Friday, January 9, 2009

GEAR: BabyBjorn Baby Sitter 1-2-3 (Sammy Bear Pick)

Pros: Seemed very comfortable for SB, has 3 recline positions, foldable for easy storage, portable, no batteries required.
Cons: Teddy bear toy bar is not especially stimulating.

We received the BabyBjorn Baby Sitter 1-2-3 as a gift when SB was about 3 months old. At the time, I didn't think we needed a bouncer, because we already had a swing, but, boy, was I wrong. This bouncy seat turned out to be extremely handy, and it really lives up to its name.

SB seemed very comfortable sitting in the chair, and unlike with the swing, he would sit happily in it for more than 5 minutes without fussing. This was a lifesaver for me. Up until getting this bouncy seat, my hands were barely ever free to do anything (including going to the bathroom) unless SB was napping or someone was around to watch him. With this bouncy seat, I was finally able to eat lunch with two hands. Hooray!

I like the fact that the bouncer adjusts to three recline positions - play, rest, and sleep, although I usually just used the highest position (play). SB never slept in the bouncer, but I can't say that I ever used the sleep position. My parents bought the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium bouncer for SB to use in their house, and that one didn't have adjustable positions. In that bouncer, SB reclined so much that he was unable to reach the toy bar. We had to put a cushion behind his back, which didn't seem very comfortable for him. SB did enjoy the lights and sounds that the toy bar makes on that one.

The toy bar on the BabyBjorn bouncer, on the other hand, didn't quite captivate SB. It has three wooden bears and some wooden balls, all of which can spin. Although they are quite colorful, SB never seemed to take much interest in them besides wanting to chew on them, so I eventually just removed it.

He did seem to enjoy the bouncing motion, which is nice and gentle. The bouncing is simply activated by the baby's movements or by pushing on the sides. No batteries required. The seat restraint uses a toggle button, which made it very easy to put SB in and out of the seat. Another nice feature is its portability (lightweight and folds flat).

I stopped using the seat regularly with SB when he started to crawl, because at that point he no longer had the patience to sit in the seat for more than a few minutes. However, I reintroduced it it to him at 14 months after removing the seat restraint, and he now likes to use it as his "reading time chair." He actually goes to the chair himself and sits in it when I open a book. He thinks it's funny when I bounce the seat for him. The weight limit on the seat is 29 lbs, but the seat is already a bit small for SB at 23 lbs, so I'm not sure how much longer I can use it.

It seems that BabyBjorn just discontinued this model as of this year (2009) and has replaced it with a slightly pricier version called the BabySitter Balance, which apparently has an improved folding mechanism and improved adjustability. It does not come with a toy bar, though you can purchase one separately (for $39.95!). This new version retails for about $170, which is $70 more than the BabySitter 1-2-3. However, some retailers are still selling the BabySitter 1-2-3, so if this model interests you, seek one out!

Retail Price: $99.95 [found it on several sites including Albee Baby (on sale for $87.99), CSN Stores, The Portable Baby, (selling for $109 by Portable Baby even though it's selling for $99 on the actual site-strange), and (selling for $125)]

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