When you have your first baby, you want them to meet all the milestones as quickly as possible. Roll over, sit up, start solids — everything is a race. Or at least, that’s how I felt. I wasn’t anxious about missing milestones, but I was eager for the Little Monkey to reach them as soon as possible.
With that in mind, when I first researched highchairs, I wanted one that would accommodate younger babies. In fact, embarrassingly, we bought his first highchair when he was only two months old. Not because I was going to start feeding him yet, but I thought he might want to sit in it and watch me cook (we were still struggling to hit our stride on dinner prep. Who am I kidding, we’ve never really got that sorted).
Phil & Ted's Highpod
Value for money
Clever but not so great at doing the right things. Tricky to keep clean, heavy to move around and awkward to get your baby in and out of. Check out the Poppy instead.
After a bunch of reading, and a saved TradeMe search, we snapped up a secondhand Phil & Ted’s Highpod. It has heaps of bells and whistles, including three different recline settings. You can lay it right back for very little babies (it claims they can sleep in it, though I don’t imagine it’s terrible comfortable or ergonomically ideal for that); have it slightly reclined when they’re nearly sitting, or upright like a normal chair.
As it happened the Little Monkey had other ideas, and wasn’t keen to be strapped into a chair while I merrily chopped the veggies for dinner. Generally he’d give me about 3 minutes of feigning interest before dissolving into wails of despair — just long enough to get set up but not long enough to really make any progress. And worse, the very secure five-point harness was awkward to get off in a hurry. I guess that’s a win for safety, but a fail for a highchair, because rapid dismount is often required (at least in our family).
The tray comes off completely, but requires two hands to unclip, which could be a bit annoying. The tray has a bit that goes in between the legs (what do you call that thing?) which is good for getting a snug fit for little babies. It also comes with a wee cushion to prop smaller babies up close to the tray, but we found a towel or old blanket better for that purpose — more customisable, i.e. you can squish it where you need it. And easier to chuck in the washing machine!
The tray itself is quite small. You can buy a larger one, which would be better (less ability for food to be used for testing of gravitational forces) but it seems ridiculous to spend more on accessories when you’ve forked out $300 for a highchair. The included tray cover is a joke; though dishwashable, it doesn’t attach, so along with the peas and carrots it’s at risk of being flung overboard.
It has a reasonably narrow base, with a U-shaped foot. The legs are telescoping so it is adjustable to different heights, which is useful if you want your little one to sit at the table with you — and because it has a harness you can leave the tray off if you prefer.
The seat cover is a molded black shell, which is reasonably easy to take off and dishwash. Unfortunately it doesn’t wrap around the front of the seat, so there’s a perfect wee gap for smushed up dinner remnants. Just because it comes off for cleaning doesn’t mean you want to remove it after every meal!
And then there’s the weight of the thing. 8kg. To be fair, I am currently carrying an 8kg weight around for a large chunk of every day, but she’s cuddly and cute. This thing is bulky and awkward and never gives me gummy grins.
Last but not least — just in case you were in any doubt — it’s ridiculously expensive. We bought ours secondhand, but it was still close to $200. The Poppy is $149 brand new — and a far better chair. Light, simple and easy to clean. Interesting that Phil & Ted’s got it both so right and so wrong!
What kind of highchair do you have? Do you love it or hate it?
Awesome or Average: Average
I’m not even going to put a link here for you to buy the Highpod. If you’re that set on making life difficult for yourself you can hunt down your own retailer. But did I mention that the Poppy is great?