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Choosing a baby led weaning high chair is an exciting time as it means your baby is about to begin solid foods! According to Occupational Therapist Casey Fish, if you have decided to go with baby led weaning, it is especially important that you choose a high chair that will allow your baby to be in a comfortable and appropriate seated position.
6 Things to Look for In a BLW High Chair
1. High Chair with Adjustable Footrest
While many high chairs have a footrest, few have an adjustable footrest. Look for a high chair with a footrest that has a large range of adjustability so that it will reach even a young 6-7-month-old baby’s feet.
Why Your Baby Needs a Foot Rest on Their High Chair
The footrest allows a baby to keep their knees at a 90-degree angle and therefore provide stability throughout their body. As an Occupational Therapist, Casey Fish fully understands the importance of a footrest. “The footrest helps to provide important proprioceptive input for the child which in turn helps them to develop good sitting balance and a sense of their body’s position in space. Would you be able to sit for long periods of time with dangling feet?”
If your high chair does not have an adjustable footrest, don’t worry. You can hack it by adding a box or even a pillow to an existing footrest to make it higher. Or you can use an exercise band to create a footrest across the two legs.
2. Ergonomics – Encourages the Proper Seated Position for Baby
Chair Height – Measure the height of your table if you are purchasing a chair that your baby can sit directly at the table with. There are 2 main points to consider with chair height:
- Ensure that your baby will be at least chest height or higher at the table.
- Make sure that the chair will slide up close enough to the table (ie there are not armrests that will get in the way.)
Seat Depth – A young baby may get “lost” in a large seat or a seat with a large depth. For example, the IKEA chair is very deep. A young baby may need it modified with a fitted cushion to ensure they have good posture throughout the meal.
Allows for Proper Foreward Leaning/Pelvic Tilt – As an Occupational Therapist, Casey states that the seat should not be reclined and needs to allow for a child to sit slightly foreward as we do even as adults to ensure they can self-feed with success.
3. Easy to Clean
A smooth surface is easy to wipe clean. Choosing a chair without many crevices and that has simple lines will clean easier. If the chair comes with cushions, ensure that they are easy to wipe down and are machine washable as well. Finally, if you plan to use an included chair tray, many of them have the top part that pops off for easier washing. Having one of the easiest to clean high chairs will certainly make your job as a parent simpler.
4. Baby Can Sit Directly at Table
Babies learn by observing and eating is no different. Allowing them to sit directly at the table with you if you are able will not only help them learn through observation but likely improve their satisfaction at mealtime especially as they get older. Many seats allow for a baby to sit at table, but make sure they will 1) work with YOUR table and 2) allow for even a young baby to sit at the table properly.
Obviously, there are many different looks of high chairs out there. Consider one that will match your kitchen well by blending in with your other chairs or decorating style. Many high chairs now offer a more minimalistic and wooden style rather than the conventional plastic chair.
Choose a well-made chair as it will certainly get daily almost nonstop use. Many of the chairs grow with your child and some can even be used indefinitely as they age (with weight limits up to 250lbs.) Not to mention, if you plan to have more than one child, it will be used for years.
The 5 Best High Chairs for Baby Led Weaning
Below are a few of the most popular baby led weaning high chairs on the market. Be sure to keep reading the article for more information on what to look for in any high chair you plan to use for baby-led weaning.
- Stokke Tripp Trapp grows with your child
- Baby can sit with the family at the table or you can use the tray (included in some versions) to make it more like a traditional high chair
- Adjustable seat and adjustable footrest
- Easy to clean
- High Chair Weighs 23 lbs
The Stokke Tripp Trapp is likely the most popular baby high chair for baby led weaning. It is made in the European Union and is made to last years as it grows with your child! It’s our favorite chair since it does have the infant insert with it. This makes it a great choice to have your child directly at the table starting at 6 months.
The Keekaroo is a great high chair choice and easily tied with the Tripp Trapp for our top choice. It’s made in the USA, is a bit lighter weight than the Tripp Trapp, but with a similar design as the Tripp Trapp. The Keekaroo is more budget-friendly than the Tripp Trapp as well and now does have this version available which includes an infant insert which, similar to the Tripp Trapp, does give the young baby (~6 months) the option to safely sit at the table.
- Grows with your child – can be used from 6 months to 250 lbs
- Baby can sit at the table with the family or you can use the included tray
- Adjustable seat and adjustable footrest
- Easy to clean
- High chair weighs 17 lbs – making it a lighter weight choice
The Abiie High Chair is another popular choice. It does weigh a bit less than the Tripp Trapp and is highly rated. Since the seat is wide and there is no infant insert as there is with the Tripp Trapp, you may have to wait until your baby is a little bigger to let them sit at the table in it. Therefore, expect to be using the chair in traditional high chair form with the tray when they start eating around 6 months.
4. Stokke Steps
- Grows with your child – 6 months to 3 years
- Child can be pushed up to the table or use the optional tray (may need to purchase separately depending on bundle)
- Adjustable back and footrest
- Contemporary Scandinavian Design
- High chair weighs 25.6 lbs – comparable to Stokke Tripp Trapp, but heavier than Keekaroo or Abiie.
Another option by Stokke this chair also works great for any age child. This option is no doubt expensive, but if you like the looks of it and have the extra cash to spare we think this chair can make a great choice.
- Chair can easily be converted from infant high chair to child’s chair
- Easy to clean. Chair can even be hung on the table for easy cleaning of the floor under the chair.
- Modern Scandinavian Design
While another expensive choice, this modern chair is designed well to sit your child upright at the table. It’s made in Europe with environmentally friendly components. Personally, I love the feature that allows you to hang it on your table in order to sweep under because any mom knows how often a baby makes a mess in their high chair. You can also purchase this cushion to go along with it.
Review of Other Popular Baby High Chairs
Ikea Antilop High Chair – This popular and budget-friendly high chair priced at $20 can make a good choice, especially for grandparents’ houses. For small babies (such as those 6-month-old and younger) we recommend a cushion for the seat due to the width and depth, such as the one IKEA or yeah baby sells. Additionally, it can be customized with an adjustable footrest from Yeah Baby making it a better choice.
Primo Cozy Tot – The chair does have an adjustable footrest and reviewers state a large pro being that it is very easy to clean. We didn’t get to see this chair in person, but it does appear from photos in the reviews that babies do sit upright better in this one than many. Another benefit we see to this highchair is it does fold up and is then very compact for homes that do not use high chairs daily (such as grandparents and other caregivers.)
Joovy Nook – This is another popular high chair. However, the footrest is not adjustable so you would need to modify that and the baby does not sit upright properly. It does have a removable/washable seat cover and folds.
Stokke Click – Another popular Stokke chair, the Stokke click has a minimalist and modern design. However, drawbacks include that while the footrest is somewhat adjustable, it only has 2 options therefore leaving youngest babies legs dangling. If you’re going to be spending this much, we would recommend increasing your budget even enough to get the Keekaroo (approx an extra $30) or Abiie if the Tripp Trapp is out of budget for you.
Baby Bjorn – Similar to the Primo Cozy Tot, but without an adjustable footrest and at a higher cost. This one isn’t our favorite, especially considering the price point.
OXO Tot Sprout – The chair does offer 3 levels of adjustment for both height and footrest and converts to a toddler chair as well (max capacity 60 lbs.) However, considering the price level is similar to the Keekaroo or Abiie, we definitely recommend choosing one of those instead which are more adjustable and versatile including the ability to get the footrest up more for a 6-month-old baby.
4moms – This chair offers 3 different height levels but no adjustability in the footrest and does not promote great posture. Plus, at this price point, you could choose almost any of our top choices and actually come out saving money.
Graco Blossom – This popular highchair does have some great features. For example, it is actually 2 highchairs in 1 with the ability to seat 2 children and some versatility in how this is done. This can be convenient and makes it more budget-friendly when baby # 2 inevitably joins your family in 2 years. It can also turn into a booster seat allowing your child to sit at the table. It does have several height adjustments, but you will need to adapt the footrest as a young baby’s feet will not reach it.
What is a Baby Led Weaning High Chair and Why You Need One
A great baby-led weaning high chair will help your baby to have a more pleasant mealtime experience. Many high chairs do not encourage proper posture for your baby and make it uncomfortable for them to sit. This can cause babies and toddlers to have a hard time sitting and focusing on their meal.
If you are having trouble getting your toddler or baby to stay seated or focused on meals, a new chair may solve or at least help your dilemma.
Similarly, young babies may have trouble feeding themselves if their chair does not promote good posture. For example, my parents used to have this Cosco Fold Chair and my babies would be leaning back so far they would nearly slide out of the chair. They had a really hard time eating – I can imagine I would too if I were reclined!
Having an ergonomic high chair for baby-led weaning will certainly help your baby have more positive experiences with food and dining.
The Different Types of High Chairs for Baby Led Feeding
Adjustable High Chairs
The chair should be adjustable in several places. For example, some high chairs are adjustable in height but do not have an adjustable footrest. Finding a high chair with an adjustable footrest is a top priority to ensure a baby feels secure and comfortable, thus giving them the stamina they need to last through the meal.
Standard (Non-adjustable) High Chairs
Most standard high chairs such as the popular Graco DuoDiner are not adjustable in height. Some do have an ongoing footrest, but most babies will not be properly positioned in a forward pelvic tilt in these types of chairs.
Hook On High Chairs
The largest downside (and it’s a big one) to most clip-on high chairs is that they do not have a footrest. However, they can be a good option to get a baby at the table with you if you have a bar height table. If this is the case and you are using one for regular use, I would recommend placing a chair or stool under the high chair for the baby to rest their legs on.
3 Popular Hook On High Chairs
- Chicco 360 Hook On High Chair – This Chicco features a chair that can be swiveled all the way around. This can make it convenient if you want to have the ability to turn your baby. This is actually the clip-on chair that we use for travel as well as on our bar on occasion and we do like it. However, it is not as compact as the other two options below, so depending on what you want it for you may consider another option.
- Phil & Ted’s Lobster Clip On High Chair – This high chair attaches easily and has a minimalist design. It promotes a baby to sit well except it of course has no footrest, like all clip-on high chairs. Some reviewers do complain that the leg holes are small, but the chair is definitely compact.
- Inglesina Fast Table Chair – This one is definitely more compact and totable than the Chicco and faster to set up. It makes a great choice for travel.
High chair vs Booster Seat
Many parents often switch their child to a booster seat as they get older and become a toddler. Often times, these kids were eating in a standard high chair and the parents were wanting to get the child at the table with them as opposed to eating in their high chair off of a tray.
If you are using one of the top baby-led weaning chairs in which the tray can be removed and the child can sit at the table, it is likely not necessary.
Some boosters leave a child’s feat unsupported while others may allow the child to support their feet on the table. However, often depending on chair and table heights this may prevent the child from being pushed under the table properly. Therefore, using one of the baby led weaning chairs above which convert to a toddler chair (Tripp Trapp, Abiie, Keekaroo, Stokke Steps, and Nomi) can be the best bet.
If you do use a booster seat just aim to have your child’s feet supported for best positioning.
Another option in transitioning is a junior chair. I purchased this IKEA AGAM chair for my son recently and we love it. He is able to be at the table with us at an appropriate height and has support for his legs. It’s recommended for ages 3 and older, but we found it did work for him at about 2.5. Certainly every child is different and I did try my son in a junior chair before this and he just wasn’t ready yet.
The Benefits of Using High Chair Designed for Baby Led Weaning
Baby-led weaning has a focus on the child experiencing and experimenting with food on their own. In order to do this, a child needs to be comfortable and able to self feed from the start, usually around 6 months of age. This is best achieved with a proper sitting position.
Many old school high chairs may recline as babies were previously started on purees or rice cereal initially and spoon-fed. However, now it is not recommended to feed your child before they are 6 months old and sitting on their own. Therefore, it simply does not make sense to have a reclining high chair even if you do not do baby-led weaning as your baby will eventually be fed finger foods around 9 months even if you start with purees.
Simply put, it is of utmost importance that your baby/toddler is comfortable at the table in order to help them sit for the duration of the meal and have continued interest in their food. While most high chairs can be adapted to be more comfortable for your baby, it is certainly easier to buy one that promotes stability on its own.
FAQ: Choosing Your Baby’s High Chair
I remember registering for my baby’s first high chair and the excitement it held. Feeding your baby is an exciting journey and choosing a chair is actually a pretty big deal since it can influence their experience at mealtimes. Here are some commonly asked questions.
Can a 6 month old sit in a high chair?
When a baby can sit on it’s own with out support, they are ready to sit in a high chair. Many babies sit on their own around 6 months of age. If your baby can sit before 6 months of age, it is still not recommended to feed your baby before 6 months.
What age do babies come out of the high chair?
All children are different developmentally and physically and this will influence when they are ready to come out of the high chair. Many high chairs work for 6 months – 3 years. However, many toddlers are ready to come away from a traditional chair and be seated at the table between 18 months – 2.5 years.
However, if you buy a high chair that is also a toddler chair, you avoid this question altogether by having the child at the table at a young age. Even at 3 years old, a child will need a junior chair/toddler chair/booster chair to help them sit properly.
Do babies need a high chair?
You will not need a baby high chair until your baby is around 6 months old and starts to eat solid foods. At that point, yes, it will be important to purchase a chair for your baby. Consider one that will work as a toddler chair as well.
Why do my babies hate the high chair?
They may be uncomfortable. Many traditional high chairs do not promote proper seating position according to Occupational Therapists. That is why it is important to choose a chair that your child can get comfortable in.
Other Baby Led Weaning Resources
Best Baby Led Weaning Bibs – Baby-led weaning can be SO MESSY. Having the best BLW bib is a lifesaver!
Baby Led Weaning Must-Haves – Check out all my favorite must-have gear for baby led weaning!
Top Plastic Free Cups for Babies and Toddlers – These are my favorite cups for babies and toddlers.
Born To Eat : Whole Healthy Foods From Baby’s First Bite -This book was really helpful in getting started with baby led weaning with my firstborn.
Casey Fish, OTR
This article was written in collaboration with Casey Fish, Occupational Therapist. Casey provides an expert opinion on choosing functional baby equipment both as a therapist and father of two.
Josten Fish, RD
Josten Fish, RD is the owner and founder of Dietitian Meets Mom. She has over 10 years of experience in the field of Nutrition and is Mommy to 2 littles ages 1 and 3. Josten’s husband Casey often makes appearances on Dietitian Meets Mom as well as he provides his professional input on feeding kids as an Occupational Therapist.
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