Bouncy chairs, swings… they may all seem the same, but they are not. The type of chair that will better fit your needs will depend on your baby, but also on your lifestyle, and on other other complements you may already have. Different types of chairs have significant price differences.
Before you keep reading, let me tell you something: you won’t regret buying one of these (or borrowing one from a friend), they’re a great investment. I’m not sure how we decided that we needed a bouncy chair, but I’m glad we did.
Our daughter used her bouncy chair every single day during the first 7 months or her life.
These are many types of bouncers and swings out there. Below I will compare the four that I think are the most popular ones. They have similar purposes but slightly different features, let’s see it in more detail.
Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer($58.93)
- Bouncing: Easy to bounce the chair, and your baby, with just your feet while reading, typing, or watching TV.
- Vibration: The chair vibrates simulating a car movement. The first time we tried it we thought it was a bit weird, but our daughter just loved it. She’d be sleeping and would wake up if the vibration stopped. If we needed to go to the bathroom, we had to make sure the vibration was reseted first 🙂
- Music: A couple of tunes and nature sounds to choose from to soothe and calm your baby.
- Stimulation: Simple but ideal for early stimulation (not bright colors, in some models b/n) mobile.
- Easy to clean: Removable covers, machine washable.
Not so good: One downside is that if you use it a lot, batteries die pretty fast. I remember having to change them every 4 or 5 days.
BabyBjorn Baby Balancer ($159.96)
- Bouncing: Same as the one above, easy to bounce the chair, and your baby, with just your feet.
- No batteries needed!
- Lightweight, easy to transport: Compared to the other bouncers and swings, this is very lightweight so you can easily put it in your trunk and take with you if needed.
- Easy to clean. Removable covers, machine washable.
Not so good: Depending on the age of your baby e.g. if they still can’t hold their head, the inclination may be to steep, so not so comfortable.
Fisher-Price Cradle ‘N Swing ($97.96)
- Seat recline: Multiple positions that you can adjust (recline or upright; left-facing, center, or right-facing), which determines the swinging motion (side-to-side cradle or head-to-toe swing).
- Multiple swinging motion speeds: From low to high so you can find the perfect motion to help soothe baby. It senses the baby’s weight (so speeds won’t slow as baby grows).
- Music: 16 different tunes!
- Stimulation: Mirrored globe for self-discovery, and playful owl friends that encourage eye-tracking.
- Easy to clean. Removable covers, machine washable.
Not so good: This swing is not small and definitely takes up a lot more space than the bouncy chairs mentioned above. As well as the Fisher-Price bouncy chair, this swing needs batteries. I can’t speak for how long they last, but I expect something similar to the chair, so 4-5 days if you use it a lot.
4moms, mamaRoo, Baby Swing ($219.99)
- Bouncing and cradling: Bounces up and down and from side to side, just like parents do when comforting their babies. 5 different motions.
- Seat recline: Adjust to any position, up to full recline.
- Music: Choose from built-in sounds, or play your own songs (mp3 plug-in).
- Stimulation: Mobile for eye-tracking and early stimulation (color and black and white).
- Electric power: No batteries needed.
- Easy to clean. Removable covers, machine washable. The material keeps most of the liquid on the surface, easy to wipe out.
- Smart control: Control music and motion from compatible smart devices (bluetooth enabled).
Not so good: Like the previous one, it takes a bit more space than the bouncy chairs. It’s also a bit heavier and requires power so not so good to move around.
What type of bouncer / swing should I get for my baby?
Here’re a few things to consider:
- How much space do you have? If not much, go for the bouncy chairs, the swings take up a lot more space.
- How old is your baby? If they can’t hold their head yet, wait to get the BabyBjorn.
- Are you planning on traveling or spending a lot of time in more than one place and potentially take it with you? If so, choose one of the lightweight options.
- Do you have a bassinet? We never got a bassinet and used the bouncy chair as a substitute during the day. If you do, you may want to get a swing instead (or nothing at all).
- Are you a technology passionate? Then you may get a lot of value in being able to control the swing from your smart device(s). In my opinion, and I consider ourselves very passionate about technology, not worth the money.
- Do you cradle your baby in your arms? Is your baby used to being cradled in your arms? If you do, you may prefer one of the swings, which simulate the parents movements when holding babies in their arms. In our case, that is something we weren’t really interested in. My mother in law gave us what I consider the best piece of advice ever when our daughter was born: “You can do whatever you want: you can hold her in your arms, cradle her, sing, etc. but… bear in mind that whatever you do now, you’re going to have to keep doing it for at least a year”. And that’s how we never learned to make our baby fall asleep in our arms.
Do I need a bouncy chair and a swing?
My short answer is no. My longer answer is when I started researching about bouncy chairs and swings, I read quite a few reviews of parents who got both and said their kids enjoyed them equally. If you ask me, we were never in need of a swing, the bouncy chair was more than enough. When our daughter outgrew the bouncy chair, she was autonomous enough for not really needing the swing. We did get her a Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo which she was never really into and we ended up donating to her daycare.
If you can afford buying one of this, I’d say price would most likely not be the one thing to help you choose which one. However, it’s good to know that these bouncers are in quite different price ranges:
- Fisher-Price bouncy chair: $60-$70.
- BabyBjorn balancer: starting at $150 (you’re paying a bit for the brand on this one…).
- Fisher-Price swing: $120-$200.
- mamaRoo: starting at $200.
For the Fisher-Price ones, add the cost of the batteries.
I hope this information is helpful for you. I tried to put together in an article all of the useful things that I ran into. If you’re not convinced to buy a bouncy chair, I’d say give it a try. Maybe borrow one from a friend and see for yourself? We’ve recommended ours to at least 3 families and all of them were delighted with it!