Pauline wrote in with a question that we're sure almost all of us have agonized over at some point:
I'm planning a nursery and would like to find a comfortable rocking chair (not a glider). I like the look of this bentwood rocker, but wonder if it's too "deep" to get in and out of comfortably with a baby in hand. I'm open to other styles… the key is comfort. I've sat in many rocking chairs with a straight back that makes you feel like you're going to fall out of when while rocking. I'd like to buy new, so if anyone has a good source for a comfortable well-made rocker, please let me know.
Sounds like a question for all of you been-there-done-that parents. We have a couple of ideas after the jump. Please add your own!
We'll start with our personal experience: an armless upholstered rocker from EQ3 and a vintage Eames molded fiberglass rocker, both pictured below.
The EQ3 rocker is fantastic -- extra wide, comfy as heck, and it rocks and swivels on an almost invisible base, which means there's no risk of squishing little fingers or toes. Sadly, this rocker seems to have been discontinued, but if you manage to spot a similar one elsewhere, we highly recommend it.
As for the Eames rocker, they're not to everyone's taste, but we love it. Getting in and out isn't a problem, and ours is padded with a sheepskin so extended nursing is a comfortable proposition. Our understanding, however, is that the chair isn't so comfortable for taller people or for people with minimal padding on their posterior. If you want to go this route with a new chair, Modernica sells them for between $375 and $399, depending on the base.
If you're looking for a more traditional design, bentwood is a wonderful idea. It's clean, classic, and has a way of "breathing" in a room; however, you're right, many bentwood rockers have a way of tipping you back dramatically when you sit in them. Unless one of our savvy readers can point you toward a specific manufacturer and non-tippy model, we can only suggest that you do things the old-fashioned way: go and sit in every chair you can.
When we were originally looking for rocking chairs, we were very attracted to the Shaker rockers available at Shaker Workshops. Specifically, the No. 5 Armless Shaker Rocker, pictured below at left ($186.25 for the kit, or $298.75 for an already assembled piece), struck as both beautiful and practical. With your choice of finish and tape colors, you can custom design a chair for almost any style of room. (Caveat: We haven't actually sat in one of these, but we find ourselves confident that the Shakers wouldn't design an egregiously rocking rocker.)
Now, we live in fear of bonking our little ones' heads on wooden arms, but if you're more confident in your non-head-bonking abilities, Shaker Workshops also carries several styles of rockers with arms, all of which are available either assembled or as DIY kits.
If you want the Cadillac of traditional rockers, the Weeks Rocker, pictured above at the right, is pretty much the top of the line. The Gary Weeks website explains in detail why this chair is perfectly designed for nursing mothers, and for parents in general: The seat is generous and scooped deeply to relieve pressure on the hipbones. The splats support the lumbar and relieve the muscles of the lower back. The motion is balanced and near effortless. The headrest rests the head. And critically, the armrests are positioned and contoured to softly support the arms as they nestle a baby to breast, chest, and lap.
All that comfort doesn't come cheap, though: prices start at $1600. (To the company's credit, each chair comes with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee.)
So now we put the question to the Ohdeedoh community: can you recommend a well-made rocker that provides hours of rocking comfort? Let Pauline know in the comments.