The mamaRoo is part bouncer and part swing, and it provides some of the benefits of each. It's bigger than most bouncy seats and doesn't have the quick-fold for storage that most bouncers do, but it has more features than the standard bouncy seat. When compared to a baby swing, the footprint of the mamaRoo is much smaller, and it has more swing styles than just the back and forth offered by most baby swings.
The price is closer to that of a high-end baby swing.
- mamaRoo offers 5 motion patterns: kangaroo, car ride, tree swing, rock-a-bye and ocean wave.
- There are 5 nature sounds built in, so you can choose from running water, crickets, ocean waves or two different white noise settings.
- You can also connect your MP3 player to the mamaRoo, and there's a little space on the base to cradle your iPod or other music player.
- mamaRoo reclines to any position along the curve underneath the seat.
- The mamaRoo is powered by plugging it into the wall.
- Six colors are available.
- The included mobile has reversible toys with black and white on one side for newborns, and colorful versions of Van Gogh, Monet and Seurat paintings on the other side for older babies.
Advantages of the mamaRoo
There is nothing quite like the mamaRoo. It's unique in style and motion, and it's a great, durable solution for soothing baby that doesn't require a lot of space in your home.
The manufacturer studied how parents move while holding their baby, and created the Mamaroo to move in the same ways using their knowledge of robotics. mamaRoo doesn't just look space age cool, it really is space-age cool.
The motion patterns are slow and soothing. Although you can hear the motor inside the mamaRoo running, it's not so loud that a little music or the built-in sounds won't cover it.
You can change the speed of each motion, too. For babies who need the constant motion of a long car ride or want to be rocked longer than a parent's arms can manage, the mamaRoo is perfect.
The mamaRoo is very easy to operate. The controls on the front are simple enough that you can even switch settings with a toe if your hands are full.
The seat itself is deep and provides a nice space for baby to snuggle in. I love that the cover zips off in case you need to wash it. The fabric also wipes clean pretty easily.
The recline ranges from nearly flat for newborns to as upright as an umbrella stroller. It's easy to use the recline feature, too. The weight limit is a decent 25 lbs, which should accommodate most babies until they can sit up on their own (which is the point where you should stop using this type of product). I think the weight limit and variety of swing motions and music give the Mamaroo a good useful lifespan for the price.
I really like that the mamaRoo doesn't run on batteries. Perhaps it's the number of times when my daughter was small that I had to run out to the store for batteries for her swing, but I find it much easier to just plug into the wall and not worry about it again.
Disadvantages of the mamaRoo
While the variations in movement are cool, they seem pretty slow, even on the speediest settings. The mamaRoo does a good job of mimicking a parent's natural swaying or bouncing motions, but for many babies, it's the force of a swing that does the soothing. The most powerful setting on the mamaRoo isn't close to as fast as a baby swing can go.
To be fair, the mamaRoo isn't trying to be a baby swing or a bouncer, it's based on more natural motions from mom or dad. However, many parents turn to a swing or bouncer for a little extra oomph when baby just can't be soothed by rocking or bouncing by human arms. Babies who are soothed by car rides may also be enjoying the vibration of the ride, where the mamaRoo gives the motion without any vibration.
4Moms says the extra speed isn't necessary, and that they've "found a very real difference between how adults perceive a motion and how babies do.
What seems slow to an adult may be just right for a baby." So, if you're OK with seemingly slow speeds, the Mamaroo might be perfect. After all, it's what baby thinks that matters, right? Just be aware that the type and speed of the motion on the mamaRoo is quite different from what you may be used to with other products.
The mobile, while attractive, doesn't move on its own, and you'd have to constantly twirl it to keep it in motion for very long. According to 4Moms, most babies are content to just have the mobile there to look at, though.
The sound quality from the speakers is just OK. On the lower volume settings, it sounds reasonable, but as you go louder the sound quality goes down to electronic toy levels.
While I prefer the plug-in option, I did talk to one parent who wished that there was also a battery compartment so that it was easier to move the mamaRoo around the house.
Should You Buy the mamaRoo?
For most families, mamaRoo will provide a good alternative to a bulky and potentially battery-eating swing. The average baby will likely find the slow, repetitive movements soothing, especially when combined with the sound effects. Although there are some drawbacks to the mamaRoo, the positives generally win out. Some babies do want more oomph in their swing or bouncer, or the addition of vibration, especially if they're colicky. Those babies may not love the mamaRoo. For most, though, the smaller size, durability, motion options, good weight limit, and consistent power from the plug-in should be enough to justify the purchase price. It'll look good in the living room to boot.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.