Honestly, when I was first setting up the baby registry for my first child, it didn’t occur to me that I needed a baby bouncer. I was more focused on things like the baby crib, stroller, infant car seat, high chairs, and nursery gliders.
But I was quick to realize the importance of having one…
Cuddling is great, but there are times when my hands need to be freed. It struck me when I was alone with my newborn.
I needed to take a shower, carry out my daily chores around the house (such as cooking in the kitchen or doing the laundry), or have some “me time” (such as having a cuppa), but the question was “Where should I place my baby?”
I couldn’t leave my little one alone and unattended in the nursery crib for extended periods of time. I needed somewhere safe and comfy to nestle my little one in the middle of the day. That’s where the BabyBjorn bouncer came into the picture, bringing me much relief and convenience.
There are controversies over the use of baby bouncers so parents should understand the benefits and risks, in order to make informed decisions about how they want to use them.
For practical and realistic reasons, having your hands freed for 15-30 minutes while your baby is safely secured and entertained near you is a Godsend to any parent with an infant.
However, a baby bouncer is not meant for unsupervised use and it is by no means a substitution to tummy time, allowing babies to play and move freely in the open space or sleeping in the crib.
- What is a Baby Bouncer, Baby Swing, and Baby Rocker?
- Can My Baby Sleep in a Bouncer or Swing Overnight?
- Why Buy a Baby Bouncer?
- What to Consider When Choosing the Right Bouncer?
- How to Use a Baby Bouncer Safely?
- Babybjorn Bouncer Bliss Review
- What is the Difference between the Babybjorn Bouncer Bliss and BabyBjorn Bouncer Balance Soft?
- What I Like about the Babybjorn Bouncer Bliss…
- Can I Wash Baby Bjorn Bouncer Cover?
- Can I Use the Baby Bjorn Bouncer with Newborn?
- What Accessories Can I Buy for the BabyBjorn Bouncer?
- What are the Cons of the BabyBjorn Bouncer Bliss?
- Is a Bouncer Harmful to My Baby?
What is a Baby Bouncer, Baby Swing, and Baby Rocker?
First of all, what’s the difference between a bouncer, swing, and rocker/glider?
If you’re looking out or researching for the right baby bouncer, chances are, you have also come across baby swings and baby gliders/rockers. They are similar, yet different.
Which one should you get?
If you’re confused, fret not as you’re not the only one.
Baby bouncers are usually powered by motion. When your baby wriggles or gives a little kick, the bouncer seat will bounce up and down before the motion gradually subsides.
They are typically smaller, lightweight and portable. The motion is also less consistent and less dramatic than that of a baby swing.
Baby swings are usually powered by a motor to maintain the back and forth swinging motion, without the need for you or your baby to move. They are comprised of a motor, swing and frame.
They tend to have a bigger footprint compared to a bouncer as a wider base and a bigger frame are needed for greater stability.
Some swings, such as Fisher-Price Snugabunny Cradle ‘N Swing, has 2 types of motion – the traditional back-and-forth swinging motion and the side-to-side cradle-like rocking motion.
A full-sized swing is much more expensive, typically runs on power cords, and is not portable around the house. It is usually big enough to be used from birth to around 8 months.
Smaller portable swings are also available, but these are usually lower/closer to the ground and the swinging arc is smaller, so your child will outgrow it faster. They are typically battery powered, so get loads of battery ready.
Depending on the brand, there are many different names to this. Baby rockers are also sometimes called sleepers or baby gliders.
A baby rocker or sleeper is similar to a baby swing as it is primarily comprised of a motor, seat and frame.
The difference lies in the motion. The motion of the swing may be slightly jolty at the beginning and end, while a rocker/glider is smooth, somewhat resembling your baby sleeping in your arms while you rock back and forth in the nursery glider.
One of the most popular sleeper/rocker is the Fisher-Price Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, which is cheaper and smaller than a full size baby swing. You can save on the hassle of replacing batteries as it runs on AC power.
There are 2 rocking speeds to choose from, as well as up to 12 songs and 3 sound effects to help lull your baby to sleep or keep him/her entertained. It is also convenient in that you can choose from 2 timer settings for the automatic rocking motion.
Even though it’s been advertised that the Fisher-Price Auto Rock N Play Sleeper can be used for overnight sleeping, I would personally NOT swap a normal crib for it.
Fisher-Price has another baby rocker model, the Fisher-Price Infant to Toddler Rocker, which is motion-powered. It can grow with the child as it can be converted from an infant rocker to a toddler rocking seat, supporting up to 40 Ibs. Batteries are however needed for the music and vibrating motion. What I didn’t like about this is that it is constructed of plastic.
Some babies are fussier. If your baby needs constant motion to lie quiet and stay entertained, having an automatic swing or rocker can be helpful as the motor will maintain the constant back-and-forth swinging or rocking motion.
Can My Baby Sleep in a Bouncer or Swing Overnight?
According to the recommendations by American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) on how to reduce risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), babies should lie on their backs on a firm and flat surface without any loose items when they sleep.
AAP also advise that sitting devices, such as car safety seats, strollers, swings, infant carriers and infant slings, are not recommended for routine sleep, especially for infants below 4 months because they might adopt positions that can increase the risk of suffocation or airway obstruction.
It is advisable that parents move their baby to a crib or other appropriate flat surface as soon as possible when their child falls asleep in these sitting devices.
Some paediatricians and therapists have also advised against unsupervised overnight sleeping in the Fisher-Price Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper as the base is not firm enough, and may increase the risk of asphyxiation.
Using the sleeper for multiple hours a day may also increase the risk of developing “flat head” and torticollis.
In fact, if you’re looking for a rocking bassinet for overnight sleeping, Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Portable Bassinet might be a better option, as it features a totally flat sleeping surface.
However, you’ll have to manually rock it gently side-to-side.
Why Buy a Baby Bouncer?
If you’re a first-time mom-to-be, you might not see the need for a bouncer yet.
These lightweight portable bouncy seats are extremely useful for daytime use.
There are times in the day when you really need to free your hands to do some chores and you can’t be physically present in the nursery to supervise your little one.
I like it that I can move and set up the bouncer in any room I’m in, and safely secure my baby in a comfortable and well-supported seat to buy myself a precious 15-30 minutes. It is re-assuring that I can work on something, yet be able to watch over and interact with my little one.
If your hands are tied up and your newborn is still unable to bounce independently, you can even use your foot to lightly bounce the seat for a start.
Most bouncers come with multi-position reclining backrest, which is great because babies of different ages and developmental stages prefer different positions.
In the early days, your newborn will be spending a lot of time sleeping and their neck muscles are not developed enough to support their head. When set at the lowest recline position, the bouncer provides a safe place near you for your newborn to rest or play while you do your other parenting stuff.
You can even bring the bouncer into the bathroom so that you can keep an eye on your baby as you shower. If he/she does cry, you wouldn’t be able to cuddle him/her, but at least you could try to soothe your baby by talking to him/her or try playing peek-a-boo.
As he/she grows a little older, your baby will outgrow the sleepy state, become more interested in his/her surroundings and is no longer contended to be confined in the crib.
You’ll also realize that into the second month, your baby will be trying to stay upright and lift his/her head. You can now recline the bouncy seat to a semi-upright position so that he/she can look at you, the surroundings, or play with the toys attached to the bouncer.
Babies enjoy the rocking and bouncing motions, perhaps because it reminds them of the soothing motions when they were in the womb.
Initially, you may need to gently bounce the seat as the newborns are not capable of bouncing themselves. But as soon as they get more active and desire more motion, they can be self-entertained. They’ll soon learn that the bouncer will spring up and down in response to their kicks and wriggling motion.
What’s cuter than watching the fun and natural bouncing interaction between your baby and his/her bouncy seat?
Sometimes, the bouncy motion also has a soothing effect that seems to lull babies and induce sleepiness. It is not uncommon for babies to fall asleep in their bouncers for a short nap. However, do note that unsupervised sleep in a sitting device is not recommended by AAP. I would also not use a bouncer as a routine napping place.
Bouncers are typically meant for use before your baby can sit by themselves, usually from newborn to around 6 months. This makes the baby bouncer a great tool to facilitate family interaction in the early months.
When the family and friends are gathered in the living room, you can seat the baby in the semi-upright recline position so that he/she can see everyone, make eye-contact, and interact with the others.
The exact weight limit will depend on the manufacturer and model. Some bouncer models are designed to grow with the child and are convertible to a toddler chair, hence have a higher weight limit.
What to Consider When Choosing the Right Bouncer?
- Budget – A bouncer can cost you anything from $30 for a basic bouncer to over $200 for something that’s sleeker in design or packed with add-on features. With such a wide array of baby products out in the market today, it can be very confusing. Hence, it is important to first consider how much you are willing to spend and how are you going to use it (what are the basic features and functions you want), in order to make it easier to shop within a stipulated price range.
- Safety Straps – The bouncer needs at least a 3-point harness to safely secure your child, preventing the baby from slipping down or climbing out of the seat themselves. There are also some that features a 5-point harness. Check that the safety straps are comfortably padded and do not interfere with your child’s movements.
- The Seat
- Seat material – The seat material should be soft and comfortable. Look out for coarse seams that may irritate your child’s skin as newborn’s skin is more sensitive.
- Easy to clean – Some bouncy seats come with waterproof fabrics that can be wiped clean. I’d prefer seat covers that is easily removable and machine-washable.
- Comfort and padding – The seat should be comfortable, but avoid one that has too much padding as that may not provide proper support for the baby.
- Ergonomic design – The seat should provide good head, neck and back support for the babies as their muscles are not fully developed yet.
- Seat recline – Some bouncers come with multiple recline positions. Infants need the seat to be more reclined to lie and rest, whereas older babies prefer a more upright position.
- Bounce – You can give it a push to test the bounce. Bouncers can range from being slightly bouncy (like a springy mattress) to springing back and forth with the slightest hand and leg movements of the baby. Generally, features-packed activity bouncers are less bouncy due to the extra weight.
- Wide base – A bigger base is better as it is more stable and more difficult to topple the bouncer over. However, do make sure that the frame is not protruding in a way that it becomes a tripping hazard.
- Material of the frame – The frame holds and keeps the seat supported above the ground. It is advisable to avoid bouncer frames made of plastics. Metal is much sturdier.
- Portability and storage – Other than being lightweight, some bouncers can be folded flat for compact storage and portability. The more portable it is, the easier it is for you to move the bouncer around the house and set it up in whichever room you are in. Compact fold is important if space constraint at home is a concern and you need to store in when not in use, or if you love travelling and intend to bring the bouncer on-the-go. Generally, basic bouncers can be folded more compactly as they have less attachments. Activity bouncers tend to be bulkier, some of which cannot even be folded.
- Non-slip frame base – You wouldn’t want your baby’s bouncer to slowly creep across the floor with every bounce. This tends to happen on hardwood floors or smooth tiled floors. Look out for non-slip pad at the base of the bouncer frame or alternatively, you can place non-slip mats below the bouncer.
- Extra features:
Some baby bouncers feature built-in sound machine that can play a few pre-set melodies. While your baby may find the music soothing or entertaining, hearing the same repeated music may not be pleasing for every mom. Some fancy baby swings, such as the 4moms mamaRoo, even allow you to plug in your mp3 to play your choice of tunes.
In addition to the motion-powered bouncing movements, some bouncer seats gently vibrate (powered by battery) to provide yet another soothing motion for the baby. This may be useful for a newborn who’s unable to bounce on his/her own just yet.
- Toy bars
Some bouncers come with a toy bar, either permanently attached or removable. Do make sure that the bar attaches easily and securely.
- How is the bouncer powered
This is a consideration if you’re choosing a model that features automatic motion, lights or music. If the bouncer is powered by batteries, you will have to prepare and get ready loads of batteries as they may drain out quite quickly. This can be quite expensive and annoying, hence it’s definitely more desirable to be powered by AC cords instead. The downside is that you will need to place it close to the electric socket.
- Color, theme and design
Some bouncers may come in bright colors and fun patterns which are appealing to young kids.
Some parents are more particular about the aesthetics of their baby gears more than others, and may not like something that screams ‘baby’. There are models that are simple, modern and sleek in design, and feature colors that are more subtle and plain, which might be more appealing to adults and can blend in with the surrounding home décor.
How to Use a Baby Bouncer Safely?
Here are some safety tips to buying and using a bouncer:
- Check that the product you are purchasing meets independent safety standards by looking out for certification from:
- Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Class 1
- Check the list of product recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Recent bouncer seat recalls include:
- frames that broke
- toy bars that detached unexpectedly and caused injuries
- laceration hazards due to sharp metal objects in the seats
- fire hazards
- When placing the bouncer, take note of the following:
- Keep away from safety hazards such as heaters, window cords (strangling hazard), etc
- Same room so you can keep a watch on the baby
- Do not place the bouncer on an elevated surface (such as a table) or on a soft surface (such as the couch) as the movements may cause the bouncer to topple over
- Do not carry the bouncer by its frame or toy bar when your baby is in the bouncer as they are not intended/designed for this purpose.
- Abide by the manufacturer’s recommended weight and age limits.
- Consider placing a nonslip mat below the bouncer if you are using it on a slippery tiled or hardwood floor.
- AVOID BEING OVER RELIANT ON THE BOUNCER
Babybjorn Bouncer Bliss Review
What is the Difference between the Babybjorn Bouncer Bliss and BabyBjorn Bouncer Balance Soft?
Both BABYBJÖRN bouncers have the same basic design and features.
The differences lie in the looks and fabric.
The Babybjorn Balance Soft spots a modern and stylish look. BabyBjorn took a step further to update the color and fabric of the Bouncer Bliss to give it an even sleeker and softer feel.
The BabyBjorn Bouncer Bliss’s metal frame and base now come with a matching light gray tone to give the bouncer a softer look, compared to BabyBjorn Balance Soft’s black frame. The new fabric color scheme also gives a soft, lavish, fresh and modern feel.
The Bouncer Bliss fabric comes in 2 types of materials and a total of 13 different monotone colors:
- Mesh – The mesh material is soft, airy and quick-drying. It features a smooth stitching that will not chafe against the baby’s sensitive skin. The mesh fabric comes in 6 colors – Anthracite, Cocoa, Navy Blue, Powder Pink, Dusk Blue and Lavender Violet.
- Quilted Cotton – The plush cotton quilting fabric gives a very cozy and luxurious feel and is available in 7 colors – Black, Midnight Blue, Old Rose, Terracotta Pink, Sand Gray, Vintage Turquoise and Gray Pinstripe.
The Balance Soft, on the other hand, comes in 3 fabric types and a total of 8 color combinations:
- 100% Cotton – Available in 4 color combinations: Black with Brown, Black with Dark Gray, Khaki with Beige, Rust with Orange
- Cotton/Jersey – Available in 2 color combinations: Dark Gray with Gray, Beige with Gray
- Mesh – Available in 2 color combinations: Black with Gray, Silver with White
All the fabrics used by BabyBjorn for the seat and harness are soft and gentle to your baby’s skin, and safe to put into mouth. They have been tested to be free of harmful and allergenic substances, and approved according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Class 1 for baby products.
What I Like about the Babybjorn Bouncer Bliss…
I like the Babybjorn Bouncer Bliss for its simplicity and quality. Even though it is a basic bouncer, it has a very sleek and modern look. The color combinations available are neutral, modern, soft, and soothing. They definitely do not scream ‘baby’, and would tastefully blend into most adult décor.
The Baby Bjorn Bouncer Bliss is a JPMA Certified product developed closely with paediatricians to ensure that the bouncy seat is ergonomically designed, providing proper support for the baby’s head, neck, and back. You may not see any padding on this bouncy seat, but the fabric molds and wraps snugly to your baby’s body, distributing his/her weight evenly to ensure good support. This is extremely important for infants as their muscles are not yet fully developed.
The BabyBjorn seat bounces naturally according to your child’s movements and kicks, which can help them to develop their balance and motor skills. There are no batteries or AC power used, which is just the way I want it to be – as natural as possible.
The harness is fully padded and adjustable, so that it is comfortable for the growing baby. There are 2 fasteners at the side (near the waist level) which you can easily clip the harness on to secure the baby.
The BabyBjorn bouncer has 3 recline positions, suitable for sleeping, resting, and playing. You can even easily change between positions while your baby is in the bouncer.
Always use 1 hand to support the backrest and 1 hand to lift the positioner and shift it to the desired position. Do make sure that the positioner is securely locked in position before letting go of the backrest.
Here’s a quick video to show you how to adjust the Baby Bjorn Bouncer position and how to fold the bouncer flat:
The BabyBjorn User Manual provides guidelines on how to maximize the bounce and which seat settings to use for different age and weight.
Newborns should use the lowest recline position, while the 2 semi-upright positions should only be used when the baby can hold his/her head upright in those positions.
The Baby Bjorn Bouncer Balance Bliss has a small footprint when set up, which works well for compact living spaces.
When not in use, the seat can also be folded completely flat for storage and transporting. Simply pull back the red safety latch under the bouncer and set the positioner to the ‘transport’ mode. There is no need to dissemble anything and no loose parts.
The Bouncer Bliss is also super lightweight at under 5 Ibs!
This makes it highly portable. You can easily move it around the house or bring it on-the-go when you are travelling or visiting a friend/relative’s house.
Safety aspects are also well taken care of. The base is sturdy and features anti-glide floor strips to prevent the bouncer from moving with every bounce. The base of the frame does not protrude out, so it does not pose a tripping hazard.
Can I Wash Baby Bjorn Bouncer Cover?
The answer is Yes!
The seat is also easy to clean so you don’t have to worry about dealing with diaper blowouts. The seat fabric can be easily removed and machine-washed.
However, DO NOT tumble try.
Can I Use the Baby Bjorn Bouncer with Newborn?
Yes, the Babybjorn bouncer is designed to accommodate babies from 8 to 20 Ibs. The fitted fabric is able to wrap snugly around the newborn’s body so that it is cosy and comfortable for the newborn, as well as providing excellent support.
It can even be used up to around 2 years old. Simply reverse the fabric to convert the bouncer into a toddler chair, which can accommodate a toddler up to 29 Ibs.
Given the price of the BabyBjorn bouncers, buying and using the baby bouncer as early as possible can help to maximize the utilization.
What Accessories Can I Buy for the BabyBjorn Bouncer?
I’m not a huge fan of flashing lights and music options, which is why I like a simple classic bouncer like BabyBjorn’s.
On one hand, I’m concerned about over-stimulating young babies. On the other hand, and in all honesty, listening to the same music or song repeatedly (over 6 months at least) can really drive me nuts…
However, if you want to add some entertainment and stimulate your baby to move his/her hands, BabyBjorn also offers a toy bar attachment with colorful spinning figures.
Unfortunately, it is sold separately so that’s an additional cost. The bar is made of metal, while the toys are made of a combination of wood and BPA-free plastics.
BabyBjorn offers 2 cute toy bar designs: The Googly Eyes and Flying Friends.
Check out these 2 toy bars on Amazon here → http://amzn.to/2EUHIsU
What are the Cons of the BabyBjorn Bouncer Bliss?
The biggest downside of this baby bouncer is that it is pretty expensive for a no frill basic bouncer. What you’re paying for is the quality and ergonomic design.
The quality construction and the fact that it is low-tech (no electrical parts or complex parts that may need repairs) mean that the BabyBjorn bouncers are incredibly durable, often outlasting the use by 1 child. It can be handed down a few siblings.
Alternatively, after your child has outgrown the bouncer, you can hand it down to another friend or relative who may need it, or sell it as used. New fabric seats can be purchased separately.
Is a Bouncer Harmful to My Baby?
Moderation is key!
Even though your little one may be having fun in the bouncer and we parents also love the convenience brought about by the bouncer, it is important not to become over-reliant on it. Our little ones still need a lot of cuddling, as well as more tummy time and time to move around freely in order to develop their muscles.
Experts recommend limiting the time your baby spends in baby activity gears as that might affect their motor development. Try not to use the bouncer for more than 15-30 minutes each time (which is probably sufficient to get your tasks done), and not more than 1-2 hours a day.
NEVER leave your baby unsupervised in the bouncer.
Also, do not use the bouncer for routine sleeping. It is, after all a sitting device, not a replacement to a crib. Excessive hours spent in a bouncer, swing or rocker for sleep may increase the risk of asphyxiation and development of “flat head” and torticollis.
There are many bouncers available over a wide range of price. The BABYBJÖRN bouncer may be expensive, but safety, quality and ergonomic design are major factors to justify the purchase.