Bouncers For Your Baby: What Should You Buy?
There is a moment when your newborn seems to outgrow the sleepy stage and suddenly demands to be held. All the time. My baby son Cash no longer wants to be put down ever so I knew I needed to find the perfect bouncy seat. At least perfect enough so I could buy enough time to pee and maybe make myself a sandwich. (Just a reminder that these bouncy seats and rockers are not intended to replace a crib or bassinet for prolonged periods of sleep.)
I tried out five best-selling and popular bouncers/rockers on the market, and this is how they stacked up:
BABYBJORN BabySitter Balance Bouncy Seat
I am a HUGE fan of the Baby Bjorn carrier (like I would marry that thing) so I had a lot of hope for this bouncy seat. It requires no batteries and babies can hopefully happily bounce away in this super sleek seat while you take a shower. It folds up very easily which is great for travel. It has three positions: play (up to 29 lbs), rest (up to 22 lbs) and sleep (up to 15 lbs). And it comes in three kinds of fabrics: cotton mix, mesh and organic cotton.
But with no bells and whistles (I mean NONE) in this eco-friendly seat, my baby didn’t really go for it. Every time I put him in it, he cried. There was just nothing to distract him. Plus, the cost is steep. It’s currently selling for $144 on Amazon. Ouch. I need some bells and whistles for that kind of money. Like it should come with a baby whisperer.
Strengths: Folds up easily and only weighs 6.8 lbs, No batteries required, Sleek design.
Weaknesses: More expensive than other options, No Entertainment, Does not covert into rocker or napper.
Final Word on BABYBJORN BabySitter Balance bouncy seat: Skip it. Not worth the money.
Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer (My Little Snugabunny)
This affordable bouncy seat (goes up to 25 lbs) is the most registered for and top-selling baby bouncer on Amazon where it currently sells for $45. Basically, this is the Lazy Boy of the baby bouncers. It is super plush. I would totally curl up in this thing if I could, but there is a weight limit. It is also very zen with calming songs, nature sounds and vibrations. None of the sounds will make you crazy. Just the opposite in fact. You’ll feel like you just walked into some spa except that there will be no one there to give you a foot massage.
My baby, Cash, loves sleeping in this cozy baby seat. But when he’s awake, he seems to get restless staring at the sweet birds. I feel like some bouncers might have a bit more shelf life as your baby gets more alert and active. But boy did I love this thing for the first several months. It’s pretty wide, weighs 8.3 lbs and doesn’t fold up but has nice neutral colors. As far as bouncers go, this one is beautifully designed. If you are going to own two bouncers, definitely make this one of them.
Strengths: Very comfy and plush (you’ll want to take a nap in it), Affordable, Calming sounds, Looks good in your home.
Weaknesses: A bit limited entertainment wise as your baby gets older and more active, Does not covert into rocker or napper, Needs batteries, Not easily portable.
The Final Word on the Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer (My Little Snugabunny) : Even though the shelf life is a little short, I really fell in love with this baby bouncer. This is perfect for the parent who wants a really comfy, supportive spot to put down their newborn.
Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Portable Rocker
We wanted to review this baby bouncer because it converts to a toddler rocker (goes up to 40 lbs) and it’s also a Top 100 Amazon baby gear seller where it currently sells for $44. I did not have high hopes for this bouncer because it wasn’t super deluxe and seemed sort of boring. But obviously I’m not a baby. And my baby loved it! He just smiled away at those hanging baby toys (a dinosaur and a bee) and eventually learned how to reach out and grab them. Thanks to this rocker, I’ve been able to jump in the shower many times without having to endure a lot of crying.
I love that it converts to a rocking seat for toddlers. In fact, my 3-year-old daughter has already plopped herself down in it from time-to-time. The window for bouncers feels so short and it’s nice to get more use out of baby gear. I don’t love the colors (mostly bright green and orange). It has a recline position and an upright position. It also has a vibrating option. It folds easily and has a built-in handle, which is a nice feature.
Strengths: Converts to a toddler rocker, Affordable, Entertaining, Two positions (recline and upright), Folds easily and only weights 7.5 lbs.
Weaknesses: Not super plush, No music (just vibrations) although I’m not sure babies care, Needs batteries.
The Final Word on the Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Portable Rocker: Great bouncer/rocker for the money. This is perfect if you want something simple and affordable that will entertain your baby.
MamaRoo Baby Bouncer
This is kind of like your baby’s first Mercedes. It currently sells for $200 on Amazon. Yes, the price is very steep and it looks like something Mork from Mork and Mindy might live in. (For you young moms, that was a TV show.) The mamaRoo (up to 25 lbs) is modern, stylish and very unique. It bounces up and down and sways from side to side, trying to replicate the motions a parent makes when soothing a child. The different motions (with 5 speeds!) are called car ride, kangaroo, tree swing, rock a bye and ocean. The seat reclines and there are three reversible toy balls. It has built in nature sounds and connects to any mp3 player. And you get to choose your fabric colors from six options.
You can’t really deny it. It’s a sweet ride. But I’m not convinced it entertains or soothes a baby better than a more affordable bouncer. I love that you can plug it in because I’m the reigning queen of forgetting to turn off vibrating seats, causing the batteries to die. But it’s big, definitely doesn’t fold up and I guess I just don’t have a great need for my baby to be on a kangaroo ride. At least not at that price.
Strengths: Looks very cool in your home, plugs in, innovative technique to calm your baby. Bouncer and a swing in one.
Weaknesses: Big, Not easily portable and weighs 14 pounds, More expensive than a typical bouncy seat.
Final Word on the the MamaRoo Baby Bouncer: Unless you’re a Kardashian, you might consider skipping it. If money isn’t an issue, it’s kind of cool to put your kid on “tree swing” while you load the dishwasher. Plus some babies love this thing and if that happens to be your baby, it’s worth it.
Also, you might be able to get away with just the MamaRoo, instead of getting a bouncer and a swing. In that case, this might actually be an affordable option.
Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper
UPDATE from April 2019 : Given the American Academy of Pediatrics’ statement on inclined sleepers, we would avoid any inclined bouncy that is meant for napping or sleeping.
This is another Top 100 Amazon baby gear seller (currently sells for about $68) and has the versatility of converting from a flat napper to a reclined rocker. I never quite understood how it’s a “3-in-1” but it does have some nice features.
It has three reclining positions and a mobile with baby-activated lights and sounds. A rattling snail and smiling sunshine dangle from the mobile and you can actually adjust how far they hang down which I really liked. It comes with nine different tunes which are a little grating, but tolerable. The seat vibrates but the on/off button is on the side and I challenge you to remember to shut it off. It’s a miracle my batteries haven’t gone dead. It does not rock itself which is not entirely clear from the product description. The rocking movement is also a little uneven. The seat weighs 11.5 lbs.
It does go up to 40 lbs but I can’t really envision a toddler hanging out in this chair. It just seems really geared for the first six months. Because you can stabilize the rocker, it would be a nice option for feeding before a child can sit up properly or if they have reflux issues.
Strengths: Good for napping, playing and feeding, Fun lights and sounds, Adjustable mobile, Versatility, Reasonable price.
Weaknesses: Needs batteries, rocking movement is do-it-yourself and not entirely smooth, Does not fold up.
Final Word on the Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper: Don’t buy this for the rocking. Buy it because you want a napper and reclined play seat in one piece of equipment. If you are having sleep issues, I could imagine this being a real life saver.
So Which Baby Bouncer/ Rocker Do I Love the Most and Recommend?
I really tried to pick my favorite one of these five. But in the end, I really liked two the best: the My Little Snugabunny Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer because it’s so comfy, zen and affordable. And I also liked the Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Portable Rocker because it’s also well-priced, a snap to move around the house, and my son was actually entertained. But with the exception of the The BABYBJORN BabySitter Balance Bouncy Seat, I thought all of these are strong contenders depending on the needs of the parents and baby.
Note: Alpha Mom paid for all the bouncers/rockers reviewed in this post.