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Baby rocking cradles combine the convenience of a bassinet with gentle rocking motion to soothe your baby. We’ve found some of the best options on the market to choose from.
After considering some of the most popular baby rocking cradles, we think the Babybjorn Cradle is the best choice for most families. Portable and well-rated, it meets the strictest safety standards while still fitting within a mid-range budget. It’s also attractive, and will look good in most family’s homes.
Snoo Smart Sleeper
Dream on me Luna/Haven
6 Baby Rocking Cradles for Every Style & Budget
In our search for the best we considered the following models
- Babybjörn Cradle (Our Winner): Portable and stylish, with gentle manual side to side movement that picks up on an infant’s own movements. Made with safe materials from a leading brand, with the added assurance of JPMA certification.
- Green Frog Portable Rocker (Runner Up): A foldable cradle with wheels, this cradle soothes your infant with back-to-forth movement. It’s one of the lighter-weight cradles on our list, and is very portable – great for C-section moms and families on the go.
- Snoo Smart Sleeper (The Upgrade): A doctor-designed automatic cradle that will respond to your baby’s fussing and cries with soothing movement and white noise. App-enabled for tech loving parents, and designed to work with the included SNOO sacks, which keep your baby on his or her back during sleep.
- Dream on Me Luna/Haven (Best on a Budget): Available in 7 colors and with sleek, contemporary styling, this solid wood cradle is affordable and beautiful.
- Green Frog Allegro (Best Contemporary Design): Hand crafted from solid New Zealand Pine, we like the contemporary feel of the Allegro.
- Green Frog Now and Forever (Honorable Mention): A more traditional look from Green Frog, this crib has optional casters to make it more portable, and stable legs if you prefer a newborn cradle that doesn’t rock.
Best Baby Rocking Cradles
Best Overall: Babybjorn Cradle
We give the Babybjorn Cradle 5/5 stars
The Best Overall
The Babybjorn Cradle is a stylish and practical sleep option for newborns until 6 months of age or so (until your baby reaches 18 pounds, or can sit up by himself – whichever comes first).
The cradle rocks gently by using your baby’s own movements, but you can also manually rock it when you’re trying to settle or soothe.
We like that this cradle uses 360-degree mesh around the bassinet, ensuring an ultra breathable sleep environment for your newborn, and allowing plenty of airflow and visibility for caregivers. The fabric is free of harmful chemicals and allergens, and is removable and machine washable, too.
Babybjorn is a recognized brand, and it’s no accident this cradle comes with a myriad of European and American safety certifications. Materials are guaranteed safe for your baby to taste or chew, and are good choices for sensitive skin, too. It also has a JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers’ Association) certification – the only cradle/bassinet on our list that meets this standard.
Made from a natural beechwood frame, this cradle has polyester sides. It comes with a polyester mattress and cotton mattress cover. For those who would prefer a natural mattress, the Naturepedic Oval Bassinet mattress (sold separately) should work well with this cradle.
This cradle does use some MDF – the base on which the mattress sits is made of low emissions Class 2 MDF. For families concerned about off-gassing, we recommend letting this cradle air out for some time before using it, as emissions tend to decrease over time.
At a Glance
- Manual rocking cradle
- Mattress included
- Made of beechwood, steel, polyester, and MDF
- Assembled Dimensions: 23 x 31 x 26 inches, collapsing to 23 x 31 x 5 inches for storage . 13 pounds.
- 18 pound maximum, or until a baby can get on their hands and knees or sit on their own (whichever comes first). Babies typically outgrow cradles around 6 months of age.
Runner Up: Green Frog Rocking Portable Bassinet
We give the Green Frog Rocking Cradle 4.5/5 stars
The Runner Up
Green Frog’s lightweight rocking bassinet is a practical, stylish choice.
It has a clever design with wheels, making it easy to move around the house. It also comes with a carry-case and is fairly lightweight, making it easy to pack up and take on the road to grandma’s house or beyond.
Foldable and portable is nice, the bassinet fabric is also completely washable.
This cradle rocks baby to sleep with and end-to end-motion rather than the side-to-side movement of many competitors.
Easy to set up with clip-on legs, it’s made from a strong and durable lightweight aluminium frame. The low profile makes for easy storage, and the mesh portholes ensure breathability for baby.
At a Glance
- Foldable, portable rocking cradle with wheels
- End-to-end rocking motion
- Bassinet mattress and slipcover sheet, wheels, and carry bag included
- For infant only, until your can get up on her hands and knees
- Washable, breathable fabric with aluminium frame
- Internal Assembled Dimensions:30″ x 16″ x 12″. Overall cradle height is 28″ and weight is 15.6 pounds
The Upgrade: Snoo Smart Sleeper
We give the Snoo Cradle 4/5 stars
Without a doubt, the Snoo Cradle is the most exciting cradle on the market. It’s got bells, it’s got whistles!
Is it worth it?
For some parents, absolutely. The Snoo is designed to be used exclusively with Snoo Sacks – special swaddle sacks that, when used with the bassinet, keep your baby on his or her back, all night long. For parents who are particularly concerned about this, the Snoo can offer peace of mind.
Add to that, the Snoo has been designed to settle and soothe babies when they’re crying or fussing. Designed by paediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp and his wife, the Snoo gently rocks your baby and uses an in-built white noise system that automatically responds to your baby’s noises and helps to put baby to sleep.
Tech loving parents will love the app, which allows you to track baby’s sleeping patterns and adjust crib settings as needed. Worth noting, however, that controlling the cradle with the app requires wifi to be switched on, which may increase your baby’s exposure to EMF (you can turn Wifi on the crib off if this is of concern).
The Snoo Cradle meets the American Academy of Paediatrics’ Safe Sleep Guidelines. According to Snoo, it’s the first responsive cradle found to positively boost sleep for both babies and parents.
At a Glance
- Automatic rocking crib with white noise
- Cradle, mattress, 3x attachable swaddles (size S, M and L), and fitted sheet included
- Made of wood, plastic, and organic cotton
- 25 pound maximum, until baby is 6 months old or can get up on hands and knees
- Assembled Dimensions: 30” L × 16” W × 32” H with legs; Weight: 38 lbs
Best on a Budget: Dream on me Luna/Haven
We give the Dream on Me Luna/Haven 4/5 stars
This Dream on Me cradle has a stylish, contemporary look to it, fitting in with most bedroom or nursery decor. Available in 7 different colors, it uses baby-safe paints, is made from solid wood, and has smooth corners for safety and comfort.
This is a hand-rocking baby cradle, with a smooth motion back and forth motion across sturdy cross-beam legs, and you can lock the cradle rocking motion with brake stabilizers.
Weighing in at 23 pounds, this cradle is also relatively portable if you want to move it into another room for daytime sleep.
At a Glance
- Classic rocking cradle using manual rocking
- Mattress and brake stabilizers included
- Suitable for use with newborns until 3 months of age
- Made of solid wood with a baby-safe finish/paint.
- 23 pounds
- Assembled Dimensions: 37 x 19 x 31.5 inches.
Best Contemporary Design: Green Frog Allegro
We give the Green Frog Allegro 4/5 stars
Made from solid and sustainable New Zealand Pine, this cradle uses a non-toxic finish that will look divine in any nursery. The sleek Allegro comes in 3 colours – espresso, gray, or white, and has a contemporary and modern look to it.
This cradle rocks manually, and locks in place if you don’t want to use the rocking function.
At A Glance
- Classic rocking cradle with stabilization option
- Mattress and stabilizers included
- Designed for newborn use, until you baby can get up on hands and knees
- Made from solid pine wood
- Assembled Dimensions: 39 x 21 x 35 inches. Weight: 30.7 pounds.
Honorable Mention: Green Frog Now and Forever Baby Cradle
We give the Green Frog Now and Forever Cradle 4/5
The Honorable Mention
This elegant cradle comes in 3 gentle colours, and has open-slat design for maximum viewability and breathability. Optional castors will let you wheel your baby to different rooms – good if you’ve had a C-section and can’t lift much.
Offers gentle, side-to-side rocking action to soothe your baby.
At A Glance
- Rocking cradle with optional wheels; convertible to stationary with standalone feet.
- Mattress, optional wheels, rocking base and standalone feet included
- Designed for newborn babies until they can can get up on hands and knees
- Made from New Zealand pine wood
- Assembled Dimensions: 43” x 20” x 38” and 32.4 pounds
Baby Rocking Cradle Buying Guide
Rocking cradles are an alternative to a full-size crib, bassinet, or co-sleeper. With a traditional look to them, they’re a bit of a vintage solution, similar to what babies have slept in for hundreds of years.
Many parents like cradles for the same reason they like a bassinet: thanks to their smaller size, a cradle and bassinet are cosier for newborns. When it comes time to put baby to sleep, this enclosed space may help them feel more secure.
The smaller size also means portability. This allows you to keep the cradle in your room for nighttime sleep, and move it into a nursery or other room for day time sleep. They’re even more portable than small cribs or mini cribs, and still have a little footprint in your home.
Having your baby sleep in the same room (but not in the same bed) is recommended within current safe sleep guidelines for a baby’s first year. This allows easier monitoring of your baby’s sleep and breathing, and better access for night time waking and feeds.
Compared to a bassinet, a baby rocking cradle is special thanks to the way you can easily soothe your baby to sleep with movement. Cradles offer either a side to side, end to end, or a “springy” all direction type of rocking motion. Each works slightly differently to lull your baby into relaxation and sleep, mimicking the movement he or she remembers from the womb.
Ensuring your baby has a safe sleeping environment is paramount when selecting a cradle.
Choose from a reputable manufacturer, and consider the materials used. Different safety certifications can help you identify the safest products. Look for products approved by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) and materials approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) guidelines standardize the distance between cradle slats in the US. The space between each slat should be no more than 2 ⅜ inches. If you buy a new cradle within the US, these guidelines should automatically be met, but be on the lookout for slat distance in used cradles.
As with any sleeping environment, there are a number of simple rules you must follow in order to ensure your baby’s safety.
- Keep the cradle bare, don’t use pillows or quilts
- Make sure the mattress is the correct size so there are no gaps between it and crib sides. Cradles with included mattresses should be appropriately sized.
- Assemble and use the cradle according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Don’t use cradles that have been modified in any way, have any broken parts or are older than 10 years.
- Keep the cradle away from all electrical cords and window blind cords.
- If buying second hand, check the CPSC recall list first.
Setting up for a baby’s arrival can get costly, quickly. Cradles and bassinets are only really in use for the first 6 months of baby’s life (even shorter if you have a particularly large or fast-growing baby). With this in mind, you should consider how much you want to spend on the cradle.
Beautiful nursery furniture adds to the fun of decorating for your long-awaited nursery. Whether you are going for a classic cool and crisp look which is gender-neutral, going all out with pinks or blues, or keeping it classy and contemporary with steel grey accents, there’s a cradle for every look.
It’s no secret that we don’t love foam mattresses, which can be full of chemicals.
All of the cradles mentioned in this article include a firm mattress, but only some include bedding.
When my babies were brand new, I enjoyed using a bassinet with wheels so I could bring them with me wherever I was in the house, and keep them close. They were wheeled into my bedroom so they could sleep close to me at night. When they stirred, it was easy to pick them up for night feeds, or to reach out and rock them softly back to sleep. And if there was an accident, it was easy to change bedding when they were nearby.
Considering the portability of your rocking cradle is an important factor.
Considering all of the things we look for when selecting a baby rocking cradle, the clear winner for us here is the Babybjorn. It’s modern and attractive, with sleek high quality design and beautiful wooden aesthetic. More importantly, it’s functional with easy care, too. We love that you can see your baby from every angle, and settling most babies really is a bit easier with some subtle rocking. It’s also lightweight and portable, great for keeping your child close throughout the day and night.
We also love the Green Frog portable bassinet – particularly for families who want to pack up their cradle for trips to relatives houses or vacations.
The SNOO is impressive in all its technological advances. However, it’s expensive. If you have a particularly fussy baby, or have to go back to work right away, it may be worth the splurge to get your baby sleeping better.