When you become pregnant, advice givers will pop out of the woodworks with suggestions on "must-have" items to make your life easier, make baby happier, etc. Of all the recommendations I received โ€” and being among the last of my friends to have a baby I received many โ€” nothing lived up to its expectations like the bouncer seat.

How I Found Out About the Bouncer Seat

Mom friends with newborns through moms caring for nine-month-olds sold me on this seat that you can safely strap your baby into. Every time I visited a new mom friend, their little one was perched in the seat, sleeping soundly or safely enjoying the sights and sounds the bouncer seat offers. So it quickly jumped to the top of my "must have items when I have a baby" list.

What's Great About It

Different types of bouncers with varying features exist, but at the very least I suggest one that has a vibrating chair option with an interactive musical mobile. Bouncer seats are easy to assemble and don't take up much room. Did I mention they're portable? In my opinion it's the best feature.

Chores don't go away just because you're a mom, and your tasks certainly aren't limited to one room. My son (and two years later my daughter) contently sat in their bouncer seat in whichever room I happened to be working. With a baby in a sling, cooking isn't safe and dusting or vacuuming gets tricky. But I could easily accomplish all three tasks with my kids in the room hanging out in the bouncer seat.

What It Compares To

The bouncer seat is a similar concept to baby swings, jumpers, and walkers. The concepts are simple but brilliant: keep baby safe, confined, and entertained. But the portability is why our bouncer seat got much more usage than the stationary swing that remained in the corner of the family room. Additionally, babies can't use jumpers and walkers until they're older and have more control of their body movements.

Who It's Best For

Honestly, any mom could benefit from using the bouncer seat. While I raved about its ability to keep baby safe and allow you to accomplish everyday tasks, it's also a great outlet for interaction between you and your little one. A favorite photo from my son's first days is one where he and I looked at each other while I smiled and talked to him as he sat in the bouncer seat. It allows your baby to follow your every move while sitting up slightly elevated.

What They Don't Tell You in the Manual

Sadly, I knew it was time to retire the seat when my kids grew and became more active. Follow the weight guidelines in the manual, but pay attention to your own baby. My son outgrew the seat a few months earlier than his sister did because he was bigger and more active. When a 25-pound baby begins kicking his feet enthusiastically, the bouncer seat can definitely bounce! Once your baby is eager to move, it's time to retire the seat.

Many bouncer seat options exist now with more bells and whistles than ever. All of them work great for babies one to two months old, who will be soothed by the vibrating seat and soothing music. As your baby gets older and begins noticing surroundings, pay attention to what he or she finds interesting. My son loved lights and movement, so the attachable mobile suited him perfectly. My daughter was more interested in watching my every move; thus, being able to remove the mobile so she could see me was a great feature for her.

Bottom Line Recommendation โ€” and Where to Get Yours

How much did our family love the bouncer seat? It survived three children (my son, daughter, and their cousin) and was still in great condition when we retired it for good. Battery shelf life is amazing, since I don't recall changing batteries too often.

When you're building your baby shower wish list, put the bouncer seat at the top. You can purchase them at most stores that carry baby items or online at Amazon. Out of the many baby accessories received, it was this mom's favorite.