Baby bouncers are notorious for having a short lifespan. That's one reason parents love the BabyBjorn Babysitter Balance (*Est. $150) , which can accommodate bigger babies and then turn into a toddler lounger. Powered by a baby's own motion, the bouncer has a sleep, a rest and a play position. It folds flat for travel and can be easily toted from room to room, parents say. However, some say their babies prefer bouncers with a battery-powered vibration feature. Other parents dislike shelling out extra for the toy bar (*Est. $35) after paying for the already pricey seat.
If your baby prefers a more traditional bouncer, the Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer (*Est. $60 ) is one of the most popular options on the market. It features battery-powered vibration and a wide range of lights, sounds, songs and moving animals. Parents particularly like the light-up waterfall, which they say can be transfixing for many babies. While some say all of these distractions may not prove wise for soothing a baby to sleep, parents can operate the components separately or leave off the toy bar completely to promote napping. Some reviewers report quality concerns, including loud clicking noises, broken toys and inoperable vibration.
Like the BabyBjorn, the 4moms mamaRoo (*Est. $240) has only a three-point harness, but, unlike our top pick, it sits low on the baby's body, which parents say makes the seat unsuitable for older, more active infants. The mamaRoo is a hybrid of a bouncer and a swing. The egg-shaped seat bounces and sways in five motions based on how parents soothe their babies. Parents like the seat's versatility, and also appreciate the ability to plug in an mp3 player for customized lullabies, but some reviewers complain the mamaRoo simply doesn't move fast enough to soothe fussy babies. It also does not take batteries and is reported as bulky, which limits its versatility and makes it unsuitable for travel.