When I purchased Greenleigh’s high chair a little over 4 years ago [gulp] I did it on a whim, which is funny when you consider the amount of research I put into just about every other baby item that I purchased. I actually bought an entire book full of baby product reviews. AN ENTIRE BOOK?!?! Who has the time? Oh wait, someone who hasn’t had their baby yet and isn’t completely sleep deprived. So when we got to the “feeding solids” milestone with Greenleigh, I was…um…tired? I didn’t even look in that entire book filled with baby gear reviews sitting on my shelf. Nope, no time. Instead, I purchased the very first highchair that I saw and liked. I thought I made a good choice.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot.
Like, what you really need in a high chair…and what you don’t. Since the nice people at Ingenuity by Bright Starts were kind enough to sent me their new Marlo Trio 3-in-1 Deluxe High Chair to review, I thought that this would be a great time to go through my list of do’s and don’ts when purchasing a high chair. Because you don’t have time for that big book of reviews and neither do I.
Easy to clean. I’m convinced that you’ve never actually seen a mess until you’ve seen a toddler eat. Really, even the neatest, most polite toddler is super messy. And by the time they’re done eating, there will be food EVERYWHERE. Promise. In my experience, patterns can help hide the stains that are no doubt to come, but you’ll also want one that you can wipe clean with a sponge or disinfecting wipe.
Besides the adorable, gender neutral print, the Marlo boasts 2 layers of padding, each of which can be easily removed and cleaned. The top patterned part can be wiped clean and the solid grey padding can be removed entirely in about a minute to be soaked. And those orange dots? It’s already prepared for those spaghetti stains that are sure to come.
Pick a high chair that will grow with your child. As hard as it may be to imagine, your baby won’t be a baby forever…but they might not be ready for a real chair for quite a while. For that reason, consider how long a high chair can be used and try to make the most of your money. Because they’re way ahead of the game, Ingenuity designed the Marlo to have not 1 but 3 seating options – full sized high chair, booster chair, and toddler seat – covering kids from a few months old to 5 years of age! And all the parts needed to convert the Marlo from a full sized high chair to a booster seat are conveniently stored inside the chair so there are no loose or additional parts to worry about! The booster chair is pictured on the left, the toddler seat is pictured on the right:
That kid above in the toddler seat? Well, that’s the kid that I originally purchased my first high chair for 4 years ago. I love that she’s nearly 5 years old and can use this high chair. Funny thing is, she actually wanted to sit in it. It was the perfect height to reach the table and because there was no tray, she never felt like it was a high chair.
Skip the padded straps. In an effort to make their high chairs look more comfortable, I’ve seen lots of companies adding padded straps to their high chairs (similar to the basic padding provided on most car seats). What ever you do – Don’t buy one of these chairs! Less is more in this category. Instead, go for a seat like the Marlo that has basic straps that are adjustable for even the smallest babies, easy to clean, and a snap to remove. Simply feed strap through the slit in the back of the high chair and the corresponding slits in the padding and – voila – those straps are ready for soaking. Unless you actually like wrestling a high chair covered in peas, carrots & squash to the the straps loose, that is…
Take into account the height of your table; an adjustable high chair might not be necessary. The first time around, I bought a high chair that was adjustable, but years later, I now know that was a waste. You know how many times I’ve adjusted that thing? Twice. Maybe three times, tops. Why? Because it’s a complete and total pain and I always end up pinching my fingers on those pins that you’re supposed to push in while pulling up to adjust it. Instead, if you plan to use your high chair at the table, consider the height of the high chair in relation to your table. Bring a measuring tape when you go to the store, if that’s what it takes.
As you can see from the pictures above, the Marlo is the perfect height for my table and it allows Everett to be a part of dinner, which he loves. I’ve also fed him while sitting in a chair beside him and while standing (and doing a hundred other things at the same time), and not had any problems with the height.
Forgo the toys. This is where I got caught up last time around. I needed a high chair with toys to keep Greenleigh busy while I prepared her food. Five years later, I now know that there’s no way to keep a kid busy while I prepare food. A certain amount of whining is to be expected while I cook and get the food to a safe serving temperature. And that toy I just had to have? I have no idea where it is now. I think it got taken off the high chair and thrown in a toy chest at one point, but now? I’m really not sure. Bottom line is, you probably have tons of toys that you could throw on the high chair tray instead of buying a pricey one that goes with it. Do that instead.
Plus, doesn’t he look happy as a clam? No toys were involved here at all, just a little bit of applesauce.
Mobility is key. After I put the Marlo together, I realized how light it is. I’m not quite sure how they did it, but it weighs a fraction of what our other high chair weighs. Regardless, make sure that whatever high chair you buy has wheels, because at some point you’re going to need to move it somewhere (to another room in order to mop up all that baby food on the floor, to the dining room for Thanksgiving dinner, etc).
You need 2 dishwasher safe trays (preferably compartmental trays)…even if you don’t think you do. Okay, so there was a time in my life where I thought I was going to wash everything for my baby by hand to make sure it got really clean. Needless to say, after a few weeks of sleep deprivation that notion went out the window, but I can’t tell you how much I love, love, love being able to throw the Marlo’s high chair tray in the dishwasher at the end of a a feeding. And while lots of people will say that compartmental trays aren’t necessary, those little compartments are perfect for sippy cups and “no thank you” piles.
No need to be a big spender. There are high chairs out there that cost hundreds of dollars. Like, $500+ dollars. You don’t need that craziness in your life or your wallet. Really, you don’t. Luckily, the Marlo high chair is priced at just $109.99 (you can purchase it here).
What do you look for in a high chair?
Disclosure: A special thanks to the nice people at Kidsii and Ingenuity for providing me with a Marlo Trio 3-in-1 Deluxe High Chair to review. Everett will no doubt enjoy it for years to come!