Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Review and Giveaway: mamaRoo

A good while before Snowflake made an appearance, I was contacted by Emily at 4mumsonline whether I'd be interested in reviewing the mamaRoo, a new product to the UK market, a kind of crossover between a bouncy chair and a baby swing.

I was very happy to say yes to a review - with Cubling we'd struggled a lot getting her to the land of nod, she was overstimulated, colicky, cried inconsolably and was generally a spirited baby (aka colicky baby though I never quite believed it was just colic), so we've had our experience of really struggling to calm baby and get a rest from carrying baby non-stop. With Cubling, baby bouncers didn't work. The vibration that most have did nothing. Holding her or carrying her didn't work either; she needed lots of movement to be calmed. For her, eventually we invested in an electric swing, which was bulky but worked wonders.

So the mamaRoo looked rather attractive to me as it combines features of a swing and a bouncer, just the ticket for Snowflake, so in theory, it should please different baby personalities.

Now that we're 2 weeks down the line, I guess I can make initial comments on the product. One thing to bear in mind is that babies are all different. Snowflake is not colicky and not one searching for big movements. She is happiest tugged in - so she'll fall asleep if wrapped in a cosy blanket or worn in a sling (in fact, she's sleeping in the wrap right now). So far, the mamaRoo hasn't worked particularly well for her yet, but she's still tiny and transitioning from inside to outside and I'm sure this will change soon and she'll enjoy the movements and sounds of the mamaRoo. I can only suspect that it would have worked wonders for Cubling, but of course she's a bit big to try it out now!

Cubling and Mr Cartside had the honour of setting the mamaRoo up and it ticks every box for simple set up and ease of use. So easy that Cubling can operate it (in fact, she showed me how to do it all). It was ready in just 5 minutes. I love the way you can operate all the functions with your foot - no need to bend down, and also the baby is higher than on a bouncing chair - again good for my back.

What does it do?
Well, it's got 5 different motion settings, and advertises them as moving like you do. I'm not so sure if I move like any of these settings to be honest, but neither do I move like a swing or a vibrating bouncy chair so I have no problem with the actual motion settings being different to my movements. It is still an electric movement, even if the movements are based on how the parents would move with the baby.

It doesn't include a vibration setting which is a bit of a shame. While vibration wasn't useful when Cubling was a baby, I know lots of babies who love it and it would have been nice had it been included in the mamaRoo. Having said that, the motion settings it does have are reasonably varied, ranging from a sideways figure of 8 to a swing type motion. The speed of the motion is adaptable (5 speed settings) to suit your baby's preference.

Secondly, the mamaRoo has inbuilt white noise sounds to soothe baby to sleep, as well as volume control and a connection for your very own MP3 player so you can play your own music if you prefer.

It comes with a mobile with reversable balls with impressionistic images (black and white for the younger babies, colour for the older baby). I like the simple, functional and toddler proof construction - you can easily move it out of the way if not needed, and the balls are reversed quickly, it's also indestructable as far as I can see and I'm sure they'll be popular as chewy toys from 3 months (they are already popular with our 3 year old). However, I'm not a big fan of the black and white version of Van Gogh/impressionist designs which I don't think are particularly engaging for babies.That's a mere quibble though.

It works from the mains which is described as greener than using batteries. This means, together with the size and weight of the unit, that it's less moveable and compares to an electric swing in this respect. It's not made to be moved quickly and frequently between rooms, and while smaller than a swing, it's still bigger than a bouncy chair so that it doesn't fit into our kitchen for example. You could move it occasionally though - unlike a swing it wouldn't need to be dismantled to be moved. But if you're looking for something to carry about with you, the mamaRoo may a bit on the heavy side.

The mamaRoo is suitable from birth to approximately 6 months (or when baby can sit up by him/herself, with a weight limit of 11 kg) and the incline of the seat can be adapted to suit the age of the baby.

It's extremely stylish and will certainly be an eye catcher to any visitor or fit into a modern or style conscious household. It also features a practical zipped-on fabric is oh so easy to take off for a quick (machine) wash (and I appreciate the ease of taking it off a lot, rather than the struggle that we've had with both bouncing chair and swing fabrics).

The mamaRoo also has great safety features - again, useful if not essential if you have other little ones in the house. It will switch itself off if any part is moved or loosened that shouldn't be, and it resets easily.

The mamaRoo retails for £199 at Mothercare.

And here comes the exciting bit: 4mums are happy to give away one mamaRoo to one lucky reader of Mummydothat! To enter, please leave a comment.

For additional entries,  you can follow 4mums on twitter or on facebook (please don't post a comment on the wall) or sign up as 4moms Insider. And let me know in your comment that you have done so!

Conditions: you need to be a UK resident and your address can't be a PO box. Giveaway closes 6th October 2010 (a week from today). Good luck!



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