Dockatot Alternatives – Best Dock a Tot Substitutes (and Busting Some Myths!)

By Maria Wilcox •  Updated: 07/15/22 •  12 min read
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Have you been eyeing Dockatot alternatives? There’s no denying that Dock-a-Tots are all the rage these days. But Doc-a-Tots can also be VERY expensive. To curb costs, you may have found yourself seeking cheaper alternatives. But how do these alternatives stack up to the real thing? 

Luckily, we’ve got plenty of high-quality Dock-a-Tot substitutes that can provide your baby with a comfortable place to relax while you, hopefully, take a breather yourself! 

Are Doc-a-Tots Safe?

Safe Alternative to Dock a Tot

To start, I figured it might be best to open up with whether or not Dock-a-Tots are even safe, to begin with.

Believe it or not, there is a misconception as to how Dock-a-Tots, or similar baby loungers, are supposed to be used. Dock-a-Tot themselves have stated several times on their website that their product is NOT recommended for sleep, even though that is what people traditionally use the Dock-a-Tot for.

So, what gives? Why isn’t Dock-a-Tot approved for safe sleep even though it appears to be the perfect sleep spot for your dreaming little one?

According to the experts, Dock-a-Tot is a major sleeping hazard due to its plush high sides

As you may know, a baby can turn his or her head and stop breathing within a matter of seconds if their airways are blocked. It is because of this that it is recommended that you never place items in your baby’s crib (such as blankets, pillows, and stuffies) as these could potentially obstruct your child’s breathing, and ultimately, take your little one’s life.

Because the Dock-a-Tot is fashioned with plush high sides, the chances of your child’s airways becoming blocked if he or she turns their head significantly increase. A baby that is much younger will not know to turn his or her head if they are uncomfortable and certainly will not do so when sleeping. 

Another problem with the Dock-a-Tot is the risk of “rebreathing”. This term is used to define times when your baby is rebreathing his or her exhaled air which causes oxygen levels in the body to decrease and carbon dioxide levels to increase. This can lead to SIDS, otherwise known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

So, what does all this mean for your previously planned Dock-a-Tot purchase? 

In short, it means that you should be VERY careful. No matter how much sleep a baby lounger will bring you and our baby (and trust me, I’ve been there and done that…) you DON’T want to risk the life of your baby by allowing them to sleep in something that isn’t safe.

Yes, many mothers use the Dock-a-Tot for co-sleeping, but as previously stated, the Dock-a-Tot is not recommended for safe sleep practices and has even been deemed unsafe for such use by the company itself.

DockATot Deluxe+ Dock - The All in One Portable & Lightweight Baby Lounger - Suitable from 0-8 Months (Pristine White)

Is a DockATot Necessary?

Do I Need a Dock a Tot?

At this point, you may be wondering if purchasing a Dock-a-Tot or Dock-a-Tot alternative is even worth it. 

My answer to this is…maybe. 

For those who simply wish to use a Dock-a-Tot for supervised daytime lounging uses, a Dock-a-Tot may or may not be worth it. The price point of this particular baby item may make you wonder, especially when you consider that items like activity mats and play gyms can provide your baby with much more stimulation and exercise than they’ll ever get lounging in a Dock-a-Tot.

Moosey Baby - Baby Nest Sleeper Breathable Infant Dock A Tot Baby Lounger For Newborn With Infant Pillow Bassinet, Cosleeping Baby Bed Bassinet For baby Co Sleeper Adjustable Doc A Tot Grande (Animal)

Another thing to consider before purchasing a Dock-a-Tot is its size restrictions. Many Dock-a-Tots, including the alternatives we’ll be mentioning later in this post, have sizing guidelines. If your baby is on the taller side, he or she may grow out of it well before the recommended age provided by the manufacturer. If this happens, it may leave you wondering whether the Dock-a-Tot was ever a worthy investment, to begin with.

Thus, I can’t tell you NOT to get the Dock-a-Tot, but what I can say is that you should strongly consider the previously mentioned factors before you do. By staying informed, you can avoid spending money on something that you may wish you wouldn’t have in the future. 

What Can I Use Instead of a DockATot?

Now that you know the intended usage of a Dock-a-Tot and other baby loungers like it, it is time to delve into some of the best Dock-a-Tot dupes you can get your hands on. Our picks range from baby loungers that are 100% sustainable and organic to super budget-friendly finds that almost anyone could afford. 

So, if you’re ready to check out your other options for daytime baby lounging, get ready. We’ve got all the goods right here for you! 

Dock a Tot Knock Off: Snuggle Me Organic Baby Lounger & Infant Floor Seat

About This Dock-a-Tot Alternative

The SnuggleMe Organic longer is perfect for allowing your baby to relax and lounge during the day. It is made of organic cotton and is designed to hug your baby’s body for added support. 

Pros and Cons

  • Hugs baby’s body tightly 
  • Made of organic cotton
  • Comes in fun and trendy colors
  • May be a bit too snug for bigger babies
Snuggle Me Organic | Baby Lounger & Infant Floor Seat | Newborn Essentials | Organic Cotton, Fiberfill | Sparrow
Buy on Amazon

Cheaper Dock a Tot: CosyNation Baby Lounger

About This Dock-a-Tot Alternative

This baby floor seat and lounger is perfect for the parent on a budget who is also desperately in need of a place for their baby to relax. Made of breathable and comfortable polyester, this Dock-a-Tot alternative comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns and even comes equipped with a detachable cover making washing sessions very easy.

Pros and Cons

  • Inexpensive 
  • Lightweight
  • Great Approval Rating
  • Not made of organic cotton (polyester fabric is used instead)
CosyNation Baby Lounger, Lightweight Infant Floor Seat, Soft Breathable Cotton and Fiberfill, Adjustable and Portable Newborn Essentials, Baby Registry Search for Traveling and Tummy Time (Arrow)
Buy on Amazon

Dockatot Dupe: TotAha Organic Newborn Baby Nest

About This Dock-a-Tot Alternative

The Organic Newborn Baby Nest is an awesome Doc-a-Tot dupe. Some have even gone as far as to say that it is the exact same thing as a Doc-a-Tot! This “baby nest” is made of 100% organic cotton sourced from Australia. The nest is handcrafted, made of recycled materials. Also, some of the proceeds made from purchases go towards assisting struggling mothers overseas. If that isn’t enough to impress you, the cost of this baby dock is less than the Doc-a-Tot. Keep in mind that though this baby dock is referred to a couple of times by the company as a “sleeper” they still only recommend you use it during supervised playtimes or diaper changes.  

Pros and Cons

  • Made of pure Australian cotton
  • Responsibly sourced
  • Cheaper than Dock-a-Tot
  • Made of recycled materials
  • Charitable donation included
  • Still a bit more costly than other alternatives available
Organic Newborn Baby Nest | TotAha Superior Dock for A Tot | 100% Cotton | All in One Multi-Functional Baby Dock | Portable Lounger & Infant Floor Seat | Newborn Essentials | Gift Set 'Woodland'
Buy on Amazon

Off Brand Dock a Tot: Mamibaby Baby Lounger

About This Dock-a-Tot Alternative

The Mamibaby Baby Lounger is a best seller and it is no wonder why. The attractive price point and charming look of the lounge says it all. It’s adjustable, is two-sided (for switching up the pattern), and is machine washable. There is also a bag included for easy transport. 

Pros and Cons

  • Inexpensive
  • Two-sided cover
  • Machine-washable
  • Is not made of responsibly sourced organic cotton for sensitive baby skin
Mamibaby Baby Lounger, Ultra Soft 100% Cotton & Breathable Fiberfill Newborn Lounger, Portable Adjustable Infant Floor Seat for Travel, Newborn Must Have Essentials Baby Registry Search(Leaves)
Buy on Amazon

DIY Dock a Tot

If you are the crafty type (kudos to you if you are), you might be interested to know that you can actually make your own version of a Dock-a-Tot. You can even use your own handpicked materials.

This also could make a really great gift for an expecting mother. However, you’ll want to ensure that the recipient of the baby nest knows that it is not to be used for infant sleep.

Baby Lounger Dock a Tot Alternative: There Are Plenty Out There…

There are a ton of praise-worthy Dock-a-Tot substitutes out there that cost a fraction of the original price. And, dare we say it, may be even a bit better than the Dock-a-Tot itself! Choose from a variety of prints and fabric types, along with a wide array of price points to fit nearly any budget.

Just remember to always check the safety specifications and intended usage of any items you pick for your baby . Read up on the manufacturer’s recommendations ahead of time. Doing so won’t only save you time and money, but may also end up saving your baby’s life. 

Stay safe…Until next time! 

Looking to enforce safe baby sleep? Check these out:

Dockatot alternatives: FAQs

How do I get my baby to sleep without a DockATot?

If your baby has grown accustomed to sleeping in his or her Doc-a-Tot and it is time to move him or her on to bigger and better things, you’ll have to allow time for your baby to adjust before you abruptly remove him or her from their normal sleep spot.
Know ahead of time that changing where and how your baby sleeps will likely disrupt their sleep pattern, so be sure to prepare for this ahead of time.
When transitioning from the Doc-a-Tot to a crib or bassinet, give your baby a few non-stressful and pleasant experiences in the area you would like him or her to sleep. This could be for supervised tummy time or for playtime. Whatever you choose, keep the activities brief (no more than 5 minutes) and not very frequent (two to three times a day at most).
Now that you’ve established some positive experiences within your baby’s new sleeping area, it is time to encourage sleep in his or her new spot. To do this, set up (safe) distractions to keep your baby distracted from their new surroundings. We recommend you pick a naptime to transition first rather than do it at nighttime, as this will prove to be less disruptive to your baby’s sleep cycle. 
Ideas for safe distractions for your baby include a baby mobile or a baby-safe mirror that attaches to your baby’s crib. 
Place your baby in his or her new sleep area along with this distraction for one nap a day, slowly increasing the number of naps they take in there until they are finally ready to sleep in their crib or new sleeping space for the night. 

What is DockATot made of?

The cover and pad cover are made of non-organic 100% cotton

Why is Dock a Tot so expensive?

That’s a good question, especially considering the many alternatives available that are similar to, and in some cases, a bit better than the Doc-a-Tot itself. We have no real answer for this, other than that you may wish to check out some of the cheaper recommendations we’ve mentioned to save you a little extra cash instead!

Maria Wilcox

Former instructor with an M.A. in Education turned grateful stay-at-home mama to one, I look to share helpful insights related to babies, toddlers, kids, and families for the benefit of real people just like you.

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