Many times I consult families for weaning or feeding difficulties and the immediate and most obvious problem I spot, as soon as I arrive or see any video footage for analysis: the high chair has no footrest! You know the one that is so popular from a certain Swedish company…and don’t get me wrong, most of my furniture is still from that same company and I mostly love it…after assembly and a fair bit of cursing…but the very cheap chair they sell is literally one of my pet hates…perhaps ‘hate’ is a bit strong, but I just do not like this chair at all. And the reason is simply this: IT HAS NO FOOTREST!? PS: it may do now, I have not been to said store in a while, but I have not come across any improved chairs in any of my clients’ homes!
Who likes to have their feet dangling in mid-air at any time of the day? I really don’t!. I need to always have my feet firmly planted on the ground or on a footrest – should I find myself lucky enough to be sitting on a bar stool these days! As soon as I clamber up that stool and I have managed to find a hook for my handbag – here’s another bugbear, but I digress – as soon as…my feet are looking and rooting for that foot rest. Because it gives us stability and let’s face it, when on a bar stool…stability is what gets us through the evening.
So back to our toddler: why would we imagine that our toddler feels any different about dangly legs? Imagine if you will, sitting on one of those bouncy gym balls… where would your feet be? Yes of course, on the floor, because otherwise all hell will break loose or, more to the point, your tummy muscles would get a nice work out, and that is FINE, no problem. Go for it, I know I should…
But if you imagine sitting on a ball like this with your feet off the ground and now you are given a plate of food as well….. I personally don’t think that would end well.
Of course our toddler in that high chair without a footrest is not quite as wobbly as you would be on that ball, but the principle is the same: there is very little stability and now s/he is meant to be tucking into some veggies as well.
As I mentioned in my PS above, I do understand that there are now some additional footrests that can be fitted on the above Swedish chair, and if that becomes a bit more common place and is easy enough to do, then all is forgiven and please go ahead. However….. and I am not on ANY commission from the company I am about to recommend, but really, I have not come across a better chair that is so versatile and will last your child until they are about 12years old!! (Both my boys had one each and 20 years later, I still use both their hairs now for children that come to see me in my clinic. They are almost as good as new and adjust so easily and well to all different heights)
Enter, the Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair. It costs a small fortune to be fair, but it did win the “best high chair award” in 2021. There are many cheaper versions available, for example, John Lewis sell a similar chair for about half the price! So do shop around.
But what is so important to consider is that your child has a foot rest and that his trunk is at a 90 degree angle with your child’s thighs.
This affords your child maximum stability and so now we can have a look at the rest of your child’s feeding skills and see what else can be done to help things, and there are many more strategies. But this is usually the first and a hugely important bit of advice I will give and the effect of better sitting, and increased stability is huge!
Best of luck with shopping for your great new high chair. I would also say, if you have already got a chair without a footrest and you don’t want to get another one, I totally get that too. In that case, perhaps have a think about how you could enable your child to rest his/her feet on something, with the right 90 degree angle I mentioned above: perhaps a crate of some sort? a coffee/side table that could be placed under the chair for feet to rest on? a box? Once we become aware of the problem there is most often a solution to this issue. Your toddler will thank you!
I hope this is helpful, please feel free to contact me if you have struggled with finding the right position for your child or if you found this blog post helpful.
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