Bouncers vs Rocker vs Swing – Which is Best for Your Baby?

Bouncers vs Rocker vs Swing - Which is Best for Your Baby?

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Being a parent feels like an endless list of responsibilities and decisions that you have to make.

From picking a parenting style to deciding whether you should be purchasing a baby swing, a rocker, or a bouncer and which one will be most appropriate for your baby. I know the decisions are never-ending!

We’ve put together this guide to help you decide which one is going to be best for you and your baby. We have covered all the pros and cons to ensure that you have all the information you need to make the best choice straight from the get-go.

What Are The Differences Between Swing vs Rocker vs Bouncer?

All three of these pieces are very similar and offer parents the option for a little time hands-free while their little one is being entertained or soothed. But there are some significant differences between them. A swing is a partially reclined seat that is usually on a metal tripod frame and is moved mechanically. Baby is usually moved in either a rocking, swinging, or bouncing motion. 

A rocker is basically a smaller version of an adult rocking chair. It comes with two slightly curved rails that allow the chair to gently rock back and forth. They are usually manually operated but some newer models are mechanically driven.

A bouncer is a reclined seat on a wireframe. The frame allows for the seat to be gentle bounced manually but again there are now some bouncers that come with a vibration setting. They are suitable from birth until around six months of age.

What Is A Baby Swing?

A baby swing is exactly as the name suggests, a padded chair that’s suspended on a strong frame.

It produces a motion that’s supposed to mimic the rocking motion of the womb and can be used from birth until your baby is around 6-9 months, depending on what the maximum weight limit is.

You can also purchase swings for older babies that can be used inside and outside. It’s important that you stick to the weight limits and age groups of each manufacturer.

Pediatricians also recommend that you stop using these swings once your baby is able to sit up unaided or climb out.

It’s also not recommended that you allow your baby to nap in a baby swing as the upright position can potentially contribute to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

baby on a baby swing

How To Choose the Best Baby Swing

Type of motion

There are two types. The traditional baby swings rock head to toe while some of the newer models also offer circular motion, up and down, and side to side.

These ones that offer a variety of movements are the best for soothing babies as there’s a good chance that you’ll find something that soothes your baby. 

Harness

In general, most baby swings come with a 3-point harness system as a minimum requirement.

But the vast majority of the newer models have also increased their safety features by providing a 5 point safety harness which includes over the shoulder straps as well as the waist-system.

How they are powered

A baby swing needs some sort of power input in order to provide the swinging motion. They’re either powered by batteries or mains electricity.

Which one you choose will depend on how you are going to use it. If you want one that you can easily move around, a battery-operated one will offer you that flexibility.

The only down point is that the battery life may be quite short and having to replace batteries can become quite expensive.

Different types

Baby swings are available from basic models to combination models that have combined 2 types of chairs in one such as a bouncer and a rocker or a swing and a bouncer.

Pros

  • They’re very sturdy and not prone to falling over.
  • They typically come with a range of settings, so there’s bound to be at least one that your baby likes.
  • Is multi-functional in that it not only soothes your baby but can also stimulate and entertain.
  • Can be used from birth.
  • Allows for hands-free time for parents.

Cons

  • They do require a power source whether that be battery or electric.
  • All baby swings have a motor and this can often make a noise that will disturb your baby. (check this out before making a purchase).

 

Fisher-Price Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle ‘N Swing

Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy Dreams Cradle 'n Swing

This swing comes with a dual motion swing function, allowing for both head to toe swinging as well as side to side. You can choose between six different swing speeds and two recline positions.

It also comes with 16 different songs and sounds. The cover is fully machine washable and also comes with a mobile that offers both visual and audibly stimulation.

And if this cute puppy design isn’t hit the spot, you could go for the grayscale monkey or the bunny design. The swing is suitable for newborn up to a maximum weight of 25 pounds.

Pros

  • Dual motion swing functionality
  • Machine washable cover
  • good variety of design available
  • Fabulous customer service
  • There is the option to plug it in to save the batteries.

Cons

  • Comes with a large price tag
  • Quite difficult to set up
  • The motor makes a lot of noise.
Buy on Amazon

 

What Is A Baby Rocker?

These are basically a baby’s version of an adult rocking chair. The seat comes with two slightly curved rails at the bottom that allow you to rock the chair back and forth. 

A baby rocker can be used from birth but they tend to only be able to be used until your baby is around 6 months old.

But this will depend on the weight and stage of development of your baby. Rockers are usually more compact, easy to transport and most are very affordable.

baby in a baby rocker

How to choose the best baby rocker

Frame construction

This is one of the key aspects that you need to consider before purchasing a rocker. The best ones will be those that have a sturdy metal frame that will allow you to continue using your rocker right up to its usable life.

If it’s well looked after, it also offers you the option of using it with a subsequent baby or even passing it on to friends or family.

Base size

You would be best to consider a rocker with a wide base, as this will eliminate any risk of it tipping over.

Safety features

As more and more houses have either wooden floors or tiles, it’s important to check that your rocker comes with non-slip pads. These will prevent the rocker from sliding around on these types of floors.

Seat comfort

You’ll be looking for a seat that is padded enough that it offers your baby adequate levels of comfort but not too padded that you then have issues with your baby sinking into the seat too much or becoming overheated.

You should also ensure that the material of the seat is soft and gentle on your baby’s delicate skin.

Toy bars

Most of the basic rockers do not offer anything more than the rocking motion as entertainment.

But if you’re happy to pay a little more for your rocker then you’ll have the option of having a toy bar, lights, vibrating seats, and even musical sounds to help stimulate and entertain your little one.

Pros

  • Offers multi-functional aspects to soothe and also entertain and stimulate.
  • They are typically smaller and more compact than other options
  • Can be used from birth
  • They are thought to help develop both motor and sensory skills
  • They don’t typically require a power source

Cons

  • They do tend to be small and your baby will grow out of them quite quickly.

Fisher-Price Infant to Toddler Rocker

Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker

This fab little rocker comes with two recline positions and can also be placed in a stationary seating by using the kickstand. It comes with a toy bar that provides both visual and audio entertainment and is also completely removable.

For those fussy babies, there’s also a vibration option. The Fisher-Price rocker is available in five different design options giving parents plenty of choices.

It’s suitable for newborns and has a maximum weight of 40 pounds. This is a great product that should last your little one for a good while without any need to purchase a bigger model.

Pros

  • Machine washable 
  • Comes in various designs to pick from
  • Amazing customer service
  • Interactive elements
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Very short battery life of around 20 hours
  • Some issues with the stability of the legs
  • Many reviews state that they feel it would be better suited to toddlers rather than infants.
Buy on Amazon

 

What Is A Baby Bouncer?

As with the other products that we have reviewed, a bouncer is designed to be used with a baby that can not sit unaided.

This means that they can only be used until your baby is between 6 and 9 months and you should cease use once they can sit unaided.

If you want to get your money’s worth out of your bouncer, you could purchase one that grows with your child and once they have reached the age of being able to sit unaided it can then be used as a toddler chair.

Most bouncers have a very basic concept behind them. They’re a seat on a wireframe that allows it to bounce up and down.

In the beginning, you’ll need to gently rock the seat for them but as they grow many babies will learn to do it themselves with their own body weight.

Bouncers can be used for your baby to relax in and for parents to get some hands free time to get things done.

But it’s not recommended that you allow baby’s to sleep in bouncers due to the angle of the seat as it can potentially contribute to SIDS.

Most bouncers also come with some sort of toy bar that can provide both stimulation and entertainment for your little one while you get on and get the things done that we parents have to do.

baby on a baby bouncer

How to choose the best baby bouncer

Weight limits

Baby bouncers help to teach cause and effect by using their arms and legs to get the seat to bounce up and down.

While this is great fun to watch, you should ensure that your baby or toddler is within the maximum weight limits of the bouncer. This will help to prevent the possibility of the bouncer toppling over.

High-quality materials

Your little ones are going to love spending time in their bouncer and as children generally love to bounce around, your bouncer is going to take some heavy wear and tear.

So to ensure that your bouncer is fit for purpose and the material used does not cause any adverse reactions, you should check the material and is high quality and soft against their delicate skin.

Washable

As a parent, this is a huge selling point for me. Babies and toddlers are renowned for being messy little creatures so it’s paramount that the covers of your bouncer are easily removed and machine washable.

Not all bouncers have this feature so it’s best to double-check before purchasing.

Portability

If you plan to move your bouncer around your home or to take it with you to relatives or friend’s homes then you need to make sure that it’s easy to fold down and does not require a total rebuild every time you need to take it with you or move it.

The bouncers that fold flat are also a great space-saving option if you’re pressed for space in your home. 

Pros

  • Doubles as a great baby exerciser
  • Usually lightweight and easy to transport
  • Designed to promote healthy spine growth
  • Suitable from birth
  • Can soothe and lull baby while also offering to stimulate and entertain

Cons

  • They come with a wide base, and although this is designed for stability it can cause issues moving around in small rooms.

BabyBjorn Bouncer Balance Soft

BabyBjörn Bouncer Bliss, Quilted Cotton, Anthracite (006021US)

This bouncer is suitable for infants who weigh 7.7 lbs to 28 pounds. It comes in three stylish different designs and 10 different color options ranging from sky blue to mustard yellow.

You can also pick the material that it is made from, the options are cotton, mesh, or a combination of the two.

It comes with three adjustable height positions and even has a transport mode which makes it super portable. It’s nice and easy to use and clean.

Pros

  • Machine washable
  • Comes in a range of different designs and colors
  • Durable
  • Simple streamlined design
  • Comes with a transport mode for easy carrying and storage.

Cons

  • It comes with a big price tag
  • Poor customer service
  • No interactive elements
  • There is a large warning tag right on the front of the bouncer.
Buy on Amazon

 

FAQs

Are baby swings safe for newborns?

The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommends moving your baby from the swing to a safe sleeping place if they do fall asleep in their swing.

How long can a baby use a swing?

According to the AAP, sitting in an upright position for long periods can make it hard for babies to breathe well and that can lead to an increased risk of SIDS.

Are baby bouncers bad for babies?

Many parents use bouncers as a space to let their little ones take a nap but pediatricians and medical experts discourage this. This is because the angled position can potentially contribute to sudden infant death syndrome or SIDs.

At what age can you put a baby in a bouncer?

They can be used by newborns for short periods of time but babies will tend to enjoy their time in a bouncer most at three to six months old.

Are baby rockers safe for newborns?

They are considered safe for babies for short periods of time, who are awake and being monitored.

The Final Thought

So which piece is the best? Honestly, I have had all three for my children depending on the age and stage of development of the baby.

It also comes down to personal preference. Some babies may love a bouncer but absolutely hate a swing. Unfortunately, you won’t know this until you have purchased the item and tried it.

One way to get around this issue is to purchase one of the multi-functional products that give you the most opportunities for your baby to at least enjoy one of its functions.

One thing you need to remember is that babies grow very quickly and that unfortunately these swings, rockers, and bouncers do not last that long.

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