Are High Chairs Necessary? Don’t Buy One Before You Read This.
Last Updated November 16, 2017
As a new parent, you may be overwhelmed with the number of things that “they” say you must have to take care of your baby.
While there’s no getting around the fact that these little humans do come with a lot of baggage, there may be some items that you can live without. Is the high chair one of those items?
There are many reasons that you might want to consider not having a high chair. It could be a matter of:
Space & Storage
The core of the matter is that while a traditional high chair may not be right for you, your baby does need a place to eat. And high chairs can be a convenient way to provide that.
Keep reading to find out what you should think about before deciding if a high chair will be necessary for your family to feed your baby, or a waste of money.
1) How Safe is It?
Of course, the most important thing is safety when it comes to your baby. This applies even in feeding – don’t rely on a seat that is not designed for feeding and compromise on safety.
Though it may seem easier to use something like a swing, bouncy chair or bumbo seat on the table, the risk and safety dangers aren’t worth it.
Regarding safety, here is what you should look for in any high chair option you go with:
Adjustable Safety Straps (3 or 5 point harness ideally)
Safe Latches and Closures
Adjustable Seat Heights
A Crotch Post
No Rough Edges or Exposed Hinges
Wide Stable Base
Wheel Locks (if it has wheels)
I highly recommend checking out our guide to high chair safety to ensure that whatever option you choose is safe for baby.
2) Do You Have The Space For A High Chair?
One of the biggest downfalls of the traditional high chair is how much space it takes up – especially a full-size model with a tray, which reclines and has a variety of other features.
If you’re willing to compromise on features such as reclining or having a tray, there are certainly other options available. You could choose to use a booster seat strapped to a regular kitchen chair, so you have the option of removing it for storage.
One of the first things to decide is whether you want to have a separate tray for baby to eat off, or whether you want her right at the table with the rest of the family. Trust me when I say there will be a mess either way, so it just depends whether you want to clean the same surface or a separate surface.
Personally, I did not find the reclining feature to be necessary and preferred to have the youngest member of the family seated right at the regular table for meals, so I chose an option that took up less space without these features.
3) Can I Afford The Cost Of A High Chair?
High chairs can also be one of the biggest ticket items that you will need to purchase for your baby, right up there with a stroller, crib, and car seat. Given the limited amount of time that your baby will use the high chair for, it is tempting for parents to forgo that cost and opt for something lower priced instead.
Of course, just holding your baby on your lap is always an option but that also impedes mom or dad’s ability to eat and can lead to more of a mess.
Similar to the issue of saving space, the portable high chair/travel booster seat is a great option as they are often just a fraction of the cost. They are also more versatile as they can be used when you visit restaurants or friend’s houses, and often up to age 3 and beyond.
This option from Fisher Price is a great option that I have used with my children primarily for restaurants, but it would be suitable for daily use at home as well!
4) How Versatile Is The High Chair?
Truthfully, one of the best gifts I received when expecting my first child was our high chair that is so versatile it will grow with my child into adulthood. I’m not kidding – the friend who gave it to us still uses hers from when she was a child, only now it serves as a chair at her desk instead of a high chair.
This version by Stokke is so versatile because its ergonomic design evolves with what your child needs from 6 months to adulthood with an adjustable seat and footrest. It’s a solid wood piece, with a modern look and a variety of color options.
Because it can be used in different rooms of the house, not just for feeding, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it over the stand alone highchair that is only useful in the kitchen at meal times.
5) How Easy Is It To Clean?
Most traditional stand-alone high chairs are covered in a wipeable fabric for cleaning. However, the ease of cleaning these is up for debate. Especially after daily use with one or more kids, crumbs and stains in all those fabric crevices are unavoidable.
If you want something easy to clean, I suggest looking at options that have no fabric, which have a removable and dishwasher safe tray, and that can be taken apart quickly for deep cleanings occasionally.
It’s Your Call
Don’t buy something just because “they” tell you that it’s a necessary item. You know your family best, and you are the expert on your baby.
All you need to do is providing baby a safe, stable place to eat, that meets your family’s needs regarding :
Whether that comes in the form of a traditional stand-alone high chair or another hybrid option, is up to you. Mom knows best!
If you know someone having this same debate, forward them this article to help with their decision-making. Have you decided whether a high chair is essential or unnecessary? Let us know what your baby feeding solution will be in the comments below!