Having your first child can be overwhelming for a number of reasons, but one of which is the stuff. From bottles and blankets to car seats and cribs, the amount of information you try to digest and the number of decisions to make is exhausting. I remember walking into Babies R Us when I was registering for my first child and wandering around the store in a daze for 20 minutes before leaving with a pounding heart, sweaty palms and nothing on my registry.
One of the biggest hurdles is not knowing what exactly your baby will take to. Will he like the sling or prefer to sit up in a carrier? Will the swing soothe her or the bouncy seat? Between gifts and hand-me-downs, when my first arrived I had a swing, a vibrating seat, a playmat, a door-frame jumpy-thing and exersaucer. Overkill? Absolutely, but what was going to work?
Fortunately, a group of entrepreneurial moms came up with the perfect solution – the mamaRoo. With the mamaRoo they have solved the main problem of the all the gizmos and gadgets that try to soothe your baby – they don’t move like you do. When is the last time you repetitively swung your baby back and forth like a swing? Or vibrated like a bouncy seat? The problem with most of these baby gadgets is that they don’t actually mimic the soothing motions that parents do naturally to calm a fussy baby – movements like swaying back and forth or doing the kind of bouncey-walking-swing combo that my dad named the “duck walk”.
The mamaRoo recreates 5 unique motions for your baby to enjoy.
Car Ride: mimics the gentle jostle of a moving car, moving the baby in a horizontal figure-eight position
Kangaroo: for kids who like to bounce, a pattern of up and down motions with less side-to-side movement; my firstborn loved this movement – we called it the “martini shaker” but “kangaroo” sounds much better when you’re trying to describe to the sitter or your in-laws how to calm junior down
Tree Swing: a side-to-side bounce that is more consistent and patterned than Kangaroo; high on the sides and low in the middle – that kind of foot-to-foot shift you do when you’re holding your infant and waiting in line
Rock-a-bye: a side-to-side motion that is low on the sides and high in the middle; the opposite of Tree Swing; imagine doing a bent knee-bounce-walk otherwise known as my dad’s “duck walk”
Ocean Wave: around the world; not sure that this replicates a motion I can do as a parent, but great for prepping your kid for boat culture and definitely soothing for many babes
In addition, each one of these motions can be set at speeds 1 – 5, allowing you to find the perfect combination of motion and speed for your little fusser. The speeds adjust with the touch of a button making it easy to change as needed. Speed 1 is incredibly smooth and speed 5 gets those babies who like to be active (safely) moving.
The mamaRoo comes with 5 built-in nature sounds including crickets, babbling brook, rushing stream/rainstorm, ocean waves and white noise/womb. You can select the nature sound and adjust the volume with two scroll knobs, but neither the sound choice nor volume selection show up in the LCD screen so it’s a bit of trial-and-error to find what you’re looking for. In addition, the mamaRoo comes with an mp3 jack and holding dock to connect your iPhone, iPod or other mp3 device if you prefer your kid listening to Beethoven or the Beatles.
I would also note that the device does make a mechanical whirring sound as it moves – especially on speed 5. It’s actually pretty similar to the toned-down version of the white noise selection, but obviously, this one, you can’t turn off. Just don’t expect the mamaRoo to be noiseless when you have it on. You’ll know it’s moving, but if it keeps the baby quiet so you can grab a bite to eat, I’d say it’s a fair trade.
The mamaRoo comes with a hanging toy bar that has three double-sided, plush eggs – one side has a black and white design for infants; the other side is color for older babies. As an added educational bonus, the color sides are actually inspired by famous paintings. Look closely and see if you can name those Van Gogh, Monet, and Seurat paintings. They probably won’t make your baby any smarter, but it will give you a nice flashback to that art history class you took in college.
I imagine you could also hook on toys of your own choosing to the toy bar frame though you’d probably need three of them to keep the holder balanced. And if your kid is too old or uninterested in the visual stimulation, the bar can easily be removed altogether.
Recline – a release latch on the back allows you to adjust the recline on the seat to any position you desire.
Harness -a three-point harness keeps your kiddo safe and secure while they rock, bounce and sway.
LCD Screen – the LCD screen makes it easy to see what motion and speed you’re on and adjust accordingly.
Color Selection – the mamaRoo comes in 6 color combinations including many gender-neutral options.
Range – the mamaRoo is suitable for newborns up to 25 lbs. or until they can sit up unassisted.
Retailing for $199 the mamaRoo isn’t cheap, but works out to be a steal if you think of the money saved on the various baby gadgets it can replace. And gear that allows you to grab a few bites of dinner or helps to calm a fussy baby? Priceless.
Whether you are expecting your first or a veteran mom, visit 4momsonline.com to learn more about the mamaRoo as well as 4moms other innovative products.
MWS MAMAROO GIVEAWAY – COMING SOON! 4moms wants to giveaway a mamaRoo to one lucky MWS reader! Look for an announcement mid-summer to win your very own!
Disclaimer: Product sample sent by company for this review.