When we lived in the States, Lane didn't have a high chair. She was just over 5 months old when we moved to Istanbul, and the only "solid" food she ever had in the States was a little bit of rice cereal, and we just strapped her into her rocker chair or held her on our laps while we fed her. We had planned on just buying a high chair here, but once we started looking around we realized that the cheapest high chair you can find here is approximately $180! Since we're not planning on staying in Istanbul more than a year or so, we really didn't want to spend that kind of money on something we couldn't even take with us when we move, so I started looking online. This is what we decided on, and it definitely makes the Mommy Raves list.
The Inglesina Fast Chair
We purchased it online, and someone who was coming over to spend a semester studying brought it over. We picked it up from them one night, carried it home, and immediately hooked that baby up to our table. It's fantastic for people like us who don't want or need a large high chair cluttering up floor space. This chair:
1) Collapses flat.
2) Has a built in storage bag.
3) Only weighs 4 pounds.
4) Is machine washable.
5) Only requires about 3-4 inches of under-the-table room for the support bar to attach to.
6) Has a pocket on the back (we store bibs there).
7) Lets you take off the fabric part for washing without un-attaching the whole frame from the table.
8) Lets baby sit right up at the table with you.
9) Has a belt with a buckle so you can secure baby.
10) Will hold a baby or toddler up to 33 pounds.
Well, there's of course more, but to keep the list at an even 10, I'll stop there. This chair runs about $49 on Amazon or other sites. It is not meant for pedestal-type tables (you need a table with 4 legs, or a countertop) or tables with tablecloths on them. And yes, baby will make a mess all over the table and you will have to do a thorough scrubbing after each meal. Baby will also get food all over the floor (we unfold a towel under Lane while feeding her...then we can brush the food off after mealtimes and fold up the towel until it needs washing: no unsightly plastic floor mats needed!). But both of these things you would have to do with a regular high chair (clean the tray and clean the floor), so I don't feel like we have extra work because of this chair.
Lane likes to put her feet on the support bars sometimes.
The Inglesina Fast Chair is very easy to operate. You screw the handle-looking part under the table. These also rotate inwards for flat storage. To wash it, the part holding the fabric comes off of the part attached to the table. You simply remove the remaining frame and the hard bottom and toss in the washing machine. It is not complicated and there are not a million snaps or buttons to figure out or remember where they attach to. And the built-in storage bag is way cool: it's under the seat part and you can let it out (it remains attached: you can't lose it!) and put the whole seat in if you want to bring the chair with you somewhere or store it away.
Can you see the peaches smooshed into the fabric by her left arm?
There are only 2 drawbacks to this chair that I've found. 1) Since baby is attached to the table, you can't face the baby in order to feed him/her. We find that since we're both right-handed it works best for Lane to be near the corner of the table and for whoever is feeding her to be at the head of the table: we're the closest to "facing each other" this way. But this really isn't a big deal at all, at least not to us. 2) Because it is made of fabric and not plastic-covered foam, you can't just "wipe" it clean. Lane's grubby hands like to grasp the sides of it, and they are therefore often covered in pumpkin, chicken, and peaches. We wipe it off as best we can after meals, but we don't wash the chair every time she gets food on it. So I guess that if you're the kind of person who can't stand things to ever look dirty (if you are, what are you doing with a kid?!) then you might not like this. It doesn't bother us that much: we just wash it about once a week and deal with the dirtiness the rest of the time. Plus, the trade off is that unlike plastic-covered foam chairs, the fabric will never crack or break like I have seen happen on other chairs before.
Chicken stew: yummy!
So, all that to say that if you a) don't have a lot of space and don't want a "regular" high chair, b) eat out a lot and want to take something with you for baby to sit in, or c) travel a lot and want something easy to take to grandma's, on vacation, or to a friend's house, this is the chair for you! We are very happy with our purchase!
***I feel that it is necessary to make it known that I am not receiving any monetary compensation for these reviews: I'm simply doing them for my fellow moms and moms-to-be out there.***