Along with morning sickness and doctor’s appointments, one of the common rites of passage you’ll experience during your pregnancy is hearing all about exactly what you need to buy, from other moms. And yes, they know their stuff – but ultimately, here at Magic Beans, we’re thinking about what YOU need (which might not be what they needed). Moms are individuals, and babies are too!
Bouncers can be just as tough to select as strollers and car seats, since you have so many options, and each one is a little different (or, in the case of today’s subjects, a LOT different). Today, we’re going to talk about two of our very favorite bouncers: the Nuna Leaf and the 4Moms Mamaroo. They’re both great, but in completely different ways.
4Moms Mamaroo Bouncer, available in Classic or Plush $219.99-$249.99
- Motion: 5 robotic motions developed by studying how moms bounce their babies in their arms, with 5 speeds to choose from
- Ages/weights for use: Birth to 25 pounds
- Additional features: Onboard sound machine, MP3 player hookup, adjustable recline, dangling toys
- Motion: Just side to side, with a little push from you
- Ages/weights for use: Birth to 130 pounds, maybe higher
- Additional features: Lock on base for stationary napping or playtime
4Moms is one of many companies with a similar origin story: a team of moms came together to create the products that they wanted to use for their own kids. The Mamaroo is one of their most popular and technically advanced creations, with five robotic motions and five speeds designed to mimic the movements real moms use to soothe their babies.
And that’s not all: additional features include an onboard sound machine, double-sided hanging toys (one side in black and white for newborns, one in color for older babies), and even an MP3 player you can hook up to play your own music! And it has an adjustable recline and built-in straps for comfort and safety. All in all, this is a fantastic place to put your infant when you need to give your arms a rest.
Nuna is a European company that’s been building lots of buzz here in the US, and among the most spectacularly unique Nuna products is the Leaf bouncer. It’s comparatively low-tech (no electronics, no sounds, and only one motion), but no less useful when you need to put your baby down, and no less impressive in its design. The unique ball-bearing assembly creates an incredibly smooth motion that requires very little pushing from you – just give it a little nudge and it will sway your baby side to side happily for up to three minutes on just that one push! If you want to keep your Leaf stationary, there’s an easy-to-use lock right on the base.
Oh, and one more amazing thing about the Nuna Leaf: unlike any other product we know of that has been invented to rock an infant, there is pretty much no upper age limit for this rocker! It has a weight limit of 140 pounds, so any kid or smaller adult can sit in it. So instead of passing it on to your pal who’s having a baby 6 months after you, you can hang onto your Leaf so your preschooler can perch in it and rock herself with her legs while watching Frozen over and over again.
MORE FROM OUR GEAR GURUS:
Meghan Monroe, Senior Staff, Boston store:
The Nuna Leaf is my favorite baby lounger! With a maximum capacity of 130 pounds, it turns into a toddler seat once the child has outgrown the “falling leaf” left to right motion. Every time the child kicks or moves it propels the Leaf, and it will continue that motion up to a half hour. Every child that I have seen just lights up when they are in this lounger!
The Mamaroo is great because it is both a lounger and a noise machine. If your child only falls asleep on car rides, then this is the product for you! The only negative to the Mamaroo is that it is big and bulky and needs an outlet.
Chelsea Abbott, Senior Staff, Brookline store:
Between the two, I think the Nuna Leaf has far more pros than cons. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone try to return a Leaf!
The weight limit alone (130 pounds) allows for an extended use; if you have multiple kids, they can all sit/play on it. It’s something they can use basically forever; it turns into a reading chair or a gaming chair or whatever-they-want-chair as they grow. We have kids of all ages (…and maybe some sales associates) playing on our floor model and it’s still going strong.
While the lack of motor can be seen as a con, this does allow you to move the chair anywhere you go. Making dinner? Bring the baby and the Leaf with you to the kitchen. No need to find a plug, merely plop them down on the floor, out of your way but where you can still see them. A gentle tap every few minutes keeps the Leaf swaying, keeping baby and parent happy.
The Mamaroo, on the other hand, is clunkier and only works when tethered to an outlet. This makes it more difficult to move around your home with you. The 25 pound weight limit also means you may only have a year with it. And some children don’t like the way it moves, or find it over-stimulating. There are plenty of success stories with the Mamaroo, however, so please note that if one thing works for one child, it may not work for every child.
Dana Morgenstein, Content Writer:
I just wanted to add one more thing: the Mamaroo looks more techy while the Nuna Leaf looks more artsy (especially the Curv model, with that totally sweet curving base). Ultimately, practical value will determine your baby purchases, but it doesn’t hurt to mention that what you choose may also depend on your personal style. So if you’re all about showing off cool new gadgets to the other parents you know, the Mamaroo may be for you, while if you’re really into sleek, minimal modern design, you may lean towards the Leaf.
Are you really into tech toys with a ton of options and features? Do you have a baby who won’t fall asleep unless she’s in the car, and do you really, really, really want to get some shut-eye instead of driving around for hours? Get the Mamaroo!
Are you looking for serious long-term value? Are you into pretty modern design? Do you want to be able to sit in the bouncer yourself, like our store associates? Get the Leaf!