The best baby bouncer
Of course, you want to spend plenty of time playing with and snuggling your new baby, but sometimes you need a quick break to look after yourself. A baby bouncer is a great option to entertain your infant for a few minutes while you grab a snack or drink a cup of tea.
Read on for more information about baby bouncers, plus some recommended models. Our favorite is the BabyBjörn Bouncer Balance, an attractive and well-designed option that can be converted to a chair for older children.
Considerations when choosing baby bouncers
All bouncers need harnesses to prevent babies from slipping out, but because of the way baby bouncers are designed with a substantially reclined seating area, they only need basic harnesses. These are generally three-point harnesses that secure each side of your baby's stomach and under the groin -- there's no need for a full harness that sits over the shoulders.
Toys and activities
Some babies will entertain themselves simply by moving and bouncing the chair, but others need a little more to stop them from descending into a screaming fit when you place them in their bouncer. Mobiles and interactive toy bars are popular additions. Toy bars with spinning baubles and mirrors tend to be effective with babies. Some bouncers also make sounds, light up, and vibrate.
Back and head support
It should go without saying, but your chosen baby bouncer must provide proper support for your baby's back and head. Babies develop rapidly, so improper support could affect their development and cause problems down the line. Look for bouncers certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), as these should provide adequate support.
Sure, babies are cute, but they can also make messes from both ends that will haunt your nightmares. It only takes a second for an adorable bouncing session to go south. And, when it does, you'll thank yourself for choosing a baby bouncer with removable, machine-washable fabric parts.
If you're likely to position your baby bouncer on a hardwood or tile floor, select a model with a nonslip base so that your infant won't bounce herself across the room and into danger.
A well-padded baby bouncer will be more comfortable for your baby to sit in. Some models have extra-padded newborn inserts to provide a better fit for small babies that you can remove as your child grows.
The majority of baby bouncers cost between $30 and $60, but you can find a handful of high-end options priced up to $200.
Q. What age group are baby bouncers suitable for?
A. Most baby bouncers are suitable from newborn age until your baby can sit independently, but you should check the minimum and maximum weight allowances of your chosen model. Once babies can sit up on their own, they may tip baby bouncers over, so they're no longer safe to use.
Q. How much time can my baby spend in a bouncer?
A. Babies shouldn't spend extended lengths of time in bouncers. Not only can too much time in a bouncer (or crib/cradle/bassinet) lead to positional plagiocephaly -- also known as flat head syndrome -- it isn't great for emotional and physical development in general. Baby bouncers are a great way to give parents a small break, so they can drink a hot beverage, eat a meal with both hands, or look after older children, but we'd recommend limiting their use to no more than two or three 20-minute sessions per day.
Baby bouncers we recommend
Best of the best: BabyBjörn's Bouncer Balance
Our take: A minimalist bouncer made from soft cotton jersey and ergonomically designed for proper head and back support.
What we like: Converts into a chair for toddlers once they can stand and sit unaided. JPMA certified. Easy to clean. Toy bar can be added, but is sold separately.
What we dislike: On the pricey side.
Best bang for your buck: Fisher-Price's Deluxe Bouncer
Our take: An affordable choice for babies who need plenty of stimulation to keep them interested in their bouncer.
What we like: Features a removable mobile, plus sounds and vibrations. Newborn insert for small babies. Well-padded. Machine washable.
What we dislike: Older babies may kick the control panel as they move.
Choice 3: Bright Starts' Playful Pinwheels Bouncer
Our take: This cheap and cheerful bouncer is great for occasional use though may not be durable enough to pass down.
What we like: Toy bar is entertaining for babies. Produces soothing vibrations. Adjustable harness. Fabric parts are machine washable.
What we dislike: Incline slightly too steep.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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