We all look forward to the day our little ones can finally enjoy solid foods and join family mealtimes. The question is, when can babies sit in a high chair? And how can mums ensure transition safety?
It’s essential to prepare for this all-important milestone before it happens. And so, for everyone’s peace of mind, here are my answers to your most troubling high-chair questions.
When Is My Baby Ready for a High Chair?
Babies are ready to sit upright at 4 to 6 months of age. However, keep in mind that they develop at different paces. Experts say that varying cultural infant care practices also play a role.
That’s why some may take up to 9 months before they show signs of high-chair readiness.
So, when looking for a baby high chair, do not just follow the age recommendations from the product description. Match their specs with your baby’s physical development progress instead.
Make sure your options also comply with the Australian Standards.
What Are the Signs that Babies can Sit Themselves Up?
Your baby may start to sit up at four months. With practice, he will get to the tripod position, where he can sit up while using his arms for support.
At six months, your little one will gain more control over his body. He may be able to sit up for a few seconds without support around this time.
Posture and balance development are especially crucial when assessing your child’s readiness. Here are other signs that tell you when can babies sit in a high chair:
- Baby can keep his neck and head steady. These developmental milestones are vital for swallowing solid foods safely. If your child’s head flop to the side often when sitting, then he’s not ready yet.
- Shoulders are straight. Their arms should be able to move about, too. That way, your baby can use his hands to reach for food and enjoy it.
You can start using the high chair when your child can do all these without support. Ideally, he should be in a proper sitting position for about 30 minutes or throughout his mealtime.
Should I Worry if My Baby Cannot Sit Up Right Away?
Some babies can sit up as early as four months. But some may take more time, and that is normal. So, focus on monitoring your child’s developmental progress instead of learning speed.
Is he trying to push himself up or sit in a tripod position? Can he lift his head while lying on his tummy? Is he able to independently roll from tummy to back?
These are clear signs that his muscles are developing well, and he will be able to sit up in no time.
However, if you are not seeing much improvement within the expected period, it is best to consult your doctor. Ideally, seek professional help when your baby is close to 9 months.
Your paediatrician should be able to assess him and refer you to an early intervention specialist if needed.
Is It Bad for My Baby to Sit Up Straight Too Early?
Newborns have round backs, which they got from being inside the womb. In time, their muscles will become strong enough to support a seated position.
If you train your child to sit too soon, he may miss out on this motor skill development. More importantly, premature or forceful sitting may lead to pelvic and spinal issues when he grows older.
It may also affect his learning ability to walk. So, let him develop naturally. That way, you can prevent unnecessary problems later on.
Can I Help My Baby Learn to Sit Up?
Yes! We cannot control the time when can babies sit in a high chair. But we can still assist and motivate them. And you can do this through playtime exercise on the floor (with a blanket) or mattress.
Let your little one play while lying on his back to develop core strength and neck control. Then, switch to tummy time to exercise the back of the neck and spine. He’ll be needing these muscles for a proper upright position.
Don’t worry if you notice your baby wobbling during his floor exercise, though. It only shows that he is developing body awareness. Like an adult learning a new move, your child needs some practice to gain body strength and balance.
If your little one needs help, you can prop him in the corner of a couch or chair. However, never use the high chair for teaching. Baby high chairs are only for infants with a stable head, neck and shoulders.
How can We Safely Transition to a High Chair?
Aside from choosing a high chair that meets the safety standards, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Read the manual first. Learn every part and safety feature of the chair before using it with your child. Practice how to secure the harness and lock the wheels, too.
- Place the high chair next to you and close enough to the dining table. This way, your little one can join family mealtimes. But position it in a way that he cannot reach for the glass, cutlery or tablecloth.
- Do not place the high chair near a wall or bench. Your baby might use it to tip the chair.
- Never leave your child unattended to avoid any chair accident. Prepare everything before feeding him.
It may feel overwhelming at first, as you need to learn and monitor several new things. However, once everything’s settled, every happy spoonful you give your child is well worth the effort.
Plus, making solid foods from scratch is such a fun and exciting experience! My homemade baby food guide should give you recipe ideas plus tips on prep and storage.