Hi, all, it’s Mrs Reviews back again from the rabbit hole that is life with 2 under 2’s. Chronically tired, forever multi-tasking, and usually covered in baby sick or toddler food stains. Lovely! I’m here today reviewing another baby product as promised in my last post.
This time I’m reviewing the Graco All soother. As mentioned in my last post, having learned the hard way with my first son, with this baby I wanted to be prepared for another possible velcro baby with lots of different soothers. We had a rough patch a few weeks ago during a developmental leap where baby 2 would not be put down at all and he all but lived in the sling during the day. I thoroughly believe that babies should be close to their mothers and be held a lot. But as much as I’d love to do that again as I did with my eldest, it’s not as easy when you have another young child. A sling is great for getting work done; I’ve now done everything from cooking and cleaning to putting the washing out. But it still doesn’t allow me to fully pick up and cuddle my toddler, especially when he is still getting a bit jealous at the sight of baby literally attached to mummy. Hence why it’s really important to me to be able to put the baby down sometimes.
As we weren’t buying much baby gear this time, I was willing to spend a little bit more money on a good baby swing. We had a bouncer with our first and he never really liked it, so I wanted something that could provide a range of motions. Initially, I really wanted a Mamaroo. I’d seen quite a few instagram and youtube mummies rave about it and their babies seemed to sleep in it so soundly. It rocked and swayed in so many different ways, more closely mimicking the way a caregiver would rock a baby to soothe them. The design was also very slick and looked almost futuristic like. However, I could not justify the steep price tag. Even second-hand ones cost more than most other baby swings on the market. So off I went looking for a dupe.
The most popular swings in the shops these days seem to come from Joie. They offer several models around the £100-£150 mark such as the Sansa and Serina. They also have a 2-in-1 feature, allowing you to take the seat off the base and use the chair as a portable rocker without the need of being plugged in. However, the models I looked at only offered a limited range of motions such as swaying or swinging back and forth or side to side.
Then I came across the Graco All Ways Soother. Like the Joie models, it could also be used as a portable rocker. It is mains powered, however, it has a much bigger range of movements, everything from swaying back and forth and up and down, to a circle movement, to a figure of 8 motion. You access these movements by pressing the buttons on the standing base unit. You also have the option to speed up the movements and can play a range of sounds such as white noise at varying volume levels. We purchased ours from Kiddie’s Kingdom for £175 with free delivery here.
We tried putting baby in the swing all the way from when he was a few days old. It was a mixed bag at first. Some times he could sleep in it for a good 20-30 minutes. Other times he would not sit in it at all. Then when he went through his developmental leaps, he would not be put down in at all for love nor money. It was frustrating, and I found myself doubting if the swing had even been worth its money. However, now we are on the other side of the leap, he is able to sit and sleep in it a lot better. A few times I have put him down in the classic drowsy but awake state, cover him with a blanket, put on one of the motions, speed it up and play the white noise on loud and surprisingly he dropped off to sleep himself and slept for a good hour. That was valuable time I could spend with my toddler one on one without worrying about needing someone to watch the baby.
The only caveat is that I’ve found that he sometimes needs there to be a reasonable amount of quiet to fall asleep. But once he’s settled into a deep enough sleep, his older brother can be there making noise and he doesn’t stir too much.
We have placed the swing in our dining room which kind of doubles up as our toddler’s main play room. Due to being mains powered, the swing is in a corner near a plug socket. We’ve found now that so long as he is fed and not tired, the baby is now very happy to sit in the swing whilst he is awake. The placing of the chair allows him to look out through our windows into the garden and he can also observe the activities of the room and his brother. He also really loves the hanging toys above the chair and now seems like he is trying to swat or touch them.
The base stand of the swing is very bulky so it usually just stays in the dining room corner. And whilst the two in one portable rocker feature sounds handy, we’ve used it much, to be honest.
Another handy advantage of the swing is that it is quite high up, so it means I don’t have to worry about the toddler trampling all over the baby whilst he’s playing. He can just about reach the baby’s head whilst he is standing up. So it does offer a little bit of safety. We also got a Moses basket for downstairs but the baby has literally never used it as he never really liked being laid down in it for one (our Purflo nest did not fit inside it, unfortunately. Read my review of the nest here). And also, I was worried our toddler would reach in and grab at him. We got the basket for free second hand so I wasn’t too disheartened. So when the baby is downstairs, he is either being held or in the swing. Increasingly it is becoming more the swing.
It is definitely not a definitive solution. All babies are different and some settle in bouncer chairs and swings better than others. Some babies can just be put down on a blanket on the floor happily and will either play or fall asleep – I hope to get a baby like this some day! When Baby 2 is awake, fed and not tired, he does enjoy playing in his swing. However, if he is tired, it does take a little bit of effort to get him to sleep in the swing. The weight limit of the swing is pretty high so we are hoping to get a few more months use out of it and I’m hoping the baby will enjoy it more as he gets a bit older.
If you have a more low maintenance baby who is not so difficut at being out down, you can proabably easily get away with a basic bouncer or simple swing. But if like me, you really want to cover your bases and get a fancy bit of baby gear that mimics the feeling of a baby being rocked and swayed, I would definitely look into this swing. It’s not as well known and marketed as a Mamaroo but I think it’s a pretty good dupe.