As I mentioned here, after much discussion and general wishy-washiness, we ended up getting both a high chair and building a “weaning chair” (a weird name for a baby-sized chair). Now that we’ve been using both for about a month and a half, I wanted to share our experience for anyone else out there feeling indecisive on the matter.
My husband built this little chair for James and I love it so much. He usually eats breakfast and lunch in his little chair.
Some of my favorite things about the chair:
Independence: I love that James will be able to get in and out of his chair by himself when he’s a little older, since he’s not strapped in. I also love that he’ll be able to help set and wipe the table later since the table is at a height he can reach.
Balance: I’m sure this depends on the specific chair, but ours does not hold him in as tightly as the high chair. This was a challenge when he first started using it, but in a good way. James is not too interested in sitting, always wanting to be on the move, so sitting in his chair for meals was one of the only times he really practiced balancing while sitting. Will sit for food!
Food Waste: The way the chair is built with the tall sides, much of the food James drops winds up on the seat of his chair, rather than the floor, so that I can give it back to him. This results in much less food waste and a less messy floor.
The things I don’t like as much about the weaning chair:
Harder to Clean: I love that it’s made of wood, but it is a lot harder to get it fully clean than his plastic high chair, especially after something like oatmeal or avocado. I used a natural beeswax wood polish, but maybe I need to apply another coat?
We have also been enjoying our Ikea high chair (only $20!). We use this mostly for James’s dinners. The things I like about the high chair:
Family Meals: As I’ve mentioned before, we aren’t really doing family dinners right now since James needs to eat early to protect his early bedtime. However, my husband often gets home while James is eating dinner and comes and sits with us at the dining table. I can easily sit on the floor at James’s little table, but it’s too small for two adults and a baby, so the high chair lets us all sit together for a meal.
Easier to Clean: The high chair is very easy to clean. It is a simple one with no fabric and not too many pieces, which makes it easy. If it’s been a particularly messy meal, it’s easy to carry it to the backyard and hose it off. I will say the food spreads out further on the floor though since he is dropping it from a greater height. I also like that I can keep James in there while I clean up to show him more of the process. He is not stable enough in his little chair for me to leave him there while I clean up after a meal.
All in all, while I definitely don’t think both are necessary, I love having both the weaning chair and high chair for James and think we’ll likely keep using both for years. As far as I can tell, James doesn’t seem to have a preference – he’ll eat anywhere as long as sweet potatoes are involved 🙂