Are baby bouncers harmful - fact or fiction?

Are baby bouncers harmful - fact or fiction?

If you are pregnant or new parent researching for the best baby gear, you can hardly avoid the search term "baby bouncer" as it is a must have product on all the baby lists. However, you may find it confusing choosing the right baby bouncer for you as there are so many different options surrounding this much needed baby item.  The market is flooded with various designs, different functions, ergonomic advice and opposing advice on how long to keep your baby in a bouncer so it’s no wonder you might be confused.

You maybe looking to buy a baby bouncer that is safe, cosy and ergonomic to place your little one in when you can't have them in your arms and need to get on with practical everyday tasks like taking a shower or loading the dishwasher. But how do you choose the best bouncer for your baby when there is such a vast amount of choice in the market?

As one of the leading manufactures of ergonomic baby products, Ergobaby would like to answer the most common myths surrounding baby bouncers to ease your mind and make your shopping experience a little simpler.

It is important to remember that in the first year of life, a baby develops more rapidly than that of any other point of their life. This means that every baby product, just like Ergobaby ergonomic baby carriers, must adapt to this process and grow with baby from day one.

The 5 most common myths about baby bouncers

Myth #1: A baby bouncer leads to incorrect posture for the child!

This depends primarily on the design and construction of the baby bouncer. The length of time your child stays in the bouncer for and the range of other supporting features for your little one and the interaction with the parents also play a role.

However, the most important requirements for a baby bouncer include developmentally appropriate ergonomics that grow with your child and a high standard of safety and comfort.

What does this mean for the child?

A newborn baby’s back is not made for lying on a flat surface because of its slightly rounded spine but is more suited to being carried. Therefore, an ergonomic baby bouncer should support this natural posture: The pelvis goes into a physiological upright position, i.e. the iliac crests straighten up, the coccyx comes forward and an excessive curvature of the lumbar and cervical spine weakens - the thoracic spine comes out of its excessive rounding.

Regarding the legs, as with baby carrying, we have a squat-splay posture, which naturally influences the spinal posture. For newborns it is also important that the pelvis is stable and that your baby cannot tilt to the side (on the lying surface). Both trunk hyperextension and slumping should be avoided. The heels of the feet should also not have to be constantly supported but should be in the air due to the position of the legs. This is made possible by an ergonomic newborn insert and a correspondingly well-supporting, ergonomic lying surface in the actual bouncer. The insert can then be removed later when the older baby becomes more agile and needs more space for movement and interaction.

In addition, it is necessary that the angle of inclination of the lying surface is adjustable according to the age and development of the child. Thus, an ergonomic baby rocker has an appropriate lying position for newborns, a more upright position for older babies and a sitting position for playing and eating, even for toddlers. And one thing is clear: as always, it's the mix that counts! The older the baby gets, the more additional time it needs on the floor to develop motor skills and also to gain new experiences in the prone position every day.

Myth #2: A baby bouncer cannot be used from birth, but only from about 3 months!

If a baby bouncer does not have an ergonomic newborn insert, this statement is true.

Directly after birth, in the first months of life, a baby bouncer with an ergonomic newborn insert is worth its weight in gold. After all, you would like to go to the toilet, take a shower or relax and eat your dinner hands free, whilst at the same time keep your new born baby safe and cosy in an bouncer that is ergonomic keeping baby in a comfortable M position. 

As you may have already experienced, a new born baby tends to wriggle around on a straight surface and tends to want to be close to you. A baby bouncer is a useful helper in everyday life. If you purchase a lightweight bouncer that folds flat, you can take it anywhere around the home and take it with you when seeing friends and family. Your little one will also have a familiar place to be amused when away from your home environment.

Myth #3: A baby bouncer can hinder breathing!

Our midwife and babywearing expert Katrin Ritter has often heard statements like, “Newborn babies cannot hold themselves up yet and slump their tiny bodies into a bouncer, isn’t that dangerous?”

In the first three months your baby can only turn their head to the side up to an angle of 45 degrees. The disadvantage of many baby bouncers is that they offer too little space for your baby's protruding occiput.

The result: Your little one presses their chin onto their chest, which at the same time leads to a tilted position of the head and makes turning impossible. In the worst case, even breathing can be restricted.

A well-designed baby bouncer will focus on this area and allow your baby’s head enough room to turn. This is achieved by a recess in the newborn insert and less tension in the fabric of the lying surface. Combined with proper support for the spine, pelvis and legs, you won't have to worry about breathing.

Myth #4: A baby bouncer overstimulates and prevents physical closeness!

A good baby bouncer should always be designed to encourage the baby's self-regulation. Too many external stimuli can quickly lead to overstimulation and have exactly the opposite effect. Therefore, in this case, less is more. By dispensing with electronics and offering a rocking function your baby can control by its own movement, the baby learns to calm itself.

There is no greater feeling than to carry your baby in your arms, or carry them in a baby carrier or cuddling together on the sofa. What could be better than skin-to-skin contact between baby and parent/caregiver?

A baby bouncer is intended as a temporary everyday helper, not as a permanent solution. If you just want to have your hands free, you can of course use a baby carrier. However, the older your baby gets, the more they will enjoy watching you and the world from a distance.

Myth #5: A baby bouncer is dangerous and not back-friendly!

As parents, safety and ergonomics should not be compromised for a product that is used daily for your baby. A bouncer with a wide base and accessible foot pedal to adjust the bouncer’s reclining positions are a good option. This allows quick and easy reclining adjustments for the bouncer without you having to bend over, thus protecting your back. Always choose a bouncer that has a safety harness that has easy to use safety buckles so you can reach your baby quickly if needed.

Please always read the safety instructions when setting up your baby bouncer. Baby bouncers should only be used on flat surfaces at floor level. If you are using a toy bar on your bouncer, never use this as a handle to carry the bouncer from room to room. The bouncer should be placed within a room that is freely accessible from all sides. Make sure that the bouncer cannot fold up accidentally by reading carefully how to fold the product. Ideally, this should be prevented by a double safety mechanism. It is also important that you can always keep a close eye on your baby whilst sat in the bouncer and that you can react to their needs.

The Ergobaby 3-in-1 Evolve Bouncer - designed to support your little one from day one.

Did you know that the Ergobaby 3-in-1 Evolve Bouncer was developed together with a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon and is currently the only baby bouncer to carry the Aktion Gesunder Rücken (AGR) seal of approval (campaign for healthier backs)

The ergonomic and safe design of the new ergobaby baby bouncer, can be used from birth (2.5 kg) to toddler age (13.2 kg) as a cosy newborn lounger, to a relaxing infant bouncer, to a functional toddler chair. 

For some hands free parenting help The Stork Nest carries a variety of baby bouncers to suit your individual family needs - shop the baby bouncer range here!

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