From its name, the term ‘Baby Led Weaning’ (BLW) means to put the baby in charge of mealtimes, and the adults follow the baby’s lead. There are many benefits to BLW and I would highly recommend parents to try, but I am also aware of BLW’s difficulty. To introduce solids, it is important to ensure that your baby can sit in a high chair. Typically, they will be ready to sit upright in a high chair around 4 to 6 months.
Apart from feeding purposes, there are several benefits to letting your baby sit in a high chair – conducting activities and facilitating communication at the table.
In this article, we share the answers to common questions such as when can a baby sit in a high chair, what are the signs of readiness and more. We will also share about the considerations when choosing a high chair, the best baby high chairs and how to use a high chair safely.
Why Should You Trust Me
Hi, I’m Serene, a mother of one 31-month-old daughter (as of June 2023) and I have used a range of high chairs at home, and outside – IKEA high chair, Stokke Tripp Trapp, Ingenuity Baby Base 2-in-1 Booster, Combi Dreamy Swing High Chair and several random ones as I dine outside.
I am a huge believer of BLW and when feeding finger foods, it is crucial for a baby to be able to sit upright independently before he/she can start feeding himself/herself. Ignoring societal expectations of feeding solids at 4 months old, I chose to wait for my daughter to be ready before introducing solids.
This leads to my signs of readiness checklist.
When Can a Baby Sit in a High Chair?
According to Solidstarts, here are the various developmental milestones your baby need to achieve before offering finger foods:
How to Choose the Right High Chair
14 out of 45 mommies stated that safety and security is the first factor they considered when looking to buy a high chair for baby led weaning. Other important considerations are ease of assembling and aesthetics of the chair.
Best Baby High Chairs
Here are some of the best high chairs that you can buy to introduce solids to your baby.
If you are interested in doing BLW, you may find some high chairs more suitable for BLW.
Plastic, can be washed down
Super easy to clean
Hard to adjust footrest
Takes longer to wipe down – many nooks and crannies
Includes baby set
One-handed tray opening
No assembly needed
Footrest not adjustable
How to Use a High Chair Safely
Tips for Sitting in a High Chair
A high chair can be used for both feeding and entertainment/teaching purposes. Proper positioning and safety in a high chair is important for your baby’s comfort. Here are some tips for your child to sit comfortably in a high chair.
Help your baby transition to the high chair
For short periods of time, let your baby test out what it feels like sitting in the high chair. You could do some of his/her favourite activities and explain to your child the need for a high chair.
When introducing solids, it may be helpful to keep each session short so that it is not too overwhelming for the child.
Check your baby’s sitting posture and position
The ideal sitting posture on a high chair is upright, with hips, knees and ankles bent at 90 degrees.
According to Solidstarts, proper positioning for feeding is crucial for swallowing safely. Additionally, seating position impacts a baby’s ability to use their arms and hands and chew. Baby should be sitting in a 90-90-90 position, which is therapy jargon referring to the ankles, knees, and hips at 90-degree angles. The child’s center of gravity or weight should be neutral or forward with feet firmly planted on the footplate.
Position the high chair well
The high chair should be positioned well – not too close to the table such that the baby can kick or push against the table and tip themselves backwards. Ensure that the baby can see and feel like a part of the family, but not within reach of things on the table that is hot or sharp.
FAQs About Babies Sitting in a High Chair
Is a footrest necessary for my baby?
It’s good to have a footrest as it will create the safest and most comfortable experience for your baby when eating solids.
A stable footrest provides the best base for the body to chew, and swallow the food. According to Solidstarts, the optimal seating posture is the 90-90-90 position, where the ankles, knees, and hips are at 90-degree angles.
In short, it’s much more comfortable and easier for babies to reach and grasp for food when their feet are planted on a stable surface.
Can I use a high chair if my baby can’t sit up?
Ideally, you should not be using a high chair if your baby is unable to sit up right independently. However, should you need to let the baby sit on a high chair, you can consider reclining ones, or those with infant inserts.
Why does my baby slump forward or sideways after a while?
There are several reasons this could happen:
- Lack of core strength to maintain an upright position
- Lack of engagement that leads them to lose focus
- Improper fit or support (seat too big, lack of footrest, insufficient support at the sides or backrest)
What could you do to help your baby?
- Ensure proper positioning (height wise, feet to be supported, using cushions to help support baby)
- Engaging them in activities and interact with them
- Start with short periods of time on the high chair before extending the time
When to transition from high chair to table?
Typically, a child is ready to move away from the high chair between 18 months and 3 years of age (p.s. My 2.5yo daughter is still on her high chair at home as the height is perfect for my dining table).
Here are some signs you can look out for to consider this transition:
1) Developmental milestones:
- Child is ready to sit independently and maintain good posture without support
- Child has the coordination and motor skills to eat without assistance
2) Safety considerations:
- They should be able to reach the table comfortably without the risk of falling over
3) Comfort and preference:
- Some children may want to sit in the high chair still (like my daughter!), while others prefer a regular chair
You could always consider booster seats (as regular chairs can be too low for them), toddler chairs, or stacking regular chairs (ensure safety first!).
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