Imagine that you’re eight-and-a-half months pregnant and nesting has kicked into high gear. You need to get every. little. thing. completely cleaned, set up and in its place before the baby arrives. Even things that you won’t use for months (I’m looking at you, jogging stroller) have to be perfect. The thing is, you’re giant and it’s nearly impossible to move. Unpacking items, getting the tools out and screwing every screw tightly into place are herculean tasks, leaving you sweaty and exhausted. That was the state I found myself in a few months back when I just had to get the Graco Sous Chef Seating System in place before my baby came.
After struggling to get everything out of the box, I settled into the floor for what I was certain would be at least an hour of assembling the highchair. So imagine my surprise and delight when assembly was complete within 15 minutes! The instructions were easy to follow and everything literally snapped into place—no tools required. That was plus No. 1.
Plus No 2. was the infant seat that comes with the highchair. I didn’t expect the highchair to get much use for the first few months of my baby’s life, given that she’d be unable to sit up and would be on a liquids-only diet, but the newborn seat that snapped onto the top of the highchair was a lifesaver. Unlike most bouncers or swings, it isn’t low to the ground, so our daughter could chill out a little closer to us (and a little further from the dog). We could easily coo at each other, and our pup couldn’t slobber all over her.
Although not advertised as a place to sleep (but let’s be honest, newborns aren’t sitting awake anywhere), it was one of only two places that my newborn would snooze during those first two weeks. It has a vibrating function, which my baby loved, and it would automatically soothe her when she was placed in it.
Best of all, it was on wheels, so we could keep her nearby no matter what room we were in. My husband would keep her with him in the living room when I went to nap and then wheel her right into the bedroom when she needed to nurse. When she was finished, I strap her back in and wheel her right back to her dad. Not having to carry her in and out of our room was a huge help to me while I was physically recovering from childbirth.
Plus No. 3 was the safety harness for the newborn seat. Although she couldn’t really move and wasn’t in danger of going anywhere, I always liked to keep my newborn strapped into the seat. Unlike most safety harnesses that require you to maneuver little limbs through small holes with inflexible straps, the safety harness for the newborn seat was incredibly easy to use. The shoulder strap is separate from the waist strap and the two connect only when both are in place. You simply drape the shoulder strap over your newborn’s shoulder and drape the waist strap over your newborn’s waist and then you connect them to each other. It’s a great design and lets your baby snooze away while you strap her in.
The newborn seat comes with bar featuring two dangling stars (connected with Velcro) that arches over the baby. It seems a little flimsy and my baby wasn’t particularly intrigued by it. For us, it got in the way more than anything, so I simply removed it from the newborn seat. Problem solved.
Once our daughter outgrows the newborn seat (which can also be used off the frame as a rocker), we look forward to using it in highchair more. I know the highchair will snap in easily to replace the newborn seat, and the chair itself seems easy to clean, with few nooks and crannies for food to get stuck in and machine-washable upholstery. The seat can be reclined for infants, sat upright for older tots and eventually used as a booster seat by attaching it to a chair. Talk about the total package!
Combining a muted color palette and modern design with smart and practical features, this chair is one we’ve been happy to put to use daily.
Where to buy: gracobaby.com