Bumbo Chair Review

14 August 2010

Bumbo Chair Multi Coloured

About the same time that my son was born, the first Bumbo Chair (RRP £36.99) also arrived in the world. If you have a child aged under six years then you're bound to have seen one. They seem to appear in all the product pages in the baby magazines, and on all the baby and mother websites that I visited anyway.

The design makes it look a little bit like a potty. However, it is made of much softer and sturdier stuff (they're actually quite heavy), there's no hole in the seat, but there are two holes for baby's legs to go through. This supposedly helps them sit.

I say supposedly because my son never sat in it. He hated it. The Bumbo is the 'Marmite' of the baby product world. I asked all my friends and acquaintances. Either your baby will love it, and the Bumbo chair will be the best thing you've ever bought. Or your baby will hate it and it will be a colossal waste of money! The problem is, you've no way of knowing which baby you have in advance.

Bumbo Chair Baby Blue

The only photo I have of my son sitting in it (above) is when it is back in the box ready to go off to its new owner! However, other people raved about it. PlayPennies mum Heidi sums it all up with her experience.

"It was a god-send with my first, now five. I weaned at 4.5 months and it was perfect to feed him in too, as he was too titchy for a proper high-chair. I was also worried about the back of his head flattening out because of the position he slept in and the Bumbo was a brilliant way of taking the pressure of his head for a while during the day."

All well and good but then as Heidi explains "My second hated it. Back-flipped out of it and screamed on sight of it! By that stage my youngest was potty training and was confused by the sight of it so it had to go!"


  • Sharkmark
    I remember the scramble at Christmas to find one of these. They were like the Buzz Lightyear elusive gift that every parent seemingly wanted to give their child (at least they were in Norwich). My wife was one of the parents desperate to find one... Finally, after looking everywhere, I got a green coloured one and parted with £25 of my hard earned money for a bit of hard foam. I remember thinking I could make something like this out of polystyrene packaging I had lying around but my wife wouldn't let me... The day of the trial was typical of all new baby things...(e.g bouncers, walkers, mobiles, highchairs) and nearly always your child's reaction is a disappointment. You feel like video recording the moment so that you can play it back in 20 years and say - see how much that cost and see your reaction! Anyway the bit on the front of the bumbo served as a suitable object for my son to repeatedly push his stomach against until he was promptly sick (mostly over himself and a bit over me). We tried on three more occasions and each time with the same result. I still have mine in the loft and will bring it down for number 2 child to see if it brings same reaction but overall I think they are overpriced and not all they were cracked up to be. Vomiting caused by Bumbo might be unique to my child (?) but I'd love to hear if others had same problem?
  • Donnie
    I visited my parents in NY once, when my son was a baby. For obvious reasons, they had no high chair, no play pen, no cot. Nothing. At feeding, I used to prop my son up in the corner of the sofa, surrounded by pillows for support - and an old towel to catch food. In fact, it's where he spent most of his time (with supervision in case he flopped over and got wedged in a pillow). He napped/slept on the floor - on top of a great many blankets for padding - with me at his side. No fear of falling out of bed. Like so many modern baby products, it doesn't seem as if the Bumbo enhances a baby's day and isn't something I'd ever buy. It has the appearance - to me - of being trapped. Heidi's back flip comment is worrying. Obviously the back isn't high enough and a child could suffer a head injury. Nice colours, though.
  • Sharkmark
    Yes I forgot to comment about the back-flip my own son achieved on this... if your son/daughter is well behaved and doesn't fidget then this might be for you. If on the other hand they are like my child and have legs like springs aged 5 months they will end up going backwards with the chair banging their head in process. I'm sure some users will never have experienced this but I share the concern of Heidi as I had some problem occur to my son.
  • Lynley O.
    Yes! That's the same thing that happened to me Sharkmark. He just threw himself forward. I think that possibly the Bumbo works best when they're at a really young age. As you say, by 5 months they're pretty much ready to see it simply as a sort of exercise toy (as in look Mum, I can do a flip out of this, or use the front bit to push myself right up and flip foward!). That said, when I asked on my Facebook page for people's experiences, I got a STACK of people saying how much their baby loved it! I would love to see you make one out of polystyrene :) For me, I'm with Donnie. I'd say that unless you really want to part with your cash, then leave it and use firm pillows instead.
  • Jessica
    I would actually say that behind my pram, this is my most used piece of baby equipment! We have the "play tray" that goes along with it. Really all the tray does is keep the baby from being able to escape. I am also able to put finger foods on it for him to eat. My little man is 9 months old and we use the bumbo to feed him in. And, when he eats something messy, it is so easy to clean. Also, it is so easy to transport to other peoples houses and use as a highchair. As many of you have said, babies can get out of it, but my son has never hurt himself getting out of it. And if the tray is on, there is no way he can get out of it. In fact, he has mastered the art of getting out of it with grace! As with any baby product, I think liking the bumbo depends on the baby and on the parent.
  • SlayerKat
    I always thought the Bumbo was a bit of an odd product ever since it was launched when my oldest was little - he missed out on it. So when my second child was born I was determined to get one. Luckily I got one secondhand on eBay so didn't part with much cash. It kind of served a purpose. You still have to watch your child, it's no babysitter as they used to advertise it as. She backflipped out of it as soon as she could escape it renders the item defunct. However I acquired another one when my youngest was born and he had mobility issues and sitting issues so he really appreciated it as it gave him the support he needed so thumbs up in that case. I guess it's one of those products that will be a treasure to some parents and a waste of space/money to others but until you've tried it you'll never know. PS I sold both of them back on eBay for more money than I paid for them ;)
  • Emma K.
    Well, I've parted with some hard earned cash after reading this, and I've bought a pink bumbo and tray for my little baby girl. We'll see if she loves it or hates it!
  • Lynley O.
    @Jessica, they didn't have the play tray when son was little baby. That might have made a little bit of a difference. But probably not. As you say, it depends on the baby! @Slayerkat, brilliant! You're a true PlayPennies parent aren't you? Now THAT'S the way to go - get a product, use it, then sell it for more than you bought it for. Genius! @Emma, I knew you'd crack! Hope that the little one likes it. If not, being the true PlayPennies guru, I'm sure you'll make your money back too :)
  • Lochlan C.
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