If you are a first-time parent, you are probably beginning to fill your baby’s room with every gadget you have ever seen or been told you will need for your baby. But how much do you really need? How much will you really use? Let’s examine a baby bouncer and see how it may help the health of both the parent and the child. For one, you will need a safe place to easily put your baby down when you need to go to the bathroom or take a shower. Even though you enjoy every snuggle you have with your baby, you are going to need a break. When you put a baby into a bouncer they enjoy the movement and activity of a bouncer and that makes for a happy baby. A good baby bouncer will give you a way to grab a bit of free time while knowing your baby is safe, happy and secure.
A bouncer is a freestanding seat that sits low to the ground. It has a soft, reclined seat and a sturdy frame that allows bouncing as your baby kicks. Many models have built-in soothing features like vibration, rocking, music and toy bars. Because the seats are small and lightweight, they are easy to move from room to room. Bouncer seats are relatively inexpensive compared to other baby gear. Even though the length of time you can use it is short, you don’t have to invest a lot initially.
What is the difference between a Baby Rocker and a Baby Bouncer?
Baby bouncers and baby rockers have two very different functions that are equally essential to a happy newborn. The best baby bouncer seat or rocker will be multi-functional. A baby bouncer seat is designed for playtime. When your infant first uses the bouncer you may notice that your baby is just sitting in it staring at you or the toys. But as your baby develops, so will their interaction with the bouncer as they will begin to use more and more of their body and the bouncer’s accessories. Babies love to play which is why they love the fun up-and-down feeling of a bouncer chair. They’ll often stay put for a long time while enjoying the stimulating springy movements that their own legs create. You will often see babies express their enjoyment by kicking their legs in excitement. Some of the best baby bouncers go even further by integrating additional features like toys and vibrations. Some have cute animals that can hang from the bouncer toy bar so your baby can be constantly entertained. That also means while your child is being stimulated by their surroundings you can take a well-deserved break. Bouncers can also help in your child’s physical development since bouncing can aid in strengthening their leg muscles. This helps prepare your little baby to grow into crawling and then walking stages of development while providing them fun exercise in the early months.
A baby rocker is intended for nap time. A rocker isn’t for play, instead it has been designed more for relaxing your baby and getting them ready to sleep or for nap time. A baby rocker usually swings gently back and forth while little ones lay back and relax and drift off to sleep. Research says this motion reminds babies of their time in the womb. While you can replicate this movement by carrying their newborn in their arms eventually you would feel drained from hours of swaying. But many babies just won’t sleep without this so that is why baby rockers are great for giving tired arms a break.
Bouncers are lighter, typically less expensive, and easier to move from room to room than baby rocker, but they don’t offer as much movement or the dramatic side-to-side or back-and-forth swinging that you may get in a rocker that some babies crave.
Important Features You Need to Consider When Buying Baby Bouncer
There are a lot of baby bouncers on the market and you should consider what you are specifically looking for in the design, usage and the extra features.
- Sturdy Frame: One of the first things you want to examine is the frame of the baby bouncer. You will want a wide, low, sturdy frame to keep the bouncer from tipping if your baby is leaning to one side or the other.
- Storage: Where are you planning to use the bouncer? Will you want to have a one that can fold or dissemble easily for storing or travel?
- Batteries or plug-in: You can find many bouncers that use a battery operated motor. Consider how many batteries you may go through to keep your baby bouncing. Maybe you want to get a model that uses a plug, or if flexibility is what you need, look for a product that can use both sources.
- Cleaning: Babies are pretty messy and you will want this bouncer to be easily cleaned. Make sure there is a removable cloth seat for easy clean up.
- Comfort: Make sure the seat is well padded for your baby’s bottom. Also note if there are different reclining options as some models even convert into a baby seat.
- Safety straps: The bouncer needs to have at least a three-point harness to hold your baby securely in the seat. You can also find models with a five-point harness, which adds shoulder straps, making it even safer for your baby.
- Motion type: Bouncers have all types of movement from rocking, vibrating or gliding. Most will also bounce in direct response to the baby’s kick.
- Extras: There are many extras being added to bouncers these days. Remember though, that the more extras you add, the higher the price point will become, so choose wisely. There are lots of fun features like mobiles, sun canopies, music speakers, and attachable toys but you may not need or use all of them.
Buying a safe bouncer seat is an important start, but you need to know how to use it property to ensure your baby is safe when using the bouncer. Firstly, only use the seat firmly on the floor as the bouncing action can shift the seat and cause it to fall off a high surface. Secondly, be sure to keep the seat away from heat vents, windows, cords and other potential dangers. And never move the seat with your baby in it.
Bouncer seats are designed to be safe for babies, but you will want to keep your baby supervised while they are in the seat. When you are buying a new bouncer, look into purchasing one with the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association seal to increase the chance of getting a seat with the latest safety features.
When to Stop Using the Bouncer
Your baby doesn’t need to be a certain age to start using a bouncer because they are safe for newborns, but read the specific recommendations on the packaging of your purchase to learn about any restrictions or guidelines for use. The bouncer has a seat design to keep your baby secure but make sure you use the safety straps as they offer additional security. More important than when to start using the bouncer is the decision is when to stop using the bouncer seat. Once your baby begins to sit up without assistance you will want to transition your baby out of the reclining bouncing seat. That means the product is in use from birth to around 6 months. Most bouncer seats have a maximum weight limit, so you can use your baby’s weight as another guideline to determine when to stop using the seat. Most models have a weight limit of around 25 to 30 pounds. You may find that some bouncers will transform into seats for bigger babies or toddlers. If that is something that interests you make sure you look specifically for that function prior to your purchase.
Top 5 Baby Bouncers
Bright Starts Playful Pinwheels Bouncer with Vibrating Seat
BEST BOUNCER FOR FUN
Bright Star calls themselves the cheerleaders of fun and just one look at the Playful Pinwheel Vibrating Bouncer you can see why! The product is colorful and vibrant and has a removable toy bar adorned with all kinds of interactive fun for your little one. Your baby will be able to keep themselves entertained for hours while you are catching up on work or a little me time.
The seat is super supportive and removable, making washing it a real breeze. It also has a vibrating feature that can help to soothe a fussy baby and is equipped with a three-point safety harness to keep your baby secure while playing in the seat. The breathable fabric ensures comfort for your baby even in the summer. Note that the maximum weight is 20 pounds and while it is easy to assemble, it is not easy to store. It is very reasonably priced and well worth it for all the smiles it will provide for your baby.
- Breathable fabric, suitable for summertime.
- Removable toy frame
- Great bouncer for small spaces
- Machine washable
- Battery powered vibrations
- The seat offers ample support and comfort
- Great value for money
- Cannot be folded up once assembled
- Not easy to carry around during travels
- Head support isn’t great
- Does not recline
- Quickly outgrown with a weight limit of 20 pounds
- Difficult to store
Who should buy this bouncer:
This is a great bouncer for parents who are looking for a product that packs a lot of extra features and enjoys vivid, bright, fun colors but who are not looking for a portable bouncer.
- Easy to assemble
- Measures 19″ L x 21″ W x 16.63″ H
- 20 lb. weight capacity
- Model 60135
- Plastic/polyester fabric
- Require 1 C battery (not included)
Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Bouncer
BEST BOUNCER FOR SOOTHING
The Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dream Bouncer is a great pick for your newborn. The bouncer has a deep and extra cushy seat that includes a newborn supportive head insert which makes this a restful bouncer for even the smallest of babies. All of the fabric is machine washable including the plush kitty and puppy toys on the toy bar. It has a wide, stable base that is gentle even on hardwood floors. It is battery operated and has a vibrating mechanism as well as twenty minutes of soothing music. Fisher Price is a name you know and trust and they have made a quality product for your baby.
- Very plush
- Removable newborn insert
- Vibrates and plays music
- Machine washable
- Non-skid feet
- Toys are basic
- No upright seated position
- Multiple batteries required
Who should buy this bouncer:
If you are looking more for soothing comfort than an adventure this is a great choice for your baby.
- Optional soothing vibration and music mode
- Suitable for ages up to seven months
- 25 pound weight capacity
- Battery operated with 3 C batteries (not included)
- Plastic/resin base
- Machine washable polyester seat pad
- Measures 26″ L x 23″ W x 26″ H
Baby Delight Go With Me Alpine Deluxe Portable Bouncer
BEST FOR PORTABILITY
The Go With Me Alpine Deluxe Portable Bouncer offers your baby three positions of recline that will optimize their comfort level. It has a mesh inset in the cover that increases the airflow and is great for summertime. The entire cover can be removed for machine washing along with the toys on the toy bar. The bouncer has a three-point harness to keep your baby securely in place. Of course as with all of the products in the Go With Me line, the Alpine is completely portable and is designed for convenient storage and carrying. If you are looking for a bouncer to be used mostly in one location there are probably better options for you.
- It’s super supportive and has a nice bouncing action
- This bouncer folds completely flat for storage or for travel.
- Comes with a travel case
- Mesh ventilation
- Sleek design
- Low weight limit
- Few interactive accessories
- Difficult to assemble
- Toy bar tends to fall off
Who should buy this bouncer:
This is a great bouncer for parents on the go who are looking for portability and ease.
- Three-position recline
- Three-point harness
- Folds flat for portability
- Dimensions: 28” x 18” x 21”
- Recommended Weight: up to 20 lbs
- Recommended Age: 0-6 months
- Assembled Product Weight 4.5 lbs
BEST MODERN DESIGN
Baby Bjorn is synonymous with quality, streamlined baby products. Their baby bouncers are no different. Parents love the very sleek, ergonomic design and babies love its natural ability to soothe them. There are no additional tricks or gadgets, no electrical cords or batteries, it is just your baby’s natural movement that propels this bouncer. The design is Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certified so you can be sure it is properly supporting your baby’s head, neck and body. The cover is machine washable so it will stay clean. The bouncer can be moved into four different positions depending if your baby is playing or resting. It is also easy to transport and it can fold flat when you travel or to be stored away. There are also nine colors you can choose from. While it is pricer than many of the other bouncers it can transition into a seat for children up to the age of two which means it can be used a lot longer than than most baby bouncers.
- No batteries required as the baby bouncer is gently and naturally rocked by you or your baby’s movements
- The baby bouncer can be used from birth up to the age of two by simply converting the bouncer into a child’s comfy chair. Extending the life of the bouncer and makes it even more of a worthwhile investment
- It has a sleek design that looks good when left out in your house
- It folds, making it easy for storage or travel
- Baby Bjorn has consulted pediatricians on the design
- It’s incredibly durable with virtually no breakable parts on it
- Baby Bjorn is well known for their excellent customer service
- Easy-to-clean, machine washable fabric
- Manual motion helps child’s physical development
- It is only designed to be used on the floor. This can cause issues if you have any kind of back trouble
- This isn’t a rocker, or a play station. It’s a simple design that’s battery-free and leaves the bouncing up to the baby
Who should buy this bouncer:
This product is for you if you are looking for the highest end baby products with a sleek and modern design without additional bells and whistles.
- Weight: 4.6 lbs/2.1 kg
- Highest position: 22 x 31 x 15.5 in/56 x 79 x 39 cm
- Transport dimensions: 4.5 x 35 x 15.5 in/11 x 89 x 39 cm
- Usage: From birth to approx. two years (min. 8 lbs/3.5 kg, max. 29 lbs/13 kg).
Baby Einstein Neptune’s Ocean Discovery Jumper
BEST ACTIVITY BOUNCER
The Baby Einstein Neptune’s Ocean Discovery Jumper gives your baby 360 degrees of engaging activities with an underwater adventure. Your baby can find hours of fun in this height-adjustable baby bouncer. There is a removable activity center that helps your baby discover numbers and colors in three languages (English, Spanish, and French). The bouncer has extra link loops so you can also add your baby’s favorite toys to the bouncer. The seat rotates 360 degrees so they will be able to twirl as much as they want. The light-up sea turtle with numbered keys can be removed and used independently of the bouncer so even after they outgrow the bouncer, the removable activity center and flash cards can be used far into your baby’s future.
Who Should Buy This Bouncer?
If you are a parent that is looking to start your baby’s learning early then the Baby Einstein is the way to go with its bevy of activities including multi language options.
- Easy to set up
- Facilitates early learning and development of your baby
- The seat is machine washable
- The removable activity center can be played with independently of the bouncer
- Often, the jumper makes excessive noises when your baby is jumping
- Not foldable, difficult to store and transport
- Suitable for children six months to one year old
- Maximum weight 25 pounds
- Seat rotates 360 degrees
- Measures 30″L x 30″ W x 24″ H
- One-year warranty
A baby bouncer is designed to help support your baby’s spine, neck and head as they develop, while assisting them to build strength in preparation for crawling and walking. Bouncers are also designed for parents so that they can have a little time to themselves. In the bouncer market there is definitely a product for every kind of parent and baby: from a very active baby to the most stylish of parent, you can find a bouncer that fits your needs and your budget.