Like many expecting parents, we had a Rock and Play on our gift registry. We got one at Ashley’s baby shower. Tons of people use them and recommend them. However, that does not mean that they are a great product. I’m not here to tell you that Rock and Plays are the devil, but I would like to share our experience with it. It started out great, but it turned out bad and it could have been much worse.
When we first brought Noah home from the hospital he slept in our bedroom. We didn’t want him in his crib in the beginning because his crib was in his nursery upstairs, while our room was on the first floor. We didn’t want to be on separate floors of the house when he was a newborn. We didn’t have a bassinet, but we did have the Fisher Price Rock and Play and figured he could sleep in that in our bedroom.
The Rock and Play worked like a charm. Noah slept great in it from the start. I can see why. First off, babies lay on an incline. The baby’s butt sinks down low, while its feet raise up a bit and the baby’s head is higher still. It was kind of like a V shape, but the side of the V with the baby’s head was about twice as high as the other side. The interior sides of Rock and Play were soft and they fit snugly against Noah. It was almost as if the thing swaddled him tightly. Like the name suggests, the Rock and Play can be gently rocked back and forth if needed to soothe the baby inside. It’s convenient if it is located close enough to the bed so you could be lying down and rock the baby to sleep.
Like I said, things seemed to go well at first. Noah slept well in the Rock and Play.
Meanwhile, Noah was doing well in general and was mostly a happy and healthy baby early on. His weight dropped a little low in his first couple of days, but then he quickly bounced back and was consistently gaining weight afterward.
Then, at a routine scheduled appointment with the pediatrician we got some scary news. Noah had a flat spot on the back of his head. This was in the stage where he still had soft spots on his skull, which could apparently become misshaped. It was then that we realized the Rock and Play caused a large flat area on the back of his head. I can’t remember how many months old Noah was at the time, but I’m guessing he was three, six, or nine months since that’s probably when he had scheduled check-ups.
We moved Noah to his crib a couple of months after he was born, but the damage was already done by the Rock and Play. Upon closer inspection we realized that under a soft thin layer of fabric there was a thin, but very hard and flat piece. I’m not sure if it was wood or plastic, but it was very firm.
Thankfully, everything went ok with the neurologist. We were very alarmed at first. We were so worried for our poor baby boy. The doctor said we could have Noah wear a helmet to correct his head for over twenty hours per day, but he thought that it should improve if we paid attention to it and kept the back of his head off of hard surfaces. We knew the helmet idea would be horrific for Noah and the doctor didn’t think it would be necessary, so we avoided it. Over time his head corrected itself and he was fine.
The other bad thing was that transitioning Noah from sleeping on an incline to sleeping in his crib where he was lying flat was very difficult. He did not like that idea at all. We stuck with it and it eventually worked out, but that was not easy and it took some time.
Using the Rock and Play probably would have been fine for Noah if he was just in it now and then or maybe for the occasional nap, but sleeping in it overnight proved to be a big problem. If we had any idea that it could be a bad idea, we never would have had him sleep in it. We were new parents and thought it would be just fine for him to sleep in there until he was a little older and we moved him to his crib.
Needless to say, we ended up throwing the Rock and Play out and when Charlotte was born she only slept on flat surfaces from the moment she was born. She started in a bassinet next to our bed. Then just a couple weeks later we swiftly transitioned her to her crib. It worked out much better than Noah’s move to the crib.