Your little prince is lying contentedly on his playmat, gurgling away and smiling happily. He loves being able to see what you are doing as you get on with your day-to-day activities, but it’s difficult for him to see everything when he is horizontal. It may be time to think about when to put the baby in a jumper.
What Is A Baby Jumper?
A baby jumper is a very clever addition to any household that has a baby. It was actually invented in Canada by a grandmother in the early 1900s. Olivia Poole created a swing with a steel spring in it, which she had a blacksmith make for her. She patented the device in 1957, calling it a Jolly Jumper. It soon gained popularity, and was even dubbed ‘The Canadian Nanny’.
I am sure that many harassed moms today give thanks to Olivia Poole, even if they don’t know her name. When you have so much to do, but the baby just wants your attention all the time, it can be a lifesaver.
A jumper is a device consisting of a baby seat that is attached to a frame with elastic straps. It has holes for the baby’s legs to dangle and is designed for babies to exercise and play in it, keeping them amused and busy.
Many jumpers have extra attachments like trays and toys so that the baby can be stimulated while sitting in his jumper. The jumper is also designed to encourage the baby to keep moving his legs so that it prepares him for crawling and eventually walking.
There are two different types of jumpers. Both have a padded seat with straps to secure your little one in safely, but one is attached to a frame that stands on the floor, while the other is designed to hang from a door frame.
Which Type Of Jumper Is Better?
Baby is happily bouncing up and down in the door frame, chuckling at his own antics. He loves being able to see everything that is going on around him and enjoys the feeling of freedom that the jumper gives him. Many people love door frame jumpers, and their babies spend many happy hours in them.
I am not a fan of the door frame jumper, for a few reasons. The main problem with this type of jumper is safety. While it may be securely attached to the doorframe, and probably won’t fall to the ground with the baby inside, if he is very energetic and swings around too vigorously, he could bump against the sides of the door frame. This could cause a potentially serious injury.
One of the main drawcards of a jumper is that it should be easily portable and can be moved from room to room without any fuss. A door frame jumper is a nuisance to dismantle and reposition as you go about your business around the house.
A jumper on a stand is more convenient because it can easily be picked up and moved around the house. It is also much safer. A door frame jumper cannot have a tray or toys attached to it. A free-standing jumper can have these attachments, making it easier to keep your little one happy in it.
Is A Baby Jumper Safe?
When choosing a baby jumper, safety is crucial. For this reason, I always advise going for a well known, reputable brand. Jumpers made by these brands will have been put through rigorous safety tests and will have met the minimum standards. Cheap knock-offs might be made of inferior materials, and might be of poor design that poses a danger to your precious child.
When considering when to put a baby in a jumper, your main concern should be safety. No matter the age or size of your baby, he should never ever be left unattended in his jumper. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and constant vigilance is essential. This is why I don’t like door frame jumpers. A jumper on a stand is much more convenient to take with you from room to room.
A stand-alone jumper needs to be carefully assembled according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and should always be positioned on a firm, level ground. It is important that the frame should be completely stable so that it cannot rock or topple over.
The straps should be strong and the jumper should have a buckle that clips securely. But no matter how strong or safe the device is, it is actually only as safe as the vigilance of the adult in charge. Be sure to strap the baby in every single time you use the jumper, even if it is only for a minute or two.
When Can You Put Baby In A Jumper?
When deciding when to put a baby in a jumper, the best guideline is not so much his age, but, rather, his body strength. The most important aspect to consider is how well he can hold his head up. A jumper is not safe for a tiny baby who is not yet able to support his own head. Your baby should only be placed in a jumper once he is able to fully support his own head and can hold his head up firmly without any extra support.
Upper body strength must also be taken into consideration. The baby’s torso needs to be strong and well developed. A ‘floppy’ baby who cannot hold himself erect will not be safe in a jumper.
As with all devices for your baby, I always advise following the manufacturer’s recommendations. These items will have been tested with varying sizes and weights, so you would do well to follow the guidelines given.
A rough guide in terms of age would probably be at around 3-4 months old. Before this age, your little one will probably still be too weak to support himself in the jumper. Sitting in a jumper can put pressure on the spine, so a baby needs to be able to support his own back before being put in a jumper.
How Long Can a Baby Stay In His Jumper?
When you select a baby jumper, make sure that you choose one that does not force the legs too far apart. When the baby is in the jumper, his hips should lie in a relaxed, natural position. Even then, he should not spend longer than 15-20 minutes at a time in it, and not more than 3 times a day. Spending too long in this position in a jumper can cause malformation of the hips and may result in problems later on.
While a jumper is a great tool for keeping the baby occupied, and it encourages mobility by giving him the freedom to move his arms and legs around, it can also delay crawling and, eventually, walking if the baby spends hours at a time in it.
The jumper encourages the baby to try to reach the ground with his feet. You may notice that he is almost ‘standing’ on tiptoes while in the jumper. This could affect his gait once he starts walking if he spends too much time in this position.
When Should A Baby Stop Using A Jumper?
Once a baby can sit for long periods without any support or assistance, he should not use a jumper. Once again, follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. A baby who has a very strong torso and can sit unaided may be able to twist and turn his body, trying to wriggle free of the restraints. This can be dangerous, because he may tip the jumper over.
Can Baby Sleep In A Jumper?
Baby is playing happily in his jumper and starts getting drowsy. It might be very tempting to let him nod off and have his daytime nap in the jumper. However, I do not advise letting the baby sleep in his jumper. It does not give sufficient support for his small body in a relaxed state of sleep. His hips, too, will be stretched out for too long, as explained earlier in this article.
Can Baby Eat and Drink In A Jumper?
A jumper is designed in such a way that it encourages the baby to be as active and mobile as possible. He can quite literally ‘jump’ and bounce around in it. For this reason, it is extremely dangerous for him to eat or drink while in his jumper. There is a very high risk of choking if the baby eats while bouncing up and down.
While a baby jumper is a very useful item, and you are happy that you put it on your baby registry, it is important to remember that moderation is key. It is not meant to be used for hours at a time, but, rather, as a tool to give you a brief respite from a crying baby.
When to put a baby in a jumper depends very much on your particular baby, but if you follow the guidelines I have given, your precious little prince should be safe and happy in his jumper.