Björn it Up Baby
I’ll admit that I like Baby Björn branding. It’s not just the clever word play, it’s that it also makes me think of Björn Borg and I can’t help but think that a little bit of his retro cool might rub off on me if I buy something from Baby Björn*. It’s his general coolness I’m aspiring to you understand, not his wardrobe at the peak of his fame – I’m not going to start wearing tight white shorts, long socks and terri towelling headbands. Though I don’t doubt there are some very fashionable people that could carry that off. I just don’t have the legs for it. Or the hair.
But I drew the line at the 80 plus euro for a baby chair/baby sitter/bouncing cradle. I remembered the metal frame strung with some slightly flexible material that people used from my youth and it didn’t seem necessary to buy an expensive, branded version. There must be dozens of alternatives I assumed. They’re so simple. Well, actually not.
Simple is the one thing you probably won’t find. Vibration, flashing lights (I’m not kidding about that one, in case you haven’t seen them), rotating toys, music – these are just some of the things that will come with every baby chair you see. While there was that Sex in the City episode where the vibrating chair was the best gift her neighbour could have given Miranda, miraculously ending her babies constant crying, and even though more than one real-life person has told me they swear by the vibrating chair, none of that did much for my own baby and I really didn’t want it or any of the other extras. But buy a solid based (as opposed to material over a frame), Mothercare baby chair with pretty baby fabric, vibration mechanism and music we did — it was the simplest thing we could find. And it was an error.
The problem is not all the unnecessary gadgets. The problem is the hard-framed chair, as opposed to the stretchy ‘hammock’ effect — it doesn’t sit the baby upright. My baby, and those of a lot of people I have spoken to, really, really hate that. Also, it doesn’t hold them particularly securely in place. Sure they have a safety strap, but that didn’t stop my little one at four months throwing himself sideways to hang upside down off the side, although it did stop him from doing so with any impetus so there was no actual harm, except when all the blood rushed to his upside down head, but usually I agreed to let him up before that became a problem.
The beauty of the Baby Bjorn chairs is that the baby sits upright and can see everything that’s going on and their own movement rocks the chair. They sit very securely, sinking in to the lycra material and fitting in snugly. I stayed at a friend’s for a week who had the Baby Bjorn and little Monkey was happy to stay in there for long periods of time. The chair we have at home usually resulted in immediate crying or only deferred the inevitable for ten minutes at a time. I don’t think I have to tell you what a difference it makes having somewhere you can leave a young baby where they will be content for a stretch. It means you can actually leave the room. That’s a big deal.
Having bought our chair already we couldn’t justify buying the Bjorn and we endured the other chair. I’ve spoken to many who’ve experienced the same buyers regret once they realise the standard available chair in baby equipment shops just doesn’t cut it. I’m still convinced there has to be somewhere that sells the basic, non-branded, old-fashioned frame with stretchy material that is exactly the same as the Baby Bjorn. If, however you, like me, just can’t find it, I recommend you splash out on the Baby Björn rather than the hard framed chair with the sound and light show. It’s worth it.
*I’m pretty sure Bjorn Borg doesn’t have any actual association with the product.