was nice for a girl who required very vigorous soothing! One extra nice thing about this newer version is that it has a plug-in option, so you don't have to constantly be burning through batteries.
I would say that this is definitely an item to consider borrowing or buying used. We borrowed ours from a friend, and were very happy to be able to give it back when it outgrew it's usefulness (around 3 months for us). It's very easy to wash the cushions, so there's no ick factor with getting one used. And EVERYONE has a swing, so they're pretty easy to find on Craigslist if you don't have an option to borrow. Just do yourself a favor and stick with this newer style, rather than kicking it super old school!
Side note: I'm really curious to hear a friend's experience with the Mamaroo? They look super cool, but from reviews I've read, I'm concerned that the motion may not have been vigorous enough for our little bean. Has anyone had any experience with one??