3 Steps to choosing the right highchair for your baby
Believe it or not, choosing your baby’s highchair is more important than you might think.
Above all a good highchair:
1. Helps your baby to eat safely
2. Is comfortable which encourages your child to try new foods
3. Allows for improved self-feeding
4. Encourages enjoyable family meals
Think about how much you’d like to spend. Bear in mind the price per use! Your baby will be eating here up to 3 times per day during the first year and 5-6 times per day during their second and third years. So, it’s worth investing in the right one. However, paying more doesn’t always mean better. You can get good highchairs across all price ranges and you may even pick up a bargain second-hand.
Comfort and Posture
This is the most important factor in ensuring that your baby has the best chance to eat well and enjoy mealtimes. Comfort does not mean padding. Comfort means the chair is the right fit for your baby. In a good high chair your baby shouldn’t be able to slip under the tray, fall from side to side, lean backwards or stand up!
Therefore the secret to proper seating posture is the 90:90:90 rule. Your baby should be sitting with their hips, knees, and ankles all bent at 90 degrees.
The 90:90:90 Rule
Firstly, a 90-degree angle in between the back and hips. So, avoid all high chairs that slightly recline backwards. If your highchair is too reclined, then consider adding a cushion or rolled up towel behind your baby’s back.
Secondly, a 90-degree angle between ankle and feet. Do not pick a chair where your baby’s feet dangle. This makes babies more uncomfortable when they eat and less likely to sit in a chair for as long. Think about how you feel when you eat on a bar stool! If you buy a chair without a footrest, try to find a way to support your baby’s feet (sometimes it works to put the seat of a kitchen chair under their feet). Or if your baby’s feet do not touch the footrest, get creative and build on some support.
Thirdly a 90-degree angle at the elbows. This way, your baby will have easier access to the foods on the tray. Avoid choosing a high chair with a tray that’s too high. You can always raise your baby up by placing a cushion or rolled up towel under their bum!
There are benefits to finding a high chair the same size as the table your family will eat at. It’s an advantage if your baby sits at the table just like everyone else.
And finally, choose a highchair with good back support. You want to choose a high chair with a seatback that’s higher than the top of the baby’s head.
Easy to clean
As a mum I think this is crucial for maintaining your sanity! Cleaning the highchair is still my most dreaded job.
Because whether you choose baby led weaning or a combination of spoon feeding and finger foods, weaning and feeding young kids is messy. Mess is all part of the learning process. If there is no mess, there’s something wrong!
High chairs that are easy to clean:
• Have no padding
• Have few or no straps
• Can be wiped down or hosed off
• Have removable trays or no trays at all
As you can see, there’s definitely more involved than finding a chair that matches your kitchen (although you have to like the look of it too!) so grab your baby, keep these three steps in mind and off you shop!