If you have a new addition to the family on the way, then getting a baby bouncer and/or baby rocker will probably be high on your list of priorities. In this article, we’ll explain why we think every new mother needs one of each. Then we’ll answer some common questions about how they work and explain how to choose one. Finally, we’ll tell you what we think are the best baby bouncers and baby rockers.
Which baby bouncers and baby rockers are best?
Here is a quick overview of our top ten baby bouncers and baby rockers. Keep reading for a detailed review of each option.
Features and Pros
BabyBjorn Bouncer Bliss
This baby bouncer is powered by the baby’s own weight. It’s superbly responsive, which helps them to learn about motor coordination. There are three recline positions. These are play, rest and sleep. The play option is quite close to the vertical and this, together with the excellent support for the head and neck, makes it a great choice for babies with reflux. The fourth setting is to fold flat for storage or transport. Once your baby has moved on from baby bouncers, this baby bouncer can continue to be used as a toddler seat. This makes its high price tag a bit more reasonable.
Ingenuity, ConvertMe Swing-2-Seat
If you’re living in a small space then this could be the baby rocker for you, at least for the first six months or so. This two-in-one product can either entertain your baby as a vibrating baby rocker or soothe them to sleep as a gentle baby swing. It has a neutral design and decent aesthetics so it won’t be an eyesore if you have to keep it in a living room because you don’t have a nursery in which to store it. In fact, you don’t even have to see it out of use because it folds away so easily it’s a breeze to store it out of sight (or pop it in a car). It’s also nicely quiet, which is particularly appreciated in small spaces.
There’s no denying that this baby rocker is fairly pricey for an item which is only likely to be used for about 6 months. That said, the build quality is good enough that you could reasonably expect to store it for another little one or sell it on after you had finished with it.
Baby bouncers are now going high-tech. This baby bouncer is powered by electricity so neither you nor your baby have to do anything. That’s not particularly unusual these days, but this bouncer takes it a step further and adds Bluetooth so you can control it from your phone.
The seat has a huge range of tilt, which can be useful if you have a baby with reflux. It supports 5 different motions. These are car-ride, kangaroo, tree-swing, rock-a-bye and wave. You can adjust the speed with which they are performed. You can also add four “nature sounds” or use the MP3 plug-in to play the music of your choice.
One nice touch about this baby bouncer is that it has an overhead toy mobile, which includes a crinkler ball, a rattler ball and a mirror ball.
This is definitely a baby rocker rather than a baby bouncer. It has some of the best aesthetics we’ve ever seen, especially if you’re into Scandi and/or minimalism. Functionality is great and what we really love about it is how easy it is to use. There’s a lever at the back of the headrest which changes it between the different positions. When it folds away it really does fold almost flat and it’s very lightweight so it’s easy to carry, store and transport.
Our only issue with this baby rocker is that it’s really expensive for a baby product which only has one function and which will only be used for around six months. That said, it definitely has the quality to be kept for a second baby or sold on to someone else.
Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker
Although this baby bouncer does have some head and neck support, it isn’t enough for newborns. You should only use it when your baby can sit up by themselves. We’re making a point of mentioning this because the box has a picture of what we’d say was a very young baby rather than an infant.
Apart from that, we think this baby rocker will tick all the right boxes for a lot of mothers. To begin with, it’s at a reasonable price, but you still get solid build quality. It is reasonable to expect this baby rocker to last a good two years going from a baby rocker to a rocking toddler seat. We’re happy with the safety as long as you remember to pull down the kick stand, which is very easy. Removing the toy bar is also straightforward although you do need two hands.
There isn’t much in the way of vibration. This is hardly surprising given that the baby bouncer only uses two C batteries, which you need to buy separately. Most of the rocking is powered by your baby’s own movement and it seems to work fine. One point to note, however, is that this baby rocker doesn’t fold for travel (or storage), you have to take it to bits and put it together again.
We keep seeing this advertised as a baby bouncer. If you buy it as a baby bouncer, we think you’ll be very disappointed. As far as we’re concerned, it’s a baby rocker and it’s a very decent one. What makes this baby rocker a little different from all the other ones we’ve seen is that it’s for newborns up to about a year (18Kg). All the other products we’ve seen have been for newborns up to 6-9 months (9Kg) or for newborns or slightly older babies up to toddler stage.
That said, we think the very youngest babies might have a bit of trouble making this baby rocker rock on their own. A parent will have to lend a hand at first. It also has to be said that this isn’t the most user-friendly baby rocker we’ve ever found. The lever to change positions is a bit stiff and the toy bar can be a bit of a pain to navigate when the baby rocker is in the flatter positions. Overall, however, we can live with these issues for the price.
Red Kite Baby Bouncer
If your game-plan is to start with a reclining baby bouncer and then switch to an upright baby bouncer as soon as you can (i.e. when your baby can hold themself upright), then this could be a great buy. It only has one seating position, but there is a toy bar plus music and vibration, which run off batteries rather than the mains. In short, it’s a decent budget buy to keep you going until your baby is ready for an upright baby bouncer.
Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper
Although the Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper is only likely to be used for about 6 months, it’s so useful that the price can be justified even without the fact that you’ll probably be able to sell this on later if you wish. In short, this baby rocker solves the problem of what to do when your baby falls asleep in their baby rocker. It’s fine for them to take a short nap in it, but if they’re having a deep sleep, it’s best for them to be flat. The problem, of course, is that moving them can wake them up and nobody willingly disturbs a sleeping baby.
This rocker napper solves that issue by changing from a rocker to a Moses basket with a simple click. The change really is impressively smooth. It has even more to recommend it as a rocker. The vibrations are light, but sufficient to comfort the baby and sooth any colic and the lightness keeps the baby rocker nicely quiet. The baby rocker can also show lights, play music and hold toys, all of which helps your baby’s development. We particularly like the fact that the toy bar pivots to make it easier to adjust the baby.
There are a few minus points about this baby rocker, although they’re minor ones. First of all, it’s a bit of a pain to assemble although there are online videos to help. It doesn’t fold and it’s a bit of a challenge to remove the covers (although they machine-wash easily enough). Also, a minor gripe, it needs two different kinds of batteries.
Silver Cloud Counting Sheep Bouncer
We have absolutely no idea why this product is marketed as being to help your baby to get to sleep when it is clearly a baby bouncer and hence meant to keep them stimulated. That aside, it’s a solid option for people who want a decent reclining baby bouncer to keep a newborn happy until they are ready for an upright bouncer.
The one real issue we have with this baby bouncer is that it is a bit of a challenge to put together. It’s not exactly difficult, the challenge is to make sure that you’ve fitted in all the pieces correctly, i.e.safely, which sometimes takes a bit of jiggling until you get it exactly right. This makes it a bit frustrating that it doesn’t fold for travel.
That said, overall it offers decent value for money. It is robust enough to use as a main baby bouncer and would certainly be a good choice if you wanted to leave a baby bouncer somewhere you visited frequently, like a relative’s house.
Badabulle Easy Bouncer
In spite of the name, this is a baby rocker rather than a baby bouncer. It’s nicely stable but moves easily on its frame so even younger babies should be able to make it rock on their own (maybe not total newborns). Although it doesn’t exactly fold, the seat goes back so it’s almost flush with the base, which is very convenient for travel and storage.
Basically, there’s nothing spectacular about this baby rocker. It just does a very decent job at a very decent price. It’s perfectly robust enough to be used as a main baby rocker, but it’s affordable enough to be used as a spare or even kept for travelling if your main baby rocker doesn’t fold.
Your questions about baby bouncers and baby rockers answered.
Here is a quick guide to the questions most new mothers have about baby bouncers and baby rockers.
What’s the difference between a baby bouncer, a baby rocker and a baby swing?
Technically, a bouncer is to keep your baby entertained, stimulated and encouraged to move. A rocker or swing is to encourage your baby to sleep. A rocker tends to do this by rocking the baby with their own weight (or a parent’s hand), whereas a swing will tend to be powered by electricity.
In practice, however, marketing and lifestyle changes have made these distinctions a bit blurry. For example, you may see reclining baby bouncers marketed as baby rockers, possibly to reassure people that they are safe for newborns. You’ll also increasingly see products which can perform more than one function, for example a combined bouncer and rocker.
Why do you need bouncers for babies?
They are a convenient way to keep your baby stimulated and happy while you get on with other tasks (or just have some “me time”). They are also a great way to help your little one develop their motor skills.
Why do you need rockers for babies?
They help babies to get to sleep. This may be the single, biggest challenge new parents have to face.
Are bouncers and rockers safe?
Yes, as long as you choose a reputable brand, pick a model which is suitable for your baby’s age and use it appropriately. Here are the key points you need to know.
Always put it on the floor, not on a raised surface, no matter how big and flat it is. If you’re using a doorway baby bouncer, make sure it is securely attached.
Always do up the harness even if you’re just popping them in for a minute.
Never leave your baby unattended. If you need to go somewhere, put them into a sling, carrycot or similar to take them with you.
I’ve seen a second-hand babies bouncer/babies rocker, are they safe?
In principle, yes, and you can get some great bargains this way. You do, however, need to be very careful to check that the item is still in perfect condition (apart from cosmetic damage) and that all the safety features are present and work as they should. Remember, when you buy second hand, it’s entirely at your own risk. Also, if you buy anything pre-loved, it’s highly advisable to give it a very thorough clean before you put your own little one in it.
Are bouncers and rockers safe from birth?
Reclining baby bouncers and baby rockers are safe for newborns because they have head and neck support. Upright baby bouncers are only safe for babies who can support their own head and neck. That’s usually from the age of about four months.
At what age can a baby go in a bouncer?
Babies can go into a reclining baby bouncer or baby rocker from birth as these have head and neck support. They can go in an upright baby bouncer as soon as they can support their own head by themselves. That’s usually from the age of about four months.
How long can a baby stay in a bouncer or rocker?
The NHS recommends that babies spend a maximum of 20 minutes at a time in a bouncer or rocker. This is because they need to be encouraged to sit up and move unaided so they need to spend time on the floor (e.g. in a play-pen). That said, if you are using a reclining baby bouncer and your baby needs a nap (rather than a proper sleep), you might just want to go with the flow.
Can a baby sleep in a bouncer or rocker?
A baby can doze or nap in a reclining baby bouncer or baby rocker. If, however, your baby needs a proper sleep, they should be placed lying flat. If you are using an upright baby bouncer you should remove your baby immediately if they show signs of starting to nod off.
How much do bouncers and rockers cost?
You might be lucky enough to pick up an outgrown one for free alternatively you could pay £200+ for a new one. Realistically, most will be in the £20 to £100 range.
What are the features to check?
Here is a quick guide to what you need to know about choosing a baby bouncer or baby rocker.
Decide what you specifically want
Baby bouncers come in three main categories.
Reclining baby bouncers
Reclining bouncers are very similar to rockers and swings. They have head and neck support so they are safe for newborns. They don’t allow anything like the same range of movement as upright baby bouncers so they’re not as good for helping babies to develop their motor skills. They will, however, hold babies safely in a semi-upright/semi-recumbent position so they can see what’s going on and be entertained and educated by it. They will also save your arms from constant bouncing.
Upright baby bouncers
Upright baby bouncers keep babies in an upright position (provided that they can support their own heads) and enable a wide range of movement. They are therefore the best baby bouncers for developing a baby’s motor skills.
Doorway baby bouncers
Doorway baby bouncers are arguably a variant of upright baby bouncers. As their name suggests you have to hook them onto a door to use them. This means that it’s even more important to choose a safe bouncer and use it correctly. The alternative is risking the bouncer coming off the door, taking your baby with it.
If you have space, it’s often better to have a freestanding bouncer or rocker so you can just pop your baby into it whenever you want instead of having to set it up whenever you want to use it (or leave a doorway blocked). If, however, you live in a small space, or you want a product to use when travelling, then a doorway baby bouncer could be a good option.
Check the frame
The frame is what is going to support your baby’s weight. This means that it needs to be strong. Ideally it should also be wide (for stability) and have your baby positioned at a reasonable height. That means high enough to see what’s going on, low enough for safety.
If you want to travel a lot then it’s best to have a baby bouncer or baby rocker with a folding frame and ideally a fairly light weight.
Check its weight range
When choosing the best baby bouncer or best baby rocker for your baby you need to think partly about their development and partly about their weight. If you have a larger baby, you cannot just “size up” and go for a product which was intended for older babies. You will need to find one which suits both their development point and their weight.
Check there is a three-point harness
This is non-negotiable. The harness is what is going to hold your baby safely in place.
Check if you can remove the covers
This makes the inevitable frequent washing so much easier.
Decide if you want it to be motorized
On the one hand, motorized products can offer extra options for developing your baby’s range of movement. On the other hand, not only are they more expensive, they are also heavier and noisier. If you’ve been in a small room with a home treadmill running, then that’s the sort of idea. If you haven’t then think of having a car engine continually turning over in the room.
Decide if you want toys, lights and/or music
Lights and music may sound appealing but remember that they need to be powered. This means that you either need to keep replacing/recharging batteries or to have your baby bouncer or baby rocker plugged into the mains, which limits where you can use it, especially since you will need to avoid creating a tripping hazard. Remember there’s generally nothing to stop you adding extras separately, for example just by playing music through your usual device.
Check if it can perform other functions
Obviously, your main consideration will be to get the best baby bouncer or baby rocker for your baby. It can, however, be handy if you can get one which can save you a bit or money and/or space by performing other functions as well, for example converting into a stationary chair.
If you are looking for the best baby bouncer or best baby rocker then any of our top ten suggestions could be a good buy. Your choice would depend on your needs, wants and budget. Out of these picks we’d recommend the BabyBjorn as being best for travel, the Fisher Price as being best overall value for money and the Tiny Love as being the best baby bouncer for newborns.