My Love/Hate Relationship with the Rock n Play

I had been coveting the sought-after rock n play ever since before Ruth was born and my sister in law brought theirs over to put my nephew in while they were visiting. But for some reason, I never got around to buying one. Colicky Ruth lived in the accursed battery powered baby swing that we had to keep resetting whenever it automatically stopped after 45 minutes. Let me tell you, sleeping in 45 minute increments might possibly be worse than not sleeping at all. I kid! I kid! Maybe. Rose and Wren were easy babies and were quite content in the Moses basket, and transitioned easily to cribs at an early age.

But the Moses basket was a pain to carry around the house and way too big to put in the car if we had to travel somewhere, so I made up my mind when I was pregnant with Rhea to finally treat myself to the rock n play.

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Ain’t she a beaut? The baby is cute too, I guess.

It really lived up to the hype. Rhea slept beautifully in it from Day 1, and even the little girls could help me out and drag it about the house if need be. During those fussy nights, the vibrate function was my lifeline. Thus began the honeymoon phase of Sylvia and the rock n play’s relationship.

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It had taken me a lot of time and effort to achieve the delicate balance that was the full night’s sleep that I get out of the three older girls that each have their own room, so I kept delaying putting Rhea in the crib in Ruthie’s room. I was really relishing the sleep I was getting with Rhea in the rock n play. So, 3 months passed us by, and she was still waking up 1-2 times at night to nurse, so I told myself that I would put her in Ruth’s room when she was only waking up once a night.

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Then another three months passed us by, and Rhea was suddenly six months old, still sleeping blissfully in her rock n play. She was waking once a night, so I decided to do a trial run of her sleeping in her crib in Ruth’s room. She woke up about once an hour screaming her little head off. The next morning, both Ruthie and I were the walking dead. So, back into the rock n play she went.

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After two more months, she was sleeping through the night in her rock n play every night. I was putting her down for her naps in her crib, which led to her skipping all of her naps in favor of screaming in her crib. Intermittently, I kept trying to put her in the crib at night, but it always ended with me giving up at 3 am and putting her back in her rock n play. It got to the point where poor Ruth would cry if she saw me putting Rhea in the crib in her room at night because she didn’t want to “listen to Rhea cry all night.”

So, I took Rhea to the pediatrician for her nine month well check and begged the doctor for advice on how to wean her off the dang thing. The love affair between me and the rock n play had ended, and I was ready to give it the boot. The pediatrician said that we would have to just quit her cold turkey and grit our teeth for the next three nights. I don’t know what kind of advice I was expecting to hear from him, but that advice seemed unworkable.

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But her feet were dangling out of the darn thing, and the time had come. So I tried to make the crib as comfortable as possible. I put a breathable mattress topper on it, and put her down with her favorite soft Aden and Anais blanket against her cheek. She is very mobile now, so I went ahead and put a very flat thin pillow in there as well. There was some initial fussing, but she slept peacefully all night long. And slept in the next morning. Turns out, babies like to be comfortable when they are trying to sleep just like any other person. Go figure.

The moral of my cautionary tale is: Mama, don’t let your babies grow up in their rock n plays.

10 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship with the Rock n Play

  1. afamilyformcmanda

    This is very timely, as we are embarking on a rock’n’play addiction prevention program at our house. With our first I had not heard of the RNP magic until he was about 6 months old… really too big to use it, but with his ridiculous reflux, it was pretty awesome and I wished I had found it sooner. Luckily he was older and we didn’t use it enough to get addicted. With #2 I basically skipped the co-sleeper and went straight to the RNP from the beginning. We’re at 3.5 months now and I have started weaning him to the co-sleeper after his mid-night feeding. One problem… he sleeps so well in the RNP that he doesn’t always wake up at night anymore. He’s too darn comfy. He’s napping in the co-sleeper right now… which means 30 minutes tops. But if he was in the RNP it would be a 2 hour nap. Ugh. Why does the the RNP have to be so good at its job?? I’m giving him until 4 months and then putting it away until the next babe. Well, at least I think I will… by 6 months for sure… I hope 🙂

    Maybe we should have given it up for Lent. True, painful sacrifice.

    1. sylvia.hobgood@gmail.com Post author

      Well, my mom told me to do whatever works and whatever led to the most rest for everyone concerned. So that is what I did 😂😂. I would have preferred to wait a little longer to put a pillow in her crib, but I must say it has made the transition pretty painless. She has been sleeping through the night in her crib all week with no problems. So, what I am trying to say that it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if you end up having to wean him off of it later. You gotta do what you gotta do.

  2. Blair

    Yep. Luke sleeps in his crib at night but the Rock n Play is STILL a crutch during nap time. If I put him in his crib to nap he gets up, hangs onto the side and will jump vigororously until I get him out. Like will jump for an hour or more…but yeah. We decided to put it away and deal with it after his bday.

    1. sylvia.hobgood@gmail.com Post author

      Yeah, mine are stubborn too. That whole 3 days and done thing has never worked for me. I always have to employ some other crutch to wean them off the first crutch 😂😂😂

  3. Rachel A. Hanson

    Haha, we got a Rock n’ Play at one of E’s baby showers (we had 3!) and I was in a very weird sort of denial about using it – for some bizarre reason I was determined she’d sleep in the Pack n’ Play bassinet (the new mom brain is 100% illogical, methinks). After a couple weeks of Nathan saying “We should try that rocking thing” and me retorting “No! But if you want to put it together, whatever” Nathan finally put it together & it was the best thing ever!

    1. sylvia.hobgood@gmail.com Post author

      It really is wonderful. A little too wonderful, apparently 😂

  4. Rosie

    I’m still getting a rock n play whenever we have another baby, but yeah… We’ve experienced similar issues with the girls and swings (ours plug in, so no 45-minute issues!) – it’s a crutch, but a wonderful crutch 😉

    1. sylvia.hobgood@gmail.com Post author

      Yeah, I am all about sleep crutches. Until I have to wean them off of them 😑

  5. theresabreslin

    Ha, my rock n play horror story is in my drafts folder right now. Zelie has head/neck issues (just dx w plagiocephaly) that I think are from sleeping in the rock n play (and her car seat) so that made me REALLY motivated to get her into her crib. It’s been a week and we’ve seen so much improvement, but yeah those first few nights are hell.

    1. sylvia.hobgood@gmail.com Post author

      Cannot WAIT to read it. Rhea’s head has always been slightly flat in the back, but not enough for the ped to be concerned, I guess? It’s funny, because she is the only baby of mine to not get that weird bald spot in the back of her head by three months. Not sure if that is rock n play related or not. Could be because she hated the activity gym too.

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