"Your baby’s posture, position and support can influence the success of introducing solids" says Nicole Pates, Paediatric Physiotherapist & Managing Director at Western Kids Health.
During the first 6 months of life, leading up to that first taste of food, your baby changes so much! From a tiny newborn to a sitting, smiling, babbling baby. However, your baby is still learning how to use, move and hold their body and this requires a lot of effort. The principles below are important even for toddlers, children, and adult. Distracted or irritable behaviour at the table can often be minimised with good postural support. Picking a highchair that promotes and supports good posture and alignment will make learning to eat and eating easier, allowing your baby to focus their energy on chewing, swallowing, and eating (not holding themselves up!)
Here are the key points for “good posture” when it comes to your baby's meal time.
The 90/90 Sitting Position
- Baby is upright, sitting with shoulders over hips, knees in line with hips and feet under knees. Baby is supported and can lean slightly forward if they choose. Baby is not leaning back.
- Feet are supported - Baby’s feet are supported and flat. This is critical to allow baby to use their energy just for eating. Imagine if you were sitting on a chair with your legs dangling at the dinner table. It would be hard not to swing those legs and slouch.
Back Rest Height
- It is important to consider how tall the backrest is. Is baby able to tilt their head back when they drink from a cup?
- Arms Free - Are baby’s elbows able to rest on the tray or table (if the high chair is pushed up to the table)? It is important that their elbows sit below their shoulders (90-degree angle) to allow free arm movement. If baby’s shoulders are pushed up so they look like the tray is sitting under their armpits, they need a boost to bring them into a better position.
- Straps in highchairs can help for a number of reasons but are beneficial to provide support for a baby who is learning to sit (or one who just wants to escape!) It can be really hard to find a high chair that provides YOUR baby with the right posture. I would always recommend buying a highchair with adjustability so it can GROW with your baby.
The Tripp Trapp highchair was my pick for both my kids for the following reasons:
It is highly adjustable with multiple levels of height for both the seat and footrest, catering to the baby’s growth. You can change the depth of the seat for shorter or taller babies. You can also change the width of the seat, for baby’s who have longer thighs and the position of the footrest. You are almost guaranteed to be able to set it up to optimise your baby’s posture and alignment for feeding
Durable & Long Lasting
The Tripp Trapp is easy to clean so you don’t need to worry about the mess that can come with self-feeding or purees. The thing I love most about the Tripp Trapp is that it grows with your child. It can hold up to 136kg in weight. It’s fabulous to convert to a chair with foot support for your toddler and child until they can reach the floor on a typical dining chair.
The tray of the Tripp Trapp comes right off and it’s at table height. You can push it right up to a typical dining table, so baby is sitting at the table with everyone else. Instead of being positioned to the side, separated by the tray, baby can enjoy meals with the family at the table.
The 5 point harness provides firm stability and support for bubs learning to sit whilst still enabling the freedom for baby to use their arms. The Tripp Trapp also has extended gliders to increase backward stability. The Tripp Trapp grows with your baby. It is able to be used right from infancy throughout their childhood to adulthood.