We just made the trek to downtown LA to take a look at the Tatamia highchair. Advertised as a infant feeder, highchair and swing with one of the slimmest folds available, we wanted to take a look at the space-saving possibilities.
First off, this thing is unbelievably hard to find. The nearest boutique shop that had a floor model available for examination was 30 miles away, at La Brea and Highland. After spending about an hour folding, adjusting, swinging, raising and lowering the seat, I have some thoughts.
The braking system, which uses two buttons on top of the highchair to release the brakes (the brakes are permanently on) was very nicely done. Some people don’t like this set up as it requires two hands to move the chair, but I am fond of its operation.
The swing is a nearly useless feature. Yes, the highchair swings, but don’t mistake this for what most of us think of as a baby swing. You have to push it, which will result in an uneven swinging motion. It also seemed to have a lot of friction when swinging, which means that it will need to be pushed often. In my mind, the swing functionality kind of misses the point, which is to entertain the baby while freeing you up to do other things — or if you are lucky, to use the swing to lull the baby to sleep. I can’t see this swing/highchair doing either of those tasks well. The buttons to allow the swing to function require you to push and slide… and didn’t work well. Even after figuring out which buttons to use to convert into swing mode, it still took almost 10 minutes of fighting to successfully move both buttons.
This highchair has a LOT of cracks and crevices that need to be cleaned. The tray itself is fine, but in the location where the chair attaches to the frame, there are numerous places where food WILL end up. None of these places would be easily cleaned.
The fabric is fantastic, the build quality appears high, and the front tray uses the standard Peg Perego attachment method, with spring-loaded rotating arms that fit inside of corresponding tubes. These stuck every time I tried to remove the tray, resulting in a very disconcerting ‘tweak’ to the tray — one side was still in the tube while the other side entirely removed, which is far more flex that I would prefer to see in a design like this one.
The folding method was easy enough for the base — pull up on two tabs and both sides of the elliptical base automatically flip up, leaving a narrow center that the chair sits on. The release to collapse the seat was easy enough — but required putting the chair into swing mode to re-attach. -1 for user-friendliness.
The seat recline was easy enough with a lift-up handle with several recline positions, including ones appropriate for infant feeding.
Bottom-line, we passed on this chair. The overall build quality seemed good, but the fit on most of the plastic buttons used for adjusting various elements of the chair seemed sub-par. I expect all functions on a $350 highchair to work like a well-oiled machine. The adjustments on this chair have more in common with a Happy Meal toy than a finely tuned precision instrument. Save your money, buy a good swing (the mamaroo seems like a good choice with a space-saving design) and a more run-of-the-mill highchair for the same price as Tatamia.