As your little one is fast approaching their half birthday, you’re probably devouring all and any information you can find about getting them started on solids. And it isn’t just the food- there’s so much more to it, right?
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From choosing between baby-led weaning and traditional weaning to introducing allergens- and of course, let’s not forget the gear shall we? The bibs, the training spoons, and the infamous battle of the weaning table vs high chair- figuring it all out can be challenging.
So here’s a bit of help your way- at least for a part of it. Think of this detailed post as the ultimate guide for you to figure out if you should opt for a weaning table or a high chair for your baby, and more! Read on…
What is a Weaning Table?
Let’s start with the basics- a weaning table is a kind of dining or feeding table for infants and toddlers that features a long, narrow solid top. As the name suggests, the table is supposed to aid the child's weaning process.
These tables are usually small enough to fit through doorways, but large enough to position between a parent and their baby or toddler during feeding time, and are usually used beside a kitchen or dining room table.
A weaning table can be made out of many different materials such as wood, metal, plastic, etc. Of course, it makes sense to avoid items that are too heavy, bulky, or difficult to clean. You can even opt for an adjustable table that comes with the flexibility of reducing the height so that you can continue using it as your child grows!
When Should I Introduce a Weaning Table?
The best time to consider introducing a weaning table is when your child is able to sit up, unsupported. This is usually around the 6-month mark, but of course, it differs from child to child.
Your child should be able to sit up without titling on the sides or forward or backward. This is also the perfect time to start to introduce solids to your little child.
It is important to note that introducing a weaning table isn't always an easy transition for the child and for the parent, but it's one that will reap many benefits down the road! When your baby is ready, help them start their healthy eating habits by introducing a weaning table at home. The earlier you do this, the more successful it'll be in developing healthy dietary patterns and tastes from a young age.
And of course, you will also need to decide based on the kind of weaning table you’re setting up since some models are designed for children over 1 year of age.
How Can I Introduce the Weaning Table?
Just like with any parenting strategy, you need to have a lot of patience when it comes to introducing the weaning table to your child. Respect your child’s individual choices and pace, and remember that not every child will be ready to sit at the table and enjoy solid foods effortlessly from day 1.
It will take practice and effort on your part. Take it one step at a time, and start with one meal and day.
The Benefits of a Montessori Weaning Table
Walk into a Montessori family’s kitchen, and you’ll almost always find the high chair missing. And that’s simply because they opt for the weaning table.
Just like with most other Montessori practices, the idea behind using a weaning table instead of a high chair is the fact that it allows your child to feel independent, even when they’re experimenting with food. A high chair usually needs your child to be strapped in, but that’s not the case when it comes to a weaning table.
And that’s not all there are many more benefits of using a Montessori weaning table over the traditional high chair.
- The weaning table allows your child to sit down with the family and enjoy their meal together.
- Being able to get in and out of the chair as they please can allow the child the freedom of movement and practice autonomy, which can raise them into independent adults.
- Even at a young age, children are extremely initiative and driven. Getting to sit at the table to enjoy their meal as everyone else can be really liberating.
- Don’t be surprised if the weaning table doubles up as a little busy spot for your child, where they’ll enjoy playing with their favorite toys, and as they grow older, their coloring books and puzzles!
- The weaning table allows you to practice baby-led weaning with ease! It offers your child a more focused look on the food set in front of them, and they’ll be able to experiment with different solids more readily, as they watch you sit and eat at the table with them.
- The table might also help fine-tune your child’s motor skills as they manipulate the food and utensils with their hands.
The Best Weaning Tables to Choose From
Choosing the best weaning table for your little one can be tough, especially since there are so many options available for you to pick from, each more appealing than the next. Plus, you’ve got to factor in so many different aspects- the size, the aesthetic, the durability, the functionality, and of course, the pricing. So here we’ve put down a quick list of some of the best ones money can buy.
If you’re looking for a weaning table and chair set for your child who’s over a year old, this one’s a good choice. It is a medium-sized set with two chairs, and can also double up as a little activity space for your kiddo. The set is super easy to assemble and clean, and is budget-friendly too!
A stunning design crafted in natural wood, this table and chair set can make for a great addition to your child’s playroom or your dining room. The table has built-in storage space and is designed cleverly, such that you can keep using it for years.
It is super sturdy, and also comes with a reversible tabletop, that has a blackboard on one side- super cool right?
If you’re looking for something more suited to your younger child, this one can be a great pick. It has a simple design with rounded corners and a nice laminate surface that you can clean up easily after your child has had their meal.
What is a High Chair?
Unlike the weaning table and chair, a high chair is a piece of furniture that allows your child to sit on the same table as you, at the same height. The chair is designed to allow your child to stay in place, usually with straps, while offering you the flexibility to do other activities in close proximity or perform tasks in preparation for your child's meal.
High chairs are most often manufactured in materials like plastic, fabric, and metal, although there are some very stylish (and functional) foldable wooden models available as well. There are so many different seating options available today that it is easy to find one that suits your lifestyle perfectly. Some high chairs recline flat enough to feed newborns feeding bottle-feeding formula milk or breast milk, whereas others don't get down quite this low but are great at giving toddlers the independence they want by allowing them to sit at the table with the rest of the family.
High chairs are thought to be safer than booster seats because they secure the child in place through restraining belts.
When Can I Introduce a High Chair?
Just like with the weaning table and chair, high chairs can be used as early as when your baby begins sitting unassisted. However, there are many benefits of waiting until your child is closer to 12 months old to introduce a high chair. One reason for this is that before they reach the milestone of sitting independently, infants need to develop core and neck strength so they can sit without support. This may be why many families prefer using bouncers or floor seats rather than traditional infant high chairs. If you choose to use an infant high chair without the tray attachment, make sure it has adjustable straps before introducing it to your baby. This will allow you to buckle them in securely while they sit safely upright.
Most families introduce their infants to an infant high chair between 4 and 7 months of age. Once your baby is able to sit up on their own, the high chair can also help encourage learning through play. Many parents find that a high chair is a safe way to keep their baby entertained while they cook, eat, or complete other household tasks.
Are High Chairs Bad For Babies?
High chairs are actually some of the most commonly used baby furniture. You’ll find one in almost every home, and for good reason- the convenience that they offer is unmatched by any other piece of baby equipment.
However, there may be serious disadvantages to using high chairs as well, and many parents do not realize how harmful the high chair can be to their baby's overall development and physical health.
The first concern is ergonomics- the seat should support your infant correctly, otherwise, it could lead to musculoskeletal problems like kyphosis (which is characterized by a hunching forward of the upper body).
The second major concern with high chairs is the risk of accidents. While it is rare, certain cheap high chairs may be crafted using plastic that is easy to break and might cause your baby to fall out. There is also a risk of failure of the restraint bar to hold your child into the high chair, which is again, dangerous.
The Benefits of High Chair For Babies
High chairs are great and for many reasons. If you’ve been thinking of investing in one, here are a few reasons to get you to finally jump on it.
- A high chair provides a safe place for your baby to eat, surrounded by their family. It makes mealtimes more pleasant and comfortable in general.
- Most high chair models are slim and foldable- bulky stand-alone units take up too much space, but these can be an excellent piece of furniture to work with, even if you have a small home.
- They are easy to clean and put together.
- A high chair can keep your baby safe and at a close range while eating.
- Most high chairs are super affordable, perfect if you’re practicing frugal living or just want to stick to a budget.
The Best High Chair For Babies
There are certain aspects you might need to keep in mind when buying a high chair. First, decide if you want one with a removable tray or a fixed tray. If you are more inclined on choosing a high chair with a detachable tray, remember that many families find it easier to clean around the legs without the attached tray in the way. In addition, you might also want to consider other features such as adjustable heights and footrests. You should also think about how much room you have in your kitchen before buying a high chair. If possible, try to choose a model with wheels for easy maneuvering and storage.
Confused about which high chair is the best for your baby? Here are a few good options to pick from.
Fast folding and ultra-slim, this high chair is an excellent choice to opt for if you’re on the hunt for a simple and affordable high chair that does its job well. The seat pad is super comfortable and can be cleaned easily too. It also comes with three reclining positions and a little storage basket at the bottom for you to keep your baby’s feeding essentials handy.
Another superb high chair by Graco, this model literally grows with your child, and you can use it right from when you’re planning to introduce solids up until your child is a toddler, who can feed themself.
With a super stylish design, 4 adjustable heights, and a frame that compresses up to 80% when folded, there’s no wonder this high chair is one of the most preferred choices among parents. It might be a bit pricey but is great if you’re looking to invest in a sturdy high chair. Plus, the stain-resistant fabric on this is a win-win!
Weaning Table vs High Chair: Which One Should I Opt For?
Still, confused about which one to pick? Well, it all depends on your lifestyle and what works for you. While the weaning table is a great option overall, the high chair can be great too, especially if you’re opting for traditional weaning, and want it to be an easy and comfortable experience. Just make sure you pick a high chair that’s safe and you’re sorted.
If you’re following the Montessori approach, and are just looking to invest in a piece of furniture that will work in the long run too, the weaning table is your best bet.
There’s no right or wrong here. It is all about finding out what’s best for you and your family and going with it.