There are a few baby items that are pretty necessary when prepping for your new bundle of joy; and a high chair is high on that list. Navigating the mess of styles can be pretty daunting, so be aware and don’t just opt for the prettiest. After all, you could be using the same chair for years.
Practical vs. Pretty
Sometimes they can be both, but if you have to decide between the two, practical should win. Cleaning those things is hard! And you’ll be cleaning them a lot. Most high chairs come in either a wood or plastic-base (with plastic the easiest to keep clean). The seat itself should be easy to wipe so try to steer clear of material that food will cake into. The straps that keep baby secured are an important security feature and should always be used. There should be a harness that crosses each shoulder and fastens across the waist. But make sure this is adjustable for your growing baby! Padding on the straps is a nice touch but not necessary.
Be careful not to buy a high chair that will overpower your space especially if you have a small house, or small dining room or kitchen. You likely won’t be putting it away every night (unless guests are coming) so it will quickly become a constant fixture. The easier it fits, the more room you and baby will have to maneuver around. Another key size-concern should be tray height; take a mental note (or even measure) how tall the chair is that you’ll be using to feed Junior and pay attention to how close it is to the height of the tray – you don’t want one too tall, or too short in comparison. The tray, in addition to the straps is another important safety feature that will keep baby securely in place – most trays are also adjustable to allow for your growing baby.
Do you eat out a lot or travel? You may want to consider a high chair that’s easily portable. This can mean one that’s lightweight and folds down easily (with one hand preferably), or one that clips on to the side of the table (make sure your table can withstand this!). Always test the features at the store and try folding them down several times before you buy.
Make sure to check the weight restrictions; most will last until 25 lbs or more, but not all. Some chairs come with extendable trays; if you intend to use yours for a few years, this could be an important function, as it’ll allow for more room as baby grows.
Some high chairs are now fully convertible — from baby to toddler. The upside of this is only having to buy one. The downside is because there’s no crystal ball, you can’t foresee how transferrable your child will be; he could outgrow the confinement of the highchair long before his second birthday and prefer (or well, insist) rather, to sit in a booster seat at the table. If you wait to buy the chair (since you won’t be needing it before at least six months), you’ll have a better sense of their developing personality and can make a more informed decision.
High chairs range dramatically in price; you can spend upwards of $500. Style and brand have a lot to do with this with the European ones generally costing more, but there is something for every budget out there. Do your due diligence and you’ll find something that fits both your home and baby’s needs perfectly.