This review is for one of my favourite ever baby products. The Natures Sway Baby Hammock. When Eleanor was a bub, we were leant one of these hammocks by a friend of ours, and I was such a newb that I didn't even realise how amazing it would turn out to be. I didn't use if for the first three months, simply because I thought it had to be screwed into the ceiling (it doesn't, but you can if you want), and that was all a bit beyond me. Plus I thought we were fine without it (we weren't).
Zan and my papa (tree beards), hanging with the sleeping bebe...
Then we went up north for the summer, and two of my mama friends did their very best to convert me. They showed me how it was actually hung (sooooo flippin' easy, I felt like a real dork!). They showed me how you could bounce it or rock it, and the amazing result that either action produced. They gave me their tips for using it (which I will share with you at the bottom of this post), and by the time I returned home, we. were. addicted.
Initially we co-slept with Eleanor - which was something that worked really well for me in case you were thinking of asking ;-) but by about 4 months I was ready for a bit more space in the bed. Really I just wanted to be able to turn over with ease. Moving her into her bassinet just wasn't happening for us at that stage, which was when the hammock proved its real worth to us. We hung it from our bedroom door, right next to our bed, and there we were able to rock Eleanor gently to sleep each night. If she grew restless during the night, an outstretched hand was enough to set the hammock in motion again, and all was well. It was amazing.
Sadly it just couldn't last forever. By 6 months Eleanor was really too long for the hammock, and that was when she was moved into her cot (she was a very long - & not to mention chubby - baby, other passive babies would def be able to stay in the hammock much longer). It was a bit traumatising for everyone, and I was pretty distraught to have lost such a helpful 'sleep tool'. From there we ended up trying out every different sleep technique until we found another solution, and I spent the entire agonizing time, wishing we were still able to use the hammock...
Which is why I'm super excited about the new and improved baby hammock, that, aside from anything else, is much longer than the original hammock. The baby we used for the photographs (by Rosa-May of course!) is 7 months - and as you can see, there is plenty of room for her. Eleanor was such a passive little bubba, I think she would have happily stayed in the hammock for most of her first year, so the longer version of this hammock would have been most welcome to us back then. Fingers crossed that no. 2 is the same! The new design is slightly flatter too, and has a foot gate - which makes it all feel nice and secure in there...
Looks cozy eh! Worth mentioning is how great the hammock is to travel with too. The door clamp means that it can be used in just about any home (except the ones that don't have door frames - and why wouldn't you have a door frame?). Very handy life-saving at times, even for day sleeps when you are away from home, especially given that it is a familiar bed for bub. And as you can see, it is perfectly able to be hung from trees, which is just peachy for little summer babies! Yay for summer babies! Just not yay for summer pregnancies, or so I hear.
I think that we'll go with the ceiling hook this time round, to keep bubba nice and out of Eleanor's reach. Perhaps hanging over our bed (which just feels so lovely and safe too, and easy to get to/comfort/feed during the night).
This bubba was so a sweet model. Most babies would probably cry if a perfect stranger popped them in a hammock, and then started snapping photos of them. She didn't. She was super sweet and accommodating. I'm just going to put it out there that she liked the hammock too!
Tips passed on to me:
- While rocking and bouncing are two excellent ways to comfort bub, it pays not to let them get too dependent on either, you want them to like the hammock even if it is still (-ish, it will gently sway with their own movements too). In times of great need, the bouncing and rocking can be lifesavers, but you don't want to wear them out either! Best as a last resort (oh how we need those last resorts sometimes), particularly the bouncing, which always had an immediate calming effect on Eleanor.
- If you want to get some housework done, but you don't want to be constantly to-ing and fro-ing to the hammock if bubba is restless, tie some rope or strong string to the hammock so that you can give it a wee tug every now and then without disturbing your work. Would work well if you had some important crafting to do also!
- Toddlers can get pretty excited about rocking/bouncing these things, so best to keep it up high when baby is in the hammock, unless you are able to monitor things yourself. As I said, we'll be using the ceiling hooks this time, as it allows you to keep baby higher off the ground, and out of the way of little hands.
Otherwise, enjoy!! Truly, we feel so very lucky to have our own one of these this time around (with all the new features, eeeeeep!), and it is well worth handing out some very heavy hints to your friends and loved ones before you have a baby shower, if you are hesitant about paying for one on your own. I've always found that people grandparents in particular want to give you something that will be truly helpful, and for those of us haha, I mean 'all of us' with reluctant little sleepers, I can't think of a more useful gift!