Tips for Buying the Right Small Upholstered Nursing Chairs
With more and more parents and families living in small townhouses and apartments, small upholstered nursing chairs are fast becoming a necessary item for your new nursery. Gone are the days when you could just re-purpose an old sofa or large traditional armchair for the nursery, now you need to make smarter choices that fit in with both your budget and the available space.
In this Buying Guide, we take a look at all the features you need to consider when choosing between the different small upholstered nursing chairs on the market, ensuring that you make the best decision for your family.
Do you really need a nursing chair?
Some parents are happy to feed their little ones just about anywhere – in their bed, in the family room, study, kitchen or anywhere they happen to be at the time. There is nothing wrong by taking this approach, but since you need a nursery for your baby anyway, it makes sense to have a comfortable nursing chair in the nursery – somewhere you can relax in peace and quiet to feed your baby.
It doesn’t matter whether you are breast or bottle feeding, a small upholstered nursing chairs in the nursery will make it easier for you to feed during the day or night without disturbing anyone else in your family.
How much can you expect to spend on a nursing chair?
The cost of a new nursing chair will be anything from around a low of $150 to a high of $600 or more, and the price you pay depends on your tastes and your budget. Generally however, a comfortable nursing chair that is stylish and suits your needs is usually at least $300.
Small upholstered nursing chairs that don’t take up much room in your nursery don’t cost any more or less than regular nursing chairs. The problem is that the manufacturers or sellers of nursing chairs often don’t clearly advertise the sizes of their chairs, not realising that this can be a major factor in a parent’s buying decision.
This means that it’s left to parents to ferret out this information, sometimes having to dig deep into the specifications to locate these dimensions. You then need to compare all of these dimensions between the chairs yourself – just to find the narrowest nursing chair that suits your needs.
Alternatively, you could read our post “TOP 10 Narrowest Nursery Gliders for Small Spaces” or our latest post “The Best Space Saving Nursing Chairs for Small Nurseries“.
The difference between these two posts is that we published the first post in September 2016, but we always wondered if our readers agreed with our pick of the Top 10 Narrowest Nursery Chairs. The second post we published in May 2018 and is a review of the nursing chairs that our readers actually purchased after reading our first post.
The second post makes very interesting reading, because many parents agreed with our selections, but there are also a few left fielders that took us by surprise!
Why not check these posts out for yourself?
What are basic types of nursing chair that are available?
There are five basic types of nursing chairs on the market:
Electronic nursing chairs
Your nursery chair can have one, two, three, four or none of these features, once again it depends on your tastes and your budget. Let’s look at each of these features in turn.
Rocking chairs for small nurseries: These nursing chairs are on rockers and the only motion they have is a backwards and forwards rocking motion. For some people, it feels like you are on a ship, so you really want to be sure that you are happy with a rocking chair, before spending your money.
Gliders for small spaces: These move backwards and forwards on gliders and have a distinctly different motion to the rockers. If a rocking motion isn’t for you, then you will most probably find that a glider is fine. However, if you don’t have much room in your nursery and you are looking for a narrow glider, then don’t forget to consider how much additional room the back and forth motion will also require in your nursery. You will need to position the nursing chair a set distance from the wall to enable the chair to glide freely.
Swivel nursing chairs: These chairs swivel around on their base with some models swivelling the whole 360 degrees and other models 270 degrees or even less. Swivel chairs are great options for nurseries without much space, because they don’t need any additional room for the swivel action.
Small glider swivel chairs: Some nursing chairs swivel and glide, which is great because you have two different options in your nursing chair. The problem however, can be that the gliding motion needs extra room, which you might not have available in a small nursery.
Recliners for small spaces: Some gliders and swivel chairs also recline, but you also have the option of just buying a recliner chair. Whilst these can be really comfortable for feeding, they will require additional space to allow the chair to recline.
Electronic recliners: These tend to be recliners with electronic rather than manual controls, often with a footrest that lift up and a headrest that reclines back as well. Whilst these recliners are the ultimate in comfort, they require a lot of space and since they are electronic, can also be fairly expensive.
The type of small upholstered nursing chairs that catch your eye will depend on your tastes, but if you want a narrow nursing chair, then you need to specifically look at the width of the seat. If you have your heart set on a rocker, glider or recliner then you also need to decide if you have sufficient space to position the nursing chair away from the wall to allow the mechanisms to work without hitting the wall.
Problems with narrow nursing chairs
If you have a small nursery and the only option you have is to opt for a narrow or slim nursing chair, then that’s what you do. However, you need to consider that a narrow nursing chair doesn’t have much width, so if you are feeding twins or you have a toddler who wants to sit with you when you are feeding, a narrow nursing chair isn’t going to cut the mustard.
In the case of twins, you don’t have many alternatives and you will need to find a space in your home for a wide nursing chair or you will have to feed each twin one at a time. If an inquisitive toddler is your problem however, then sometimes you can feed your little one on the bed and other times on the sofa in the family room – allowing your toddler to join you at feeding times, but not every time!
Other questions to ask about nursing chairs
Whilst the actual size of your nursing chair will be a big factor in your final buying decision, you can’t just buy a nursing chair based on it’s size alone. There are other considerations that will also weigh heavily on your decision.
These factors include comfort, style, cleaning, safety and durability.
Just because a nursing chair looks attractive and might have been recommended to you by a friend or relative, this doesn’t mean that it’s going to be comfortable for you. After all, we are not talking about occasional chairs here, we are talking about small upholstered nursing chairs that you will spend many long hours in, day after day, for months at a time!
So look at features like the amount of padding on the arms, back and seat of the nursing chair, as this will make a difference to your comfort levels. For example, if the armrests are not well padded, they can strain your arms during the feed, but if they are really well padded, can you still fit your nursing pillow at your side to support your baby during the feed? Can you feed football style if you need to?
Also, can you get into and out of the chair easily with your baby in your arms? For many parents, it’s getting out of the nursing chair that’s the problem, particularity if you are short and your feet don’t touch the ground when you are sitting in the chair (it does happen!).
It’s also important to consider the height of the back and the headrest, because it could be too high for short people and too short for very tall people. These dimensions should be included in the specifications, so you should be able to find them early in your search.
You can also read the testimonials from other parents who have purchased the same model nursing chair, because if they have had these sort of problems getting into or out of the chair, or issues with the back and headrests not being at the best height for them, they will most probably have left a review discussing these problems.
Style & Colour
For some people, style is everything, particularly if you want to position your slimline nursing chair in the family room or you want to move it into another room when you have finished feeding your little one.
You might want a specific colour for your nursing chair, one that suits the colour scheme of your new nursery – but will that same colour suit the family room if you relocate it in a year?
In the end, you want a narrow nursing chair that looks good and can be re-purposed elsewhere in your home, so the design style and colour will play some part in your buying decision.
Can the nursing chair be cleaned easily?
Due to the type of upholstery material that is used in these chairs, many of them can only be spot cleaned. You won’t find many nursing chairs with removable cushion or seat covers that can be popped into the washing machine.
So if you spill a bottle of milk or your coffee on the arm of the chair – how well does it clean up?
The best way to judge this issue is to read other customer’s reviews, because if it is easy to clean, then they will usually share this information, likewise if it is difficult to clean.
How durable is the nursing chair?
Some nursing chairs are so long lasting that they can be passed down through the generations, whilst others fall apart after 3 months. You want small upholstered nursing chairs that go the distance, so look for a sturdy frame and good customer reviews.
Often you will find that the cheaper gliders or recliners start to make clicking or squeaking noises after a few months, which can be very annoying. Even worse, sometimes the springs pop out of the base making it very uncomfortable.
Obviously, these problems can happen with any chairs, however customer reviews should flag these problems if they exist, allowing you to steer clear and select a more durable nursing chair for your nursery.
How much assembly does it require?
Not many small upholstered nursing chairs are delivered without some assembly being required. So you can expect to have to do some assembly – how much depends on the particular model.
If the nursing chair is easy to assemble, the manufacturer or seller should highlight that factor for you in their promotions, but if not, always ask how much assembly is required.
You can also read customer reviews, because if the chair was difficult to assemble, they will definitely tell you!
How safe is the nursing chair?
I am afraid to say, but some small upholstered nursing chairs have been known to tip over backwards, so you should always read the reviews, looking for anyone who has had this type of problem with the same chair.
This problem doesn’t happen very often, because obviously, manufacturers don’t want to be sued by customers if their chair tips over backwards – but it is a factor that you should consider in your buying decision.
Also, with any of these nursing chairs that swivel, recline or glide, you want an enclosed ball bearing mechanism, so that little fingers can’t become stuck when the chair is in motion. Manufacturers should mention this in their sales pitch, but if not, be sure to ask about this safety feature.