With a baby around, dinner time can be disrupted. Sometimes, younger babies start wailing and screaming on their high chairs, making a mess with their food!
You baby could hate the highchair because:
- It’s not stimulating
- It’s lonely
- It’s uncomfortable to sit on
- They’re not hungry
- They’ve outgrown it already
Today, we’ll go through each of these reasons and help you unlock the secrets of how to make your baby comfortable on their high chair.
You’ll get to eat dinner in peace again!
Unlocking the Truth: 5 Reasons Why Your Baby Hates Highchairs
Once you place your baby on their high chair, they start crying out their lungs. At the back of your mind, you somehow managed to conclude that your baby might just hate you.
The same way goes for when you place your baby on their car seat and pram. They just really hate being strapped down!
Have you ever gotten down to the source of why your baby is crying in the first place? Perhaps it isn’t because of you at all and might be the high chair.
There are a few possible reasons why your child hates his high chair. Knowing what these reasons are will help restore peace during meal times.
#1 Nothing Stimulates Them
Sitting in front of a desk for a long time feels frustrating, and we’re sure this is one problem you’ve felt firsthand.
Well, that’s what babies feel when they’re on the high chair. They feel bored without anything to stimulate them, which is why they don’t want to sit down on their high chair.
They’d rather play and crawl all afternoon and discover new things. Sitting on a high chair with nothing to entertain them is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what they want to do.
#2 They Feel Lonely
Younger babies feel lonely too. At such an early age, the only way for them to communicate and express this emotion is by crying in the hopes of getting your attention.
One of the probable reasons why your baby probably doesn’t want to sit on his high chair is because they are lonely on it.
Just imagine all alone in that high chair with no company! They’ll form negative associations with the high chair and start to hate sitting on it.
Even if you place several toys and other distractions to play with, nothing beats having people around.
#3 The Chair Isn’t Comfortable to Sit On
Another reason why your child hates his high chair is they feel uncomfortable on it. To you, it may look good and comfortable to sit in. But you’re not the one sitting on it, so you wouldn’t know.
For a few minutes, your baby will feel okay. But after a while, they start wailing!
They may be in an uncomfortable position because their body isn’t properly supported by the high chair.
Your baby will constantly be repositioning themselves, trying to find the best position.
NOTE: This is a common problem when parents buy a high chair not meant for their baby’s age. At times, the high chair can either be too big or too small for the baby.
If you’re thinking of replacing your baby’s current high chair with bigger or more comfortable ones, you may want to take a look at our review of the Best Folding High Chairs for Infants.
#4 Baby Hates Eating? It’s Probably Not Yet Feeding Time
It’s always a great idea for parents to establish an eating schedule for their babies. It helps condition their babies and develop great eating habits.
Most parents use high chairs to feed their babies, which then signals the baby that it’s time to eat food. However, one slight deviation from your baby’s feeding schedule may upset them.
Your baby might not be hungry yet, which is why they don’t want to be placed on the high chair just yet.
Or maybe you’ve placed them on the high chair without the food ready, and they’re starving. Yikes!
Force-feeding babies during this time isn’t a good idea either because they’ll only form negative associations with food and mealtime. They’ll only end up throwing those finger foods everywhere!
#5 They’ve Outgrown High Chairs
There comes a point in your baby’s life where they no longer need to sit on high chairs. Babies grow into toddlers, and it becomes more difficult to strap them on their chairs.
Your child starts to crave the feeling of independence and would rather move freely around your home.
In that case, it’s time to graduate your older babies from the high chair and start sitting them on a regular dining chair at the big table.
Restoring the Peace During Meal Time: Getting Your Babies to Sit on Their Chair
Now that you know the different causes why your baby might hate his high chair, we’ll now talk about different ways on how to get your babies to sit on their high chair.
This part involves building a lot of positive associations and behavioral training.
#1 Use a Distraction
Forming a positive association towards the high chair is vital. What better way to do this than by providing a special toy that babies love?
You don’t necessarily have to fill the whole toddler table with toys. One or two is fine. Just be careful it isn’t a choking hazard!
Eventually, your baby will start associating a high chair with toys, making them less apprehensive about it.
#2 Only Use Baby Highchairs When Necessary
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for parents to understand that high chairs should be used sparingly. Don’t make it a habit to place them there when you’re doing chores.
Ideally, it should only be during eating time or when they’re hungry. After that, leaving your babies on it won’t be a good idea. They’ll feel bored, and nothing good ever comes out of it.
That being said, high chairs should only be reserved for when it’s feeding time.
MOMMY TIP: Since your little one will be using these chairs while eating, it would also be best to use a safe and non-toxic high chair while you’re at it.
#3 Remove the Feeding Tray
Once babies grow older, they’ll want to start feeling independent. And this means saying goodbye to the feeding tray on their chairs.
There will be less spoon-feeding, and your kid will try to eat their food on their own.
At this stage, many parents are concerned with their toddlers making a mess. To avoid this, give them finger food like fruits and vegetables!
The simple act of removing the feeding tray altogether is a great way for your baby to sit on their high chair.
It’s a win-win for both of you since you don’t have to spoon-feed them anymore, and you get to eat in peace with them.
#4 Change the Scenery
Putting the high chair on different parts of your house isn’t always a bad idea. You can place it in your garden, patio, and more!
Having this change of scenery is always a great idea. In a few days of trying this, you can help improve your baby’s mood.
They get to see and experience new things, which they can always look forward to when they sit on the high chair.
My Baby Still Hates the Chair. What Can I Do?
If you’ve already tried different things and your baby still hates the high chair, don’t worry because hope is not lost.
There are other alternatives to using a high chair, which provides the same convenience.
Here are some high chair alternatives to help you out.
#1 Booster Seat
Booster seats are safe for your baby and easy to use. All you have to do is attach them to a normal chair, and voila! Your baby is ready to join you for supper at the family table.
We recommend getting a booster seat that comes with a strap. It helps keep your baby secure in their place during meals.
However, if your kid doesn’t want to be strapped down, there’s a variety of strapless options out there. They provide the same security and additional support, so you’ve got nothing to worry about.
#2 Hook-on High Chair/Table Highchair
The beauty of using a hook-on high chair is you attach them directly to the table. More or less, your baby will be at the same height as everyone on the dining table, and he’ll feel very included as he eats.
However, the only drawback with this is its limited weight capacity. At most, it can sit babies up to 40 pounds maximum.
#3 Chair Booster
If your baby wants to feel free and sit on a regular dining chair, consider getting a chair booster. It’s essentially a four-legged chair that you place under a big chair.
It adds height to the normal chair so that your toddler is more or less the same height as everyone on the table. He’ll sit comfortably and enjoy his newfound independence.
When Can My Baby Stop Using a High Chair?
By the time your baby reaches around 18 to 24 months old, you’ll want to start transitioning them to using a regular chair.
Sometimes, you don’t even have to wait until they’re 24 months old because it’ll already be up to them. At times, even toddlers less than 18 months old are already ready to sit on an adult chair!
By the time your child can feed themselves, you can start with the transition. At times, once they start feeling older, or when they see their older siblings on a regular chair, they’ll want to copy them and sit on their own!
Nevertheless, make sure that by the time you move your toddler to the normal chair, they’re able to set themselves upright. Doing so makes sure your kids are safe in their seats while they’re eating.
For more details, you can check out our full guide on When Your Baby Can Use a High Chair.
High chairs are every parent’s best friend when it comes to having meals. It’s the first step for babies and toddlers to start eating their food on their own.
We hope you enjoyed this article! Feel free to share it with your fellow parents who are having a hard time during dinner time. You’ll save them a great deal of trouble!
And with that, we wish you good luck! We’ve left you several good tips and new skills to learn to help you become the best parent possible.
FINAL TIP: We have a Full Guide on Baby Furniture if you’re still looking to complete your baby furniture sets!
August 5, 2021 – added 1 new internal link
July 22, 2021 – updated interlinking, updated external links