When it comes to plumping for a bouncy chair for your baby, is high-tech or traditional the best way forward? We invite new Mum Johanna to guest write for us.
As first-time mother of a ten week old boy, I spend a great deal of my time without a clue as to what I should be doing to keep him entertained. How much should he be sleeping, playing or doing tummy time. Am I talking to him enough and is it okay to leave him to his own devices on his play mat so I can have a wee or actually drink a cup of tea while it’s hot?
In the struggle to ensure he isn’t spending his whole life just lying on his back, whilst also saving mine (holding a stone of baby for prolonged periods of time can literally be a pain), I started to look into different accessories that would give my aching arms a rest while keeping him happy.
The humble playmat is a godsend, but he definitely starts to get bored if he’s left there for too long, plus it can lead to a flat head, so investing in a baby chair seemed like a good way forward.
There are a huge array of different models on the market from basic wire-frame classics to more high tech vibrating seats. I was offered the opportunity to review two models from Tinylove, which fall at either end of the spectrum: the Take-Along Bouncer and the 3-in-1 Rocker Napper.
Our boy’s been using the bouncer since he was about three weeks old and he seems very comfy in it. Sitting at the foot of the table as we eat breakfast, or in the bathroom door as I hastily shower. It also has the unexpected bonus of putting him in the perfect position to keep things moving internally. Not to put too fine a point on it, our son isn’t the most regular of babies, but if we pop him in the chair whenever he starts straining, it automatically helps the process along. Good job it’s made of wipe-clean canvas!
The bouncer comes ready assembled, and folds down into a handy carry bag. Super simple to set up. It only takes a couple of quick clicks to lock into place or take down and is lightweight, if a little bigger than it looks in the picture on the website.
That said, it can easily be slung over the shoulder or into the footwell of a car and we’ve taken it away with us on several occasions.
Easy to set up and take down, packs away into a handy carry bag, and is made of wipe-clean fabric. With both of the chairs, the buckles used to clip the baby in can be a bit fiddly and get caught on the fabric of the crotch support.
No complaints – seems pretty comfy although there is a tendency for the baby to slump down after a while of being in the seat so perhaps not perfect posture wise.
It’s not the cheapest chair on the market but it does what it sets out to do well, is robust and the fact it’s portable means you’re likely to get more use out of it.
Nice eighties vibe, it looks like something from star trek!
The Rocker Napper
The Rocker Napper is a very different animal. Its box was twice the size of the bouncer’s when it arrived, which was a little daunting.Thankfully, the finished article isn’t enormous. It came in about ten separate parts and getting it set up was quite a performance. The instruction booklet is mammoth and it requires batteries, a screwdriver and a fair amount of patience to get it together. I took one look at it and handed it over to my sister who was visiting when it arrived. She is a diy expert and no stranger to the black arts of furniture assembly, but even she felt rattled by the picture-only instructions and the large number of pieces.
It stood in bits in the corner for a week and took three bites of the cherry to get it together. (I’ve since seen there is a five minute video on the Tinylove website, which shows how to do it. It still looks a bit intimidating if you ask me). So my advice to anyone thinking of buying one would be to either buy it well in advance of your due date. Oh and get it made ready for the new arrival or don’t do it till your baby hits the magic three month mark and your brain is slightly less addled.
Once constructed it has three settings – an upright stationary position, the same but with the capacity for rocking, and a fully reclined position for napping. It also has a mobile arm, which can swing across the seat, with two hanging toys – a sun and a snail – a couple of flashing lights, and it plays a selection of tinny tunes. Finally, a button in the side makes it gently vibrate. I wasn’t sure about the vibration, worrying it would rattle a baby’s tiny brain, but it’s actually very gentle and he seems to quite like it.
While the Rocker-Napper has more bells and whistles, he seems more restless when in it, which negates the napper option, and it does take up more room. As the host of baby paraphernalia mounts up, space is at somewhat of a premium in our flat so if I were to pick one for our purposes. I’d plump for the Take-along Bouncer – it’s portable, good value for money and allows our boy to watch the world go by, all in wipe-clean comfort.
Taking up the same amount of space as a moses basket, it’s bigger than the bouncer, but obviously it has the advantage of a fully reclining to allow babies to sleep around the house. It switches between positions very easily. The biggest drawback is how daunting it is to assemble. Not for the faint of heart.
The padding is thick enough to make it a luxurious seat if a little thin for sleeping. It’s fine for short naps but our boy got fairly fidgety in it.
At £99 RRP it’s twice the price of the Take Along Bouncer, but it has more than twice the bells and whistles – lights, music and hanging soft toys, as well as the versatility to act as a seat or a portable bed, plus it vibrates.
The seat itself is pretty plush – thick cushions, available in a range of colours to suit your nursery palate, however the accessories on the mobile arm are little cheaper looking than the price tag may suggest.
The TinyLove Take Along Bouncer is available from £35.
The TinyLove Rocker Napper is available from Amazon for £79.99
For more information on TinyLove, please visit their website tinylove.com
Milk Drunk Diary is an editorial blogzine based in the UK. We buy, borrow and receive products to test and review. Our opinions are always honest and our own.