Newborns don’t do much with their days besides eating and sleeping, which means they’re pretty sedentary most of the time. Since you can’t hold them all day long or plop them down on just any chair or surface, you need to have some sort of infant seat on hand, whether it’s a lounger, a rocker, or a bouncer. There are a lot of options out there, but here are some of the best.
Know Before You Buy
Before picking out a seat for your new baby, you’ll want to keep some important things in mind, especially the safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), since the baby will almost definitely fall asleep in any of the products below. And while you can certainly own a lounger, rocker, bouncer, and swing, you also don’t need all of them, and you may find that one suits your baby more than the others. Buying for a baby can be tricky: your little one might hate what a lot of parents rave about. Keep in mind that you may have to try different things.
Most importantly, always keep safe sleep practices in mind. To prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the AAP recommends parents follow a strict safe sleeping policy. At the end of the day, you choose how to parent your child, but when using any of the below products, it’s always a good idea to remember these recommendations. The AAP recommends that a safe sleep environment is one where baby always sleeps on their back (not their stomach or side), on a firm sleep surface with no loose bedding, and does not use pillows, blankets, or anything soft and plush.
If you read the warnings for these products, you will notice that they all warn against leaving a baby in any of these seats unsupervised. None of the below products meet the safe sleep recommendations from the AAP, which means that while they’re okay to use for supervised lounging or playing, they are not intended to be a place for baby to sleep on their own for naps or overnight sleeping or co-sleeping. It’s just something to think about before purchasing or using.
Best Inexpensive Lounger: Boppy Original Newborn Lounger
The Boppy Newborn Lounger comes at a great price point and is a comfortable, convenient place for your baby to hang out. It looks like a large pillow with a recessed interior that gives your baby a comfortable and more secure spot to lay on. It’s recommended for use up to about 16 pounds, or whenever baby can roll over on their own, so you’ll likely get a few months out of it. And even if you don’t, the reasonable price point makes that less of a sting.
Plus, the Boppy is convenient: it’s small and light enough to carry all around the house or out of the house with ease. Washing it couldn’t be more simple, as the entire lounger can go in the washing machine. As for safety, it doesn’t have the high, cushioned sides that many other loungers have, which is safer for baby.
Boppy Newborn Lounger, Elephant Love Gray
The Boppy Newborn Lounger is a comfortable spot for your baby to hang out on that can easily be moved all over your home.
Best Splurge Lounger: DockATot Deluxe+ Dock
You’ve likely seen the trendy DockATot lounger on your Instagram feed at some point. The cozy lounger is very popular, and many parents swear by it as the only spot where their baby feels comfortable. The raised sides that snuggle baby in is supposed to mimic the way baby felt cocooned in the womb and is meant to be comforting and relaxing for baby. The raised sides also ensure baby can’t as easily roll out of the lounger, like the Boppy (although it’s worth noting that, again, they do not meet AAP safe sleep recommendations).
The DockATot is also easy to carry around and move all over your home, and add-on accessories include a transport bag so it can safely come with you anywhere you go. It comes in a few different colors and patterns and is recommended for use up until about eight months old, or when baby no longer fits. The buckle at the bottom can be closed for smaller babies and open to allow more room for a larger, older baby. While the top cover can be removed and thrown in the washing machine (or swapped out for a new one), it has to be pointed out that both putting the cover back on and washing the actual cushion can be annoying.
DockATot Deluxe+ Dock - The All in One Portable & Lightweight Baby Lounger - Suitable from 0-8 Months (Pristine White)
The DockATot has raised sides that are meant to mimic how baby felt in the womb, and many parents swear by it.
Best Organic Lounger: SnuggleMe Organic Infant Lounger
The SnuggleMe Organic Lounger is very similar to the DockATot in both appearance and function. The slightly raised sides and soft, plush cushion are meant to “snuggle” your baby to comfort and calm them. One difference that many users note is that removing and replacing the cover of the SnuggleMe Organic is much easier.
The other difference is that the SnuggleMe Organic is made of natural materials with super sensitive skin in mind. These are ethically made in the United States with organic, non-toxic, hypoallergenic fabrics. If being eco-friendly is a concern, you’ll like this lounger.
Snuggle Me Organic | Baby Lounger & Infant Floor Seat | Newborn Essentials | Organic Linen, Fiberfill | Rosewood
The SnuggleMe is meant to snuggle baby in and comfort them, and is made of non-toxic, ethically sourced fabrics.
Best Bouncer: Nuna Leaf Grow Baby Seat
For some parents, a stationary lounger is enough to keep your baby happy and calm. But many find that baby needs a seat that also moves a bit, which is something babies typically love. That’s where something like the Nuna Leaf Grow Baby Seat comes in. This highly-rated baby seat is a gentle bouncer/rocker that moves softly to lull baby to sleep. It features a motor-free design that is also completely noise-free, and with just a soft push, it maintains motion for more than two minutes. There are three different recline settings to choose from, or it can be locked into a stationary position.
The nice thing about the Nuna Leaf is that it doesn’t have high, raised sides that could potentially be a danger to your baby. It also comes with a removable toy bar that comes in handy when the baby needs to be distracted. The minimalist, simple design is remarkably chic for a baby item, and at 15 pounds, it’s not so heavy that you can’t easily move it around your home. It can also be used from birth up until 130 pounds, and once the newborn insert is removed, it’s like a very cool chair for your toddler.
Best Rocker: Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker
For something less hi-tech that still gets the job done, there’s the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker, a seat that keeps baby secure, distracted, and happy. This little chair doesn’t offer fancy motion settings, only a light vibration you can turn on that can lull baby into relaxation. There are two inclines to choose from, as well as a fold-out kickstand if you want this just to be a stationary chair instead of a rocker.
The colorful designs on this one may not be minimalist, but they do keep baby entertained and occupied. There’s a removable toy bar with hanging toys to keep baby busy. Once baby is a toddler, you can remove the toy bar and put down the kickstand, and it becomes an adorable chair for them to sit in—the advantage being that this grows with baby for much longer than most other infant seats.
Best Swing: Graco Duetsoothe Swing + Rocker
Unlike a bouncer, rocker, or lounger, a swing like this takes up a lot more space and is generally much heavier. However, many parents swear by swings to relax and calm baby, especially this reasonably priced Graco Duetsoothe Swing + Rocker. When hanging in swing mode, there are different seating positions so that your baby can sway side to side or front to back. There’s also a mobile to keep baby busy.
You can remove the seat part of the swing and set it on the ground to be used as a rocker, making this a great two-in-one product. While moving the entire swing around your home may not be the easiest, you can definitely move just the seat around with ease. The swing can hold babies up to 30 pounds, while the rocker is meant to hold babies up to 18 pounds.
Best Splurge Rocker/Swing/Bouncer: 4Moms MamaRoo
The 4Moms MamaRoo is another wildly trendy baby option that, for most parents, lives up to the hype. This fancy rocker/swing/bouncer looks like a hi-tech egg from the future, and it both swings and rocks baby. There are five unique motions and speeds to choose from, like “in the car,” that can be made stronger or more gentle. There are also four built-in sounds to soothe your baby, which is a nice advantage, and you can adjust the recline of the seat as well.
There’s a set of three soft balls that hang above your baby to keep them distracted. And as they get older, they can grab the balls and remove them from the mobile. The cover is easy to take off and throw in the washing machine, and there’s an infant insert available for purchase, which you’ll need if your newborn is tiny. The downside is that, for the noises and motion to work, it has to be plugged into an outlet, and the cord is not very long. It’s also heavy and awkward to move around. Still, it’s a miracle swing for many parents.
4moms mamaRoo 4 Baby Swing, Bluetooth Baby Rocker with 5 Unique Motions, Smooth, Nylon Fabric, Grey Classic
The 4Moms MamaRoo swings, rocks, bounces, and has different noises and motions to choose from.
Best For On-The-Go Bouncer: Baby Bjorn Bouncer
If you want a bouncer/seat that can be carried easily around your home and also taken out to other places with you, the Baby Bjorn Bouncer is a great option. It’s extremely light at under five pounds, making it easy to move anywhere. It’s an ergonomic seat that gently cushions baby, so they feel comforted and relaxed, and it doesn’t require batteries or an outlet—the bouncing just comes from the baby’s movement.
This bouncer is very straightforward—it’s just a seat that bounces when baby moves, no toys, no noises, and no fancy features. Still, parents and babies everywhere love it for how easy it is and how nicely it cradles your baby. Plus, it’s easy to take apart to wash. This one will hold a baby up to about 21-29 pounds, but can’t be used before they’re 8 pounds.
BabyBjörn Bouncer Balance Soft, Cotton, Black/Dark Gray (005022US)
The Baby Bjorn Bouncer is super light, making it easy to take anywhere, and creates a soft, comfortable seat for baby with a gentle bounce.