Baby bouncers go by many names: baby bouncer, jolly jumper, vibrating chair, rocker chair. It gets quite confusing. The most common type of baby bouncer attaches to the top of a door frame. You can also buy a bouncer with its own, free-standing frame, but these are more commonly referred to as a vibrating chair.
With all types of bouncers, your baby sits inside a padded fabric seat which cradles and supports your baby's body. Doorway bouncers fit your baby like a second diaper. The seat is suspended from elasticized straps which attach to the door frame by a spring-loaded clip. Free-standing bouncers are shaped like a chair, with a sling style seat attached to a heavy-duty wire frame.
Babies shouldn't use a bouncer until they have full control of their heads, usually between three and five months. Babies should stop using the bouncer when they hit the recommended weight maximum, typically 25 pounds.
Doorway bouncers should be positioned so that your baby's feet just touch the floor when sitting in the seat. They should be positioned in the center of the door frame, well away from the sides of the door. If you have a wide opening between two rooms that doesn't have a door, attach your bouncer to that door frame. If you don't have a doorless opening, always wedge open the door when you set up your baby bouncer. You don't want the door accidentally closing on your baby while they bounce away unaware.
Many babies love the sensation of gently bouncing up and down. They stay quite happy bouncing for a good 20 minutes. Other babies are very unsure of the instability of the bouncer and scream to get out. If your baby enjoys the bouncer, it's yet another way you can entertain your baby on days when you need to give your arms a rest.
Doorway bouncers help to strengthen muscles with the constant jumping legs and waving arms, but babies can easily jump out of control if not monitored closely. You should stay close to your baby when using the doorway baby bouncer. You certainly don't want your baby jumping into the door frame and banging their head.
Bouncing or vibrating chairs are very soothing for babies. Many babies find the vibrating seat lulls them off to sleep. Excited babies do well without the vibrating seat turned on because they can swing their arms madly and bounce gently up and down in place.
Whichever baby bouncer you use, make sure the straps adjust to fit snugly around your baby and support their back. You also don't want your baby flying out of the seat in a moment of excitement. Some doorway bouncers have plastic or cushioned rings around your baby's torso, similar to car bumpers, which prevent them from bumping into the door frame or furniture with their body. Always double check to ensure the baby bouncer spring-loaded clip is well fastened to the door frame and that the straps are holding your baby in securely. You want to make sure your baby is safe and secured in the baby bouncer before letting them go wild.