Like so many other parents, we hopped on the BabyBjorn bouncer bandwagon as soon as we found out we were expecting. At more than $200, it was one of the most expensive items on our registry, but we’d heard such good things from other parents and, to be honest, just liked how it looked.
As far as baby gear goes, the Swedish brand BabyBjörn is somewhat iconic. Established in 1961, the company is known for its sleek, minimalist designs. I’d first seen the bouncer in action at a friend’s house. Her 1-year-old was vigorously rocking himself in it and seemed to be having a blast. I was impressed. They also had a small apartment like ours, and said they liked that the bouncer took up a small footprint.
Did we need it? Definitely not. There are tons of decent baby bouncers out there, some of which are under $30. But it had a few qualities that appealed to us. Below, I’m sharing my experience with the BabyBjorn bouncer and answering common questions about it—including whether it’s worth the high price tag.
Baby Bjorn Bouncer Review
What is the BabyBjörn bouncer?
For all the hype, BabyBjörn’s bouncer is a really simple product: it’s basically just fabric stretched onto a frame, with a front strap/seat to secure the baby in. You can undo the strap on either side, or, if the baby is small enough, just slide them in and out. An important distinction between this bouncer and a baby swing or rocker is that the BabyBjörn is not battery or electrically powered. In other words, it does not move at all unless you (or your baby) rock it yourselves. This means it doesn’t have that magical soothing ability that some parents rave about with self-rocking swings, but it is a lot smaller and more portable.
The BabyBjörn site describes the bouncer as having an “ergonomic design that provides the optimal support for your baby’s back, neck and head.” While I couldn’t ask our infant if she agreed with this statement at the time, I can say she looked comfortable in it. You can also adjust it to three different positions as your baby grows.
There are three different versions to choose from, but they’re all pretty similar, varying only in frame color and the material of the fabric seat, which comes in cotton, jersey, a cotton-jersey blend, and mesh (polyester). Some seats are quilted, some are monochrome, and some have a two-tone design.
What is so good about the BabyBjörn bouncer?
There’s no denying that a big selling point for BabyBjörn products is their aesthetic appeal. With its streamlined look and soft, muted colors, the bouncer doesn’t scream “kid’s product” and can blend unobtrusively into your living room. It also comes in a variety of colors, from pale pink and blue, to more modern/gender-neutral tones like beige, gray and sage.
It’s also very lightweight (just 4.6 lbs), making it great for travel or even just moving from room-to-room throughout your home. For instance, I’d set our baby up in it near the kitchen, so she could watch while I cooked. Then, I’d move it back to her room when I was done. Finally, it folds up easily, so you can throw it in a car or the bottom of your stroller, or store it in a closet when not in use.
How long can you use the BabyBjörn bouncer?
While it says you can use it “from birth to approx. two years” this is a tad misleading. The details specify that babies need to be a minimum of 8 lbs (many newborns are smaller for a few weeks) and that the max size for using it as a bouncer is 20 lbs, which many babies reach before age one. However, when your child can walk and sit down unaided, you can convert the bouncer into a seat, which has a weight limit of 29 lbs.
The reality is that once babies can crawl, which happens for many between 6-10 months, they may not want to sit for very long anywhere because they’re so amped to explore the world. Even before then, they may prefer being on the floor (on a play mat), where they can move more freely. Plus, tummy time is good for babies’ development. And by the time they can walk, it’s a whole other story. So you may find that there’s a fairly short window of time in which you use any bouncer, though that will depend on your baby’s temperament.
Is BabyBjörn bouncer safe for newborns?
Fortunately, the BabyBjörn bouncer is safe for newborns as long as you’re using it as instructed, and that is not as guaranteed as you might think. In the recent past, numerous baby swings and seats have been recalled due to safety concerns, mainly because people were letting infants sleep in them when that’s not how they are meant to be used. Newborns are especially vulnerable when in loungers and self-rocking upright swings—they’re not safe for sleep, yet they’re made to be comfy and soothing (hence babies easily fall asleep in them). And they can easily fall out of seats or cushions if they’re not securely strapped in.
Is BabyBjörn mesh or cotton better?
The fabric choice comes down to personal preference more than anything else. Generally speaking, natural fibers (aka cotton) are nice for children, because they’re breathable and soft. We had a cotton one ourselves. However, some people prefer mesh, and say it dries more quickly after being washed. We didn’t have to wash ours much, but apparently some people find that their babies love going #2 while in the bouncer (maybe it makes them relaxed? LOL), in which case they had to frequently wash and dry the seat, making dry time a greater concern.
Is the BabyBjörn bouncer washable?
Regardless of which fabric you choose, they’re all removable and can be thrown in the washing machine. However, the company does not recommend putting them in the dryer. You should air dry them, instead.
Is the BabyBjörn bouncer worth it?
Yes…and no. It really depends on your priorities. If you value aesthetics and have the resources to splurge a bit, getting a bouncer you like to look at could be worth it to you. You will look at it an awful lot, after all. And if you plan to move the bouncer around a lot, either within or outside your house, that’s a valid reason to get it as well. It is very easy to throw in and out of the trunk of your car.
Here was the catch, for us. For at least a month, our baby only ever wanted to be held, so she spent a lot of time in our arms, and would whimper pretty soon after being set down anywhere, including the bouncer. Eventually, she warmed to it, but it took a while. In the meantime, I went against my own desires and obtained a free self-rocking baby swing from someone through a parent Facebook group. It was ugly and bulky, but I was desperate for a break. (Un)fortunately, our baby loved it: when she was upset, we would set the swing to “high” and she would calm down almost instantly.
However, there came another catch. While she would quickly fall asleep in the swing, it would stress me out because I knew that it was not technically safe for sleep. So, I would watch her like a hawk (thus defeating the purpose of “giving us a break”), or quickly relocate her to her bassinet.
When she got a little older, she did like the BabyBjörn bouncer, and it became one of about five “stations” she would cycle through in our home throughout the day. I especially liked setting her up in it while I did short workout videos on YouTube (RIP the days when that was possible—by toddlerhood that’s not the case).
All in all, the BabyBjörn is not a must-have, in my opinion. For instance, we used a much less expensive infant seat when staying at a relative’s house, and it was fine. Our baby also liked being on a play mat quite a bit. And if she was really upset, nothing helped her calm down more than being held, going for a walk outside, or rocking in the dreaded swing. But, it is everything it claims to be: attractive, lightweight, and durable. I just recently gave ours to an expecting couple, and it looked basically the same as the day we got it.
Shop BabyBjorn Bouncers
weight: 4.6 lbs
available in cotton/jersey, cotton, mesh, and woven/jersey
For an optimal ergonomic design, natural rocking ability, and ultimate convenience this is your go-to!
weight: 4.6 lbs
available in jersey and quilted cotton
weight: 4.6 lbs
available in cotton, cotton classic quilt, cotton pillow quilt, 3D jersey, and mesh
This bouncer has the same shape, design, and features as the Bouncer Balance Soft, but with different fabric and color options.
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