The last thing you want at dinner time is a baby screaming his heart out of the high chair. Read on to know the reasons why baby suddenly hates the high chair and what you can do to go back to no-screamy dinner time.
Dinner-time battles are common if you have a toddler in the house. Sometimes, it is about food; other times, they want to keep playing, and other times, they don’t want to get strapped into their high chair.
My toddle is no different. Dinner time is a battle almost every other day. Sometimes, he wants noodles or juice for dinner, and other times he wouldn’t settle down in his high chair. Lately, he suddenly started hating his high chair. If we forcefully strap him into his high chair, he gets frustrated and screams bloody murder for the next ten minutes until we unstrap him from the high chair.
Is this a battle to fight for?
Lots of toddlers hate high chairs at some point. There are several reasons why they suddenly hate high chairs. Read on to find out why the baby suddenly hates his high chair and the solution to get back to normal supper time.
Why Baby Suddenly Hates his High Chair?
To determine why your baby gets frustrated in his high chair, you need to find out the root cause of the problem. Here are a few possible reasons why baby suddenly hates his high chair.
Baby is Uncomfortable in his High Chair
Let’s start with the baby’s comfort first. If your baby suddenly hates his high chair, you need to check his comfort level in a high chair. As they grow, they may need good back support and footrest. Most high chairs are designed for babies between 4 months to 2 years and beyond. However, not all babies grow in the same way; your baby may not have enough room to move once strapped in his high chair.
Your baby should be able to move his body, lean forward, and move hands freely in order to grab food. If he is not able to do any or all of it, the baby can get frustrated in his high chair.
On the contrary, If your baby is continuously sliding into an uncomfortable position in his high chair or you are constantly repositioning your baby, it’s a sign that you need to invest in a high chair that is more suitable for your baby.
Baby may Not be Hungry
If your baby isn’t hungry, they will resist sitting in their high chair. A baby’s feeding patterns and liking changes a lot as they grow. If you feed your baby every meal in his high chair, he might associate the high chair with eating. Next time you try to put him into their high chair, he will resist sitting there as he is not hungry.
Baby is bored
Who likes to be strapped in the chair during mealtime? As babies grow older, they are more interested in playing and crawling than sitting in one spot. If your 10-month-old refuses to eat in a high chair or your 11-month-old screaming in his high chair, this could possibly be a reason.
This problem is short-lived once you make high chair time a fun time. All you need to do is distract your baby with his favorite toys or even a spoon. Once they have something to fiddle in their hands while sitting in their high chair, they will stop rejecting high chairs.
Baby may just be Impatient
Younger babies are impatient once they are hungry. My 7-month-old was like that. He would want food NOW; otherwise, he would scream in his high chair. This problem is easier to solve. You just need to have food ready before you put a baby in his high chair.
I know it is always not possible. I used to put my baby in his high chair first; then, I could prep food for him. In this case, I always had finger food (non-filling snacks) to offer him first until the food is ready for him.
Change in Feeding Routine
A change in your baby’s feeding schedule/routine could be a reason why your baby suddenly hates his high chair. Baby likes routine, whether it is dinner routine or bedtime routine. If you have changed their schedule from eating with family at dinner time to a little earlier or later, he might not like eating alone and start hating his dinner time and high chair.
It’s common in many households to watch TV during dinner time. For babies, it’s a big distraction. Some babies are so distracted in watching TV that they would eat anything without a complaint. Some parents use TV deliberately at dinner time to keep them entertained while eating. Change in that routine from TV to no-TV at mealtime could also make them hate sitting in a high chair and eating.
But if you haven’t changed baby’s feeding routine and baby still gets frustrated with a high chair, you need to look out for other possible reasons.
Baby’s Newfound Independence
If you have ruled out all other possible reasons for why baby suddenly hates his high chair, you are dealing with the ‘I AM A BIG KID’ problem. Suddenly, they start feeling older and don’t want to be confined in a place, specifically when they have older siblings moving around freely.
Try lowering a high chair to the regular dining table’s height or remove the tray altogether and let them eat off the dining table before you move them to the booster chair. It may all your baby needs to end the dinner time battle.
If this doesn’t solve your problem, we have another solution; keep reading.
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Tips on What to do If your Baby suddenly Hates the High Chair
Mealtime for babies is always challenging. As they grow older, it doesn’t get easier for sure. But if your baby suddenly hates the high chair, there are several things you can do to get the baby to stay in his high chair.
Distraction at mealtime works only for younger babies. My 10 months old suddenly started hating the high chair. Not only the high chair but the car seat and the stroller too!
He would scream every time we make him sit in his high chair. But once he was strapped in his high chair after a battle, feeding was not a problem.
To get him to sit in this high chair, I used to sing his favorite rhymes or give him finger food (bread or cheerios) to hold in his hand. It worked some days when he wanted more food. Other days I used to play airplane with him. I would hold him in both hands in an airplane position and trick him into landing in his high chair. I had to come up with something silly every mealtime. It was exhausting but worked most of the time.
Give them Special Toy
As simple as giving baby special mealtime toys to play with would work for some babies. Try giving them varieties of things;- it doesn’t have to be toys. Something safe from the kitchen would work too. I gave my baby a food pouch to hold while I feed him in his car seat.
Do not overuse the High Chair
As babies grow, they learn new skills, and they like to move around. They may not want to sit in a high chair for an extended period of time. It can add to their boredom or time away from parents. I used to keep my baby in a high chair once mealtime was over so I could get some time to clean up the kitchen. But it was a bad idea as it contributed to his hatred toward sitting in his high chair. So, it is important to stop overusing the high chair just to get chores around the house.
Alternatively, for snacks throughout the day, use a toddler/kids table and chair. That way, they have two designated spots to eats. The toddler table comes in handy for the baby’s art and craft activity while prepping the meal.
Try Lowering High Chair or Remove Tray
As babies grow older, they will notice their surroundings and compare themselves with others, specifically when they have siblings. They will want to sit at the dining table and eat off the table like their siblings. Try lowering the high chair to the dining chair level, or try removing the tray altogether so they can eat off the table and let them feel like a “big boy.”
It is essential to make babies aware that a high chair is a place where mealtime happens. Even when baby hates his high chair, do not get into the habit of feeding them in your lap or while they are running around in the house. Instead, make them understand that food is eaten only in the high chair. They may throw tantrums for few days but will eventually learn to stay in their high chair.
Also, get into the habit of encouraging them while eating on their high chair through praise or treat.
Do not Force Feed
When it comes to feeding babies, parents have high expectations, and that leads to force-feeding. But force-feeding can negatively impact their eating habits, and they might altogether hate sitting in the high chair and eating. And one negative experience is enough for the baby to hate the high chair suddenly.
High Chair Alternatives
Sometimes lowering the high chair or removing the tray altogether isn’t enough for some babies. For babies who just want to get out of the high chair, there are several options.
Booster seats are designed to provide enough height and security for babies to sit on a regular mealtime chair. A booster seat can attach to any regular chair.
If you have a younger baby, you need a booster seat with a strap and tray. But for toddlers, this may not work as it might cause the same hatred as being trapped in the high chair. You might want to consider a strapless booster seat like this one or this one. These strapless booster seats are suitable for toddlers 3+ years. They boost kids to the perfect table height on any regular chair. As long as you sit with them at the dining table, strapless booster seats are perfectly safe to use.
Hook-on High Chair
The hook-on chairs are designed for attaching directly to the table to bring up the baby to everyone else’s height. The hook-on high chairs like this one or even this one are suitable for babies and toddlers up to 37 pounds. They are very durable, washable, and easy to carry around while traveling with the baby.
Portable Chair Booster
The portable chair booster is perfect for babies who resist sitting on anything other than a regular chair. A Kaboost portable chair booster fits easily into any four-legged chair and holds up to 300 lbs. This portable chair booster is perfect for toddlers who just want to sit on a regular chair. Alternatively, you can make your own four wooden blocks to go underneath the chair, and you have a chair booster ready!
A Counter Height High Chair
To satisfy your baby’s newfound independence, get them a ‘big boy’ chair of their own. The counter height high chair is technically a high chair with straps, but your toddler won’t consider it a high chair. This high chair is total independence for your baby. They won’t need your help to sit on/in the chair as it comes with steps—a total winner for a baby who hates the high chair.
Do Babies really need a High Chair?
Once you start solids in your baby at around 6 months of age, you need a high chair. The high chairs are a lifesaver. It makes feeding time so easy. It keeps babies safe and secure while you feed them, and because they are sitting at a safe angle, it reduces the choking hazard at an early age. Also, high chairs are easy to clean once the baby is finished eating. Otherwise, who likes to feed a baby who is crawling all around the house? (and then cleaning up afterward, yikes!)
Although high chairs are expensive and bulky, they make an excellent investment if you have picked the right high chair that grows with your baby. Some high chairs like this one or this one can also be used by kids until they are teenagers.
At what age do Babies not need a High Chair?
Babies are ready to leave a high chair and move to a booster seat when they are around 18-24 months old. However, some babies want to get out of the high chair way before 18 months, while others have no problem sitting in a high chair beyond 24 months. They are usually ready to move out of the high chair when they keep climbing out of their high chair. As long as they are strong enough to keep themselves upright for more extended periods of time, it’s okay to move them out of the high chair.
Moving them to a regular chair comes with a whole new mealtime battle of getting up and leaving a table while eating. But it is more manageable than one screaming baby at mealtime. All you have to do is tell them strictly that there will be no more food if they leave the table. If you keep repeating it repeatedly, they will understand one day (I hope!!).
Baby suddenly Hates the High Chair l Conclusion
Here you go, mamas! I hope you have enough ideas on what to do if the baby suddenly hates the high chair. After employing all the tricks, if the baby keeps climbing out of the high chair, it’s time to ditch the high chair and move them to a booster seat or get them a ‘big kid’ chair. Let them enjoy their newfound independence.
Good luck, mama!!
Before you go, let us know if you have any tips on getting the baby to stay in his high chair. Leave your comment below.
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