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Whether you’re a first-time parent or this isn’t your first time at the rodeo, you know that as much as you might enjoy holding your little bundle of joy, there are going to be times when you just can’t.
Maybe you need to help your other children get ready for school, or your baby is asleep and you finally have time to make yourself a snack. Or maybe you’re exhausted from the newborn stage and the only thing that will keep your little one happy is the consistent motion from a bouncer.
Whatever the reason, most parents agree that investing in a quality baby bouncer or swing is well worth it. But with so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to pick the right one that keeps your little one content and gives you peace of mind.
In addition to being safe, you want something easy to operate, potentially travel friendly, and that will at least accommodate your child for their first 6 months.
Important safety note
If you’re buying a new baby bouncer from a retailer, you can rest assured that any new purchase made in-store or online will meet the standards as set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
But if you’re inheriting an older baby bouncer, it’s a good idea to confirm that it’s not currently under a safety recall before using it.
To narrow down our recommendations for the best baby bouncers, we looked at factors such as:
- a variety of vibrations or swing speeds
- power source
- ease of use
- parental feedback
- ease of installation or assembly
- quiet operation
An endorsement from authoritative groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also influenced our selection process.
While they’re not the same thing, you’ll find that baby bouncers, swings, and jumpers often appear in the same category or aisle when you’re browsing online or visiting a store. But even though they can all serve a similar purpose, they’re different in how they function.
Bouncers, rockers or swings are ideal for newborns as they offer total support. In contrast, a jumper is only safe for older babies that can hold their heads up unassisted.
Baby bouncers and rockers
A baby bouncer or rocker is a stationary seat that sits low to the ground. Once your baby is securely seated and strapped in, their movements can help to create a “bouncing” or rocking motion. Many models offer a range of vibrations you can cycle through that help to soothe babies and may include toy bars to keep them entertained.
In contrast, a baby swing is typically larger, sits higher, and as the name implies, swings your child at one or more speeds. Some swings may include music, sounds, lights, and mobiles to help further engage your baby.
A baby jumper should only be used once your little one has full control of their neck and can hold their head up unassisted. Jumpers can be purchased as a freestanding item with a supporting frame or as an item that needs to be secured to an existing structure like a door frame or hallway ceiling.
One of the biggest benefits to a bouncer or swing is that it frees up your hands — and arms — so that you can accomplish other tasks. While many parents use bouncers as a space to let babies snooze, it’s important to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages this because of the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Most bouncers and swings are rated for use up to 6 months of age or around 25 pounds. But during the earliest months, babies can’t roll over. This is why the AAP recommends “ABC sleeping” — alone (A) on their back (B) in a crib (C) — as the safest option since it leaves the airways unobstructed. In a more upright position, as is common in swings and bouncers, baby’s airway can become blocked.
The safety bottom line
- Never leave your baby unsupervised in a bouncer or swing.
- Always check whether or not your current model is listed under a product recall.
- Be sure to register your bouncer so that you’ll receive product updates and recall notifications if they occur.
With these things in mind, let’s take a look at the best baby bouncers for you.
- $ = under $60
- $$ = $60-$120
- $$$ = over $120
Fisher-Price Woodsy Wonders Deluxe Bouncer
If your focus is on a supportive seat with gentle vibrations, the Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer is a smart choice. The built-in added padding provides cushioning for newborns. While you can rely on baby’s movements, you can also opt for powered vibration and soothing 20-minute melodies to help calm even the fussiest baby. An interactive mobile and a machine-washable removable seat pad round out the core features.
While this bouncer is rated for up to 20 pounds, many parents found that their babies outgrew it by the time they were 2 or 3 months old. And some parents discovered that this wasn’t ideal for active babies who kicked at the frame because it could lead to bruising on their feet and heels.
Baby Bjorn Bouncer Balance Soft
We’re not saying that your toddler will let you strap them into a bouncer when they’re able to run around the house. But if you have your heart set on a bouncer that grows with your child, the Babybjörn Bouncer Balance Soft is designed to accommodate babies from newborns up to the age of 24 months.
With 10 color options, the supportive and ergonomic design helps to safely cradle younger babies. Although it lacks motorized vibration, four adjustable positions help to make baby as comfortable as possible.
The lightweight construction and modest 5-pound weight are ideal for travel. The fold-flat design makes this the perfect item to save for your next addition to the family. And a machine washable cover makes cleaning your bouncer easier than ever.
Bright Starts Playful Pinwheels Bouncer
You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to find a safe and reliable bouncer with vibrations for your little one. The Bright Starts Playful Pinwheels Bouncer is ideal if you’re not sold on expensive bouncers or don’t believe in going overboard on stocking your nursery.
This popular brand offers a bouncer with vibration and a removable interactive play bar to keep baby entertained with colorful characters. In addition to a pinwheel theme, there are colorful rainforest, safari, and flamingo designs to best fit your design aesthetic.
Although this bouncer is rated for up to 25 pounds, many parents noted that it’s not suited for newborns because it lacks sufficient head and neck support. However, the machine-washable seat pad and a wipeable frame make cleaning this bouncer easy.
Tiny Love Nature’s Way Bounce and Sway
Most bouncers aren’t known for doing more than going up and down with your child’s natural movements. The Tiny Love Nature’s Way Bounce and Sway bouncer not only bounces up and down, but also sways from right to left. Additional features like 16 soothing melodies, a white noise option, and two interactive toys on the built-in mobile help to increase the appeal of this bouncer.
However, if you’re looking for a bouncer that features powered vibration, this won’t meet that need. The Tiny Love bouncer is rated for up to 25 pounds.
Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker
The word “adjustable” can be alluring when you’re trying to outfit your nursery. Fisher-Price’s Infant-to-Toddler Rocker is an adjustable bouncer that transitions from a convertible rocker for younger babies to a stationary seat for toddlers. As a rocker, you can seamlessly shift from a mobile rocker to a stable seat that features gentle vibrations to soothe your fussy baby.
An adorable mobile with colorful characters helps to round out the infant features. The Infant-to-Toddler Rocker will support up to 40 pounds.
Graco Bumper Jumper
Baby jumpers are one of the older pieces of baby gear that have maintained their popularity. The Graco Bumper Jumper features a simplified style that’s straightforward and easy to install in a doorway.
Instead of struggling with screwing in hardware, the Graco model features a simple clamp that won’t leave marks on your door frame. The clamp design also means this can easily be repositioned or moved to different rooms so you can always keep an eye on your baby.
The Bumper Jumper is rated for up to 25 pounds and features an adjustable strap to offer the perfect height for your little one. Note that if your door or entry frame doesn’t have crown molding, you’ll need to configure a modification to make this jumper work.
Jolly Jumper with Super Stand
The classic jumper design becomes portable with this freestanding update from Jolly Jumper. The Jolly Jumper features the traditional jumper seat and a fold-flat stand with four legs for added stability. Thanks to the sturdy construction, you can assemble this stand indoors or outside.
This jumper is rated for up to 28 pounds and is designed for babies that are at least 3 months old or able to hold their heads up unassisted. The seat offers full spine support. And the easy assembly makes this a great portable solution.
Ingenuity Cozy Kingdom Portable Swing
If you’re going to hit the road, it can be nerve-wracking to find travel-friendly gear that makes it possible to keep your baby happy and calm. The Ingenuity Cozy Kingdom Portable Swing folds down to save space and to make it easy to take with you for a road trip to grandma’s house. The six quiet swing speeds and multiple melodies, along with the toy bar, will help to keep your baby occupied and soothed.
However, some parents note that of the two reclining positions, the upright option forced the child into an uncomfortable angle where they almost fell out of the seat.
Graco EveryWay Soother with Removable Rocker
Finding the perfect combination to keep your baby happy and quiet can feel like an impossibility. But Graco’s EveryWay Soother Baby Swing with Removable Rocker features eight swing speeds, two directions, and a multi-directional seat that lets baby experience all of that movement in a range of positions. If you don’t feel like using the swing function, the swing converts down to a gentle rocker.
This electric-powered swing ensures that you never run out of power, and three seat positions mean it will grow with your baby. However, some parents have noted that with consistent use, the swing operates loudly.
Bouncers are an ideal part of your baby’s gear that can keep them occupied when you need to accomplish a task or soothe a fussy baby. But when shopping for this essential item, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Always confirm the recommended maximum weight limit for any item you purchase. Most bouncers are designed to accommodate babies from the newborn stage up to around 6 months of age. However, as is shown in our buying guide, some models are designed to grow with your child through toddlerhood.
Especially if you’re thinking of buying a jumper, your baby should have neck control and be able to hold their head up unassisted. But many bouncers also convert into a range of positions. So, before adjusting the position, ensure that your baby will still be safely positioned without the risk of injury or excessive pressure on their neck or head.
Ease of assembly
Bouncers are usually very easy to assemble. But always check the product description or review the website for other parental reviews that outline how easy — or difficult — it is to assemble an item.
There are a range of reasons why you might prioritize a portable bouncer. You might want to move it around the house, take it with you when you travel, or just store it out of sight when it’s not in use. You’re going to want to look for models that fold flat or come with a cover to keep it clean when not in use.
Extra options like vibrations, music, and even mobiles or toy bars are nice additional features that can turn your bouncer into an invaluable tool to keep your little one occupied and content. Often, these are standard features that most major brands include in their models. So, you don’t have to view these options as a splurge.
It’s not necessary to spend a premium price to get a quality item with the features you need. We’ve highlighted a range of options from budget friendly to median to luxury pricing. But within each range, you should be able to find a bouncer that offers a safe place to keep your baby along with value added features like vibrations, sounds, and mobiles or toy bars.
If you’re buying a new bouncer or are putting it on your baby registry, you can rest assured that it meets safety regulations as set forth by the CPSC. But if you’re buying or receiving a second-hand model, always check that it’s not listed on any safety recall product lists and always inspect the product for signs of damage or wear that might impact its safety.
Even if you have plans to be the most hands-on parent that ever existed, the time is going to come when you need to put your baby down to free up your hands. And sometimes, simply putting them on the floor on a playmat isn’t going to cut it.
In other cases, sometimes you just can’t compete with the soothing rhythm or vibration of a bouncer when your baby is fussy. A bouncer can help to keep your little ones safely entertained or calm a fussy baby.