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Our 2 month old loves to be held while we bounce on our exercise ball. It is a great technique for soothing him, but our backs are tired and sore! What are some alternative bouncing contraptions, mechanisms or techniques we could try?

We have found that all baby "bouncers" on the market don't bounce with enough force, so the typical contraptions are out. (Don't worry, we are supporting his head and bouncing genty enough for him not to be hurt. Baby bouncers just don't do the same thing! Our babe also likes to be held while bouncing.)

Rocking, taking him for a walk or drive, etc do not work for us. I'm looking for other ways to bounce. Thanks!

Update: My babe is only reliably calmed by a smooth, rhythmic and steady bouncing that so far we can only provide by using the exercise ball. Walking, wraps, slings, car, jiggling, etc do not work (unfortunately). He has strongly preferred this method for 6 out of his 8 weeks of life.

I'm specifically looking for ways to simulate this type of bouncing. It's nice and cheap but it's hard on our backs!

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What about alternative methods of soothing, like a pacifier (worked for our daughter, son hated them) or music (either singing or recorded) or background noise (the famous SHHHH of the 5 S's) or even being swaddled? Any of those help at all? He certainly sounds like a particular little man. :) –  Valkyrie Sep 23 '13 at 11:29
    
Are you using the bouncing just for calming during fussy episodes, for soothing to sleep, or both? –  justkt Sep 26 '13 at 16:38
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4 Answers

I have two kids, 4yo and 7 months. For me you should not worry at all. Today your baby likes bouncing this way, tomorrow it will be another way, and the day after tomorrow the baby won't like bouncing anymore. Just don't worry, don't buy things, it will not solve anything.

However, if I had to give an advice, I would say to not let your baby "decide" which bouncing he or she likes. Just do what is convenient for you, you're nobody's slave after all.

This path might require bearing some crying for a while, and even signs of anger on the face of the little lovely thing: if you comply and do what your baby is "furiously requesting", the anger goes away for a day, and comes back harder and harder. I have heard some grown-ups still can't control their anger (expecially when driving a car), which is sad.

If you ostentively refuse to comply to your kid's every desires, anger might temporarily turn into rage (I had one nice rage face yesterday from the cutest little girl), but if you still hold tight --all within parental love, needless to say--, the anger and rage might progressively dilute, for the benefit of everyone.

The only drawback I am aware for this method is that you might reduce from a few pc the probability for your kid to become a Big Crasy Shouting Everyone-is-fired Boss later. This is actually ok with me, but may be a matter of taste.

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Have you tried wearing him while you do your usual activities? A Moby or other wrap will have him snuggled close and bouncing to whatever activity you're doing, while letting you do something besides just sit 'n' bounce.

You could also just do the small jiggle, as we call it. Not a bounce, but a very small, fast jiggle while you hold him. (Still works with my 30-mth-old and 5-yr-old, btw.) It simulates the movement in the womb (especially that last trimester, when they're big as a house), but you can do it anywhere and not just on a bouncy ball. (Check out The Happiest Baby on the Block for more info about the 5 S's of soothing.)

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Not exactly what you ask for, but you could try substitute to the bouncing. For instance, white background noise, tv, or even a vacuum cleaner can work wonders (that last one always surprised me, but my daughter would fall asleep every time... even though it was very loud!). Unlikely as you say car rides dont work (and those usually do as there's a combination of white noise and movement), but just in case...

Alternatively, well, train your muscles and instead of bouncing on a ball just shake/rock your arms. Tiresome, but kids like it. That sort of motion was relatively easy and I could sustain that for a while. Quite fortunately as our oldest would only fall asleep this way for almost a year, and it would sometimes take 3 hours to put him to sleep. So... you better get used to it for a while!


Geeky not-so-serious alternative: a variant of ITAPPMONROBOT?

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First of all, what soothes your baby will likely change over the next few months. My girls used to love this mechanical swing thing, and then they hated it and needed to be held, and now they are way into their rainforest bouncer.

Which brings me to an answer to your question. Do an amazon search for bouncer and you'll see a number of little seats for you baby that do just that... they bounce 'em. All it takes is a tiny nudge with your foot. You can bounce them while you eat or whatever.

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