Do I Need a Nursing Chair (Glider, Rocker, Recliner)?

rocking chair on attic near window

You need to be comfortable when breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby, day and night. As a first-time parent, you might be asking if you need a nursing chair and if you do, should you get a glider, rocker, or recliner? Here are all the answers you need.

Do You Really Need a Nursing Chair?

When looking for comfort while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby, a nursing chair is your solution. These chairs are designed to help you soothe your baby with smooth movements. Gliders, rockers, and recliners have different features but are all for feeding and sleeping purposes.

Alternatives to Nursery Chairs (incl. non-traditional)

You’re not limited to only buying a classical nursery chair for your baby’s room. Some of the alternatives to a nursery chair could include any of the following:

  • A sofa
  • Your office chair
  • An armchair
  • A padded dining chair
  • A daybed in your nursery
  • Your bed (especially for nighttime feeds)
  • Poang chairs from IKEA
  • A wooden rocking chair

When using any regular chair, you can add more comfort by using a breastfeeding pillow

Types of Breastfeeding Chairs for Nursery

To decide if a rocking chair, a glider, or a recliner could work best for you, one should first understand the types of breastfeeding chairs available, which come in various designs with a range of features. 

Gliding Chair (Glider)

Also known as a gliding chair, the glider doesn’t rock but instead, moves in a backward and forward motion. The seat is placed on a track and a well-designed glider should move on this track with quiet and smooth gliding movements.

A glider is often quieter than a rocker which many breastfeeding moms prefer when trying to put their baby to sleep. Ensure the seat is not too narrow and that the chair also includes armrests. Some gliders also come with an ottoman for extra comfort. 

Storkcraft Premium Hoop Glider and Ottoman (White Base, Gray Cushion) – Padded Cushions with Storage Pocket, Smooth Rocking Motion, Easy to Assemble, Solid Hardwood Base

Rocking Chair (Rocker)

The rocking chair or rocker design in modern nursing chairs hardly resembles the old-fashioned one your grandmother used to use! The modern-day rocker is well-padded and placed on arc legs to create the rocking movement. Depending on the design of the rocker, this movement can be smooth or quite rough. 

Haotian FST15-W, Comfortable Relax Rocking Chair, Lounge Chair Relax Chair with Cushion

Ensure you have enough space around the chair when rocking in it. A rocking chair with armrests is also better for more comfort while feeding. Read my glider versus rocker comparison article to find out what makes the two nursing chairs different from each other. 

Recliner Chair

The recliner chair is another comfortable option for breastfeeding moms as well as for parents trying to soothe a fussy baby to sleep. The recliner chair is able to tilt into different positions and the number of reclines depends on the brand you buy. The seat is padded for extra comfort and most recliners come with armrests. 

Recliner chairs often include a footrest. This type of chair is normally bigger than other types of nursing chairs so may not work well for smaller nurseries. A typical recliner chair doesn’t offer gliding and rocking features. 

Homall Recliner Chair, Recliner Sofa PU Leather for Adults, Recliners Home Theater Seating with Lumbar Support, Reclining Sofa Chair for Living Room (Black, Leather)

Combination of Glider and Recliner

A nursing chair that uses a combination of the glider and recliner features gives you the option of reclining the back while gliding. By tilting the back, you can position yourself comfortably while breastfeeding. This type of chair works well for both nursing your baby and soothing them to sleep. 

Babyletto Kiwi Electronic Power Recliner and Swivel Glider with USB Port in Grey Tweed, Greenguard Gold Certified

Factors to Consider When Deciding if You Need a Nursing Chair 

A nursing chair is an investment that should serve you well! When deciding if you need a nursing chair and which type to get, you need to consider some key factors. 

Amount of Available Space

Whether you’re using your bedroom or the baby’s nursery, take measurements of the available space in the room before purchasing a chair. You’ll need to ensure there’s enough space for the chair to recline, glide, or rock without bumping into anything in the room. You’ll also need to consider available space if you’re using an ottoman or adjustable footrest on the chair. 

Gliders often take up less space than a rocker or recliner chair. Some of the best gliders for a small nursery will give you all the comfort you need even in a limited space. 

Future Use

Investing in a nursing chair may seem like an expensive buy especially if you think you’re only going to be using it for the first year of your baby’s life. However, gliders, recliners, and even rockers can be put to good use in the future once you stop breastfeeding your baby. With most of these chairs using modern designs and fabric, they won’t look out of place in other rooms in your home.

Gliders and recliners are wonderful for relaxing while reading your favorite book in the living room. A recliner chair can also be moved to the family room for watching television. Rockers may not be as versatile for future use but if you find the rocking motion soothes you then keep it for those days when you’re feeling anxious


The reason many parents pick a glider over a rocker is for its safety features. There’s always the danger of your other younger children trapping their fingers under the legs of a rocker. Most glider chairs include a safety guard to protect your children as well as you from pinched fingers. 

It’s easier for a child to climb onto a rocking chair and start rocking it dangerously. Gliders, on the other hand, have a locking mechanism that needs to be unlocked before the chair starts gliding. 

A recliner chair also has more safety features than a rocker. But, if it has an adjustable footrest ensure there’s nothing under it before closing it down. You also want to make sure other children aren’t close enough to get their hands or fingers trapped when closing the footrest.  

Mom’s Height and Weight

When picking a nursing chair, make sure it’s the right size for the breastfeeding mom’s height and weight; The same applies to dad if he’s on bottle-feeding or putting baby to sleep duty. Factors to consider include a back high enough to prevent your head flopping, a wide seat for bigger hips, and a sturdy, well-padded seat for heavier parents. 

When choosing one of the best nursery gliders for taller parents, make sure you take into consideration the depth of the seat. It would also be beneficial to purchase a glider that has an adjustable footrest or ottoman so you can rest your feet while feeding or putting your baby to sleep. 

Type of Nursing Chair

The type of nursing chair you pick depends on how much time you’re going to spend in it and for what purpose. Nursing chairs are mostly used for breastfeeding or bottle-feeding babies. But, they’re also ideal for those late nights when the baby wakes up and needs soothing back to sleep. Comfort is key in both situations.

Rockers are best suited for soothing your baby to sleep although some moms enjoy the rocking motion while breastfeeding. Recliner chairs designed for nursing babies give you all the comfort you need while feeding your baby. But, they don’t offer a rocking or gliding motion. 

Gliders give you the best of both worlds – comfort while breastfeeding and motion for soothing an unhappy baby. 

Lumbar Support

A nursing chair that comes with good lumbar support is essential to protect your spine while being seated for long periods of time. This feature encourages good posture which is essential when protecting your back while seated. 

Some nursing chairs come with a separate lumbar support pillow which can be used whenever you sit in the chair. 


Feeding babies can become a messy affair and if your baby is prone to colic or reflux, spit-ups could end up on your nursing chair. Leaking diapers is another common problem during feeding time. Cleaning the chair should be easy and quick. 

Make sure you pick nursing chairs made with durable fabric that is easy to clean. If the seat covers can be removed and are machine-washable, that’s a bonus. Removable seat padding is another feature you should look out for when looking for a chair that’s easy to clean.

Bottom Line: Winner for Type of Chair

When looking at the key features of gliders, rockers, and recliner chairs they all have many benefits for breastfeeding moms. 

However, the glider comes in as the overall winner simply because it ticks all the boxes for feeding and soothing babies. They’re comfortable, functional, safe, and most designs are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Plus, when you’re no longer using it as a nursing chair, you can move it into the living room!

Watch this YouTube video to see how to choose a glider chair.

Do You Need an Ottoman for Your Glider?

Most gliders come with an ottoman. This added feature is useful for those times when you’re feeding a fussy baby who won’t feed quickly or soothing a crying baby in the middle of the night. Raising your feet makes you more relaxed and comfortable during these times. Some gliders also come with a footrest included in the design. 

Where Should You Put Your Nursing Chair in Your Nursery?

The nursing chair should be placed so that it won’t bump into any furnishing or walls in the nursery. It should also be placed out of the way so you can approach your baby’s crib or changing table easily. Placing your nursing chair next to a table with a night light is a good idea too.

Do You Need a Rocking Chair for Your Baby?

Not all babies like the motion of rocking chairs so take this into consideration when choosing the type of nursing chair. However, for many babies, being rocked to sleep is heavenly so if you have a fussy baby who doesn’t sleep easily, a rocking chair could be your solution. 

Why Are Antique Nursing Chairs so Low?

In Victorian days women, including mothers, wore stiff corsets under their dresses. Antique nursing chairs were designed with low seating to make it easier for moms to engage with their young children without having to bend over. 

Final Thoughts

Nursing chairs simplify your life as a breastfeeding or bottle-feeding parent while keeping you comfortable. These chairs can also be used to soothe your baby to sleep. In my own personal opinion, I would pick a glider for my baby’s feeding and soothing needs.

And, when it comes to transitioning your baby from the crib and you’re debating between the toddler vs. twin beds option, keep the glider a bit longer in the nursery. This way, you can nap in comfort while your little one gets used to his new bed!

Last update on 2024-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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