Tuesday, 22 November 2011

IKEA ANTILOP Highchair Review

During my pregnancy we bought A Lot Of Stuff. In the interests of not allowing our home to be completely taken over by various baby accessories, we decided to wait until we actually needed one before purchasing a highchair. This bought us six months thinking time! I've found that pretty much everything you buy for your baby needs some serious research, I could probably do a PHD in baby products now but that's another story...
Anyway. After a quick Internet search it was confirmed that as is usual with baby products, there is a ridiculous amount of choice when it comes to highchairs! I had to decide what I really wanted from a highchair and at the top of my list was: Easy to clean. This really needs no explanation - weaning is pretty much guaranteed to be super messy so I didn't want to spend hours trying to scrub mushed up broccoli out of the seat.
After reading many, many online reviews of highchairs, I kept coming back to the ANTILOP from IKEA. Now, this is as basic a highchair as you are likely to find so is definitely not for those who want something pretty. But it is amazing if, like me, you want an easy clean product!
Apparently this highchair is often used by restaurants so it is likely that your child may already have sat in one. In fact, before we bought ours, Sophia had trialled an ANTILOP on a day out at the Manchester Museum.
We are fortunate to live near an IKEA so we were able to pick one up avoiding the sometimes quite steep delivery charges. This is possibly one of the best value (aka cheapest) highchairs on the market, coming in at a bargain £10.99 plus an additional £4.00 for the tray. Told you it was good value!
It comes in three colours; white, red and blue. We opted for the red because we thought it was most girly (and Mr T is a Manchester United fan). The colours relate only to the chair however, the tray is a standard white.

After using this for a few weeks now I can honestly say I have not regretted my choice at all. As expected, it is very easy to keep clean due to the chair being made entirely of plastic and therefore not having any fabric/cushions/fiddly bits to remove stray spag bol from. In fact the only part that can really get dirty is the strap/safety belt but this can be easily removed and (I should imagine) would be easily washed in a washing machine. Or by hand, if you can be bothered! I have heard of people actually placing the highchair into their shower too to rinse it off as it's so compact (yes, I admit I did try this after a particularly messy lunch but unfortunately for me it didn't fit!) The lack of padding may put people off but IKEA have thought about this and also sell the STADIG supporting cushion for £5.49 which is an inflatable support you can place in the seat. We didn't buy this and Sophia seems perfectly happy without it but the option is there if you want it.

There are no frills and ribbons to this highchair but I personally like the basic design. I love that it is easy to clean! The height is just right for our table which is great so although we are using the tray at the moment, we may remove it at some point and push Sophia right up to the table so she can be just like mummy and daddy! I can't find any negatives to report and I can't express enough what amazing value this is - a highchair for under £15.00! It's not going to appeal to everyone but I would consider it one of my better purchases to date!

To prove how good it is, here's Sophia messily enjoying her tea!

Please note, I was not asked to write this review and received no incentive to do so, I just really like the product and wanted to share!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Baby-Led Weaning

After reading about Baby-Led Weaning during my pregnancy, we decided that this was the method we would use to wean Sophia.  Ten days before Sophia turned six months we decided to give it a go and, not yet owning a highchair, we sat her in her Bumbo and handed her some banana and apple slices. Predictably, most was flung to the floor but eventually she did put some in her mouth, which was possibly one of our proudest parent moments to date! (We have a lengthy home video to record this event!)
I had actually expected to feel quite sad that, as a breastfeeding mother, I was no longer going to be providing my baby with her only source of nutrition. As it was, I didn't feel that way at all, just excited that she was now able to try new flavours and textures which she seemed eager to do!
Later that day we purchased a highchair and are continuing the long journey of weaning our daughter! One of the main "rules" of baby led weaning is that you don't place food into the babies mouth. This is so they have the chance to explore it themselves and eat in their own time. (An example I have heard a few times is to imagine, as an adult, someone coming towards you with a spoonful of an unidentifiable food - your first reaction would probably not be to open your mouth and eat it, but to push the spoon away and try to get control of it yourself so that you were able to first, look at what was being fed to you and secondly, to control how much was put into your mouth - makes sense really!)
This sounds easy but I have found it to be incredibly difficult resisting the urge to feed Sophia! Especially when she eats soft foods such as yogurt - I pre-load her spoon and she 'feeds' herself (to an extent!) but it is so tempting to spoon feed her. So far I have avoided doing this, as after reading Baby-Led Weaning: Helping your Baby to Love Good Food by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett I personally really identify with the theory behind this weaning method. But boy, is it messy!

It is really difficult to know how much (if any) food is being eaten at the moment (although there are a few clues in her nappies!!) but we are only a couple of weeks in and I am so pleased with how well Sophia seems to be doing. Unless she's really tired she always gives new foods a try, current favourites seem to be melon, banana (this stains clothes, beware!!) and sweet potato.
If you're considering trying baby-led weaning I would definitely recommend getting hold of a copy of the Gill Rapley book. I've read through it a couple of times now and it really explains the weaning process well. I got my copy from Amazon who were the cheapest seller when I was looking - linky here if you want to grab a copy for yourself! Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Half a Year

Our little pudding turned six months old this week. It has come as a bit of a shock not only how fast the time has gone since she was born, but also the realisation that the rest of our lives are probably going to pass by just as quickly! These have truly been the best six months of my life yet and *touch wood* Mr T and I don't seem to be doing too badly! Sophia is a happy and loving little girl, even if she is possibly the only six month old who still hasn't figured out how to jump in her Jumperoo or roll over....nope neither front to back nor back to front...! I am relatively confident she will acquire these skills at some point! Six months is a fantastic age, Sophia is still a "baby" but is also starting to become much more interactive and keen to play, which her Daddy is enjoying (except when she claws his face...any tips on managing ridiculously sharp baby nails are welcome!)
To celebrate her half-year-birthday, here is a picture of the little lady just after she was born

And here she is at six months

 Worth every single sleepless night!