When it comes to choosing a high chair there are only 3 factors which are important.
Consider these 3 factors, disregard everything else (i.e. the bells and whistles) and you will make a great high chair purchase.
The first place to start is budget. How much do you want to spend on a high chair?
When making this decision bear in mind that you will use a highchair a lot. Quite possibly more often than some of the other baby products you have already purchased. There will be 3 meals a day, some snacks and undoubtedly a few table top activities such as drawing/painting etc.
Depending on which style of high chair you choose your child could well be using it for a number of years.
In saying this, don't worry too much if your budget is tight. You can still make a great purchase even at the lower end of the price spectrum. As long as you stick to the next two pointers.
Ease of cleaning
Without doubt the most crucial factor when it comes to making a practical high chair purchase that you won't regret.
No matter what type of baby you have, or whether you have chosen to do traditional spoon feeding or baby led weaning... Mess is inevitable. Not just a little bit of mess, but a huge amount of mess.
If you have never been involved in baby and toddler meal times then you are in for an education. Food can go everywhere. Mess is also necessary. Or at least I strongly believe it is.
Meal times for babies and young toddlers are not just about getting in the right nutrition. They are a full bodied, multi sensory, messy learning experience to be embraced.
High chairs that are easy to clean:
- Have no padding
- Have few, or even better no straps
- Are able to be wiped down and if necessary hosed off
- Have removable trays or no trays at all
The mess although monumental is relatively short lived. My 3 year old is now tidy at meal times. My almost 2 year old has her moments but is vastly improved.
My 7 month old on the other hand is a mess making, meal loving, bowl licking machine.
Under one in my mind is not the time for manners. Between 1 and 2 years learning around manners and social etiquette begins, but they will not be masters of tidy eating for a while.
How your baby/toddler sits, and most importantly stays sitting in their chair
I am a stickler for sitting up at the dinner table. Meal times are a much nicer experience for anyone and everyone if they are sitting up at a table, at the right height, and they are comfortable.
It is exactly the same for babies and toddlers. If they can sit up, see what is going on, reach their food and they don't slip and slide around in their chair then they will enjoy mealtimes more and potentially eat better.
In this instance, comfort does not mean padding. Padding would defeat principle number two of practical highchair choosing (Ease of cleaning).
Comfort means the chair is the right size for the baby/toddler. In a good high chair they shouldn't be able to do the following:
- Slip under the tray
- Stand up in the seat
- Turn around and face backward
So choosing a great high chair is literally as easy as 1, 2, 3
- Set your budget
- Check it is easy to clean
- Make sure your baby will sit in it comfortably
- and then... double check that it is easy to clean
Trust me, everything else is unnecessary
There are many high chairs on the market. I do not profess to using or knowing about all of them.
But I am very confident that if you stick with the pointers above then you will buy a good chair.
Personally I have used and/or own the 5 following high chairs.
They are all good practical choices that fit the second (easy to clean) and third (ergonomic) rules and there are options for the top and bottom end of the budget.
5 Fantastic High Chairs. Prices quoted are NZ RRP at time of writing.
a.) BabyBjorn High Chair
Honestly, I love everything about this highchair. Well almost everything, the one thing I don't like is the price tag. But if you have the budget, they are fantastic. If you are able to pick one up on sale or secondhand then you will be doing well. I have 2 of them.
They are perfect for kids from starting solids to approximately 2 years. They are indestructible workhorses that promote good posture, and there is no escaping from this highchair (if you've ever looked after a toddler who can climb out of their highchair you will know how frustrating this can be.) No straps, no padding, and the tray can go through the dishwasher.
A great practical product that I would recommend to anyone who has the budget.
For further information about this chair here is a link. There are a number of Australian and New Zealand Stockists.
b.) IKEA ANTILOP Highchair
c.) Mocka Designer Highchair
I group these chairs as one as they are very very similar. These chairs tick all the boxes and they are economical to boot. Not quite as brilliant from a posture or inescapability perspective as the BabyBjorn, but at around a sixth the cost they are pretty spectacular.
In Australia, IKEA products are very easy to come by. In NZ not as easy, but there are a few online stockists of the IKEA ANTILOP in NZ.
Mocka is a fantastic online retailer for both Australia and New Zealand, great service, good products and quick delivery.
d.) Stokke Tripp Trap
e) Mocka Soho Wooden Highchair
Again I group these two chairs together. This style of high chair are great for getting kids sitting up at the family table.
You can get versions with trays, but to my mind if you are buying this style of chair it is so your child can join the family at the table, so a tray is not necessary. You just pull the seat up to the table. Stokke is a great chair but you are paying for the name.
Honestly the Mocka Soho is virtually the same and at under a third of the price it is great buying.
I find chairs of this design come into their prime when your baby is slightly older. They are manageable but a bit of a pain for a young baby from a posture perspective, however, they have longevity on their side.
When your child becomes bigger these chairs grow with them. My 3 year old is using a Mocka Soho at our family table at the moment, and he could continue to use it for a number of years yet if needed.
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