Nuna is a company that produces a collection of baby gear inspired by Dutch designers.
Its products include:
One of the brand’s straplines is, ‘the more we take out of our products, the more you get out of them’, and the pared-back version of a baby rocker – the Nuna Leaf, an un-motorised chair that sways from side to side for over two minutes with a single push – is the perfect example.
But the Leaf Wind seems to have been invented to put something back into a product – namely the ability to keep the chair rocking at a regular speed for as long as it takes to calm and relax baby.
But would the Wind be a useful add-on to a product that looks fantastic and provides a comfortable, stable and quiet chair to place my baby, Rocco, 4 months, when he needs to chill out and I need to have my hands free for a while?
So far, Rocco has enjoyed lolling around in his Bloom Coco Baby Lounger, which is a similar price point to the Leaf.
He has been using it since he was first born but it’s only now he is 4 months old that he’s able, by kicking and wriggling around, to self-activate the rocking motion.
The Leaf can’t be rocked by baby until he or she is big enough to do it by placing feet on the floor (my three-and-a-half-year old can do this if he sits up in the chair) so the Wind is a way for parents to keep the rocker in motion without having to push it every 2 minutes.
The official line is to create a continuous ‘soft, steady breeze…to soothe your little one straight on into newborn dreamland’.
What is the Nuna Wind?
The Wind is a mini-motor that fits to the base of the Leaf chair and pushes the seat post, activating the chair’s swaying motion.
It can operate at 6 different speeds, depending on baby’s preference, from the gentlest sway to a substantial swing.
It’s made to gently rock baby from side to side in a steady rhythm so you don’t have to hover and constantly keep the rocker swaying yourself.
I’d say it is low-tech but sometimes the best things are the simplest. That said, the movements are precise, which would indicate a higher level of technology than, say, a rocker that simply vibrates at a few different speed settings.
The changes between the levels appear almost imperceptible as the motor is cleverly designed to increase the swing speed gradually but the difference between the lowest level (one) and the highest (six) is considerable.
And every level of swing is exact and consistent, much like a pendulum.
How does the Nuna Wind work?
The motor drives a tiny piece on the side of the Wind that connects with the rotating seat post of the chair, causing it to sway.
You simply attach the motor, plug it in to a power source, click one button to turn the motor on and then select a speed setting using the plus or minus buttons on the front of the control panel.
Does it need batteries?
No, but it requires constant power, from mains or a battery backup charger. The micro USB cord included works with both wall plug (mains) and other power supplies, such as a laptop.
It’s worth noting that it needs to be plugged in via a cord in order to function.
The images on Nuna’s website and even the main image on the Leaf Wind manual illustrate only the mini-motor and don’t show the cord, which detracts from the look of the rocker and limits where you can place the chair as it needs to be near a power source.
Any distance, and the cord potentially becomes a trip hazard and, worse, a plaything for older, inquisitive children.
How easy is it to operate?
Very. You simply turn it on with a single click and then adjust the speed settings using the minus or plus buttons located either side of the power switch.
You can even operate the device with your toes (the motor is at the base of the chair, on the floor).
Is it an improvement to the non-electric Nuna Leaf rocker?
Yes, I think so. It allows the calming motion of the Leaf to become a continuous and consistent one, which seems to soothe even the most fractious baby.
Rather than having to stand around waiting for the chair to slow down before pushing it again and having to gauge the strength of your push, the Wind means you can leave your baby swaying softly at a steady tempo.
It’s much, much better than pushing it yourself, and allows you to get on with all those essential jobs, such as hanging out the washing/tidying up/actually drinking a whole cup of tea in one go.
My only suggestions would be to include some kind of digital display into the integrated one-touch sensor control panel so you could easily see what level the Wind was operating at.
Although there are a series of bars that light up according to the level (one to six) that the chair is swaying at, I frequently found this hard to read as the light wasn’t strong enough to distinguish in bright daylight.
When Tyler, my older son, was feeling mischievous, he’d turn the level up or down or even turn it off altogether, which I couldn’t always spot as the swing speed changes gradually.
The Leaf is a rocker and can only swing from side-to-side; do you think it should have more motions?
No, I don’t. At first, I was sceptical that a chair with such a limited movement pattern could actually soothe my baby, particularly when he was grisly or tired, as Rocco prefers to be held.
I didn’t believe that a rocker with one plane of motion would settle him so I was pleasantly surprised to find that, after a few attempts, Rocco really enjoyed time in the chair and would often drift off to sleep in there.
As he got older (we tested the rocker over several months), it took longer for him to fall asleep but I found that increasing the rocking speed slightly encouraged him to doze off before he became frustrated by being held in one position for too long.
The other movement patterns that baby rockers tend to use are back-and-forth and vibration. But neither of these motions are easy to recreate with your body for any length of time.
Think about it. Swinging your baby back and forth or jigging your baby up and down aren’t movements most of us could sustain for more than a minute or two. But holding your baby while swaying from side to side is something most parents can do for minutes on end.
The Leaf recreates this in chair form and the Wind allows this natural movement to continue without your input or hard work.
How does it compare to other swings you have used?
Although it’s bigger, heavier and bulkier than both the Coco Bloom and the Maclaren rocker we used for Tyler (which featured a battery-operated vibrating motion), the Leaf is the sturdiest and most robust rocker I’ve tried out, as well as being the quietest when operational.
Unlike the Maclaren rocker, which has an adjustable seat recline, the Leaf has a non-adjustable seat. It doesn’t have a have a head rest either, which both the Maclaren and Bloom chairs have.
But Rocco seems to find the Leaf the most comfortable chair, especially when the Wind device is gently swaying him.
The inconsistent stop-start nature of the rocking in the Coco Bloom chair meant Rocco wouldn’t stay in it for very long unless he quickly fell asleep, which happened less often as he got closer to 6 months.
And I recall Tyler getting irritated by the buzzing and noise generated by the vibrating motion of the Maclaren.
The Wind moves the Leaf silently and smoothly, allowing Rocco and me 10-15 minutes of down time, which feels nothing short of miraculous.
How durable does it seem?
Very. Nuna claim that ‘extreme endurance testing, beyond-the-norm safety criteria and best-of-the-best materials create gear you can trust for years to come…and then some.’
From what I’ve seen of the Leaf and Wind, I’m willing to believe them. The Wind feels solid and well thought out.
It’s a sealed unit so is easy to keep clean, fits snuggly onto the chair and so is unlikely to get broken off. It has withstood constant probing and pushing from my toddler.
I’d expect this to last long after you can no longer use it – so it’s the perfect item to store and use again with subsequent children.
What’s in the box?
The Nuna Leaf Wind in parts, plus a selection of plugs and an instruction manual.
Is it easy to build?
Even without the instructions, it would be simple to put the Wind together by looking at the illustration on the box.
That said, the first image suggests the initial step is to click the motor into the base.
It isn’t! So I then had to prize the two pieces apart, which took all my strength. Once I’d read on, I soon saw the Wind needs to be built around the base of the Leaf rather than slid onto the leg.
From there, it only took nine simple steps to get the Nuna Leaf Wind up and swaying.
What age child is the Nuna Wind best for?
This is best for parents of newborns, as the Wind isn’t suitable for babies who weigh more than 11kg and/or can sit up unaided.
I don’t think there’s anything else on the market like this as every other baby rocker that uses power has its power source integrated.
The Wind allows you to use the Leaf as a motorised rocker but it can be unplugged or removed completely to allow the Leaf to continue to function as a rocker chair for older children who weigh up to 60kg.
Is it value for money?
It can be, but it is expensive. The Wind retails at £70 and you’ll have to buy the chair Leaf separately at £160, so that’s £230 in total.
If you use it regularly for the first 6 or 7 months of your baby’s life and – crucially – your baby is calmed by the motion, it represents good value, especially if you’re planning to use it both the chair and the rocking device with subsequent children.
If you’re planning on taking your Leaf and Wind away from home and cannot plug it into a wall socket, you can use a battery backup charger, which is not included in the price.
If you’ve splashed out on the Leaf chair (or are thinking about it) and want to have more than2 minutes to get on with things without having to nip back and push the rocker to lull your baby to sleep or keep him asleep, this gadget is a must-buy.
Yes, it’s expensive, but once it’s yours there are no batteries to keep replacing, no irritating buzzing noises and no jerky movements.
You and your baby can look forward to long(ish) stretches where at least one of you can kick-back and be swayed to sleep.
Just don’t be tempted to try it out or let older children try it out as, unlike the chair, which can hold up to 60kg, the Wind mechanism will only work on babies who weigh 11kg or less.