Bumbo and Bebepod/Bebepod plus are both form-fitting foam seats designed to help babies as young as 3 months to sit unassisted. These baby seats are made out of rigid foam and molded to resemble a sitting babys bottom. The leg openings are higher than the seat area. The low seat, rounded shape, and a pommel work together to help keep baby secure without a seat belt. Light and portable, these seats can easily be moved from room to room, to the park, and to grandmas house. These seats have a wide base for stability. The foam keeps its shape well while being soft and pliable to the touch.
Recommend this product?
When I first saw these foam baby seats, I thought they were the most ridiculous idea. After all, my older son (now 6) didnt need one. He went from bouncer to exersaucer without a glitch. I also had a fancy reclining high chair, so solid feeding at 5-6 months was not a problem. Little did I know that my second child would refuse to stay reclined at just 3.5 months and that my new easy-to-clean but non-reclining feeding chair would leave ugly, painful-looking seatbelt marks on my babys tummy (at 5 to 6 months). I now understand why someone thought to design the Bumbo and Bebepod chairs. If your baby is content to recline, you probably dont need this seat. If your baby reacts to reclining with ear-piercing screams, you might want to consider getting one.
IMO, the greatest value of these seats is the way they enable babies to interact with the rest of the family. Instead of looking on from afar, such as from a much less portable exersaucer, babies can be placed right where the action is. These seats also provide a safe playing/feeding area when visiting friends or relatives who dont have highchairs or playpens.
The Bebepod, Bebepod plus, and Bumbo:
I have a green Bebepod Plus and a pink Bumbo. The Bebepod Plus is basically a regular Bebepod with a removable pommel and comes with the following accessories: a tray, 2 cute placemats, and an interesting Sassy toy (a modified Fascination Station) that fits in a groove on the tray.
The Bumbo is made out of one piece of foam. A tray can be purchased separately for about $10.
Heres how my baby has enjoyed the chairs over the months:
3 months: We tried out a Bumbo at the store and my baby slumped and didnt seem particularly happy in it. We left without a purchase and were very skeptical of the product.
4 months: We had purchased a Bebepod Plus by then and received a used Bumbo two weeks later. At this age, my baby leaned in both chairs but seemed comfortable. Unable to pick up toys from the floor yet, I spent much time handing him toys as he sit in the chair. The tray (included with the Bebepod Plus and sold separately for the Bumbo) was very useful at this age because it brought his toys to where he could reach. It was nice to be able to secure the Sassy toy that came with the Bebepod plus onto the tray so that it wouldnt keep falling off. Baby also enjoyed sitting on the table (in a safe corner, of course) as the rest of the family ate. I became a believer in these chairs!
5 months: My baby was able to grab the larger toys from the floor but still has trouble reaching the smaller ones. I placed my My Brestfriend nursing pillow around the seat with his toys on top and, voila, he was able to reach his toys and would play alone happily in the seat for quite a while. This seats also works great on a soft play gym (like the Tiny Love Gemini) where he could swat, grab, and chew on dangling toys.
6 months: My baby can reach even small things on the sides and back of the seat. The pommel prevents him from being able to get toys in the front. The other day, he picked up a small rubber band that I had missed because it was behind his seat! I now have to make sure theres nothing inappropriate within a 2-foot ring around his seat. Sometimes he wiggles or arches so hard that I think hell fall out of his seat. So far, he has not yet managed to escape though.
Below is a comparison of specific aspects of the Bebepod Plus, Bumbo, and, where appropriate, regular Bebepod.
Size and Fit:
The Bumbo has a slightly larger base than the Bebepod but both seats are very stable. The Bumbo has a tighter fit and seems to dip lower than the Bebepod. Because of its tighter fit, the Bumbo would probably be better for a smaller baby. The Bebepod may be better for a large baby. My 6-year-old who loves to sit in his brothers chairs prefers the Bebepod because the Bumbo is too tight. (LOL!)
The seat of the Bumbo is bumpy while that of the Bebepod is smooth. Ive read reviews of small babies slipping in the Bebepod. I, however, have never had that experience.
The Bebepod Plus has a removable pommel that clicks into place. Having a removable pommel has its pluses and minuses: It makes taking the baby in and out of the seat easier, but there is the risk of the pommel falling off if not secured properly. I found that if you wiggle the pommel as your click it in, it attached much more easily than if you just push straight down. I always yank the pommel to make sure it is on securely. The pommel is very big and my baby loves chewing on it. Even without any toys, the pommel can keep him entertained for quite a while!
The regular Bebepods pommel is the same shape and size as that of the Bebepod plus. However, I have read that it is glued on and not removable.
The Bumbos pommel is part of the seat. It is lower and smaller than that of the Bebepod. My baby has tried to chew on it unsuccessfully.
A tray is particularly useful for young babies who cant reach toys on the floor and for older babies who are eating finger foods. In the in between stage, I found the tray to be unnecessary. In fact, my 6-month-old often finds the tray frustrating as it impedes his ability to pick up dropped toys.
Bebepod Plus: The plastic tray clicks into the pommel slot when the pommels removed. The tray can be attached, detached, and adjusted with one hand. The locking mechanism underneath the tray is held on with three screws. The tray is easy to wipe clean, but I would be hesitant to dunk the whole thing in water for fear of the screws becoming rusty. The placemats are made of thin laminated foam: smooth on one side and foamy on the other. The foamy side show imprints fairly easily. The smooth side seems durable and is easy to wipe clean.
The regular Bebepod does not come with a tray and there is no aftermarket tray to fit the seat. Therefore, buyer beware, if you even remotely think you might need a tray, dont get the Bebepod. You will not be able to get a tray to fit it. I hope that Prince Lionheart changes this in the future.
I do not have the tray for the Bumbo but have seen it in the store. It seems to be of one-piece plastic construction and pressure fitted onto the seat. Id imaging that it would be very easy to clean (no screws) but not adjustable.
I had read reports of the Bebepod having a strong chemical smell. When I took my Bebepod Plus out of the plastic bag, to my dismay, it did have a very strong smell. I called customer service immediately and was informed that some seats were packaged before they were properly dried. She instructed me to leave the seat out, preferably in the sun, for a day. I followed the instructions and the smell was pretty much gone the next day. My understanding is that this is not a problem with every seat.
The Bumbo is not packaged in plastic (just in a cardboard box) so it has lots of time to off gas (during transport, in the warehouse, on the shelf). Not surprisingly, all the ones I checked out at the store were odor free.
The Bebepod Plus, with its removable pommel and tray, has a lot of places where sand and dirt could get into. When the pommel is removed there is a deep shaft in the seat that could collect dirt, water, etc. Most components of the Bebepod plus wipe clean easily, but I would not take this seat to the beach or a muddy park. Once sand or mud gets inside the shaft, it looks like it would be very hard to get out again.
The Bumbos one-piece construction makes it super easy to hose down or wipe clean. Id have no hesitation to take the Bumbo to the beach or park.
Because of the issue of thorough cleaning, the Bebepod plus has become our indoor seat and the Bumbo our outdoor seat.
The Bumbo is basically one solid piece of molded foam and is pretty much indestructible. My Bumbo is a well-used hand-me-down and, other than the color being a little unevenly faded, the seat is in very good condition.
The Bebepod Plus, with all its accessories, has a lot of plastic parts that may not be as durable. So far, I have not had a problem, though.
Typically, the Bebepod Plus goes for $59.99, the Bumbo $39.99, and the regular Bebepod $34.99. I have seen them cheaper or on sale at various online stores. They are not cheap, but no discussion about cost is complete without considering resale value.
I have found that a used Bebepod Plus in good condition sells for about $40-$45; used Bumbos and regular Bebepods both resale for about $15-$25 (depending on condition). So with resale, the prices actually go from exorbitant to fair. Also there are plenty good deals if you are willing to buy a used one.
I like both seats and have trouble picking a clear winner. The Bumbo and Bebepod/Bebepod plus perform equally well in their function as baby seats. The Bumbo wins for ease of cleaning. The Bebepod Plus wins for its nifty accessories. Which would be better for you would depend highly on how you plan to use it. Once you figure that out, youll probably know which seat will be better for you and your baby. Still not sure? Might I suggest trying one out from a store with a good return policy? For example, Walmart has a 90 day return policy, which should be way more than enough time for you and your baby to evaluate the seat yourselves.