Friday, February 20, 2015

The MamaRoo Review

Ever wondered if the MamaRoo baby swing is worth the money?

Here is my review, and hopefully after reading this, you will be able to decide if it's a good purchase for your family!

As a first-time mom, I had a lot on my shopping list for our baby girl. My goal was to search for good deals on quality products. We had planned on me being a stay-at-home mom, so we tried to be frugal to keep that goal a reality. At the same time, however, we had been trying to get pregnant for 4 years, and we had been dreaming of our little Ava Mckenzie for more like 5 or 6 years. So when we found out I was finally pregnant, we couldn't wait to spoil her!

I had seen the MamaRoo before and I thought it was a brilliant concept for a swing. Different motions and speed options made so much sense to me. My impulsive brain said, "I want it!", while my practical brain said, "It costs too much!".

I had been doing a really good job at not buying the most over-the-top things for my baby, and I bought the cheapest version of an item whenever it was fitting. We had a nice little stockpile of gift cards, and so we decided that our splurge on Ava would be the MamaRoo swing. I managed to get it for only $8 out of pocket after a coupon and all of our gift cards!! 

The MamaRoo retails for $219 and $249. There are two different seat materials that account for the difference: one is a "standard" fabric and the other is a "plush" fabric. I chose the standard fabric to save money. I figured we could always lay a blanket in the swing or buy the infant insert, which could provide additional comfort. 

We brought it home and I decided to set it up. Assembly was a cinch! The parts slide together and the seat zips onto the frame. Everything was very lightweight and simple for a pregnant gal to assemble. No tools necessary! The directions highly recommended keeping the box for storage and moving, and we will be moving a lot, so I kept the box. The cord for the plug was decently long, although it wasn't necessary because we set it up right in front of a wall outlet. 

So fast-forward many weeks, and our little baby was born! 

Taking into account that it takes a little bit for a new baby to adjust to the outside world, and it also takes time for the parents to get to know their baby and her preferences, we did not use the swing very often in the first week or two. With that being said, once we started putting her in the MamaRoo, the options that seemed so great were now incredibly overwhelming. Which motion should we use? Which one does she like? And what speed? It was trial and error for awhile. I remember feeling discouraged because I was afraid she didn't like the swing at all. 

It took us a few weeks to settle on just the right settings that Ava liked. The fastest and the bumpiest setting was what she liked - the "kangaroo". The swing does have a bit of a mechanic hum to it, which was actually great, because it was a quiet, soothing white noise for her. 

We used a head support cushion for a car seat while Ava was in the swing. Without it, her head would end up falling to the side, even with the swing seat tilted as flat as it would go. If I didn't already have that car seat cushion, I'm sure we would have had to buy the MamaRoo infant insert. I got the car seat cushion on clearance for $4, and the MamaRoo infant insert is $29. The head support I had didn't provide the same cushioning for the rest of her body as the MamaRoo insert would have, but it was working okay without it. Maybe she would have liked the swing a bit better earlier on of if we had the insert; I guess we'll never know. 

The "standard" fabric is a bit scratchy (I definitely would NOT call it soft) so we usually had a blanket underneath her. But that got annoying quick because then she would slide around a bit and it got in the way of the straps to buckle her in. So in hindsight, purchasing the infant insert would have been helpful so we wouldn't have had to mess with the head cushion and the blanket. It would have provided more softness and support for a new baby. 

My baby is now almost 8 months old. She has only slept in her swing maybe 4 times to date. She wasn't a very good napper, and she was very alert even as a brand new baby. The MamaRoo has mostly been used as an awake-time activity; I'll put her in there if I'm cleaning downstairs and I need her off the floor or if we are trying to make that final stretch to her bedtime and she needs some soothing quiet time. 

So, bottom line...was the MamaRoo worth the money?!

I have to say, I'm reeeeally on the fence about that. 

I think Ava would have benefited from the motion of a traditional swing more - that weightlessness feeling at the crest of each pendulum swing. The MamaRoo does not provide that. I think that is the key for soothing a baby is the good ol' fashioned rocking motion. The MamaRoo only provides what I call "conveyor belt" motions that seem robotic. The up-and-down motion from the kangaroo setting was the closest we could get to simulate a feeling of bouncing and rocking for Ava. However, we have not had Ava in a traditional swing to know for sure if she would have preferred that. 

Ava has been a good crib sleeper, so we were never dependent on a swing or other device to get her to sleep or to stay asleep. So I feel like $219 is a steep price to pay for something that we just put her in once in awhile. Some babies love their swings, but Ava just hasn't been that way. But it's hard to know until you get to know your own baby and try it out with them! Each baby is so different!

Here's a summary at a glance:

Pros:
*Offers customizable settings for each baby's preference 
*Easy to assemble
*Takes up less space than a traditional swing
*Easily connect an MP3 player and play music through the speakers in the swing
*Seat easily zips off for washing

Cons:
*Expensive
*Doesn't provide the traditional swing motion
*Robotic movement
*Have to buy additional support cushioning for newborns
*A bit noisy (but it does have a white noise affect)
*25 pound weight limit (other swings can support 30-35 pounds)

I have seen they have a newer model of the MamaRoo swing in which you can control the settings of the swing from your smartphone. Very innovative, but I really don't think that's necessary. Once you find a setting that works, I really doubt you will need to change it. 

I hope this review will help you decide between a MamaRoo swing and a traditional swing! The good news is that the MamaRoo swing has a great resale value, so if you do purchase it and decide it's not for your baby, you could easily sell it and get most of your money back!

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