Tuesday, 6 September 2011

High chairs and huge scares!

Oh now this is fun and games. I have to shout out a huge thank you to my local  Mothercare in Gloucester UK www.mothercare.com My husband and I dismantled their lovely shop display and the shop assistants were very happy we did so.

High chairs is a difficult subject to know how to help other disabled parents because there are a wealth of chairs available and all with different mechanisms and all with different heights etc. I have two suggestions and then will go into my personal experiences.

Suggestion number one get on down to the Baby show http://www.thebabyshow.co.uk/ I have blogged about how fantastic this event is in previous posts, I can not recommend it highly enough for disabled and able bodied parents to go and try out every thing baby related!

Second suggestion is get on down to shops, always go to shops first, the internet is a fantastic tool to search for cheaper deals on your chose chair but always try out in real life prior to ordering anything. Trust me we have made huge expensive mistakes on boldly buying something that we haven't looked at or tested out either via the internet or through Argos. Argos is also a fantastic place to get a good deal but only if you know what it is you are getting. www.argos.co.uk

Ok here we go. It took me a good three months to understand all I needed to understand about high chairs. There are chairs that pro port to have a tray that simply folds over your babies head. Either my child is a giant of these trays are made for the offspring of Tinkerbell ! I sat my son in such a chair and the tray just couldn't get past an ant let alone his huuuuuge head! We just didn't understand it because we had read reviews that trays that simply fold up and over were good for disabled parents as clearly the idea is that there are no awkward catches to release the tray, an easy movement and you can get right up to the seat and hence right up to your child. We just couldn't find a chair like this, we went to John lewis, Babies R Us,Mothercare and nowhere seemed to do such a thing. In fact if anyone can suggest to me where such a chair is please let me know and the blog, your help would be so appreciated.

Other high chairs we tested included a "Chicco Happy Sack" model. Out of all the conventional high chairs with plastic white chairs and a gaudy design this one was actually the easiest to use. The tray catch was fairly easy, I still did struggle a bit and worried that my hungry hippo might not be too overwhelmed with mummy taking an age about the feeding process. However I could at least manage the catch. The tray slides off but the difficulty is then there is a bar going across the seat, this bar is static and I just do not have the muscular strength to lift my son up and over this. Really we had to quit on it. If you have the physical arm strength to do so but not great hand movement this might be worth consideration.

Chicco Happy Snack Highchair - Blue Scribble
Chicco Happy Sack chair from www.mothercare.com

I absolutely loved the "Convertable highchair" in its wood and actually the concept of something for a baby that lasts more than a few months appealed to me, with this chair he could transform it into a separate chair and table when he got older. All worked well, a really good height for a 4ft 11 person as it comes up to waist height when stood up. My difficulty was the harness which my husband could have adapted with various climbing and abseiling hooks from Go Outdoors http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/ however just as I was about to seal the deal I noticed a lime green travel high chair.

 I love lime green, loved the price, loved the fact the high chair could sit on one of 1960s swivel dinning chairs and hence I could move my son around easily on the chair to a position easy for me to feed him. Most of all I LOVED the easy tray that you rip off and click on, no fiddly catch to push and pull, the harness was a three point harness and hence far easier to manage than a five point harness. Please note many other disabled parents have said that a three point harness is easier and this information is available on the Disabled Parents Network.
Travel Booster Seat With SteriTouch® - Green
Travel Booster seat with steri touch £26.99  http://www.mothercare.com/Travel-Booster-Seat-SteriTouch-Green/dp/B002EJ001Y

Whilst trying the entire stock of high chairs that Mothercare Gloucester had, we decided to sit our son in a Bumbo, I have already raved about these seats, what a fantastic design, sit the child in and he is held snuggly, no fastenings to muck about with. If I am honest this is just a good a high chair, you can by trays for the bumbo and with no fastenings as a disabled parents you can be entirely independent with this seat. There is nothing difficult about it, my only suggestions is to put it on a sofa but supervise every second! Never leave the bumbo up high if you are wondering out of the room. The manufacturer says never to put the Bumbo on a high surface but being a disabled parent you do have to use your noodle and be adaptive and aware of any risks. Bumbo seats are available at Amazon, Ebay and Mothercare, the trays are also available from these sites.

Bumbo play tray
Bumbo baby sitter and play tray from www.amazon.co.uk
When we feel lazy and can not be asked with any harness antics etc we feed our son in the Bumbo but we are trying to get him to sit at the table with us as a family and so we are now motivating ourselves to actually pop him in his lime green travel high chair and he enjoys it. 

Good luck hunting for a chair. I know I ranted about DLA previously but disabled people have DLA for the purchase of equipment a well person would not need to buy due to being "able bodied". DLA is not for living it up in a way an "able bodied" person can't. My poor sister and brother are both graduates, intelligent people and they really struggle to afford things, I'm quite sure my sister would love the most gadgety high chair for her child but she goes with the basic model because she can manage that chair and its what she can afford.

 If buying a high chair creaky peeps, use your money wisely to get what ever chair suits your physical needs. Some chairs are ridiculously expensive but this is what DLA is for especially if it is the only chair your hands can do. If it is a couple of hundred then start saving now, even if you are at the pregnant stage, you will need to save, you absolutely must have a bigger pot of money ready for equipment you will need. My son has basic clothes, he isn't interested in what he is wearing so I make savings on his clothes, he has three jumpers (one smart) for winter, four sleep suits as day wear, three pairs of rather chavvy ,never be seen dead in public, jersey tracksuit bottoms but they are easy to put on him when my husband and I are not well. Two pairs of cord trousers for smart and supermarket vests,long and short sleeve, long for winter nights in his sleep bag, and one supermarket winter coat. That's it and that does! 

Happy shopping people, although I sound like a lecturer I am trying to make this an information service rather than a chit chat. However please enjoy parenthood because they are not babies for long, the fact some of us have managed to get pregnant with all our highly toxic medications etc is a miracle, enjoy it, you and your child deserve the happiest of lives together ! 

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