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

By Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH | Updated: 27 October 2021

"Ahh! My baby suddenly hates high chair! Why?! How can I get them to sit and eat their meals properly?"

I hear you! And I want you to know that you're not alone!

Babies hating their highchairs is a very common problem that many parents will face at some point... So don't feel ashamed or embarrassed. It's not your fault!

baby suddenly hates high chair

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 general nightmare...

So WHY do babies suddenly hate their high chair? And WHAT can we do about it to help end mealtime battles over high chairs?

7 Interesting Reasons why baby suddenly hates high chair

There could be a number of reasons why your baby suddenly hates high chair. 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 yet.
  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?

baby suddenly hates high chair Featured Image

What to do when baby hates sitting in highchair?

So what can you do if your baby suddenly hates highchair? 

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 feed them 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.

1. Boredom

As your baby grows they might find that sitting in their highchair is boring. Especially if they are now mobile and feel they are being dragged away from something fun in order to be constrained 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. 

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.

Making sure your little one is entertained while in their chair especially if they are waiting for you to serve up their food will keep boredom at bay. 

Top Tip

A highchair may seem like an ideal place to put your baby when you need some hands-free time, but don't leave them in their highchair for too long as they will definitely end up not wanting to be put in there in the future.

2. Not hungry enough

Timing is key if your baby hates being in their highchair. 

Ensure that your baby is really hungry and ready for food. If they are not, they will just see sitting in the highchair as an interruption to play

Top Tip

The more hungry baby is the more likely they are to want to sit in their high chair.

3. Lonely

If your baby associates being put in their highchair with being alone when you want to get on with something else, they will start to resist being put in their highchair.

Be sure to keep talking and interacting with your baby when they are in their highchair. Play with them and make highchair time fun. 

Eating meals with the rest of the family is also a GREAT way to encourage your baby to want to be in their highchair.

4. Lack of mealtime routine

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

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

A mealtime routine can include: 

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

Save special toys that are only for highchair play while you prepare their food and keep chatting to them as you do so. Then sit and talk to them while they are eating. 

Top Tip

Remember to praise and be upbeat and engaged when baby is in their high chair.

5. Does not want to be spoon-fed

As your baby becomes more independent they may want to be in control of how they eat. This could mean that they no longer wish to be spoon-fed. 

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. 

6. Is ready to 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. 

Top Tip

Being part of the family mealtime can break the ‘I hate my highchair’ habit quite quickly!

7. Uncomfortable

As your baby grows you need to make sure that their current high chair is a good fit and that they are feeling comfortable! Just like us, if we're not comfy, we can get quite agitated! 

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

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.

3 Simple Alternatives to traditional high chairs

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. Booster seats

What are they? 

As your baby gets older and their love for the conventional high chair fades, booster seats are a great way to keep your baby safe while they sit and eat a meal with the rest of the family.

How do they 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? 

  • Very affordable
  • Easy to store if you are short of space
  • Portable
  • Baby will be more included in mealtimes

Cons? 

  • No sustainable wooden versions available
  • Not all models have the option of an attachable feeding tray
  • Stability depends on the dining chair they are attached to

Ingenuity Baby Base 2 in 1 Booster Seat

Why do I recommend it? Loved by many parents, the Ingenuity Baby Booster Seat has a wipeable feeding seat and washable tray for easier cleaning which is removable and stored under the seat itself.

Suitable for babies 6 months and up, it has a 3-point harness & safety strap keep baby snug. And it converts from a baby booster to a toddler seat as baby grows!

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

2. Convertible high chairs

What are they? 

All in one or convertible high chairs that are designed to convert and adapt to the different seating needs of your child as they grow.

How do they 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? 

  • They will last for years and years
  • They are often made of wood
  • As soon as your baby is ready for the next stage you have the right chair option at your fingertips

Cons? 

  • They can be expensive
  • They are not always foldable or portable

Tripp Trapp High Chair

Why do I recommend it? I love this chair! It is attractive to look at, made of wood and ergonomically designed with your baby’s long term comfort in mind. 

The footrest helps to stabilise baby as they grow and does not leave their legs dangling. 

There is also a lovely range of accessories available such as a newborn set, optional food tray and comfy cushion paddings.

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

3. Clip-on seats

What are they? 

A portable clip-on chair.

How do they 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 high chair.

Pros? 

  • Portable
  • Can be used for travelling and in restaurants 
  • Baby will feel included in mealtimes
  • They are affordable

Cons? 

  • Not all clip-on chairs are certified safe
  • Clip-on seats don’t fit every table
  • Not all clip-on chairs come with a food tray attachment.

Inglesina Fast Table Chair

Why do I recommend it? The Inglesina Fast Table Chair fits tables up to 3.3" thick and is perfect for use at home or while traveling. The easy twist-tight coupling is fast and secure and gives your baby a seat at any table table.

It is ideal for babies & toddlers between 6 and 36 months, and up to 37 pounds, and the durable & washable design ensures this product will serve for years!

If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

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 highchair 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!

Also, if you're looking for more baby feeding products and general baby day-to-day products, be sure to check out my Parenting Toolbox!

It is full of all my favourite products which I've tried to ensure are all non-toxic, eco friendly, sustainable and, of course, they’re all baby proof!

Once again, thank you for your continued support and, until next time, happy parenting!

Teething to Tantrums Author

Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the childcare 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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