Utensils and High Chairs: When is Baby Ready?
As baby begins to eat more solids, you may have some questions about high chairs and utensils. So when is baby ready for these things? Find out more!
Using a High Chair: This usually happens around 6 months.
It’s time to get a high chair when baby is sitting up on their own and starting solids, which typically happens around 6 months.
There are a lot of options when it comes to high chairs. Which one is best for your family? Here are some things to consider:
- How easily can you place baby in and lift baby out of the chair? Features like a moveable tray can make this easier.
- How secure is baby in the seat? Does the chair have seat straps? Shoulder straps?
- Is the chair Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certified? This is the highest standard in product safety for babies and children.
- Do you need wheels or any foldable features on the chair? These can be helpful features if you need to store the high chair when it’s not in use, or if you want to be able to easily move the high chair to different places. Remember if it has these features, they will need to be checked and locked every time the chair is used.
- Is the fabric part of the chair removable and washable? Baby will be getting messy with their food, so you may want to be able to wash it.
- Does the chair have a setting to change as baby grows? Children will grow a lot in the year or so they use their high chair.
- Does the chair have a footrest? As baby grows, it may help to keep them more secure in the chair.
An important safety tip when it comes to high chairs is to be careful when placing the high chair near a table or counter. It makes sense if you want baby to eat with you, but remember they can push against a table or counter and possibly tip their own high chair. Place the chair so baby is close enough to talk to, help, and watch, but far enough from counters and tables so they can’t push against them.
If you have other children in the house, remind them to not climb, lean on, or play with the high chair. If you have pets that may run into the chair or try to climb it, make sure to keep an eye on them or keep them away from the high chair while baby is using it.
Children age out of their high chairs at different times—some children are ready at only 18 months, others stay in their high chairs longer. There is no right or wrong time, but when your child reaches a certain size, it will be difficult for them to use the high chair.
Using Utensils: This usually starts to happen around 10-12 months.
By about 1 year, baby should be able to easily feed themselves with their fingers. They will be eating soft and/or small pieces of food, like avocado and cereal. If they’re a pro at finger feeding, this means they have mastered an important fine motor skill—and they’re ready for utensils! Baby is able to swallow a spoonful of food around 6 months, so by 12 months they should be ready to try feeding themselves.
When getting baby to learn how to use utensils, start with a baby-safe spoon and fork. Make sure the utensils you are giving baby are lightweight and do not have any sharp edges. It’s also best if the utensils are on the smaller side, so a “spoonful” of food is the right amount for baby. If you are looking for utensils for baby, lightweight, soft, reusable plastic utensils can work very well.
You can have baby use forks for soft solids, and have them use a spoon for foods they can scoop. It may be best to have them first scoop thicker foods, like oatmeal, before they try something thinner like cereal and milk, as the milk may drip from the spoon.
When first using utensils, baby will get messy! And that’s ok! It’s part of the learning process. Meals may be longer too as they get the hang of utensils. Just make sure the food is getting in their mouth and they’re eating enough—if not, help guide them so they are eating and getting the nutrients they need.
Learn more about baby’s feeding development throughout the years by visiting our feeding page!