Baby-led weaning can be hard on a highchair! With all the smushed, splatted, dropped and sometimes thrown food, you’ll definitely want to find a highchair that reduces the time you spend cleaning.
What to look for in a highchair for BLW
There are a few factors that make a good highchair for babies who feed themselves (and their parents who clean up after them!):
A “solid” design - few crevices, creases and cracks for food to find its way into. This is the trickiest quality to find, as many highchairs try to get clever with separated sections on the tray which often mean seams that food can seep into. They are a real pain to clean!
Easy to wash pieces - ideally you can bung the tray right into the dishwasher, the harness should be washable (they often look the grubbiest), and the seat cover (if there is one) should be easily wipeable. Whatever you do, don't go for fabric coverings - you will curse them!
Fits like a glove - If your baby looks lost in the expansive space of the highchair seat, there’s more risk of baby not being fully upright whilst eating. Upright posture is one of the most important factors in safe eating, so baby should be snug in their seat with a harness to keep them in place, at least until they are very confident sitters. (By the way, I’ve always been perplexed with highchairs that have a reclining position - whatever in the world for?!)
Grows with baby - weaning is a many-staged journey, so you should consider making your investment in a highchair last into the toddler years. Many children use highchairs until they are 2 or 3 years old. Aside from a buggy and cot, a highchair is one of the biggest ticket items you’ll likely buy for your wee one, so you want to make it last as long as you plan on using it!
Easy to pull up to the table - Since BLW is all about sharing family foods, and encouraging baby to join in at mealtimes, you may want to consider getting a high chair that you can pull right up to the table. Ideally you’re not banishing baby to the corner while the family sits closer together for dinner! The idea is include baby in all the social aspects of sharing food together. Models without trays allow baby to use the tabletop directly, which you may prefer. You can also get devices which attach baby to a dining room chair. But at minimum, choose a highchair with a small ‘footprint’ so you can manoeuvre it easy to join the table with you.
Of course, there are many other factors you’ll likely want to consider in a highchair, like colour and style, size, ability to collapse or fold, portability, foot rests, etc, but the list above is really focused on baby-led weaning highchair essentials.
The highchairs our family used
Baby Snug: Starting out