Babies love to have fun and test their limits. They also like to bounce like crazy, even if it means you’re doing most of the work for them!
If your arms start to feel the strain long before your baby has had their fill of bouncing, consider getting them a bouncer of their own. They’ll be able to work on their coordination while saving your poor muscles from the extra workout.
Here’s how to find that perfect baby bouncer that’s right for your family.
|1. Fisher-Price Rainforest||Best Bouncer Chair|
|2. Evenflo Zoo Friends||Best for Heavy Baby|
|3. BabyBjorn Balance||Best for Reflux|
|4. Fisher-Price Meadow||Best Bouncer Seat|
|5. Evenflo Door Jumper||Best Budget Pick|
When Can I Start Using One?
You don’t have to wait until your baby is capable of walking or furniture cruising before using a bouncer. But unlike a baby swing, it’s not something you can use as soon as they are born either.
Before using one, your baby should have a strong enough neck to hold up the weight of their head if you’re using more traditional sit-up seats.
Companies do however make seats that are more recumbent so your baby can lay down, much like they would with a baby swing. If you have this type — one that reclines back far enough — it’s safe to use for a newborn because it gives them the head and neck support they need. But you should always supervise the use of a bouncer to make sure nothing goes wrong.
Types of Baby Bouncers
There are three basic types.
This is best for newborns that don’t have control of their head movements yet. Supporting the head is crucial for a newborn, as your doctor will tell you before you leave the hospital. If you don’t properly support a newborn’s head, it can lead to brain damage, suffocation and neurological concerns (source). With the reclining bouncer, your baby’s feet will never even touch the floor.
If you’re looking for a bouncer that you can use for the longest period, you should opt for a reclining model since you can usually use it from the day you bring your baby home.
These are the classic styles you see babies having fun in when they’re jumping as much as they can by pressing their feet off the floor. These should only be used when babies have enough neck muscle control.
If you want your baby to work on developing motor skills, an upright bouncer is your best bet, provided your baby is old enough to use it.
These hang from doorways in your house and look like bouncy park swings. I never used one because I worried my baby would come undone and catapult themselves across the room somehow, plus I didn’t want my doorways blocked. But I do have friends who used this type and loved it.
If you have limited space, a doorway bouncer could be the best option for you. They’re easy to take down and set back up when you don’t want to turn your home into an obstacle course. Just be aware that if you have odd-shaped or thick doorways, these may not work for you.
What Should I Look For?
To make sure you’re buying a bouncer that you can entrust your precious baby to, you’ll want to look for the following features.
- A wide frame: To ensure it won’t tip over, you’ll want to find a bouncer that has a wide, well-made frame. If it seems too lightweight or the seat sits up too high, you might be too worried to let your baby bounce to their full potential.
- A removable seat cover: Babies are famous for their ability to make a mess. To help keep the chaos at bay, you’ll want a removable seat cover so you can stick it in the washing machine for a thorough cleaning.
- If you want extra motion: Many bouncers use the power of a baby’s kicks to get going, but others use a motor to give additional movement or vibrations. That can come in handy if you need a rest from soothing a colicky baby.
- Battery or outlet power: If you go with something that has lights, music or movements, you’ll need to decide if you want to keep investing in batteries to keep it powered up or if you’d like to have a power cord.
- Price: Simple bouncers don’t have to cost a week’s pay. You can find low-end models that work perfectly well for a reasonable price. If you want the extras or a motorized version though, be prepared to shell out a little more.
- Portability: If you plan to do a lot of traveling, look for a bouncer that can easily fold up so you can take it with you.
- Extras: You can get bouncers that play music to sooth your baby, and some come with mobiles hanging down or toy bars if you feel like your baby might like them.
The Best Baby Bouncers of 2018
A great baby bouncer will look like so much fun that you’ll half wonder why they don’t make them for adults. Not only will your baby be amused, but they’ll also get the opportunity to develop their balance and motor skills while giving you a little break. Here are our favorite models currently on the market.
1. Fisher-Price Baby Bouncer
This one from Fisher-Price has a vibration mode you can use to help calm down an upset baby. Plus it has a removable bar with animal toys on it so your baby will have some entertainment when they’re tired of bouncing.
The seat is padded, so your little one will sit comfortably, and if they have a spit-up incident or a diaper blow-out, remove the seat pad and throw it in the washing machine.
There are non-skid feet to stop even the most exuberant bouncers from jumping themselves into trouble. The seat has a three-point restraint, which means there aren’t any uncomfortable shoulder harnesses. While it doesn’t have a reclining option, it does lean back pretty far so your baby should be able to take a nap once they’re all bounced out.
- Affordable for all budgets.
- The toys on the toy bar are brightly colored to attract your baby’s attention.
- It holds from 5 pounds to 25 pounds, which is a good weight range.
- It doesn’t fold up once assembled.
- It runs on battery power, so you’ll need to buy replacement batteries often.
2. Graco DuetConnect Swing and Bouncer
This bouncer/swinger combo is gorgeous to look at and offers plenty of options to keep your baby feeling comfy and cozy.
The seat is removable so you can either use it as a swing or a bouncer, depending on your baby’s mood. It has a two-speed vibration setting to keep your munchkin content.
The seat reclines and has head support so you can use it even when your baby is a newborn. The swing portion can hold from 5.5 to 30 pounds, while the bouncer holds up to 18 pounds.
It can run on either the power cord or batteries, and in addition to bouncing, it offers six different speeds of side-to-side swinging and a five-point safety harness.
A nice touch is the toy mobile attached for your baby’s amusement.
- 15 nature sounds and songs will keep your baby occupied.
- You won’t have to keep replacing the batteries since it has a power cord option.
- You’ll be able to keep using the swing portion for up to 30 pounds.
- It’s pretty expensive.
- Some parents felt the assembly was confusing.
3. Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo
This isn’t made for newborns, but if you have an older baby, it might be one of the best purchases you make. It’s basically an all-in-one playground for your child.
To use it, your baby must be between two developmental milestones — they need to be able to hold up their own heads, but they shouldn’t be able to walk yet.
This cute model lets your baby bounce or jump using only the power of their little legs. When they bounce, the Jumperoo rewards their effort with noise, music, and lights.
There are also plenty of extras your child will appreciate, including an overhead toy bar and a musical piano.
The wide base goes in a complete circle around your baby’s feet, which means this unit won’t tip over, even if they jump like crazy (which they will).
- The springs are guarded by covers, so your baby’s fingers won’t get accidentally pinched.
- It adjusts to three different height positions.
- The seat rotates all the way around, for extra fun.
- It folds up for storage so it won’t get underfoot when you’re not using it.
- Requires batteries.
- The maximum weight is 25 pounds.
4. BabyBjorn Baby Bouncer Balance
This one from BabyBjorn doesn’t rely on any artificial power to work — it only amplifies your baby’s bouncing motions. That means you won’t need to be next to an outlet or keep replacing worn-out batteries.
It’s certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, which means it’s a safe option for your baby. It also offers excellent neck and head support, and you can adjust it into four different positions, which is useful for little ones suffering from reflux.
If you want your bouncer to be portable, you’ll be glad to hear this one folds flat so you can pop it in the trunk or store it in a closet when not in use.
The best part is that it can be used for a long time, anywhere from newborn to 2 years old. It can be converted into a chair once your baby is too old to bounce in it.
- You can use it for rest and play.
- Weighing less than five pounds, it’s easy to carry around.
- The adjustable positions make it a great pick for babies with acid reflux.
- It’s on the expensive side.
- Doesn’t come with any extras or toys to keep your kid entertained.
5. Bright Starts Pinwheels Bouncer
This isn’t an overly large bouncer that will clutter up your home. It can hold up to 25 pounds, and while it doesn’t fold up for storage, it is easy to put together and take apart.
Plus, if you want to move it from room to room, it only weighs 5 pounds, so it’s easy to move when you’re tired of looking at it.
Despite being a smaller, affordable model, it still has enough extras — like vibrations — to keep your baby content when they’re getting cranky.
A toy bar is included and can be taken off the bouncer with one hand, which is nice when you’re trying to pick your baby up, and you don’t want to bump them on the way out.
The seat is comfortable, soft and colorful enough to keep your baby entertained.
- The cover is removable and machine washable for quick clean up.
- The legs are covered in safe, non-slip rubber.
- The cover is made of a breathable material which is convenient if your baby tends to get sweaty in their seat.
- It requires a battery for the vibrations.
- This should only be used by babies with strong neck control.
6. Tiny Love Take Along Bouncer
When you need something that’s easy to carry with you on a trip and can be used inside or outside, this one fits the bill. It’s light enough that you’ll barely notice the extra weight.
Moms who hate assembling things will love that this one comes completely assembles. That would have come in handy when I struggled to put my child’s bouncer together one afternoon — I was ready to lose my mind.
It comes with a carrying bag to keep it clean and protected when it’s in the trunk of your car, however when you fold it flat, you’ll need both hands.
Though it’s light and portable, it can easily handle a wide range of weights, from 8 to 29 pounds. It doesn’t play music or use artificial movements, but that means it doesn’t need any batteries.
- It’s highly portable, lightweight and foldable.
- No complicated assembly required.
- Can be used outside too if you want to take your baby camping.
- It’s fairly pricey for such a simple model.
- The movements are jerky, not smooth.
7. Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer Snugabunny
Fisher-Price’s Snugabunny is a good pick for parents of newborns because it reclines back far enough that it can be used the day you get back from the hospital. Your baby can continue to use it until they weigh 25 pounds.
It also has a removable body insert that’s great for the tiniest of babies. As they grow, you can take out the insert to give less support but more room.
The eight songs and nature sounds it plays are battery powered, and parents can even control the volume. That’s handy when you have a sleepy baby on your hands that you don’t want to be disturbed with loud music. Plus the toy bar can be taken off if you don’t want it distracting your baby from their nap either.
Finally, babies with even sensitive skin will find the material soft and soothing.
- The volume control for the music is a nice touch.
- It reclines back enough to use for newborns.
- The toy bar can be removed.
- It runs on batteries, which can get expensive to replace.
- Some parents have complained about it being hard to assemble.
8. Evenflo Exersaucer Bounce and Learn
If your doctors gasped in surprise when they weighed your baby, chances are you have a whopper on your hands. Luckily, this bouncer can handle babies weighing from 7 to 30 pounds.
It does more than just entertain and soothe your baby, though, it also helps them develop their motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
The seat swivels all the way around so your baby will always be able to face the direction they want to.
Nothing on this model requires any batteries, which you’ll appreciate if you hate constantly spending money to replace them. Those of us who dislike flashing lights and noise will like the simplicity of foregoing the extra bells and whistles.
But a newborn won’t be able to use this, since they’ll need to be able to support their own heads first.
- It’s affordable.
- It doesn’t require batteries — or make a racket!
- There are enough toys to keep your child entertained.
- Some parents have complained about their babies hitting their heads on the overhead bar when they jump vigorously.
- Even though it doesn’t have music, this is pretty loud when your baby is bouncing away.
9. Bright Starts Sweet Safari Bounce-a-Round
Your twins will love seeing their sibling bounce around in these. They may start having competitions to see who can bounce the highest! Plus, these bouncers are affordable enough that you’ll be able to buy two without taking out a loan.
They come with a dozen things for your babies to play with, including hands-on activities and toys. You can change the height of the seat so as your babies grow, it grows with them.
There are three different adjustable positions, and your little ones can turn their seats around 360 degrees. If there are any accidents or spills, it’s easy to take the seat pad out and toss it in the washing machine. It’s easy to remove and put back in.
- This doesn’t take batteries.
- It can hold up to 25 pounds.
- The toys will keep kids entertained for a while.
- It can’t be used for newborns.
- The seat doesn’t have cushioning.
10. Evenflo ExerSaucer Door Jumper
If you want a traditional bouncy seat that you won’t be using for napping, this Evenflo ExerSaucer is great value for the price. Your baby will have hours of fun jumping around in this seat.
It attaches to a doorway, and most will fit if they’re around 3 to 6 inches thick.
The springs are all covered with material so your baby won’t pinch their fingers when jumping up and down. The seat goes completely around your baby, which protects them during even vigorous jumping, and the adjustable straps can be changed as your baby grows. Finally, the pad on the seat can be taken off and cleaned pretty easily.
This works for babies up to 24 pounds; but before they can use it safely, they must be able to hold their heads up by themselves.
- Your baby’s fingers are safe.
- It’s easy to clean.
- You can take it with you on vacation or to a caregiver’s house.
- You won’t be able to use it for newborns.
- It makes fairly loud noises while your baby is jumping.
How Should I Use a Baby Bouncer?
Note About Bouncer Safety
It should also have a seat belt for your baby, whether it’s a three-point or a five-point harness.
Make sure yours has gripping feet so it won’t slide all over the place. If you have wood or laminate flooring and there aren’t non-slip feet on the bouncer, your baby could end up scooting all over the floor. If there are stairs nearby, that could spell serious danger for your baby.
Sometimes after all the jumping, your baby may get tired from so much activity. Since babies love to sleep so much, before long they might be sleeping in the bouncer.
Sleeping in a bouncer
The one exception to this rule is if you buy a bouncer that can be transitioned into a safe reclining position. If your baby falls asleep in one of these, you can simply lower the seat down so they’re sleeping flat.
Once your little one begins using the bouncer, keep a close eye on their weight and make sure it’s still within the guidelines. Different makes vary greatly in how much weight they’ll hold; while one may carry up to 25 pounds, another can handle only 20.
How Long Should a Baby Stay in a Bouncer?
With a swing, you can leave your baby in there safely for an hour or two without worries, but you shouldn’t use a bouncer for that long, unless it’s a reclining model.
My daughter used to love being in her bouncer, but after 10 minutes or so, her activity level would drop and she’d start to get restless. When I noticed that happening, I knew she was getting tired or bored. At that point, I’d pick her up for a cuddle instead.
How Many Do I Need?
You’ll only need one bouncer, particularly if you’re a stay-at-home mom. Even if you’re a working mom and your daycare provider has requested you bring along some baby gear, I still wouldn’t buy a second one — I’d opt for a swing or a pack ‘n play instead.
Although my daughter loved her bouncer, I wanted to make sure she was safe while I was at work. Since babies are only supposed to be in their upright bouncers for such a short while in any one sitting, I didn’t feel comfortable bringing one to daycare. I worried her carers would get sidetracked with the other children and my baby would be stuck bouncing for far too long.
There aren’t any circumstances that would require you to have two, unless you have twins or unless your baby outgrows theirs and you need to buy an upgrade.
Unless you’re looking for a reclining bouncer your baby can sleep in, the Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo is one of the best baby bouncers you can buy.
Your baby will be constantly entertained by the toys and activities. A nice touch is that your baby is rewarded for their activity: when they bounce, they get the fun feedback of lights and sounds to encourage them.
The wide base gives you a degree of security that the unit won’t tip over and hurt your baby.
As your baby continues to explore their little legs and what they can do with them, you can watch reassured from the sidelines. Letting babies grow and mature is one of the hardest aspects of parenthood, but watching the fun they have along the way is well worth it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below — what’s your bouncing babe’s favorite?
Featured Image By: Andrew Bardwell Licensed under CC4.0