Baby Suddenly Hates High Chair?! 7 Solutions You MUST Try!

By Paula McLaren •  Updated: 03/04/22 •  9 min read  •  Baby » Baby Parenting Advice

We all know that when baby suddenly hates their high chair there is no amount of willpower, mental patience and strength in the world that can get them to stop wailing, crying and making mealtimes a nightmare…

But babies hating their high chairs are a very common problem that many new parents will face at some point…

So don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed.

It’s not your fault!

There are lots you can do to help fix the issue and in today’s post, I’m going to share with you…

So let’s dive right in!

7 Reasons Why Baby Suddenly Hates High Chair

There could be a number of reasons why your baby suddenly hates high chair time. These can include:

  1. They’re bored.
  2. They’re not hungry enough.
  3. They feel lonely.
  4. There is a lack of a mealtime routine.
  5. They don’t want to be spoon fed.
  6. They are ready to have the tray removed and sit up at the table.
  7. The highchair is uncomfortable.

So, what can we do to help baby NOT hate being in a high chair? And how can we tackle each issue?

What To Do When Baby Hates Sitting In A High Chair?

So what can you do if your baby suddenly hates high chairs? 

Well, firstly you MUST NOT give in to feeding your little one whilst they are on the move, in front of the television or tablet, or in an activity centre or walker.

It is important that you continue to reinforce that mealtimes should be had sitting in a chair at a table.

You can then go about making mealtimes more attractive and comfortable for your baby.

What To Do When Baby Hates Sitting In A High Chair

Reduce Boredom

As your baby grows, they might find that sitting in a highchair is very boring.

Especially if they are crawling and walking and feel they are being dragged away from something fun in order to be stuck in a high chair!

Therefore, try offering them some toys to play with.

Toys with suction that can stick onto the tray are great for highchair play as well as playing with play dough or mini activity centres. 

These quirky suction toys from Sassy Developmental Toys are a great option to help develop hand-eye coordination and provide lots of high chair entertainment before and during meals!

Sassy Fishy Fascination Station 2-in-1 Suction Cup Toy
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Having certain activities that they play with on their highchair will mean that they will not only associate their highchair with sitting down for a meal but it will encourage them to sit and concentrate on other things too.

Ensure Baby Is Hungry Enough

Timing is KEY if your baby hates being in their high chair. 

Ensure that your baby is really hungry and ready for food before putting them in a high chair.

If they are not, they will just see sitting in the highchair as an interruption to their playtime

Don’t Let Baby Get Lonely

If your baby associates being put in their highchair with being alone, they will start to resist being put in their highchair.

So, be sure to keep talking and interacting with your baby when they are in their highchair.

Playing with them, making meals fun and eating meals together are the best ways to encourage your baby to want to be in their highchair!

Have A Mealtime Routine

I am always going on about routines for babies and toddlers as they love to know what is coming up next in their day. 

Therefore, having a pre-meal routine that allows your baby to be ready for eating is VITAL. 

An easy 4-step mealtime routine can include: 

  1. Telling your little one that mealtime is coming up in 5 minutes, 
  2. Tidying away whatever toys they have been playing with,
  3. Washing your hands together, 
  4. Then putting them in their high chair with toys.

Give Baby Some Freedom Over How They Eat

As your baby becomes more independent they may want to be in control of how they eat.

This can mean that they no longer wish to be spoon-fed by you. 

Try letting them feed themselves and encourage finger feeding to help them to re-engage with mealtimes and feel that they are more in control!

If you’re worried about the mess, there are some great easy clean mats that you can place under baby’s high chair to catch any dropped and spilt food.

I am a huge fan of these mats as they make cleaning up after meals a breeze!

Baby Splat Mat - Under High Chair Floor Mat + Baby Bib with Sleeves
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Let Baby Sit Up At The Table With The Rest Of The Family

Taking off the tray and moving your baby up to the table to eat with the rest of the family may solve your baby’s high chair resistance. 

Some babies reach a stage when they feel pressured to eat if they are eating alone with you watching them. 

Eating with others will make your little one feel more included and this move will take the focus off their eating. 

Make Baby Comfortable

As your baby grows you need to make sure that their current high chair is a good fit and that they are feeling comfortable!

If your baby is uncomfortable for any reason, mealtimes will soon become a chore and you will need to look at a new seating option.

Just like us… if we’re not comfy, we can get quite agitated! 

If baby’s current high chair does not have a footrest they may not like the feel of their legs dangling so a seat with a rest may suit them better.

3 Simple High Chairs Alternatives

If all the above fail to solve the problem of your baby’s sudden dislike of their highchair, then you do have some other options which can take the place of the conventional highchair.

1. Convertible High Chairs

A great high chair alternative is an all-in-one high chair that converts and adapts to the different seating needs as your child grows.

How Do Convertible High Chairs Work? 

These chairs can be used from the moment your baby can sit and all the way through the early years, or they can be purchased when you want to move from a conventional high chair to the next stage. 

They offer a versatile all in one solution to your baby’s changing needs and desire for independence, starting as a conventional high chair, then a toddler chair and finally a booster seat or chair for life depending on what model you buy!

Pros of Convertible High Chairs? 

Cons of Convertible High Chairs

Our Top Pick
Graco EveryStep 7 in 1 High Chair
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2. Booster Seats

Another alternative to high chairs to keep your baby safe while they sit and eat a meal with the rest of the family are booster seats!

How Do Booster Seats Work? 

A booster seat can be strapped to a conventional chair that allows your baby or toddler to eat at the table.

Some are height adjustable and others can also be used on the floor.

Pros of Booster Seats

Cons of Booster Seats

If you choose a booster seat, here is one of my favourites on the market at the moment. I love the sleek design and self-storing feeding tray!

Ingenuity Baby Base 2-in-1 Booster Feeding and Floor Seat with Self-Storing Tray
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3. Clip-On Seats

Finally, clip-on seats are a fab alternative to high chairs that travel well and help your baby feel included at every table, no matter where you are.

How Do Clip-On Seats Work? 

Clip-on seats attach to your dining room table and can be used as a substitute for a highchair if your baby suddenly hates their high chair.

Pros of Clip-On Seats

Cons of Clip-On Seats

If you choose to invest in a clip-on high chair, here’s my top pick from Toggel.

Toogel Clip on High Chair - Portable Baby Feeding Seat
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When Should You Stop Using A High Chair?

Typically, a baby will outgrow their high chair any time between 18 months and 3 years old.

They will then transition onto booster seats and toddler stools so that they’re tall enough to reach the table during meal times!

Final Notes

Try not to overthink your baby’s high chair needs.

Each baby is different, and if your baby suddenly starts hating high chairs, take a look at what’s causing it and make adjustments as needed.

Some babies are bored, some need a bit of comfort and some are ready to move on!

So try the suggestions above and see what works for you and your little one.

And there you have it!

I hope you enjoyed this post all about “Baby Suddenly Hates High Chair?!” and if know other parents who would benefit from this content, be sure to give it a share! 

If you have any further questions about helping your baby love their high chair again or you have any blog recommendations that you’d like me to write about…

Then be sure to drop me an email at [email protected], I love hearing from you!

Once again, thank you for your continued support and until next time, Happy Parenting!

Paula McLaren

Paul Mclaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the child care industry as a Norland Nanny since 1982. Since then, her mission has been to help parents become the best they can possibly be. And each year, she continues to help more families understand their child's development, the trials and joys of parenting and of course, how to care for their little ones.

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