Finding the perfect highchair for your little treasure is super important since it’ll be a huge contributing factor to having a pleasant (and smooth sailing) mealtime experience. It’s up there with the crib and stroller in terms of how often it’ll be utilised and how important it is to get one that’s not only comfortable but safe too. Choosing from the best highchairs can be a fun and exciting experience. However, before you begin your shopping spree, you’ll probably have a lot of questions. Which highchairs are easy to clean? What’s the best foldable highchair? What’s the best highchair for small spaces? Thankfully, we’ve got all the answers to your burning questions! As with all new baby products, as long as you’re choosing a quality item that’s safe for your little one – the rest is up to you!
When Do You Need a Highchair?
When your bub can sit up on their own independently, typically around 6 months old – it’s time to introduce a highchair into your kitchen setup. Though, all little ones are different and it’s important to monitor whether your child is ready or not. And for safety reasons, you don’t want to rush your angel!
The Benefits of Highchairs
If your baby is ready for a highchair, this milestone is one that will bring benefits for both them and mummy and daddy. With your babe perched in their highchair, your hands are freed during mealtimes so that you can prepare and eat your own food or help your other children. Plus, this is the perfect time for your cutie to begin to learn some social skills with the family interaction that typically takes place around the dinner table.
Other benefits of highchairs include:
- Encourages independent eating – your little one learning to self-feed will provide your budding eater with essential motor skills such as the pincher grasp.
- Speedier approach to independent eating – babies quickly learn to feed themselves when they have a highchair. This is because they can explore, play, grab a mouthful and swallow all by themselves. Plus, when eating independently, they also learn more about the food they’re munching on, and they adjust to their natural hunger signs, eating only as much as they want.
- Makes mealtimes easier – highchairs make mealtimes a hell of a lot more smooth-sailing for parents. The food trays that normally come with highchairs also have cup holders to hold bottles/cups which makes serving easier. And this also allows you to put all your bub’s food in one place. No more scurrying after your little one to spoon feed them!
- Cleaning becomes easier – babies + independent eating = a whole lot of mess! And as a new, busy mummy, you could probably do without the additional cleaning. Thankfully, highchairs can offer a helping hand in that even if your little one makes a mess, at least it’s all in one place. Plus, most highchairs have been to designed to be easy to clean – music to any mummy and daddy’s ears! With most highchairs, the food trays are removable and dishwasher safe too. Aside from the food tray, the other parts can also be cleaned with ease – all it takes is one wipe with soapy water and you’re good to go!
- Safety and comfort – there’s nothing more important than your little angel’s safety. Highchairs are designed specifically for infants or toddlers, and they’re customised with a growing infant in mind, to make sure they’re comfortable and safe. Most come with a 5-point safety harness so that your little one is secure for the whole duration of mealtime. Some models even have reclining seats to support your babe’s delicate back.
- Multipurpose – your baby’s highchair isn’t only useful for mealtimes! A highchair allows your bub to sit comfortably and focus not only on their food but other activities too. Give them colouring books, playdough, toys or even a storybook. You’ll be surprised at how much your little one will get stuck into different activities when perched on their highchair.
The Main Types of Highchairs
There are three main types of highchairs to choose from for your angel and all cater to different needs:
- Standard/traditional highchairs – these types don’t fold, or transform, and can’t be travelled with. They have a seat with four legs – just like a chair, and they’re available in lots of different styles.
- Multipurpose highchairs – these can transform from a traditional highchair to one where the seating can be removed and secured to a normal chair as a booster seat – clever right? And often, these types of highchairs can be folded for storage that’s easy as ABC!
- Grow-with-me highchairs –these modern highchairs are normally made from wood and look like actual furniture rather than baby gear. Like their name suggests, they’re designed to transform and grow with your little one as they get older – from a toddler seat to an actual adult-sized chair.
If your cutie isn’t quite there yet and isn’t ready for a highchair completely, why not think about buying a highchair with a reclining seat? These types of highchairs can be used in the upright position as well, so you’ll get plenty of use out of it as your baby goes from little to large! Many mums and dads find that the reclining position is super convenient, as it can act as a resting place for their bub. Plus, it can also work well for busy days where you’re dashing around bottle-feeding your angel with one hand whilst eating your own dinner in the other!
Remember – it’s not recommended to use the reclining position when you start feeding your little one with lots of yummy baby food.
How to Choose the Right Highchair
When picking from the best highchairs for your little one, you need to consider your lifestyle, the space you have and personal preference. Here are the following qualities you should think about:
- Cleaning – the last thing any parent wants is a highchair that you have to completely take apart when it needs cleaning. Look for highchairs with removable and washable covers, as well as ones that have few nooks/areas where those dreaded crumbs and liquids can get stuck in.
- Durability – a highchair that won’t break easily is a blessing as you want to be able to use the same highchair for at least two years. So, make sure that you pick one that’s built to last. And remember that it should be sturdy enough so that it won’t easily tip over.
- Safety – opt for highchairs with a five-point safety strap, which should be used at all times when your babe is sat in their highchair to help keep them safe and sound. Also, make sure you buy a highchair that doesn’t have easily accessible areas where teeny tiny fingers could get caught in!
- Size – if you’re not working with much room, think about buying a highchair that clips onto the table or one that can be folded and stored when you’re not using it. If it’s likely you’ll need to take your bub’s highchair to other places, for example on holiday or granny’s house, consider travel highchairs that can be easily moved about.
- Wheels – highchairs with wheels are very convenient, especially if one parent is home alone with their babe and needs to multitask whilst their baby is eating. Always test out the locking mechanism on the wheels before buying!
- Versatility – highchairs with handy features such as removable trays and seat height adjustments can grow with your bub more easily. Plus, such features make mummy and daddy’s life much easier!
TOP TIP: after you’ve found “the one” – we recommend noting down the make and model number of your little one’s highchair. It’s also a good idea to register it with the business, just in case there’s a manufacturer’s recall, if for safety or any other reason. That way you can take immediate actions and keep your pride and joy safe and sound!
Baby Highchair Safety
When your little treasure is ready for their highchair, keep these important safety tips in mind:
- Always strap your bub in – either with a five-point harness or a safety strap.
- Every time your little one uses the highchair, make sure to check it first, to see if everything’s where it should be and that there’s no damage.
- If the highchair you have can fold, make sure that the locking system is securely in place before popping your cutie in it.
- Make sure that the highchair is stable and can’t be tipped over easily.
- Keep the highchair near you at all times – you should be able to see your little gem from wherever you are. And make sure the highchair isn’t within reach of the table or countertops.
- Never leave your little one alone in their highchair. After all, who would want to leave something so adorable unattended anyway?
Whilst your baby’s comfort is important, it’s just as important that whoever’s supervising during mealtimes, whether it’s mum or dad, is familiar with how the highchair works. Learn how it folds, where the locking mechanism is, how to secure the straps properly and how to take off the tray. Remember – you’ll want to be able to show others who’ll be around at your baby’s mealtimes how to do these things.