If your baby is about to start solids then it's time to get a high chair! But how to choose the right one?
The answer is yes! It is very important. Your baby will associate their highchair with mealtimes. They will know this is their space and time of day where food is eaten. It gives your child a sense of routine. When they approach this space they will know what to expect, happy meal times.
It is important to bear in mind that the highchair is only used when your baby is able to sit up on their own. When they can firmly support their body and head or are able to sit up with minimal support. This usually develops at around 6 months of age. Which is just around the age at which we start solids.
Choose a firm and resistant highchair made out of wood or plastic to support your little one. Always make sure that the size of the base of the highchair is greater than the upper part, this way you will prevent your baby from tipping over due to lack of stability.
Ideally you should pick a highchair that does not have wheels. Once your baby is on it, the highchair can move and cause accidents. If your highchair has wheels, then at least make sure it has brakes!
In addition, the highchair you choose must have a foot rest, where your baby can receive some support on their feet. The support on your baby's feet will give them more security and stability. Some highchairs lack a footrest and the baby’s feet are left dangling in the air. This removes an element of stability for your baby and will make it more difficult to eat and feel comfortable.
Make sure that your baby's back is straight and not reclined. Some chair have reclinable backs which pose a choking risk to your baby. Not to mention it will make it difficult for them to see the food on their table, explore, and eat independently. We want to ensure a straight back, and proper foot support to ensure the knees are flexed at 90º. This will allow your child to maintain their balance and easily find support and stability while eating.
We also want to ensure that your baby’s elbows are positioned above the tray table. When the tray table is higher than the level of their elbows, they have trouble eating independently, difficulty interacting well with food, they lose stability, and it is not comfortable.
Opt for chairs that have rounded edges and smooth finishes,in order to protect your little one from cuts or bumps with corners.
For your child's safety, parents should always be within reach when their baby is eating on the highchair and should not be left alone. Your baby can choke while eating, or can fall out of the high chair, supervision is always required.
Find a chair with a removable tray table. This will allow you to bring the chair straight up against the family dinner table. When your child sits with everyone at the family table you encourage the important bond that occurs during meal times to grow, and the child develops their social skills. Not to mention it's a great moment for your baby to learn how to eat, chew, and enjoy foods by watching you so up close. You are their best example.
Your space at home is also important! There is a wide variety of highchairs on the market, but you must consider how much space you have without hindering the flow in your home.
Pick a highchair with a design and material that is easy to clean. Not only will this make your life easier, the highchair will last longer.
The most important thing is that your child is comfortable, stable, safe, and happy in their highchair. We always want our baby to associate mealtimes with pleasant feelings. A comfy chair, a stable frame that gives them the confidence to explore and eat independently, a happy family moment, delicious foods, and a fun sensory adventure! These positive associations created in their highchairs will ensure you have a happy eater as they grow.
Written By: Dr. Diana Jimenez, pediatrician specialized in child nutrition, lactation, and child development.
1 year ago