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Babies, Tips / How-Tos

5 Tips for Using a High Chair

Now that both you and your baby are ready to start solids and have found the perfect high chair, it’s time to start making the most of it! Transitioning your baby to their new mealtime spot is a big step both for you and your child. It signals a new level of independence, which can also present a new set of challenges. Here are five tips to keep mealtime in the high chair safe, enjoyable and rewarding.

Safety comes first in the high chair

Starting your little one eating in a high chair is exciting, but it’s natural to be worried about their safety. Take some time to familiarize yourself with your high chair and its safety features. Once you and your baby are ready for mealtimes in the high chair, there are a few key safety tips to keep in mind.

  • Be sure to lock your baby’s high chair in the open position before setting them down in it.
  • If your high chair has wheels, make sure they’re locked before your child sits down.
  • During mealtime, keep the high chair a safe distance away from anything your baby could push off against, such as a wall or counter.
  • Make sure to always strap your baby securely into the high chair while they’re seated.

Sit with your child while they’re eating

While feeding your baby, standing might seem more convenient because you’re free to move around, clean up along the way and grab extra utensils or second helpings. But try to remember that every mealtime is an opportunity to bond with your little one. Sitting next to your baby encourages interaction and eye contact as you’re feeding, making mealtime all the more special for you both. While sitting, you’ll also be better positioned to make sure your baby is safe and secure in their high chair.

Reserve the high chair for feeding only

It’s important that your baby starts to associate their high chair with mealtime and food so that they focus on eating. Nearby toys and excess time before and after meals may distract your child, making it harder to practice their new eating skills. Try following these guidelines to minimize distractions and keep your baby focused during mealtime.

  • Have meals prepared and ready to eat by the time you sit your baby down to eat.
  • Remove toys and electronic devices from your baby’s sight so they can focus on their meal.
  • Turn off the TV and any loud music.
  • Keep your pets away from the high chair during mealtime.
  • When mealtime is over, clear their plate and take them out of the high chair immediately. Redirect your baby’s attention to another activity away from the high chair.

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Messes will happen during mealtime

Babies make a mess when they’re learning to eat—and that’s OK! Being a messy eater can be part of your baby’s eating journey. The experience of touching and feeling food is part of your baby’s development, and learning how food squishes and mashes actually helps them become an independent eater. Your floor will inevitably bear the brunt of the mess, but there are ways to minimize cleanup time. Try a splat mat designed especially for use under a high chair—they easily wipe clean, and some are even machine-washable.

Let your baby be independent in the high chair

Though your baby won’t master self-feeding for a while, letting them try to feed themselves creates a more engaging environment during mealtime. Maneuvering utensils also sharpens their manual dexterity skills and hand-eye coordination. Consider supplying utensils to your baby early since this will help them understand that utensils are part of mealtime. Try loading the spoon or fork with food, and let your child put it to their mouth on their own. Even though you’ll be doing the majority of the actual feeding, your baby will likely enjoy being an active part of the process.  

Starting your child in a high chair may seem like a big challenge, but by providing a distraction-free environment during mealtime and letting them explore their newfound independence, they will master it in no time. Once your baby is comfortable in their new seat, offer them nutritious baby purees to get them started on trying new textures and flavors.

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Katie Klepek

Katie combines her passions—family, food and healthy lifestyle choices—with crafting a personalized experience for Nurture Life customers through all aspects of marketing. She has over 13 years of experience in business, communications and event planning, having previously co-founded the successful event production company Reinventing Events. Katie’s diverse background allows her to effectively combine communication and organization skills to develop, plan and deliver results. Katie attended the University of Illinois at Chicago. When she’s not spreading her cheer at Nurture Life, Katie can be found spending time with her daughter, running marathons and co-hosting a horror movie podcast with her husband.