Mamas & Papas Littleland Baby Bouncing Cradle

Just before the munchkin was born we decided to buy her a bouncing chair but we didn't want to spend too much (seeing as how we're on a very tight budget). In the end we decided on the Mamas & Papas bouncing chair from Argos for £24.99 (going direct to mamas and papas will cost you another five pound and a penny!).

When we got the chair home it needed assembly and this was relatively easy when we had worked out which way up things had to go - unfortunately the diagrams for assembly were not that clear and it was a case of trial and error to get the parts up the right way.

Following the instructions we put the chair together and just needed to add the vibration unit but there seemed to be a problem. When we took the unit out of its box there was a heavy rattling coming from inside. I put some batteries in the unit and switched it on and it seemed to work so we thought nothing of it and, as we were not planning on using the vibration function, took the batteries out and added the unit to the chair.

Due to the possible safety issues I sent Mamas and Papas an email asking if it was normal for the rattling to be happening. I sent the email on the 27 May and to this day I still have not received a reply. Customer service in the UK has been sliding downhill for years now but I believe it has hit rock bottom.

The chair, or bouncing cradle as it is called, is well made with a sturdy metal frame and legs with a tough fabric covering that forms the seat. It comes with removable covers, a 'detachable head hugger' for newborn heads and a 'detachable arc' to hang toys from (not shown in above picture) but the toys do have a tendency to slip down the arc.

To try the chair out we handed it over to our semi-tame 3 week old baby who seemed to be nonplussed by it.  She looked reasonably comfortable with her head resting in the head hugger but this had a tendency of slipping down as she moved her head around. The safety harness was easy to do up and undo with the two plastic clips but I feel with continued use they may get damaged.

Over time we have come to realise that the vibrations of our car through the car seat soothe the munchkin. Due to this realisation I can see why nearly all of these bouncing chairs come with some kind of vibrate function and I could also see that it was time to try ours out.

The seat cover slipped off the frame easily allowing access to the vibrate unit which allowed batteries to be installed. Remembering that the unit had something rattling inside and being a little bit of a DIYer I undid the four screws holding the unit together and discovered that the weight that causes the vibration had come off the motor. This was easily slipped back on and the unit reassembled, inserted the batteries and replaced the seat cover.

Once again it was turned over to our semi-tame baby, who this time was in 'colic crying mode'. It had the desired effect of settling the munchkin, for a while at least, and she seemed unphased by the overall vibrating.

Overall this is a good quality and low priced product from a good company. Don't be put off by the customer service as hopefully you will not be needing to use them.

OK, so I'd better score this thing.

Cost - 9/10
Ease of assembly - 6/10
Ease of use - 9/10
Munchkin points* - 7/10
Customer service - 0/10

Overall - 31/50

This is not a sponsored post, I just felt like letting people know that although there may be some problems with customer service this is a good product, especially if on a budget.

* She has fallen asleep in it a few times and seems comfortable but has no interest in the toys.

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