Baby Bouncer: The Complete Buying Guide For Parents
We know it can be difficult to put your newborn down when they first come home — cuddling is so much fun! Sometimes, though, you need a safe place to lay your little one when it’s time to take a shower, prepare a bottle, or grab a bite to eat. A baby bouncer is the ideal solution!
In this complete buying guide, we give you all the information you need to choose the best baby bouncer for you and your newborn.
What Is A Baby Bouncer?
At its most basic, a baby bouncer is a lightweight metal frame covered by soft, padded fabric to form a chair that supports your little one’s entire body.
From there, many baby bouncers (a.k.a. bouncy seats, bouncy chairs, and several other names) boast additional features, including:
- Foldable frame for easy travel
- Mesh and other breathable fabrics
Regardless of the features, all baby bouncers work the same way: when your little one moves, kicks, and wiggles, the seat bounces up and down.
Before you dismiss this as too dangerous, rest assured that the bouncer never leaves the ground (and that your baby is strapped into it!).
This small bouncing motion is similar to one you might make when your little one is in your arms and you’re trying to soothe them. That’s the beauty of a baby bouncer: it’s both fun and comforting for your newborn.
At What Age Can Your Baby Use A Bouncer?
The ideal age to use a baby bouncer is anywhere from birth to six months. There are a few caveats to keep in mind when using a baby bouncer with your newborn, though.
Because newborns tend to sleep for most of the day (jealous, anyone?), they should be supervised extra carefully when in a bouncer. Newborns shouldn’t sleep in the bouncer for a long period of time. If they’re snoozing in there during the day, keep a close eye on them.
(Take a look at our baby bouncer safety tips for more on this.)
Finally, babies usually start sitting up around the six-month mark, so using a baby bouncer at this age becomes a safety hazard because it can easily topple over when your little one shows off their newfound skill.
The Difference Between A Baby Bouncer, Jumper, And Swing
Because baby bouncers go by so many different names, new parents often confuse these products with others, like the baby jumper and the baby swing.
Here’s the fundamental difference between a bouncer, jumper, and baby swing.
Baby bouncer: Bounces up and down slightly in response to your baby’s kicks and wiggles. Your baby is in a reclining position.
Baby jumper: Bounces up and down when your baby kicks off the floor. Baby jumpers are usually suspended from a door frame, a self-standing frame, or an “activity center” that sits on the floor. Your little one is in an upright position.
Baby swing: Swings back and forth — usually in response to a small motor — without effort from your little one. Your baby can be in a reclining or upright position.
By far, the simplest of the three is the bouncer, but each option serves its own unique purpose.
Why You Need A Baby Bouncer
As we touched on at the beginning of this article, a baby bouncer provides a safe place to put your baby when you need two hands to get the job done or you can’t take your little one with you.
After a few days at home with a newborn, you’ll find that taking a shower, going to the bathroom by yourself, preparing food, and even just having your hands free is a rare luxury that you didn’t know you’d miss until it was gone.
The bouncer gives you the freedom you need to relax for a few minutes, tidy up your living space, read a book, or just interact with your newborn in a different way and from a different perspective.
But baby bouncers are about more than just giving you two hands to work with again. They’re also fun and relaxing for your little one. The repetitive bouncing motion makes many a baby smile with delight.
It also encourages fine motor control — the kicks and wiggles they need to get the baby bouncer going — and, when they’ve mastered the bouncy movement, it provides a source of entertainment and exercise.
At the same time, the repetitive bouncing motion can also soothe a tired and fussy newborn into a deep, satisfying sleep.
Those two benefits alone — the entertainment and the relaxation — are well worth having a baby bouncer available for your newborn just in case you need it.
We’re confident that both you and your little one will come to love whichever bouncer you choose.
Baby Bouncer Buying Guide
Baby bouncers come with three basic, non-optional features and one optional feature. These features are:
- Frame (non-optional)
- Seat (non-optional)
- Safety (non-optional)
- Entertainment (optional)
We’ll discuss the details of these features in the next few sections so you know what to look for when purchasing a baby bouncer.
Width — A good baby bouncer has a wide base. The larger the footprint the more stable the bouncer will be, and the harder it will be for the whole thing to fall over or turn on its side.
That said, a frame that’s too wide and sticks out too much past the baby seat itself is a tripping hazard for you and others.
Material — Always avoid products with frames made of plastic. Even the hardest plastic will weaken and eventually break with repetitive use.
Instead, choose a baby bouncer with a frame made of metal. A metal frame is much sturdier, safer, and will last much longer than more generic, plastic frames.
Most name-brand manufacturers build their bouncers around a metal frame. But just in case, always put the safety of your baby first over every other consideration.
Bounciness — The frame of the baby bouncer determines how much bounciness it will offer and how much vibration it will absorb.
Every product will have a slightly different bounce to it. Some will be only slightly bouncy and will take a lot of effort to get going.
Others will be extremely bouncy and will take very little effort to get going. Still other products will have bounces in-between those two extremes.
Choose the amount of bounce that is right for you and your little one.
Grip — The base and frame of your baby’s bouncer should be made out of non-slip material so it grips the floor and doesn’t slide around at the slightest bump.
If you have more little ones at home, you know how unaware they can be of their surroundings. Accidents happen, and the bouncer may get bumped a time or two.
When it does, having one made of non-slip material will help keep it in place and keep your baby safe.
Material — When shopping for a baby bouncer, make sure the seat material is soft, comfortable, and breathable.
It’s also helpful to watch out for seams near where your baby sits that can rub and irritate your little one.
Incline — The incline of the baby bouncer has a lot to do with the frame, but the construction of the seat also plays an important role.
In general, newborns tend to be more comfortable in a reclined position (closer to parallel with the floor). Older babies tend to be more comfortable in an upright position.
Some baby bouncers allow you to adjust the position for different levels of recline.
Washability — As well as being soft and comfortable, the seat of your baby bouncer should be easy to clean.
Accidents like leaky diapers and messy burps do happen, after all! Being able to remove the seat material and throw it in the laundry will make maintaining your baby bouncer so much easier.
Restraint Straps — The restraint straps on your baby bouncer — don’t buy a product without them! — should be strong, durable, and comfortable.
Many new parents forget about this last variable and their little one winds up disliking the bouncer because the straps pinch, twist, and are generally uncomfortable.
Weight Limit — Make sure you read the label carefully and determine the weight limit recommended by the manufacturer.
Baby bouncers with higher weight limits will last longer — not because they’re made better, but because you’ll be able to use them longer as your baby grows.
Testing — Before purchasing any product or gear for your baby, check to make sure it meets safety requirements. Most products will have some sort of seal, like for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).
This means that the product has been through strict testing to check for safety and function. There are safety requirements for a reason, so look for the JPMA seal before making your selection on a baby bouncer.
Safety doesn’t stop with baby bouncers. Your little one should be secure all the time, especially when they’re sleeping.
Newton Baby products go through rigorous testing to keep your baby safe while they snooze. Our products have been independently tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to meet Greenguard Gold standards for the lowest chemical emission.
You can rest assured that your baby is sleeping on the safest surface possible!
For most babies, bouncing is entertainment enough, but some brands go even further to offer models with extras that can keep your little one occupied and amused while they’re bouncing.
Toy Bar — Much like adding a mobile to your newborn’s crib, a toy bar provides visual stimulation for your little one.
In some brands, the toy bar is permanently attached, while in other brands, the toy bar is removable. Choose the one that’s right for you.
Lights — Some toy bars include lights to draw and keep your baby’s attention.
These can be entertaining for a while, but make sure you can turn them off when your baby wants to sleep.
Music And Sound — More advanced baby bouncers will also include music and sound either in the toy bar or in the seat itself. The bouncer may play lullabies, familiar kid’s songs, white noise, nature sounds, or all four.
If you choose a model with music and sound, make sure it plays a variety so you can switch it up to keep your baby happy.
Like the lights, it’s also vital that you are able to turn the noise off when your baby wants to sleep.
Baby Bouncer Safety Tips
Always Supervise Your Baby In The Bouncer
We touched on this earlier, but it’s worth repeating. Because babies learn new tricks faster than you can say “toddle,” always keep a close eye on them when they’re in the bouncer.
You never know when your little one will start rolling over and sitting up, which makes the bouncer unsafe.
Don’t Let Your Little One Sleep In A Bouncer For Too Long
Really, it’s best to never let your little one sleep in a bouncer.
But like we mentioned earlier, sleep is all newborns tend to do. It may be impossible to keep them awake the entire time they’re sitting in their bouncer.
The way your newborn’s head and neck are positioned when they’re sleeping in a bouncer is something that you should always pay attention to. The bones in their neck are still developing, so they can’t hold their head up on their own.
Sleeping in a bouncer can lead to blocked airways and make for an uncomfortable — and unsafe — position for your newborn.
And definitely don’t let your baby sleep in the bouncer at night. That’s what we’re here for! We have the perfect mattress that meets all your baby’s sleep needs. Our Crib Mattress is comfy and breathable, so it’s a safer sleep for them and peace of mind for you!
With our mattress, your baby gets the right level of comfort and air support so they won’t have to deal with a sweaty back (a common reason babies wake up in the middle of the night!).
So leave their sleep needs up to us, and leave their playtime up to the bouncer.
Don’t Carry The Bouncer With Your Baby In It
Sometimes you have to move your baby to another room, like when they’re sitting in the bouncer in the living room but you need to move them to the kitchen.
But when you do this, take your baby out of the bouncer first. Carrying your baby in a bouncer is an unsafe move, and one that could lead to your little one getting hurt.
You might accidentally trip over something (hello, Legos!). And before you know it, you’re losing control of the bouncer and your baby is falling. It’s best to keep the bouncer stationary when it’s being used.
Pay Attention To Weight Limits
Weight and size limits are there for a good reason: To keep your baby as safe as possible. Always read the instructions before using any baby gear and pay attention to weight limits.
If your baby exceeds the weight limit for your specific product, it means the bouncer is not able to support them.
At your baby’s routine check-ups, take note of their weight and discard any product they’ve outgrown or search for one with a higher weight limit.
Stop Using The Bouncer Once Your Baby Starts Sitting Up
Sitting up opens new windows of opportunity for you and your little one! They can explore their world in a whole different way, and you can engage with your baby like you never have before.
But once they do start sitting up and exploring, it’s time to put the baby bouncer away. Picture it: they’re sitting in their bouncer and all of a sudden they realize they can sit up and reach over the sides. Eventually, the bouncer will topple over and possibly hurt your little one.
But don’t worry! Now that your baby is sitting up, they can use different baby gear items that are safer for their new mastered milestone!
Always Use Safety Straps
Safety is a huge part of our buying guide mentioned above. But just because there are safety straps doesn’t always mean they’re put to good use.
We’re here to tell you to always use safety straps. Yes, even if you’re sitting right next to your baby. This keeps your baby securely in place should they try to squirm their way out of the bouncer.
Remember, safety first!
Avoid Feeding Your Baby In The Bouncer
Your little one doesn’t have good head control for the first few months of their life, so it’s unsafe to give your baby a bottle while they’re in a bouncer. It could cause them to choke.
And once your baby starts eating solids, it’s best to place them in a seat where they can sit upright to allow their food to correctly digest.
Never Place Your Baby Bouncer On An Elevated Surface
A bouncer should always be placed on the floor and nowhere else. This includes the couch, the counter, and the table. If the seat were to move while your little one was wiggling around, it could tip over in an instant, taking your baby with it!
It’s best to keep the bouncer on the floor, where it can’t fall off of anything.
Keep The Area By The Baby Bouncer Safe
The area around your baby’s bouncer needs to be free and clear of anything that could harm your little one. This means keeping it clear of wires, anything your baby can pull down, or electrical outlets.
Babies are curious, and once their fine motor skills ramp up and they start grasping things, there’s no telling what they’ll get their hands on! It’s never too early to start babyproofing your home.
Choose The Best For Your Newborn
Choosing the right baby bouncer for your newborn is mostly a personal choice — it comes down to the one you like best and think your baby would enjoy the most.
That all changes when it’s time to buy a crib mattress. The best is no longer a personal choice but becomes a matter of safety and comfort.
Newton Baby takes the safe and comfortable principle to heart in everything we do because we want what’s best for your baby. We’ve designed all of our products — including our mattresses, mattress pads, and crib sheets — to be 100 percent breathable.
IIn fact, thanks to our unique Wovenaire® and Breathe-Thru technologies, our breathable mattresses are 90 percent air by volume.
That means if your little one rolls over in the middle of the night, they’ll still be able to breathe. That’s peace of mind you can’t get anywhere else!
And because all Newton Baby mattresses are made of safe, food-grade polymer, they’re also:
- Fully washable
- 100 percent recyclable
- Free of toxic fire retardants
All of this so that your newborn will have the safest, healthiest, and best sleep possible!