If you are a first-time parent, you will probably fill your house with every known gadget and tool you think you will need for your baby. But experienced parents know that because babies can be fickle, you barely end up using most of the gear you buy. Cribs are a no-brainer, but as a parent you might wonder, "do I need a bouncer and a swing for my baby?" Can you get by with just one? Are both necessary? Can you make do without either of them?
It turns out, the reason parents end up needing swings or bouncers is to provide convenience. Jessica Zablan, baby gear expert and owner of The Birth & Baby Company, tells Romper that she always recommends at least one or a combination to her clients. "You need a safe place to put baby down while you run to the bathroom," she says. "Or maybe you need to shower and baby isn't ready for a nap — you can place them next to the shower and enjoy your shower while still seeing your baby."
Zablan says that swings and bouncers are great because they provide babies with movement, which they love. But she also notes that you should use them in moderation, especially if you are concerned that your baby will get too used to the movement.
If you're choosing between a swing and a bouncer, Zablan recommends that you assess your lifestyle, budget, and home. For a parent who works from home, for example, she would suggest getting both — one for the office and one for the living room — so you don't have to tote one around the house while your baby is crying. Zablan also suggests that the combination swings and bouncers, like Graco's Glider Elite Swing or the 4Mom Mammaroo, are great because they don't take up extra space and still provide the benefits of both. "In the end, it really depends on your family's lifestyle," she says.
There are safety precautions to remember when deciding whether or not you need a swing or bouncer. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Healthy Children website recommended always moving your child to a crib or bed with a flat, firm surface as soon as they fall asleep in a swing, car seat, or bouncer to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Consumer Reports suggested that parents stop using a bouncer once their baby can sit up, because heavier babies can cause the bouncer to tip over.
Before deciding if you need a bouncer, a swing, or both, take time to analyze why and how you want to use them, and then take all the safety guidelines into consideration. Remember that your baby will likely let you know what they need, but at the end of the day, all you need is love. (And you know, a safe place to keep them while you wash your hair.)