When we bought our highchair, we agonised over the decision of which one to get. The practical, mum part of me wanted something my little one would be comfortable and well supported in but the majority of me wanted a wooden one. In my mind, a wooden highchair was far more stylish and I had visions of it lasting us all the way through to grandchildren (jumping the gun? Me? Never). After spending at least three weekends, no lies, in every shop going we went for practicality. The wooden chair would have to wait.
My parents, however, were nowhere near as fussed. They’d had a wooden highchair for us and although it had been long lost, passed from household to household over the years, they wanted the same. A little research and they were soon the proud owners of a wooden highchair, ready to seat my son on the days of the week that he spent with them. Pleased as punch they assembled it and quickly realised what we’d been trying to tell them. Yes, it was lovely. Yes, it probably would last longer than ours but… it was hard, it was huge and our son slumped and slipped in it no end.
For months, he’s been propped on a pillow (one that declares “It must be Wine O’clock!” – grandparenting on point right there!), wedged in to the point that he can’t move and when he does, the cushion takes the brunt of the mess. So you can imagine how much we leapt at the opportunity when Messy Me offered to send us a highchair insert in return for an honest review. Finally. No more wine time!
Let’s get going…
Messy Me describe their products as “stylish products to help keep your home looking lovely with messy little ones” and they’re not wrong. From highchair covers to aprons, cushions to clutches, Messy Me have nailed combining easy-to-wipe oilcloth with style to create products that any parent would be proud to display in their home. Each product comes in a variety of designs; pushing aside my hankering for the pastel rose design, we went for slightly more gender neutral soft grey stars fabric.
Perfect, practical padding
The highchair insert is designed to fit into any chair that requires a little extra padding. A piece of elastic across the base allows it to hold it’s chair-like shape fairly well on its own but it will fold down smaller if you’d prefer to store it out of the way. Messy Me state that it fits most wooden highchairs including East Coast models which, thankfully, is what my parents own so I was confident it would fit well. All it took to get it into place was unclipping the highchair straps and slotting it into the chair. The sides and the base of the insert are only joined by the piece of elastic so I could slot the waist strap in between them in order to keep our little one secure in the seat. It was fitted in seconds – meaning it can also be removed in seconds to allow for wiping it clean.
Did it pass the baby test?
Speaking of wiping; the oilcloth used means that most foods just wipe off quickly. There are warnings about taking care with certain foods that may stain the fabric, things like curries, blueberries, tomatoes etc, nothing unusual there. Messy Me started from a mother’s experience with the mess of baby led weaning so it’s been designed with dinner-time carnage in mind… hallelujah! Whilst easy to wipe clean, the oilcloth is still beautifully soft and, in combination with the padding, makes for a comfortable position for your little one unlike some of the harder, more plasticised cushions on the market.
We found that the insert was slightly too high for the chair that we have but that wasn’t an issue. If anything it prevented any knocks when the inevitable ‘head-throw-back’ move happened. I had some concerns about how well it would stay in place as it’s not technically attached to the seat. It could, as my mum pointed out, benefit from some strap holes in the seat back which would prevent that wriggling fear and make the straps easier to put on the baby each time (rather than performing a reach around cushion manoeuvre that takes a little mastering) but that would probably remove the element of it fitting most wooden highchairs. It’s not an essential and once the baby was in and the straps on, it wasn’t budging. Even if your child does decide to have a wriggling fit. Which he did. Often.
How does it compare?
At £25 it’s not cheap, in fact, it’s double the price of the East Coast version at John Lewis. However, in the name of reviewing, we took a look at others out there. The softness, the level of padding, even the available designs from Messy Me are superior to others that we found. In particular, these were the only ones that I felt really offered proper comfort as opposed to just a little extra padding. In all honesty, I was a little jealous of the baby… it really did feel comfortable and made to last. Far nicer than our chair cushions and way, way better than the Wine O’Clock number.
Did I mention that all Messy Me products are made in the UK? It’s a family owned business keen on supporting British manufacturing and small businesses wherever possible – a cause that’s close to my own heart. The oilcloth is sourced from Denmark, is phthalate free and certified to meet Oeko-Tex Standard 100 so you can rest easy that it’s chemical free and not going to harm your child’s health. It’s designed by a mum for mums and you know what? That really does come through.
Messy Me Highchair Insert is available directly from Messy Me in a range of designs for £25.
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