A baby bouncer was a 'must have' on my list when I was pregnant. It's hard to find anyone with a bad word to say about them - my Mum even tells the tale of how I used to bounce across the room with delight in mine such was my enthusiasm for it! They are a great place to safely place baby, they give babies who are too young to sit unaided an upright view on the world and they let your little one kick their heels to exercise.
When I came to look on-line, bouncer design had clearly moved on from the 1970's. Upgrades include toy bars, padding to support necks, vibrating mechanisms, flashing lights, music.... Like many developments, I wasn't too sure that they were necessary. I just wanted a safe seat where my baby could exercise. This proved harder to find than I expected so I was thrilled to find the Bright Starts bouncer and ordered one.
The bouncer is delivered flat packed. The instructions for assembly were clear although manoevering some of the metal rods was slightly tricky. It is possible to take the seat apart again if you wish to travel with it or re-sell it. The seat on this bouncer is essentially a hammock. This has a lovely print on it of shapes (circle, square) and animals (frog, elephant) in a colour way of yellow, green and blue on a white background. Baby is secured in the seat by being clipped in to a truss like harness.
When little Loz arrived at 8lb 11oz, he was no light weight. I was quite excited about trying the bouncer to allow him to experience a different view of the world and give my arms a rest. However, although this product claims to be suitable from birth, he was clearly too small for it. He was slipping down the seat in the harness and his head was flopping to one side. I showed this to my health visitor and she recommended that I wait until he had some neck strength before using this. I put it away and tried again at about 5 or 6 weeks with better results.
The main problem with this bouncer is that it is very upright. Little Loz has tried other seats at my parents and at playgroup and they are more horizontal than this one. An associated problem is the lack of neck support - I can't imagine that any baby would be happy or comfortable in this from birth as the head is too floppy. The harness doesn't help matters. It is basic, lacking any padding, so, combined with the sharp angle of the seat, it cuts in to little Loz to the extent that I have taken him out after an extended and active bouncing session, and found the imprint of his nappy on his skin. The seat itself is a hammock that clips over the frame and this design means that, depending on which way it is clipped at the back, it will always pull to one side at the front - or at least I haven't figured out a way to stop it doing that! This exacerbates the problem with baby's head leaning to one side.
In terms of extra features - toy bars etc. - that feature on other bouncers but not this one, from trying other seats, I have found that little Loz loves the vibrate function! Never mind - as my parent's bouncer has this function, it can be a special treat for Grandma's! His face lights up when it comes on and I think it would have been useful to have at home when he was very young and cranky as it's comforting. Some extra neck support could also make this item genuinely suitable from birth. Little Loz hasn't missed having a toy bar or integrated music as he has other toys and sources of tunes.
Wow! I've pointed out lot's of negatives, but I actually do like this bouncer and I am not disappointed with it. Little Loz certainly gets a lot of use out of it and he looks very sweet sitting kicking his heels and gurgling. At a modest £14.99 (Tesco Direct) this bouncer isn't going to break the bank for new parents. It's a bargain basement price for a more than adequate product, so I give it a Dooyoo rating of four stars.