How to Choose a Rocker or Glider for Your Nursery

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 20, 2022
4 min read

Rockers and gliders aren’t as essential as a car seat, diapers, or other newborn accessories, but these special chairs can still be a nice addition to any nursery or home. 

If you’re a parent who happens to be on their feet for extended periods of time and have to deal with a fussy baby at the end of a long and exhausting day, being able to sit on a cushioned rocking chair or glider will make you feel like you’re on cloud nine. 

Should you choose a rocker or glider for your nursery, though? 

When choosing between a rocker or a glider, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to understand the differences between the two, what each can provide for you, and the different types of rockers and gliders. 

The biggest difference between a nursery rocker and a nursery glider is in the way they move. Rocking chairs are seats connected to two curved legs. As such, these chairs simply move back and forth.

A glider, on the other hand, is a seat that is attached to a base. The base is stationary while the seat can be moved from side to side, back and forth, and can even sometimes swivel around up to 360 degrees. 

Rocking chairs usually don’t require as much space as gliders do, and there usually aren’t any squeaking noises to be heard. However, gliders are often more comfortable and convenient, offering a wider range of features than a rocking chair does and allowing full movement. 

When deciding between a rocking chair and a glider for your nursery, you’ll want to examine both chairs, their comfort level, and their functionality. 

If you’re looking for a chair that moves to and fro and doesn’t have any additional features, then a rocking chair should be fine for your needs. However, if you’re wanting a chair that can glide in every direction, then it’s best to choose a glider. 

Both rocking chairs and gliders have models that come with ottomans or footrests, so either choice may suit you if that’s a deciding factor.

If it’s a rocking chair you’re after, you’ll have several options to choose from. These options include: 

  • Traditional rocking chairs: Traditional rocking chairs are what someone thinks about when they think about rocking chairs. These chairs have curved legs that allow an attached seat to rock back and forth. 
  • Spring rocking chairs: Spring rocking chairs are a mix between traditional rockers and gliders. These rocking chairs have springs much like gliders that also support the seating. However, unlike gliders, spring rocking chairs only move back and forth like their traditional counterpart. 
  • Reclining rocking chairs: Reclining rocking chairs are often made to look similar to normal reclining chairs with comfortable and plush fabric and cushioning. Like normal rocking chairs, they rock back and forth, but they also come with the added benefit of being able to recline back. 
  • Swivel rocking chairs: Similar to gliders, swivel rocking chairs allow you to rock more than one way. These chairs look similar to the reclining rocking chair, but the mechanisms underneath, which usually include springs and a rounded base, are different and provide the chair with its ability to swivel. 

If you’re looking into choosing a glider for your nursery, you’ll probably want the best seat for you and your little one to relax on. The question is, how do you choose a good glider? 

Well, it’s important to consider the following factors when choosing a glider:

  • Seating: Of course, you’re going to want the most comfortable seat possible, so it’s important to test potential gliders before purchasing one. To determine whether or not the seat is comfortable enough for you, sit down and test it out. Glide. If you want another opinion, you can have your significant other or a family member try it out, too. In the end, you’re going to want a glider that has a wide seat and arms that won’t make you uncomfortable.
  • Cushioning: The color of the cushioning is important, too. Choosing a light color will mean that every spill will show up on it, and with a baby in your arms, the chances of having spills become greater. Plus, the fabric of furniture can look filthy after a long enough period of normal wear and tear. Avoid beige and pastel colors and, if possible, opt for washable fabrics.
  • Mechanisms: When it comes to gliders, having a locking mechanism is essential. Locks will keep your glider in place at times when you want to sit still to feed your newborn. Locks are also important to have if you have other toddlers present who may otherwise make their way under your glider and end up getting injured.
  • Backs: There are two backs to consider when purchasing a glider: a high back and a low back. High-backed chairs offer you a place to rest your head while low-backed chairs can offer more unobtrusive, pleasing aesthetics.
  • Ottoman: Some glider models include an ottoman that helps you reach your full relaxation level. Ottomans are great for propping up your feet and resting. Plus, they can help improve things like circulation and decrease swelling.
  • Warranty: Since gliders tend to be pricey, you should check to see what kind of warranty is offered, especially on the bearings. Aim for a glider that offers a 10-year warranty at the very least.

Regardless of what glider you choose, or if you choose to get a rocking chair instead, you and your little one will be able to rest easy during feeding and nap times.