“Do baby-led weaning,” they said; “It’ll be great,” they said…
Well, it IS fun, but – wow – it’s messy. Seriously messy. I’m talking porridge on the walls, on the cat and everywhere in between. At 6 months old, Ada is just on the cusp of baby-led weaning. ‘Eating’ is an ambitious word to use at this stage – sure, some food makes it down her throat, but mostly, she’s having a ball feeling and tasting a whole new world of textures and flavours.
During this voyage of baby-led discovery, Ada feeds herself. That means that anything placed in front of her when she’s sat upon her highchair throne should be viewed as a potential missile. Plates. Bowls. Broccoli. Pancakes (great frisbees, by the way). As such, the food is placed straight on to her highchair tray, which brings me nicely to the Hauck Gamma Wooden Highchair.
We bought this very prematurely, whilst I was still pregnant, when we saw it as part of the baby event at Aldi for £39.99. We hadn’t researched it (most unlike us), but we figured, “it’s a highchair; it looks quite nice; it’ll be fine,”.
Fast-forward 6 months to when we put the Hauck Gamma into action. On its first use, Ada ate a banana. How messy could that be? Turns out, pretty messy. Bananas are slippery little sods, and chubby little baby hands don’t anchor the friction-defying fruit down very easily. Banana mush ended up everywhere. The table on the Hauck Gamma has a hole in it where the centre strap is threaded through. Banana mush ended up plugging this hole and adorning the centre strap, which gave me an additional, faffy part to clean. Urgh. This happened with every single use of the highchair. Gross.
Grabbing food is sometimes tricky for Ada, and she ends up pushing it around for a little bit before she manages to grasp it. The lack of a lip on the side of the table closest to the baby meant that, with a lot of the food, she ended up chasing it around the table only for it to fall on to the floor. Not ideal.
So, despite looking good, and ‘growing’ with your baby (you can adjust the footplates so the highchair fits your child at various stages, eventually becoming just a stool that even an adult could sit on), the most pivotal feature just isn’t practical if you’re doing baby-led weaning (or if your baby is likely to make a mess). From what I can tell, we’d have had the same problem even if we’d have bought different wooden Hauck highchairs (the Alpha and the Beta) from other retailers.
Thus concluded the life of the Hauck Gamma in our house. We went to IKEA and bought a £14 Antilop highchair instead, which is perfect for us. Ada finds it much easier to grab her food from the tray; it’s easy to clean (I can even shove it in the shower if there’s been a total food massacre); and there’s nowhere for pesky pieces of sweet potato to go unnoticed.
IKEA: 1. Hauck: 0.