Know When To Start Using A High Chair For Your Baby

photo by: @walkinginmemphisinhighheels

Feeding is one of the most important aspects of caring for your new baby—and figuring out how (and when) to make the transition to solids can stump many new parents. How do you know your baby is ready to take this next natural step in their development and make the move to a high chair?

Fortunately, if you know what to look for, your baby will tell you when it’s time to make the transition. Learn how to spot the signs that your baby is ready for this next exciting milestone so you know how and when to use a high chair safely.

The Many Benefits of High Chairs 

What is it that makes the transition to using a high chair such an exciting development? While it may not be as flashy as, say, a new stroller, once you figure out when to start using a high chair, it will become one of your most-used baby gear items for the first few years of your baby’s life, with so many important benefits that make your life easier. 

Once your baby can start using a high chair, they can join you at the table for family meals—giving you all the benefits of family meals even if you’re not sharing the same food yet. Research shows that eating meals as a family can lead to your baby developing healthier lifelong habits and skills, including:

  • They’re more likely to eat fruits and vegetables and try (and accept) new foods
  • They learn proper social interaction and expand their vocabulary faster by watching adults engage at the table
  • They see what proper table manners look like so they start learning the right way to eat at the table, long before they have the skills to hold a fork and spoon

And a high chair isn’t just for eating: When baby sits in a high chair it provides you with a safe place to put them while you’re prepping meals, and gives your baby a spot to play while still letting them be part of the action. You’ll find this is a very real benefit, especially once your baby is mobile and starts getting into everything the second your back is turned.

Is a Baby High Chair Good for Babies?

Absolutely! A high chair is not only good for babies; it's also a game-changer for parents. Once you understand when your baby can sit in a high chair, (typically between four to six months), it marks the beginning of an exciting journey into exploring solids. 

High chairs provide a safe, comfortable, and engaging environment for your baby to start experiencing meals with the family. They also offer numerous developmental benefits including:

  • Support Baby's Posture: High chairs are designed to encourage babies to sit upright while eating, which is crucial for safe swallowing and digestion.
  • Boost Social Skills: Being part of the family meal boosts social skills as babies observe and engage in mealtime dynamics.
  • Enhance Language Development: Exposure to conversations at the table helps in the development of language and understanding of communication cues.

When is a child too old for a high chair? Generally, they transition out of high chairs around the age of 3 or when they show readiness to sit in a regular chair. However, this can vary depending on your child's growth and how comfortable they are with the change.

In essence, high chairs offer a blend of safety, comfort, and inclusion during meal time. They not only facilitate the physical aspects of eating but also enrich the social and emotional experiences associated with dining.

How to Use a High Chair Safely

As with anything you do with your baby, safety is vitally important. Fortunately, using a high chair safely is relatively straightforward as long as you keep the following in mind:

  • Choose a high chair that is sturdy and stable. If you’re using a hand me down, check to make sure it has not been recalled.
  • Use the high chair on a flat, firm surface, and always strap your baby in with the provided harness.
  • Check the leg-locking mechanism to make sure the legs are locked in place so the high chair won’t collapse.
  • Never leave your baby unattended in the high chair. Before you strap them in, gather your baby’s food, utensils, bib, wipes, and anything else you’ll need for mealtime so you have it all within reach and don’t have to leave your baby unsupervised while you grab something.
  • Place the chair close enough to the table so your baby feels like they’re part of the action, but not so close that they can reach knives, plates, hot foods and beverages, or other dangerous items on the table. You should also avoid positioning the chair near tables, walls, or other surfaces that your baby can kick off of and tip the chair over.

When to Start Using a High Chair

How do you know when to start using a high chair, and how long do babies use high chairs? Some chairs, like the 4moms® Connect High Chair™, are able to fully recline so they can be safely used with a newborn. While babies this young should not eat in the high chair, it lets you bring your new baby to family meals so you can connect around the dinner table from day one; just be sure to buckle your baby in with the 3 or 5-point harness and secure the crotch post in place so your baby is positioned properly, and don’t use the tray.

In terms of questions like when do babies use high chairs for feeding, the answer is easy! Once your baby is able to sit upright with no support and can hold their head up straight—which is usually somewhere between four to six months of age—you can start to transition to an upright high chair. Move the Connect High Chair seat from the reclined position to the fully upright position and introduce the tray. Continue to use the crotch post and make sure you use the 5-point harness to hold your baby safely in place.   

If your high chair does not fully recline, wait until your baby can sit upright unattended and hold their head up without wobbling before using.  

Get Ready, Get Set

The transition to sitting in an upright high chair is a big one for you and your baby, so give yourselves some time to get used to this new set up. The first few times you use it, try strapping your baby into the seat for a few minutes at a time, slowly building up the amount of time they spend sitting in it until you both feel comfortable. Just getting used to sitting in the chair is a huge milestone for your baby.

After you find the answers to questions like “when do babies sit in high chairs?” or “how to use a high chair?”, and once you both feel comfortable with the high chair, it’s time to introduce solids. Start by offering small bites of food before feeding your baby full meals. And as a reminder, you should always stay nearby while your baby is eating in case they choke or gag.

Baby’s Got a Place at the Table

Making the move to the high chair is a big step for your little one—and your family. But as long as you’re armed with all the information you need to know for when to use a high chair and how to use it safely, the transition can be an easy one filled with lots of joyful moments for everyone.