I often think it’s funny when people talk about teaching their baby to sit. It is one of those skills that you can encourage, but you can’t really teach. A baby is naturally going to learn to sit on his or her own. However, it is important to help your baby have good posture even when he or she is first learning how to sit.
For this reason, and for some more that I talk about below, I have found the Bumbo seat with a tray to be a really useful baby product in my own home. Me and several thousands of other parents agree that the Bumbo seat is a convenient seat that keeps your baby occupied and helps to support them as they develop the muscles that they will need to sit up on their own.
Here are seven reasons why parents love the Bumbo with a Tray:
1. Helps Baby Learn to Sit Correctly
When babies are about 4 months, they might start attempting to sit up on their own. They will likely fall many times before they develop the strength in their trunk muscles that they need to sit up. However, the Bumbo seat with the tray will give your baby the support that they will need to get their body in the position that they need to be in to sit up.
The Bumbo has a contoured design that tilts the baby’s legs slightly upward and rounds the baby back into the deep seat. This reclines your baby slightly while also getting them used to using their trunk muscles to hold themselves up.
You can watch a video here that explains the upright position:
If your baby was left to learn to sit up on their own, even if they didn’t fall numerous times, they would be constantly leaning forward to steady themselves. This seat gives them the support they need and helps them get used to a position of a straight back until they can correctly hold themselves up.
The tray feature can also help babies form their trunk muscles as they reach and grab for toys, snacks, or bottles.
2. Holds Babies Securely
One of the things I love about the Bumbo with the tray is that it has such a supportive design, I never worry about my baby falling out of it. The base is wide enough and the chair is dense enough that your baby won’t be able to tip it over easily, especially when you use the buckle feature.
The older versions of the Bumbo seat did not have the buckle options, and my baby still couldn’t tip that thing over. The seat is so deep that it elevates your baby’s legs, so your baby really can’t maneuver his or her body up and out of that thing.
Imagine that you are on a deep couch with very plushy cushions. The cushions sink so low that it lifts your legs slightly off the floor. Now try to imagine pulling yourself out of that seat without having any trunk muscles. Your baby will have a very hard time getting out of the Bumbo on his or her own, which is exactly the safety feature that you want.
3. Great For Babies With Developmental Delays
The Bumbo seat is a great seat to start using around 3 months. It usually takes babies one to three months after that for them to learn to sit up on their own. So the Bumbo seat with tray is a really great help for teaching a baby to sit up on their own for only a couple months.
Some parents say that the seat isn’t something that they needed to use for very long and was disappointed that they only got a few months out of it. However, if you have a baby that has developmental delays, you may need to use a supportive chair for much longer.
It is so important to hold or put babies into different positions throughout the day. It helps them view the world in a different way and it helps them to learn to use their bodies in different ways.
If you have a baby who is developmentally behind schedule, you may find that the bumbo seat with the tray is a lifesaver. You can use it so you won’t need to hold your baby on your lap for every activity.
If your baby takes much longer to learn to sit up on his or her own, this could be their favorite little seat. They will be able to sit up and watch you and their siblings from a safe, secure place with a tray and toys to keep them entertained.
4. Easy To Clean
Whenever I review a product, I focus on how easy it is to clean.
Why is Cleaning So Important?
I made the mistake one time in my parenting career to buy the cheapest high chair I could find online. It did the trick. It held my baby and it had a buckle and a tray. However, I was severely disappointed to learn that I couldn’t remove and wash the fabric seat. I was limited to spot washing it whenever there was a spill.
Which meant I was spot washing it every day. Because every day there were numerous spills.
It was a nightmare! Which is why I always, always find out how easy it is to clean any product before I buy it.
Cleaning the Bumbo with the tray could not be any easier. You can wipe it off easily with a wet cloth regularly. You can also use a multi-surface cleaner on the chair occasionally.
Bumbo made the chair out of a foam substance that has an almost pleather-like surface material. So you can imagine how easy it is to clean this seat.
The tray is just as easy to clean with a damp cloth as well. You can also use a multi-surface cleaner on this tray. You may find it most convenient to just wash it in the sink with soap and water, as you would any kind of dish.
5. Skid Resistant
If you watched my video that I made about the Baby Bjorn bouncer (you can see it below!), then you know how important it is to me that a baby product is skid resistant. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in thinking this is an essential quality in a baby product, especially if the baby is going to be actually sitting in the product.
So one of the reasons I’m obsessed with the Baby Bjorn is because I don’t have carpeting in many areas of my home. The carpet can keep most baby products secure and they don’t seem to skid at all, but if you have hardwood, laminate, or sometimes tile, your baby gear could be sliding all over the place.
Obviously, it’s not safe for your baby to be sliding around on the floor, and so any product that has a rubbery texture on the bottom will keep it securely in place. The Bumbo seat does not have any rubber feet, but the entire base has a texture that grips onto any kind of slick surface, making it safe for literally any flooring type.
6. Tray Option
According to Bumbo, the Bumbo seat has an age range of 3 months to 12 months. I did mention earlier that the peak time that babies will be interested in using this product is when they are learning to sit. However, all of that changes when you add the tray into the mix.
As just a seat that helps your baby learn to use their trunk muscles and a chair that helps them sit with support, this won’t hold your baby’s interest for long. However, if you use it as a snacking seat or with toys, your baby will love sitting in this seat for much longer and will enjoy having the change of pace.
The tray is super simple to attach and detach, which I absolutely love. I have had so many high chairs or boosters that were absolute nightmares to figure out. Either the tray hooks on the sides or it slides in. But most of the time it can be easy to attach it incorrectly and your baby could knock it right off the seat.
As a parent, the things you need more of are spills, am I right?
So when I used the Bumbo with a tray, I was hooked. You don’t have to worry about clicking a bunch of areas into place. You simply attach the tray on top of the leg separator in the middle and it just fits perfectly into place.
The tray is also not as bulky as so many high chair and booster seats are. It’s not impossible to fit it into your sink to clean it, which is a huge win for me.
Another great feature of the Bumbo with the Tray is that there are a lot of toys that Bumbo makes specifically for the tray. If you have a baby younger than crawling age, you know that sometimes they get bored of the same old thing.
Babies love to be in different positions and have different, stimulating things to look at constantly. This is a time for a baby to really learn to have independent play. If they get bored or restless, they will cry out for you to hold and entertain them. More often than not, your day can end up being a lot of playing and a lot of shifting your baby from one hip to the next as you do every activity in your home that you need done.
While I fully support holding your baby as often as possible, sometimes it just isn’t a realistic goal. Holding your baby 24/7 makes it hard to do even the most simple tasks. You can’t do the dishes, laundry, or cooking as easy as you could if you could just put your baby down for even 15 minutes during awake time.
The Bumbo offers an entertaining option to your baby in a different position and some toys that he or she can explore without your help. You don’t need to make funny faces or flip pages in books. They can just keep themselves happy in that space for the amount of time that it takes you to send some emails, make a phone call, or tidy up your home.
Here are some of the toys that Bumbo sells as accessories for the Bumbo seat with a tray:
There is a variety of about four different suction toys that you can pick from the Bumbo website. There were six at one time, but currently they are only selling four. The choices are Hildi the Hippo, Luca the Lion, Enzo the Elephant, and Gwen the Giraffe.
All these toys come with a single animal about the size of a rattle that stands upright on any smooth surface with suction at the bottom. The suction is strong enough that it would be nearly impossible for a baby to pull it off, but not so strong that it would be any trouble for an adult person to pull off and rearrange.
These toys all have a unique design. Some of them rattle with noise-making beads, some rock back and forth and some have rings you can twist. There is a design for everyone and each parent can choose which will work best for their nursery and baby.
There is also a playtop safari toy that is an exciting option. It features a plastic flipbook, a noisemaker, an animal figurine, and moveable beads. It also has a cup holder for a sippy cup or for a small snack to help your baby work on their fine motor skills.
This safari playtop is such an awesome option for a chair toy because it is pretty versatile. It is also connected by suction cups, so you don’t have to worry about having to play the drop and pick up game endlessly.
This also means that you can suction it to other surfaces as well. You could potentially put it in the shower or on a different high chair. It isn’t only made to fit the surface of the Bumbo Tray. This is a really awesome feature because the Fisher Price Sit Me Up Floor Seat (which I personally really love and you can read about it here!) has the option of a toy tray but it only connects to that particular tray. The suction feature is really such an easy feature to add, and it is so convenient to all parents.
The stages safari is like a super versatile play gym for babies. They can start using it at 3 months or even younger, in my opinion. This gym can be used to hang over babies when they are very young infants as a small stimulation. Your baby can explore the world around them and look at toys before they have the muscle strength and coordination to grab ahold of them and actually play with them.
The neat thing about this baby gym is that you can adjust the height and the direction that the toy bar is facing. So although a baby can use it while they are laying on the ground staring up at it, it can also be used in the Bumbo seat. You can adjust the height of the toy bar to be at the perfect place for your baby to reach for the toys while in the chair.
There is also a mirror feature, which I especially love. Babies go crazy for watching themselves in the mirror. This is a common feature that I loved in the Fisher Price Cradle ‘N Swing line that I wrote about here!
Other Features I Love
Well, I couldn’t stop at just seven reasons, I guess, so here are some bonus features that I also really love!
One thing I love about the
is that it is super lightweight and easy to carry around. It doesn’t collapse, but it is already much smaller than most high chairs, boosters, or activity centers, that it really doesn’t need to be collapsable. It weighs less than 5 pounds and it is not bulky at all. You can easily carry it through doorways and up and down stairs.
This is also a great option to take to friends houses or grandparents houses if you want your baby to have a meal off of your lap. If there is no booster option, you can set your baby up with food near you on the ground in the Bumbo. It’s not ideal for everyday feeding, but occasionally it can do the trick.
I also love that the Bumbo comes with a great variety of cover fabric as well as several base colors to choose from. You really don’t even need to get a fabric cover since the base is so easy to clean. But if you do want to get some, there are quite a few to choose from.
One Thing I Don’t Love
With all the great things that Bumbo offers, there is one hang up that I have with the seat. I love all the above features, but I did find that the leg holes were a bit small. It was pretty difficult to get my baby in and out of the seat. Many times, I would try to grab my baby out of the seat and the seat would come up with him.
I understand that the legs are tight so that the baby is safe and secure in the seat. I get that having tighter leg holes means that the baby cannot crawl out of the seat. However, my babies have all been fairly skinny, so I can only imagine what it would be like to have a baby with a bit more substance in the seat.
That being said, my baby never seemed bothered by me having to pry him out of the seat. There were never any signs of discomfort while using the seat, so it is a very minor issue.
How Often To Use It
The Bumbo chair can offer a period of time where you can get one or two small tasks done, however, it shouldn’t be used for very long each day. Try to use the same advice that doctors give for tummy time with your use of the Bumbo.
When babies are first born, they typically will only do tummy time for a few minutes at a time, slowly working themselves up to longer periods of time. Your baby might enjoy the Bumbo, and it might be a great change of pace for him or her, but don’t be tempted to leave your baby in there for too long. Floor time is very important for your baby to develop the muscles that he or she needs to continue growing and developing. While they are learning to sit up, they are also learning to scoot, turn over, and several other skills that cannot be developed as well if they are confined to a chair.
Your baby will probably lose interest in the seat before it is something that you need to worry about, but just don’t be surprised if their time in the chair is isolated to 15 to 20 minutes at a time. This is completely normal, and appropriate for the age and development.
Bumbo is very clear that you should not use the chair for certain activities. However, I will admit that in sheer desperation, I have used the Bumbo for some unsanctioned activities, and it was amazing.
I want to explain that I was always 100% focused on my baby while I was doing these things. Also, I was not doing some sort of household chore at the same time I was doing these activities and only giving half my attention to my baby.
I will say that the seat was great for what it is meant for, but for some reason, using it for the things I wasn’t supposed to was even more helpful for me. So again, I’m not saying you should use the seat for these things, but I’m not going to lie, I did, and it was very helpful.
When you first have a baby, giving them sponge baths in the sink is a fun little ritual. They are so darn cute and they don’t really have a whole lot of experiences other than eating, pooping, and sleeping. So giving them a bath seems like a huge event for them.
But as the weeks go by, life goes back to normal a bit, and the sponge bath loses its appeal. I will freely admit that I would put my babies in the Bumbo in the shower with me. Once they knew how to hold their head up, it was in the shower with me. It’s nearly impossible to find a moment alone to take a shower and it really is impossible to wash your hair while you are holding an infant to your chest. So Bumbo seat it was.
And my kids really enjoyed it! I always made sure to pull them out to wash their bodies so I was being thorough and I always had my eyes on them. I never used it in a bath, just in the shower. So there really wasn’t anything that could have happened to my baby. It was just a great way to get us both cleaned and I didn’t have to waste my precious nap times on a shower for me!
So although Bumbo explicitly says it is not a shower seat, I did use it in the shower, and it was invaluable.
Sitting On The Table
Another thing that I did, that Bumbo said was a big no-no, was to put the Bumbo on the table. I didn’t normally do this and I never put it on the counter while I was making food or anything. I would just have our baby sit in the middle of the table as a sort of baby centerpiece while we were all eating. This way we were all watching the baby. We were all entertaining each other and it felt like we were having a family meal before my baby was really old enough to handle being in a high chair.
Being a part of the family is important even at a very young age. However, even though my baby was never able to get out of the seat on her own, I never would have left her up there unsupervised for a second.
Overall, the Bumbo seat with a tray is an absolute favorite among parents everywhere. They love the versatility, safety, and convenience of the Bumbo. And if you do get the Bumbo, make sure to get it with a tray, because the tray opens up a lot more opportunities for your baby that they wouldn’t have without it.