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Virtually every parent has experienced the jello arm associated with the endless rocking of a fussy baby, the pacing back and forth, the jiggling of the crib to keep the baby sleeping. A baby bouncer is the modern parent's version of the old car-seat-on-the-running-dryer technique. The concept is simple: a cloth seat cradles the baby on a flexible, metal frame which gently bounces with the baby's movement. Depending on the kind of money a new parent is willing to spend, or how desperate they are, a baby bouncer may have a variety of bells and whistles designed to soothe and/or stimulate.
A typical baby bouncer comes with a battery operated unit which provides a gentle vibration to give the baby a constant motion. Many bouncers come with vibrating units with one to three settings. Along with the vibration, a baby bouncer may play soothing sounds, such as lullabies, nature sounds and heartbeats.
While some babies succumb immediately to the vibration and the soothing sounds and sleep in their baby bouncer, others prefer to enjoy the stimulating features that many baby bouncers provide. Many have toy bars that attach to the front of the seat or hang suspended over the top. Others have remote controls and protective sun canopies for the outdoors.
The baby bouncer is becoming more and more multi-functional. There are models which fold up easily and compactly for travel. Some convert from stationary mode to a rocker, and eventually to a toddler seat when the baby figures out that he doesn't have to stay seated if he doesn't want to.
Your baby will eventually outgrow the baby bouncer — usually by 29 lbs (13 kg) or when he can sit up well by himself. Baby bouncers range from about 20 US dollars (USD) to 100 USD, depending on the brand and features. There are a variety of colors and patterns available, and some manufacturers sell complete lines of baby gear in coordinating or matching prints. Enjoy the magic of the baby bouncer while you can — at some point, the endless vibration and "soothing" sounds will be lost on your baby and you'll have to find some other way to distract him long enough to take a shower.
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