Monday, January 19, 2009

Baby Products and Registries: Swings, Bouncers and Exersaucers

Here we are with another installment!  If you missed them, here are the posts on:


On today's agenda?   Those great products that give your wee ones a safe place to play or sleep while you catch a shower, a snack, or just your breath.  None of these are really essential, though all are nice to have in their own way.

Swings, Bouncers, and Exersaucers

Surprisingly, there are quite a few options when it comes to swings.  The main two types are full sized and travel sized.

Full sized swings often have the option of swinging the baby side-to-side as well as front-to-back.  This is a nice option for when you have a particularly fussy child who has definite preferences from day one. 

These also tend to have more bells and whistles.  Reclining seats, toy trays, spinning mobiles, and more than one or two speeds. 

Older style swings operate on a hand crank, and they can be noisy and frustrating to use.  (This really is only an option if you get a really old one).  Most others are operated on battery power, though some have battery power AND an AC adapter, which is golden, especially if your little one refuses to sleep elsewhere in the early weeks and you want to avoid middle of the night battery changes.  (You have enough to do in changing your child).  

Travel sized swings can be folded up and stored very easily, making them the ideal solution in tight spaces.  They're also easy to transport, which makes for nice visits to places where your little one may not have a place to sit. 

These also generally have music and attached toys, though they're often more limited than a full sized swing. 


Bouncers are small chair like seats with a harness that sometimes vibrate or bounce.  They are highly portable and many, many parents swear by their usefulness in allowing them to shower while keeping the baby close by. 

Some bouncers have toy bars suspended above the seat.  Some of these play music or light up.  More often than not, these can be removed. 

Some bouncers are battery operated and vibrate while others rely or a baby's natural motion to bounce. 


These are round activity centers with a rotating seat in the middle for the baby to sit in.  They are generally rated from aged 4 months and up, though some doctors don't recommend that babies use them until 6 months old or until their head control is extremely established. 

Some exersaucers come loaded with toys and musical components in every available space.  Others, (generally older models), are relatively bare which allows versitility with which toys you chose to put on there.  A nice feature of having attached toys is that you're not going to be constantly fetching fallen toys from the floor. However, the same toys over and over can get boring for a baby.  The best models have detachable toys with open spaces for snacks or additional toys to be rotated in. 

These are generally large and don't collapse easily for storage or travel.  (For an Exersaucer alternative, check out my review on the Pop-A-Tot)

Pros and Cons

Very few kids like all three of these, nor do you remotely need all three to have options when you need them.  So which one is right for you and your baby?  Unfortunately, what your little one will like is really not determinable until they make their arrival.  My suggestion is to initially borrow these, find out what your kid likes, and then get one thing to start.  But, even with that, each of these have their own pros and cons.  You can use these from birth onward.

Swing Pros
Most babies love swings.  I've heard of very few who fuss while in a swing, particularly when they're very small.  The rapid sway motion is similar to the motion they experience in the womb.  Swings also allow your baby to be slightly upright, which many babies prefer, especially when young.   You can have two options of direction of the swing, which adds more versatility to finding what your baby will love.  Swings are often soothing enough to get a baby to sleep, which can save the sanity of a sleepless mom or dad. 

Swing Cons
The big ones are bulky and take up a considerable amount of room.  The small ones sometimes don't generate enough oomph to soothe a particularly fussy child.  They can be rather expensive.  If you kid is dependant on the swing, you might have a hard time getting them to sleep elsewhere.  If your swing is battery operated, you can potentially spend a FORTUNE on batteries. 

Bouncer Pros
They are small enough to take almost anywhere.  It's easy to go from room to room, which is nice if your little one has fallen asleep and you need to move.  They can be very inexpensive, (though some extremely expensive options are out there as well).  They can vibrate, which is sometimes enough to conk out the most fussy child.  They also respond to your baby's movement which can be soothing all on its own.  You can use these from your baby's birth onward. 

Bouncer Cons
Some kids really hate the bouncer seat.  Some kids love it.  It's one of those pieces of baby gear that you'll never really know if your kid likes until you try it.  Some don't fold up completely, which makes for awkward storage.  The more sleek options without to plethora of plastic are often ridiculously expensive.  They can be dangerous if left on a table or counter in the vicinity of another kid.  (Best advice, use on the floor only)

Exersaucer Pros
These are great entertainment for an older baby.  They allow for a baby to take in their surroundings from a new perspective, which is often enough to entertain a baby alone.  They are sturdy and tip proof.  They last far longer into babyhood than a swing or a bouncer.  When your baby gets to the age that they're crawling and getting into everything, this is a safe place for them to play while you cook or do what you need to do. 

Exersaucer Cons
These are HUGE.  They are giant, plastic beasts and can't be stored easily.  They can't be used until a later age than a bouncer seat or a swing can be used.  They can be expensive and sometimes overwhelming. 

Swings, Bouncers, and Exersaucers are all great places for your baby to safely play or rest while you need to get something done.  As with anything, these shouldn't replace you interacting and holding your child.  But in moderation, one or a couple of these can be a lifesaver to a tired parent in need of a break, a shower, or a sandwich.  :)

After I give a rundown of most things you can get in preparation for your munchkin's arrival, (or even after your kiddo gets here), I'm going to give my list of the best of the best in each category.  This will be based on personal use, friend recommendations, and reviews.  Stick around!  

For now, definitely let me know what you think of any of the above and if you have a favorite, post it here!


  1. We got a bouncer with a sun shade. Looked great in the store, was AWFUL when it came to getting the kid in and out. I can't tell you how many times I knocked his little head against that stupid sun shade.

    Lesson learned: Check the reviews BEFORE you buy the bouncer!

  2. Thats for all the great info! I had a Jumperoo for my boys when they were babies and i loved that thing. It helped them to build there muscles in their legs all while allowing them to do what all baby's love JUMP and Bounce!

  3. Awesome and uber helpful as always!! Wondering what you think of buying any of these items used @ a consignment shop?? :)

  4. Haha... we know that shade Amy. It can be annoying. But annoying is okay when it's free :) Thanks for letting us "borrow" it!

    We've used a bouncer for both kids. And we sure did use it! We borrowed a swing once for Luke, and it was nice for the time we used it, but not as much a necessity as the bouncer.

    No exersaucer... no room.

  5. My son hated his bouncer, but loved his swing, so much I bought a second one for upstairs. After he out grew the swing he loved the excersaucer. (But not enough for us to buy a second one.)

  6. Wait, I don't need all 3? Why didn't someone tell me that 4 years ago!? Bekah is not a fan of either the swing or bouncer yet, but Ashleigh loved them both, but we didn't get them until she was 6 weeks old, so she was a bit older than Bekah. As for the exersaucer, Ash was so far ahead with her gross motor skills that by the time she was big enough for it she was bored with it because she wanted to be crawling around not stationary. For that reason I found my stair gates to be lifesavers! I'll be excited to see what products you liked best!

  7. Somewhat unrelated, but what is the baby shower etiquette when you are on baby number 3 and 4? I would feel selfish having a baby shower when I have closets and a garage full of stuff, but people have already mentioned a shower to us and asking what we are going to register for. My first response is "nothing!" But they don't accept that. The think we have to have a shower. What does Looneyville think?

  8. We got a saucer from a consignment store and it disassembled into a push-walker when Reese was bigger. Since she started walking at 9 months she didn't spend much time in it except during dinner time she loved to play by the table. But being able to pop out the little push walker was nice. She liked her Graco full sized swing but wasn't really into her bouncer. We had a stationary Popazon looking one she liked or she really liked one we got that converted to a rocking chair. She still sits in the rocking chair.

  9. We have a swing - both boys LOVED it (well, #2, still does, lol) #1 was SUPER colicky and that swing was the only way we'd get any sleep!

    #1 HATED the bouncy seat (I got one on CL for $5) I was going to sell it but #2 likes it...some days, lol

    We bought a jumperoo and both boys LOVE/D it! They go NUTSO in it!! and it's entertaining to watch, lol

  10. If people want to throw a shower, that's great. Most people will bring smaller presents (and lots of diapers) to a second shower, no matter what you put on your registry.


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