Before our daughter was born, I’ll admit, we were pretty clueless about most baby products.
Like most people, we set up a baby registry and put a bunch of stuff on there. Some of it was pretty straightforward – clothes, blankets, etc. But there were definitely other products where we had no idea if we’d ever actually use them.
One of these mysterious products was a rock ‘n play sleeper.
Between the pack ‘n play, the crib, the bouncer, the bassinet, and everything else you could put a baby into, were we really going to use a rock ‘n play?
Yeah, sure, add it to the list.
Little did we know it would become not only our favorite purchase, but we would go on to buy a second one. A different one. It would end up being the very reason that we were finally able to get some sleep in our little girl’s first few months of life.
So which ones did we buy? And what we do we think is the best rock ‘n play sleeper? Allow me to explain…
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Best Rock ‘n Play Sleeper in 2019 (Our Review)
(Update 10/8/2019: The Fisher Price rock ‘n play sleepers have been recalled since this review was posted. Therefore, these can no longer be purchased.)
As I mentioned before, we actually ended up buying two different rock ‘n plays, and we used both regularly. (Spoiler alert: The one we actually consider the “best” is #2 below.)
I think it sat idle in our house until 2 weeks after we brought our little newborn girl home. We didn’t know what we were doing yet and didn’t know how useful this would be.
One day, instead of trying to let her nap in the pack ‘n play or her crib, we put her in this thing. It manually rocks back and forth (obviously) and even has a little switch that causes the whole thing to vibrate.
She went right to sleep – and stayed asleep for longer than 30 minutes (which was about as long as we could get her to sleep anywhere else).
Before long, we didn’t only use this to put her down for naps while we sat on the couch and watched TV. We would carry it up to our bedroom each night and put her to sleep in it. Just like that, we were finally getting real stretches of sleep (2 hours, which as you probably know, is an acceptable amount when you’re dealing with a newborn).
And if she were to wake up before it was time to eat in the middle of the night, or even right after a midnight feeding, it was easy to put her back down and rock her back to sleep while we laid in bed.
Also, separate from just sleeping at home, this thing is great to fold up and bring with you if you’re visiting with friends and family outside your home. It’s very portable and allows you keep your baby on a good nap schedule even when you’re not home.
Here’s the crazy part: This isn’t what we’d consider the best rock ‘n play sleeper. I’ll get to that one next.
There were two things we didn’t like about the rock ‘n play above. And they aren’t really anything negative about the product itself (because it is still a great rock ‘n play):
- We had to constantly lug it up and down the stairs every night/morning. I know, you’re thinking we’re lazy…we are. But honestly, when you’re sleep deprived, it’s just one more thing to tire you out even though it’s not heavy at all.
- Although the vibrate feature was great, it was still a manual process to rock it. Which, again, is totally fine. But there’s a better solution out there that I’m going to discuss below.
2) Fisher-Price Deluxe Newborn Auto Rock ‘N Play Sleeper With Smartconnect (The Best Rock ‘N Play Sleeper)
After we spent nearly two months with the Snugabunny Deluxe Newborn Rock ‘N Play Sleeper, we stumbled upon a more advanced version. I don’t recall why we were even looking; it may have been because we still had a gift card to Babies ‘R Us or somewhere that we needed to use.
So, we found this auto rock ‘n play sleeper. And I can honestly say is the best rock ‘n play sleeper we’ve researched and actually used.
These are the features that made it pretty amazing:
- Automatic rocking (2 speeds) – This is the #1 feature that makes this so amazing. We often used to spend more than an hour each night, or multiple times in the middle of the night, manually rocking our daughter to sleep (which kept us awake). The automatic rocking allowed us to fall asleep while she was falling asleep. There are two speeds, but we found the slower speed to be better (the quicker speed was way too fast). This feature alone allowed us to reclaim at least a few hours of sleep per night.
- Built-in white noise – Although we had a separate white noise machine, it was nice to have the built-in white noise with this rocker. We could bring it anywhere in the house and not have to worry about lugging around the white noise machine too.
- Vibration – We eventually phased this out because we didn’t want our daughter to get used to vibration in order to sleep, but this was helpful early on.
- The Smartconnect App – There’s an app for this rocker that connects to your mobile device via Bluetooth. At first, I thought this was a pointless feature, but have grown to love it.
- First, it’s easier to change the settings for everything (rocker speed, white noise volume, etc.) within the app than it is on the rocker’s built-in controls.
- Second, you can turn things on and off without having to get out of bed. For example, we would only turn the rocking on for an hour to get our daughter to fall asleep. If she wakes up in the middle of the night (not to feed, but just stirring and making babbling sounds), we could turn the rocking on for another hour right from the app to put her back to sleep.
One other thing we liked about this one (vs. the other one we have) is that it’s not battery-powered. You can simply plug it in and not worry about replacing batteries. (This is especially important if they die on you in the middle of the night).
This one is a bit more expensive than the first one above. But to us, it was well worth the extra cost.
Other Rock ‘n Plays
As I do a bit of looking around, I see there is a less expensive auto rock ‘n play sleeper from Fisher-Price (the Newborn Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, Aqua Stone Fashion).
While it has the auto rock feature, it doesn’t have the smart connect app. I don’t think that’s the end of the world, but it’s nice to be able to set a timer on the rocking so that your baby isn’t rocking all night. Also, this version doesn’t have a vibrate mode.
Although this wasn’t our choice for the best rock ‘n play sleeper, if you’re primarily looking for the auto-rocking feature, this is pretty good value.
There are a lot of other rock ‘n play sleepers out there – some by other manufacturers. If you do a bit of research online, you’ll see that the Fisher-Price ones are consistently rated the highest. I honestly believe the Deluxe Newborn Auto Rock ‘N Play Sleeper With Smartconnect is the best rock ‘n play sleeper when you consider all the features. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s hard to put a price on that extra sleep you’ll get by using it.
And no, this post is not sponsored by Fisher-Price…I’m simply sharing our views from the rock ‘n plays that we actually tested, along with some research done online. 🙂
Is it Safe to Sleep in a Rock ‘n Play?
This probably deserves a post of its own, but I’ll address it briefly here; I’m sure it’s a question on many of your minds. SIDS is a real concern for most parents, as it should be.
A lot of people feel that calling it a “sleeper” is misleading, because it may not actually be safe for a baby to sleep in it. This pediatrician certainly doesn’t think so. If you read the comments on this post, you’ll find a lot of parents who disagree with him, particularly those who have infants with acid reflux.
If you’re not sure, consult with your pediatrician and get a recommendation that is specific to your own situation. Don’t rely on what people say on the internet.
In consideration of this issue, we always keep the rock ‘n play next to our bed. We also equip our baby with a Snuza. It’s a little monitor that clips to the front of the diaper. It senses a baby’s breathing based on the movement of the stomach. If it doesn’t detect movement after a period of time, it alerts you.
This has given us a TON of peace of mind with regard to putting our baby to sleep in the rock ‘n play.
In the event that something does happen to the baby’s breathing (which is unlikely, but still possible), the Snuza will alert us right away. This allows us to greatly reduce the possibility of SIDS. And, it’s something we would use even if we were putting our daughter down in a traditional crib.
What’s Your Favorite Rock ‘n Play?
Anyway, that’s our perspective on the best rock ‘n player sleeper for 2019. The thing that finally allowed us to get some sleep (along with these other amazing baby sleep tips).
Did you have a similar experience? What’s your favorite rock ‘n play? Leave a comment below! 🙂