Baby bouncers are notorious for their short usable life, due to most manufacturers' instructions to discontinue use once baby can sit up unassisted. The BabyBjorn Bouncer Balance Soft (Est. $200) , an upgrade of the former fan favorite BabyBjorn Babysitter Balance Bouncer, is the exception to the rule. It can accommodate bigger babies and then become a toddler lounger. Powered by baby's own movement, the bouncer has three positions -- sleep, rest and play. It folds flat (down to 10 inches) for travel and can be easily moved from room to room, parents say. However, some reviewers find that their baby prefers bouncers with a battery-powered vibration feature and/or entertaining distractions. Other parents dislike shelling out extra for the toy bar (Est. $50) after paying for the already expensive seat.
If your baby prefers a more traditional bouncer, the Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer (Est. $65) is one of the most popular options with parent and expert reviewers. 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 mesmerizing 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 an inoperable vibration mode.
Like the BabyBjorn, the 4 moms mamaRoo (Est. $250) 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. A hybrid bouncer and baby swing, the mamaRoo features an egg-shaped seat that bounces and sways in five motions. Parents like the seat's versatility, and also appreciate the ability to plug in an MP3 player for customized lullabies, but some reviewers complain that the mamaRoo simply doesn't move fast enough to soothe fussy babies. It also doesn't take batteries and is reportedly bulky, which makes it difficult for travel.